by Jason and Sabrina Weil
We spoke with J. Scott G. ("Scott") and Jason Blum on June 12, 1999, at Mirage's party at the Tabernacle. During the half-hour or so before their set, they spoke to us about moving to L.A., selling out and Falco.
Lunar: When did you guys move out to L.A.? It was pretty recently?
Jason: Whatever the end of October was...
Scott: ...two days before Halloween.
Lunar: Why did you decide to move out that way? What do you plan on accomplishing out there?
Jason: Well, there were a lot of reasons. Albuquerque is a great town. It's a great place to visit, but as far as living there...
Scott: It's very beautiful...
Jason: It is very beautiful. There are a lot of great things about it, but it's kinda slow. It's a smaller town, not really a cosmopolitan city.
Scott: We went to L.A. to make it. Everybody goes to L.A. or New York to make it. We just wanted to put ourselves in the middle of the industry plus our label's there. Ever since we've moved to L.A. things have taken off exponentially. We're not sure exactly why being in L.A. has done what it has done for us, but it has and we're ok with that.
Jason: We did remarkably well for being where we were for as long as we were. Moving to L.A. was just the next logical step. We were doing a lot of business transactions over the phone and Internet. Plus there is something to be said for talking to somebody face to face and them remembering who you are. It makes it a lot easier to get work done and network and work with everybody.
Lunar: Not that you actually are in L.A. that much [because of playing out...]
Jason: We are. I live in Hollywood, so I'm right there, and Scott lives just right outside in Glendale, so we're only about 15-20 minutes away from each other.
Lunar: Do you actually play out a lot...do you do a lot of travelling to perform?
Scott: We do. Actually in the last few months it's almost every weekend.
Jason: Yeah, we spend more time out of town than we do in L.A.
Lunar: Do you actually do a tour?
Scott: It's a constant tour. When we do our album, it will definitely be a full blown tour, but at this point it's just one-offs for the most part.
Jason: We're just trying to build it at the grassroots level right now, and when the tour does hit and the album does come out, we will already [have] a solid fan base. Then we can work up from there. [It won't be like] Oh, here's some guys who want to sell a bunch of records. Yeah, we'd love to do that, but there's something to be said for the music as well.
Scott: You have to have an album to have a tour, and we're not able to work on an album yet because we have been doing so many remixes...one after another. As soon as we can stop doing remixes we can start working on the album, but it's hard. Some of these tracks we're remixing...the names keep getting bigger and bigger, and it's really hard to turn them down. The last one we did was Carl Cox and how do you say no to that? [all laughing]
Jason: [Jokingly] Sorry, we're just too busy. [more laughing...yeah right!]
Lunar: Do you have any favorite projects that you have been working on lately?
Scott: "Café Del Mar"...
Jason: Yeah, "Café Del Mar" was a good one.
Scott: Carl Cox turned out really well.
Jason: There are a lot of songs we remix that we're not really into that much... but then our remix turns out well.
Scott: A lot of times we will get these tracks that we don't think are the greatest in the whole world. Our job is to turn them into something we do think is great. So it's fun to be able to work on stuff like that; taking something we're not down with and making it something we are.
Lunar: You all have a song on a video game, right?
Scott: About to be.
Jason: Yeah, it's sorta on the deal still...it's a done deal but the game is still in development. It's going to be a futuristic racing game. "Stargazer" is the song [that will be in it].
Lunar: And one of your songs was the theme for [MTV's] "Amp"?
Both: It was "Tempest."
Lunar: That's pretty cool.
Scott: Yeah, that was cool although we never made a cent from it.
Jason: The funny thing is that we just turned it on one night and there it was, and we were like, "Oh, fuck, man."
Scott: I'm chillin' out with my girlfriend at home. It was a Saturday...we decided to stay home that night...and I'm flipping through channels, and these techno videos come on, and I'm like, "Ah, cool, you don't see this everyday on MTV"...I didn't know about "Amp" at the time. All of a sudden they cut to commercial, and there's our song in the snippet. Come to find out that the song is being used as the intro for the whole show.
Lunar: Is that legal?
Jason: Well, it's sorta like, what are you going to say?
Jason: It's like, "We're gonna use your song as long as you don't make us pay you. It's good for you." What are ya going to say?
Scott: I've got a contact with them and they said, "We'll give you credits for the song but we can't pay you." We had to sit down and really think about it. It's like, ok, are we not going to let them use it because we're not going to get paid...or use this to our advantage. So at the end of every show: "Theme music by Deepsky."
Jason: That was a real turning point in our career. People were seeing the name every week. Even if they weren't really listening to what was going on, it was subliminally being implanted in their brain. Our music was out there, and it was us that was doing it.
Lunar: How do you feel about party kids who seem to be kinda turned off when their favorite group all of a sudden makes it big? How do you guys feel about that attitude?
Jason: I know I struggled with that for a long time. I remember when I was younger the whole cool part of it was being in the underground. There's good and bad to both sides. The good side is the music that you love is getting played and people are experiencing it, but the bad side is the vibe that you think you are enjoying is going to go away. And it doesn't have to.
Scott: I think that major labels sorta push bands that are beginning to break to do things that are more commercial. The Crystal Method has managed to do what they do well and continue to stay [thinks for a moment]...true to what they do without letting records labels say "Ok, this is what you need to do for your next album. You need to have a hit song"...and people have
Jason: I guess it's easy to say that you are selling out or that someone sold out.
Scott: It is. It's like, you get to that point and all of a sudden you have an opportunity to spread yourself around to more people and the people think you are selling out. But if you continue to stay true to what it is you do and why you started it, which a lot of people don't, then I think it is all ok. You just have a major label that is backing you.
Jason: I think it is hard for a lot of people though like us. We're not making a lot of money. We do it because we love it. If someone were to come to us with a million dollar record deal it would be difficult to turn it down. But at the same time to think well...
Scott: What got us where we are?
Jason: ...the people that are listening to it to what we do right now and what I love to do. I don't want to compromise the way I feel and what I put into my music... but people also need to understand that we have to somehow make a living at this too.
Scott: We could turn a million dollar record deal down in order to stay doing what we do.
Jason: Yeah. You can quote us on that. Being a millionaire is not that important to me. There's a million ways to be a millionaire and that is just one of them.
Lunar: Yeah, we're working on a couple of other ones. [all laughing] We also wanted to ask you about your Web site. It's a very nice Web site. How do you feel you are using the Internet to spread the message of Deepsky?
Jason: That's probably the one point of information that people really hit the most.
Scott: It's our online press kit. It's always updated. The news is always updated...the live shows that we do. I mean literally...I think almost every day it gets updated. A lot of people ask for a press kit. You have to send them a CD and you have to send something on paper. Our Web site is literally updated to the day, so it's really cool for us to have that for people to look at.
Jason: The immediacy of the Internet has been the key in getting us to where we are today. It's easy for us to say "Hit the Web site and you've got everything at your fingertips." It's so much easier than pulling out a roll of stamps and wearing your tongue down and sticking them on.
Lunar: People say to us, "Why don't you go print?" But that's not what we are all about.
Scott: I think that's cool. I don't think the Internet will ever replace print magazines.
Jason: There's something to be said about having paper in your hands and being able to read it. You know the Internet is just a completely different medium, and people need to realize that it's not going to usurp or supplant what's already there. It's going to augment everything.
Scott: The Internet got us the first show as Deepsky ever.
Lunar: Oh, really!
Jason: Which led to record deals...
Scott: Yeah, the Internet has really been just an incredible outlet for us.
Lunar: How do you feel about the whole MP3 thing?
Jason: There are many different schools of thought on that. Again it's good and bad. You don't want people ripping off your music, but then again people ripping off your music is a remarkable vehicle for getting it heard. On the flipside the distribution possibilities of MP3, once standards are set and copy protection is in place...I don't think we'll see big record labels go away, but we're definitely going to see a paradigm shift in the way music is distributed and the way people get their music...custom CDs and whatever else. The possibilities are endless with MP3. I don't know if that is going to be the final format.
Lunar: Recent events have shown a lot toward that [MP3 standardization.] A lot of the big media companies threw big money behind that...
Jason: Bandwidth is the limiter right now like Scott was saying...as bandwidth increases...
Scott: [continuing] Everybody gets a big pipeline into their house...then we'll see that segment of the music industry take off.
Lunar: What would you all like for people to get out of your music? Trance and that whole genre of music is a very powerful and emotional kind of music. When you guys are playing or producing, what are you feeling, and what are you wanting people to get out of it?
Scott: I think that trance is the one style of music that you can plug all other styles into. You could take a trance song and make a jungle breakdown or a breakbeat breakdown...you can do all kinds of things with trance. That's the beauty of it. I think that breakbeat is seeing its last days in the spotlight...I think that breakbeat is a come and go kind of thing. I think that jungle is a come and go kinda thing, but trance always seems to stick around.
Jason: Breakbeat is party music. People go and they drink or they do whatever and they put on a breakbeat CD and they're like, "Oh, fuck yeah, it's so funky...I wanna dance." But trance is unique in that you can sit at your house and listen to it and get something completely different out of it, then go to a party and dance for 10 hours straight and get something completely different out of it, but it has equal viability in both environments. So I think for the lack of a better metaphor, it is the Swiss Army knife of electronic music.
Scott: That rocks! Good one! Damn, I'm impressed!
Jason: The diversity of style in trance music is...is...everyday, back in '92 when we first started getting into this thing, it's like everybody is rallying around techno and it's diversified so far since then. Trance has become its own thing, and now we're seeing trance diversify itself into different branches as well.
Scott: I really believe that trance is going to be the music of 2000. 1998, 1999 was really breakbeat. Crystal Method took the helm on that. I think when 2000 rolls around trance is really going to hit big.
Jason: I don't think there is a lot of longevity in breakbeat simply because it's not something that, like I said, you can come home and listen to.
Scott: You have to have armchair listenability and trance is just that, at least some trance.
Jason: It's not just tracks. It's music. It's the fusion of what everybody wants to listen to and what everbody wants to dance to.
Lunar: Did you start off making trance?
Jason: We started off...
Scott: [over Jason] We started off doing some sort of weird kind of industrial/synth-pop.
Jason: I started into industrial when I was 17, and I was really into Skinny Puppy...
Scott: I was mister Pet Shop Boys, Anything Box, Erasure...
Jason: So when we got together you can see it was like, "Dude, that major key sucks! Let's make it all minor and gothic!"
Scott: [laughing] So we start with minor keys and resolve into major keys...
Jason: ...and then I wouldn't have to dig it. Yeah, but we started out doing some interesting stuff, but we were finding ourselves at that time.
Scott: I heard "James Brown is Dead," and I knew at that point that's what I wanted to do with the rest of my life when I heard techno. "James Brown is Dead." Electronic music for me goes back to Falco, "Amadeus." When I heard that song, I was 10 years old, and I knew at that point that is what I wanted to dedicate my life to.
Jason: I always loved electronic music, but I think the point in time when I realized "This is what I want to do" is when I heard the advent of new beat and Lords of Acid first came out and ah...who did "Groovy"? [to Scott] Do you even remember anymore?
Scott: Pick a Number...
Jason: Pick a Number and all those new beat
Scott: I went to the club in Albuquerque one weekend because we had one club at that time and from the week before the music had totally changed and I was like, "Oh, fuck, this is really incredible. What is going on?" And from that point on it just snowballed.
Lunar: As far as Atlanta goes, how do you feel about Atlanta? We know that you guys were planning on filming your music video tonight, but that didn't happen. Are you still planning on maybe doing it here in Atlanta?
Scott: Next time. I think that we're working towards that right now. It didn't work out with all the specifics. We were really excited because the Tabernacle is an amazing venue and the last time we played in Atlanta, it was just one of the most incredible vibes that we have ever experienced. So we figured, wow, we're coming back to Atlanta, this venue is incredible, the vibe is incredible, what better place to shoot a video and get some live footage? It just didn't work out this time, but we're talking with some people to get some footage for next time and I think that we are going to be more regular in Atlanta. Hopefully! That would be my guess.
Lunar: At your last appearance, people were like, "Who is Deepsky?!"
Scott: And when we came on everybody just went crazy.
Jason: Every city is different, and Atlanta is defintely the bomb town now.
Scott: You know what is weird? We never change. Our music stays the same the crowd is what changes and when we played here, we knew this was just one of those cities that we wanted to keep visiting. There are probably thirty parties that happen a year that you are like, "Oh my gosh. What do I do this for?" And then there are probably five parties a year when you say, "Now I remember why I do this!" and Atlanta is one of those cities for us.
Jason: Be proud!
Lunar: We like Atlanta! Okay, we ask everybody this: Where are you going to be playing New Year's?
Scott: That is still to be decided...There are a few cities we've played that are just amazing. Mexico City we played is amazing. Atlanta, amazing. A few other cities. I definitely think that we want to pick from one of the cities that has been amazing to us.
Lunar: Do you guys have anything else that you would like the people out there to know about you?
Scott: Album 2000. Deep Sky EP. It's going to be called the "Stargazer EP." It will be out in August. It will have the original "Stargazer" plus remixes by Andy Ling, Meat Beat Manifesto, Xcabs, 2012, and some other Deepsky original tracks. Hmmm...we've remixed Carl Cox's "Phuture 2000," The Light's "Expand the Room," "Café Del Mar"...
In other words, these are two busy guys. Other remixes include Markus Shulz's "You Wont See Me Cry" on Plastik Records (Deepsky's Farewell Desert Remix) and Planisphere's "Deep Blue Dream" on Bonzai Records (Deepsky's "We Should Have Been British" Remix). One thing's for sure...live or on vinyl, these guys have got what it takes to touch your soul and make you DANCE!
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