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[INTERVIEW] Dirtwire Discusses Inspiration And Instrumentation At Gem & Jam Festival

| February 20, 2022

Since 2012, Dirtwire has incorporated their admiration for ancient Mother Earth and modern technology. Consisting of members Evan Fraser, David Satori, and Mark Reveley, Dirtwire has defined their sound as "back-porch space cowboy blues, swamptronica, and electro-twang". In January 2022, the group released their latest full-length album Embers, which featured a cover of Emmylou Harris'  "Deeper Well". After finishing their Embers tour, they visited Tucson, Arizona to perform at Gem & Jam Festival 2022. iEDM interviewed Evan Fraser of Dirtwire to discuss the inspiration behind Embers, musical instrument preferences, drumming circles, and what's next in the group's evolution.

 

Read iEDM's exclusive interview with Dirtwire below.

 

 

iEDM: The group’s performance was incredible at Gem and Jam Festival 2022, what feelings or emotions did you desire to convey to the audience?

Dirtwire: Thank you!  We love playing at Gem & Jam.  Such great energy that night! We wanted to send out all the good unifying vibes to everyone and inspire movement through our sounds.

 

iEDM: Explain the creative process behind the production of Embers.

Dirtwire: Ultimately, the inspiration comes from the sound or a feeling that wants to be expressed. On different tracks, the inspiration came from a variety of places.  For "Mustang",  a new tuning of the kalimba (African thumb piano) sparked the laid back downtempo vibe.  For Deeper Well,  it was a feeling of wanting to express and reflect through the Emmylou Harris cover, the dryness of the land and some of the feelings that fire season brings in Northern California

 

 

iEDM: How is Embers different from the rest of Dirtwire’s discography?

Dirtwire: Embers was in a way, as our 11th album, is an effort to get back to our roots as producers of organic global swamptronica.  We wanted to revisit the instrumental vibes that our first record has as well as showcase some of our current inspirations and explorations.  Deeper Well, a vocal tune was included as well as the collaboration with one of our musical heroes, Chancha Via Circuito, on the "El Sultán" track. 

 

iEDM: What was the cultural inspiration behind Embers?

Dirtwire: The cultural inspiration for Embers comes from a few different places. We’ve been influenced by all the great electro cumbia and electronic roots music coming from our friends in South America these days.  Check out Uji, Minuk, El Buho, Nicola Cruz and of course, Chancha Via Circuito. Also we always love to draw on the blues and our own Americana roots that we like to find the ancestral bridges with that link so easily with West African sounds, feels, and instruments.  Our sound that has been developing over the years has been created by the amalgamation of our own instrument collections from around the globe and how we’ve been weaving them together in different formations to create new tonal palettes and jam recipes that get recorded and shaped into tracks.

 

 

iEDM: Dirtwire incorporates a wide variety of ancient and modern instruments, if you were to play one instrument for the rest of your life, what instrument would that be and why?

Dirtwire: For me personally, I’d choose the kamale ngoni, an West African harp. That one has brought out a lot of inspiration, is super versatile and brings me the most satisfaction in my expression.

 

iEDM: What is your pre-performance ritual to consummate the transcendence of Dirtwire’s performance?

Dirtwire: We circle up, coming from a place of calm and give each other high fives. It really pumps up the energy to bring to the people and enjoy the moment.

 

 

iEDM: What’s next for Dirtwire? Are there any goals you’d like to accomplish next as Dirtwire or in your personal life?

Dirtwire: If all goes well we’ll be performing domestically and internationally throughout the year and recording some new music together in person. We’re also working on some ambient music we want to release.

 

iEDM: Dirtwire views computer production as “another member of the band”, were there performances when you wanted to play with only instruments?

Dirtwire: The computer is probably worth at least 5 or 10 band members!  Yes, we’ve been doing some shows with a drummer, sometimes with horns too, and playing songs where the computer sits out.  That’s been great too, it’s just a different thing.

 

 

iEDM: Since the three of you engaged in drumming circles, are there any learning moments, epiphanies, or stories from the drumming circles you’re at liberty to share? Were you able to join the drumming circle at Gem and Jam Festival 2022?

Dirtwire: Gotta love drum circles!  Didn’t make it to the one at Gem & Jam. The drum circle is where it all started for me. I learned a lot from random people who showed up to play on different drums and percussion on hippie hill in Golden Gate park in SF. You get to know the tonal possibilities and loudness hierarchy. Drum circles often really motivate you to want to compose parts that fit together and compliment each other because it’s often that a drum circle sounds like total chaos like a bunch of people talking at the same time but basically agreeing on a tempo pulse. Chaos is cool too in its own way.  The way a drum circle can morph and evolve with fluctuations in energy level is pretty cool to be a part of.

 

iEDM: What is one clothing article or accessory of your performance outfit you can’t perform without?

Don’t have one really. It’s all about the music anyway.

 

 

Want to hear more from your favorite artists? Check out iEDM's Interviews HERE for more exclusive content!

 

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about the writer

Mary Mason

Mary Mason

Read More...Mary is an artist based in Phoenix, AZ. Her favorite mediums to practice are confessional poetry and hula hooping.

When she’s not hula hooping at a local bass and riddim show, she’s at the beach or San Diego Art Museum. Mary’s adoration for EDM (culture & community) inspires her to perform. One of her many ways of celebrating art is attending festivals with her friends.

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