Wednesday, September 1
What is a DJ? Ask a musician and they might answer that a DJ is someone that cant play an instrument. Nothing seems difficult about throwing on a record and spinning it around. But ask Montreal-based producer and DJ Sixtoo the same question and youll get a very different response.
"Ive found that playing music is actually a much easier process than making sample-based music," says Sixtoo. "As a producer, listening is what you do first and foremost. Its almost more important than playing. Especially coming from a sample-based background, all you do is listen for that one note that will add a little more personality than the other or the one drum hit that has a little more passion. Thats everything for me and I think thats why Ive leaned more toward live players so that I can actually make what I want instead of trying to find it on a record."
The time has passed when DJs and producers have to defend the relevance of their art. Living through that time, Sixtoo has become eloquent in describing what exactly it is that he does and his natural evolution to creating his latest album, Chewing On Glass & Other Miracle Cures, released on Ninja Tune Records.
The recent craze of combining live musicians and sample-based music has produced a number of collaborations and projects of varying success Scandinavian label-mates Jaga Jazzist and Wibutee are the most successful of the bunch. Instead of a direct collaboration between live musicians and samples, Sixtoo has set about recording various live musicians and using the source material as the building blocks of his work. He uses the basic idea of sample-based music, but the samples retain that live quality.
"I wanted to make a sample-based record that sounded like live players," says Sixtoo. "My programming of drums and samples have gotten to the point where I just felt like I could actually blur the line between whats played and whats not much more than figuring out how youre going to implement live players just for the sake of having them."
According to Sixtoo, its an organic approach, but one that doesnt ignore the current movements of microsampling and effects programming.
"Being able to critically analyze frequency and making everything sit on its own shelf is really important," he says. "The drums should be able to cut through the mix, the bass should be able to cut through the mix and they should all have a coherent interplay with each other."