Friday, November 14, 2008

Band of the Week


I have always been fascinated by the alias' of electronic producers. In most cases the producer takes on a new alias when they want to explore a new sound while still being able to return to their old form. It has been going on like this for years, and with each new moniker the beats and production becomes increasingly creative and adventurous. There is a sense of freedom behind an alias, but there is also the responsibility to craft a sound that fits the name.

Diego Chavez (a.k.a Aether) is one half of the duo A.M. Architect, and an extremely talented electronic music producer from San Antonio. His work has appeared on compilations under his own name and as ÆTHER216, but on his solo debut it is just Aether. Artifacts (due out Nov. 25th, Exponential Records) is a collections beats, samples, and soundscapes that are as beautiful as its cover (which was also made by Diego). As the beats wrap and float, and the samples build up, an underlying tranquility is uncovered. The way Diego crafts a song is unique and I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Recently, Diego was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): On November 25th you will release your first full-length album as Aether. What can you tell us about "Artifacts"?
Diego Chavez (DC): Artifacts is a collection of beat sketches I've had for over four years. Some made from last winter, some from the summer, and some made so long ago that I've lost the original production files.

OA: You, like several electronic musicians, record under several different names. What does using different names for different projects allow you to do? Why is "Artifacts" an Aether project?
DC: Revealing music under various aliases allows me to explore different soundscapes and collaborate with other musicians on a clean slate, bouncing ideas back and forth. Artifacts is released under the Aether moniker due to the nature of production. Everything listed under Aether is extremely intimate and has been made as a form of self-medication-solo productions made for nobody else but myself. The tracks are created at odd hours-4 am, 5 am, 6 am. It's the early hours that I feel displaced from "time," and enter an altered state, intoxicated by a melody that suddenly transforms into a three-part act.

OA: The album is not a straight collection of just electronic beats, there are a few tracks, like "Anywhere", that feature some beautiful vocals. These do not sound like samples, who did you work with on the vocal tracks?
DC: Actually, Artifacts is a collage of audio samples. I carved out bits and pieces (vocals, instruments, drums) then layered them together. I'm working as a sound sculptor, re-presenting found objects. In the future, I hope to collaborate with more vocalists to further explore and produce future albums. Artifacts acts as a demo-tape, a blue-print of my production.

OA: You are also a graphic designer, and designed the cover for the album. What do you look for in a cover, and where did you begin with this one?
DC: I initially began with a minimalist design for the album. However, the sterile design conflicted with the depth and origin of the album's sound. Seeking inspiration, I began digging through archives of earlier works and re-discovered my graphic design--The Tecolote. The image was powerful enough to further convey the artistic nature of the album. An album cover engages the viewer through the aesthetics of design. The visual image invites the viewer to further explore it's content.

OA: What are your thoughts on the electronic music scene in Texas? There seems to be a lot of activity in electronic music and music in general in Texas right now?
DC: I'm happy to hear that local artists are gaining respect worldwide. Exponential Records is the rising catalyst on the electronic music scene in Texas. This independent record label has grown and gained much love through a grassroots approach. Texas-based musicians and supporters continue to work as a creative collective with the belief that good music can come from anywhere.

OA: What's next for Diego Chavez?
DC: Music collaborations, creative design, & film are all on the horizon.

Aether - Milla Ann from Diego Chavez on Vimeo.

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, where can you find the best cup in your area?
DC: Coffee yes. Ruta Maya & Bubble Head in San Antonio, TX.

OA: What was the last great book you have read?
DC: More like fun reads...I'm reading "When You Are Engulfed In Flames" by David Sedaris and "No One Belongs Here More Than You" by Miranda July.

For more information on Diego Chavez please visit his website, and you can order his album on November 25th from Exponential Records.

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