Artist Feature 010: Datataste

Sept. 14. 2015

Photo: Vasho Pekar

Photo: Vasho Pekar

What do monosynths, drum machines, cassette tapes, and a mountain of cables all have in common?  If you answered the 90s then yes, you are correct… but actually these analog elements have a whole lot to do with our musical guests this week: datataste.  Combining live hardware with spaced out sci-fi aesthetics, Ron Luther and Adrian Long transport listeners to barren sonic landscapes and far off audio realms.  Call it techno, call it live, call it old skool or call it the future, whatever you dub these Orwellian beats there’s no denying these boys are onto something tasty. 

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Hey guys take us back (wayyy back), where did your love of analog techno come from?
Adrian: Great parties and great soundsystems. 

Ron: Moving blocks around in fruity loops, listening to industrial music.

How did you two meet and start making music?
Ron: We met at a volunteer orientation at New Forms and decided to get our gear together. Two monosynths, a groovebox, locked in a tiny rehearsal space in Mt. Pleasant ‘til the morning light.

Adrian: Yeah, I think Colleen was walking us through Science World and we couldn’t stop nerd-chatting about however we were making music at the time. From the mutual interest it made sense to start meeting up, and so we did with no greater mission but to “jam”. Eventually greater themes started to emerge.

Ron: We got pretty deep into the sci-fi themes. I had just finished reading Dune for the second time and the music became a conduit for storytelling, so we recorded a bunch of tracks. It was a good way to get a lot of practice in. Now we’re in a more technical place, digging into sound design. 

Major influences in your music (can be anything)?
Ron: We run through a huge amount of new music and there is a growing local scene that truly inspires. 

Adrian: Live settings are our primary movers I think. We’ve come together creatively after a few particular shows. LNRDCROY’s set at Index last month blew us away! 

Ron: The "It’s Your Turn" guys brought Acronym in a while back and I swear for two weeks after we hardly left the studio.

Adrian: Yeah that was big inspiration! I have so many memories from that night. I’ve been really moved by the recent "Sacred Sound Club" parties I’ve been to… just proper good techno in great rooms. Lots going on here in town.

Take us through your live setup?
Adrian: I’m using pretty simple tools. A drum machine that emulates classic and recognizable sounds gives me the opportunity to really work against a machine and beat creativity out of it. A sequencer controls a monosynth and an FM synth rack module. The latter takes a lot of work to program but is totally worth it for how expressive it can be. A couple carefully integrated effects modules in the rack really expand whatever I put into them.

Ron: I’m making more use of sampling, especially from tape. I’m running a 4 track tape recorder, which is great for colouring sound or changing the speed. When I find a good sound, I’ll throw it into the MPC, sequence it, then run the output through a filter/envelope, then chop that with another sequence. Then I’ve got another sequence controlling a polysynth for overhead pads and bigger themes. 

What attracts you to a live setup with no laptop?
Ron: It’s really really really really really really really really really really fun.

Adrian: Yeah pretty much.

Just how much of your live set is spontaneous and how much is planned?
Adrian: It’s difficult to improvise with the TX81Z so I try to program stuff that is rich enough to allow for a lot of repetition. Often the voices I come up with only work for one application, so I’m constantly at the drawing board. I have some melodic sequences stored to control it as well as the monosynth, which is all knobs so I’m always tweaking to find a sweet spot. The drums are a total party to play live! I’d say I plan as much as I need to make effective music, but the vibe’s gotta be brought in special for each occasion.

Ron: I’ve got a collection of sequences saved in the sampler, and a lot of performing is bringing in those sequences while playing the filter, and improvising filter sequences on my Intellijel Metropolis. There’s also playing the filter and pitch wheel on the microkorg, really expressing with the resonant harmonics. 

Whats coming up on the horizon?
Ron: Most imminently, we’re doing a quick set on October 3rd for Sequential Circus at Open Studios. That’s definitely an event for live electronic acts. 

Adrian: On October 30th we’re going to be performing at Reclaim Your City 003 in support of a few of our peers who have a release coming up on Reclaim Your City, a Berlin-based podcast series and label. Richard Duggan (Kafka), Kieran Coulter (Quest) and the near-legendary duo known as "The Automatic Message" will be playing likely in a style that fits their release. Stanislav Tolkachev, Yan Cook and Subforms are also featured on the release, and the latter artist will be coming from the Ukraine to headline the show. We’re really excited to be a part of this celebration, click on the links above for more info.  

Take us through the music you have for us…
Adrian: It’s sequencers sequencing sequences through sequenced gear through sequenced filters through effects through a mixer. 

Ron: We started recording, worked out a few ideas over several hours, and what you hear is the best cut of that. `

Thanks for stopping in guys, hear more from datataste on Soundcloud, Facebook, and Instagram.