For this weeks Shambhala feature we have an interview with the man, the myth, the legend – Longwalkshortdock! Dave King (LWSD) has been a regular at Shambhala for the last few years and kindly agreed to take some time out of his very busy schedule to talk to us about his set up, some life advice, and how to sneak in more Nintendo time and why you can’t trust pine cones!
Longwalkshortdock: Ahoy hoy! My pleasure, thanks for thinking of me… Well, I’m a video game nerd that became a music enthusiast by playing with a lot of sound making 80′s toys and a variety of console video games… This whole process has been ongoing over the last 30 years. As far as the name goes, It came from an old song I wrote on the guitar many years which was about an ironically named character (Longwalkshortdock) with tragic ironic bad luck where everything turned out in a way that was funny to everyone else but him. The chorus was “Longwalk Shortdock with Bigger Fish Frying” as the character had hope of achieving something meaningful with life despite his luck…. The second part of the chorus eventually became the name of my 2nd record… There is actually a little sound blip at the very end of my latest record with a clip from that song
VS: When and how did you get started with producing?
LWSD: My parents wanted me and my sister to learn piano (thanks mom and dad) so we both kinda started on that… But I kinda got bored with it only making one sound and had tried a synthesizer at my piano teachers place… So I convinced the folks that I would do a better job at practicing if they got us a synth…. which was sorta true, as when they eventually got us an old Casio which had limited sound design potential I mostly just messed around with it trying to figure out programming stuff… It had a primitive drum machine in it etc, and like 36 odd sounds in it…. better than nothing. My favorite feature became the record feature, which I used to record one piano practice and then play on a loop so I could sneak away from practise time and play Nintendo… In retrospect, I wish I had practised more ><
VS: I’ve heard your music referred too as deathno – personally I don’t like trying to classify music too much but what do you think about that term?
LWSD: I don’t really like genre “rules” or category’s either, so I just wanted to think of a name for it that wasn’t really a known genre but that was kinda funny or intrigue generating…. Plus at that time I was pretty keen on making the heaviest most metal dance music ever, which in the early 2000′s it seemed pretty heavy, but by electro/dubstep standards today, it’s not really that agro haha…
VS: I caught part of your set at Shambhala last year & you smashed it, you were also recently in Toronto for Canadian Music Week. Obviously you have had the chance to play all over so what are some of your venues to play?
LWSD: Current favorites so far: Sugar in Victoria, Spirit bar in Nelson, 560 in Nelson and recently Spice Lounge in Nanaimo…. and although there not really “venues” per say the Rock Pit @ Shambhala and the Dialectic Stage at Soundwave
VS: From what I understand, you perform not just all the audio on stage but also all of the visuals. At what point did you decide that creating music was not enough for you and how did you get started with the visual side of things?
LWSD: Actually that’s not true! I have hired the video wizardry of RIM VISUALS (rimvisuals.com) to take over the visual side of things… I DID make the decision that I wanted the show to be more overkill than it was, and although I have some film experience, I don’t have the experience of doing live visuals nor the gear to do it on. Fortunately, my friend Tim Hill of Rim Visuals had already been doing this kind of thing professionally for years… We talk and conceptualize a lot of the ideas that end up being the visuals in addition to shooting some low-budget green screen footage for fun…but after that it’s all his creative work making the stuff look cool. I would love to control some video stuff live too but to be honest the way my sets are structured keeps me pretty busy with the audio…. Tim’s awesome because he’s in many ways jamming live with the visual content as I’m jamming with the music… so it’s a more overall live experience. We are working on a tighter and more extensive audio/video sync for future performances… Always evolving..
LWSD: Yes! A new drone and arpeggiator analog synth project with my visuals guy Tim Hill actually (He’s doing audio and video double duty on this one) Its 3 moogs, 6 eventide pedals and 2 guys in bear costumes… Its called “Hibernator” … and another project in the early stages is my live instrument Final Fantasy music cover band called “Megalixer” Stoked for that one….
VS: If you are like me (or most people involved in music) then you love talking about gear so this brings me to my next question, what is your technical setup when on stage?
LWSD: It’s basically currently a 3 path system although there will be lots of future expansion…. Right now it’s a computer running Ableton with a midi controller, running through a kaoss pad, A mic running through loop pedal and into more kaoss FX, and an analog synth also running through kaoss effects. There are a few other little random toys up there, an interface and midi hub and of course parts and things to play with that are unique to each song session.
VS: What about in the studio?
LWSD: Yipes…. there’s a lot of shit in here >< It would take forever to list everything but I can safely say that I am surrounded by no less than 14ish synths, dozens of effects, a big mixer and a giant drawer of stupid kids toys and thrift store keyboards….
VS: When working in the studio, what are your essential items?
LWSD: I love all my toys for different reasons, but the old favorites are the Juno 106 and the Sequential Circuits Prophet 600… Recently I have been on a big MOOG and Access Virus Kick……
VS: What is the best piece of advice you can share (about anything)
LWSD: Trying to please all the people all the time is a thankless exercise in futility. Just be nice and try to do something that has meaning to you that you can share with other humanoids….
VS: Are there any musical acts that you think we should be looking out for?
LWSD: Well, if you have been sleeping under many rocks for decades Aphex Twin, go get it all NOW. Other always classic favorites of mine are Stars of the Lid, Nobou Uematsu, Radiohead, Boards of Canada, Squarepusher, Autechre, Beck, Bjork, Brian Eno, Deerhunter, Gaiser, Grizzly Bear, Future Sound Of London, Guided By Voices, Phil Western, Kone, My Bloody Valentine, Mogwai, NIN, Tipper, I could go on and on….. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Machine Drum’s new disc, Com Truise, Tame Impala and Jeremy Soule’s Skyrim score….
VS: Now for something that everyone likes to hear about, what are some of the best or worst experiences you have had while playing?
LWSD: Well, it’s a very unpredictable environment…. Best ones would be handing out sparklers at Soundwave, or the random crews of rogue sparkler people bringing their own out and surprising me at festivals, having beautiful sweet soul burlesque ladies on stage to help act out a hypnosis number, a crew of 3 good friends dressed up like me bum rush the stage on Halloween, smashing keyboards at Shambhala, anytime people have known my stupid lyrics and yelled them back at me, seeing smiles of people who are really enjoying it or catching people with the “what the fuck is this guys deal?” look on their face, I dunno…. way too many to really single out… I always enjoy sharing the work I’ve done and playing a long side other great acts I enjoy and respect… Bad ones would be accidentally smacking photographers I didn’t know were there (Sorry Charlotte <3 ) putting my drink down by the exhaust port of a projector and taking a sip of jacuzzi warm beer (done that one like 5 times now >< ), choking on my hair when it’s too long, festival power outages, miscuing big drops… people coming up and asking me to play deadmau5 (no offense to him or anything, I just don’t think they get that it’s a live show not a DJ set) or “good house music” whatever that means… I dunno anything can happen. Once a giant pine cone fell on my main power bar and shut down the show for a few minutes…. but that one was actually pretty funny….
VS: What is your view on the state of the music scene on the west coast or that of Canada?
LWSD: I’m pretty excited about it! There are some crazy talented people and there is some great music coming out of this part of the world right now…. Many cities have had their era’s and “sounds” through the years in many kinds of music…. I think that is true of the BC “sound” and the BC electronic scene is a pretty good force to be reckoned… We’re all just waiting for the world to take a bit more notice I guess….. I like to think that when it does, a lot of my friends will do well.
VS: How long have you been involved with Shamabhala and what’s your favourite memory?
LWSD: Well, this will be my 4th Shambhala…. I guess my favorite moment would be playing Thursday night in 2010…. Something good was goin on there… Right stuff in the air if you will…..Everyone was super pumped and there were so many people… but I was totally terrified man hahaha…..
VS: Can you tell us about any of your experiences there?
LWSD: Pretty mind-blowing environment…. Top notch production value there…. I can’t really isolate moments without telling way to many stories haha…. but there’s not really a bad-looking or sounding stage there so It’s just fun to wonder around. Hell, even the paths in between the stages are fun.
VS: What makes you keep on going back?
LWSD: Because they allow me to ? Hahahaha…. no seriously, it’s just one of the most fun gigs you could do, and I’m just honored to be a part of it….. So many people spend all year getting amped up for Shambs and they really go there to take it all in. It’s hard to get that kind of attention in a city/day-to-day life environment I guess….
VS: Last but not least, we like to ask everyone this – what does the Viking say?
LWSD: Is this a question with an answer I’m supposed to know? Kinda has the Nardwaur “Doot doodle doot doot” vibe too it…… But I’m gonna say, the Viking says, “Gimme your land, valuables and your women and grass huts or whatever…… and in addition were still likely gonna hurt you and take your stuff”
VS: Be sure to check out Longwalkshortdock at Shambhala Music Festival this summer (46 days) and hopefully at a venue close to you!