Plural’s week on Local Autonomy ends with an exclusive interview that delves into his history as a DJ, how he got his start, and some great insights about the importance of learning the craft of DJ’ing before one starts playing out live. These are essential lessons from the older generation of DJs in our scene that could really benefit our blossoming scene as young artists continue to develop. Without further adieu Plural in his own words:
LA: How did you get into EDM music?
Plural: I got into the music when I was 16 or 17. I was very into industrial music with the likes of Skinny puppy, Ministry, Front 242, Meat Beat Manifesto ect. I loved the aggressive beats and style. I had always wanted to make music, but this is what got me really thinking about it.
LA: What city did you grow to love Electronic Music in? Did that shape you artistically in specific ways?
Plural: Dayton, Oh is where it all began, I would go to “Raves” and dance. Then around ‘94 I met some DJs and started hanging out. Through these initial connections, I met the Illuminators who threw parties in the Dayton area. They brought some massive talent to Dayton. Later on, the small core of Djs that became my very good friends got together and formed a crew called JustUs. We also brought mad talent to Dayton as well. I think that the talent that we booked to play at the shows was what shaped me into the artist I am today.
LA: What is it about the music and spinning that keeps you coming back? What does the act of DJ’in mean to you? How does it make you feel?
Plural: It is a release of all the frustrations in life, an escape into sound. To me, the act of DJing is about entertaining people. It is more than just playing tracks. You can tell a story, but often I would play tracks about how I feel. I would usually explore sounds that I would characterize as Dark, Scary, or very aggressive (a little anger). This led me sometimes to play tracks that would really alienate people.
The Feeling I get when I play is a rush. You are the center of attention, which means you need to rock that shit lol! It very powerful feeling when you are in comand of what makes people dance. The funny thing is I was a very well know Drum N Bass dj back then, under the name DIVINE.
I also have a very hip hop style of DJing so usually I would get people who would not dance, but just watch me. It is cool, but sometimes like Claude Young said in an interview years ago, “Sometimes you feel like a Circus side show” lol! The good thing is when I DJ people still enjoy my style of play and track selection.
LA: How did you get your start DJ’in?
Plural: The first time I wanted to DJ really I was watching Claude Young Kill it at a party in Dayton. At that same Party, I saw Titonton Duvante, a foundational member of the Columbus ele_mental crew, rocking Drum n Bass! I was hyped! I thought to myself this is how it should be done. This influenced my style a lot.
The first time I got to play on Turntables. I was dating this girl at the time, and she worked at a store in Dayton called Stigmata. That place was the cool place to buy clothes back then. The owner Jimmy George put turntables in there and sold some vinyl as well. I started hanging out there and other DJs would come in a play records. I myself always wanted to be a DJ because A. I can’t sing, B. Can’t rap and C. couldn’t play an instrument. I listened to a lot of Hip Hop when I was kid, and always thought it would be cool to be the one mixing the tracks and Scratching. So I thought, This is my chance! I started grabbing records of the shelf and trying to mix them together. I was terrible lol! Then I met my friends Howard Lee, Kimyon Huggins, Terry Repp, Greg Miller and Ari. We would practice all the time together until we thought we could hold our own out there. Things are different now kids today don’t have the standards we had to maintain back in the day. There were so many Djs that were so damn good! So we had to make ourselves just as good as them, It pushed us very hard.
LA: Do you remember the first set you ever spun? What was it like?
Plural: The first set I ever spun was at an Illuminator party. I was playing Hip Hop and Trip Hop at the time. I was nervous as hell. I did well I guess. I got a good response from the crowed, which made me very happy!
LA: When did you start working on the production end? How did you start building tracks?
Plural: I started making music around 2000. I was listening to a lot of records and thought to myself, I wonder if I could do that? So with the money I was making from DJing, I started to buy equipment. The first pieces of gear I bought was an Sampler Roland SP 808, Korg Electribe analog synth, Boss 202 drum machine, and a Roland synth (I can’t remember the name). I started to work on some Drum n Bass, but moved into Techno after awhile. It all started to get a little overwhelming with all that stuff so I then traded all of it for a Ensoniq ASR 10 Sampling workstation. I wanted an all in one solution so that workstation was it for me, but it had a small problem. The sequencer was a little glitchy.
Then I started thinking maybe I should go all software, so I started working on Drum n Bass with these guys called Invisible Sounds who were using Fruity Loops 5. They showed me how to use the program. From that point, I ran with it on my own. I’ve done every EP with that up until a year ago when I bought the Maschine (Native Instruments). When I used fruity, I just made a loop, built upon it, and sequenced everything after that. Now that I have the maschine, I do everything live filter efx, delays, fade ins and even adding drums on the fly.
LA: You have been creating tracks at an amazing rate recently. What drives you to innovate and create artistically?
Plural: Like I said, its a release for me. I make what I like and what I would play. I have my style, but I have no name for it. It’s Just Techno lol!
LA: Who were you biggest musical and artistic influences?
Claude Young, Kraftwerk, Herbie Handcock, Titonton Duvante, Adam Beyer, Jeff Mills, DBX, Basic Channel, DJ Hyperactive, Jay Denham, Scan 7, Cari Lekebusch, The Advent, T 1000, FBK etc you get the picture. 😉
LA: What is is about techno music that you love so much?
Plural: I can’t explain it really, I just get this overwhelming amount of energy, and it gives me chills when I hear certain sounds. Makes me want to dance (hahaha).
LA: What do you see as the big changes that have resulted from the switch from old production and DJ’in technique to new techniques driven by computer technology?
Plural: Ok technology is cool but…..I think it gives a little too many people, which have no musical talent and no real musical taste, the ability to make music. It is really a bad thing at times, but it also makes things a little better for the people who know whats up! Now with the DJ thing……..There is always that vinyl vs digital argument, which has started to get on my nerves a bit. I’m going to keep this short because too many people have an opinion about it. I think its cool that I can play something that I just made an hour ago. Unfortunately, there is so much really good music that is not coming to vinyl. I do still love vinyl. Yet, using Traktor enables me to play classics that I missed back in the day, and to play unreleased tracks that no one has heard.
Now the bad: I have an issue with people who use the sync button, Now if you use a controller and I know you already no how to mix it: then its all good. BUT I feel that it doesn’t make you a DJ if someone just starts mixing and using a sync button. I’m from the old school, and I think you should really mix instead of using technology to mix for you. Then again, it is just my opinion.
LA: You have been collaborating with FBK on a new project called THE FALLEN. How did this collaboration come about? What has it been like to work together?
Plural: Kevin and I have know each other for like 15 or 16 years. We never really said more than probably 10 words to each other in that time hahaha! Then I moved to Columbus from Dayton a year ago. I let him know I was here, and we hooked up and start working together. Now you have THE FALLEN! Making tracks with this guy has been the most exciting time I have ever had making music! We push each other to come up with every crazy track we have done together! When we work its very symbiotic, one of us just starts, then we tweak everything, and finally it all fits together perfectly! We don’t say a word. In fact, we work very independently from one another. When it finally sounds right we say, “lets record”. Then pure insanity is worked out! Yep when you get two crazy guys working together you get THE FALLEN! 😉
LA: Do you think its hard or even possible to create a distinctive sound today in the age of soundcloud, music blogs, and Filesharing?
Plural: Sure it’s possible, we are all individuals with our own interpretation of what we do……
LA: Do you feel connected to the Columbus EDM scene?
Plural: Once upon a time, I did, but that was along time ago before I lived here. Things have changed a lot. Many of the people that were here that had the scene moving have all moved on. So now I don’t really feel connected. Things in Columbus are hard here for Techno Soldiers. There are a very small number of Techno lovers in Columbus and in the U.S. at large Ha! People don’t even know I’m in Columbus half the time lol!
LA: What would you deem the ideal future for the Columbus EDM community? What role do you wanna play in bringing about that future?
Plural: It would be nice if Techno got some play once in awhile or people even looked like they enjoyed it. Not trying to sound negative, but I just wish it was the way it was years ago. It depends on people. If they let themselves be open to more music, then other sounds can flourish. But I can’t play to ears that don’t listen. Its almost like playing by yourself, but with people in the room. I’m having my issues with the Midwest so thats just how I feel about it most of the time. Its pushing me to get my passport to get overseas to play where they think they enjoy Techno. This is just from my experience in playing around a few places in the last few years. Not trying to offend anyone but its the truth….
Plural laying down some truth for us to invigorate us into our weekend. If you like what this man was saying make sure to give his exclusive mix he laid down a listen to see what other Truths he dispenses while at the helm of the decks (Get at that HERE). Also, Make sure to look out for his new EP Lost In Thought Coming out on Orange82 records on January 26th. ITS HUGE!