November 26, 2009
This week we welcome Divasonic to the SendMe Stage. She’s an accomplished musician and producer, as comfortable behind her computer as she is on stage or in studio. With stunning lyrics and inspired compilations, her unique sound has a little something everyone will enjoy.
1. Congratulations on the release of Digital Bliss Vol. 2. Has the compilation been well received?
Thank You. This is the second collaboration between my company, Digital Bliss Productions, and Celeste Lear’s Boutique Electronique Records and it’s been received well by the chill and downtempo community at large. We are working to connect the growing number of artists working in the genre of downtempo, chill and the variety of cutting edge electronic music forms and starting to get attention for our work, not only by the music industry community that surrounds this music, but by our growing fan base. When we work as a movement or community of music, rather than an individual artist, everyone benefits.
We have a wide range of women producers and vocalists on this disc. I think listeners appreciate our collective of vocal-centric tracks. There are many downtempo radio shows, compilations and podcasts that gravitate more towards instrumental tracks, but this compilation gives more attention to vocalists over cutting edge music programming and arranging. There aren’t many compilations that showcase the production talents of women, so we are proud to be contributing to this growing demographic.
2. Do you think women need an increased presence in the electronic music scene?
Yes, especially women producers. There’s an increasing number of talented ladies on the scene right now, engineering their own albums in their project studios, so as time goes on I think the women producer will start being the norm rather then the exception. There are plenty of women DJs who are dominating the music scene and also starting to make the transition to producer. Being a recording engineer and music producer requires a wide range of musical AND technical know how. Since project studios are getting cheaper to set up (everything is basically contained inside a computer now), I already see more ladies getting into the mix using everything from Garageband to Reason to ProTools to Logic.
There are many avenues for women to populate in electronic music, from performing live with a laptop like I do to sound designing to video game audio to remixing other artists, and also in audio education. There’s lots of room to grow.
3. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Some of my biggest musical influences now come from indie artists on the cutting edge of electronic music as well as my producer friends in the community. The San Francisco Bay Area is an incredible breeding ground for technology and new music. Having a community of producers, musicians and tech enthusiasts allows me to get direct feedback about projects I’m working on as well as advice on technical matters. I learn a lot from watching and listening to other producers. The underground production community is a melting pot of ideas, styles and possibilities. I think that’s what keeps me going – the endless chase of the knowledge and practice of making music.
My musical heros include Bjork, Depeche Mode, Imogen Heap, Madonna, and Tori Amos in the superstar realm, but I have so many influences from many genres. Orbital and Lamb are two artists that influenced me to experiment with electronic music in terms of songwriting and sound design early in my production process. I love ethereal vocals juxtaposed against fast, skittering beats heard a lot in Lamb and Bjork tracks. I studied classical piano through college and was heavily into the Romantic composers like Chopin, Brahms and Sibelius and also the impressionistic music of Debussy. I’m getting into Jazz more and more and frequent Yoshi’s jazz clubs in Oakland and San Francisco to inspire my flute solos.
4. Has having a home studio shaped your sound or changed your creative process at all?
My home recording studio has absolutely been vital to shaping my sound. I’m able to create on my own time and when I feel inspired. In fact, it’s always been that way since I started my first track 10 years ago. Either I work at home, or I work in someone else’s more pimped out studio if they have some cool audio toy I want use or working on a co-production. It’s easy for another producer to shoot over a track via email and for me to record ideas and zip it back…saves gas and keeps things moving!
Of course, I’m not opposed to working in a big studio or using a professional studio with more sonic toys, plug-ins, pre-amps and attentive engineers. It’s just that most of my songwriting is very raw and needs to begin from place of calm and serenity. You can’t always fit creativity into a 6 hour paid and planned recording session! It’s fun to go into a studio with a band with songs ready to go and use those resources, but most of time, I’m writing with my computer and the gazillion sounds and software synths I have at my deposal. There’s nothing like working on your own computer. It’s like driving own you car…driving someone else’s car takes a moment to get used to because all the controls are in different places.
5. Divasonic has a significant web presence. How has your use of social networks influenced your relationship with fans?
If you go to my website right now, you’ll notice there’s a bunch of social networking links, store links and music sites. It’s the best way to show fans where to interact with me right now since I’m in between records. The variety of music sites have exploded over the past few years and I find myself spending more time updating information on Reverbnation, interacting with fans in all sites and sending out event invites through facebook and new sites like ArtistData. Unless I have a brand new album to promote, I think working the sites where people are regularly at is the best way to gain new fans and promote music. I have direct buy links to Itunes, Amazon and the indie site, Bandcamp. Twitter is a great way to pick up new fans and music industry contacts. Social networking sites are getting better and it’s crucial for indie artists to be on them. I think fans want new information all the time, so status updates and blogs provide that gratification more then the traditional artist websites.
6. You are proficient on a number of instruments. How were you introduced to music and when did you know it would be your thing?
I first took dance lessons and then asked my parents for piano lessons around 7 years old. It’s not something they pushed me into at all, so I was drawn to music from a very early age. In fifth grade, I started the flute and did all the traditional school band stuff and continued classical studies through music school at DePauw University, but I didn’t open up creatively until I moved out to San Francisco and enrolled in Ex’pression College for the Digital Arts. When I first attended audio production school, I wasn’t committed to being an artist or producer until I went through the program and saw what was possible and then I was hooked.
7. Of all the instruments you play, what are you most likely to pick up just for fun, with no one else around?
I think it depends what kind of mood I’m in. I sit at the piano a lot and free jam, finding chord progressions and melodies. I also love playing flute along with my favorite tracks, it’s fun and great practice. I’m borrowing a Rhodes Mark II from a friend and jamming on that – especially Radiohead songs. But, the real thing I do when no one else is around…experimental dance moves.
8. What would you like to accomplish with your music?
The main thing is to continue playing and recording. I hope the success, touring and any recognition comes from the fact that people see I’m passionate about my art and have a authentic connection to what I create in the studio and on stage. I’ve established a unique sound and voice already, but in my mind and heart, I know I have infinite work ahead of me in terms of refining and developing it.
9. What should people expect from a Divasonic live show?
Right now, I perform with my laptop running Ableton Live, which plays my tracks and loops. I play keys, flute, sing and trigger effects throughout the set and often have a configuration of live musicians play with me. After performing by myself or in a electronic duo for a few years, I put together a band starting in 2007 that grew to about 8 members at one point including drums, bass, cello, 2 vocalist, a sax/flute player and percussionist. It was a great experiment for that time, but now I’m taking a more stripped down approach, using a bass player and percussionist only, a vocalist on select tracks or just performing solo entirely. I put a lot of effort into programming the backing music and I want people to hear that. When I’m able to, I love working with Video Artists (VJs) and getting into lighting effects so it just depends on the show and venue.
10. Where should people go for info about where to see Divasonic live?
You can visit my page on Reverbnation or on My Space for a list of shows. There are some live performance videos up on You Tube with the band and acoustic in the studio as well.
Vocals, flute, piano, production…Divasonic is one talented lady. Check out her music at the links above or follow her on Twitter — we are!
Posted by A. Sogal at 6:26 am