Daega Sound, forged in 2008 by brothers Ben and Josh Searles, is one of the front running acts of the West Coast bass music scene. With a unique take on dubstep, D'n'B and electronica, they have built a solid foundation of releases and performances that have earned themselves international acclaim. Their sound is polished and sophisticated, where intricate syncopated drum rhythms are laced with unforgettable melodies and layers of ethereal soundscapes. Sub bass and dubbed out qualities feature prominently across every track resulting in their unmistakable signature sound. Daega has established a vital presence in the global bass music scene with a steadily growing discography and support from some notable heavy hitters including Truth, Commodo, Sam Binga, Loxy, RSD, OM Unit, Joe Nice, Phaeleh, DJG, Headhunter, Mary Anne Hobbs and Mr. Scruff.
Daega Sound made their first appearance on Interchill with a stand-out track called 'Don't Stop' on the compilation 'Depth Charge' in 2013. We're really happy to have them back with their new tune 'Five Rings' on 'Subtextures' and wanted to ask the brothers some questions as we get set to launch our latest compilation.
Name some of the things that influence the 'Daega' sound - musical or otherwise.
Pretty much everything that can and will happen. We draw the most from our deep love of music and life long journey as makers of music, our devotion to the purity of creation and following our own roads. Big influence/inspirations are our epic surroundings in the Pacific Northwest, flora and fauna. Seeing whales, dolphins, octopus and phosphorescence to eagles and bears. Also making its way into our music is our society and how we as people fashion our life on the planet, politics around government and the military industrial complex, good things and frustrating things... So ya pretty much in a nutshell - life as we understand it to be.
Where and when was your first pivotal rave or electronic music moment?
In Toronto, summer '97 at a proper underground rave in an old abattoir. Follow the east street car line to the end, then walk around in an industrial zone til you find a door with a black light bulb above it and you were there.
What is your most memorable performance and why?
Dubloaded for Pinch on so many levels. Legendary series, legendary sound and crew, technical challenges, friends, good vibes - it just hit so many levels in one shot.
What do you listen to when you’re not working on your own stuff?
All kinds of stuff. Here's a snapshot: Rachmaninov, Faith No More Phillip Glass & Ravi Shankar, Speedy J, Richard D. James , Strunz and Farah, Photek, Bad Religion, Pig Destroyer, Guns & Roses, Smetana, Don Ross, Sunkissed, The Orb, Sound Garden, Peeping Tom, Amon Tobin, Peter Gabriel, many more.
What steps to you go through to get the perfect bass sound?
Starts with setting the mood/getting in the zone - everything follows and rolls out from there in its own way. All the tunes seem to take on a personality of their own and each one has its own idea of the perfect bass sound for itself. So you just kinda feel it out as you go along.
Do you create most sounds in the box, or are there some synths that you regularly use?
A bunch in the box but love out of the box sounds, wish we had hundreds of proper synths! In the outboard realm we have and use an emu 5000 sampler, an access Virus C desktop, a Korg MS 2000, a rack mount orchestra, an FX rack and some guitar pedals.
What is your favourite plug in?
Dune and Battery are pretty cool, can't really say we have a favourite. All depends on the individual track. Also we don't have a lot of plug ins, each one is pretty infinite with what you can do, so we work the ones we have.
Finish this sentence: "In making music the most valuable skill is…."
being creatively open with what you wanna do.
Who would you most like to remix?
So many, but Photek would be awesome.
Tell us a bit about your track 'Five Rings' on the Subtextures compilation.
The name is a reference to a text/book written by Miyamoto Musashi on kenjutsu entitled "The Book of Five Rings".
"Timing is important in dancing and pipe or string music, for they are in rhythm only if timing is good. Timing and rhythm are also involved in the military arts, shooting bows and guns, and riding horses. In all skills and abilities there is timing.... There is timing in the whole life of the warrior, in his thriving and declining, in his harmony and discord. Similarly, there is timing in the Way of the merchant, in the rise and fall of capital. All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this. In strategy there are various timing considerations. From the outset you must know the applicable timing and the inapplicable timing, and from among the large and small things and the fast and slow timings find the relevant timing, first seeing the distance timing and the background timing. This is the main thing in strategy. It is especially important to know the background timing, otherwise your strategy will become uncertain."
- Miyamoto Musashi from "The Book of Five Rings"
What's next for you on the release front?
We have a ton of content coming out over the next year, on some well reputed labels, keeping it under the hat for now. But one of the most exciting things is our new store with lots of new Daega Sound tunes as well as a never-heard-before series. We also have a merch section with all kinds of cool stuff, T-shirts, tank tops, buttons and stickers with more things in the works. It will be online at the beginning of the summer.
Any signs of a full length album on the horizon?
We've been simmering on an album for years, but we try to find a balance with creativity, a little push, a little let it happen on its own type thing, so we are just waiting for the right inspiration/timing to come along. We'd like to put something together that has some meaning behind it and carries some weight.