Somatoast is the creation of Mark Rubin, a young producer from Austin, TX with a futuristic and innovative mindset. A member of the Majestic Entertainment & Temporal Talent families - his original dub frequencies and real-life connections of creative energy are being aligned, ultimately leading him on his path, his life purpose. With having his first EP release, Withinity, just last year on April 30th, 2013 with one of the most creative underground outlets, Gravitas Recordings, and having recent compilation features [such as Jerry's Dream (more in-depth description bevlow the interview)] on other forth-moving and conscious labels such as Merkaba Music and Shanti Planti, Somatoast is destined to a bright and uplifting future. His downtempo, psydub and glitch frequencies illuminates space and rhythmically syncs up with deep intricate beat pattern and squishy melodies – he with twirl your imagination into a new state. I met Mark in 2012 while immersing myself in the Austin underground music scene mid- 2012, back when he was formally known as Crazy Fingers. Somatoast has opened up for talented artists such as Bluetech, Infected Mushroom, Kalya Scintilla, Whitebear, Soulacybin, Mumukshu, and Defunk, to name a few. He has also played alongside Bird of Prey, Thriftworks, Tipper, The Polish Ambassador, and Desert Dwellers at multiple festivals including one of my favorite festivals, Art Outside, soon approaching, the 10th annual Art Outside 2014 (October 24th – 27th 2014 in Apache Pass, TX -45 minutes outside Austin, TX). Mark has been in California all Summer, so I decided to catch up with him! We talked about his musical background, timelessness, the mediums he uses for music production, his inspirations, life and his upcoming release on Shanti Planti in November.
• When did you start getting into music production, was there a specific moment that triggered an inspiration towards wanting to create/produce music?
I’ve been creating music my whole life. I started playing the drums when I was about 5 after watching the drummer in my dad’s band. I took lessons in drums and percussion throughout my childhood years and I eventually also picked up the guitar early on. By the time I was 13 or 14 I was recording music with a dinky little computer mic, and by the time I was 16 I had a small home studio going. There wasn’t really a specific moment that I can recall, it’s been more like a long process that continues to develop throughout my life. Though, my freshman year in college, I started with Ableton and realized I could make the same stuff I was listening to. I guess it was then I realized music production might be a real career for me. Especially being in Austin– my surroundings made me hopeful that I may be able to actually pull it off. There is so much creativity and inspiration there.
• What is the mission behind Somatoast, what kind of messages are you trying to spread through sound?
I didn’t start Somatoast with any sort of message in mind beyond an alias to make electronic music under. It was new to me then and I’m still discovering and learning more and more. At this point, I really want to succeed in making music that is not only unique, but also timeless. There is so much electronic music out there and so much of it sounds the same. When it comes to even some of my favorite artists that I think are cutting edge, the music can get stale after listening a while. For me, folks like Tipper and Bluetech have created music that is truly good, timeless music. I can go back and listen to their albums over and over again and I will continue to be impressed and hear things I didn’t hear before. I think this partly stems from the more classical elements in their music that don’t die out with the trends. My goal is to make timeless music like this. I’m not sure I’m there yet.
Aside from timelessness, I try and make music that is intellectually stimulating. I like music that provokes thought whether it’s through the music itself or speech that is sampled. Sampling speech can get cliché sometimes, but I try and get creative with it.
• Mac or PC? What production software do you engage in when producing music?
Mac, Ableton Live 9! I’d like to take the time and dive in to Bitwig, but I haven’t had the time since it has come out. Instead I’ve been on my grind in Ableton, which is totally ok!
• You’ve been in California all Summer, tell us about your time there this Summer. What have you been doing out there?
I was a film student at UT Austin and was finishing my degree through a program called UT in LA. It’s a program for anyone with ambitions in the entertainment industry. I was working at a music production studio. I don’t think LA is the place for my type of music industry, but it was interesting to experience for two months. Honestly, I’m glad my time is over there. I spent most of my free time working on my next release, which I’ll say more about in the next couple of questions. But now I’m done with school and I’m traveling up the West Coast camping and visiting cooperative houses. After I’m done traveling, I’d like to take Somatoast to the next level and give it my full attention.
Obviously Tipper, Quanta, Grouch, Auma, and Bogtrotter, just to name a few. I’m always impressed with everyone on Shanti Planti. I have a hard time picking favorites, and lately, I actually haven’t been listening to a lot of electronic music. For my own music, I just want to get away from the trends. For a while I was trying too hard to create stuff like what I was jamming, which just isn’t the right approach because it wasn’t coming naturally. But recently I’ve started getting super weird and just not caring what comes comes out (in a good way). Just simply rolling with it, which brings me to my next release….
• Are you working on any projects? When do you plan on releasing your next EP? Should we expect something similar to your latest release, “Withinity”?
Yes, my next EP is almost finished. I plan to release it in November on Shanti Planti. I’m trying to add the finishing touches but it’s been hard because I haven’t had, and still don’t have, a home base to create. Most of the EP has been made in a shitty LA apartment with little to no gear. Jake (Mumukshu) and I have been hanging out a bit and he let’s me mix some of the tunes in his space which is super cool of him. I’m excited to find a space where I can hammer the finishing touches out.
I’m not sure it’s very much like Withinity. Most of the tracks on Withinity are coming up on two years old now. I’ve learned an exponential amount in all areas of production since that release. Besides the reggae/bouncy touch and squishyness, I’d like to say it will be something totally new! I’d describe the new tracks as twisted, off kilter, and sometimes silly. Bent and broken strings are used repeatedly so it evokes a weird eastern but trashy feel.
Well, like I mentioned before I’m a co-opper. I’ve lived in a cooperative the last three years and have no plans of stopping any time soon. I always love to talk co-op life and sustainable ways to live and/or eat, and I’m always interested in visiting new houses or communities.
Jerry’s Dream is, without a doubt, one of my favorite tunes of this Summer. I have been playing it non-stop ever since its release on Kalya Scintilla’s “Resonant Mind” compilation released on Merkaba Music on May 5th, 2014. This track has a mysteriously elegant vibe to it and it creates a rhythmically squishy and psydub flow – a magical uplift as you hear Jerry Garcia’s featured voice. This creation was induced while collecting samples on YouTube that he could sample, and came across an interview with Jerry discussing the Grateful Dead achieving fame. When he took it out of context, it sounded, to Mark, as if he were talking about something cosmic. Having initially started this track a year before its release, this was the tune that personally opened the doors to more experimental sounds. This track showcases similar themes and styles to be revealed in his upcoming release in November, so get exited, I’m sure he’s cooking up something creative and fresh. Somatoast is on the right path of discovery.
Listen to Preview of Jerry’s Dream, Click Link on SC for full version