We first came across “Tapes” in the Spring of 2012, through the recommendation of a mutual friend. A mysterious link in my inbox, a short message saying that this would “blow my mind”, and next thing I know, I can’t stop listening to the Wildlife EP. Tapes insisted on maintaining his anonymity, but after months of cajoling, I finally succeeded in convincing him/her to an interview (for the record, he’s a he).

With his second EP, Apparition, just having released a few weeks ago on pay-what-you-want site Bandcamp, we see the Knoxville based producer taking his game to another level. He’s here to answer your questions, in a Dead Curious Exclusive (and unlike The Sun, we really mean exclusive).

Check out his work here


Dead Curious: What inspired the name Tapes?  

TAPES: Haha… that’s a good question. I was at my house, and looking through some old cassette tapes, and it brought back a lot of memories. That feeling of nostalgia that I try to evoke through my music, and my samples, and that’s how the name tapes came up

What are your main musical influences?

That’s a good question as well (laughs). I started out producing electro house music by myself, listening to Deadmau5. I came across an artist named Starslinger and that developed my interest in the genre of music I’m producing, if you can even call it a genre.  Toro y Moi, Washed Out – I was listening to a lot of Chillwave. Com Truise, Flying Lotus… as I’ve discovered new music, I try to incorporate the aspects I like and meld it with my previous influences. The sound is constantly changing, and none of the songs sound alike – or I think they don’t.

What gear are you working with?

Ableton and a little keyboard, as well as an MPD that works through Ableton.

When I’ve listened to your albums, I feel like the songs and the album themselves have a constant evolution, tied together by an underlying theme. Would you say this is a conscious or subconscious effect?  

Subconscious, definitely. I just kind of play along with samples I hear – the opening track off apparitions was from an old funk song, and I just started riffing around with it. It just turned into a song. Also, I know I’m going to sound stupid in this interview. If you want, make me sound as dumb as possible.

What do you think is the most exciting thing about the music scene right now?

I’m kind of a recluse as far as going out to shows goes. The last show I went to was N’SYNC, in 6th grade (laughs). I think music in general is going towards being produced digitally, which I know is a bold statement, but the stuff I listen to is mostly in the electronic realm. There’s less of a performance aspect in musicianship, which is sad, but it allows technology to have a greater role, and people are doing cool things. I still think it’s a double edged sword.

What do you listen to when you’re not hunting for samples? Or do you even do that? 

I just downloaded the Mumford and Sons album. I listen to a lot of instrumental guitarists, and Andy McKee is amazing. Before I got into electronic music, I was mostly learning and playing that kind of work. I don’t listen to country – I appreciate it; but think it all kind of sounds the same.

I listened to a lot of Math Rock as well, it’s so big in the UK. Colour, that’s how the Brits spell it. Why the hell is that?

It’s called “English”, not “American”.  

Wow, I’m going to sound really dumb on that one. Generally, I disconnect by listening to singer/songwriter guitarists. And Pandora has been a good tool for that.’

Any plans for live shows coming up?

I definitely want to, and had that in mind when I bought that MPD controller. I’m just kind of busy with school, getting my MBA. When I get some time, I’ll think about setting up a live show, and am open to the idea.

It’s interesting to see that this kind of music is making a lot of traction in the US, where normally it has a bigger fan-base in Europe. Would you ever consider going abroad to do an “off the cuff” tour?

I wouldn’t go completely out on a limb, but if the opportunity and resources were there, definitely.

Why have you kept your real identity hidden?

A few reasons. A lot of my friends are musicians and have been spamming their work on facebook, trying to get likes. And obviously, your friends are never going to tell you your work sucks – they should, but they never will when feelings are involved. I wanted to get objective responses, and see if people liked what I was doing. I was almost embarrassed by it, as no one in my group listened to this kind of stuff. But I guess it’s working out, and I hope to keep making good stuff.

Who makes your artwork for you?  It’s pretty cool.

I have a pretty good friend I used to play in a band with, and he is great. My boy HEATSTROKE really helped out as far as exposure goes.  

Any more shoutouts?

Yeah, to everyone who has been listening to my stuff and giving me honest feedback.  I’m glad people are giving this a chance. I also want to give a shout out to Purrtapes, for putting out my stuff on cassette. Particularly to Hunter – he helped me with the video for “New Homes.”

Finally, Biggie or Tupac?

Ohhh shit. THAT is a great question. Biggie. Always liked Biggie a little bit more.