Interview: Superabundance

Speed is the name of the game for Superabundance, the collaborative project of Washington’s Jackson Ryland [Rush Plus] and Andrew Field-Pickering, more widely known as Max D of Future Times. Driven by the simple notion of producing faster tracks that fall outside the pair’s typical BPM range, Superabundance finds the DC duo creatively toying with tempo, improvisation, and instinctual overdubbing across nine distinct techno hybridizations. Veering through the alleyways of ’90s house, techno, breaks, funk, and video game OSTs in freeing fashion, the album creatively channels the established artists’ formative influences and unique musical perspectives. Delirious drums, whirlwind rhythms, and sporadic synthetics combine in excess, evoking the visceral exhaustion and visual wonder of a streaming-light night-drive. From saturated gaming fantasies to fleeing underground trains, Superabundance translates the transient worlds of childhood nostalgia, 9-to-5 grind, and dance-floor release into an intoxicating musical escape.

When I first meet up with Jackson and Andrew to talk about their Superabundance project, it’s a party-cloudy, windy March day in DC’s beloved Rock Creek Park. Despite the blustery conditions, families have gathered at the riverbanks to picnic; smoke wafting from their grills to blur the treetops. Runners and chatting tourists breeze by on the clay-dirt paths, which weave between towering oaks and weathered stone bridges before disappearing around the bends. It’s the first time the three of us have seen each other in person since the onset of the pandemic, and the nervous energy that stems from lack of social connection mingles “I’ve missed you,” with, “how are things?”

Andrew: I really just straight up don’t know what my job is anymore…they’re having these [school] phase-ins, but the buses can’t have many people on them, so it’s just all this shit. Classes are limited to 22 kids…

TT: Were you in after-school care as a kid?

Andrew: Yeah, I was a daycare kid for sure.

TT: Yeah, I was there, like, the last kid every time.

Andrew: Yeah, I was the last kid. My dad was getting that money’s worth.

TT: Yup.

Andrew: 6:29pm

TT: Did you ever have to babysit your siblings?

Andrew: No—

TT: Cause you’re pretty close in age, right?

Andrew: Yeah, we’re close in age. I mean I started working daycare cause my friend said he had a job at his place and my mom and dad—like I got some bad grades one semester—they were like “Nah.” My mom was like, “Get a job right now cause you ain’t getting into college with these grades.” So, I went and got the job, it was cool.

TT: Yeah, and then you ended up loving it, I guess?

Andrew: Oh yeah, I mean, I did go to some college, but she was like, “Yeah, no. Get a fucking job.”

Jackson: My parents were in the other direction. They were like, “You can’t fail a class. You can’t get a ‘C,’ so you’re going to get tutored until you’re good enough to go to college.”

Andrew: Get a job!

Jackson: Yeah, I should’ve just got a job.

Very few artists in DC can survive financially without a ‘day job’ or alternate income. Limited paying club opportunities (further exacerbated by the pandemic), coupled with the high cost of living, necessitate a second form of income, largely outside the sphere of music. From working in childcare to serving drinks, the city’s artists do what they can just to pay rent, with music often forced to take a backseat. However, this has led to unique forms of collaborative spaces within DC, such as the former Future Times Shop, which served as a shared studio, record store, office, and hangout, along with Rhizome, a community-led DIY arts space situated at the city’s northern edge. But with financial instability always looming, many of these essential spaces have been forced to close, relocate, or dissolve completely, leaving DC’s more intimate music spaces perpetually in flux.

***

As we continue walking along the water’s edge of tangled roots, the three of us discuss our upbringing in the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia) area, their approach to production, and the conception of the Superabundance record.

Andrew: Yeah, they needed somebody shipping records to distributors and taking inventory of their [for instance] folk record collection. They have a record label at the Smithsonian that would basically be like the [former] Future Times Shop but at the Smithsonian warehouse. But that was the first resumé I ever wrote in my life. Made it to 37 before my first resumé.

TT: Wow, that’s really impressive.

Andrew: I enjoyed that. And my resumé is kind of the shit, like I got 20 years’ experience with the children. 20! What are you going to say to 20?

TT: Where’d you go to school, Jackson?

Jackson: For high school? St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes in Alexandria. I grew up in Woodbridge but my brother who is 10 years older when to St. Stephen’s. [My parents] asked me if I was interested in going there or Woodbridge High School—I’m like 13, I like sort of have an opinion but I’m like, “I don’t really know.” So, they’re just like, “alright we’re sending you to private school.”

Andrew: I went to a hardcore show at Woodbridge High School.

Jackson: It’s such a good venue for a hardcore show.

Andrew: Like there were a lot of hardcore punk shows in Woodbridge. I went there all the time when I was like 16 through 18, 19?

Jackson: The campus has this really cool brutalist architecture, except it’s all brick. A lot of levels to it.

TT: When did you guys first decide to make music together?

Andrew: I mean it’s got to be [Future Times] store-era. When the shop was open, you were a pretty steady person in there on a Saturday. I think we just started—

Jackson: Just like helping out a little bit on the weekends.

Andrew: Yeah, you would help too sometimes. But yeah, I think it was pretty much when the [FT] store first started existing back in 2017 or 2018.

Jackson: Yeah that was like the genesis of us just—I don’t know, you would start recommending me a lot of things that you were bringing back from Europe and all that. So that’s when I feel like we got to know each other’s music taste a little bit better. And then sometime like beginning of 2018 you just said—I might have sent you like a drum and bass demo amongst other demos—

Andrew: Yeah.

Jackson: You were like, “Let’s try and make something 160, I think it would be dope.”

Andrew: Or like, “send me the project,” or like yeah. No yeah, at first it was just numbers, like the need for speed type of—

Jackson: Right. And then it turned into more of a video game idea after a first few sessions and getting a couple tracks down. Like the first one I don’t think we recorded anything, and then after that—

Andrew: ‘Zumo’ was the first track I think?

Jackson: ‘Zumo’ was first and then every one of them after that I think we started laying down one track every session.

Andrew: Yeah. It was pretty speedy. Or, not speedy, but we never really overthought the songs very hard at all.

TT: Like quick takes?

Andrew: I mean, it’s not one-take action, but it’s like one-session action. Like 4 hours, 2 songs. Definitely did do a little bit of overdubbing, a little bit of this-that in the third, but at the end of the night we’re done, let’s keep doing some other stuff. I mean, it also just happened to work that way, you know, you can try to do that all you want. Like this is kind of how we do it and it’s pretty good. And it was pretty hardware-ish. I do a lot of recording of hardware and then kind of using all that stuff in Ableton to do my stuff—like in a sampler, put it back into a drum machine, or whatever—but what we did was pretty hardware—

Jackson: I think it helped the workflow for us to just both have our own tra desks. Limiting it to like 2–4 different machines, and then we would just get something out of this machine, get something out of that machine, add this—ok, these are like three components to the song. That’s pretty much it. And then we’d maybe come back and layer something else after that.

Andrew: I mean it did work out, like, people kind of DJ the tracks a lot compared to some of my other recent projects. I mean Lifted and shit, people aren’t really *claps hands* slamming with. Or like, model home is a little different.


Jackson: Yeah, like a radio stop, spinback.

Andrew: With Superabundance you don’t want more than like 4 or 5 parts in some of the jams cause it’s just very utilitarian. It’s like techno—to me—it’s like, DJ-use.

TT: [Andrew,] I feel it’s a little bit outside your maybe, not comfort zone, but outside your normal production style.

Andrew: Right.

TT: I think the speed is a little bit more [Jackson’s] thing, but I think the styles come together pretty nicely. I feel like there are moments where I was like, this is [Andrew] and this is [Jackson] and I can kind of see the influence behind the track. For instance, ‘Hyperplasticity’ really reminds me of [Jackson’s] Escape from DC EP.

Jackson: Pretty close, yeah.

TT: It has that, like, glassy, glinting, ethereal kind of techno sound, and then there’s moments that are really funky with really cool drums. So I guess did you guys have the idea of, ‘I’m going to do drums here, I’m going to do…’ Did you have clearly delineated parts, I guess?

Andrew: Not really. I think people may actually be pretty surprised by how many drums are Jackson or something. Or some of the tracks are low-key, like, they’re made percussively, though they’ll have a little melody, but it’s kind of made out of percussive samples getting sequenced. So, you know, I might have done the melody, but it’s very percussion-y anyway. A lot of inspiration for the project—even beyond Rush Plus and Jackson’s whole steez compared to mine—like I was pretty house when we first started hanging out and he was pretty techno. Like my zone or how I DJ with Ari, we don’t typically go way fast. You know, we will, but it’s not something—like hanging out with Jackson at the shop kind of solidified an interest in faster music and we bonded over Shufflemaster and some of this stuff that was like—

Jackson: Some old school techno, but masters—

TT: Well [Superabundance] feels really eclectic.

Andrew: Early techno mixed with like bright sounds and chords and shit.

Jackson: I was definitely coming from like—when we started, Rush Plus was kind of in it’s, not peak, but just, we were hitting our stride in terms of putting out really good releases back-to-back-to-back.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jackson: And we were playing pretty consistently, so I was in that 140, kind of aggressive zone. And just bumping it up a little bit in the drums department wasn’t—it felt natural. I was already playing around with a lot of breaks anyway so just kind of adding more of a floating element, more of like—make it feel like we’re playing a video game cause that’s what it felt like bringing it back to a comfort zone where I was when I was a teenager, just like, playing some Dreamcast or playing like—

Andrew: Some like Wipeout XL-type techo shit.

Jackson: Yeah, Jet Set Radio or like, some Playsation 2…

TT: I was going to say, I was taking some notes while listening and I actually wrote down ‘reminds me of playing PS2 video games.’

Jackson: Yeah, exactly.

Andrew: Video games and I mean some of the sounds are like that bit, you know, they’re not like bit reduction like a real video game is, but they have that little *makes chirping sound* like that little chirp to it. We embraced all those sorts of sounds. I had never really made stuff with a lot of those sounds, so for me, it was sort of a really fun kind of like—a whole bunch of new shit to do. There’s a lot of music that I had made before that and a lot of all over the place, but like never making something that was 160, not really. That was kind of like one of the last frontiers of shit I never touched.

Jackson: It kind of felt like we never conceived an album before starting, it was just, this is kind of fun.

Andrew: Yeah, when we got to enough tracks, we were both kind of like, “Yeah, hey, look at that album.” You know, we didn’t think about doing it like that, we just—

TT: How far into the process would you say you were?

Andrew: I think once the pandemic hit, we actually—Jackson was one of the first just over emails to finish up things or start new things. We just kind of got into it almost about a year ago now. When the pandemic hit, the last three or four songs just came together, jelled, and was enough to be sort of done.

Jackson: Cause before that it was going to be an EP for The Trilogy Tapes

Andrew: Right, yeah it was going to be a 12”.

Jackson: But then we had enough songs by March 2020 that you texted me and were like, “Why don’t we just do an album on Future Times?”

Andrew: Yeah, and at that stage it was just, who the hell knows what anybody wants to do with, like, upcoming releases.

TT: Well yeah, I heard there are so many delays that people are years backed up with their release schedules…

Jackson: On the technical side of things, but even like, Justin [Jus Nowhere, Rush Plus] and I just kind of took an immediate hiatus cause a lot of what we were doing tied into us playing gigs too, and it’s like, well we don’t need to make more techno right now, so let’s just take a break and see what we even want to make now. So, fortunately we have a lot we could just mixdown and be working on at the same time—

Andrew: Yeah, and I mean, I embraced it a lot too, like, for whatever reason it felt good at the beginning of the pandemic shit to—like it’s refreshing music to make in a pandemic too. It’s not like, you know, not that I was going to make like Portishead shit every day or something, you know. It was like an opposite of a feeling outside, like, you’re stuck in your house. I like Superabundance for its headiness as well as, you know, footiness or whatever, danciness, whatever you want to call it. In your mind you can get with the track and like—I spent a lot of time during pandemic going back and forth to where my dad lives, about an hour-and-a-half away, and driving back late at night listening to Superabundance is like really fun, like, highway, night, no traffic cause it was pandemic, up and down—

TT: Do you just go up I-270?

Andrew: Yeah, I-270 to US-15, but at that point there’s like no other cars. Like it would be 1:00 in the morning coming back and there’s nothing, so you’re just cruising to this cinematic thing almost. Cause you can’t get to that place with slower music the same. It’s not the same as like—it just feels cool, you’re going down—it becomes Wipe Out, it becomes F-Zero-ish, it becomes that sort of thing. It was getting there for me.

TT: Yeah, I totally understand that feeling cause I mean my family’s all from southern Pennsylvania as well. But driving down those roads late at night and it’s like pitch black, there’s nothing there, and it’s really cathartic to just like, blast something that’s just so opposite to your serene surroundings almost.

Andrew: Yeah, I’ve always liked that about—I mean, yeah, I’m from there but moved down here sort of halfway point of my childhood—but I love that weird isolated country but meets techno-in-the-headphones feeling or whatever, yeah. Or like, it’s snowing up there, and cranking jungle in the headphones or something while you’re in the woods. It’s weird, but it’s a total feeling, It’s great, you know?

Jackson: I definitely remember—this is way long ago—when we first mixed down the first four tracks, November 2019?

Andrew: Gotta be something like that.

Jackson: I was coming back from Thanksgiving down at my uncle’s farmhouse outside of Richmond and I hit this stretch of Route 3—it’s adjacent to 95 but not the highway—and I’m the only one on there and I have the top down on my car and I’m just bumping, which one was it? It was one of the ones we didn’t put on the album…but it was uh—

Andrew: It doesn’t even have a title though. *makes series of car-through-tunnel-sounding-noises*

Jackson: Yeah, that’s it! But yeah, I was doing that with the wind going over my head and there’s nobody on the road but the sun was about to go down and I’m like…

Andrew: Yeah!

TT: How many tracks did you guys do that didn’t make the album then?

Andrew: There’s a pretty good grip since the album stuff was finished and then there was kind of one that just didn’t—not for any reason—kind of just instead of 10 have 9 [tracks]. I don’t even know if we thought about the vinyl sides and that sort of thing.

Jackson: I would say that we’ve got half an album already sitting around…

Andrew: Yeah, it’s still that kind of thing that if we do stuff—like we haven’t gotten together IRL since pandemic started…really? Have we, no?

Jackson: I saw you over the Summer once when you were packing up Kush Jones’ records cause I had to borrow some record mailers…

Andrew: Yeah, the Kush Jones thing was, I mean, I had to pack so many of those things. Shout out, Kush! Also to be real, shout out Kush two or three ways cause that was another thing too— [referring to Superabundance] I thought of it as as like, techno…I mean, I didn’t think of it as not being part of something he would do in a set, but he started really embracing the Super A and all these things cause it’s kind of like good for his type of stuff too—

Jackson: His footwork and juke stuff…

Andrew: I don’t feel like it sounds like footwork or jungle or juke exactly, but it totally is the technoid thing of all them, you know? I got really into Kush’s stuff and asked him about a record right before the pandemic and then, yeah, everything since then has kind of been something he vibes with too, so it’s been interesting to just go back and forth with him. But yeah, it’s just a new angle to influences. I’m influenced by the dude immediately in a lot of ways, and we had these tracks on deck that just worked with—it’s weird. I met him way after we made these things in this brand new style and they just kind of worked. And even like Tim [James Bangura], DJ Nativesun, all that stuff too.

TT: Who else has been influencing you guys?

Andrew: Even Tim would occasionally be in the studio cause before pandemic we were all—there was a studio—it was me, Baronhawk [Poitier], [DJ] Nativesun. When Future Times shop closed we went over to Baronhawk’s house and there was a solid 4 or 5 months before no one could afford the rent anymore cause everyone lost their job and all this shit, but we were grinding in there and it was, like—that kind of energy too. The last show I played before pandemic was with James Bangura at Jimmy’s and the next day, no more gigs. But yeah that kind of energy going into the pandemic and we just figured out how to tap in.

Jackson: I would say those are the two guys that are still making things on that same scale, and Chris [DJ Nativesun] is making some serious jungle shit.

Andrew: Yeah, Chris is crazy. Hanging out with Chris is super nice, like, I’ve always really loved hanging out with Chris, but to share a studio space with Chris is just mad cool. Chris is also just that little more, like—hanging out with him and Davon [dreamcastmoe] is a total—a DC-ass thing to do. Like really kind of fun in this way—

Jackson: Getting high as shit.

Andrew: Yeah, gonna get blazed, talk some shiiit…but Chris too—somehow Chris wasn’t on my radar until he was and it was just like ‘oh shit’ and we did the YES tape and all this stuff, but definitely really influenced—and soso, Michael [soso tharpa], also. Very influenced by him.

TT: Have you guys been doing any kind of solo stuff? Like I know, Jackson, you have been doing a bunch of stuff…

Andrew: Actually, sort of the opposite. I’ve just been finishing—there were a couple things that were close to being finished that sort of got less-quickly finished—but like there’s a whole new model home album, and we finished the last one in pandemic. I’ve been kind of doing much more collaborative stuff than solo right now, or like, finishing things. There’s a whole Lifted album, also like 3 EPs with it that are also different. There’s like a 90-minute Lifted thing that we’re finishing now. I’ve been doing a ton of audio stuff, and like music, and had a shitload of free time at one point, you know, so a lot of stuff did get done. Personally, some Dolo stuff—I mean I always make drums and shit—I haven’t really made any Max [D] songs lately.

TT: How is it for you kind of keeping these projects separate? Do you have any trouble with that, or does it matter? Are you thinking about things as separate projects when you’re making the music?

Jackson: Yeah, I mean that’s kind of the most calculated I try to get with it is, like, when do I cut off my own thing and when should I maybe send this over to Andrew or send this over to Justin and see what they think on working on it together. I’d say I hit maybe 145 or 148 on the tempo meter and then I’m just like, ah anything past that I’m kind of hitting a different territory for solo stuff. So like my barometer is—there’s this producer named Stephen Brown. He’s a Scottish producer that put out a lot of records on Djax-Up-Beats and just very fast techno shit from ’95-on. And he was my inspiration for doing anything in the 140 range solo because it would be very speedy, very swingy, but also, like, soulful, and just had a lot of human gravity to it. So that’s where I’m at in terms of thinking about it as a track that I might DJ, but also how does it feel human to me, and that’s why I want to keep things that I make for myself as a solo project. And that’s a very esoteric way of describing it but it’s just how I feel about it once I’m finished with it and generally I’ll be like 90 to 100% done in like one session on a song. I don’t usually go back and edit it, but if I feel like there’s more to be done; if I feel like it’s a speedier track, if I feel like it’s more’ve aggressive Rush Plus track—if I feel like there’s more I can’t put on it, then that’s like the teller of ok, let me see if I can get somebody else involved with this.

 

Andrew: I approach all the stuff now—you know, not to sound corny—but somewhat jazzy, just like I’m gonna show up, I’m gonna pick what I’m doing on the track, and I’m gonna do it. Like anywhere from Lifted to Superabundance to model home, it just kind of rolls but also not really overthought stuff ever, like, one session, two sessions for a song to be kind of done. But I show up planning to have drums to contribute, or I know I’m going to adapt to whatever else is going on, let’s go y’know. But I do think about it like that, like, I’m just going to step into the room, or the file if it’s strictly over email cause no one can hang out, but I’m sort of just going to step to it, like, here I am to play on this *claps* not overthink it too much, just go for it. Past few years, I’ve just been kind of on that.

TT: Flexible and adaptable…

Andrew: Yeah. First thought, best thought type of shit, you know? It’s proven to be true over and over again for me.

Jackson: I never feel like it’s helpful to save something and try to go back to it like a month, two months later cause you’re not going to remember how you were feeling when you put down the first part.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jackson: I also just have a rule that if I’m like working on something for 15 minutes and it’s not going anywhere just move on.

Andrew: I delete shit real quick.

Jackson: Move on. Don’t just hang out with it all night.

Andrew: What I do is if I start to feel like a track sucks, I’ll just sorta strip mine, like all the drums for later, I’ll be like ‘oh that snare was cool, *pluck*.’ I got a good kick in that jam but the rest is ass. Or like, ‘oooh the high hat!’ Or take a loop of it. Or you got some long track, I take an 8-bar loop of for later. I usually mine it for parts and just kind of dust it.

TT: So you have a library of these?

Andrew: My shit is ridiculous at this point, and with the pandemic too. Yeah, I got drums for years. That’s just what I usually—everything from like any record I’ve ever listened to, if there’s an open drum to—like, I’ll be on Soulseek looking for, you know, I’ll search ‘Korg, Korg Samples’ and see what wild shit, or hear about some sort of drum machine and try to find the—there’s an awful lot of people who have put samples of various things into like little packs and stuff. And I make a ton of my own also, or like, I’ll go to hang out with Mike [Petillo] from Protect-U and just make drums or percussion sounds out of my samples. That’s kind of like my prep in general for music stuff is just eons of drums; like I have so many drums.

TT: And what’s your kind of process for how you’re making music. Are you in a studio or you at home? What is your environment?

Jackson: When we started this album it was still just me and Justin living together and we had a combined studio at our old house in Northeast, and that was pretty special. That was sick having eight different machines at our disposal, like a few different rack effects, and a really powerful computer. It was a really good setu and, Justin, to his credit, just spent a lot of time making sure everything was wired correctly, so I had a really good environment just to play around with.

Andrew: Yeah, when I went over there just the couple times we would plug in real quick. That helps too with the being jazzy and being loose, if it’s all in there. Or, you know, we finish a lot of things up at Mike’s studio cause they have like—I love the home studio—but the little final touch kind of thing. And you know they got some shit in there that I can’t empty my bank account to buy, like a compressor or something. But that type of thing is really cool. Ever since a few years ago—well, when the Future Times shop and the studio that was in there closed, it definitely turned into—it was just kind of ‘be in the box and take everything up to Mike’s to finish’. It’s like 95% done and just put it through these things that are on another level that I don’t have at home and just get it cranked.

Jackson: I do always just like trusting my ears on like sending out my own mixdown for mastering, buuut just hearing it on that studio sound system is worth the trip just to go and hang out with Mike too.

Andrew: I love just hanging in there—

Jackson: I just like hanging out with Mike! Like, I just want to hang out with Mike.

Andrew: I mean if I didn’t have to do shit but hang out in the studio, like that would be my shit. I love being a little studio rat, I like that. I could be in there for a long-ass time.

Andrew: Ron [Morelli] from L.I.E.S., when I first met him, like a long time ago before L.I.E.S. and Future Times even existed, he would always be talking about how in New York you got the 5 o’clock whistle, the whistle song. Like, ‘Life in the Fast Lane’ by Don Henley is a prime whistle song, like, ZZ Top ‘Legs’ is a prime—when that whistle hits and you’re driving home from work or driving to the bar for the happy hour—but yeah, whistle tunes dude.

Jackson: It’s that, ‘I’m out of work, fuck this,’ anthem.

Andrew: I mean some of the Superabundance stuff will get into that whistle tempo. It’s almost like, uh, or no, the tempo’s not right, but there’s a whistle feel…’I’m outta here!’ I’m driving away.

Jackson: Yeah, like you’re making an escape.

TT: Yeah, I kind of noted that as well, is that a lot of it feels like you’re on this kind of streaming-light night-drive, just getting out of the city or, I dunno, there’s just so much movement to it that’s it’s kind of hard to call it like—it just feels like it’s outside of the dancefloor, it doesn’t just feel like a club track.

Jackson: I think that’s the separation from why it doesn’t quite feel like juke or like footwork, cause it doesn’t feel like we’re making this just so we can bang it out at the club next week, you know? I feel like ‘Hops’ in general, like, that feels like it’s telling a little bit of a story—

Andrew: Yeah ‘Hops’ is very video game-y.

Jackson: It has the jingle as soon as you start, that bassline that comes in that feels like you’re hitting some speedbumps.

TT: Do you guys have a track that you feel is the most unique or most successful collaboration?

Andrew: I mean I really like the whole album, like it was super fun to do. Sometimes you can’t feel that way about music that you worked on meticulously too. It’s like that fun-fresh. It’s still fresh cause it was kind of quick to come together.

Jackson: I do like all of them…

Andrew: I really like ‘Hops’.

Jackson: ‘Hops’ is my favorite. After that, um, ‘Slip’.

Andrew: ‘Slip’ is really cool too.

Jackson: I think…yeah, and then ‘Super A’. Like those are my top 3 of the project that I felt like were the craziest.

Andrew: Yeah I really like ‘Antimatter Circus’ too. And even a little ‘Hyperplasticity’, like, that really scratched like a Paul Johnson/Boo Williams bone that I had never really scratched in other music. Like bouncy drum with the house stuff. You know, I made versions of house before in a million ways but kind of never really  got to rip with the bouncy bass drum…

Jackson: Yeah, ‘Fuzzy Math’ is a cool one too…

Andrew: ‘Fuzzy Math’ is cool too. I mean, yeah, I like the whole thing a lot.

TT: There are a lot of floating and plastic-y and rubbery, elastic bouncy…

Jackson: Bouncy balls.

TT: Yeah, I think that’s pretty cool…which probably contributes to the video game feel of it as well.

Andrew: I think it does kinda, yeah.

Jackson: I’m still a child.

TT: Cause it just feels like there’s always some kind of unexpected thing coming in. It feels, you know, like in a video game…

Andrew: Yeah. It’s pretty melodic too in this kind of video game-y way, like, you don’t really have too much, like, discordant, drone-ish, video game stuff. There’s a whole realm of techno—

Jackson: Not too much forethought in trying to build up parts or, like, this is the next section of the song. It’s like it just kind of keeps progressing…pretty naturally. Which kind of speaks to how we made the album anyways.

Andrew: Yeah. There’s a lot of just, yeah…quickness was the name of the game in a really good way.

TT: Yeah, ‘Hops’ is the one that I thought was the most, you know, OST-feeling, and, like, just kind of good nostalgia…

Jackson: We’re trying to get signed to Nintendo, so…

TT: Sorry, no more mentions of Playstation.

Jackson: Nintendo, if you’re listening…I mean, Sony’s got the money too. I’m not, like, partial to one or the other…

Andrew: I’m really not, yeah. I mean the whole thing is kind of funny too because my like—Jackson even has more, you know, names to drop on video games that he enjoyed growing up. I don’t even actually have—like for me, video games are a bit of a whole aesthetic world that I am to the side of, like, I’ve never really been invested in a video game super hardcore. I played Tony Hawk 2 when I was in like, High School, but I never like—

TT: Did you know they re-released the Tony Hawk?

Andrew: Yeah, I know, I gotta peep that shit. I never really went hard—I’ve never beaten a video game in my life, you know what I’m saying? I never played one all the way through. I really like almost everything but, like, dedicating that time to gaming. I don’t hate it, I’m just like kind of ADD on it, like I never—

Jackson: That was my world growing up.

Andrew: I wasn’t allowed to have video games growing up, that was the other thing. My parents were kind of like, no you can’t do that. So, like—

Jackson: My brother’s 10 years older and he had the first Nintendo when it came out; he was 8 years old when he got that for Christmas. Then, like, he got Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, N64 quickly after that, so I had all of those growing up to my disposal.

Andrew: 10-year older brother is a hook-up.

TT: Yeah, I was gonna say…I wish I had—I’m the oldest.

Jackson: Sega Dreamcast after that, PS2, like—I eventually came back to video games in, like, 2017 I bought a PS4 with my own money.

Andrew: Nice!

Jackson: That was awesome.

Andrew: Yeah, that was like the first time I ever dabbled with video games. I had to wait til I was like 17, and decided to buy a used Playstation to like dabble—I never really had video games.

Jackson: Yeah, but that’s kind of my association a little bit with making music is, like, when I was a kid, I could zone out for eight hours and just play like—even games in Madden for like, just, little puzzles, little strategy—and that’s like making music for me is just like putting together these little puzzles; these pieces together. ‘How does this sound after this sound? That sounds cool, what if I add this sound? What if I take out this sound?’

Andrew: Did you ever mess with the things, like, the programs on Playstation where you can make music and shit, or anything like that?

Jackson: No…

Andrew: I’m interested by those now but I never—like that whole world of stuff, like, people make grime beats and formative things on these like music players from those systems and, I mean, I’m interested by that, but I never knew what those were called, never knew about them, never had tactile experience with anything like that really.

Jackson: I just picked it up cold when I was 22. Like I bought a Native Instruments machine and started just hitting some shit. But it still felt like video games, just like—

TT: You didn’t play any instruments growing up, did you—no?

Jackson: No, my mom would say that—

Andrew: She banned music!

Jackson: Well they had me playing sports pretty hardcore so, like, she claimed that I didn’t have an interest in, like, picking up guitar or anything, cause my sister took guitar lessons and my brother taught himself how to play guitar—but they said I was never interested, which like, I don’t really believe, but…I was the youngest kid and, you know, I played like three sports throughout the year constantly and then the other part was just, like, playing video games or, like, doing homework, so…I mean it just was very, like, segmented that way. But, never really picking up an instrument until after college, after I had been hanging out with a bunch of dead heads and like, music types in Florida that were in their own jam bands and stuff, and they were messing around with some electronic music too. So I had just this sneaky way of being introduced through friends, but not ever really influenced by my parents.

Andrew: Yeah, I might I even be able to say—I got into rolling trackers and things like this—those MS-DOS things you could cut up drums and stuff—that was sort of my video game anyway—I got into that like, 13, 14 [years old]…never making crazy good stuff or nothing for a long time. Just into, you know, putting the thing *makes series of ch, ch machine-like sounds* you know, like do a little Aphex Twin shit— *makes brrrah, braaahrrr, tatatik kakakakaka sounds*

Jackson: I’m Squarepusher.

Andrew: But, you know, it looks like a damn game, you know, it’s just the piano scrolling, and it’s like, that was my kind of video game-ish stuff. My family, everybody does music shit. You know, whatever like, large or small part of their life, like, everyone’s musical. My dad still plays music all the time where he lives. I got my drum set from my grandfather when he died when I was like, 14 or something. He played drums…

***

Andrew: I’m so glad I didn’t get into, like, Guys and Dolls. I got into, like, techno and shit. You know, *makes cheesy showtunes bapadapa dadada sounds* like

Jackson: Yeah. If it were totally up to my parents, I’d be a lawyer or something.

TT: Really?

Jackson: Yeah my dad wanted me to go to law school, and that was never—they always called me the ‘creative one.’

TT: Yeah, I got that label really early-on.

Andrew: I always felt pretty, like, yeah, my parents never really tripped about shit. My dad always thought it was cool to be a musician, you know, like he didn’t think it was wasting your time or whatever. He would kind of hit me with, like, “is this shit really working out?” Don’t dig a hole for yourself trying to make something, like—but they were always encouraging and shit. My dad would drive me and my drum set to shit when I was like 14, like hardcore shows in fucking Woodbridge. My dad would hang out back there, like, “this music kinda sucks, brah…but do your thing. The other bands…they stink.”

TT: What are your guys’ interests outside of music and what have you been doing to get you through this past year? I know you have your drawing [Andrew] and you have your writing [Jackson] and kind of like—when did you guys’ start getting into that and have you been leaning into that a lot recently do you feel?

Andrew: I mean I dabbled—at a certain point, like, yeah I started doing like—I always dabbled with drawing and designing FT stuff, but the animation thing was kind of like—like the model home video and some of that stuff was just kind of like, yeah—I kept on calling it Pandemic University, you know, like, learning how to do it cause, yeah, I was kind of like—lots of free time equals animation, and animation takes a shit-ton of just, over and over again, and, I had the time.

TT: What program did you use to make your Superabundance [animation] stuff?

Andrew: Oh, like I started using this thing RoughAnimator, I don’t even know. It seems like it has a decent following; it seems very simple for what it is…like if you’re sticking with hand drawing stuff it seems very—like I was really impressed. I got an iPad basically and then was impressed as shit with how quickly I could make something I really liked to look at in there. And yeah, when the model home came out and it was kind of like, that one song was perfect for trying out animation, and then it just kind of worked out. I have embraced it and I do it all the time now; I’m like working on a bunch of things.

TT: Do you really like the animation stuff?

Andrew: Yeah, like I just finished a video for Facta from Wisdom Teeth, was doing stuff for the new album. Yeah, shit like that was fun.

TT: So he saw something you did and reached out to you or how’d that—?

Andrew: I think it was actually like someone from Wisdom Teeth was like, ‘anyone know anybody who does videos?’ and Bankhead from Trilogy Tapes—like I had just uploaded the model home [video]—and Bankhead was like, ‘yeah, he’s not busy. Get his ass in there.’ And it was cool, like the guy emailed me and was like ‘would you actually be into that?’ and I was like ‘shit, yeah.’ And I started working again, but like, it wasn’t too hard to grind on it too.

 

 

Jackson: Yeah, I’ve been like—early on in the pandemic I was riding my bike a lot, either by myself or with Rachel, we would just ride around the city everywhere. After that, a lot of video games, like, I played Skyrim all the way through, played Portal and Half-Life 2…

TT: Good ones.

Jackson: I built my own computer, which was stressful for like three days. I didn’t know why it wasn’t working. I was watching videos…it’s like a whole different world I didn’t know about. But yeah, it was just out of necessity; my laptop was really old and yeah…so that was a fun project. Yeah, like, switching out synths, like, getting new synthesizers, reading a little bit. Like I started reading Dune…just some straight-up nerd stuff. As much as I don’t like people really using that word as an example of…anyway—

Andrew: What, Dune?

Jackson: No, like, just calling yourself a nerd. But I just did it.

Andrew: I mean, have you ever seen the names in Dune, bro? You know what I’m saying? Some nerdy shit.

*both start referencing Dune names/quotes in weird voices*

Andrew: I can’t read for shit. Like, my reading was always—I could kill a book on an airplane, but ever since no touring, like, I did all my reading on an airplane or while traveling. I mean I read comics and shit but—

Jackson: See yeah, just reading more comic books too…that’s about it, I mean, there’s not a ton to report. Just working on a lot of music when I feel like it but otherwise…

For the second part of our interview, I meet up with Jackson and Andrew downtown at Eaton DC, where Jackson has a semi-regular DJ spot at the hotel/arts space’s in-house radio station. At a time when music venues remain closed, and in a city that already suffers from a lack of smaller performance spaces amidst rapid gentrification, Eaton DC has been able to fill somewhat of a gap for local DJs, providing access to the station’s equipment and streaming capabilities. When I arrive at the radio station situated just inside Eaton’s front doors, Jackson is dancing between CDJs and drenched in the space’s siren-red glow. As we wait for Andrew to arrive from work, Jackson and I sit down to discuss his introduction to writing and how exactly that manifested into his current blog of music reviews.

Jackson: I was, like, starting college—when I was in Florida, I had friends that were really into EDM and that’s how I got, like, into going to see Skrillex and Avicii and like—I mean, that was like, the genesis of it. And then, they all started a music blog, but they were writing about, like, Moombahton and bass music, Miami bass stuff, and were interested in, like, the clubbier side of things. I was really into, like, the French house and just quirky stuff people were doing with just looping things, and like, slowed-down Disco and stuff. So that’s how I got interested in it, and it became more of an obsession. I ended up being, like, the editor of the blog for a while and then—

TT: What years were you in Florida?

Jackson: So that was, like, 2009…2008 through 2012.

TT: That’s almost the exact timeframe that I was in Florida, which is funny.

Jackson: So that was the second-half of college basically and it carried on a little bit until 2014 until we just decided to end the blog. It was like two years after college and, at that point, like, they had all moved on but I was getting more into just making music at that point, or just trying to, so I basically just took a long break from writing and that was…kind of what I was told I was good at, when I was in, like, high school. But, you know, I had focused just more on making music and then just, like, through the pandemic I had more time to sit down and—I thought about making my own website just to host all the new music that I knew was going to come out, or like, music that I had already done, so, I just wanted like a webpage. But I thought a good addition to that would be maybe try starting up the blog and—instead of writing for my friends’ blog and doing specific things, like, doing what they wanted, basically, for the website doing my role—just write about whatever I like and, you know, have more freedom over that. So, I mean, it’s not consistent; I don’t say, like, once a week I need to have three posts or anything like that. It’s just, whenever I feel pretty inclined to share something that really hits me, like, I want to write about it. Like, lately, I hung out with Amal, James Bangura, and DJ Nativesun, who are making crazy shit right now. I mean, I think mentioned this last time we hung out, but, Amal made this one track that just blew my mind and I just, like, sat with it for a few weeks and then just felt—before work one day I was, like, I need to write about it cause it kind of resonated with me, like—

TT: What stood out most to you would you say?

Jackson: I would say it felt like a producer who was really just laying it all out, like, laying out all their emotions just in one track. And he just put elements of, like, trance, and drum and bass, and liquid drum and bass, and jungle all together in one, and like, hardcore techno, and just like, it felt like he really put it all out there on the line, and I felt like I gotta just—even if he’s the only person who ends up seeing this, like, I just gotta write about it. So, it felt good to, like, say that. You know, my angle every time I go into it, it’s something I’ve heard that just, like, touches me and I need to just synthesize my thoughts, you know?

TT: Yeah, I think that’s interesting cause a lot of people I’ve been seeing lately on Twitter saying that they really appreciate the feedback that they get on, like, Bandcamp comments and stuff like that. And a lot of people were, like, kind of surprised. They’re like, “Oh, people actually read those? You guys see those?” kind of thing, and a lot of producers were like, “Yeah, it really means a lot to me, and I read every single one, and I appreciate the feedback.”

Jackson: Yeah, like all the producers see it and I know there’s specific, like—you definitely know who’re the fans that keep supporting. Not just buying, but, taking the time to write what it means to them, you know, and in a way I can definitely say that me writing a little blog post, 150 words about—There’s Andrew!

***

TT: Do you really miss performing live or do you think that producing is just as much of a good outlet for you?

Andrew: I mean there’s definitely pros and cons all the time on both, but—I mean I miss performing now because we’re sort of prevented from doing it. We did some streaming stuff here and there and it’s not, like, I don’t discount that or anything but it was like—

TT: You don’t have any crowd response, really.

Andrew: Or it’s, you know, it’s just different. It’s fine, it’s just different.

Jackson: It’s like DJing in a, like, sterile box. I mean, I have fun just like getting down and playing cause I only do it, like, once a month and I don’t practice at home, so it’s like I actually get energy out for myself, but, you can only do it for yourself, like, without anybody around so many times before you feel crazy, like—

Andrew: I was super happy when me and Ari [Beautiful Swimmers, World Building] did the Lot Radio thing recently. I was like, “I can still DJ, yesss!” Like, I knew I could, but—

Jackson: Still got it!

Andrew: But I was like—ah yeah, still—I mean I didn’t miss too many beats at all really, and I was like sick, ok cool. Cause I haven’t had a setup at home for a long time. Like, I enjoyed mixing for sure but I just never did it at home. It was just using the equipment in the club everywhere, [Beautiful] Swimmers touring…

 

TT: Do you think you will get a home setup or—?

Andrew: I mean I’ve had one in the past, it just sort of got dismantled, like some of it was at the shop, some of it was, like—I never had a system that was, like, two—I really doubt I’m gonna buy two new CDJs, you know what I mean? Like I have two turntables but—like I can make a setup but I don’t really have a setup that’s, like, practicing what I do when I go out and DJ nowadays; it’s not quite—like I don’t play any vinyl out anymore. It’s just much easier—but yeah, I don’t think I’m going to buy the new CDJs either. I’m stuck with, like, the old me’s DJ setup, but it’s cool, I like two-records-setups.

TT: Are you both still collecting vinyl actively?

Andrew: Yeah, for sure. I kinda went hard, like, the other way—like when the shop closed it was kind of also sweet to just keep a lot of those records out of my house. But, like, I definitely still buy records and collect records, I’ve just been more tasteful with my selection of how many I collect, etcetera.

TT: Yeah, I feel that.

Jackson: I’d say definitely lately just, like, buying more home-listening stuff instead of club. I mean, I’d rather just have something I can just throw on and, like, play the entire side of an album and just listen to that.

Andrew: Yeah, been jamming CDs for that reason too, like, yeah, a good rap album is kind of better on CD cause you ain’t gotta switch it six times from side to side, you know? Like that type of thing, listening at home, or like—

TT: Yeah I feel like that’s why I’ve been buying so many tapes. It’s so nice to just, like, play in the background while you’re doing other things.

Andrew: Yeah, you don’t have to turn it over so, so much, you know, it’s like, yeah—

TT: Sucks to rewind sometimes, but I mean…

Andrew: It’s alright. It does feel a little bit archaic, but…

TT: It’s got some good sounds there.

Andrew: I was reading about ZULI and he was saying that dance music’s always been mental for him just cause of circumstances, like, they didn’t really have a club situation or, like, some reason to do it. And I’ve always been, like, kinda—even though I’ve always had, like whatever, a career DJing in clubs, this that and the third, always spent a lot of time in clubs. I still have a lot of space in my mind for, like, dance music just to listen to. I like using dance music to DJ, but I also like, you know, straight-up house-banger-type-thing, like I can still find space for it in my mind, like, for fun at home. You know, I don’t have to dance to it; I spend a lot of time in that music world still anyway. I’ve been buying dance music and stuff, and home-listening.

TT: Do see yourselves kind of exploring more? I mean, I know this project for instance was kind of outside your normal zone, but do you want to keep pushing it?

Andrew: I feel its outside the zone but I feel distinctly like it’s not too far outside the zone.

TT: I would agree with that.

Jackson: It feels like pretty, not easy, but just, like, comfortable to me. It’s elements of what we have already done, like sounds and different textures that both of us have definitely worked with and, like, house music and just different releases in the past, but it’s just in a different context. You know, a different speed, or different half-time instead of a full-on 160 jungle track, just different approaches to the same ideas I feel like pretty much.

Andrew: Yeah, I don’t know. I’ve made a ton of music in a ton of ways, so to speak, and it feels like a slightly new way for sure. Sometimes I just think of it as faster. Like, I lean slower personally, as just a big dude and whatnot, it’s a funny thing to, like, just go faster for me. The gist of the change for me with Superabundance is just the speed; kind of just raising up the tempo.

Jackson: I had thought about, like, it would be cool to start getting vocalists or just, like, other people involved; just expanding on a bit on a pretty solid foundation.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean, I think it’d be cool.

 

TT: I find that to be an interesting aspect of the DC music scene, or our friends especially, just that everyone’s so willing to collaborate with each other and kind of experiment on different projects, and like, [Andrew] you’ve done a lot of crossover stuff for instance, with experimenting with SIR E.U and live stuff and yeah, it’s pretty cool.

Andrew: Yeah, I’ve always been into that anyway. Yeah, I would probably be doing that wherever I lived but it’s a cool—like DC has always kind of been like that, in my opinion, anyway. But yeah, it’s pretty easy to do things with Davon [Dreamcast] or like, model home, [SIR] E.U—all of this stuff is kind of like…

TT: Well, that’s interesting that you say you would do it anywhere though.

Andrew: Well I just mean that I would be open to it, or like, I would be pursuing the collaborative thing.

TT: Yeah, it’s hard to necessarily find collaborators everywhere you live.

Andrew: But the combos wouldn’t happen the same not in DC too, like that’s the thing, like sonically the combos are all interesting because it’s all pretty DC-ish or something, you know? I don’t know, it is, like…

Jackson: Yeah, every person is kind of going for it in their own way, and we’re all, if you just look into it, most of us are kind of from here, so like, this is where we are and we’re not really going anywhere, so…

Andrew: Yeah a lot of DC’s like…

Jackson: Small enough that we can see each other at different parties and hang out…

Andrew: Yeah, DC’s a classic small place—I mean, it’s way smaller than anyone thinks it is, especially like, in the world. Like, you leave America and DC is not perceived as a place that only has like 500,000 people in it, you know, if that.

Jackson: Like everywhere else people call it Washington and not DC so like…

Andrew: Yeah, or like, when you go overseas someone thinks that Washington is sometimes, like, the size of New York City or something, you know?

Jackson: Nah, not even—

Andrew: Close…you know, it’s pretty tiny, like straight up tiny…I mean, DC’s one of those places that, like, I dunno, a decent amount of people can’t quite see the charm in DC, but the charm is just totally there. Like it’s just one of these cities that’s kind of, like, if you don’t know the right people and you show up for three days, you might not find out what fun thing there was to do, you know? But it’s sick if you do know where to go or what to do. I mean, when there’s not a pandemic. But it’s sick; it’s a cool place, it’s  like a musical place in a lot of ways that nobody factors in to, like—you know, you could read something in any of the large publications that would talk about dance music or something like that, but because there was not quite like a house this-or-that scene, or a techno this-or-that scene here, like the idea that they don’t—like no one ever talks about, like, Go-go, which is, like, a massive part of the music. Or like people don’t talk about, like, the Blackbyrds or something, ‘Rock Creek Park’, or something; disco music, stuff like that, soul music, jazz music. I mean, it doesn’t take too long to get to like—if you like jazz, it’s like Brother Ah and stuff, like, free-jazz and stuff, like, DC was insane. Oneness of Juju is from here. But it’s kind of like an interesting place, cause, like, people forget about sort of the rest of what happens here, or what happened here.

 

Jackson: I think, and not to make this a versus thing, but the artists, like I said, are generally from here. But a lot of the other adults end up moving here for some more of an transient reason like going to Georgetown Law or, like, getting a non-profit job for a couple years and then—

Andrew: Or you’re a staffer or whatever.

Jackson: Using that as a stepping stone to move to New York and get a bigger job, like, it is in a sense, like, the people who make art are here but then the people who are like professionals here just see it as, like, I’m here for a little bit and I’m probably not staying, like, I’m here for the next opportunity kind of situation.

Andrew: It’s also, like, other cities don’t really deal with the cultural—I mean, there’s kind of, like, cultural baggage that comes with having—like, the government is here. You know, like, every president that changes, all the staffers change. The vibe—like DC never changes to some Republican vibe, but the influx of people is strange. Like, it’s kind of weird; people change when like—like when Trump was here, it felt mad weird.

Jackson: Literally overnight.

Andrew: The new people bopping around bars and stuff are just gnarly.

Jackson: I was working at Bantam King right by Capital One Arena, and overnight, like, we just had these robot-looking motherfuckers that looked like they just hopped off the plan from Russia that just, like, were coming out for lunch. And I’m just like, “Who the fuck are you people? I’ve worked here for a year and I’ve never seen any people like this.”

Andrew: Well there’s always just the influx, or Congress went Right there for a few years there so you got, like, x-amount of people coming into work, or like, a Senator whose nuts, or whatever. I mean, even a Senator or a Representative that you would partially or most of the time agree with, or be party-affiliated with, could totally have an influx of, like, weird-ass people for like a city social life, you know what I mean? Like, a lifetime staffer that’s, like, a Democrat from who-knows-where, is not necessarily a great addition to the dance floor. DC’s weird, like, the people who influx here are doing it for some other reason that you’re not going out of your house for. You know, like, there’s a whole world here that’s, like, separate from all of us too, like, we were born or grew up around here so we might know someone who, like, works in the government, but there’s that whole—there’s Washington and then there’s DC. And the DC part is pretty awesome. But the Washington part can be a massive cloud too, or just like, a big blocker of—

TT: Yeah, I worry that the Washington cloud has overshadowed so much of DC culture to the point that it’s, like you said, no one has this association with, like, all the roots of DC music—

Andrew: Or, like, people don’t really get what—people, when you talk about what DC music stuff is, it’s all—people go, “Oh! Oh? Oh. Dope. Oh, yeah?!” You know it’s whatever, like, if you like hardcore and punk music, like, the best band is Bad Brains. They’re from Southeast [DC]. If you like funk music, like, P-Funk moved here from where they previously lived because it was the best place, you know? They put the Mothership in PG County. That type of stuff is cool here. It’s a little forgotten, it’s a little, like, not thought of. I mean it’s also, like, I mean the music thing and the DC thing and the history thing with the racial part of the city and it’s history too is, like—like even up til a few years ago, if you talked to some sort of transient, let’s say white adult, who moved into DC to work some other job, is gonna look around at the club stuff or, like, at life in general and be, like, “maybe DC is boring as shit to me,” or whatever, but like, if you talk to a Black person who visits DC there’s like this entire other thing going on that’s, like, musically rich, culturally rich.

 

Superabundance is now available on Bandcamp, soon to be released as a 2×12″ vinyl.
Jackson Ryland: Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Twitter
Andrew Field-Pickering: Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Twitter

Photos by Taylor Trostle

Taylor Trostle
Taylor Trostle

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