Q+A: 5 minutes with Ed is Dead

Producer Ed is Dead strides forward into the unknown, boldly exploring the landscape that is the rapidly changing music industry, a place now inhabited by AI enthusiasts and critics alike. Having embraced this relatively new technology, however, he has tinkered with a prompt-based search engine WolframAlpha to compose his latest single named after the query engine.  

Stream / Download: Ed is Dead – ‘Wolfram Alpha’

‘Wolfram Alpha’ might be described as futuristic garage. With otherworldly textures, sci-fi-esque Reese bass drones, and all sorts of ear candy, this track embodies the spirit of the cutting edge – a portent of a great shift in which Ed is Dead finds himself. What makes him tick, though? We found out:

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

I really do not come from an artistic family environment at all. I suppose that as a child I found a way to escape music, and it is something that has accompanied me all my life. Nothing really indicated that I could dedicate myself professionally to music since I was born In a multicultural, very humble neighbourhood of Madrid, Lavapiés, so it can be said that I am a very lucky person.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

When I make albums, always the general idea. When I make singles or EPs, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes it’s just a beat or some sound design. Putting out singles frees me from doing everything so cerebral and so “transcendent” and just enjoying the composition.

What’s on your current playlist?

Whoow, a tricky one because I think I’m driving my algorithm crazy. I listen to a lot of different music. To give an example from the last week, I’ve jumped from yunè pinku to BadBadNotGood the new from SBTRKT, and a bit of drum ‘n bass and salsa from Ray Barretto.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

On the last tour, the concert is really a conversation between the visual artist who accompanies me (Skeptical Vj) and my set-up with all the synths, drums, and machines. I really like to “cook” things and keep the minimum recorded. I have a pretty old approach to playing live, and I think that in the end the public appreciates that real energy that is created – different each time, that momentum.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I basically have no life, I spend most of my time in the studio, and I am an avid consumer of tutorials, so I don’t have a specific technique because I would tell you that every week I learn more, and I try to constantly get out of my comfort zone so that the technique or technology does not influence my sound or my compositions too much (this is quite difficult when you make music with machines). It depends a lot on the moment: I have gone from abusing granular processes to working more in analog, or going back to digital. Recently, I’m working with quite a few AI apps, both to generate voices or to process audio.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

I get up, I try to ride a bike a couple of days a week, and then I go to the studio every day. I work as a producer for many bands and also film and dance compositions, so my study days are divided between making music for others and making music for myself. This is tricky because I almost always end up postponing my songs and consume too many original ideas in songs for other people that I’m too lazy to use again on my records.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

More than “this is what I want to do” it was an OMG this can’t be happening, “can you live from this?” Since I was 15 years old, I alternated music with jobs of almost anything (waiter, mechanic, messenger, bricklayer). I think it was around 21 when I got my first well-paid tour as a drummer, and at that time I was working in a clothing store. It was amazing to leave the store because I made more money from concerts. That’s almost 20 years ago now.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Too many things. My set-up is horrible because there are too many things that can wrong. On the other hand, when everything flows, that’s an amazing sense of control and motivation.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Too many. I will name some: The Low Flying Panic Attack, Merina Gris, Divorce From New York, Pau Corea, Sabina.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Mostly everything. Especially, I need to get in contact with nature ( I do Enduro MTB) and in terms of inspiration, probably contemporary dance, theatre, expos and, of course, tons of new music.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

Recently, I’ve been in love with the Waldorf Iridium (kind of a wavetable/granular beast). I’m a Cubase guy, but I also play Ableton in my live sets, and I´m constantly trying new plugins. To name a few that are always in my projects: Cableguys Shaperbox, Wavesfactory Spectre and Trackspacer, Phase Plant, Serum, Pensado EQ, Standard Clipper, and a lot of distortions and saturators.

Any side projects you’re working on?

At the beginning of the year, an aka created me to release remixes and songs more focused on drum ‘n bass and breaks, and I have a couple of references that will be released throughout 2023 under DAED SIDE.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I suppose that every day, I learn a little more. In fact, I can’t listen to my previous works because I only see mistakes, I think that in the past I have been very obsessed with the technique with the sound section of the compositions and with my shortcomings as a musician, which made me face the compositions from the conflict, the ego, and as a kind of demonstration of what I was capable of doing. Reading great artists I have realized that it is easier to reach beautiful places from freedom, so I try not to unconsciously condition myself so much when I face compositional processes.

Break down the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

This year is being a lot of fun for me because I’ve freed myself from a lot of prejudices, and I’m releasing music without pretensions, collaborating with friends, and enjoying the process without expecting too much, so I’ll continue to release singles and collabs but without a predetermined plan.

Famous last words?

Life is too short not to buy another synth.

Tour Dates:

07 July – (Cultural Event), Albania

16 Sept – Cuerpo Romo Festival, Teatros del Canal – Madrid, Spain

29 Sept – Entropia Festival, Zaragoza, Spain

Stream ‘Wolfram Alpha’ below.

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