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damon wild

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New York has been called anything from the Big Apple to a big jungle. To paraphrase Travis Bickle's words in Scorcese's 'Taxi Driver', it's a place where "all the animals come out at night - buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, spooks . . .". Once upon a time this city's Times Square was one of the world's most notorious red light districts, while these days it's become one of the world's most concentrated amusement arcades. It's the place where the turn of the millennium is celebrated in the film 'Strange Days', and it's the town Liza Minelli sang about in a particular film named after this particular urban metropolis; more importantly, it was on these streets that 'Taxi Driver Confessions' was filmed. . .

new_york_big.jpg

interview whacked together by andrez in 1997

So what about techno in New York City?

Traditionally when it came to American techno or house music most minds turned instinctively to Chicago and Detroit. In recent years there's been a push towards the Los Angeles and San Francisco scenes as well as the midwest production line of Freddie Fresh, Woody McBride and their ilk. But over in the USA's biggest city there's continued to exist a healthy underground of techno producers best represented by Joey Beltram, Lenny Dee and Rob Gee in the early days and more recently by Beltram, Steve Stoll and Damon Wild. When you take into account all of these guys and their brethren in the Motor City and the Windy City, it would be interesting to see whether one of the protagonists believes there's a particular American style to electronic dance music as opposed to its European and Australian equivalents. "Well, I think it's based on the culture we live in," Damon assesses, "which is quite different from the culture you have in Australia or what exists in Germany or England. The music that we make is therefore
a reflection of the circumstances and the environment we live in. In a lot of ways it's a question of perspective and how that situation triggers your mood or the emotions you feel when you approach making music."

Here he pauses to reflect further on the matter. "When I make music I go by the mood I'm in, but I would say that sometimes I'm into harder sounds, sometimes house; I'm into the whole broad spectrum. Most of the music I make would be considered a bit dark, and very trippy; I like to lead people away from the reality of things."

Damon Wild's own journey into the electronic music sphere of influence started in about 1991. "I always loved music since I was a child and I enjoyed playing around with sound," he declares in one very enigmatic albeit brief summary of his career to date.

Over the years since Wild has produced music under the alter egos of Equinox, Vortex and Toxic Too, but here in Australia he's probably best known for his work in conjunction with Tim Taylor of Planet Of Drums and Missile Records notoriety. Apart from their work as Pump Panel - think of 'Ego Acid' - the duo produced the classic track 'Bang The Acid' (Synewave/Kickin' Records) as well as 'Afghan Acid' under the alias of The Rising Sons for Wild's Experimental imprint that later popped up on Force Inc's 'Post Acid Crash 3' compilation alongside Mike Ink, Jammin' Unit, Biochip C and Thomas Heckmann. It's a union that goes right back. "Yeah, we did some earlier productions together and in fact we started up Experimental Records here in New York before Synewave came about. Actually, it's hard to keep track of all the things we've done together over the years!"

The first and foremost preoccupation in Damon Wild's scheme of things is his label Synewave, although he has other diversions as well. "I also run Geometric, which is a subdivision of Synewave, and we're about to start up a new label called Déjà Vu. It's hard for me to describe the differences between the labels in words; the answer would be in terms of the music itself."

When Damon Wild comes out to Australia this month it's for his skills behind the decks, and his record box contains a broad spectrum of vinyl goodies. "I really like this new Claude Young record that's come out from Elypsia in Belgium," he tells me down the line from New York, "and there's also a new white-label out through Internal which is from Cisco Ferreira of The Advent. I really like the Jeff Mills Purpose Maker record. I'm really quite into what's coming out of Detroit by people like Jay Denham and Robert Hood, but then again I play a lot of American music from all different styles, and I play a bit of older electro stuff as well. I can't mention it all, so it's a bit unfair of me to mention particular producers," he asserts.

While not making the biggest inroads into the American scene, Wild has heard of some of the sounds being created Downunder. "I remember one label from a couple of years ago - I think it was Juice - and that was producing some interesting records, and I've heard of Smelly Records but I don't have any of their music. I'm looking forward to checking it out when I get down there."

drumzilla.jpg

Here I might include a picture of the interviewee...
nope.