Celebrating the digital release of artist, DJ and label founder, PBDY’s debut album, Careworn out now on Brainfeeder, Hyponik caught up with the self-confessed music fanatic.
We discuss his new album, his cast of collaborators, Flylo and living in the absorbing music cauldron that is L.A. See below.
As someone who has been lauded for their well-established mixing ability, has your DJ’ing hat been taken off by the production processes of creating Careworn?
I think my DJ hat will always be on, to be honest. It’s massively helped me in the process of creating this record; the ability to mix totally helps with cohesiveness. BUT, I will say I’ve taken production a lot more serious lately since completing Careworn.
Is there any significance in the album’s title?
Absolutely, the word Careworn is defined as “tired and unhappy because of prolonged worry.” I think this is a feeling that EVERYONE has felt or feels but not many knew there was a word to describe that feeling. To me when I started this record, I knew what it was going to be about but couldn’t figure out the proper way to articulate it verbally. I was just looking through synonyms for words that described how I was feeling at the time of writing the record and this amazing word popped up and instantly I knew that was it. That was exactly how I feel & knew it was the perfect title.
Is Careworn the first album in a trilogy exploring love, loss and death? If so, can you take us through how you gravitated towards this concept?
Yeah exactly, it’s the first in a trilogy exploring the human condition. I realized that after I finished this record, the music I was working on after was very similar sounding but actually even darker. So, I thought about why that is & realized that some of the feelings I was going through during writing Careworn never were resolved and some even worsened. So, I figured let’s continue this conversation & by the 3rd record I’ll be in a totally different state of mind one would hope. It’s very connective to my own personal struggles.
Careworn is your debut but you have been integral to the Brainfeeder movement and demon on the decks for a long time when you did you become involved in Brainfeeder?
I started talking to Flylo when I was like 17 (I’m 30 now). I was living in PHX and we would just talk music and movies and just became close friends. He encouraged me to move to LA, which I did, & 8 years later I’m still there.
Has being an L.A. resident inspired this coalescence of musical styles in Careworn?
I think it definitely helped shape the sounds a bit, especially being around the musicians who were involved on the record. I was able to work with these other musicians so naturally because we were all friends already before I started working on music. I do think that the PHX desert will also always be a slight influence on my sound as well.
Were there any musical muses for this project?
Any artists that were influencing your creative process during the making of Careworn? There wasn’t anyone specific artist that I was listening to during the making of the actual album but I was very influenced by the band The Body & Massive Attack. Those two worlds of sound mean a lot to me. I was listening to a LOT of music scores when writing the record as well. The cinematic soundscapes really helped me figure out what I wanted to do in telling my own story. I wanted to make a move score but something a bit more connective to the average person.
Did the experiences of working alongside people like FlyLo make the switch from DJ to recording artist easier?
I don’t think it necessarily made it easier, for the longest time I was incredibly shy to show anyone my music much because such talented humans surround me. I think it did help me make sure that the music I am creating means something and not just something that’s a flavour of the week. Being around these people makes you want to create timeless music. I’ve always wanted to make music but I was waiting for my time to add to the dialogue properly, until recently I didn’t know what I wanted to say quite yet.
The album has a wonderful balance between the message and musicality, was it important to convey life experiences in this way?
That was the whole purpose of this album was just to tell a life story, or a chapter in one’s life. Something where people can feel what I’m going through without me having to explain it. After I lost my mother to cancer, I just didn’t want to keep telling that story verbally. I felt sonically would do it more justice. It’s very important for me to connect to someone this way, I’d like people to just know everyone is going through something, no judgment here just sounds to help them on their journey.
Samuel T Herring performs a haunting vocal on the track, tears or rain a sound so cinematic and emotive, as is most of the album. Was this a major shift away from your musical roots or something you have wanted to explore for some time?
I think the biggest switch for me was just stopping using samples. For the longest time (since I started producing) I was a sample junkie. I loved looking for random bits to sample that no one had heard before or if they had, it was flipped in next level fashion. I’ve always had this cinematic type influence, even with JP Moregun, it’s a mob movie basically in a mixtape. Flylo once was just like man you got to start working with some musicians & so I did and never looked back. Working with other musicians completely changed my direction of creation for the better. I appreciate EVERYONE who helped me flesh out the ideas of my mind for Careworn.
Salami Rose Joe Lewis makes two wonderful appearances of diverse musicality on Careworn. Her voice is hair-raising and your music compliments it so well, when did she become involved?
I actually went to Salami’s first show ever, I’ve been following her for years now (4 or 5 maybe?). I originally wanted her to be on TAR but then one day I decided to send her some of my own instrumentals and she recorded “Bring Me Down” which was the first song I ever worked with a vocalist aside from Jeremiah Jae and from there on we have been super close. I knew her talent was limitless so I had to show Flylo her music and see if Brainfeeder could be her new home. We since have toured the world twice together and she’s the best sister I could ask for. I love her to death & want nothing but success for her.
The musicians who collaborated are of such high calibre on this record and your production intertwines naturally and elegantly. Based on the unique sensibility of Careworn was their inclusion the way to succeed in creating an album such as this?
This record would not have existed if it weren’t for the musicians involved in it. Tylana Renga was the first person I worked with on the musician side of things. She would play Violin on some of my tracks and I was so blown away by her beauty and talent, she became very integral to the recording process. As was Miguel Atwood-Ferguson & Miguel Baptista Benedict. Between those 3 I had my skeleton of moods and they would just send me random bits of recordings and writings and I would find moments to use and flip and stretch and create new worlds with them. Working with Jeff Parker was a dream for me as well, I’ve been a HUGE Tortoise fan for years & Justin Brown who is my roommate as well I’ve toured with multiple times and love that dude. He’s my brother. Everyone was just so necessary in making this record I still am bugged out on it all. I feel incredibly lucky and humbled.
Can you speak about the formation of the TAR label and what inspired it?
I started TAR basically as means to just help other producers get their sounds out to the world and also give DJ’s some constant new sounds to work with. It was just me hearing some people and being like “how are you not bigger yet??” So, I would just try and put people on. Help them believe in themselves because it’s important. Some of these kids have outright told me they would have stopped making music if it wasn’t for TAR and to me that’s some lifesaving shit. I just wanted a home for people who didn’t know what ‘home’ was.
Are we to expect any collabs with Jeremiah Jae, in the form of JP Moregun?
Ohhh yes, we actually have like 20+ instrumentals we made together BEFORE the actually mixtape was created. We would just link up and make beats together. But yeah hoping to release those and we have a few other unreleased gems as well that might see the light of day. Jae will definitely be in my next record though; we have already started some demos.
Can your UK audience expect to see you performing anytime soon?
I hope so! I would love to be out in the UK more, I toured out there with Cinematic Orchestra earlier in the year and loved every moment. 2020 for sure will see me out there again. Hoping to play the whole record with a live band at some point there for sure.
Careworn is out now on Brainfeeder.
Words: Matthew O’Hare
Featured Image: Joseph Armario