QA : GDL

GDL

 

 

1. Who are you?

Garret Littler, 22, London. Born in Arlington, VA to Canadian parents.

2. What do you do?

Recent graduate, studied Art History in Canada; now I live in London where I make music and write and read while also I suppose trying to find employment.

3. Where do you often create/produce?

Almost always in my bedroom, on my bed. By far the most natural sot for me.

4. When?

When I’m beckoned to; when I need to express or grapple with my emotions. Mostly during the nighttime but I have no rules as to when.

5. Why do you play music?

There is No Better Way for me to express myself, nor any better therapy.

I function more clearly in terms of feeling than thinking; so writing, while I have a very strong understanding and admiration of it, and do enjoy it, can be difficult to complete. Writing is pure thought. Unless there is something truly worthwhile or needed to be said I feel reticent to write. Too many things are said. With music the frequencies displace my thoughts; my feelings, not thoughts, are what I work with and attempt to capture.

Additionally I make music in order to have new music to listen to, also for therapy. I drifted away from music consumption when I became focused on music production; I wanted to make my own music library, something uniquely mine — a very private and closed-off thing to do I know, but also the most natural thing for me. I figured that there would always be time to be not-closed-off, to be a more engaged member of society, and only a finite amount of time, by circumstance of living alone at university with lots of free time, to live deeply in my own reality tunnel making art, both as a means for self-discovery and refinement, as well as a coping mechanism for either anxiety towards publicness or aversion to society.

6. When did you start making music?

By 2012 when I was 18, I made the commitment to take it more seriously: I purchased an Akai MPK midi keyboard. Was not the wisest purchase in hindsight, aside from it being there to help me explore and experiment with Logic 9. They don’t really generate sounds, playing only what the software provides; it seemed too artificial to me, like I were merely pretending to play a real synth. You gotta have the real thing, or find your own thing elsewhere.

By 2014 I was making a lot of music and finding sounds and approaches that I felt inwardly confident about.

7. Which track defines you the most?

I would say a track I made in February, the Ann Beattie referencing “Falling in Place.” Its haunting flute sample, from a track by the admirable Kenny Graham (“the Real Kenny G,” as he is known in my household), floats so nicely over the menacing percussion. It is exactly as it should be; everything fallen naturally in the right place.

8. How would you describe your own music?

Personal, uncompromising, post-industrial punk techno. I like working within the techno template due to its meditative repetition and experimental nature, but have little interest in dance floors or formulas of any kind. Improvisational, intuitive, inward.

9. Any track of the moment?

Knowledge-Centry has been a favourite ever since I heard it late September… blissful blissful.

10. What influences your work?

There’s a quality that I can’t quite place — some medley of pure honesty, unhinged curiosity and complete liberation — found in certain philosophical artists like William Blake, Aldous Huxley, DH Lawrence, Carl Jung, and in musical artists like Mission Papua Holland, Adrian Orange, and, hell, Lil Ugly Mane, that I am always searching for in art and striving for in my own life and art. It is some sort of Clear Light or clarity unconcerned with externalities, concerned rather only with honest intentions to find Truth in Life. Sound-wise, I am endlessly interested in early experimental DIY/cassette electronic music, and always attempt to capture their sense of inquisitive exploration and innocent experimentation, not to mention the countercultural ethos seemingly shared by most all of them. There was an especially anarchic and liberated cassette culture, I’ve found, in 1980s Netherlands and Germany; almost all the Great Treasures I’ve unearthed from that era have been from those countries. For modern musicians Karenn and Skander are most influential currently.

11. What’s your academic background? Are you an autodidact? !

Went to a nice private school until high school, then drifted through a dreadful two years at a Catholic school before transferring to my local public school for the final two years of high school; then I went to Queen’s University in Canada, graduating on time.

12. Favorite designer ?

Mr J.Crew.

13. Favorite book?

Nonfiction: Huxley’s Doors of Perception; Fiction: Robert Anton Wilson’s The Illuminatus.  One mind-expanding psychedelic journey, one outrageous conspiracy theory satirical epic. Favourite book I’ve yet to read: DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Definitely an Inspirational plot line for me.

14. Favorite classic movie?

Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon and Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev. Nothing better than devoted and thought-provoking period pieces.

15. Favorite music label?

Current: Work the Long Nights, Endangered Species, cuss-fetish. Old: IRRE Tapes.  And my own Pater Noster LTD, of course.

16. Your dream collaboration?

I dream to have a project with another person in which we share chemistry similarly to Jasper Franken and Mark van Gelder of Mission Papua Holland, pure improvised synchronic creativity. Skander would be interesting to work with, I admire everything about his approach.

17. Are you analog or digital?

For music production, I am completely digital. Really only because I have no analog instruments. But I like the convenience, reliability and potentiality of working digitally. Digital has endless possibilities, which can be overwhelming if overthought, but a treasure trove if not.

For music consumption, they must be equally embraced: while in theory I prefer analog and its physicalness, digital music is far superior spatially, economically and reproducibly. I care little about analog sound quality, really. It is ‘nice’ I suppose, but it’s the sounds being heard that I care about, not how the sounds are being transmitted; the difference is unimportant, so long as I am able to hear what I wish to hear. Of course it is ideal to have things in their highest quality, but ultimately it is superfluous.

In a purely musical sense the convenience and possibility of digital files far surpasses the tactility and warmness of analog. I admire analog, but almost always elect to listen to music digitally. That said, they are both best taken together.

18. Which soft wares/tools/ instruments do you use/play? !

For composing and sequencing I always use Logic 9. I mostly work from samples, either my own recording or from another track.
When I do use Logic synths I make it a priority to have it sound nothing at all like it did originally. Lots of filters, especially distortion and flanger and a maybe lil more distortion. I enjoy improvising on the piano and guitar, or just anything that exudes sonic vibrations, and sampling clips from those.

19. Describe your creative process?

Generally aided by cannabis, I like to start with a loop, either of drums, a sample or a synth line, in order to fix my mind only on the sounds and not on external thoughts. Rhythms are particularly effective at this, especially a hypnotising repeating kick drum.

My process is driven entirely by my intuition so, reacting to the looped sounds playing through my headphones and the feelings evoked from it, I begin to add other elements, searching leisurely for complimentary sounds. Sometimes the feeling beckons me to stop and step away from the project until I’m ready to resume; other times a track’s elements seamlessly fall in place right away.

20. When are you the most prolific (creatively)?

I think when I am able to balance sufficient social/romantic time with extended periods of alone time. Working from either of these wrings out strong emotions, but together they beckon me.

21. Any favorite record stores ?

Brian’s Record Option in Kingston, Ontario is an all-time favourite. The dustiest, most overwhelming record shop. Pretty strong selection; I built up a pretty solid jazz collection from there. But it’s a thrill to visit. There are far too many records for the size of the shop.

22. What’s your life philosophy? (Optimistic/pessimistic)

Lifelong Pursuit of Knowledge and Self-Perfection. I try to do everything with the most honest and well-meant intentions as possible. Take control of everything in your agency and don’t bother with trivialities. Negativity can often be evaded simply by not being affected by it, by turning your attention elsewhere. I’m naturally optimistic, or just agnostic.

23. Do you have a healthy lifestyle?
I try to live as healthily as possible. Between regular exercise and high quality food intake, I treat my body with great care; what you put into yourself and how you treat your physical body greatly affects how you feel. A smoothly operating body maximises one’s ability to feel positively.

24. How do you manage your time effectively? (Job/hobby) now ?

I’ve had the freedom to live leisurely for a rather long time, so I haven’t time-managed very much for a while. But I do try to set time aside each day for exercising, outdoors time, reading, and music listening/making.

25. Any secret skills?

I think I am, or at least am becoming, a pretty good cook. I also think I write ok poetry.

26. Any future plans?

Will live in London hopefully until September 2017 or so, where I will keep doing music things probably in a mostly private manner. Subsequent moves will depend on how various aspects of my life, from my record label and music producing to whatever work I find, progress, and, I guess too, what the state of the world is like by then. Fingers crossed for at once a great financial meltdown that destroys the current economic system and the development of a Great Benevolent Artificial Intelligence which eliminates the need for humans to do menial work, instead allowing them to seek enlightenment, along the lines of Huxley’s Pala civilisation in Island. Graduate school is a possibility .. .. .. But maybe I will just relocate to a remote tropical island or idyllic farm and live quietly ever after.

27. What’s your life motto?

Try to treat things with either love or indifference.  Use art to expunge your bad thoughts and feelings so that once removed from the art either being made or viewed you are then able live freely from those bad thoughts.

28. Any “mot de la fin”?!

‘The soul of sweet delight can never be defil’d.’

‘Be who you are and be that well’.

GDL’s label >

GDL’s podcast for bizaarbazaar

 

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