This is the first collaboration between Dustin H and myself. Actually I should mention how we got in contact to do music in the first place. A couple of summers ago, The Brothers Moreh (Shiloh) were playing in town. As was tradition, myself and Braeden met up with them for dinner before the gig (Lush at Hush) and they brought a friend of theirs with them. I know what you’re thinking – this is going to lead to someone getting whacked. Let me be the first to tell you that this isn’t some lame pseudo-mafia meeting. I have had it with you and your imagination. What happened next was not an illegal crime stunt, but rather, to quote a good friend of mine named Adam, a beautiful mind puzzle between myself and Dustin H. When it was all put together you have something that sounds like what the above photo approximately looks like.
I took the photo of the mountains above while flying over the coastal mountains of British Columbia on the way to the Yukon. Unfortunately, it turns out I was headed in the wrong direction, as Dustin actually lives in Seattle. Bummer, but a good photo shoot. Funny story here actually. The first time I went over to visit Dustin, I got on the Clipper (the worlds fastest ferry, except for this day) from Victoria to Seattle. It was fairly dark by this time, as it was winter and around 6 PM on a Friday evening. On the way there, a log went in one of the turbine engine intakes. Yes, this ship has airplane engines. Awesome. Log in the turbine? Not awesome. This was unfortunate, as it was pitch black now, and we were essentially in the Pacific Ocean (but more like around Port Townsend). Eventually some poor dude had to go out and dive in the icy waters and get the log out of the intake. You’re sick. That is not the funny part. It was around this time that I realized that I didn’t have Dustin’s number in my cell phone. So what do I do? I phone everyone I know in Seattle and ask them to go online to see if they can find a guy from Seattle named “Dustin H.” Yes, it could not have been better planned on my part. So my friend offers to come meet me for dinner since it has become evident that I have no idea what I am doing in Seattle for the night. My friend somehow gets ahold of Dustin, or Dustin somehow gets ahold of me, and then we all meet up for dinner somewhere near the Space Needle. It is not clear how this happened. And that’s my hilarious story.
Most of this track was written while we weren’t playing Halo 2 in the living room. Basically we would take turns writing the tune, going back and forth between Pizza and Halo and Dustin’s laptop. It was a lot of fun and we got a lot of work done in a very short amount of time – the Clipper schedule on the weekends is pretty awful in the off-season. I had to come back on Sunday morning at 7 AM. Creativity under pressure due to time constraints has its advantages and an obvious disadvantage. Lets talk about its glaring disadvantage: you don’t have much time to refine your ideas. So things that aren’t working have to be immediately discharged — it’s more efficient to come up with several new ideas and pick a strong one than it is to tweak one bad one until it becomes somewhat good. You can’t polish a turd, unless you wait for it to petrify. Then you can, but that’s pretty weird man. Don’t do it. My point here is that time is of the essence, so you must learn to quickly recognize the good ideas before they necessarily “sound good”. At this point, you must be very good with the tools in front of you, even if they’re not your own. The other thing that’s good about having the time constraint is that it motivates you in a goal oriented way – it was immensely gratifying to have a whole song to show for a weekend. In production terms, that is huge. I have spent up to 6 months on a single track before, and I’ll do it again. The disadvantages to being creative while being constrained by time is that sometimes you just don’t feel like you have any good ideas and you need to rest and come back to it. This actually turns into an advantage, because with collaborations, the brilliant thing is that there’s another person there coming up with ideas while you’re putting around and refining the thing you just did to the song. Tag-team composition is a lot of fun this way, and the synergy really catches on and snowballs once you’ve gone through the first few steps. Another motivating factor in here is that it costs over a hundred dollars to take the Clipper to Seattle and back, even with the Islanders’ discount. So in a business sense, there’s a cover charge to composition, and it’s up to the songwriters to make it worth the time and money already committed to the project.
Shortly after we wrote the song, I found myself on a plane to Florida to visit my brother Krishen in Sarasota. We went to an event called the Winter Music Conference (WMC) in Miami and I met up with a fellow named Jacob Todd at the Proton Radio party, which was at the Penthouse on Collins Avenue (the main street in South Beach). He signed Cascadia to his label – Emote Music – and did a storming club remix himself, while Daniel Lindeberg (AKA Dumb Dan) did a very creepy but fun theremin inspired remix. You might think that the 8 minute released version is pretty long, but the original unreleased mix is just over 12 minutes long. I just had a listen and it didn’t sound too long to me, but I also really enjoy Voyager and he’s been known to make tracks much longer than that. It’s all taste in any case – I have heard 2 hour mixes that do far less than this one song. Check it out:
- AFK & Dustin H – Cascadia (Original mix)
- AFK & Dustin H – Cascadia (Jacob Todd remix)
- AFK & Dustin H – Cascadia (Daniel Lindeberg remix)
AFK & Dustin H – Cascadia on Beatport.