Get ready to be taken to a new dimension, because that’s what you’ll experience in listening to Sugarpill’s new album, Space Foray on Muti Music. It’s well thought-out, beautiful, and vibrant. I love the bounciness of BlipSquip. Then there’s the unique-sounding Space Foray, which I have a very hard time sitting still while listening to. I can honestly say that there isn’t a track on the release that I dislike, which is a rarity. Having been a fan of Sugarpill for years, I thoroughly enjoy listening through this album. Also be sure to check out his track “Bring It Back” on the new Gruntworthy We Are the Future Volume II; it is for sure one of my favorites from the whopping 74-track compilation. I can hear his unrelenting improvement through time; he is definitely on top of his game right now! You can see this in both this release and his unparalleled stage presence while playing live this summer. Poppin’ champagne bottles and choosing just the right tracks for the crowd at the right times, Sugarpill was a pleasure to see a few times over the summer…. highly recommended. Kids were raging and getting down like no other at his live shows; exactly how it should be! Seeing much of the Headtron crew up on stage with him at Lightning in a Bottle was pretty awesome.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sugarpill, and he had some interesting things to say. Check it out:
1. Your latest album, Space Foray, comes out on August 16th. What inspired you in the making of this release, and how does it compare to your past releases?
SP: This album is kind of a culmination of a bunch of things that I’ve been trying to bring together in a single release for a while now. I have been really stoked on the idea of putting out a release that crosses a lot of ground all the way through. I write a lot when I’m traveling as well as at home in the studio and each of the songs on the album come from a different part of me because they were all written in different places in the space and time of my life. I wanted this album to have a lot of variation so I chose this collection of songs because they touch different musical elements in terms of tempo, melody, harmony, and sound palate, but at the same time they still connect in this way this is like a single journey to some far corner of space. My ultimate goal in putting this release together was to do it in a way that when I listen to it, I couldn’t tell whether I was on some inner journey in my mind or on a completely external journey somewhere in space. Trying to get a single expression to do both of those things is something that I’m working try to embody in my music all the time.
2. Do you have any other deep-seeded passions aside from music and all that revolves around it?
SP: I’m really into life and learning, but without getting super long-winded, I’ll just say that they pretty much stem from that.
3. You are a master of Ableton and have educated many on the program. What motivated to help others gain skill at your craft?
SP: I learn a lot from teaching. Helping other people understand things forces me to think about them in new and different ways that I would probably never arrive at without that external stimulus.
4. I’d love to hear more about your mastering process, as many have attested to your talent, and my ears most certainly agree. What outboard gear do you use, if any?
SP: I don’t use outboard gear… which is a bummer, but I’m working on upping my game in that department right now. Right now I choose software that has really good analog modeling.
5. What plugs and techniques would you recommend to others who want to master their own music?
SP: I’d recommend that anyone looking to get into it read the ozone manual, it covers all the basics and gives you a single piece of software to learn and practice on.
6. You played at a handful of shows and festivals this summer… from Cervantes to Emissions to LIB to 5 Points. What was your favorite DJ experience this summer, and why?
SP: Picking a favorite is impossible. I kind of live a constant forward motion mindset, so it’s really tough for me to isolate a single favorite. All I can say is that I’m continuously blown away by the places I got and the people I meet.
7. Do you like to change it up quite a bit, depending on what sort of crowd you’re playing to? Or do you find that sticking to your signature sound is what you prefer, for the most part?
SP: I play pretty much 100% original sets these days. So I try to write a variety of different sounds and vibes into my songs so I can play to different different sets at different times. I think all my songs probably have a sound that’s sounds like me, but I definitely have to keep it varied so I don’t get bored with myself.
8. The Headtron crew seems like an awesome group to be a part of. Would you say that this has been a support group conducive to your growth as an artist, as opposed to being on your own?
SP: Have something like the Headtron crew has definitely contributed to my growth as an artist. We’ve got kind of a song club where we can all share ideas and honest critiques. On the non-music side, we’re all pretty close as friends so being able to cross the country and have homies in most of the places is really dope.
9. On that note, may I also ask about the origins of the lesser known Steaktribe?
SP: Steaktribe is just what we call grilling and not using utensils. Im not even sure what it’s become other than that, I’m just pretty passionate about making food with my friends and I guess I can get pretty stoked about it.
10. Can you tell us anything more about your collaboration with Gladkill? I’m pretty sure people are eager to know what you guys have in the works!
SP: We’ve been talking about making music for a while and we made a track a while back when I was in sf for a show. We actually got the chance to get in the studio for a few days after 5 points. I think our sounds work really well together because they’re already kind of similar in some ways so when we get together we can really expand on the sound because it’s like getting to work double time. We both come from pretty similar music backgrounds and have a lot of the same tastes so we’re already on the same page in the way we think about the music. I should say that it might be a minute before we finish this release though because we are only working on it when we can physically be in the same studio together. I’m really excited about that fact actually because I think the email collabs have become so prevalent these days. The difference between collaborating on music when you can look at each other and talk is huge. It’s that type of shared experience that makes the output so much more human than the email/Facebook/Dropbox collabs where I think it feels like you’re playing a video game with someone who could just as well be a stranger you’ve never made eye contact with.
11. Have any collab name ideas been thrown around yet?
SP: Rigatoni Danza is the working code name. But seriously no, right now it’s just Gladkill and Sugarpill
12. And how about Swordfight, can we expect something from you and ChrisB. anytime soon, or is that more of a casual affair?
SP: There will be more swordfight. The lazer battle is ongoing.
13. Where did your signature comment, “(.Y.)” stem from, and do you actually say “that’s tits” or something of the nature in real life?
SP: One of my students was really into making ascii genitalia a while back. I mean like really into it… he thought it was one of the funniest things ever and at some point I noticed people saying “that’s tits”, so it started as a joke on that phrase.
14. How do you feel about the controversy over music leaks and illegal file sharing? Do you think this is a serious issue for growing artists, or should they focus their energy on other things?
SP: I think making music is the most important thing, and I think artists should focus their energy on making music that they really want to hear. I think music lovers can tell when something is good, and if there is a way for them to support that in order to keep the music happening, I think they will do that. And if no one pays for it at the end of the day and all along you’ve been making music you actually love, then your energy was well placed.
Thank you Sugarpill, we look forward to jamming to your beats come August 16th!