‘Deru’ discusses new project; a revival of live music

By E.R. Pulgar

Via Lola Izola for WSN
Via Lola Izola for WSN

Benjamin Wynn, who produces and composes electronic music as ‘Deru,’ sat down with WSN to talk about his new visual-music project and bringing back live music.

WSN: How does it feel to have been a part of the festival?

D: it’s been great, it’s amazing to me how different all these festivals are. This is the third time we’ve done [1979] live. We did Decibel in Seattle, MUTEK in Mexico City, and now we’re here. It’s amazing to me how different the vibes are, from organization to the crowds that come out. We were incredible pumped to play Brooklyn. I’ve been coming to New York all my life, and it’s a place that I really relish and would love to make a good impression on. It’s been great and we’re pumped to be here.

WSN: Why make “1979” an audio-visual project?

D: It’s a big project; it started off as music and I started writing stripped-down, ambient songs that I recorded directly to cassette tape. They were kind of noisy and hissy and nostalgic and made me think of past memories.  I thought about how I wanted to release it and try to make the release as much a piece of art as I felt the music was. I teamed up with Effixx, and we started throwing around some ideas. We eventually came up with the idea to have something you could hold in your hand that would beam the album to your walls, like a handheld projector. It took a year and two months to build fifty of these things. I think that the way we’ve gone about this project, there’s a lot of different ways you can enter it and experience this album. Just listening to the music or buying the projector, which is the truest most unique way to experience this record. One of the things that we did also was build a website, 1979.la, where we asked people to upload a memory in exchange for a song. I feel like this project also speaks to a little bit about the devaluation of music. These days, music is shared for free, people don’t expect to pay much of anything for it. I don’t particularly like the idea that it’s free, so what we did was asked people to give us something of theirs. Just a memory, a photo, a story, something that was meaningful to them.

WSN: Have you been planning out your next project after 1979? 

D: Yeah, we’ve been talking about it. In 1979, really the music came first, in that it was almost done by the time we started constructing everything else around it. [Effixx] and I are talking about for the next project, starting something together from the ground visually and musically together. The next live show we do, will be an extension of that.

WSN: Anything else you want to tell us about your music?  

D: People now respond to bigger and different ideas. I could have just put this music on iTunes and called it a day. We tried to take it to as many places as we could. It’s music, but it’s also visuals and a design object and photography and writing. I also think that in this day and age where anything is at your fingertips at any moment. There’s something to be said for counteracting that and making people slow down and have an experience.

E.R. Pulgar is a staff writer. Email him at music@nyunews.com

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