Welcome to the Future: The Digital Age, Music Production & Bassline Drift
The digital age has changed the face of society; it’s changed the way we interact, the way we learn and the way music is produced. Today there is a social network for every interest and niche, whether it be ride-sharing, discovering music, or even gluten-free dating.
Bassline Drift, an electronic music duo, reflects the direction that the future of both communication and music production is heading. Keli Marks of Austin, Texas and Rachel “Sink” Lindsay of New York make up Bassline Drift. While living on opposite ends of the country, the two began producing music together before ever actually meeting in person.
A stroke of fate caused Keli and Sink to find one another on Soundcloud when Keli came across Sink’s cover of Beats Antique’s “Alto”. Keli instantly knew he wanted to work with Sink and reached out to the singer over the website. [For readers who may be out of the loop, SoundCloud is an audio distribution and social platform; the site enables users to upload, discover and promote original music, so it is very commonly used among indie artists.]
“Drink The Water Down” was the first track the two co-created together. The song possesses a nostalgic essence with its jewelry box-esque music sampling and Sink’s resonating vocals. After the final touches were put on the track, the dynamic duo knew that had something unique to continue pursuing and sharing with the world.
“What’s different about us is that we depart from typical formatting in our songs,” Sink commented on their sound. “We want to take people on a journey, begin in one place and end in another, and that’s something we figured out early on.”
The collaborative process began with Keli writing and producing rough tracks in Ableton Live for electronic production and Logic Pro for live instrumentation recording, then sending them to Sink for her feedback; Sink would then send her vocal ideas along with feedback on each individual track for Keli to transform into a finished product. Several songs have began as 30 second iPhone recordings of the piano, or Sink in the stairwell at work recording a small vocal idea onto her phone.
Keli’s background as a guitarist still influences his sound as an electronic music producer today.
“If the beat is too on the grid, if the sounds are too clean, if everything is too perfect, electronic music can come across as cold. Coming from a folk background, I have some sloppiness and grit that I like to smash together with digital music,” said Keli. “With Bassline Drift, we aim to fuse the experience of going to a singer/songwriter show or a rock concert with going to a club and dancing all night. We want to take listeners on a journey”.
Keli and Sink have spent a whooping 48 hours together in person since their initial interaction and decision to begin co-creating musical journeys. Though nearly 2,000 miles apart, they have successfully continued to make several haunting, gorgeous and bass-centric tracks together. The twosome finally meet in Austin, Texas later down the road for a hectic weekend of recording together and preparing their press kit.
“We didn’t really know what to expect before we met, but it went so well, we both felt disappointed when Sink went back to the east coast,” Keli explained “We were really efficient in the same room; so seeing our potential was both exciting and deflating, knowing that we’re long distance for now.”
The duo has already produced 1 EP, and is currently finishing up their first album after having only spent 48 hours physically in the same place.
While still living across the country, the two have gotten much more sophisticated in their music production process. Sink often starts the creation process with an a cappella loop on Logic Pro, then Keli proceeds to building the track from there. “Into the Viper’s Den” is a gorgeous song the duo built up from a mere a cappella loop.
“It’s [the long distance creative process is] really rewarding in terms of creative freedom but can also be a challenging method. It feels like we are solving a puzzle and creating something 50/50 with a lot of back-and-forth along the way,” said Keli. “The good news is, new tools are showing up in the market for low latency live rehearsing and jamming, and we are excited to explore those options too.”
In addition to using those tools for co-collaborating with just each other, Bassline Drift has gone a step further by featuring both local Austin artists and out-of-towners in their tracks: Patrick Richey from LA on tabla, Roy Koon on clarinet, Diego Molina on Sax, Violinda Lola on the Violin, and Alex Scott on drums have all been featured; repurposed samples from Keli’s past label in Mexico have also been used.
“Prior to Bassline Drift, music was always a hobby, something that went hand-in-hand with my other performing pursuits,” said Sink. “I never expected music to take the forefront, but when Keli and I started working together, the whole thing fell into place.”
Bassline Drift is in the process of growing through music production together and plan to start performing and touring in the near future.
As the emerging story of Bassline Drift exemplifies, technology is a powerful tool, possessing the ability to bring people from all over the world together to discover their passions. Had it not been for the internet and SoundCloud, Bassline Drift would not exist today.