Alias: All Things Remixable
Anticon reaches an independent label landmark with its 10th anniversary this year. Brendon Whitney (Alias) and David Madson look back on their past glories and tell Dave Kerr and Ali Maloney how they've kept the wheels moving.
When we caught up with you last summer, you were gearing up for your first ever full live band tour with your Brookland/Oaklyn recording partner, Tarsier. Since doing so, has that experience come to inform the mechanics of the way you're doing things in the studio now?
"I learned a lot from that experience. It allowed me to work closely with other people and tour closely with them as well. It made me enjoy the collaborative process again. I took so much time being introverted musically that I forgot how exciting it was to bounce ideas off of someone else. She and I plan on working on a new album sometime soon, most likely in the same fashion at first, trading files, but we both agreed that this album will be a bit more organic sounding, with more live instrumentation. I'm pretty excited at the outcome of us working together again."
In terms of your most regular forte, you've just put out a compilation which covers a lot of the breadth of your remix work. Who have you found to be the most challenging artist to rework a song for?
"John Van der Slice. I'm a massive fan of his music, but also his recording and production. He has one of the last all-analogue studios in the US, Tiny Telephone. I've become kind of a gear nerd without the money to delve into the equipment he has at Tiny Telephone, so I was extremely nervous about messing up the overall sound of Exodus Damage, because I'm all digital in my studio. Here he is making this dope song with some of the best gear available, and I'm in my studio with Pro Tools and all my electronic gear. But overall, he said he really liked what I did, which was a huge weight off my shoulders. I spent a lot of time mixing and EQing that song, just because I didn't want to ruin what was already great."
The label you co-own with your friends, Anticon, turns ten this year. Congratulations. Thinking back on your achievements - both personally and collectively – are you pleased with how far you have travelled as a creative force in that time?
"Speaking for myself, I can say I'm more than pleased with where I have gone thus far and what Anticon has grown into since 1997. If someone had told me back then when I was 21 that I would have travelled all over the world, supported myself financially, and met so many great people, all because of the music I made, I would have told them they were crazy. The idea that my music has brought me to places like Japan, Russia, Croatia, Poland... places I never would have imagined going to, it's still mind blowing to me. I could quit making music now, and feel like I accomplished more than what I ever expected. I have no complaints."
Does there still exist a healthy sense of competition amongst your stable of comrades there?
"Somewhat. I still get very inspired by these guys, Jel especially. I don't think he's ever made something that didn't grab my attention immediately. And I got to see him play live for the first time in a while the other night - completely blown away. His hands were moving so fast, they were a blur over his MPC. But all of these guys give me chills on the regular, which makes me want to try and keep up."
Find the 2nd part of this piece, featuring our interview with Odd Nosdam, here.
Collected Remixes is out now on Anticon.http://www.myspace.com/alias