Brian DeGraw co-founded Gang Gang Dance, that seminal Manhattan band, over a decade ago. Recently, though, he moved north to Woodstock’s greener pastures, and using the wonky moniker bEEdEEgEE, released his debut solo effort, sum/one. (Fans of GGD will find reassurance in the fact that lead singer Lizzi Bougatsos appears on the album, so, of course, there seems to be no rift.) Download DeGraw’s FADER mix below, inspired by the fleeting sun this time of year, and read an interview about his move, what his solo work offers that Gang Gang Dance doesn’t, and a recipe for a badass-seeming walnut pâté.
What were you thinking about when you made this mix? I was thinking mainly about how the sun feels when it appears very briefly after weeks and weeks of not having seen or felt it. It’s been very grey everywhere i’ve been over the past three months, and a few days ago the sun appeared from behind the clouds for just about 10 minutes. It was very emotional feeling the heat on my face. It inspired me to make a mix that dealt with that dynamic of depletion versus momentary or temporary sustenance.
What tricks did you pull on your album that you couldn’t have with Gang Gang Dance? No tricks really, just stillness. Thats something I find difficult to do with GGD, find stillness. But now I’m done being still—I wanna move again.
How does performing solo feel? It feels equal parts liberating and restrictive, but I haven’t really done much of it yet so it’s a given that it won’t feel completely right or wrong. I’m just beginning to find different ways of approaching it. I want to blur the line between DJ and “band” more, do something that can’t be defined as one or the other.
What has been the best part of moving upstate? Had you planned moving for a while, or what spurred it? I had been feeling the need to get closer to nature for quite a while. It’s was building up in me and making itself very obvious, manifesting itself in the form of physical and mental sketchiness. I would say my favorite thing about Woodstock is the swimming holes. Every single time I swim here I am in awe of how it feels. There are spots deep in the woods that look like that scene from The Goonies, giant waterfalls and rock formations like overgrown Henry Moore sculptures.
What do you like to cook, and how do you make it? I like to cook curries and rice-based dishes in the fall and winter. In summer i generally try to eat raw foods or very simple cooked food like just a bowl of brown rice with avocado and tempeh and burdock root, things like that, the vital Ital. One of my favorite raw foods to prepare is a walnut pâté: Soak walnuts for a few hours then throw into food processor with a few carrots, some celery, two cloves raw garlic, a bit of red onion, and some olive oil. Add juice of one lemon, some Braggs amino or Tamari, a pinch of turmeric, a smaller pinch of cumin, some fresh dill or whatever herb you want, a little cayenne powder, salt and pepper. Blend to whatever consistency you like…can be like hummus or more like a Tuna salad consistency. I like to eat it on toasted red rice bread with avocado and tomato and more dill. Dill is the chillest herb aside from the obvious.