Since its inception in 2014, Dusk Notes have maintained their philosophy of pushing the more experimental spectrums of electronic music whilst accommodating to both the dancefloor and the introspective listener.
In May the imprint returned with four cuts from ASC, Imugem Orihasam and the label bosses Soramimi and Cory James.
We had a brief talk to learn more about this project and their careers as independent artists.
TF: Tell us something about you. What’s your background? Where did you studied and who influenced you to explore musical processes?
Soramimi: In my youth I studied classical guitar, violin and piano. I studied art history, fine arts, psychology and neuroscience in college - all these disciplines about the human condition inform and inspire my art. I notice these parallels when my music evokes feelings and themes of alienation, desires for sublime escape and psychedelic wandering. I’m also a native New Yorker who’s been going to local raves/parties since I was 13, which directly shaped both who I am now and my work. I started producing my own music shortly after college, which was about 10 years ago. I can say that every person I’ve interacted with, learned about, learned from, and crossed paths with has influenced me in some way!
Cory James: When I was a child, I played the violin and then switched over to the trumpet after a few years. I played the trumpet for about 6-7 yrs, until I fell into skateboarding heavily. Around this time, I got into electronic music and began checking out raves and parties around NYC, Long Island and NJ. At these parties, I found the jungle and drum and bass rooms and this is where I stayed most of the time. Eventually I had to know more about how this music was being made so I dug into the world of sequencing, synthesis and sampling. I’ve been producing for about 20 years now. My close circle is my biggest influence to me that pushes me to explore music and production deeper. I am lucky enough to have a handful of friends that are really into music, the technology and the exploration of sound and ideas revolving around the creative process.
TF: Which aspects of sound do you examine recently? Is for you important the impression that your music produces on the audience?
Cory James: I like to examine space and time within music. I find tracks with less percussion to be more interesting, so I like to see how many elements can be removed from a track while still being interesting. I prefer mysteriousness and strongly evoked moods over technicality and digestibility. Regarding making an impression on the audience, I would say it depends on the audience. I will be honest and say that yes, it is somewhat important to me what some of the people that I admire think of my music. However, what outweighs that feeling is the notion that if you like what I do, I appreciate that, but if you don’t, that is cool too.
Soramimi: Recently I’ve been focusing on sound design, spatial sound, unusual textures, and sound for visual media. I love the powerful soundscapes of film/tv and at this point cannot separate the two. Painting our Dusk Notes covers is also another way I practice this aural and visual connection. I definitely want the audience to be powerfully moved my music, to feel strongly, even if it is discomfort or agitation, I welcome it - but first and foremost I have to please myself. My music is a very personal extension and expression of my identity and psyche, and it's important for it to feel honest/authentic, strong and meaningful to me first - even if some don’t get it.
TF: Tell me about your connection Dusk Notes record label, how do you feel collaborating creatively with the whole team.
Soramimi: Cory and I together launched the label in 2014, mainly as a home for releasing our own productions. Dusk Notes was a platform for us to merge our love for both deep, psychedelic techno and experimental/ambient. It’s both easy and fulfilling collaborating with Cory - we share the same values and work ethic, but we also each bring something unique to the table.
Cory James: We are the engine so it’s 100% our brainchild. Celia (Soramimi) and I work really well together and more often than not, we feel the same about the direction of the label and choices we make for each release. Everything from the mastering to the distribution has been carefully selected as a result of trial and error over the years.
TF: A question for all DJs, when you are on tour so much, how do you find time to listen to new music or even produce?
Cory James: I don’t tour yet, so I can’t provide accurate feedback here. In the future however, I plan to always make time to create as it’s a personal need for me. It’s also important to me to contribute to the music I love.
Soramimi: This isn't an issue for me because I don't tour nor DJ. I do perform Live PA shows irregularly, which leaves me plenty of time to be a studio producer/composer and sound designer. When I'm invited to do guest mix features, I can turn my love for music outward - I can explore and appreciate other artists, support and buy their music, and showcase their work in a meaningful story that speaks to me personally. I’ve always considered myself a studio composer first, and performer second - using performance as a medium to showcase my original creations in a live setting.
TF: What do you think is the role of new technology in composing music? Do you rely more on digital or analog sound?
Soramimi: It depends on the nature of the project. I'm more of a hands-on, sensory person so I'm partial to creating all my music organically on hardware - especially when writing music for recording projects. I use software as a recording station and for post-processing. If I can’t go back to modify the original sound, so be it. For my sound design work, I will use hardware to synthesize the sounds, but rely more heavily on structured software tools to work with the visual media. I personally prefer a more analog sound over digital, but don't believe one is superior to the other. As for the role of new tech in music composition, I fully embrace working with new tools and having a wide variety at my disposal. It's opened up a wide new array of possible sound environments, made the craft more accessible for artists, and allowed more diverse ways to innovate and take risks in an industry where artists are increasingly being discouraged from cultivating their own unique voice.
Cory James: I think a healthy balance of both analog and digital is important. Producing on hardware is more stimulating for me. Using tactile instruments and having to cable them with effects and midi chains tends to move my creativity more than clicking a mouse or controller while staring at a screen. Creating outlines for tracks on gear feels more natural to me than the piano roll looping in DAWs. I find that it promotes more experimentation. I do love to use some plug-ins to mix and process my tracks, compress and generally inflate some of these sounds after they have been recorded. So for me, I need both.
TF: Any exciting news in a near future? (album, tour etc.).
Soramimi: I have a couple more V/A releases on up-and-coming labels scheduled for later this year. Then I’ll be taking a much-needed break to focus on writing my debut LP.
Cory James: I have a split EP with Zadig’s Kern Space Adventure project lined up for release on Behzad and Amarou’s BEAR label, and a solo EP forthcoming on my friend Arthur Kimskii’s label L.A.G. I’m really excited to see these two releases come to life.
TF: Thanks a lot guys!