Dalton Richmond, known for his melodic bass music, and I met at Hero’s in Fort Smith during last Friday’s stormy afternoon, shortly after the tornado sirens shut off. We discussed his upcoming Backwoods Music Festival set, a new project in the works, and his own music, past and present. Be sure to make it to the bottom of the interview transcript for a first listen of Dalton’s new single “Authentic” and don’t miss his Backwoods set Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Space Station.
You’re starting a new project with Space4Lease’s, Walt Blythe. Have you recorded anything with him yet?
Yes, we pretty much have an EP put together. We’re actually renting a cabin in a couple weeks to finish our EP.
Like a cabin with a studio?
No, we’re going to move my whole studio over there to finish our album. We’re not going to drink, no internet, just stay focused and make music. We’re getting a bunch of food and all that shit. Make it happen.
Are you still set to play together with him at Backwoods?
Yeah, he’s going to sit in for two or three tracks, we’re not totally sure yet.
With your new project with Walt, is this the first time you have had live instrumentation with your music?
No, Recess has sat in with me like three times now. We usually harmonize my synth parts and their guitar, or we’ll make up a new section just to play live just for that show. Never the same thing every time. Sometimes it’s a lot of improv from Drew [Birch] playing guitar over something he’s only heard once.
Does Walt do improv in your new project?
A lot of the music he’s recorded with me is improv. We’ve never played live together so this will be a first at Backwoods.
But it flows naturally in the studio?
Yeah, we work really well together. That’s why we have been working together so much lately.
Do you have a name yet for this new project?
We started with Erf, but we’re not going to use that. There was Dwalt and then there has been Dwaller. We’ve gone back and forth but that’s the thing that has kind of been stopping us from announcing the project.
Tell me about the sound of your new project. How is it different?
Funk meets electronic pretty much. I do everything except guitar. Neither of us have a funk background but we’re using jazzier chords. Both of us are learning in the process musically as well.
Who are you most excited to see at Backwoods?
STS9. I’ve been everywhere to see them. And Michal Menert, because he’s the boy. I always like seeing Griz. And definitely Emancipator.
Who are you listening to new outside of what’s coming up at Backwoods?
New? Hmm. Jefftuz, Mr. Carmack,which is like the opposite of what you would think I’d listen to. (Also listening to) Wheathin, and JNTHN STEIN.
I hear you are releasing a new Dalton Richmond track soon?
Yeah, I got the master back today and I am releasing it Monday.
Is that a single or part of an album coming out?
Just a single. I have some solo tunes I’m trying to put out so I can keep moving forward with my project with Walt. I will be releasing six or seven singles pretty rapidly over the next few months.
Has collaborating with these other artists influenced the sound of your new music?
Yeah, I always try to change it up, even though I feel like they end up sounding the same. A lot of my newer stuff has strings and brass sounds. Working with Walt has moved my music to be more funky.
Explain your music writing process.
The way I write, I start on keys then come up with a melody with chord progressions (which is the same with a band). It comes from every direction sometimes, usually start with drums though.
How long have you been producing music?
Since high school. About 11th grade, so 2009, I think. I didn’t really get into it until I was older though.
How did you get into music? Were you taking guitar lessons or in band?
No. I am self-learned and didn’t even really learn to play keys until I was far into it. I started by sampling hip-hop beats. I always had Macs and learned programming way before I knew anything about music. I did video editing for skate videos so I already understood the concept of running a timeline and how programs work. A lot of producing is computer work.
Where do you see your music going a year from now?
That’s a hard question. Hopefully, a lot of people are listening to it. With my solo stuff, I’ve had a lot of trouble booking shows which is why Aaron [Fulton] has helped me with that. With my new project, Walt is going to school for music business so he knows how to properly book shows.
Who has been the highlight of your music career, playing with and collaborating with?
My favorite collaboration is definitely Perkulator, my buddy from Canada. When we collabed, I hadn’t even met him in person. We just chatted over the internet, shared tracks back and forth, and then he flew down here for a show in Fort Smith.
My favorite to open for has definitely been Minnesota. If you listen to my music, you can tell that is someone I’m inspired by.
Other than music what are your top three favorite things to do?
Eat food and drink, skateboard, and probably cook. Besides, music that’s basically all I do. I like sleep, but I don’t really sleep that much.
*As Dalton’s jukebox pick, “Five Years” by David Bowie, plays in the background*
What non-electronic music do you listen to?
David Bowie is my favorite musician in the whole world. (I’ve) been listening to him since I was a kid, long before I got into electronic music. I even have a dog named Bowie.