Brooklyn-based Octo Octa aka Michael Morrison has given Pulse an exclusive free download. Having released on 100% Silk and with several projects in the pipeline, Ellie Hewitt talks to him about Brooklyn, bloodsuckers and mega mixes as he delivers an exclusive track for Pulse which you can download from here.
First of all can you tell us about the exclusive download you've done for Pulse? It’s a song I actually forgot about awhile back and just recently found. I did a render of it and then dropped it into my live set and beefed it up with some live drums I use. It feels far more upbeat and happy than some things I’ve been working on recently, but still bumping. The synth sound is inspired by an old Chris Clark song (I forget the name)
What's the meaning behind the name Octo Octa? Is 8 your lucky number?It’s a shortening of an old online handle I used to use. When I started using that name in college I was studying Linguistics and really liked the look of two alternate prefix spellings. I guess it was just an aesthetic thing.
How did the LA Vampires project start up and what plans do you have for it? The LA Vampires project came from Amanda Brown (who runs 100% Silk) just asking if we wanted to do collaboration together. Each of her releases has been with a different producer and so the latest one has been with me. I sent her a handful of tracks figuring she’d pick a couple and instead she wanted to use all of them. There should be one more track I did for her on the next release as well.
Any advice on avoiding bloodsuckers in the music industry? I’m not sure about that. I haven’t really had too many problems with people or promoters. I guess the best advice is to count your money as soon as they give it to you. It’s shitty to get shorted, but easier to deal with if you confront them about it right then and there.
Having released on 100% Silk, do you have any plans to start your own label? I’ve always wanted to have my own label, but money has always been an issue for me, also time. Time is still hard to come by. I’m sure there’s tons of amazing stuff out there that needs to be heard and released, but I don’t think I’m the one to do it, at least not right now. Maybe in a few years.
You're Brooklyn based, how have your surroundings influenced your music so far? I guess in sadness and struggle. This place is pretty amazing, but when a lot of it is out of your reach it’s hard to really appreciate it. And the city can get you down for sure from time to time. But there are a lot of fantastic parties being thrown here and a bunch of great soundsystems which is a huge improvement on hearing my music in a larger setting, than say a bar in New Hampshire (where I lived before moving).
What are your favourite haunts in Brooklyn? Subway Bar, Barcade, The Thing, Key Foods, 285 Kent. Mostly my favorite thing about Brooklyn is the streets, just walking and listening to music, listening to draft songs. It’s great to see how the neighborhoods change block to block.
Was creating music always your dream goal or did you want to be anything else growing up? I’ve always loved making music and playing shows, but I never ever thought that I could make it my job. I guess my dream goal growing up was to be doing something creative with my life, hopefully something I could have as a job.
On your website you have two free mixes to download. What are the positives and negatives for you about giving away free music? The positive thing about free music is that the music can be more easily consumed. More people are going to download a free track rather than spend 99 cents in an online store to get it. And I feel that most people still pirate music more than going out and buying a physical copy of something. I barely make money on the online tracks I have and I feel that sometimes it might be easier just to give them away. But I feel that free music will not get as much attention as music you would purchase. I definitely care more about a record I buy physically or online more than something I grabbed for free. My favorite compromise between the two is mixes. Most of the mixes I have done for websites or put on bandcamp have all been mixes of original music. It’s a great way to play out tracks I’m working on and hopefully get someone interested in a future release based on that mix. I also just like mixes a lot, It’s probably what I listen to more than individual tracks or albums.
They are both entitled 'Mega' (2011 and 2010 respectively, for those that haven't listened yet), what's mega about them?They’re meant to be “mega”-mixes of stuff I had been working on that year. So hopefully sometime this year I’ll do a mega mix for 2012 that will consist of tracks I have done this year that didn’t make it to an EP or the LP I’m working on, or maybe some smaller loops that I love, but don’t work well as full 5-10 minute songs.
Which producers and musicians did you listen to growing up that have significantly contributed to the music you produce now? I’ve been all over the map with things that have influenced me. I used to only listen to midi files of video game music (Earthbound / Mother 2 for SNES is really important to me) and a lot of jazz, specifically John Coltrane. Then as I got into electronic music Warp Records became a really special thing to me. Boards of Canada and Squarepusher are still two of my favorite things. Plus I was listening to tons of Drum n’ Bass, Jungle, and Dub. Along with hip hop producers like J Dilla and Madlib (and rappers like DMX). Then a few years ago I finally came to loving House music and started to fall in love with a 4/4 beat (and starting to understand and feel basic grooves). I guess above everything is my love to dance. Dancing is so so important to me and anything that can move me I’m slowly absorbing and working into my productions. Now I’m on a disco, soul, and funk kick. I feel like I still have mountains of music to absorb and appreciate! Everything that gives me a head-rush feels like it’s significantly contributed.