:: To celebrate the release of ELLT 002, we asked the mysterious Magic Nanna, to sit down with us for a little chat on Texas, the world wide web, and his musical beginnings. ::
::Kj: Why have you chosen to release with ELLT?
::Josh: I really liked what the mission statement of the label is, and it is something that I identify with. I like the communal attitude, care and attention the label puts into each of its releases.
::Kj: Give us the back story of the creation process behind this album. Such an interesting title. Can you tell us about your concept?
::Josh: This album is my baby. It is the first “concept” album I have created, and in my opinion, is my seminal piece.
I wanted to create something that forces the mind into a state of reflection and contemplation.
It is, essentially, a sonic depiction of my own, and ostensibly humanity’s struggle to transcend the existential weight that comes with consciousness. It is designed to be listened to at loud volume levels and in its entirety. All of the samples used in this work are of me playing instruments, so it is entirely by my hand as well, which makes it all the more personal to me.
Kj : Tell us about your humble beginnings and share with us any wisdom you may have for the younger producers in the scene today.
::Josh: I am a fifth generation musician and artist. I started playing the cello when I was nine, and then added double bass two years later. I taught myself all of the pop instruments and disciplines.. primarily guitar, drums, bass, and piano, but play over 20 instruments if you get in to all of the random ones…
I don’t know if I’m really qualified to deliver advice to anyone, but I suppose if I were to do so it would be this:
After decades of experience and dozens of projects I have learned that patience, knowledge to facilitate ability and creativity, and a good head for business are crucial if you want to succeed… but especially patience.
So few people have the courage and patience to continually sacrifice their dignity and social respect, with potentially no beneficial outcome, on the outside chance that their work will be acknowledged. It takes about ten years of hard work and exposure to be an overnight success.
::Kj: How does your environment/cultural experience influence your work?Does it? How has the Internet/technology changed the way you create/influence your craft? Has it?
::Josh: I try not to let my environment influence my work too much, but I find that I am more productive in some locations rather than others. Growing up in the desert in West Texas is rather discouraging for a musician, being so far removed from everything.
The internet was really my salvation as a musician. I had abandoned the idea of continuing to write at all publicly until about three years ago, when I found soundcloud on stumbleupon. I had been waiting for a website like that for an incredibly long time, and knew instantly that I had an opportunity to display my work to the world without being under another persons yoke. Initially I was doing it just to serve as an online sketchpad of sorts, but the overwhelmingly positive feedback I received encouraged me to take the idea seriously, and it has continued to gain momentum.
It has brought more opportunities and gratification than I could have possibly imagined.
::Kj: What inspires you to continually make music? Tell us about any music goals or directions you would like to take.
::Josh: Writing music, for me, isn’t a choice, really. Since early childhood I have heard music in my mind. I really don’t even have to “write” it… it just comes out and all I have to do is try my best to wrangle it into physical form for others to be able to digest it. Sometimes I wish I could turn it off, actually. I start to go crazy after a day or two if I don’t have anything to compose with…
As far as my goals are concerned, I doubt I’d be satisfied with anything less than total world domination.
All joking aside, I’d love to get to finally do a first tier release and tour.
::Kj: Any favorite producers/musicians/artists and why?
::Josh: Many people have asked me what my favorite color is, to which I can only respond that it is combinations of colors, rather than one singularly, that I find moving. Music, for me, is digested in a very similar fashion.
There are combinations of chords, textures, and rhythms that I find aesthetically pleasing, so naturally I gravitate to people who cater to those elements in their composition. I have very broad taste as a result of this. Of course I am madly in love with Flying Lotus, Tokimonsta, Mr.Dibia$e and the other experimental musicians on brainfeeder, as obviously evidenced in my work, but I actually spend more time listening to classical music from the impressionist period and Jazz than I do beats.
I grew up as a classical musician, and it is embedded in my understanding and interpretation of musical ideas, but have played in every type of project from Death Metal to Country. Composers like Debussy, Satie, Ravel, and Bach really show up in my tunes if you know what to listen for…
In fact that is really what I do, take my interpretations of classical concepts, distill them electronically, and reinterpret them for a more contemporary audience.
I love any artist that challenges convention, destroys genre, and evades description.
Much thanks to Josh, for answering all our questions, and his patience with this release. ::