by Kyle Taylor |
Music genres have become seemingly unnecessary, and nearly a hindrance at times when trying to discuss the current state of not just electronic or dance, but music in general. When attempting to explain the sound of a new artist, referencing similar and familiar artists proves far more effective than attempting to pinpoint an exact genre, or sub-genre baring a tail of at least three adjectives. However, every so often a new project comes along that truly leaves that conversation speechless. This is irrefutably the case for Jade Cicada. Emerging with adamancy and purpose, the Massachusetts producer has instantaneously left music fans baffled in regards to the conversation of genre or artist likenesses.
A multitude of musical influences is apparent in Skyler Golden’s (Jade Cicada) productions; however, the seamless collision of all those aspects into a new, single and unified idea is the true merit of the New England musician’s work. Golden cites bass pioneers Tipper, NOISIA, KOAN Sound, and Amon Tobin as particularly strong influences, yet further notes equivocal inspiration from hip hop aficionados DJ Premier and Madlib, as well as numerous jazz legends, including John Coltrane and Miles Davis (read the full interview below). Such a diverse palette of influences has led Golden to an equally versatile catalog of original productions.
Jade Cicada is able to implement the ideas of those who have come before him, still deeply embedding them within his own newly instated assets of sound. The result is a science fiction thriller of psychedelic noise entangled among jubilant, frolicking melodies. Attempting to apply any further description sounds like an idea that would warrant more damage than benefit. A steady and consistent work ethic has left Golden’s fans with a rapidly expanding library of music to choose from when delving into the project. Each piece seems to have its own particular and devoted motives, leading Jade Cicada’s ever-developing sound into consistent new territory.
Having just released a new remix last week, and also sharing with us that plenty of new music is still soon on the way, it could not be a better time to highlight this brilliantly talented up and comer. Moreover, Golden recently joined the notorious Dave Tipper on stage at both his recent performances in New York City and Suwannee, Florida this past year. Soon to hit the late night Funkadelphia stage at the inaugural Gala In The Grove festival in Jonestown, Pennsylvania, patrons can expect an audio spectrum of profound depths.
Head over to Jade Cicada’s Facebook page now for a chance to win a FREE PAIR OF TICKETS to Gala In The Grove 2016!
Funkadelphia: “What was it like studying at Berklee College of Music with so many other inspired artists around you constantly?”
Jade Cicada: “Well, I was never very good at ‘school’ and traditional assignments, and it was actually quite frustrating having something I originally did for fun turn into homework. I got held back in high school because of my awful grades, and took an extra year at Berklee just to get things finished with decent grades. That being said, the things I learned at Berklee have definitely helped my understanding of music, production, sound design, and mastering. It was actually the core classes like jazz theory and ear training that taught me the most valuable lessons that carry with me into my music. Having a good ear is key! I majored in electronic production and design, and the most important thing I learned in that major was a vocabulary to help me speak in an educated way about the things I love. Most of the sound design I learned on my own through experimenting or watching tutorials online.”
Funkadelphia: “What hardware and software are you currently using in the studio?”
Jade Cicada: “Here’s my whole setup: Mac Pro computer; Universal Audio Apollo interface; Event Opal monitors; Daking FET III Stereo Compressor and Limiter; Kush Audio Clariphonic 2-Channel Parallel Equalizer; and a Moog Sub 37. I also have a number of mics that I use to record my own samples from time to time. For audio software I’m using Ableton as my DAW. My favorite soft-synths at the moment are Xfer’s Serum and NI Razor. I’m trying to learn more about FM synthesis and explore the possibilities of NI FM8. In terms of FX plugins, life would be very difficult without Cable Guys’ VolumeShaper, and I use Ableton’s Glue Compressor on pretty much everything.”
Funkadelphia: “And the same, but for your live performances?”
Funkadelphia: “My live set is super basic at the moment, as I don’t have much experience as a live performer. Right now I’m just using Ableton with an APC40 and launching full and chopped-up tracks, manipulating FX, transitioning, and changing tempo, et cetera. I plan on making my live set more elaborate in the future and implementing stem mixing and awesome stuff like that!”
Funkadelphia: “You have already had quite a few notable releases on major record labels- are there any future releases solidified you can tell us about?”
Jade Cicada: “Expect two EP releases very soon! One from Surreal Recordings, and the other from Addictech Records. The Surreal Recordings EP will be more dance floor type stuff with cool basses and all that jazz. The Addictech Records release will be way more chilled out with some future inspired more melodic ideas. I also have a single coming out in a month or so on the next Wakaan compilation. Other than that, nothing planned specifically, but it’s very possible I’ll do something with Gravitas in the future.”
Funkadelphia: “You’re also in the collaborative project Wonky Llama with fellow producer Schmoop- can you tell us a bit about how the creative process differs there from when you are working alone as Jade Cicada?”
Schmoop: “We usually just fool around, make weird sounds, and it goes from there.”
Jade Cicada: “It’s been a very slow process, mostly because I have my own personal things I want to finish, and Schmoop is busy with high school life. But that being said, we have been accumulating quite a number of unfinished tracks that have been sitting around for a while begging to be finished. I can’t really say when we’ll actually release something, but it’s definitely something we’re working on whether it be an EP or a full album.”
Funkadelphia: “Do you generally have the same constructive process behind all your productions? For example, do you always start out with the same aspect of the track first, say the drums, or does it tend to differ?”
Jade Cicada: “It really depends on what mood I’m in at the time. Sometimes I’ll dedicate a day to just practicing sound design and making new sounds, but if I make a certain sound that really inspires me I’ll probably stop what I’m doing and start making a track. Sometimes I’ll get a melody stuck in my head and just start messing with chord progressions. For the most part, I usually start with drums. I’m a very groove oriented person as you might be able to tell from my music, and I love using drum breaks or trying to create my own ‘pocket.’ If I’m just sitting down and I don’t have any specific ideas, I’ll usually just scroll through my assortment of drum breaks, find a groove that interests me at that moment, chop it up, and start layering my own drums on top. The finished product might not even contain that original drum groove at all.”
Funkadelphia: “Can you tell us a few artists you feel have been a particularly strong influence on you- be it audio or visual art; electronic musician or not?”
Jade Cicada: “Honestly, visual art has never really inspired me to make a track. I wouldn’t just open an image that I like and try to write a song about the way it makes me feel, but thinking about that now, maybe I should try that! My influences have a pretty broad range across time. I grew up studying classical music very seriously, so pretty much all I listened to until I was about ten was classical music and jazz. Artists like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, etc, were a very big part of my life as a child. The reason I started making music was because of hip hop. I was obsessed with DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Madlib, and all those other legendary hip hop producers. They were the ones who put the thought, ‘I think I can do this,’ in my head. Then it was artists like Tipper, Noisia, KOAN Sound, Amon Tobin, to name a few, that blew my mind and left me speechless and questioning what music even was. Then of course when I went to Berklee, I was surrounded by Jazz nerds, so I started really paying attention to Bill Evans, Art Blakey, Charles Mingus, Coltrane, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, et cetera. So I’d say that pretty much everything I’ve listened to inspires me in one way or another, nothing specifically.”
Funkadelphia: “If you could be any character from Rick and Morty, who would you be?”
Jade Cicada: “Rick! WUBBALUBBADUBDUB!”