Below is the full transcript of my interview with Psydub Legend, David Starfire.
Graham Berry at Tixr (Tixr): I noticed that you’re releasing the new “Awakening” album for free for the first three weeks on your new label, Amrita. Your albums are so complex and when you hear the tracks it’s clear a lot goes into your productions – why release it for free?
David Starfire (Starfire): I decided to released the album for free, for a limited time as a gift to my fans. They have been with me for quite some time and I wanted to give back because they have been so supportive. It’s also the first release on my new label and wanted to commemorate that as well. I worked very hard on the album, almost a year on and off, so was a hard decision but feels good. Fans can still donate since it’s on Bandcamp, and quite a bit of them have.
Tixr: I’d really like to ask about the artwork on the new album. It’s amazing! Who does the art work for your albums and how do you go about the concept design with the artist?
Starfire: Shawn Hocking from the Big Island of Hawaii created the covers for “Awakening” and “Ascend remixes”. My other covers and website was created by Sank Sury. I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by amazing artists!
Tixr: I’m really interested in the label name you chose, Amrita. Can you say a bit about why you chose that name for the label and what it means to you personally?
Starfire: Amrita has a lot of unique meanings to different cultures. For me it’s a metaphor for the release of music to the masses. Amrita, in some traditions, is a liquid that the gods would drink and become immortal. So for my label, it’s as if the nectar is the music and will make you immortal if you listen to it! That is the idea, but obviously not literally.
Tixr: Your fusion style incorporates a lot of combinations of electronic influences with world music from Africa, India, and the Middle East. How did you go about pairing up such sounds to make your album? Tell us about that spark that happens when you hear one of these obscure instruments (like a didgeridoo, oud or dulcimer) and decide to include it on a track.
Starfire: I’ve been producing world music for some time now and wanted to experiment with different combinations within each song. For example, the song Daksha features the amazing didgeridoo player from Australia, Ganga Giri. It also has tabla, from India, darbuka from Turkey and Kora from West Africa. Where as before I might use only instruments from India within one song to represent that culture. I produce my songs differently so sometimes I will have an instrument that I’ve recorded and will build a song around that. Other times I will have a song and have the artist record to the song etc… I am fortunate to have lots of source material from people that I have recorded over the years of some of my favorite world instruments. I am always looking for talented people and some have found me by reaching out on facebook.
Tixr: You’ve travelled all over the world. What do you think traveling has done to shape your personal producing style and what advice would you give to other aspiring artists or producers?
Starfire: Traveling gives you a different perspective on the world and music. I’ve heard music that I never knew existed and have heard amazing exotic instruments. I like to incorporate indigenous instrumentation cause I feel it is a part of our core existence. Also, if we don’t share music and instruments from around the world, I feel it may be lost and the only music left will be pop music.
Tixr: I’m sure a lot of your fans are excited to hear the new tracks from Awakening live. Are there any festivals or shows you have coming up that we can look forward to seeing you at? Any you’d like to play soon?
Stafire: I’ve already performed at quite a few festivals this year already and coming up is LunarBurn, BassBoat, Portal Music Fest and others. I’d love to play Glastonbury and Outlook festival in Europe, the lineup for those are amazing!
Tixr: I hear you’re a dad now. They say being a parent causes people to think about everything differently. Do you think this album was influenced at all by Baby Starfire? (alternatively: How do you think being a dad makes you think about music production or your career differently?)
Starfire: Being a parent does change you in very deep ways. Life becomes very real and I feel I understand myself as well as other people better. Now that I’m a father I’m more focused and I don’t take time for granted. I felt this album was kinda a rebirth and somewhat going back to my older albums, but with a different approach. So in a way I was influenced by this beautiful transition in my life and it feels incredible. There’s a fine balance and it’s sometimes challenging, but it feels good to strive to be the best you can be.
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