The Holy Coast's Keith Walker Talks Digital Collaboration with DJ MyKill
Keith Walker of The Holy Coast
While the rest of us have been meandering around our social media apps watching cat videos, laughing at celebrity memes and sharing statuses, Phoenix musician and Holy Coast producer Keith Walker and former Phoenician DJ and producer MyKill -- aka Michael Clark -- have been a little more productive with their interwebs time.
Walker and MyKill have struck up a unique collaboration that uses the Internet to marry music and technology.
Walker and MyKill, who now resides in San Francisco, recently released some sweet sax and synth filled singles, including Monday's "Always Looking," collaborating entirely over the web using Facebook, Dropbox and Soundcloud.
"It was kind of like the Postal Service on their first record where they were both in separate countries and they sent everything through mail," Walker says. "Obviously things have evolved since then."
Up on the Sun: How did this partnership come about?
Keith Walker: I met MyKill a few years ago when he was in town visiting and we struck up a friendship because of our similar interests in different music and what not.
Our collaborations initially came about with The Holy Coast. He did a couple of remixes for the us that were very well-received and they've gone on to garner a lot of attention.
How long has this project been in the works?
Literally a couple of weeks ago, we started chatting online and talked about making a track or doing something.
So we eventually started exchanging some ideas. And that's really how it happened.
What was the process like?
He's in San Francisco, I'm in Phoenix. We used Dropbox and instant messaged to discuss what we were doing with the track.
Now we can do things online and in real time. It's a really weird way of working but it's also pretty amazing because I've never worked in this capacity before -- in terms of writing in real time with someone in a different state.
So it's really interesting to take something, work on it, pass it back, and hear what's been done.
He is very in tune with what is going on, what works and what doesn't, so that couples with me and my songwriting and playing. It's just a really good partnership.
How has it been different?
It's really amazing for something to fly out of thin air and kind of build momentum so quickly.
It's brilliant to see that happen because in this day and age, the power of the internet helps stuff go off really quick. So that in itself is pretty exciting.
Instead of being in a band, going into a recording studio for six months to knock out a few songs; don't get me wrong that's brilliant, but it's nice to do it another way. The material is there. It's fresh. It feels right and you bang it out and people get it and they want more. That is refreshing for me as a musician.
We have a bunch of new material now. We've got seven or eight tracks that we're thrashing out right now.
On the first track we used a saxophone, so there is a live element to each track that we're doing. So keeping a real organic feel is something that we're interested in doing, which could, perhaps, lend itself to a live scenario where we would and could do this live.
Either way it's fun and we're having a good time of it.
What kind of challenges did you run into?
You would imagine that it would present a lot of obstacles, but it really doesn't. Technology is so advanced. The fact that we can just use Dropbox to share files and audio; We can open up Facebook and instant message there. We used Soundcloud as well.
It's like being in a room with somebody, you're just not seeing their face. You're missing the human speech in terms of tone and what not, so we're very careful with how we communicate. There can be a lot that gets lost in this way of communicating. So we definitely try to be quite clear with each other. But we haven't really had any obstacles. We've achieved everything we wanted to in a very, very short span of time.
It helped that we went into this knowing what it was going to be like.
I come from the pre-Internet era. Everything was so slow and took forever and in this day and age, everything is literally instant, and it's extending to music now.
The relationship with technology and music and communication is a very strong one. It's great to be alive during a time when that is available. It's fascinating to me.
We've done this project that's already traveled around the globe, building fans and we haven't even been in the same room.
If you would have told me that 20 years ago when I was knocking out vinyl records, I would have laughed.
It's exciting and I can only imagine what the future holds.
What's the next step?
It opens up so many possibilities when you can work in that realm.
I've already reached out to some friends of mine that DJ and produce in Europe, and they're thinking, "OK, maybe we should do something."
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