Tuesday, November 2, 2010

FUTURE VINTAGE & The Sonic Adventures of MOOGODORE 2600: Interview with COMPUTER JAY

When it comes to vintage synths and analog soundscapes recalling the era of MOOG and the experimental electronic music innovations of the 60s & 70s coming from artists using analog technology such as SUN RA, Dick Hyman or Kraftwerk, LA-fam, COMPUTER JAY comes to my mind immediately. The best artists are trailblazers always several steps ahead of the game and it often happens that by the time their sounds become trendy and people get their work, they are already onto the next phase of their evolution. There has been a definite revival of the futuristic analog sound associated with these giants, so artists like Jay who have been doing this kind of music while continuing to push the boundaries of electronic music for a long time can be finally recognized for their work (same holds for some of the other artists I know like Dâm-Funk, Waajeed or Ruckazoid, who have been making music using analog equipment for over a decade). Ready or not, here it comes... 
Lichiban: Did you always wanted to be a musician? What was your first music project that you can remember of?
Computer Jay: Yes. I always wanted to make music. I feel blessed in that way. I knew at an early age what I wanted to do and have stuck with it since. The first music project I remember was trying to write a song on a keyboard my mother had. I remember working on it for at least three "sessions" before losing interest in it. I was maybe nine or ten at the time.
L: What is your arsenal? Is there a favorite instrument or sound that you think characterizes your music?
CJ: I have a Rhodes, an Optigan, MiniMoog Voyager, Moog Opus. I got a few drum machines including the Mpc, CompuRhythm, and Rhythm Ace.  I also have a keyboard I built myself. It's called the "Moogodore 2600".  It's part Moog, part Atari, and part Commodore 64. It's hard to say what my favorite is... But I am a long time Moog collector. Well Moog's and Rhodes.. A lot of gear has came and went. But these 2 always stay relevant in what I'm doing. I am also a fan of lo-fi digital. 8 Bit, 4 Bit, etc.. I've always loved that "Old New" sound.
  Distance by Computer Jay
L: You are in several different bands and also have your solo projects going on. You are 1/3rd of a group called Master Blazter with Dâm-Funk & drummer J1, and are part of Shafiq Husayn and the A-free-Ka Ensemble. And there is also another band you're core member of, Spirit Animal. How did you guys link up?
CJSteve Cooper and I met through a mutual friend named Havana Joe. He hit me with an album he had been working on. I dug it and hit him up to do some work. And the rest is Megabytes..

L: You were born & raised in LA, right? Last time we were talking about LA, you said that you were tired of the bad wrap that your city gets. Looks like some of the hottest new music from a lot of different genres is actually coming out of LA these days (almost makes me want to move there!). What’s the spirit of the music scene in LA like?
CJ: It's amazing. Truly great spirit. I feel I'm surrounded by nothing but extremely artistic and motivated people. I don't see a lot of ego trippin...And actually most artists around here are very supportive of works beyond theirs... Even works outside the scope of what they do. Whether it's design, music, or fine arts. It's become a total cliché to dump on Los Angeles...when people talk about how "plastic" and "phony" L.A is, I think to myself "What do you like and where do you hang to be surrounded by that?"
  1000 FOLD by Computer Jay

L: It looks like you've got so many music projects about to hit the streets! First up, as a part of All City Records "LA 10 Inch Series" you are collaborating with Dâm-Funk on a release that's coming out on All City Records this month. Is it going to be something along the line of your previous work with him in Master Blazter? [vinyl release is available at rushhour]
CJ: Well it's not quite a Master Blazter release. One side of the record are production's from Dâm-Funk, and the other side are from myself. The 10'' however will encompass a lot of the Master Blazter Spirit though.. we even perform some of the songs on the 10'' actually.  


L: You've been touring extensively with Dâm-Funk as the keyboardist on board. Do you like to tour? What were some of the most fun moments on the tour?
CJ: I love touring. It's great to see all the other cities and cultures that exist.  It's great making new connections and friendships.  Some of my favorite times on the tour were digging for records in stores I've never heard of or been to. There's something that feels magical about excavating in a place you haven't been.

L: Talking about Master Blazter, you guys are about to start recording your new album, right? The free MB release Blazt Off that came out on HVW8 wasn't really a joint album per se but more of a collection of tracks from the members. This one is going to be a collective effort, right?
CJ: The Master Blazter album is definitely going to be more of a collective effort. There is even a chance that were going to track a lot of the album live. We will bring individual songs and sketches to the table, but more then likely rework them collectively.

L: Oh and I also heard that you are on Gaslamp Killer's new EP "Death Gate"? How did you guys decide to work together? Is this your first project with him?
CJ: Yes. I co-wrote and played on the song "Shattering Inner Journeys". I also played on his first E.P "My Troubled Mind".  GLK and I have been friends for a good decade and we have always been big supporters of each others' music. Matter of fact we have a project called "Computer Killer". It's a score for a Slasher film we're making next year.
  04-Shattering Inner Journeys feat Computer Jay by LOVE HER MADLY BLOG
L: You are also scheduled to release your new EP. How does it compare to your last solo project Maintain (on Ramp Recordings w remixes from Ikonika, FaltyDL and Mike Slott) which I love?
CJ: Thank You!  The E.P will definitely have a similar vibe to the maintain 12'' and the Distance/Epiphany 10'' I released with Ramp a while back. They'll be more songs with the Computer on vocals, and me on production with some new instruments I built. 
  Epiphany by Computer Jay
L: How the hell are you able to balance all the gigs and recording time, haha!
CJ: HA! yeah it's hard to balance sometimes. I just try to make good use of my time... Keep my head down and keep working. I'll look back later.

L: What would be your bucket list of 2010?
CJ: 1 To finally see A Tribe Called Quest live. (one of my favorite groups and still haven't seen them live.) 
2. To learn how to do a windmill.
3. To digitize my entire record collection.

L: Could you put me on 3 albums that you've been feeling lately?
CJ: I've been listening to the The Hit and Run's "Free Kutmah" benefit show mix... It was Mixed by Ras G.  I went back and revisited  Black Sabbath's "Vol. 1" a few times recently. Another one in heavy rotation is Onra's "Long Distance".

L: Shoutouts?
CJ: Yeah yeah. Shout out to the Milky Way crew, Cubic Zirconia, my Moms, King Britt, Circuit benders world wide, and all my folks who have supported me through the years.

L: Thanks!!
CJ: Thanks Lichi!! Thank you for considering me for the interview. 


you can find more more mixes and tracks on soundcloud // connect on facebook // twitter // myspace 
check him out in action
Computer Jay "Electric Frontier" from The Qualities of Light on Vimeo.

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