I’ve been awesome! Thank you for having me. You caught me in a time of transition. I’m currently on the road, traveling cross country from my mother’s house in Tennessee/Georgia back to Seattle. I enjoy the migratory lifestyle, but I’m definitely ready to settle in and get back into making music.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “What You Wish For”?
Sure. “What You Wish For” was actually the first song I completed as The Cosmic Duck. It has two distinct parts, the first half has a laid back vibe featuring a few vocals from myself. And then there is an unsettling transition break section that opens up to the upbeat house part of the track. The vocals in the second half I found from a sample library, I selected them for their absurd playfulness, matching rhythm, and a little dose of motivation. The finale is my favorite part, I sampled a guitar riff and put it on overdrive with the melodic sirens playing in the background.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I would have to say the inspiration came from finally committing myself to producing electronic music on a full-time basis. It is what I always wished for, but never allowed myself to pursue it. I finally silenced the voice inside me telling me that music was not a worthy investment of time and energy because it wouldn’t have any financial return. But now that I’m actually doing it, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, I love it too much. Money or no money, it’s the most worthwhile use of my time.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Yes! I actually made a crude version of a video for “What You Wish For”, but it still needs some work. I want to collaborate with other video artists in the future to give this track, and many other my tracks, the visual representation they deserve. Stay tuned!
The single comes off your new album First Quacklings – what’s the story behind the title?
I decided on this title mostly as a method of foreshadowing, letting the listeners know that there is much more to come from this new artist. “Quacklings” refers to the eight (or nine) little babies I spawned; the tracks on the album. When spending day after day, week after week on the same track, you develop an attachment to them. They feel like little babies that you are raising and nurturing into full-grown, fully-polished songs.
How was the recording and writing process?
Time-consuming, but a complete labor of love. I was breaking myself into a new DAW at the same time I was composing these tracks. I switched to Ableton Live 9 and started learning and producing on the fly. I would watch online tutorials and learn new little tricks and techniques that I would implement into my tracks. There was a lot of growth and skill development from the start of the process to the very end. But I was totally absorbed in the process, I lost myself in the DAW. Or found myself, rather. The whole process felt very natural, and unforced. I spent the first 10 days of the production just making loops: beats, melodies, harmonies, and harvesting samples. Nine projects spawned from those 10 days, and those became the seeds for each of the individual tracks. The album took an entire summer to complete.
Known for playing with a wide range of styles – how do you tend to balance them together?
I listen to a wide range of styles within electronic music, so I would say each style I produce is just a reflection of something I’ve listened to in the past that I really liked. Downtempo, house, techno, ambient, trance, and even some dubstep tend to be my favorites. I can pick out elements of each style in most of my songs, but that happened by accident. All I try to do is synthesize, collect, and harmonize sounds that resonate with each other to create a cohesive vibe, without much intention of a specific genre. I am trying to coin the term “Journey House” for my music, because each track tells a story, and feels like a journey when listened to from beginning to end.
What emotions did you get to explore on this record?
So many! It’s my favorite part about music, the way it triggers, or hearkens emotional states within us. I would say most of my tracks lie in the “happy” and “sad” quadrants of the emotional spectrum, with a few exceptions. “Tipsy Daisies” is a trippy combination of being both playful and terrifying at the same time. “Fwirling Balloons” is elegant, peaceful, and uplifting. “Goodbye Blue” is very hopeful and loving. A sense of longing is an emotion I use in a lot of my tracks. It shows up in “Don’t Let the Light Go Out”, “Beyond Reach”, “Halo’s Ascent”. The opening pads of “Endless” never fair to bring a tear to my eye. The songs that are sad all have a soothing, beautifully sad feel to them. Music also has healing qualities. Music can help bring out latent emotions that we hold within us, emotions that might be waiting to be released and felt fully. I try to do that with my music, at least for myself. Hopefully my music has a similar effect a few others out there.
Any plans to hit the road?
Aside from now, Yes! My intention is to hit the road as an artist. Playing at music festivals would be the most fun for me, as I’ve been a festival-goer for over ten years and love the community vibe that they tend to have. But I’m ready to play for anyone anywhere. Traveling and going on journeys is a big part of who I am.
What else is happening next in The Cosmic Duck’s world?
A lot is happening! There is a new album, “Virgo’s Eclipse”, ready to be released this spring. I’m also currently working on the tracks for the third album, to be released towards the end of 2018. I’m also going to be working on a few remixes, and an official Single release for “What You Wish For”. I’m going to start writing a blog on my website which will go more in-depth with my production and inspiration. And I’m going to start putting together sample videos for a good portion of my tracks, as a preview of full-length videos to come in the more distant future.