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Friday, January 27, 2012

c.db.sn Interview (2012)

Our second interview with the brilliant IDM producer c.db.sn. He has recently release his debut full length album on Tympanik Audio called "At The End Of It All". Make sure to grab it!


Hey Chase, what’s new with you since we last talked?  

A ton actually!  I've released a split EP with Denver IDM artist Scaffolding on Denver label Plastic Sound Supply, I've recorded guitar tracks for a collaborative track with Anklebiter, and my debut album on Tympanik Audio was released in mid-December. It has been a busy few months!

Tell us about your split with Scaffolding (a seriously good musician btw). It’s 1 original track by each artist and a remix of each other’s track. What was the inspiration for your track, and would you work in this format again?

Lui (Scaffolding) and I have a ton of mutual friends in Denver; it’s actually kind of a small city in that regard. He was at a show that I was playing and approached me about doing a split for release on Plastic Sound Supply, the aesthetic was also agreed on - we were shooting for ambient IDM in the vein of Arovane.   I was already a fan of Scaffolding's music so I agreed.  I really like the split ep format; it’s great to be able to collaborate in that way and not have to commit to a full length release. If the opportunity presents itself I would love to release other split.

You recently released your debut full length “At The End Of It All” via Tympanik Audio.  Tell us a bit about this album; what inspired it, how you composed it, etc. There is a lot of ground covered; there is IDM, post-industrial, ambient, some dubstep, and some post rock. Do you foresee all these styles sticking with you in future work?

"… At The End of it All" was released in December and it was a long time in the works.  Some of the material on there dates back to 2003!  I tend to be really hot and cold when it comes to production, I'll have periods where I am quite prolific and other times where it’s just not happening.  I'm of the opinion that if I force work it will never be good, so sometimes I'll start a track and come back to it (sometimes several years) later to finish it up with a new perspective.  Regarding the question of future work, it is a bit too soon to say, but the tracks that I have been working on have been featuring more shoegazer atmospheres and post rock guitars; this isn't to say that my next record will be guitar driven per say, but I've had the opportunity to do some guitar work and have really enjoyed the freedom of doing so.  I'll still be employing similar rhythmic structure; I have a hard time getting away from that.

My Favorite track on the album is actually “Airport [Never Land]”. This one is short so I kind of assumed it to be an interlude of sorts. I find the pads and melody to be absolutely beautiful; some of the best I have ever heard. What inspired this track? Do you have a personal “favorite” track off the album? 

It’s funny that you mention that, that version of Airport is an edit from a longer song - it was a "second movement" in the song.   I nearly released the whole thing but the more I listened to it, I found some of the elements redundant in the context of the album.  Never_Land was a big change of mood and timbre in the original and I thought it was more effective as an interlude.   In terms of inspiration, the beginning of the composition was written in an airport in Texas while waiting on a Flight to come home from a funeral.  I fly a ton for work and airports tend to put me in a specific mood; "Airport [Never_Land]" is the soundtrack for that mood.  As far as a favorite song on the record, the opener "This Stillness of Hours" is probably it, that or "A Silent Sea", for the same reason,  both have a pretty big sound in terms of ambiance and I'm really happy with how hard the percussion hits.  They both nod to dubstep, which is alright by me; I really like the half time meter, it makes those two tracks feel really heavy.  They're my 2 favorite to play live for that reason as well.

Your track for the compilation is “Lost Transmission” which is a bit of a departure from your usual style in that it is completely ambient. Can you give us a bit of insight on what inspired the track, how you composed it, etc?

I really enjoy ambient music. Your compilation was a great opportunity to focus on the genre for a specific release rather than have a long term goal of a full length album.  The composition of "Lost Transmission" came about rather organically, it started with some sound design using Native Instruments soft synth Absynth and the rest of the parts fell into place.  There are quite a few lo fi textures in there as well, I really enjoy employing the juxtaposition of big atmosphere and crackly static sounds.  The concept behind "Lost Transmission" was a scenario I made up in my head to "score".  It’s the soundtrack to an imaginary sci-fi film in which the protagonist is lost in deep space and his or her distress calls are not being received.  I wanted to capture the expansiveness of deep space and the sense of mourning, the protagonist in this story knows there is little hope of rescue. 

Speaking of space, we as a race have progressed technologically to a point such that space travel and colonization could become a reality. How do you feel about the possibility of mankind’s extension beyond a single planet into space and the exploration thereof?

Hate to be all gloom and doomy, but at the rate we as a race are going, in order for our species to continue we will NEED to occupy another planet.  I'm not sure it will come to that though, we're exploiting our resources and destroying our planet at a rate which I feel will ultimately doom us.  I like to entertain the idea but I think we have a long ways to go before we can start colonizing other planets.  I don't think we have that kind of time.

You’ve been working as an Ableton Tech for a few national touring acts, such as Mike Posner. Obviously this music is not much like your own, but how has this job influenced your personal sound and style?

I try to separate the two as much as possible, keep my work as a tech and engineer separate from my original work.  With both I use Ableton Live, but my compositions and the work I do for other acts is drastically different.  When I work my "dayjob" I'm working with pre-recorded stems and track elements, usually from Pro Tools sessions, finding ways to utilize them in a live setting and often not changing the content all that much.   When I'm composing for c.db.sn, I dive deep into Ableton as a sound design tool; I'm creating my own world of sound.  In terms of influence, I think the biggest has been the ability to work on my own music with whatever tools I have available, and wherever I happen to be.  I end up doing a lot of composition on flights and on tour busses on headphones.   I end up doing a LOT of work with the mouse.  (:

What do you have planned for the future?

Right now it’s looking like two tours back to back, keeping me on the road basically from Jan-April.  During that time I intend to demo new material and to remix the aforementioned collaborative track with Anklebiter.  It'll keep me busy enough!  I've had a few requests to do tracks for a couple of net labels as well, we'll see if I can get enough work done on the road to make this a reality.

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