ADSR Mix 011: DAAT

Sept. 26. 2014

ADSR Mix 011 by DAAT based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Hello, and welcome to another edition of the weekend warmup!  This week we hand over mix duties to two Montreal producers pushing the boundaries of minimal drum & bass: DAAT.  Recent winners of the Mixmag tune of the month, owners of Montreal based label: Detuned Transmissions, and now running the monthly 170 experimental night: Artefact, Jason and Joe’s unique take on dnb is clearly making waves.  The guys have left us with almost an hour of released and unreleased material, so get inside and prepare to explore new sonic territories and audio possibilities…    

First off, congratulations on the recent Mixmag tune of the month.. take us through the process of how you put together “Fridge”.  Creative considerations and perhaps some technical details?
Thanks! It’s a huge honour and we were completely caught off guard by it. “Fridge” came from a pretty vivid dream in which a metal household appliance with rubber tubing suddenly became conscious of itself and its constituent parts. The soundstage was clear almost immediately, so the rush was on to put it together in a DAW. We knew that sonically it would focus on recorded sound and time-domain manipulation techniques, so we began recording the fridge and working on some effects processing—some of the same stuff that is all over the album. Once we had 32 bars of atmospheres going we kept versioning and tuning as it went. In the end we had 4 sections, and made a mixdown within an evening and that was that!

What influences/ experiences have contributed to the gritty, industrial, lo-fi sound that can be heard in DAAT’S productions? 
I think we’ve both been through some pretty rough times in the last few years, thats sorta shaped our musical output. As a result we’ve gravitated towards film/art from this direction, and there’s certainly some influence from this. 

Being that the two of you met as research students at McGill university, has there been some influence from your academics in your productions?
For sure yeh. We’re both fairly adept programmers and having been involved in audio research has given us a good overview of the range of audio processing possibilities. We always try to experiment as much as possible with signal representations/transformations before using techniques that we’ve already incorporated. Since we studied drastically different topics there’s rarely overlap between the two of us, and as a result, we learn quite a bit from each other.

Could you briefly sum up your respective areas of academic research?
(Joe) I specialize in designing new musical instruments, working with augmented trumpets and fMRI-compatible instruments. Before that I studied computer engineering.

(Jason) My area revolves around event timing in audio signals. I did a masters in timbre mutation of drum sounds, and a doctorate related to onset, beat, downbeat, and percussion detection. 

How do you guys usually manage workflow?  Producing in the studio together or sending bits back and forth?  
We’ll generally meet up 1-2 times a week in the studio, try out a few new ideas and get a vibe going. Then we’ll work separately, bouncing material and sending things back and forth. Once things start to take shape, we try to complete a track as quickly as possible, otherwise there’s the risk of getting trapped in it forever…

How do your musical strengths compliment one another?
(Jason): Joe comes from a Jazz background and he’s accustomed to improvisation and melody. His abilities as an arranger allow him to see how for example, a 32-bar loop can be expanded into a full arrangement, and how to expand a melody so it won’t get tired. 

(Joe): Jason is meticulous and near-obsessive when it comes to details. He’ll spend days listening to a kick drum, adjusting it until it’s perfect. Similarly he gets his head locked into an aesthetic of paranoid dystopic fiction and sees the world through that lens. It gives him a deep understanding of what’s behind the sounds and how they connect with other influences and ideas.

(Jason): We both do that, but I have the time police after me.

What attracts you to music in the 170 bpm range?  How do you feel your music contributes to the creative fabric of Montreal; a scene typically dominated by house and techno.
We’ve both been into Drum & Bass for a long time, and while restricting ourselves to 170 BPM music is in some regard a limitation, we see it as a control variable, and we choose to explore other variables (e.g., mood, ambience) while holding this one locked. There’s so much diversity in D&B in this tempo range, and theres so much more that can be done. In many ways this “restriction” actually affords us a freedom from the decisions we’d have to make if it were anything but 170. Even so it’s critical for us to push the boundaries of what we know in order to expand our musical limits. 

While Montreal’s growing experimental 170 scene is small in comparison to its House and Techno scenes, it’s made up of dedicated and creative producers, DJs, promoters, and labels. We’ve teamed up with Subtle Audio and local promoters to run the Artefact nights, which have generated a great response so far.

[Link to Artefact writeup in Rover:]

Does it ever become too much that both your profession and passion are so based around electronic music?  Do you ever feel the need to escape for a weekend or reset?
In short, yes!

Have you ever been out to Vancouver?  It’s a lot warmer here in the winter ya know :)
We’ve not been out to Vancouver, but heard from friends that the scene is really vibrant. We’ve found that winter is a great opportunity to focus on studio work. That being said, it would be pretty wicked to get out there and check it out! 

What does the last few months of 2014 have in store for DAAT?   
(Joe) We have a couple projects on the go, including a follow-up to HVAC before the year is out. We keep seeing suspicious vans outside so we think someone is scoping us out. But what for? Who’s behind all this?

(Jason) And then there was that fake street-sweeping machine. Not a speck of dust on it, and it drove away as soon as you opened the curtains!

(Joe) Exactly.

ADSR mix

1. Evan Paschke - Worker (Crashed) - dub
2. ASC & Vaccine - Heartfelt - Auxiliary
3. Dominic Ridgway & Clima - Untitled - dub
4. Heden & Dyl - Washed Out - dub
5. DAAT - Fridge - Detuned Transmissions
6. Clarity & Overlook - Engineering - Samurai dub
7. Gremlinz & Jesta - B.S.M.- dub
8. Paragon & Dyl - Unstable - dub
10. DAAT - Elevator - Detuned Transmissions
11. Dalglish - track5 - free release
12. DAAT - 7D - dub
13. DAAT - Rust - dub
14. DAAT - Meat Grinder - Detuned Transmissions
15. DAAT - Sixth Gear - Detuned Transmissions
16. Chu Ishikawa - Echo - Culture Publishers