Featured Artist: The Downer Disco

Hey there Procrastinators! We have a brand new featured artist here for you today; The Downer Disco, who comes from Niagara Falls, ON. They took the time to put together a playlist for us and did just a bit of writing to tell us about why they chose the songs that they did.

Here’s what they had to say about the songs on the playlist:

Violent Femmes – Add It Up

One of my favorite albums of all time is the Violent Femmes self-titled debut. There are so many great songs off the album (blister in the sun, gone daddy gone). The barebones style really resonated with me, they taught me that you don’t need to over produce the heck out of tracks to make them work.

System of a Down – Vicinity of Obscenity

The first time I heard this song it made me laugh out loud, in a good way. I hadn’t listened to SOAD before or even heard Chop Suey, and I was fascinated with this song. This song is absurd in a great way. The insane lyrics with the instrumental change up on the chorus was a blend of music I had never experienced before. This track is System of a Down going full on System of a down and I love it.

’68 – This Life is Old New Borrowed and Blue

’68 is a band that needs to be listened to. Front man Josh Scogin has been making music for almost two decades with a number of different outfits. This band is like Nirvana mixed with Rage Against the Machine. Grimy grunge, and extremely catchy. This song is an abrasive earworm.

Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl

This past year I’ve gone on a huge riot grrrl binge. Patti Smith, Joan Jett, Siouxie Sioux etc. Through them I discovered Bikini Kill. An absolutely badass group with killer vocals and bass. I like dirty/grimy rock and roll and that’s what bikini kill does best. Along with touching on a number of feminist issues and important topics, Bikini Kill just makes great music to jam to.

The Beatles – She’s So Heavy

Cutting edge. Some people call this track one of the very first Doom Metal songs. I don’t think it was the Beatles’ intention to ever create new genres, they experimented with new sounds and bands would follow suit. Paul is undeniably an amazing songwriter but people often overlook the fact that he was a killer bass player as well.

Rage Against the Machine – Township Rebellion

I was one of those kids who listened to Rage and thought they were going to one day overthrow an oppressive regime. No matter how naive the thought is, even if you’re not toppling a government RATM gives us hope and an outlet for an aggression built from an unfair system. RATM is one of those bands where every single band member is an essential part of the sound. Commerford’s heavy bass that pushes the track forward, Wilk’s blaring drum lines that punctuate rhythms, Tom Morello’s absolutely insane guitar solos littered with experimentation and De La Rocha’s hard hitting lyrics that sound like pure venom.  Rage Against the Machine will always hold a special place in my heart.

Gorillaz – Hillbilly Man

Definitely not one of Gorillaz’ most popular tracks, off of one of their least popular albums. From The Fall Damon made the whole album supposedly in his tour bus in between shows. Hillbilly Man is a great example of the style I try to encapsulate, with an amazing introduction to a dance beat change up. The synth/vocal chop thing that comes in after the chorus is such an odd and amazing sound. ‘yeah boomdee yeah’

Vulfpeck – Animal Spirits

I love Vulfpeck. A friend from college introduced me to them and I’ve been a fan ever since. This is one of their most accessible/pop tunes, but damn it just makes me so happy. This song is like pure joy in soundwave form.

The Magnetic Fields – Take Ecstasy With Me

The Magnetic Fields are a precursor to a number of my favorite musical groups and Stephen Merritt’s influence on the electronic/dance genre is undeniable. When I first stumbled upon the group I thought they were a new band because they sounded so modern. Progressive sounds that aren’t a fad. Progressiveness in music that stays timeless is the music I love most.

Jackson 5 – I want you back

Bass. Bass is king. This song has one of my favorite bass lines of all time. This track is constantly on my playlist for my walks to work as it’s impossible not to be in a good mood after listening to it.

Frank Zappa – Son of Mr. Green Genes

This is one of those songs that just absolutely blew my mind when I first heard it. When I first started making music my dad said a lot of my tunes reminded him of Zappa because they were ‘different’ and ‘weird’. Honestly I kind of took it as a negative until I actually started listening to Zappa. Who is very much the essence of weird and different, but in an awesome way.

Led Zeppelin – Heartbreaker

HEARTBREAKER HEART.

Rolling Stones – Sweet Virginia

Not the Virginia song that the internet is currently in love with, but it’s the Virginia song that will always be closest to my heart. Off of what is probably my favorite Stones album. My Dad bought me the Exile on Main St. CD years ago and I just recently got it on vinyl.

Alt J – Every Other Freckle

Alt J is one of my favorite current bands. Their style is so dynamic while still keeping their folk/psychedelic sound. Plus they know how to write a hit. This song is like the essence of sexy, not gonna lie I get a bit turned on whenever I hear this tune.

The White Stripes – The Denial Twist

A lot of my guitar style is thanks to Jack White. While not the most technical player in the world, Jack White is able to put pure rawness and emotion into all of his riffs. I first heard this song on the radio when I was probably about 11 years old. I couldn’t quite remember all of the lyrics so I sang the song in my head all day at school so I could look it up when I got home. Eventually I found the music video on YouTube and was even more in love with it.

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun

Maybe my favorite song of all time. I just love it. Whenever I hear it some unproduced noire film plays in my head. A hard-boiled detective walking the streets of New Orleans at the crack of dawn hot on the trail of a new lead.

If you want to learn more about The Downer Disco and what they’re up to, keep on reading.

I started making music when I was about 13 years old. I was on my allotted time with the family desktop and I came across this program called fruity loops. I downloaded the free demo and from that point on I spent every hour possible making music. Since it was the demo version I had to export everything I was working on as I was doing it because as soon as the window was closed the track was gone.

Now I’m The Downer Disco. Having just put out my third album last month I’m currently working on my first full project with vocals. I am by no means a singer and if I ever have vocals on a track I vocode them so my actual voice is completely hidden. Thanks to twitter and friends in my local music scene I will be putting out a full length album with guest vocals which I hope will put my music out to a broader audience. (Shoutout to my IRL friend Prescott, Superdestroyer, Disco King Sam Wade, and Father of the Year).

As an artist, the thing I hope to accomplish is showing people you don’t need to follow trends. You don’t have to make songs just because it will reach the largest audience possible. Make any type of music that you like if it resonates with you. No matter how weird it is. Being unique and different is ironically challenging in the music business. Going against the grain is going to be harder, and take longer yet I think it’s worth it. Somebody will find your work. Someone is going to connect with your music.

In my first few years making instrumentals I was rejected countless times. I was told my stuff was too weird, that there was ‘no way I can sing over that’. It hurt, but I also knew I wasn’t going to change my style to suit someone else’s interest. Thankfully I now have a number of friends in the business who think the same and it feels great.

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