In our column My First Time, we ask some of our favorite artists to share some of the all-important firsts that have helped shape their lives. Today, NYC producer FaltyDL gets open about his rose-tinted first crush, saving up for his first sleeve tattoo, and abandoning sheet music for synths ahead of the release of his new album In The Wild on Ninja Tune this August 12th.
My first memory: The leather seats in my father's car would burn my legs during the summer when I was really little. Also, I think we all remember having our diaper changed, and in fact we play that shit (no pun intended) out in our lives, daily. It's just hidden deep inside our subconscious at this point. Or maybe you kick off your clothes and slip into a diaper at the end of the day, go for it!
My first instrument: The recorder at school, right? But here is where my folks threw me a curveball, they followed that up with five years of flute lessons! Yeah, you can know that about me, it's ok. First instrument I decided to study on my own was the upright bass. About 10 years on that behemoth and now it's all computers and synths. What a waste of an education. Sheet music? Thank God that shit is over. That being said, we may release one of my album tunes on sheet music? I need to figure that out.
My first show: If I'm being honest, James Galway the flute player. I wasn't joking. He had a gold flute. That was kinda crazy in retrospect. He was sort of a rock star in the flute world. I don't want that to be my first ever show, but I can't remember anything else other than James Galway right now. There used to be free summer concerts on the New Haven town green. Had a lot of firsts on that stage. Ray Charles sticks out in memory.
My first beat: There is a DVD in about 10 different labels' demo PO boxes of my first 30 or so songs. I had no shame in sending out rough beats to labels as a kid. This was about 12 years ago now. Warp, Ninja Tune, Planet Mu etc. Mike Paradinas has the DVD I think, ransom if I leak nude photos of him. I think the very first stuff was all about 180bpm awful, awful jungle. But there is the rare moment of melody or production that I would clumsily stumble across and still to this day try and re-create. I just think I was so innocent then, to the music world, and it showed in my tracks. It came across as this super playful, wild energy which I try and contain these days. It lets loose every now and then; it's a tool these days. Back then it was a lifestyle.
My first crush: The squirrel in The Sword in the Stone. But then there was Kendall. I loved Kendall from kindergarten through 5th grade. Like, hardcore crushed out all day to this girl for years. She knew it too. I'd chase her around the playground, send her love letters. I kissed her once. It was pretty epic. Spin the bottle vibes. Now that I think about it, hold up. It's kind of crazy that I love Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides—Kendall was one of three blonde sisters. Anyways, it was just that vibe, all day. Rose-tinted what have you, I swear everything went a little blurry and hazy when she was around. Sort of desaturated but glowing at the same time. She has a family now. All the sisters do I think. Her father actually teaches at our school, and in 7th grade told me and my friends to "cool it" with the girls. He had three to protect at the time!
My first kiss: See above, ha. It was over before it even started though. About as accurate as shooting for the moon without all of NASA's guidance. We were young, what you gonna do? And all my best friends were there. I wish all my best friends were there for important life events like that. Nowadays you have to invite them. They were just there when you were a kid.
My first major purchase: I saved up money when I was 19 to get a full sleeve tattoo. That took forever and I lived on a loaf of wonder bread a week for two months before the tattoo to make the remaining cash. In fact I had little-to-no iron or protein coming in, and the tattoo was that much more difficult to get. Nowadays rent feels like a major purchase. Seriously, I make a major purchase every month in NYC. The returns are worth it though. I've bought all of the computers I use and synths and programs etc. I think that was important to me when I started, to not steal the tools to make my art so to speak. Oh, I remember I bought a Buck knife when I was about 11 or 12. My dad was super pro-knives, I had a collection by 14. That Buck knife cost me about $100 and I broke it just last year. Threw it at the floor trying to make it stick, the very tip broke off. Other then that, been looking at brownstones lately.