Last February, I sat down with Daniel Asgari to do an informal interview for his blog, Swiss Cheese Beats (which later became Hype the Clean). I believe he eventually went on to focus on other priorities, but it was an enjoyable time and I appreciated his interest in my career in percussion and composition. The conversation was approximately an hour long, and it’s split into a 4-part series here.
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About a year ago, I embarked on a mission to build a music studio in my backyard. This would be a space where I could be completely isolated from other distractions, to get absorbed in the creative process, primarily to write music, to play/practice, or to simply 'be' without being overheard or interrupted by other responsibilities or stimuli.
Aside from the benefits of having a space dedicated solely to creativity, this project gave me another satisfying experience—conceiving and making something from scratch, while learning the skills to see it through to completion.
For starters, I knew I wanted a space where I could take my primary "writing rig" (which has lived in my office at Tapspace HQ for over 10 years) and bring it home, allowing me some geographical separation of my own composition projects and the work I do for Tapspace. As Tapspace has grown, finding undistracted times to compose at the office became increasingly difficult. Also, since Sara moved in with me 3 years ago, it's been less feasible to actually have various instruments strewn about the house and as a result, I found myself less compelled to practice or simply play my drums for the sheer pleasure of playing. My backyard studio would be a place where I could center and dedicate these important parts of my life, while conceiving of it, literally, from the ground up.
I've been working on a new piece for percussion orchestra to be premiered by the Vandegrift High School percussion ensemble (Austin, Texas) this December at the Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic in Chicago (Joe Hobbs, director). It's titled "Beyond the Clouds" and was inspired by the time I spent in Nepal with a group of friends in 2013. There's still a lot of cleanup to do in the score before it's road-worthy, but here's a peek inside the score as played back via Sibelius + Virtual Drumline.
For better or worse, my birthday coincides with inauguration day in the United States. I don’t post much in the way of personal opinion online, and I imagine with the political happenings this will mostly get buried in the noise. But since it’s my birthday, I’m going to ask for something.
A long list of Portland recommendations I've made for friends visiting from out of town...
While spending time in the Peruvian jungle, I captured a variety of impromptu sounds of the area and combined them into this one recording. It takes me right back! This was recorded low-tech on an iPhone in the Amazon rainforest near Iquitos during the summer of 2015.