Last week we brought you our first artist spotlight for this years Sonic Bloom with a little piece on west coast bass chef Dubvirus. This week we’re keeping the ball rolling by shining the spotlight on yet another talented producer hailing from the west coast, more specifically, California. David Starfire has truly been making the most of 2013 so far! With his most recent release ‘Ascend’ getting great reviews and his music being highly demanded by other outlets we’re sure he must truly be grateful. While we over here at The Dankles are familiar with Starfire and his sound we thought that might just not be the case for some of our viewers out there! With that being the case we got the chance to chat David up a bit to see what he has been up to and we even have a little stream of his latest release so you guys can get a better idea at some of the flavors you might expect to catch in a set from David Starfire.
The Dankles: How has the universe been treating you lately?
David Starfire: Things are really awesome and blessed to have this amazing life. I feel really good where I am at in life and really appreciate things and try not to take too much for granted.
TD: To get things rolling can you tell us a little about yourself to familiarize the unknowing viewer//new listeners we have out there?
DS: David Starfire, I’m originally from Dallas and spent a lot of time in New Orleans and currently live in Los Angeles and before that I was in San Francisco for 7 years. I travel back and fourth to Hawaii and San Francisco and I’m on the road with shows quite often.
TD: Being that you have had your hands in the scene for a good little while now how did you get entwined in the industry in the first place?
DS: Well the very beginning was probably playing shows at my high school in a rock band. Then went on to being signed to a label and touring when I was 19. I was in bands on and off for years with different deals and then finally went solo and created music on my own. I eventually signed with Six Degrees records as David Starfire and have 2 albums and 4 EP’s out.
TD: Having lived in the Bay Area where there’s a thriving bass scene as it is how did you begin diving in and getting involved with other producers already doing their thing?
DS: There are a lot of producers in the Bay Area and Los Angeles and there is a lot of respect when you reach a certain level. At some point, you want to work on music with people that approach things differently. Also sometimes things get boring working by yourself and you always learn something by working with other people.
TD: What influences drive you towards making the type of tunes you do to this day?
DS: I like to listen to whats current, different, and what moves me. I’m obviously a big fan of dance music and world music and always looking for something that I haven’t heard before.
TD: It has become pretty clear to us that you’re a fairly multifaceted and dip your toes in all kinds of styles, would you say you have a favorite when it comes down to producing?
DS: It’s really hard to say cause I like so many styles. Definitely mixing bass music with world instruments, mixing instruments and music from thousands of years ago with cutting edge technology. I really love the mix of the two and it can be challenging.
TD: It has come to my attention that you have little more going on musically than just your David Starfire project, would you mind touching on your other affiliations//projects?
DS: I have a band called “David Starfire Live Ensemble” which I have several musicians and dancers with me live, it’s an extension of hearing my music as it was recorded verses a DJ set. I also have a project with FreQ Nasty called the Dub Kirtan All Stars and we fuse bass-heavy underground dance music with Yoga Kirtan, the call and response chants of Indian devotional traditions. It is a live band/DJ collective that tears down the boundaries between bleeding edge technology and ancient spiritual techniques. I also work with iCatching on songs as well and she is a great female MC.
TD: What would you say is your goal ultimately when churning out these tracks and sharing them with the public?
DS: I feel that my music takes people on a journey and hope to help them find whatever it is they are looking for at that time. It could be to have a good dance, a good cry or just to escape life. I like to make people happy, to heal and rejoice and hope my music can be a catalyst for that.
TD: This has become a pretty standard question of ours, what kind of equipment do you sit down with to produce in the studio? What about in a live show setting?
DS: In the studio and for shows I use Abelton Live with either a APC-40 or Korg Nano controller. For some shows I use a Steinberger bass, MXR bass pre-amp, Roland Handsonic, Ludwig floor tom, SM 58 mic. In the studio I use a PC to produce and a MAC to DJ out live, kinda weird I know but there are lots of FX that are PC only.
TD: So we just recently saw your new album, ‘Ascend’ on Six Degrees Records, anything you’d like to touch on that we will find in there?
DS: Ascend is my second full length album with Six Degrees records (I had 4 EP’s too) and has an eclectic mix of Electronic Dance Music, tribal rhythms, world instruments and sounds great on the dance floor or rockin to it in your car or earbuds. I wanted to collaborate with several musicians that I looked up to, artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Cheb i Sabbah, Natacha Atlas and Desert Dwellers. I wanted to take the listener on a journey across the world with instruments from across the globe mixed with west coast bass dance music.
TD: Over the past few months that the album has seen the public eye you have been getting a lot of love it seems; are you excited to see how well the masses have accepted ‘Ascend’?
DS: Yea I’ve been very pleased with the feedback and great press that it has received. There was a review on iTunes and that helped it to reach # 7 on the iTunes world chart. There was also a interview on Vibe as well as other great magazines and blogs. There have been great results at radio and was the most added album on CMJ and RPM charts the week of release. So overall the label and I are pleased, but still have lots of work to do with supporting the record by constantly touring.
TD: My ears took to noticing you throw in flares of a many different styles throughout the entire album, is that something you sought to do so every listener could find a little something that tickled their fancy?
DS: I really love all different styles and don’t like to be put into a box like oh he’s a “dubstep guy” or he is a “glitch hop producer” etc… I think that that can be great for some people, but I like quite a few genres, styles and tempos. I just start writing a song on piano or guitar and then figure out what style I want to produce it. In some ways I think it is a good thing, but can be tricky trying to keep one vibe during a DJ set with different tempos and stlyes. Most DJ’s have one or two styles/tempos during a DJ set, but sometimes I will have 5!
TD: With Spring quickly approaching and summer looming on the horizon what are you plans for the upcoming months?
DS: Lots of touring with both my projects and the Dub Kirtan All Stars. I’m also working on new music and remixes and want to finish an album by the end of the year.
TD: We’re always a little curious, when you’re not locked up in the studio producing what are some other pleasures you find in life?
DS: Well there isn’t much time for much else to be honest. I’m mostly hanging out with my girlfriend, family, friends, and enjoy watching documentary movies and being on the beach.
TD: If you had to pick one album to start your day with everyday for the rest of lets say the year, what album would that be?
DS: Led Zeppelin 4, I’ve heard it a million times and still get goose bumps.
TD: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, any last words for those people out?
DS: I want to thank you and for all my fans supporting me!
Last time you were in the studio:
Last time you attended a show you didn’t play at:
Gaudi in Los Angeles
Last time eating something weird:
Depends on what you consider weird. Fried Crickets in NYC 2 years ago?
Last CD/vinyl you bought:
Monoroe institute, Alpha waves Binaural meditative CD
Last track you listened to:
Well that would probably be a new song that I’m working on. Besides my own songs, I was listening to Sigur Ros.
Last time you were forced into something:
A seat on the plane sandwiched between two very large people!
Last impressive music video you watched:
‘Harlem Shake’ compilation video on YouTube