While artistic collectives have existed in various forms for centuries, ranging from the Renaissance collaborations of fifteenth-century Florence to the schizoid bohemianism of Warhol’s Factory, it’s probably safe to say that the digital age has empowered them in ways that were unimaginable just thirty years ago. Independent musicians, painters, writers, photographers, and filmmakers spent the last few decades realizing that like-minded contemporaries were only a few clicks away, and they’ve been getting together and (at least figuratively) screwing like creative rabbits ever since.
Instrumental hip-hop artist A Sol Mechanic, a.k.a. David Blazer, is one of those musicians. As one of the newest members of Los Angeles-based music collective Stereocure, Blazer is looking to take the collaborative lifestyle to heart. With a full-length album (Emotion Terrace) and brand-new EP (Everything, All the Time) already released, A Sol Mechanic has proven to be an impressively versatile project. And now that Blazer is working alongside folk, rock, electronic, and hip-hop artists, it’s easy to see that the future holds only further innovation.
ThrdCoast recently got the chance to sit down with Blazer and discuss his inspiration, his work with Stereocure, and his upcoming projects. Though friendly and possessed of a somewhat understated manner, it’s clear that he’s dedicated to his craft and passionate about growing as a musician. A Sol Mechanic looks to be yet another hit for the Stereocure family.
ThrdCoast: What's your musical background, and what influenced you to go in the direction of instrumental hip-hop?
David Blazer: I grew up in a very musical environment as a child, with my dad being a disk jockey and my grandmother being a classical pianist. I play a lot of instruments, basically anything I can get my hands on. I have basic music theory knowledge, and most of what I do is rooted in self-taught production. Instrumental hip-hop is an inspiring, ever-bumping movement, and it's very cool to be making that kind of music through my own goggles.
TC: People (myself included) love to pigeon-hole artists into genres, but how would you describe your music? What do you want people to get out of it?
DB: I would consider my music to be feel-good music. I’m inspired by all sorts of styles and production techniques, and I find myself experimenting with unknown soundscapes all the time, so I think I’d also call what I do soundscape art. I want people to find some personal connection to my melodies and grooves because it always comes from my nucleus.
TC: Do you always work solo, or do you have any collaborative projects going on now or in the future?
DB: I’ve made most of my work solo, but I'm working with a few vocalists on some new projects. I don’t even know when those will be released [laughs].
TC: Is A Sol Mechanic primarily a studio project, or do you tour and play live shows very often?
DB: I toured with Stereocure in October, and I plan on playing shows up until my July tour, which will include an appearance at NXNE in Toronto. I consider my A Sol Mechanic stuff to be a fully experimental project, so basically anything goes.
TC: How did you get involved with Stereocure? What does being a member of a collective like that entail, e.g., is there a lot of interaction and collaboration between artists or is it mostly a way to promote each other?
DB: I joined Stereocure because I was in search of a group of artists who have the same musical lifestyle as me. They’re really encouraged by each other and we try to inspire creative truth as a collective.
TC: What projects do you have on the horizon?
DB: I'm currently working on a beat tape with Cold Klassic. He's a really smart guy and we’re going to be turning out some good stuff soon!
TC: What are you listening to these days, and what are some all-time favorites?