Cosmicdisco would like to give a big welcome to The Sorcerer who has kindly agreed to provide a special Fever Dreamz mix for our Making Music radio show which includes music featured on the fantastic Windsurf EP currently out on Sentrall Records.
The Sorcerers mix will go out live on air Monday 20th Novembers show via Unity Radio 10pm-midnight then podcast via this very site with full track listing and biog the following day.
For those out there who may be unfamiliar with The Sorcerer can you give us a brief history of how he was conceived?
I was playing guitar in bands and needed an outlet for writing and having fun on keyboards and samplers. I learned how to record myself. I would write things that would sometimes get used for the band, and then lot of stuff just for me to experiment. One day I played it for a friend and he told me I was the Sorcerer, that I should wear a wizard outfit when I record. The Sorcerer is the funked up side of things, the wiggle stick funk meeting the sunny melodies.
Youre currently based in California. Where did you grow up and what are your earliest/strongest musical memories as a child and what music were you exposed to?
I grew up in California, lived in Oakland until I was in junior high school. I was going to see Breakin and Beat Street and listening to Thriller everyday. I remember my mom brought home an Egyptian Lover single she heard at her jazzercise class and I thought it was so funny, that robot voice singing about Egypt. Then I destroyed it thinking I knew how to scratch on our cheap record player, I still have it somewhere. But I also loved Styx, Iron Maiden, and Men at Work. I just would tape everything and basically slept with my walkman on. My parents had a pretty good collection that I could tap into.
What has influenced the Sorcerer sound?
I love music from all over the world and always gravitate to the most melodic side of the spectrum. I love sweet chord changes that lift you up. So I try to look for those elements in everything Im listening to. The classic hip hop of the late 80s, funky jazz, bubblegum, soft rock, Brazilian sounds, British new wave stuff, reggae, 70s Germany… But its important to look for good modern music too. Theres so much great electronic music from all over Europe. All the new cosmic disco stuff is still pretty underground here so its exciting to watch that scene evolve.
As well as The Sorcerer you also worked on the Windsurf project with Hatchback. If this wasnt enough you also play and write music for the pop group Call & Response. Can you tell us a little about how you came to get involved in these projects and how we can hear more?
Call and Response is a pop group Ive been in for a long time, we released two full length records. We wanted to write pop songs with sweet vocal harmonies and chord progressions, three part female harmonies with funky soft rock sound. People sometimes say it reminds them of Stereolab or the Free Design. Its an original sound. We got to tour England a few years ago and our record came out in Brazil not too long ago. Right now the band is on hiatus. Windsurf is myself and my friend Hatchback. He is an amazing musician and arranger and weve been jamming together for a while. He has so many great songs as Hatchback, you gotta check them out (on MySpace). We add to each others sound when we collaborate. We had a collection of songs that we really liked. They seemed to have modern surf instrumental feel to them, at least in our minds. It sounded good in the sunshine or when you just get out of the ocean. Our friends at Sentrall asked if we wanted to put something out as a digital release on the label. Its a great label featuring a lot of artists from California who share a lot of influences.
The Windsurf EP is only currently available in MP3 format. (Available from Kompact MP3) Can you tell us if this will be available in various formats other than an MP3 and if so, a European release?
Wed love to eventually release it on vinyl. Hopefully that can happen soon. We need to up the ante.
We want more! Is a full LP scheduled?
I think eventually there will be a full length Sorcerer record and more Windsurf music. We are stoked that people are encouraging us to make more, so its about finding the time and being in the right headspace to make it happen.
The cover art for the EP is outstanding. Whos responsible?
Our friend Karim Massoteau drew those sketches and we were so happy. Its the perfect imagery for what we are doing. He is a real talent, and he did a great remix of one of our songs too.
The new EP is very blissful and Balearic. Are you aware of the Balearic & Cosmic scenes in Europe and if so are is there anything particular from these genres/periods that stand out for you?
Yeah, its funny cause I think we were listening to similar sounds and not necessarily aware of Balearic?. Maybe its just living and growing up near the ocean. We were always drawn to music that had the cosmic? or what we call baked? vibe to it. The wonky and proggy side of dance music is usually pretty cool. Paul McCartney experimenting with drum machines, or Alan Parsons that was all stuff we were digging on and realized people in Europe are into that too. Its great cause so much of that stuff can be found for $1 at our local record shops. Steve Miller, ELO, Steve Winwood, Fleetwood Mac. My favorites still have a great pop song at the heart of it all.
Does the Sorcerer DJ? If so are there any particular DJs you admire and why?
I DJ for fun sometimes, and love listening my records played louder than I can in my apartment. Windsurf deejayed an art opening recently which ruled. I never tapped into the pro lifestyle of being a DJ. I love hearing my friends Broker/Dealer play – they throw great parties in San Francisco and make their own music too. I like all the mixes Ive heard by Lexx and Todd Terje. Those guys seem to find nuggets that I dont hear anywhere else and mix it all together so well. Also the mixes Ive downloaded from cosmicdisco.com have been blowing my mind too.
Does the Sorcerer dabble in production? Have you produced/re-edited any other artist?
I produce all my own stuff in my studio. I havent done too much remixing or re-edits. I might someday but I really like to write my own music and challenge myself to come up with new ideas. I like to listen to re-edits for inspiration but I think Id rather spend the little free time I have on my own stuff.
When writing music do you have specific methods when laying down new ideas? What instruments/equipment do you use?
Guitar, Bass, Rhythm Ace, Nord, Roland, Wurlitzer, Logic, MPC sampler, tambourine, Casio, lots of effects pedals. Usually I like to put together a rhythm that inspires me to come up with a chord progression or a bass line and start layering things. Lately Ive been saving the guitar for later on in the game, so I can get a chance to jam the keyboards and surprise myself.
Who is your favorite band/group/artist/Musician?
I really respect session guys like Sly and Robbie, unsung heroes and dudes who let the music do the talking. Guys like Michael Rother, Arthur Russell, or Prince who were so imaginative and wrapped up in their own worlds. I also like groups like Sonic Youth, Robert Wyatt, and Stereolab contemporary folks who are getting older but still originating. I dont really have a favorite.
Can you tell us about the current underground music scene in California, what sounds/acts are big and what we in Europe should look out for from Oakland/San Francisco (other than yourself!;))?
Broker/Dealer, Hatchback, Tridact, Mardu, Rollmottle, Project Sandro, the Sentrall label in general. Lots of friends who make their own music. Its a small scene but we got some heavy hitters.
What tracks are getting heavy rotation on your current play list?
Diamond Dub by Todd Terje, Autumn Pass by Nick Chacona, Space Talk by Asha Puthli, Tropical Heat by Ashra, Goodnight Tonight by Wings, John Martyn Solid Air.
It seems you an avid collector of vinyl. What particular record shops do you frequent and would you say these shops have an influence on you?
I buy records, sometimes just to have a song I really love on vinyl or sometimes just to find crazy sounds. Amoeba has a lot of good $1 classic rock, thrift stores, garage sales, other local shops.
If you wasnt involved in music, what would you most likely to be doing?
Ping pong champion
Outside of music, what does Sorcerer get up to?
Hanging with my lady, playing Frisbee, working on web sites, learning how to cook, getting out in nature, cruising.
Whats your idea of perfect happiness?
Sometimes just having a whole Saturday to work on my music, other times just sitting by the ocean with my good friends hanging out cracking jokes.
Whats next for The Sorcerer?
Keep making tunes, Sorcerer and Windsurf. I have a couple 12 singles coming out in England with some remixes – Im still negotiating. Keep a look out for that. Hopefully I can make a full-length album. Id love to get a Sorcerer band together and rock it live.
Cosmic Disco would like to thank Dan Judd AKA The Sorcerer for his time answering our questions. Be sure to check out his tracks via his website with the brilliant EP downloadable from Kompact MP3
Weve no doubt that it wont be long before you hear much more from The Sorcerer!