Festival Fast Talk: Daltn

We continue our Bonnaroo coverage of Festival Fast Talks we did at the Red Bull Music Academy‘s Basscamp. The Basscamp was a Red Bull mini-school pulling 20 producers from the region, offering them studio time in rooms packed with gear and talks with Mannie Fresh and Thundercat, and encourging them to create and collaborate in their cooldown time from the festival.

Producers involved covered all types of varying electronic sound. One that I was able to talk to quickly was daltn, a house producer whose sound is developed from equal handfuls of thick grooves and relaxing vibes. He creates slow-build atmospheric heavy house tunes that are full of rich synth work and optimistic chord progressions that revolve around tightly locked grooves.

How did you start making music?

I initially started playing guitar in bands, and then I played the drums for a bit. I eventually gravitated towards DJing and producing music with drum machines and synthesizers.

How I started DJing is a funny story, actually; I used to have band practice in my old house in Miami that was empty since it got foreclosed. We were a rock band with a cellist that wanted to sound like Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Around then I started to delve deeper into dance music, and I decided to sell some gear and buy a handful of records and some turntables. I set them up in the space and started throwing parties after our practices, and I was having so much fun that eventually I dove in and sold all my guitar gear and bought records and a copy of Logic.

What equipment did you initially use?

I started off with a cheap electric guitar, an amp, and a tape recorder.

Has it changed over the years?

I now use Ableton with a Maschine, lots of samples, SH-101, Juno-106, Fender Strat, and a jazz bass. I tend to DJ with a mix of records, CDs, and Traktor.

What are your main influences?

Dance music of all sorts, ambient, hip-hop, and lots of other flavors. I try to keep an open mind to everything I listen to. I grew up going to clubs in Miami from a young age so I was exposed to a ton of great house and techno music. I was initially inspired to produce by listening to Boards of Canada, so I’ve always felt like my music falls somewhere between these two worlds since there’s an emphasis on space and texture while maintaining a heavy pulse in the cadence of the drums.

Could you walk through the production of Estuary ?

I started off with arranging a couple 909 patterns in Ableton, and I found a sample of a canoe rowing that had this percussive sound in there, so I added that into the rhythm. I played the synth part on the Arturia Minimoog VST and modulated the filter to give the track some movement. I arranged the track, then I grouped all the percussion sounds and ran it through a TAL Filter and played around with filtering the drums. I mixed it down and recorded it onto a 4-track cassette to give it some natural compression and recorded that back onto my computer.

How was your Bonnaroo?

AMAZING, what a wild experience. I feel so grateful to have been a part of that.

Favorite act to see?

James Blake and Elton John are tied for me. Both were so captivating.

What did you think of the RBMA compound?

Awesome, they did a beautiful job with the place. The studios were built well and the gear in there was on point. The tents were air conditioned!

Did you make music at the RBMA?

Of course! The vibes in the studios were so dope. We’d be going in and out of each other’s sessions and everybody was so inspiring and supportive. I had such a great time!

Did you collaborate with anyone?

Yeah, I made a track with funkss, and I also added bits and pieces to other tracks and absorbed a ton of knowledge about workflow in the studio.

Looking forward to following up on that project?

Totally! He’s actually going to be up here this week, and we’re going to have a studio session to finish that track.

Upcoming plans for your own music?

I’m working on starting a net label called Ocean Light Zone. I’m also producing music all the time and putting together a few parties.

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