DJ T-Ina

Songs of a dead dreamer

DJ T-Ina followed DJ Spooky (that subliminal kid) from N.Y.City, on one of his trips through the invisible city. DJ T-Ina was very excited to meet an engineer working like her on a new matrix by driving on two shimmering SL-1210MK2 of steal into an area of hypermoderity. When they entered the e-mail zone, DJ Spooky sent her a signal, "(...) any sound can be you. It is through the mix and all that it entails - the re-configuration of ethnic, national, and sexual identity - that humanity will hopefully move into another era of social evolution." DJ T-Ina looked back over her shoulder and all she saw in her present and past was genocide, intercine ethnic strife and warfare, the complete destruction of the environment and the creation of a permanent underclass that doesn't have access to technology, - she thought - is that gonna be what the future holds if humanity can't come to grips with these new and explosive forces technology has released in us all? She put on her headphones, pitched the speed of her engine a little down and prepared to send an answer by signaling back towards the atmosphere:

For me a lot of the stuff about dj'ing is focused on how you interact with the crowd and establish a dialogue. Much of conventional art is concerned with a similiar premise as well. What I'm trying to do is bring the artform of dj'ing into a place where it can be about the established values of "the mix", yet where it can also be a mode to convey deeply felt values that have nothing to do with dancing. It's a difficult task because there is a serious resistance to trying to pull things together and create a synergy, but I think that our society is heading for a completely electronic immersed milieu where many of the ideas that drive dj culture and club culture will be central themes. I am not against dance music, and I'm not against conventional music. What I'm saying is that there's room for everything - the medium is wide open at this point, but what people need to realize is that if everyone is doing the same thing in the same way with the same equipment - things get really boring really fast. All I'm trying to do is bring in the diversity that truly experimental music can offer.

I started out at school (I took my degree in Philosophy and French literature at Bowdoin College in 1992). I took a lot of courses in electronic music composition, but was really bored with the standard "avant-garde" bleeps and fragments style that so many electronic music composers go for. I wanted to do something that would be reflective of the culture that I come from: urban, downtown, diverse, idealistic. So I did the album 'Songs of a Dead Dreamer', and the compilation 'Necropolis: The Dialogic Project'/ knitting factory ( I started doing "Molecular", it was one of the first events in Manhattan to be structured around the theme of a maze - nightclub as maze, a post structural locale for the production of electronic culture, and all that jazz. You know what I'm saying?

There's no way you could survive on the experimental circuit with the economics of electroculture that we're all facing these days. The economy just isn't in place to support young electronic oriented experimental stuff. But on the other hand if you're making material and selling it - everything from mixed tapes to whitelabel 12's you can at least make your electronic habit pay for itself. I don't really make my income of the DJ thing. I write and that pays my bills. The DJ thing is a hobby first and foremost. I also paint and am in the middle of setting up gallery shows and stuff like that where the visual aspect of what I'm doing can be manifested. I dj at parties that I'm into and work with people that I support. Because I'm not really in this game to make a lot of money I can be picky about the parties I choose to support. I think that too many people spread themselves thin and spin at parties they don't really like. That's one reason a lot of the parties in the States really suck. People don't really know how to put on an event that's interesting and engaging, and when they see people that do, they want to crush that new energy out.

A lot of my creative impulse comes from trying to create an analog experience with digital equipment. I play mini-moog on a couple of tracks then sample it and flip around. I also use the urban landscape as the main source of my samples and stuff. I carry around a pocket recorder and tapes sometimes and record my neighborhood. A lot of that stuff appears in my mixes as well. In terms of equipment I used a basic array - Macintosh Quadra 800 with protools and sounddesign, Akai s1000 sampler, roland drum machines, a yamaha dx-7 keyboard, different analog and digital delay pedals, tape loop echoes etc. I try to be open about the creative process and let a little entropy into the mix. If it's just a digital thing that stuff usually sounds too clean and crisp. I like a more scifi, gritty analog sound - but processed digitally.

The vinyl edition of Songs will be out any day now. The reason it got delayed was because of a mistake at the printing house of the artwork, and that slowed everything down.

The collaboration with Aimiri was cool, but it didn't have the same visceral imapct that a live thing has. He was difficult to get in touch with and that made the bulk of the work fall on my shoulders. But on the other hand I was honored to be working with a poet of his stature. I'm usually not really into vocals that much, but his voice has a deep resonant character that carries this sense of extreme passion. When he speaks, you know he cares about what he's saying. You can't say that about a lot of people. The collaboration was focused on me providing a sonic backdrop for his poem "Black Dada Nihilismus". It worked out pretty well, but I do wish it could have been extended into a more thorough approach to the man's work. He's a brilliant poet and hasn't gotten the same respect that his peers William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg for example received. I think we will work together in the future.

It's really similiar here. People are kept from doing more interesting events precisely because of the prohibitive cost. But as more and more people become interested in the whole vib of this type of stuff, I think that people will approach it as an almost communal sort of thing and pool their resources. That's the best way to get things done with this type of situation.

Everything I'm doing is an extension of my writing. I'm a writer first and foremost. It's not difficult to switch between the two things. What is difficult, is to get people to see a wide variety of creative structures available to them to get their expression out. If I have one message for people it's this: you don't have to do or be one thing. There's a whole multiverse out there. Our culture is so focused on specialization that people think that if something draws on a wide variety of material for its style that it's not valid. That's a really limited world view, and it's basically really unhealthy. It's mindset that's killing the planet.

Everyone is doing well these days. Things are revolving and mutating and moving into different zones of expression. This summer there's a big multi-media show at the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage. As it stands these days everything is flowing. Flow will make the world move and change and grow and hopefully heal.