If you've ever wondered what runs through the head of LA producer Groundislava then this FADER Mix is going to be pretty revealing: chillout tunes, cartoon saxophones, and Sade, apparently. Along with Shlohmo and Ryan Hemsworth, Groundislava is part of the west coast's WEDIDIT collective and has a rep for making tracks that yearn for summery sensations. With his third album Frozen Throne on the way this fall, get into his headspace via this sweetly meandering mix—which features three new Groundislava productions—and read on to find out why he's into cyberpunk and what floats his boat in the culinary department.
Where are you right now? Describe your surroundings. I'm in my room—in front of me there are posters for Minecraft, DOTA 2, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Hatsune Miku, and some other stuff. About 2 feet to my right there's a 50-inch TV and a PS4 sitting on the table where I used to have about 8 different synths and drum machines (recently moved those to a different workspace.)
Tell us a bit about this mix—what were you going for? I really wanted to give some insight into some of the sounds and styles that are influential to me right now, and also show some of my new tunes and stuff. I ran into this wall about 20 minutes in where I just wasn't satisfied with how some of the more new-age-y tracks were sitting within the mix so I started to get a bit more creative. I ended up making 3 new tracks—"October pt. 1," "7 AM," and "Engrossing Moments (Groundislava Remix)"—within the project file for the mix. I really like this mix, and have actually been listening to it a lot :).
How much does being part of a collective like WEDIDIT shape you creatively? All the WEDIDIT guys pretty much came up together, around the same couple high schools and basically in the same music scene. I think WEDIDIT shaped me creatively by surrounding me with likeminded people during my most formative years. I think it created a sort of support network that instilled the confidence in us to really believe in what we were doing. I think it's really great that as we get older, our individual styles mature and develop independently, but there's still somethings that definitely links them all together.
What couldn't you have made Frozen Throne without? I couldn't have made this album without Rare Times. Not only were they were willing to work within the concept and narrative that I wanted to express through the record, but they helped me reach a new level of professionalism in the production process. Anthony's vocal abilities and Alex's technical wizardry were essential in building this record into the sci-fi pop record that I'd dreamed of. In terms of equipment, the Roland SH-101, Yamaha Sy77, TR-909 and Operator were the backbone synths of the album. For instance, "October Acid" was made entirely on the SH-101, minus the drums (those came from TR-707).
What's the last book you read that had a big impact on you and how? William Gibson's Neuromancer is my favorite book of all time and was pretty much the inspiration for the entire record. I re-read it for the third time at the beginning of last year while working on the record, and then read the rest of the trilogy later on in the year on tour. I first read Neuromancer when I was 14 and I have been absolutely obsessed with it and the cyberpunk genre since. The record itself is based around a cyberpunk narrative I created, and is also just an homage to that era of sci-fi in general. The world that William Gibson created in that book has inspired almost everything I've created in some way, so I really wanted to acknowledge that with my music somehow.
What's your favorite dish to cook and how do you make it? After music, cooking is easily my main passion. I cook everyday. My favorite dishes to make are probably Mabo Tofu (Japanese style) or Hainan Chicken Rice (look this up if you haven't had it, it's the best). They both have really specific processes to how they're made and I just find everything about those processes very relaxing.
Groundislava - Feel The Heat ft. Rare Times
Groundislava - Feel The Heat (Arnold Remix)
David Wise - Stickerbrush Symphony
Groundislava - Untitled Demo
Sade - By Your Side
Benedek - Untitled
Aphex Twin - I'm Self Employed
John Legend - All Of Me (Groundislava Cool Mix)
ATB - Engrossing Moments (Groundislava Cool Mix)
Groundislava - 7 Am (El Cucu #3)
Ryuichi Sakamoto - El Cucu #2
Gigi Masin - Snake Theory