His music winds its way out of the hills and beaches of California, but the sound he captures is nothing short of worldly. Combining earthly, atmospheric rhythms into lush, journy-esque melodies, Thriftworks‘ music is constantly evolving and taking new form. After a few fruitless attempts at snagging the attention of Jake Atlas, we were finally able to get a quick chat to see what’s happening.

Tucked into this conversation are an assortment of musical stylings from the man himself.

The Dankles: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us over here at The Dankles. How has the universe been treating you lately?

Thriftworks: Great. No dreaming and big dreams. Repetition, solitude, new freedom. All is well.

TD: Would you mind giving us a little background on yourself?

T: I was born in Tucson, AZ and raised in central Pennsylvania. Moved to California in August of 2008. I’ve been playing/making/obsessed with music since I was 7 or so.

TD: A few of us had the opportunity to attend Lunacy Festival in Santa Barbara, CA. Did you enjoy your time out there last month?

T: Definitely. For starters, I flew down in a 4 seater Cessna from the bay; never thought I’d do that. But the festival was fun; hanging with friends and a very receptive crowd that stuck around and let me flip through a lot of different feeling tracks.

TD: Over the course of couple years, you have truly developed your own niche in the bass music scene. Mind shedding a little light on what brought you into this realm in the first place?

T: Hmm… I came out to the Bay for Audio school, making beats was a passion beforehand and I thought I’d try to get into the studio/engineering side of things. Before I completed the program, I knew I didn’t want to work in a studio as an engineer, with limited (mostly technical) creative freedom.

Bass music was on a serious rise when I came West in 2008. Previously, I was making loungy hip-hop beats. When I heard this unavoidable wave of electronic and bass music, it quickly influenced me.

TD: Who are a few people/artists that influence you now? What about when you first started producing? 

T: Current inspirations: Insightful, Lapalux, Flying Lotus, Blap Deli, Eprom. Older inspiration: Prefuse 73, The Avalanches, RJD2, DJ Shadow.

TD: Just a few weeks ago, we saw the release of your most recent EP, Hydromancy. Can you tell us what went into crafting these new, beautifully textured tracks?

T: Erryday life. All I do is make music and play out these days. So that’s that. Some of those tracks where made months ago, while half of them where made in a week’s time just before the release.

TD: A few of us at The Dankles are quite fond of Die Gracefully, which features DH the Mythicalifornian. Can we expect more emcees present on upcoming projects?

T: Definitely, but I have a hard time finding good ones.

TD: People always wonder how you craft your music’s lush texture. Would you mind dropping a little knowledge on us? Or is this a well kept secret of yours? 

T: Everything is fair game. Percussion is big to me; I sample jinglers, janglers, rakitaki-tamborines, sconer bells, wooden things, lots of field recordings and found sound.

Oh, and buffy-stuffies if I can find them.

TD: When you’re just hanging around, taking it easy, who are a few producers someone might catch you bumping?

T: Balam Acab, BMB aka Spacekid, Flako, and Otis Redding’s newest beat tape.

TD: What about when you’re really trying to get things started?

T: James Blake or Kendrick Lamar.

TD: Aside from playing shows and producing music, I’m sure you have other hobbies. What pleasures do you find in life?

Coffee, bike rides, skiing, snowboarding, nature, messing with my roommates when they fall asleep and snore too loud in the living room, hanging with friends, the Missouri Lounge, skating, looking at jewelry that I can’t afford, flea markets, thrift shops, and buying cheap clothes.

Last time you were in the studio.

T: I’m in my studio as we speak. 

Last time you attended a show you didn’t play at.

T: I went to Secret Socitey, a show in San Fran and saw Free the Robots last week.

Last time in (what you consider) an exotic country.

T: I was in bumfuck, Montana recently.

Last time you weren’t satisfied with a set?

T: I served up a swirly bird shlorper of wackness in Arcata recently. And my computer died mid-set in Portland just before that, but everybody was way cool about it.

Last CD/vinyl you bought?

T: CD: Music 4 Yo Ear (Hair Port Jazz Mix #2). I bought it for $5 at a flea market. It’s some selectah’s burned CD with dudes like Dave Brubeck, Booker T, Lee Morgan and a bunch of jazz greats

Vinyl: I regularly scour Amoeba Record’s throwaway pile in downtown Berkeley. I get about 95% of my vinyl from there. Last record I picked up was some rap single I’d never heard of: Trilleville – “Watch Me Do This”.

Last ridiculous thing you stumbled across at a show/on tour?

T: The looming .5 mile radius cloud of DMT smoke at Symbiosis during a Tipper set.


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About Amelia Waters