Published Mar 11, 2008Mathematicians get all the girls. If theyre not solving quadratic equations theyre moving in on the slackers territory, stealing music away from those born without an I.Q. of 200. Just look at Dan Snaith. And now Joachim Dyrdahl, better known as diskJokke, who also adds classically trained violinist to his résumé, another pocket-protected electronics wiz making a case for kids to stay in school. Unlike Snaiths poly-rhythmic psych pop in Caribou, this Norwegian digs deep into his crates for never-ending inspiration, retrieving everything from sandy Balearic dream pop, space disco and dub to house (Italo and Chicago), techno (Berlin and Detroit) and whatever else he can uncover. Its well rounded and adventurous, however, Dyrdahl isnt some overexcited kid cashing in all of his chips at once. Hes a sophisticated producer obsessed with micromanaging the many different facets. Thanks to such control theres total cohesion to his debut, Staying In, which finds an abundance of synths filtered through dub-y and acidic channels, ringing percussion mingling with disco bass lines and stabs of techno pulsating with euphoric beach-front house, captured to perfection in the LFO-meets-Studio blissnfreak-out of "The Dinner That Never Happened. Its no wonder hes a resident at famed Oslo night "Sunkissed the man has imagined the very feeling of getting a supernova smacker on the lips.
Youre a mathematician. Does it come into play when it comes to making music?
Hate to disappoint you but there is no link whatsoever between the music I make and my education. I study analysis, more specifically differential equations thats equations that describe physical phenomenon in space and time. Not very spiritual.
How did you get introduced to making music? Did your violin prowess have any effect on making electronic music?
I guess you could say it has, the structure in my works are very much similar to the one in romantic pieces. This was not a conscious choice for me, just something I discovered later. However, I started making music because I wanted to get more hands on control on my DJ sets, this was only two and a half years ago, my friend had a small studio with Cubase and a MIDI-keyboard - up until that I thought it to be- well, me having no experience with guitars, drums, keyboards and so on - very difficult and time-consuming to just get started. I sat and watched him for a few weeks and then started making edits to include in my DJ sets. After a while I started understanding how to make things sound the way I wanted to, so I started producing own tracks.
How much of Staying In is organic instrumentation compared to electronic programming?
I would say about 30/70 organic to electronic programming. The album was completed about a month before I moved into a new and much bigger studio with good recording possibilities. So the stuff I make now is definitely more organic.
Were you looking to make such a diverse record?
My ideas are always melodic at first, so the tracks on the album started out as synth themes. They were made between the summer of 2006 and the summer of 2007, so I guess the diversity you hear is due to the things happening in my life during that year. Meaning it just came out that way.
I read that you're doing some shows with a band. How did you move your sound from studio to stage?
I figured since I was going to do live performances on stage, I wanted to make my music fun to watch. So I needed to expand, and spent a lot of time thinking about what would be the ideal ensemble - and it needed to be mobile. I landed on a four person band, with a guitarist, bass player and a percussionist. I found some great people, and spent a lot of time with each of them separately finding sounds and efx on the instruments that would not only assimilate the sounds on the album but also add something extra to the full mix. Then when we finally started rehearsing as a band we only had to practice a few times before the set was in our fingertips.
You're being lumped into the cosmic disco scene with people like Lindstrom, Prins Thomas, Freak Electrique, I-F, Todd Terje, and the Milky comps on Lo. How did you find your sound? Did you listen to a lot of Italo disco and older spacey disco sorts? And do you embrace being part of said scene?
I just love music that is epic, fun and totally unpredictable, so a lot of the older spacey disco stuff as you call it really makes my day. But the thing about our scene is that it is open to any kind of good music, in our sets we play everything from Fleetwood Mac or Talking Heads to classic Salsoul stuff, and people get it. It's a love for all sorts of music, I guess that's why I ended up here. The artists I'm being compared to are people I've admired for years, so what's not to like?
While being associated with other artists, I must say, you really keep it fresh and diverse on Staying In. We you looking to make a diverse record or did it just come out that way?
My ideas are always melodic at first, so the tracks on the album always started out as synth themes. They were made between the summer of 2006 and the summer of 2007 so I guess the diversity you hear is due to the things happening in my life during that year. meaning, it just came out that way.
There are a lot of artists coming out of Oslo these days. Is the scene as vibrant to you as it seems to outsiders?
I would have to say yes, I feel its a really good thing going on right now for a lot of people in our different scenes of electronic music. I'm really impressed by the high level of quality on productions coming out, in everything from jazz to techno. People should check out bands like 120 Days and the National Bank. There's a lot more to the Oslo scene than us disco lads. Also, there are some good steady clubs and club nights, but it's not a national movement, if that's what you mean. :)
Tell me a little bit about Sunkissed. What kind of goals do you have for the night? You take it outside of Oslo, but have you, would you bring it over to North America?
Sunkissed is a monthly party at Fabrikken in Oslo, it is the biggest club night in Oslo and feature artists like Ricardo Villalobos, Pete Herbert, M.A.N.D.Y., Richie Hawtin, Mock & Toof and so on. However, Sunkissed is the baby of Olanskii and G-Ha; I am only resident DJ. I don't think there are any current plans about taking it to the States, but everything is possible. :)
I loved your remixes for Spektrum, Lindstrom and Bloc Party. What do you try and bring to a remix to give it your sound? Is that something you're interested in doing regularly? Are there any you're currently working on or having coming up?
Thanks! My remixes are always very much influenced by the original track and I usually get the general idea of what my remix is going to be like in the first minute of hearing it. Remix work is a lot of fun, so I will keep doing it while still working on tracks for a new album on Smalltown Supersound. I just finished remixes of norwegian Harrys Gym and CC (on my MySpace page), and in the next weeks I will do remix work for Lykke Li, the National Bank and Ost&Kjex, should all be great fun! (Smalltown Supersound)