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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Kamp talks dark electronica

    Masters of Bates

    Big Black Delta’s self-titled album generated huge hype last year — he even had CMJ and Pitchfork noting him on their Artist to Watch lists. And publicity aside, you can tell that Jonathan Bates is an artist with a unique, innovative vision just from hearing his music yourself.

    The latest release is a musical odyssey that catapults you into space and keeps you floating through its experimental style incorporating dark, synthy electronica with danceable indie-pop overtones. He’s currently on tour with Roman Remains and the legendary Gary Numan.
    During our interview we discussed his unique background in song writing and stage production, what he looks forward to on the tour and much more.

    KAMP: Your live shows are known to be really aesthetically incredible and extravagant. I heard you actually build your own lights. Tell us a little bit about your technical background that allows you to carry out your unique vision.

    Bates: To be honest, I thought it would be easier to just do it yourself and spend a week learning how the stuff works. Especially if you don’t have a budget, which most of us don’t.

    After my old band, I didn’t know if I wanted to play music again. But then I started creating again and recording, but I wasn’t going to play live.

    Then people started liking it and I thought, “Well, if I’m going to play live, how do I want this to look? How do I want it to feel?” So I just took it from there. It was about a week of studying light language and ultimately it was just about making things easier.

    Your own writing process seems really different in that you experience synthesthia. Would you say that your synthesthia guides your writing process, is it caused by your music or is it kind of a give-and-take experience?

    It’s a give-and-take. It makes things easier, like if you gave me a painting and asked what it sounds like, that is easier for me than having a visual reference.

    So I do enjoy using lights and colors and bursts and shapes and even tastes that I get from certain sounds. Also, if I’m going to be playing these songs so many times in a year, I need them to physically match them or else I won’t feel it, and that would be obvious.

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