So introduce yourself to our readers both as an artist and a person.
Hey everyone, I’m Ian Stewart. I’m generally a pretty laid back person (unless I’m running late). I like understanding how things work which usually means taking them apart, and if I’m lucky getting them back together (my childhood etch-a-sketch didn’t fare too well after I took a rock to it). I grew up listening to lots of jazz, fusion, blues and funk, which has definitely carried through into what I produce now. My brother introduced me to DJing and house music at some point in high school and from there I just started exploring all things electronic. After about 7 years DJing and producing I decided it was time to put together a cohesive album and start playing exclusively my own music out at gigs, and the result was Dubonomics. (I also like parentheses).
How would you describe your style and is there a method to your madness when you produce new music or do you just go at it and see what happens organically?
Method? Maybe… Madness, definitely. Back in my more electro-house days I actually did a track calledMadness To My Method (I believe it’s still up on soundcloud). Style-wise, Dubonomics is definitely psy-dub, or future-dub, or something like that. In general though, and looking at the tracks I’m working on now, I think bass music is probably most fitting. I know calling something “bass music” or “EDM” isn’t particularly descriptive, but I don’t really have any interest in constraining myself to just dub, orjust house, or just glitch-hop, or just anything. There are so many great, danceable, beautiful styles of electronic music out there that are enormous amounts of fun to produce, and most of the people I know are into at least a few of them (certainly more than just one), so why not give them a little of everything at a show and at the same time free myself from some of the constraints inherent in adhering to a particular style.
From a production standpoint, it seems like most of my tracks start with me having an idea or curiosity about a particular sound. I guess you could say I’m sound-design centric, and that most of my tracks will grow around one initial synth patch or field recording or something of that nature. Of course there are exceptions where I’ll have a particular melody idea, or be asked to do a remix in a particular style, but that’s certainly not the norm.
What is the favorite show you have every played and why?
That’s gotta be a toss up between my set at The Big Up this summer, and the Disco Biscuits after-party with Tipper and Orchard Lounge. The energy at TBU was absolutely magical. It was dusk, I was doing my debut performance of Dubonomics and running on pure adrenaline (I hadn’t been that nervous before a show since some of my college trumpet auditions), and the area surrounding the woods stage was just filling with more and more people. It just felt really gratifying to be giving them something that was purely mine. It’s awesome as a DJ to see people get down to the records you’re picking out, but knowing that they appreciate something that’s come from your heart and soul is pretty amazing. The DB after-party… well, maybe I can address that later.
What artists are your biggest influence, what about their style(s) do like?
There are way too many to mention, but to try and stick to the essentials: The Scientist, Ott, and King Tubby obviously played a huge role in shaping the music on Dubonomics, and dub was really the first form of remixing. Miles Davis will always be a hero of mine primarily because he never got complacent or even comfortable with one style. He was always experimenting and pushing the boundaries. Some other electronic producers whose sounds I really admire would have to include Tipper, Boards of Canada, The Chemical Brothers, the list goes on… And then you’ve got the guys that just rock: Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Radiohead…
So whats the most played music on your Ipod?
Lately I’ve been alternating between really groovy stuff like Tipper (I’m not obsessed, I swear!), Mr. Scruff, Pretty Lights, and more quite, singer/songwriter stuff like Nick Drake, The Wood Brothers,and others of that ilk. Honestly I’ve got a stupidly large music library so I try not to get stuck in too many ruts. I figure I don’t have much of an excuse.
We met backstage at BB kings for tDB after party. You were a contest winner, can you tell me a bit about the contest and your experience at that show?
As mentioned earlier, that was an amazing night for me. The contest was to submit your best track and then promote it through social media. I had met both Tipper and Bethany briefly at The Big Up, and having such profound respect for them, the chance to open and play set change music for them was irresistible! I ended up reaching out to a lot of friends and fans on a personal level to help me win the contest, and I owe them a huge thank you!! That was certainly the largest venue and crowd I’ve ever played to, and to put that in the context of playing in between a producer/turntablist with probably some of the best ears and skills out there, and three DJs whom I admire tremendously for their breadth and depth in musical taste was absolutely overwhelming. Both Tipper and the Orchard Lounge crew were incredibly kind, supportive and encouraging, and my respect for them all has only grown.
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Greg Sarafan founded Greg Sarafan’s Sensible Reason in 2007. He started blogging for HeadCount in January 2011. Soon after he organized and ran a small but successful charity festival called Binghamtronica to benefit HeadCount and OxFam America. He is a Team Leader in NYC as well as Artist Relations representative for HeadCount. Greg has BAs in political science and art history from Binghamton University. Greg has a J.D. as well as a Certificate in Intelectual Property, Media and Privacy from Brooklyn Law School . Greg also volunteers for OxFam America as a Concert Outreach Coordinator. In 2009 Greg presented his theory of Artistic Stylistic Transmission in the Royal Mughal Atelier at an art history symposium at Ohio State University.