it’s been a while since i spoke to a wolf + lamb associate (having done so a lot when this blog was spawned) but nyc man slow hands is certainly tickling my fancy.
his productions (including one on the up-coming wolf + lamb vs soul clap dj kicks and a heart wrenching remix alongside zev + gadi for the 50th release on will saul’s simple records) deal in heart warming soul, are alive with well placed and well played instruments and breathe plenty of sultry life into the current slo-mo house revolution. check him …
what music did you grow up around and when did you first hear electronic music?
i would say the most prominent figures of childhood influence for me would be peter gabriel, steely dan, talking heads, and david bowie. that was the music that was played the most in my house in my most tender years.
with the exception of steely dan, all of those artists used quite a bit of electronics, so i suppose i have listened to electronic music since birth. but, as far as djing is concerned, i acquired my first paul oakenfold global underground in 1998.
are those the sounds that influenced who you are as a musician today? does anyone/anything else give you inspiration?
most definitely! as i got older i spread my wings a bit and picked up the guitar. when this happened i got super into jazz and blues. bill evans (piano, not sax), and his young bass player, scott lafaro (who sadly passed away at 25, note even in his prime) were a massive influence on me, especially the village vanguard recordings. also paca de lucia and john mcclaughlin.
in the electronic realm no one holds a candle to koze, and erobique. their originality and musicality is untouched in my opinion. every time they do something, the next thing is totally different and knocks your sox off! i also love lindstrom, he has been batting a thousand over the last 4 or so years for me.
how did you first get into making music? what was it that infected you to do so? when did you first send stuff out, and to whom?
i went to school for jazz and classical guitar, so i have been into making music since i was about 15. but i left school after a year and decided to pursue djing and making more electronic music. the biggest factor at the time that inspired me to do so was listening to the likes of sasha, digweed, and nick warren. i didn’t send stuff out ever really, i moved to nyc and met the ghostly guys, and our friendships just kind of progressed naturally until they discovered i made music. i am really shy about my stuff, and was always timid to give it to people.
and what’s the thinking behind your music… what are your goals with it and what sort of places/emotions/atmospheres is it made for?
wow, great question! i guess the thinking is to always do something as different and musical as possible. this doesn’t always benefit you when it comes to making ras top 50, so don’t take that advice if that’s your goal, ha!
i guess ultimately i still want to be in a band. this is one of the things i most admire about my partner in crime, john, in the worst friends project. he influenced my to start listening to more live band stuff again years ago when we moved to nyc. oddly, something about that seems more musically real to me than djing and the industry of “electronic music” a lot of the time. i suppose that’s where my love of disco comes from; it seems that it fuses the force of live musicianship and dance music more than any other dance music genre, for me anyway.
ultimately, and i only hope to be a small part of this, as its going to take a village to do it, but i would like for dance/electronic music to be as revered by scholars, and 16 year old girls, as jazz, classical, rock, and justin bieber are.
i want my music to be made for all places, emotions, races, and atmospheres ; )
is any one thing more important than the other – ie a nice melody, the way it makes you feel, a nice technical bit of production, a specific piece of hardware you used or…?
all of the above, whatever best conveys the emotion of pieces creator to its listener, be that melody, technique, or both. if that requires a piece of hardware, then so be it, just depends on the producer.
i read you wanted to do this at 19 but are now 28 and only hooked up with wolf + lamb in 2009 – how was the interim period? did you have to get a ‘normal’ job or… ?
oh man, did i. several, ha! i was a bartender from the time i was 18 til just 6 or so months ago. living in nyc on dj fees in the states is pretty damn difficult.
i also did music for the new york times “t magazine” website, music for a dolce & gabbana runway show, music for a prada commercial, as well as some other tv commercial things. screened t-shirts for vh1, opened for donovan frankenreiter on one of his tours, ha! all kinds of stuff.
i actually just did sound for a fanta commercial with nick from no regular play (one of the best dudes ever!), and matthew curry (safety scissors). matthew is a wizard of sound, not to mention an absolutely amazing producer! never met anyone that knows as much about audio, signal flow, and sound as matthew, truly humbling!
and how important was that w+l hook-up? the family has an almost cult status in electronic circles…
right? so insane! i mean, it’s a huge hook up, obviously. but it’s so funny that people perceive it as such. it’s really just a creative family. we have all been there for each other supporting one another since long before any one particular artist in the family was running around the world playing records! and it functions as such, a family. lots of love, disagreement, arguments, but that’s what makes it what it is i think.
what are the pros and cons of having lived in nyc throughout this time? would you ever leave the city?
pros . . . everything! i mean, a perfect example was 2 weeks ago. soul clap played an un-announced party for scion and everyone was there, nrp, runaway, prince language, beg to differ, tim sweeny, federico maccherone, all just hanging out drinking and dancing. how many cities in the world does that happen in? berlin, and london are about all i can think of.
negatives; a lot of people all the time, but you get pretty used to that after 8 years! it’s also really expensive, but you have to pay a price to live in the greatest city in the world. if i ever left i would never tell anyone ; )
what is your studio and dj setup like?
lots of vinyl, and serato. it’s funny, the question of whether the setup influences the dj came up the other night. i don’t think it does at all, a good dj will jockey a great set on any setup!
but in the discussion (which was between a bunch of djs) one great dj had the best statement, which i whole-heartedly agree with, and it went something like this “i don’t give a shit what a dj plays on, they just need to make the transition between formats easier”. bam! so true, nothing worse than plugging a box in around a dj that’s in the middle of his or her set.
outside of music who are you? what do you do day to day?
ryan cavanagh, work on and think a lot about music . . . in between surfing the web for countless hours!
what can people expect from you in 2011?
a lot of releases to start the year (from both slow hands and worst friends); double standard, more or less, wolf + lamb, internasjonal, rvng, future classic. just played the bpm festival in mexico, and at the lilith party at eleven in tokyo, both of which were amazing! chicago, detroit, nyc autobrennt coming up, then off to europe! worst friends will be making a japan debut at eleven on the 18th of february as well!
finally… where does your alias come from? is it anything to do with the interpol song of the same name?
ha, no. i love interpol, but don’t think i have ever really even heard that song. it’s a modification of eric clapton’s nickname and album title, slowhand. he has been my hero since i was a kid; think i have listened to that album more than any other in my lifetime.