Diger Rokwell launches his new EP, Seeds, this Friday, July 24, at The Bird. BOB GORDON has a chat with him.
The Seeds EP is quite psych-driven. What’s inspired you to take things more that way?
I endeavour to make all sorts of musical styles, as I am a diverse appreciator of all forms of music and expression. I have always collected psych music, and also I have been interested in how hip hop music can be interpreted in a psychedelic way. Edan’s Beauty And The Beat was a revolutionary album for me and DJ Shadow’s early work was very psych based in its sample selection, really made me love the concept of ‘psych hop’, ‘mind music’. I have played the guitar for 20 years now, and have collected various instruments over a two decades or more. I like the mix of samples and real instruments, and the combination of style. I have loved the idea of fusion between different worlds and sounds for ever now. The inspiration has always been there, just the know how has caught up. So dreams have now become produce.
Was the recording quite pre-planned or did the music have its own evolution during the recording process?
I feel my music is always evolving with new ideas and techniques. The songs have been around for three or four years now, and I work in a very electronic way with organic materials: starting from loops and sketches recording instruments or small snippets of samples, from there I work on arrangement and then the song starts to form. From an idea that takes 30 minutes to start, it takes months, years to turn into a finished song. In the future, I feel I will be more directed in my intention and vision of the final outcome.
You’ve covered new vocal territory too. What was it like bringing out that side of yourself and why now?
I guess confidence and timing is the reason. I have always considered myself to be able to sing, I was a staple at the improvised hip hop night, Colab, for years, and people always said they loved my voice, and were surprised at it. I have also had a lot of instrumental work to get out of my system and also exploring many different avenues of musical expression. In life, I am a late bloomer and very unconventional, I don’t think time or age can be a block to being creative and being heard. In the future, I plan to release a few vocal-based projects under my real name. And I feel confident in being able to be doing that from recording from home, at a reasonable price and having the know-how to do it well with what I know after all this time.
Congrats on the birth of your baby! Parenthood is a profound thing; do you think it may bring out other realms in your overall creativity?
Thank you. He is the best. Being a parent is the best thing I could ever do in my life, and I look forward to seeing my son grow into a fully-fledged human. I feel it definitely gives you more purpose, more meaning, and a better understanding of existence. I feel parenthood will give me a massive boost of creativity and make me utilise my time creatively to greater effect and focus on my family and myself more. My partner and I shot a stop motion animation video clip for my track, Take Flight, whilst she was pregnant using the toys from my studio, which was fun! So lots of domestic do-it-yourself family projects close to home I feel.
With the new EP now out, what are the plans from here?
Well, I have so much music to share which can be seen as a negative in a single based musical world. I am just finishing off the mix for a new EP going back to my ‘beat music’ roots, also I am working on some cosmic disco inspired stuff to round out the EP series focusing on one musical inspiration at a time, that started from the house inspired, Innersense. I would like to release an LP of the choice cuts of music from 2012-16, sometime late next year. Also I am planning on working on some singles with some heavyweight vocalists to be announced in the near future, plus my own vocal stuff. I would love to tour the next two EPs at the end of the year, early next on the East Coast.