I’m really looking forward to Kalpataru Tree’s set at Chillography 202, so I asked him a few questions to get a bit of insight. He’s certainly an act with a big future, and I’m happy that we’re bringing him up to Seattle while we can still afford him.
How do you describe your music to people who’ve never heard it before?
I usually start by comparing my music to a few electronica sub-genres, dub, downtempo, psy-chill, and then go on to say that it goes beyond these genres with experimentation in thick guitar layering, vocals, live bass, and psychoacoustic principles. With dubby basslines + dreamy, ambient sounds as a general model, my music often evolves into unexpected manifestations, for instance, sometimes I think my guitar riffs sound like the Cure or Sonic Youth or something – meanwhile there is still that psy-dub trippiness, so I would say my music is very unique in its organic/digital nature. I cant really escape the fact that it will always be techno, because its loop-based and arranged through a computer, but I take the sounds as far as I can in the organic direction, because I feel I can breathe more emotion + feeling into the music that way, and I’m reeeallly bored with music that is made soley with computers and synthesizers, unless its something really top-notch like Bluetech or Shulman or Ott or something.
Who and/or what influences your music the most?
My music is most influenced by the music that has influenced me. I have a long love relationship, that was at certain points an obsession, with music that is crafted with the intention of being a vehicle for consciousness. When I was a teenager, I was really into Sonic Youth for this reason – there was something about the dissonant chords + long feedback saturated jam sessions that would send my imagination flying. Sooner or later I discovered electronica – and then through my searching, came across some music that I had profound, life-changing experiences with. I started by getting all this music coming out of Germany and the UK – all this exquisite psychedelic chillout in the late 90’s – Shpongle, OTT, Dub Trees, – and then I found out that Canada and the Interchill label was doing some really amazing stuff – and sooner or later I made it up to Canada, to the Invision festival on the Sunshine Coast – Shambhala, etc. All this time I was crafting my own unique sounds, and pretty soon I moved to San Francisco + attended the Globe institute where I simultaneously was exploring the mystical + psychoacoustic principles of sound and music, while honing, refining and learning new tricks in the studio. Aside from all of this – other influences are life experience, nature, love, emotion, the unlimited possibilities of the imagination, and a drive to create magic.
What instruments, equipment and software are at work in the studio? What about your live setup?
I’ve got a pretty nifty setup that im happy with right now. Of course, it constantly morphs + changes – but its basically a modified instrument case that contains a cheap-o 500 dollar gateway laptop, an emu 0404 usb soundcard, running Live, etc. -> my midi keyboard, bass guitar, guitar, didgeridoo, singing bowls, guest female vox, field recordings, etc. Whats really cool is that my studio is portable and is also my live setup! I travel a lot – so I think its so great that most places I land, I can set up my studio and make music. My live setup is the same little studio in a box, which I use to mix and re-tweak my song arsenal, and a lot of the time I take out the bass track and throw down a little live bass – and sometimes I am accompanied by female vocals. It is a desire of mine to eventually expand this even more to include drumming, a guitarist etc…. I did a set not too long ago where I had a friend on the handsonic and another friend throwing down guitar riffs, and I liked the feeling of all that stuff happening on stage. For Chillography 202 – I think its just going to be a live set of my latest tracks with some bass + keys n stuff as well, but ill probably be holding it down solo this time.
Beyond Chillography, what’s next for you and your music?
Who can ever say whats next for anything? I can tell you what I want to happen: I want to share my music with the world in a financially sustainable way – record releases, live gigs, radio play, etc…Ive got a release coming out on Cyberset records next year – that should help. I’ve got other labels that are flirting with the idea of a release as well. I’ve got a ton of unreleased material! I basically want to make music + share music in environments conducive to what I do, and have it not come out of my pocket. In 2007 I went around everywhere, just traveling, sometimes I would get a couple hundred bucks – sometimes Zip…. After performing in all sorts of environments – from festivals, to trance parties, to one-night events at a club or something – I created a few standards for myself. I need to be on the flyer/lineup, I need to be financially compensated for my travel, and I need to be in an environment where people will actually what to listen to and hear what I have to offer. As for record releases – I’m trying to make that happen – so I can just pop out everywhere in the world, like little mushrooms, on radio, at parties, etc … What more could I want? I’m trying to make it happen – maybe I’m not the greatest Marketer/Promoter or something, but its been taking a while to get that ball rolling.
Where can people go to learn more about you and hear your tunes?
There’s Myspace: (www.myspace.com/kalpatarutree). There’s my website (www.kptree.com). You can buy a self-released album through either Addictech, or CD baby. Just Google “Kalpataru Tree” – you’ll probably find everything you are looking for.
I look forward to playing at Chillography 202! See you there.