For DJ Haram, orchestrating music electronically has always been a natural part of the creative process. "With a synth, you can design sound without knowing exactly what you’re doing. It feels more approachable for sound design and experimentation."
She stopped by the Moogstore at Moogfest to demo the new Moog Grandmother - we talked about first impressions, the future of live performance and how DJs are bending musical genres for the next generation of artists.
What draws you to the Grandmother?
DJ Haram: I would have to say the colors. I don’t know if it’s actually limitless - I’m sure there’s some kind of equation you can use to figure out how many possible outcomes there are between the Moog Drummer From Another Mother (DFAM) and the Moog Grandmother - but it feels kind of limitless, which is rare for an instrument. There are only so many pre-sets I can go to, and only so many ways I can edit them.
What is it about the Drummer From Another Mother (DFAM) that suits your sound?
H: I feel like its personality is really punk. It’s good for what I use it for. It’s really grungy and heavy, and makes really great bass kick sounds. It’s a new way of programming drums that I’ve never done before. It activates my mind in a new way. I also do appreciate the fact that the sequencer means you can only have eight possible steps. It pushes me to refine a small segment, and then build upon it.
Why have you chosen synthesizers as your choice medium for artistic expression?
H: I think that synthesizers feel a little more accessible as an instrument compared to, say - a guitar, or a drum kit, or an accordion. [Laughs] It’s more accessible as something to just pick up and mess around with. I don’t have any formal music training - I just have YouTube, my friends and collaborators. Maybe it’s because I’ve been exposed to more experimental, improvisational music - as opposed to a drum kit and a guitar. In my own experience in trying to experiment with guitar, I don’t feel like I can make sounds that I would ever contextualize in my music. Whereas with a synth, you can design sound without knowing exactly what you’re doing. It feels more approachable for sound design and experimentation.
What do you think live shows will look like 20-30 years into the future?
H: I see a lot of DJs and producers getting more into whatever they can find, as far as hardware goes. I see artists getting really creative with what they’re doing and disregarding genre. I come from a DJ background, but I’m also a producer - sometimes I do live sets, and sometimes I DJ. I see a lot people blurring the lines between those two things – playing a prerecorded mix, and then dropping some samples on top from a drum machine. I think there will be a lot more blurriness as far as genres go. The future is about letting go of the way we’ve compartmentalized music in the past, and exploring more of what it means to embrace the multifaceted nature of artists.
Check out our live stream with DJ Haram at the Moogstore at Moogfest: