Ded Sheppard interview

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I spoke to Ded Sheppard about the forthcoming ep on East Van Digital.

DB: Hi how has the year been, what you been doing?

DS: It’s been a great year – I released two tracks on East Van Digital, Wrong Canadians and Ghost Massive. Then I worked on my EP for most of the winter.

It started with just one track but I got into this flow and kept writing, all of a sudden I had four. I also did some work with Charles Deenen at Source Sound in LA, he’s a really talented Audio Director/Sound designer at the top of the game, so whenever I work with him he pushes my perspective on sound, workflow and how to get the best from your work.

During the breaks I kept busy working on new music, new sounds and processes mostly. I spend lots of time doing research and development when it comes to sound, I tend to spend more time investigating using new sound creation methodologies – a lot of what I create gets left on the cutting room floor, I’ll make 100 sounds to get the one I am looking for.

I have another single I’m presently shopping around, heavier drum and bass tracks.

DB: What have you seen lately that made you amazed or thoughtful?

DS: I live in Vancouver and we went through – and are still going through – a drought. Over the course of the summer forest fires were a big deal all over BC. Vancouver had super thick smoke that fell over the entire city from a forest fire 100s of miles away that lasted about a week.

It looked truly apocalyptic, the air was thick and smoky, hard to breath, I didn’t want to go outside – or it wasn’t safe to. It made me realize how civilization truly hangs by a thread and how vulnerable we all are.

DB: So you mention drought: what is the water/discovery theme in the visuals/videos?

DS: Water is a part of the EPs DNA. I live really close the ocean; I walk by the waters edge everyday, its influence is always there, the constant push and pull.

The ocean and its movement is the antithesis of quantization, rigidity, things I deal with daily, and just under the surface there’s a whole hidden world to explore. The EP mimics the push and pull throughout sonically and melodically, as well as the imagination of the hidden world.

It’s very difficult to cut through the noise these days but from the first track I made on this EP I knew it was different than everything else that I was hearing and so I pushed the sound further leaving the land of rigidity and out to sea, ‘Taillights’ especially sounds like water. The music came first, the visuals stemmed from the sound.

DB: And take us through ‘Taillights’ and what inspired?

DS: ‘Taillights’ was inspired by our relationship with technology. My relationship with technology is complicated; sometimes it feels like I’m driving at night and I’m so tired all I see are blurry red taillights that I follow, unconsciously – like being on my ipad at night.

I have come to really appreciate time away from my light machines, the ipad, iphone.

I took a trip to the desert last year where I completely unplugged, no phone, no instagram or twitter updates. I just enjoyed the experience of being in a flat desert. It felt like home.

‘Taillights’ follows the drum and bass standards but its destination is unknown, adrift without a paddle, drowning in the light.

DB: Again from the ep, can you take us into ‘Warehoser’?

DS: ‘Warehoser’ was inspired by memories of when I first discovered drum and bass – in warehouses, no security, no idea what DJ was playing it was all new and chaotic.

It’s about the process of finding your centre out of this chaos. The tune is set somewhere in a lost dream, in that giant dark empty warehouse, a vision of a group of maidens in a circle each with a candle, chanting quietly beckoning the listener to “carry me into the night carry me into light”.

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In this tune as well all of the tracks in this EP, I worked tirelessly with the tension and complexity. This is something that I picked up from working on interactive music for Electronic Arts, Need For Speed, where I worked with very experienced composers Brian Tyler (Fast & Furious) and Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones, Iron Man).

I implemented their music interactively using a modular environment into gameplay and that experience completely changed the way I create and think about music.

I now seek to moderate the balance between static music and music that’s evolving, try to create music that’s interactive to the listener, the push and pull, listenable yet hard, complex yet simple, melodically rooted with chaos for the sake of music, especially intensity.

DB: And the remix from Queensyze?

DS: I’m super stoked how it turned out: Queensyze has this garage bass sound that she added to the remix with a half time D&B tempo enhancing my reeces as highlights, it sounds new, like nothing I’ve heard before.

She also highlighted the atmospherics of the tune, a fresh perspective from the original. I’m excited to see what she comes up with next. I read a lot of headlines about “where are the women producers in D&B?”.

Well, she’s here and definitely a force to be reckoned with.

DB: What artists inspire you?

DS: Amon Tobin, The Panacea, Current Value, Scott Walker, Sunn o)))

I’d love to go to Dismaland.

Ded Sheppard twitter
East Van Digital

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