LessThan3: You’re known for sustainable practices while on tour. Can you delve into that a bit?
After doing carbon-neutral touring for a year I realized I didn’t really know where the money was going; I was giving money to a company and it wasn’t very hands-on. Instead, I’ve decided I’m going to support local people in my hometown and have them help to build a sustainable permaculture artisan residency that is going to support Jumpsuit Records
and all of the artist friends I’ve made over the years.
LessThan3: Are there any other artists or musicians that inspired you to be more conscious of sustainability?
David: There hasn’t really been an artists or musician where I looked to them and thought what they’re doing in the realm of sustainability is really amazing. It’s more just the people that I meet at festivals. I find that I gravitate toward those people, just by the nature of who I am. Music is a big part of my life, but getting out into nature is just as big a part.
LessThan3: Some of the LessThan3 crew were able to make it down to Lightning In A Bottle and noticed that you had a bunch of breakdancers out on stage with you. How did you get involved with them?
David: The LIB sunset set was probably one of my favorite sets that I’ve ever played. Half of the dancers were actually just friends; I’ve been in the dance circle for a while in the Bay area so I just know a lot of people who are good movers and shakers. It’s this cool symbiotic relationship where they get to come up and bust a move. I’m all about having my friends on stage with me, especially when it’s a giant stage like that. It feels much more connected to have my friends up there rocking out when everyone in the crowd is rocking out with their friends.
LessThan3: Since you started touring, you’ve done a great job connecting with your fans–the jumpsuits you wear being a great example. Do you have any other plans for ways to get your fans involved?
David: It’s something that ends up evolving as I go. The larger goal is to break down all walls so there’s an exchange between artist and fans. We’re always scheming for new ways to do this. We’re talking about other stuff in the fall with the Kinect; we’re thinking of having some of those on stage for people to come up and dance in front of. We’re also doing some art activations where people design their own tour posters. People are coming to TPA shows and bringing all sorts of signs and we want a way for people to make and create them at the shows.
LessThan3: You’re very well-known for giving away your music either for free or as a name-your-price sort of deal. What is it about your music and your fans that you think has been able to make this so successful?
David: In order to truly be an artist, you have to give something away for free. When you put a price on it, you’re creating a commodity. Obviously it’s really hard to make a living as an artist if you give everything away for free, but there’s this dichotomy where you can be an artist or you can be a business. Free music, free digital art, free photos–it’s kind of this way of keeping the art sacred. I think moving toward this society where art is free is a beautiful thing. It happens a lot at our shows; at the end there’s usually a lot of people waiting to give us things. You should see our crystal collection that we have at the end of a tour.
LessThan3: You have a new album that was just released called Pushing Through The Pavement. How does this album fit into your story? Is there a specific message?
David: The message is collaboration. Specifically in the electronic music world, there’s a lot of independent creation and there’s nothing wrong with that, but for me, that’s something that I’ve done already. I had five albums where it was just tracks that I created by myself in the lab. At a certain point, I wanted to let the art blossom and the only way for me to do it was to welcome other people into it.
LessThan3: What has it been like working collaboratively for the new album?
David: Each one has been amazing interesting in their own right. It’s like meeting a new person on the street. Everybody’s got their own story, everybody’s got their own interests, and working with these artists is no different. Some of them took more iterations than others and some would send me something and right away it was like, “boom, nailed it!” That’s all part of the creative process. Most of the people I already knew and a couple were sent over from friends. It’s been an absolute joy.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
The first song that comes to mind is The Final Countdown
by Europe although that’s the cheesy, ’80s movie answer. Maybe I’d want to find something really beautiful like Peter Gabriel’s Red Rain