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Oneohtrix Point Never

The past year has been good to Daniel Lopatin. He’s been making driftingly cosmic synth jams as Oneohtrix Point Never and for a time as one-third of Astronaut for years; now he’s riding the crest of the wave of interest in noisy, seventies-influenced synthesizer music. This month he has veritable glut of new releases due out: an LP, the excellent Zones Without People (Arbor), a DVD-R, Memory Vague (Root Strata), and another LP, Russian Mind (No Fun). In addition, he’s launching his own homespun label, UpstairsCDR. On Thursday, July 23, Oneohtrix Point Never will perform on the show for the first time as a solo artist (last year Danny played a stellar set as part of Astronaut).

This interview was conducted by email during the week prior to the show (and don’t miss Danny’s Top Ten at the end…).

How did you become interested in kosmisch and in making krautily-inspired music?

Most of my interest in synthesizers came from my dad’s fusion tapes. Hearing the Return To Forever track, “Song to the Pharaoh Kings,” at a young age was life altering for me. I would listen to that and his dub of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Birds of Fire, over and over.┬áThe synths on those records were so mystical and beautiful sounding and I wanted to make music that sounded like those records but without all the other instrumentation and songwriting. Also, the crescendo on Stevie Wonder’s “Golden Lady,” with the interweaving synth basslines and soaring leads was very inspiring. As was the music from the NES game, Metroid.

It wasn’t till much later in college that I started learning about krautrock and Berlin School synth stuff, and outside of a few records that I consider to be masterpieces like Computer World (Kraftwerk) and E2-E4 (Manuel Gottsching) I can’t say that I was deeply touched by cosmic music or krautrock. I like krautrock insofar as that it took minimalism and psychedelicized it. I like that sentiment much more than I like the music.

Based on your current schedule of releases, you seem to have been extraordinarily productive in the last year with the Infinity Window stuff as well as your solo Oneohtrix Point Never work. Did your move to Brooklyn spur this burst of creativity, or is something else at play?

Actually I love recording in Massachusetts and continue to do so although I moved away; the landscape is my secret weapon. And unemployment checks.

In some of your recent performances and recordings — such as your latest show at the Piano Factory — you seem to be experimenting a bit with darker, more abrasive noise elements, is this a new direction you’re heading in?

I think the more abrasive noise elements have always been part of what I do but perhaps that night it came out much more. I do remember that on the way to the Piano Factory I couldn’t stop listening to Two Headed Dog by Roky Erikson over and over, so that explains that.

Why have you decided to start up your own CDr label and could you tell me a bit about your first releases?

The first time I got a Creel Pone and saw that scary, black-bottomed CDR I knew that I wanted to start a disc label! For me, it’s a fairly simple, super fast and affordable way to get music out into the world that I think is significant and worthwhile and in some instances, might not otherwise see the light of day. All the profits go back into Upstairs so that one day we can put out vinyl and do other projects of great social import! The first releases should be coming out in the fall, and will include a disc from sample concrete genius Nonhorse, who is probably my favorite solo artist working out of Brooklyn today, as well a disc from Nightshift, also a Brooklyn resident who makes heartbreakingly beautiful loner synth pop, and one from Shaun Trujillo, a wandering cyberpunk from Long Island who made a noise masterpiece using audio from Prince Of Darkness.

What music/artists are you currently finding interesting?

Besides the stuff I mentioned above, Coconuts, DJ Screw, Ducktails, No Fun Acid, Prehistoric Blackout.

Do you have any special projects, collaborations, or releases that people should know about?

I’m excited to finish the sequel to Artificial Midnight this fall; Infinity Window is now a three-piece featuring Coconuts member Jordan Redaelli on vocals, drum machines, and synths. The new record has guest appearances from Marcia Bassett, Okkyung Lee, and Greg Davis, so we’re all really psyched up for it. Right now I’m working on an OPN cover of a Helmet song, which will probably come out on a 7” with Ducktails in the fall sometime. And this coming winter I’ll be scoring a feature film. Hopefully, they’ll let me do some of their Foley sound design.

Daniel Lopatin’s Top 10 Most Constantly Jammed of 2009

  1. Edward Artemiev - Warmth of Earth
  2. Manuel Gottsching - E2 E4 25th Anniversary Edition
  3. Flower Man - Another Ozone Hex
  4. Nightshift - Demos
  5. Dion - Born To Be With You
  6. Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works Volume 2
  7. Anna Domino - Land of my Dreams (track)
  8. Tomaso Albinoni - Adagio In G Minor
  9. Marvin Gaye - Midnight Love
  10. Orphan Fairytale - Seahorse Soup


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