In conversation with Dilated Academy
For all the music lovers out there, Dilated Academy is a diverse collective of musicians who believe in creating music inspired by madness. They were recently in the city for their gig at Euriska in Koregaon Park. I was fortunate to speak with band member Sophie Bystrup. In the interview, she talks about how the band came into being, their music and latest collaborations with Indian artist.
1.Dilated Academy is a collaborative group of renowned musicians hailing from Canada, Denmark and Israel. How did the idea of forming this group come about?
Dilated Academy is an experimental project as well as it is an experimental band that worked out. Kelvin met Or Epstein from Israel a year ago, while traveling. They immediately struck an intense conversation about music and its current state. Noticing how passionate Or was about the craft, Kelvin had it in mind to work with him some time. Thus, they stayed in touch. Eight month later, Kelvin was working on a solo project to experiment and explore his generic potential. He reached out to Or to assist with producing and mastering the project. The collaborative work between the friends was called Dilated Academy. This laid the foundation for the new group. Or specialized in EDM drum and bass, Kelvin’s was R&B and soul. The combination of this gave birth to more relaxed electronic music with soulful vocals, although they also had different types of sounds in the experimental project. Afterwards, Kelvin met me (Sophie, who hails from Denmark) and I assisted as a brand manager with photos and videos for the group. But he needed a keyboardist for their live shows. He asked me and I joined in.
2.Why the name ‘Dilated Academy’? Any significance?
To dilate means to expand or to open up. So Dilated Academy is a school where dilation is taught. Could be the dilation of the mind, the body or the soul. As we all know, life is very much comparable to a school or an academy, as we get to learn a lot while facing day and night in other words. Dilated Academy is a place where we go as humans to learn to expand from existing with life. So the music we make is to express what we’ve learnt and what we are learning through rhythm and sound.
3.From where did you’ll draw influences while recording the 10 tracks for your Dilated Academy Mix Tape?
As I said before, the last project was just an experimental project to test out ability in diverse music genre. In fact, every track sounds different from the next due to intense experimentation. For this influences were drawn from electronic dance music, dubstep, hip hop, rap, R&B and soul as the project featured both live and electronic drums, tabla, synthesizers, piano, rap, choir and even spoken word poetry. Traveling has been a big influence for the three of us as we get the chance to hear music from different cultures on the planet. We even had some sitar riffs in the “Youth Spirit” song.
4.In what way have different cultures you all represent influenced the music produced by the group?
It’s made us more open to ideas and suggestions from every member of the group. It’s also allowed us the pleasure to fulfill the fantasy of sound chemistry, as well as learning the theories of another member’s music history.
5.What is the group’s favourite Dilated Academy track and why?
“Muses ecstasy”, because we all worked on this song together as we didn’t get to work on every song on the mix tape together. Or and Kelvin worked on 6 songs out of 10 tracks.
6.As a group what are you all hoping to achieve in the music scene? How has the journey been so far?
So far it’s been a very fun experience as we’ve met a lot of intense music consumers and lovers. We’ve also got to know more about the business side of it. As a group, we hope to reach out to the cry of every ear, aching to hear something new and refreshing. We’re also hoping to release a major project next year because we now know exactly what to give for the mix tape. Also, hopefully, we get a major deal and spread a wider frequency.
7.So what’s next for Dilated Academy? Any new record releases/tours?
Next thing for Dilated Academy is the release of another mix tape which we hope to title “The Black Soul Project”. This project will have better quality and a different more professional sonic sound. We plan to do a tour in Europe to promote the coming project.
8.Elaborate on your experience with the audience in India. What do you think about the Indian ‘scene’?
We were overwhelmed by the music audience in India. The industry is doing more than we expected and the music knowledge we discovered here is very sophisticated, we came to know that India has a strong with the emergence of EDM music. It is because of this that we befriended and worked with a couple of talented DJ’s and instrumentalists.
9.Any favourite Indian artist? Do you plan on collaborating with any?
We were introduced to “Noise wear”, a Pune based group and listened to their EP, we then worked with the band’s lead guitarist Adiraj Singh. Even though “Noise wear” is a metal band and has not much to do with our type of music, we will not mind plucking some guitar strings with them on the forth coming “Black Soul Project”.