Music Monday: Interview with Archie Pelago

To celebrate and give thanks to our November harvest of a varied and plentiful spread of bass-oriented tastes and textures, OUTPOST1 has teamed up with on the sly to bring you a double portion of Wheez-ie, Doctor Jeep and additional support from respective residents and guests.

Thursday it all pops off, with knomad‘s on the sly down in NY at (le) poisson rouge. The full bill for OTS features Wheez-ie, Doctor Jeep, Archie Pelago (live), Obey City and knomad. knomad put together a packed punch mix featuring tracks from past, present and future on the sly x OUTPOST1 artists, as embedded below.

First up in our interviews for the tail end of this week’s events, is Archie Pelago, a live/production outfit based out of Brooklyn. As guests playing at Thursday’s on the sly, I took the opportunity to sit down with these guys and learn more about their collective adventures as Archie Pelago. I first heard them live at TURRBOTAX® this past summer and was excited to learn that these musicians take on their own formula, combining electronic dance music with organic instrumentation, and putting it into the beloved club environment.

Copy pasta from their bio: The Brooklyn-based trio is comprised of Cosmo D (cello/ableton wizard), Kroba (sax/fx) and Hirshi (dj/trumpet). Joining forces in late summer of 2010, Archie Pelago has been committed to producing powerful tunes inspired by contemporary bass music culture.

Scope the latest from their soundcloud above and check out our Q+A beneath the jump.

(q’s from knomad)

often times when the electronic and chamber music worlds collide, the results are inaccessible and even pretentious. is it a conscious thought to always keep things oriented to the dance floor (or at least keep a rhythm in mind?)  does the technology you use play a part in this?

Greg (Cosmo D): When we play out, I would like people to be inspired to dance in some capacity.  We craft our live set and try to be sensitive to the crowd for this purpose.  I use Ableton because it’s got a solid clock that keeps all my sounds locked into a groove – hopefully one people can dance to.

Dan (Hirshi): The three of us are mutually inspried by dance music and that’s what got us motivated to bring something fresh to the table.  Our live setup hinges on finding new and effective ways to utilize our techonlogy to feature our individual strengths and skills.  

did archie p start as a studio project or was live performance always at the forefront of your collective mind?

Zach (Kroba): Keeping the dancefloor in mind isn’t that much of a conscious thought.  We all are keen fans of dance music of all sorts and try to keep that aesthetic while we craft tunes and play live.

Greg:I had been doing live performance with my cello for a while, but we initially started as a studio project.  I felt it was an impulsive inevitability that we try to play the tunes we were making out live, especially when Serato / Ableton released the Bridge.  That software literally allowed my world (live Ableton + instruments) and Dan’s (Serato DJing) to co-exist on stage side-by-side.   

Dan: I have been a performer for years but when I first starting collaborating with Cosmo D it was more of a production outlet for me.  It was Cosmo’s Ableton mastery, hunger to perform and the addition of Kroba on sax that pushed the project into the live realm.

(q’s from kc)

How did you guys meet? In what ways did your individual music interests and talents influence what it is you guys collectively do as a group?

Zach: I met Hirshi at a gig he had at Sin Sin back in the day with Phleghm.  It wasn’t until last summer when I shared a bill with him that we talked about his idea that was to become Archie.  

Greg: I saw Hirshi spin at one of the first TURRBOTAX parties in late 2009 and really enjoyed it.  Later on he found some of my solo productions on Soundcloud in mid-2010 and we started a correspondence.   Fall 2010 is when we started all really working together.  

Dan: With various musical training and experiences, the unifying force for Archie Pelago is actually our passion for bass music (for lack of a better term).  You will always find the three of us hanging at any given Brooklyn party with open ears and minds.

Hardest part about working together as Archie? Most rewarding part?

Zach: I would say that the most rewarding part of working with Archie is creating music with two like-minded individuals…kind of like completing each other’s sentences!

Greg: For me the hardest part for me is starting work on a new tune, because I know once I do, I get utterly absorbed in it.  The whole project is rewarding on so many levels, but the most for me would be seeing people get down to our live set.  No denying the power of live performance, esp. to a great crowd.

Dan: As of late, the toughest part about Archie would definitely be finding adequate time to get all three of us in the same room together.  Luckily, the level of commitment between us is strong.  We are always eager to get productive in the studio.

Do you do individual projects as well?

Zach: I play in a few different acoustic projects, like a 12-piece funk band and a roots reggae group.

Greg: My solo stuff is intertwined w/ Archie, to a degree, but I started with electronic cello explorations and production and that does have its own continuum.  

Dan: I try and find time to collaborate with musical friends including Eyelove, Cromie, Blind Prophet and others.  I frequently DJ out with my long-time partner Phleghm.

You mentioned before that you guys all have day jobs… How do you find time for your music?!

Zach: We try and have weekly rehearsals and recording sessions, but we all write sketches in our spare time as well.

Greg: My day job is pretty flexible and involves studio production as well, so I find time whenever I can.  I’m constantly creating stuff, whether at home, or on my iPhone on the subway.

Dan: You make time to do what you love.

What’s it been like playing on WNYU? Do you do a weekly show there? How does playing on radio compare with playing live for a crowd?

Dan: I used to do a weekly radio show on WNYU and it was always an amazing platform for connecting musicians and audiences.  I have since graduated NYU but our good friend Jordan Rothlein invited us to do a live set in the studio and the rest is history.

Greg: While you don’t get the immediate visceral response of a crowd, the energy is still there, just channeled in a different, more ‘down in the bunker’ way.  The atmosphere at that studio alone was pretty inspiring.

How did your most recent gig compare with your first?

Greg: When we were first doing it it was like ‘can actually we pull this off?’.  With a bit of experience under our belts, we feel more confident about the musical decisions we want to make and in control of our equipment.  

Dan: At first, we were essentially playing live remixes of some of our favorite music.  Once we had a strong pool of original productions behind us, we came up with a way to do live remixes of our own material by creating dubbed out versions of our tracks for live play.  Though someone might be familiar with one of our tracks, each time we play it live, it’s a unique and improvised experience!

Who do you want to split a bill with next?

Greg: Local DJs and live bands that inspire us.  They are too numerous to mention in this space, but if we all like em, we’re gonna want to do something with them in some capacity.  

What do you guys do when you’re not working on or playing music?

Greg: I try to jog three days a week.  Random stuff…

Dan: I enjoy watching cartoons and trolling the internet.

Zach: I like to go on bike rides when it’s time to take a breather on music.

How do you combat boredom?

Zach: Listening to tunes, browsing reddit, working out new musical ideas, and hanging with friends and loved ones.

Greg: Creating stuff.  Plus, the Internet / life in the city is endlessly entertaining.

Dan: Catching up on new DJ mixes, watching movies and basically consuming all media formats.

What’s your favorite kind of taco?

Zach: Chorizo!

Dan: Special breakfast tacos with spicy guac made by Lisa

Greg:  Roommates past have lambasted me for making ramen and putting it in a soft taco shell.  Noodle tacos w a bit of sliced turkey and Tobasco Habanero sauce.   I don’t care what anyone thinks.

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