“I grew up in Portland. Piano was my first instrument, although I’m not very good at it. I didn’t practice much, kind of hated it. When I got into sixth grade, I was like, ‘Mom, let me switch instruments. I’ll keep playing music. Just let me pick something else.’ I wanted to play trombone at the time, but I was riding my bike to school, and trombone wouldn’t fit on the back. So I was looking around at other instruments, and I was like, ‘Okay, well, trumpet is basically a small trombone, and I can bungee cord it to the back of my bike to ride to school.’
When I was in high school, I joined this music academy. It’s this amazing drummer in Portland named Alan Jones who ran these combos of students of all ages. We would learn songs together, and he would encourage us to write songs. We called ourselves The Wishermen. We took that thing and turned it into a real band. We would meet once a week with him and get our asses kicked, but we were also booking gigs for ourselves and writing. That was the first band I was ever in, first gigs I ever played, first album I ever recorded.
The drummer in that band, Barra Brown, is one of my oldest musical acquaintances. He’s in Portland still, and one of the projects he does is this beat-making duo called Korgy & Bass. He plays drums and works with triggers, and Alex Meltzer runs Ableton, drum machines and synthesizers. They do live beats, sample packs, beat tapes. Barra and I have had this idea for a while about doing a collaboration, because I’ve been working more and more with effects pedals and looping. So I started sending him trumpet loops, little rhythmic riffs or melodies, or super open ambient textures. They just took them and started messing with them—putting beats under them, chopping them up, further affecting them. In a month, we had an album, [Remote, out now via Cavity Search Records]. It’s pretty dystopian sounding.
Dichotomies are really interesting to me, as a wind instrument player using electronics. You have this innate duality of organic and synthetic, acoustic and electric, nature vs. man. The trumpet is this primitive instrument. It’s so underdeveloped. It’s basically just a piece of plumbing, a pipe you blow into. Pairing it with these super advanced analog and digital electronics that are taking the natural signal and scientifically manipulating it so heavily that you hear both sides of it, you hear this primal sound, the voice and the struggles of the person playing it, but it’s either roughed up further or glossed over even more by the effects you’re using. You’re taking this prehistoric thing and putting it through this filter of technology and modern-day science.”