Layered sounds shifting slowly over each other like pastures of molten lava. Sounds that form over each other creating density within each listen, eventually solidifying as a mass in my readspace. That's what it feels like when I pop in Soulmates by DJ Nobody.
His current album, Pacific Drift: Western Water Music is no exception. From his spaced out hip-hop beats (Soulmates) with premier underground MCs (Abstract Ryme, Freestyle Fellowship, Medusa, and 2Mex), to the psychedelic sound expressions of Pacific Drift. He effortlessly samples bits of psychedelic rock, and flushes it with bits of sixties pop, electro, dub, and acoustic textures. One cannot help but to be wrapped in a warm blanket of his psychedelic rock compositions. DJ Nobody (AKA: Elvin Estela) along with his sampler, friends: Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel, Postal Service), Dave Scher and Chris Gunst (Beachwood Sparks), and Ikey Owens (Mars Volta) lending vocals and live instrumentals, Nobody has crafted music to stroll the beaches on a warm summer morning, or you could sleep in because well, falling asleep to music has never been a better excuse.
What's the best party you have played at?
As of late, the Dublab.com and Up Our Sleeves art shows are really great. The kids dig the tunes and it is usually pretty packed. I love playing Seattle and San Francisco as far away from home goes.
Why is that? Does LA nurture the music you enjoy deejaying to?
I don't think so. It is home so I do enjoy playing to the home team. Seems like over the years there are folks who come out to Dublab events knowing that they are going to hear the Beatles and Timbaland in a one hour stretch.
Are you still into Hip-Hop music?
Not as much anymore. The hip-hop I like now, was the sort of hip-hop that I wasn't into as soon as three years ago. Weirdo rap is so overdone and plentiful that it lost its edge. I dig Stones Throw and the Neptunes.
Obviously Stones Throw is a great label, and the Neptunes are good at what they do, but is there a technical reasoning for favoring their music?
Yes. I have been into pretty sense and saturated music for some time now, be it 60's psych or spacerock sort of stuff with tons of guitars delay and reverb. To me, The Neptunes and Madlib do the total opposite and make such strangely interesting music with very few layers. They have been getting me into more minimal sounds. I like the space they create.
I've read that you've reproduced Soulmates for venues with a band. Do you plan to play Pacific Drift live? Is it a hard process to reproduce a production based album for a live venue? I find that as part of the audience, and as interesting and as beautiful as sample based/production music is, it is in the majority not engaging enough and boring. Is that why you 'made' a band?
Yes, and for the exact reason you speak. There are very few twiddlers I've seen that can move me like some bands have. I saw Plaid live once and although it was computer and gear, the combinations of music and visuals made it insanely good, just as good as seeing Stereolab or one of my favorites. I just like to go watch people wack instruments and mess up and be creative "live." We did Soulmates live to a CD track and after 3 shows we were so bored. So this time we said screw the backing track, let's go for a drummer, so now it's all live. We may incorporate some tracks for the vocal tracks as we go along.
It's obvious there's always been a difference in how a label envisions the direction of their artists, compared to how the artist perceives his own work. How do you feel about your music being called "shoegaze"? Do you think Pacific Drift is a continuation of Soulmates, in regards to your ideas, or something completely different?
I never once referred to my music as shoegaze. When I first started doing interviews for magazines they asked me what I listened to and I said shoegaze rock, that's how I liked to mix vocals then, saturated and low, even if it was a rap record, so they put together this "shoegaze-hip-hop" thing which is lame. I don't see why music that lands in a strange medium, between things (genres), needs to be named with all these word creations. We're not mating plants where we affect the strain forever, we're just causing tiny bumps in the chain. But I do understand the need to label things for marketing purposes, but there is a point where journalists just read the press release and write something simple and that's where the shit spreads and gets to sound silly. That's why I'm answering these questions, because they twist my head to think for once and seem honest. Thanks.
If you were stranded in a cabin somewhere in the Rocky Mountains; what would you have with you? What would you wish you had with you, knowing that you were stranded in the middle of nowhere Canada?
A bag with these records: Byrds - Notorious Byrd Brothers; Love Forever Changes; Clipse Lord Willin': Pharoah Sanders Tauhid; some Trader Joe's Tamari Almonds, a can of vegetarian baked beans, water and copious amounts of hash.
Hey, what kind of movies do you like? I personally like romantic comedies, especially when the ugly guy gets the beautiful 'girl next door' type girl.
I like Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze), and Harold and Maude the most. Royal Tennenbaums and Easy Rider too. I like movies with good music and weird twists. Ones that make me nervous are the best. Seems like a good reaction.
Who is Elvin Estela? I want to know him. Is DJ Nobody the Hulk to your Bruce Banner?
I like to goof off a lot. I love to act silly and have fun and smile. When I make music, I get a bit more serious and my friends laugh because when they come over I'm in my oversized terry cloth shorts still half asleep like 'Hey, listen to this,' and they can't believe that the unshowered and unshaven guy picking his nose at me just made this. I want to bring more light heartedness to my stuff. I just have to figure out how.
I am working on a hip-hop record with an old Good Life-Project Blowed OG named Ellay Khule. We haven't worked together in over four years and now he and I along with my good friend Omid are going to produce an album for him. Hip-hop shit once again! Also, just helped produce and mix my friend Dave from Beachwood Sparks' solo album. That should be out in February of next year. Also hoping to produce some stuff for Mia Doi Todd as well as get crackin' on the next record.