Von Disco: An Expression of Individual Proclivities
Jesse Hunter • August 13, 2016 • Art •
Our art is undoubtedly an interpretation of our individual proclivities. However, the true brilliance is conveyed when everyone has the opportunity to speak through their instrument in ‘the moment.’ Hip-hop becomes jazz, and vice versa. Improvisation turns to exploration. Ultimately, our on-stage observance of each others’ voices unveils a platform for uninhibited spontaneous creation… but please allow me to be more specific: Hip-hop meets jazz while jazz meets every other spectral genre.
When starting Von Disco, I posted an ad on Craigslist seeking a player to fulfill the trap role in a three-piece Robert Glasper/Roots/J-Dilla-esque ensemble. Steve Nadler, one of the founding members of our group (sadly, no longer with VD), responded with interest roughly a month later. At that time, Tyson Bennett (Keys/Bass) and I had gotten so busy with other endeavors that we literally couldn’t seem to cook up a conducive meeting time for the three of us to link. As time went on, Steve started sending us some of his favorite J-Dilla tracks via email. By the time we actually landed a rehearsal date, we had so many of these emails from Steve that Ty and I decided to start reinterpreting some of the tracks in efforts to produce some synonymous material in anticipation of our session. By nature, our iterations of these J-Dilla mixes sounded so tangental yet so poignant. In fact, many of the tunes we played at that session became compositions that we still perform in our repertoire to this day.
I believe we strive to progress towards a place where we all get to say what we’ve been dying to say. Where art can be art and inspire secondary and tertiary art forms. A place where we can collectively abandon burdens and truly be in the moment as we communicate with each other through sound.
Art is and will always be an interpretation of all that orbits our lives. A reflection of our thoughts on issues where conversations fall flat. The embodiment of finding ways to constructively articulate the effect that our environment has on our psyches. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a thousand words can paint a profound picture. In other words, it’s important to think, feel, and emote in ways that inspire others to do the same, and that’s how we approach the songwriting process.
Expanding on the previous sentiments, I believe that most of our historical recollection of civilization has been captured and chronicled via artistic pathways. Often we can dissect various art forms, past and present, and be given a direct indication of the socio-environmental circumstances at hand. Especially in times of political uncertainty, environmental unpredictability, and racial trauma, it’s vital for artists to communicate across the barriers of language, class, and culture. It’s our responsibility. Art penetrates the psyche in a way that most traditional means of media simply cannot, exposing parts of us often neglected. Occasionally removing ourselves from blatant literalness is imperative to recognizing the beauty which surrounds us all.
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