Dj Frequencies Podcast 008 comes to you by way of Nathan Youngblood. Nathan is an Ambient producer from Tuscon, Arizona who recently released his debut album, Asunder, under Steve Roach’s record label (steveroach.com). Twilight_frequencies recently had the opportunity to interview Youngblood while he was working on the podcast.
Dj Frequencies Podcast 008 Tracklisting:
1. Steve Roach – ‘Groundswell’ – Artifacts 1994
2. Robert Rich – ‘Mycelia’ – Fissures 1997
3. Brian Parnham – ‘Liquid Aggregate’ – 2007
4. John Vorus – ‘Swampland Dub’ – Transmuting Currents 2006
5. Steve Roach/Jorge Reyes – ‘The Holy Dirt’ – Vine, Bark & Spore 2000
6. Nathan Youngblood – ‘Vesper Nest’ – Asunder 2007
7. Alio Die – ‘A Fragment of Fire’ – Leaves Net 2001
8. Steve Roach – ‘Dreamer Descends’ – 2002
Dj Frequencies interview with Nathan Youngblood:
Dj Frequencies: Your debut album is entitled Asunder, does that title refer more to breaking something into pieces or to being widely separated? How does that correlate with the music and/or concept for the album?
Nathan Youngblood: At that time, this last minute title was referring to a feeling of separation. The sonic places I’m brought to from these pieces seem far removed from any sort of human life or time. It feels like waking up in an unknown prehistoric landscape, and safely watching evolution unfold. While creating these sounds I never knew they would all end up on an album together, so in that sense of the word, they do have a feeling of brokenness but work well together.
TF: Your music seems to travel into deep, dark celestial space, while still being deeply grounded with this strong connection to the Earth. Where do the inspirations for that connection come from?
NY: One of the biggest inspirations that can be put in to words is from the terrain that I dwell on and it’s mysterious energy. I’ve always felt a deep connection with the desert southwest and it’s surreal imagery. There’s an incredible sense of stillness that is felt when I leave the city and become part of this vast mystery. It’s such a peaceful yet fierce environment, and bringing these feelings to a sound form is the ultimate goal. Hearing them changes all perspective of time and brings me to a sound-induced meditative state, which I’m addicted to.
TF: You played and incorporated many instruments and organic instrumentation into Asunder, How much do you rely on instrumentation over synthesis during production?
NY:The synthesis and instrumentation complimented each other pretty equally. A lot of the sounds on Asunder are a simultaneous combination of the two, and a majority began as live looping and processing of instruments and objects. It’s important to have some sort of “real life” elements in my music such as a field recording or tangible objects. “Flume” is the only song that is pure synth.
TF: I know that you’re a multi-instrumentalist, what instrument do you most often reach for these days?
NY: Ultimately there is no single starting point or instrument I turn to when I’m creating sound. Some days I may want to explore processed guitars, while another time I may solely manipulate field recordings I’ve captured. Lately I’ve been getting back into the processed resonant drones of my sitar and Tibetan bowls.
TF: Steve Roach, an absolute ambient/soundscapes icon, produced and mastered Asunder, How did that relationship start?
NY: It began for me in 1998 when I randomly bought an album of his in a Kalamazoo, Michigan record store. Instantly I felt a deeper connection with this record more so than the other electronic based music I was listening to at the time. I’ve been hooked ever since. It was in 2004 in Tucson when we met after he walked into a record store I was working at. I got a call not too long after asking if I’d like to work for him, and the choice was obvious. In 2007 I was playing some rough pieces in the office that would later become Asunder. Steve heard this and realized it was me and he wanted to help release it. He became even more of an inspiration, musical and nonmusical, after working with him for many years. One of the best memories of that time period was sitting in a little bunkhouse nested on the side of the canyon on his ranch. We were having a beer and waiting for my music to be aired on Hearts Of Space. A very surreal moment to say the least…
TF: Steve Roach created many of his recordings with all organic instruments and recordings, Has that had an influence on your work? How has that translated to the studio?
NY: I’ve been experimenting with recordings of organic instruments and objects well before I knew of Roach or other sound sculptors. His use of organics has surely inspired me to continue to explore these techniques, and because of my already deep love for this sort of sound, I was drawn to his music even more. For as long as I can remember I’ve heard music in everyday environmental sounds whether it be leaves, wind, or the collective drone of Tucson air conditioners, and have wanted to incorporate them into compositions. I sometimes get tired of only clicking buttons and playing with synthesizers, so it’s refreshing to be able reach for one of my many instruments or field recordings and see what sounds can be molded.
TF: What is your DAW of choice?
NY: For as long as I’ve been using a computer as a music tool it’s been Sony Vegas. It’s used mainly for recording and editing, as most of the processing and effects go on outside through hardware.
TF: Do you prefer hardware or software synths?
NY: My preference is definitely hardware. My digital synths are very similar to what some softsynths are capable of, but I prefer the feeling of knobs, keys, and each board’s individual characteristics. I like to be able to walk into my studio and make noise without having to stare at a monitor. Only recently did I get a softsynth.
TF: What’s next for Nathan Youngblood? Working on new material?
NY: Currently I’m working on some sounds with John Vorus (www.johnvorus.com). We’ve always liked each others work, so it should be an interesting album.
Thanks for your time Nate, looking forward to your next release. Check out Nathan Youngblood’s debut album, Asunder, available at www.cdbaby.com/cd/nyoungblood.