When we put out the call for furry musicians who might be interested in helping us test our format, b.trx was the very first to respond! They ended up being the second recording for logistical reasons, but that doesn’t make us any less thankful :)!
They make a lot of electronic music that might be accurately described as “experimental,” but don’t let that put you off: they’re a lot of fun to listen to!
Here’s where to find them:
their website (btrx.studio)
The last track played, “Fireworks,” is currently unreleased, but we will update the show notes with links if and when it is available.
towards: Bandcamp, Spotify, Soundcloud
almost there: Bandcamp, Spotify, Soundcloud
guirare: Bandcamp, Spotify, Soundcloud
Tools and Techniques:
push to hardware
Artists and Songs Mentioned:
Kings of Convenience
– Scars on Land
– Carrie and Lowell
Zoofonix can be found in the following locations:
Spotify: listen, playlists
Google Play Music: listen
email: zoofonix @ gmail.com
[00:00:00] >> SIRIUS LAGRANGE: Ladies and gentlefurs, and all in between, you’re listening to Zoofonix.
[00:00:08] [ Theme music: “Ode an die Freude (Instrumental)” ]
[00:00:27] >> SIRIUS: Welcome to another wonderful episode of Zoofonix! Our second –
[00:00:31] >> JAKOB NELSON: Second!
[00:00:31] >> SIRIUS: – episode.
[00:00:31] >> JAKOB: Heck. Yeah. So the interview that we are bringing to you today is with Coda, who works under the name Beatrix, which is spelled b.trx.
[00:00:43] And they make a lot of electronic music that is kind of all over the place, but I would probably – just based on the way that they talk about it – classify it maybe as a little experimental, and that I really like a lot.
[00:01:00] I’m going to say that probably about most of the music we listen to in every episode but, you know.
[00:01:07] And they brought – god bless them – so much good stuff to say about their music.
[00:01:10] We talked a little bit about what we were going to talk about ahead of time, and so they brought a lot of really good notes that that I loved honestly.
[00:01:18] >> SIRIUS: So without further ado, here is Coda.
[00:01:21] [ Theme music: “Ode an die Freude (Instrumental)” ]
[00:01:39] >> JAKOB: We are here today with Coda who is Beatrix, which is again spelled b.trx.
[00:01:46] >> CODA: Hello!
[00:01:47] >> SIRIUS: Yes. Hello.
[00:01:48] >> JAKOB: First question, as always, is sort of how long have you been making music and kind of like, how did you get into making music and just kind of that sort of whole background?
[00:01:57] >> CODA: Okay, so, I have been writing my own music since about 2002, but I don’t really think that that’s the start of it for me so much,
[00:02:07] because I’ve honestly been really fascinated by synthesizers since I was like a little little kid, and I’ve had a lot of history of music in my family
[00:02:17] and I’ve just I’ve always loved them as something to play with, so I think 2002 is when I finally like sat down and said,
[00:02:25] “Okay. I really want to write music. I want to compose stuff. I want to produce music.”, and I started actually trying to figure out how to do that in earnest.
[00:02:35] So I’ve been doing that part of it, like the actual writing music part, for a little over half my life.
[00:02:41] >> JAKOB: And then about how long have you been kicking around furry?
[00:02:45] >> CODA: Honestly, about as long. I think I got into the furry fandom within kind of a couple years after I started writing music,
[00:02:53] and I think the very first time I went to a convention, like the first time I went to like a big fandom event, was Anthrocon 2007,
[00:03:04] and I got to DJ at it and like – really as long as I’ve been in the fandom, I’ve always kind of approached it from the perspective of “I’m a person who does music.”, so.
[00:03:13] It’s been tied into it in some ways, but also my music is not something that I consider to be like directly coupled with my participation in that.
[00:03:22] But it’s always been a part of the social experience of furry for me because I’ve known a lot of DJs and musicians and other people that write music in the fandom, so.
[00:03:30] >> SIRIUS: Yeah, we’re a pretty musical fandom, I’d say.
[00:03:32] >> CODA: Yeah, definitely.
[00:03:34] >> SIRIUS: It really does sound like you just jumped in and that’s always great.
[00:03:38] >> CODA: Yeah, like I – it was kind of a really big deal to get to DJ at my very first convention of any sort.
[00:03:46] Like that was – that was how I got into going to cons and just participating in furry in general was like showing up and you know, my thing was “I’m not a visual artist,
[00:03:56] but I’m in a place of music.” and that’s also a little difficult sometimes because it can feel like it’s not it’s not as easy to integrate those things as it is for someone who like draws. Who draws –
[00:04:08] >> SIRIUS: Right.
[00:04:09] >> CODA: – you know, people’s characters and can do all this like visual design and world building and whatnot that way.
[00:04:15] Music for me – especially since I don’t really do much in the way of like lyrics or anything like that – is much more abstract and conceptual.
[00:04:24] That’s honestly another reason why I’ve never really tried to tie the music that I write into like, you know, furry characters or narratives or that kind of thing so much.
[00:04:34] But socially, those things have been really integrated.
[00:04:37] >> SIRIUS: Great, great.
[00:04:41] >> JAKOB: So the first one is called “Towards” and it is from a release that you had last year right called “deletemotif”?
[00:04:49] >> CODA: That’s correct, yes.
[00:04:50] >> JAKOB: You want to preface it?
[00:04:51] >> CODA: Sure, yeah. So real quick about that release: that was an EP that I released on Bandcamp last year actually around the time of –
[00:04:59] there was a Bandcamp fundraiser for donating to organizations that supported trans rights.
[00:05:05] So I actually got that release together to release on that weekend that all of Bandcamp’s proceeds were going to that organization.
[00:05:12] So I actually have some feelings tied up in that release around, you know, kind of my own personal experiences there.
[00:05:20] >> SIRIUS: I guess we’ll give this a listen.
[00:05:21] >> CODA: All right.
[00:05:22] >> JAKOB: All right, here it is, “Towards”.
[00:05:25] [ Song “Towards” begins ] [ Instrumental only ]
[00:11:31] [ Song ends ]
[00:11:33] >> CODA: Okay.
[00:11:35] >> JAKOB: Alright. So that was “Towards”. Do we have some like, some hot… some hot takes?
[00:11:41] >> CODA: [ Laughs ] Alright, alright. Oh do y’all want to go first or?
[00:11:45] >> JAKOB: I have one hot take and I put, I don’t know why but, this feels like a laboratory to me.
[00:11:50] >> SIRIUS: I didn’t think like Portal but I was just thinking like science.
[00:11:55] >> JAKOB: I was actually kind of thinking of you know, the Akkala lab in Breath of the Wild, the one on the north side of the map.
[00:12:01] >> SIRIUS: Oh yeah!
[00:12:02] >> CODA: Huh! That’s fascinating! So actually I would love to respond to that that wasn’t one of the things that I was thinking about necessarily or that I put in my notes but I –
[00:12:11] there’s interesting context there insofar as I tend to think about my room where I have all my like gear –
[00:12:18] >> SIRIUS: Ooh.
[00:12:19] >> CODA: – and just all my stuff I often think about it as a lab.
[00:12:21] So [ Laughs ] so I mean, you know, I like, that’s a thought that’s crossed my mind a lot.
[00:12:27] I didn’t tie it specifically to the song per se, but it’s really interesting that you bring it up. [ Laughs ]
[00:12:34] Personally a lot of the things that I think about with this song, and I’ll say real quick that I almost never set out to just write a song about something, I never sit down to say, “I’m feeling this, I’m going to write a song about it.”
[00:12:46] >> SIRIUS: Right.
[00:12:46] >> CODA: It’s far more common that I will sit down, write some music, it’ll go somewhere.
[00:12:51] I’ll, you know, sit down, make something, and I’ll end up with some music and I’ll listen to it a lot and I will think about, “What does this song feel like to me? Like, what do what do I tie this to?”
[00:13:02] Having done that with this song, and many of my songs because I frankly tend to sit around and listen to them a lot after I’ve made them, and this to me I associate with like stuff on the horizon,
[00:13:15] like really difficult difficult things that you know are coming, that you’re like preparing yourself for. And I’m a person who needs a really really prepare for hard things a lot.
[00:13:25] I needed a lot of prep for this this interview like, you know, what kind of stuff are we going to be talking about but more generally just I need to really psych myself up to do something hard.
[00:13:34] And when I listen to this song, I think a lot about how during some of the more kind of low key parts of the song earlier on, they’re not very like emotionally uplifting, not until you get to like, later parts of the song.
[00:13:47] And it really reminds me of the feeling of like when I’ve got a little bit of anxiety about that thing that’s coming up, this tough thing.
[00:13:55] And in particular around the time that I was doing this song, I was in a spot with my family that kind of lives on the other side of the the country for me and how we’ve had some trouble like communicating.
[00:14:07] You know, I came out as trans a few years ago and my family’s supportive but it’s, you know, just the distance and that has kind of like made it hard for me to fit –
[00:14:16] to connect with them and I really think a lot about these times where I knew like I really want to reconnect with them, but I don’t know how to do it.
[00:14:25] I don’t know how to approach them about it. I don’t know what to say.
[00:14:27] The sort of emotional resolution of this song for me is kind of, it’s like, the thing has come, like the time has come for the thing and it’s happened and it’s chaotic and there’s –
[00:14:38] it’s hard and there’s a lot of stuff but it’s doable and you get through it and I get this kind of emotional satisfaction of like, “Okay. I have a lot of these experiences in my life, but they’re surmountable.”
[00:14:50] So that’s a lot of what I think about. I am very fascinated by the laboratory the laboratory references that you two made though. And I don’t think it’s off base at all.
[00:15:01] >> SIRIUS: Like, sort of the feelings and sort of the story that you put into like your own work always does get interpreted differently depending on everyone else’s context of course.
[00:15:11] >> CODA: Oh, yeah and to be certain I don’t want to like I never want to put out work where it’s like this is the sole narrative, you know? [ Laughs ]
[00:15:20] >> JAKOB: It takes away so much of the light from it. I feel like when you insist on something.
[00:15:25] >> SIRIUS: Yeah.
[00:15:26] >> CODA: Yeah, like like this song is not just for people who have had difficulty talking to their family, you know, like that’s just what I think about when I listened to it
[00:15:33] and it’s sort of you know, that’s the emotions that come up for me, but I didn’t even come up with that until after I’d listened to the song several times and I start to make that association myself.
[00:15:42] >> SIRIUS: Ah.
[00:15:42] >> CODA: And certainly the name of it, “Towards”, is kind of like there’s that thing that you’re heading towards and you know it’s inevitable and you’re going to get there and you just don’t know how it’s going to happen and if people get that from it, that’s awesome.
[00:15:55] I’d honestly be surprised if people had the same interpretations as me all the time, but if not, I mean I’m happy with any interpretation someone gets from it, frankly. [ Laughs ]
[00:16:06] And I think just – I’ll say this right now all the songs that we’re listening to today I did in Ableton Live and used the push to hardware a lot on on several of these,
[00:16:20] but specifically I know this song has some like interesting synth sounds in it and there is a particular – I don’t know if you two are familiar with the Native Instruments plugins, but –
[00:16:30] >> SIRIUS: I’m very familiar.
[00:16:31] >> CODA: Okay, so there is an ensemble for Reactor called “Rounds”. I think it’s called Rounds or Round and the way it works is like,
[00:16:40] you can set up a bunch of different synth patches and Rounds will alternate between those synth patches on different midi notes.
[00:16:48] >> SIRIUS: Ohh.
[00:16:49] >> CODA: And each of those patches can have different settings like different transposition or like, you know, different pitch or panning or filter settings or, you know.
[00:16:59] So you can have all these different sounds that it is cycling through and I actually got a lot of variation on the melodies by doing that, and having it like sometimes play a note at a different transposition at different occurrences of it playing that note in the pattern.
[00:17:14] So that was the thing that – I think that’s the only time I’ve really used that plugin in that way in any of my songs, but I loved the effect that I got from it and it really provided some interesting variations for like the main, like hook or the main melody of the song that’s kind of running all the way through it.
[00:17:29] >> SIRIUS: Alright, so we’ll be coming up to “Almost There”.
[00:17:34] >> JAKOB: Yeah, which is the last song on the same album, if I’m not mistaken.
[00:17:37] >> CODA: That is correct.
[00:17:41] >> JAKOB: Nice, alright, and is there any preface for this one or we just going to go right on in?
[00:17:45] >> CODA: I don’t ha – Well, okay, I will say this. So this is actually based off of a much older song of mine called “Kings” that I had done… Gosh. I worked on that one in probably about 2012 or so.
[00:17:59] And so this is actually me going back to that old project and basically bringing it into my current style and –
[00:18:07] Really it’s me taking, you know music that I made kind of pre-transition and recontextualizing it. So that’s something I’ve always found interesting about this one.
[00:18:17] >> SIRIUS: Alright, let’s give her a listen.
[00:18:19] [ Song “Almost There” begins ] [ Instrumental only ]
[00:23:10] [ Song ends ]
[00:23:11] >> SIRIUS: That was “Almost There”.
[00:23:13] >> CODA: I would love to know what you two thought of that one.
[00:23:15] >> JAKOB: I have absolutely no notes on it other than the fact that my cat did try to shove his head into the laptop while it was playing which seems like high praise.
[00:23:24] >> SIRIUS: Very high praise.
[00:23:25] >> CODA: I take it as such, I definitely take it that way.
[00:23:28] >> SIRIUS: Like I would just say it’s just sort of very relaxing. I knew I know that’s that’s pretty vague. [ Laughs ]
[00:23:35] >> CODA: You know, that’s that’s good though. Like I I think a lot of the stuff I do tend to be pretty relaxing and I also think of this one it’s kind of an anthem too but it’s like a relaxing anthem. [ Laughs ]
[00:23:46] >> SIRIUS: Yeah. Felt like it was also very precise and like especially when it comes down to compression involving the kick.
[00:23:54] >> CODA: I want to say that, as I mentioned I think before we listen to this, this is a revisiting of an old song of mine and that song was or that version of it from about 2012 or so has a very different vibe to it.
[00:24:08] It’s a lot more melancholy. So if you remember in kind of the beginning of the song there’s a lot of that like sampled guitar and it’s kind of more… I mean, it’s more melancholy. That’s how I think of it.
[00:24:20] >> SIRIUS: Right.
[00:24:21] >> CODA: That was kind of the whole original song. Is it sort of had that that kind of vibe to it? And this was me coming back to it and really kind of paying attention to the all the all the details from the first time around and keeping what I really liked and getting rid of the stuff that I didn’t.
[00:24:37] So this has had a lot a lot more kind of scrutiny placed on it than some of the stuff where I just kind of sit down and do something and that’s the song.
[00:24:45] And also really, frankly, my Ableton Live based work tends to be stuff that I pay a lot more attention to the production on. When I do stuff on hardware, it’s a lot more kind of off the cuff.
[00:24:54] But I really want to say that this song to me, emotionally, is a very – like I can I can relate it to to the first song we listened to “Towards” by saying that it’s kind of the, you know,
[00:25:06] if there is that hard thing that that I was scared to approach, and you know, I was going through it and everything and it was hard but I accomplished it and stuff,
[00:25:14] “Almost There” is like kind of looking back at the trials that you’ve gone through in the recent past and going, “I can do this. I have made a lot of progress. I’ve come a really long way and I can keep going.”
[00:25:27] That also to me relates a lot to the fact that it was this this old song of mine from before transition – that I really liked and one of my favorites from from that time certainly –
[00:25:36] on an old album that I never really released because I, you know, finished it and then transitioned and kind of had to rethink about how I approached my music and everything.
[00:25:45] But this is like, “Okay I have overcome these things.” and you know, the there’s a there is a change in the chord progression and midway through the song that really I think changes like the emotional character of it a lot and to me I kind of associate it with “Okay, now I’m moving forward.”
[00:26:03] >> SIRIUS: Yeah, now that you mention it, I do really see that.
[00:26:06] >> CODA: And like some of the stuff from the beginning of the song is left behind, you know, some of the – a lot of the elements get kind of swapped out for things that give it a way more uplifting or kind of empowering feeling.
[00:26:18] And think I mentioned earlier that I like describing this as like a relaxing anthem because it’s not about tenseness and anxiety, it’s more like a – I think of more like a feeling of confidence.
[00:26:29] And – oh a technical thing I want to mention here, actually, a production thing. So something present in the original and this one is that like sampled guitar and those little sampled, like vocal clips that come from the song “Scars on Land” by the band Kings of Convenience.
[00:26:47] And that song actually is very melancholy, like extremely melancholy. So I really liked being able to take a little bit of vocals from that one and turn it into this like kind of cool uplifting like lead melody almost and I like being able to sort of transform the emotional character of that.
[00:27:05] >> SIRIUS: Yeah. I was going to ask about the vocal samples and that kind of leads us into the next song.
[00:27:10] >> CODA: Alright.
[00:27:12] >> JAKOB: Which we – I don’t think – know how to pronounce.
[00:27:14] >> SIRIUS: Is it like –
[00:27:14] >> CODA: Um
[00:27:15] >> SIRIUS: – “gwee-air”? “gweer-air”. [ Word is “Guirare” ]
[00:27:17] >> CODA: You know, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know how to pronounce it either. I think I usually pronounce it like “grew-are” but I don’t know. I’ve not really talked about it to people much like it’s –
[00:27:26] >> SIRIUS: Oh.
[00:27:27] I haven’t like tried to describe it to people, so. I’ve typed it many times. It’s it means “heal” in Italian like heal like you are healing, you know. I don’t speak Italian. I am Italian, but I don’t speak it. So –
[00:27:39] >> JAKOB: I’m about to ask Google.
[00:27:39] >> CODA: – I’m probably not an authority on how to pronounce that.
[00:27:42] [ Keyboard clacking ]
[00:27:44] >> JAKOB: I’m going to ask Google.
[00:27:46] >> CODA: [ Laughs ]
[00:27:47] [ Keyboard clacking ]
[00:27:51] >> JAKOB: It’s kind of, “gwoo-are-ay”
[00:27:52] >> SIRIUS: Guirare.
[00:27:52] >> CODA: Alright? I accept that.
[00:27:53] >> JAKOB: Okay. Alright. So other than looking up how to pronounce it. Do we have any other prefacing to do for this one?
[00:27:58] >> SIRIUS: [ Laughs ]
[00:27:59] >> CODA: Let’s let’s just go right in.
[00:28:00] [ Song “Guirare” begins ] [ Instrumental only ]
[00:30:36] [ Song ends ]
[00:30:40] >> CODA: Okay.
[00:30:42] >> SIRIUS: Okay. So let’s –
[00:30:42] >> CODA: Here we are.
[00:30:43] >> SIRIUS: Here we are.
[00:30:45] >> JAKOB: I again have one take and it’s that was a [ Squeaker ] bop. Oh, no, I [ Squeaker ] I did it! it was me!
[00:30:51] >> CODA: [ Laughing ]
[00:30:52] >> SIRIUS: You said – you did it twice now!
[00:30:54] >> JAKOB: I did.
[00:30:57] >> SIRIUS: I mean it’s just like a, like an 80s PG movie where you get two – one or two F words. Like happens in babysitting.
[00:31:05] >> JAKOB: No one can ever swear again.
[00:31:07] >> CODA: [ Stops laughing ] I mean you certainly haven’t offended me. So I’m – I’m fine.
[00:31:09] >> SIRIUS: [ Laughs ]
[00:31:12] >> JAKOB: That’s what I get for writing that down in my notes.
[00:31:14] >> CODA: [ Laughs ] So it is a – it is a bleepin’ bop, if I heard you correctly.
[00:31:21] >> JAKOB: Yes.
[00:31:21] >> SIRIUS: Yes.
[00:31:22] >> JAKOB: Yes that is accurate.
[00:31:24] >> SIRIUS: [ Laughs ]
[00:31:25] >> JAKOB: I actually wrote jam and then crossed it out and wrote bop over it.
[00:31:28] >> CODA: [ Laughs ]
[00:31:30] >> SIRIUS: Yeah, this is much more upbeat. I also noticed a lot more the way sounds were sort of melding together. There is a bit of depth of field, so to speak.
[00:31:39] >> CODA: Mhmm, mhmm.
[00:31:39] >> JAKOB: Oh, yeah.
[00:31:41] >> CODA: So I will say that this song is of a type of song that I write sometimes that is just sort of taking a bunch of layers and like taking loops and just like kind of piling stuff on and like a layering stuff over other things and –
[00:31:57] >> JAKOB: It’s like a cake.
[00:31:57] >> CODA: – kind of building – I feel pretentious saying this but – a soundscape of all these different sounds and in this particular case, I got, primarily, if I remember correctly, there might have been some other things in there,
[00:32:08] but primarily I sampled some by Sufjan Stevens called “Carrie and Lowell” and that’s another one kind of similar to the the Kings of Convenience song I sampled for “Almost There”.
[00:32:19] It’s a really kind of melancholy song and I took that and pitched down those vocals from it to kind of turn it into more of a synth or more of just an instrument.
[00:32:31] I can’t really explain why but I always got – I got a certain emotional impact from that, from the sound of having it pitch down and I have the like,
[00:32:40] the progression is pretty much just based off of playing those samples at like two different – like playing it and then transposing it to a different note and that’s just sort of the the progression in it, and I just layer synths on top of it.
[00:32:55] It’s this swell that, emotionally – and actually there’s there’s kind of some similar things going on here as there are in “Almost There” – this song to me, I really associate with with resolution and healing and sort of looking back.
[00:33:11] And this of course was – this was a song at the end of my first album “Coda” and it kind of it feels a similar place as “Almost There” does on “deletemotif”, of sort of “Hey, there’s all this kind of like, there’s these difficult things that kind of hurt. There’s you know, there’s healing, there’s resolution.”
[00:33:31] And I always imagine this being like, you know, you’ve just watched a movie and kind of the credits are playing and the characters have kind of like resolved things or they’re moving on even though difficult stuff happened and this, I don’t know I associate this song with that for some reason.
[00:33:45] >> JAKOB: I can feel that.
[00:33:46] >> SIRIUS: Heck yeah, I do feel that because I did put this one as a definitely has a lot more of a straightforward positivity to it.
[00:33:53] >> CODA: Yeah, I when I when I put albums together, I like to think of like an emotional arc to them and I tried to end them with something that feels like it’s resolving or providing closure.
[00:34:05] I like having like this – like I think of I don’t know if you’ve seen those kind of like drawing tutorials where they talk about like lines of motion, I think, and I have almost something like that when I’m sequencing an album, like putting stuff together and even thinking about what to call the songs.
[00:34:20] Like I try to have a narrative arc to it at least for me and people are going to get all sorts of different things from it. I imagine they’re not going to necessarily interpret them the way that I do but at least for my purposes, I want to have in mind like that arc.
[00:34:33] >> SIRIUS: Yeah, so I take it that you’re more probably more into like concept albums as opposed to like a series of singles.
[00:34:40] >> CODA: I love con – well, I love both of these things and I was a DJ for several years. So I definitely lived in the world of like singles and music isolated from from context all the time.
[00:34:49] >> SIRIUS: Yeah.
[00:34:50] >> CODA: But like I do love concept albums, I do love albums that tell a story even if that story is kind of ambiguous. I love like thinking about what’s the story of this album.
[00:34:58] And I’ve also gone through a lot of really hard things and and you know, so when I put those albums together, I like to have in mind like what stuff have I been going through that I want to, you know – what does that arc look like, ideally.
[00:35:11] And the challenging thing about that is I don’t tend to sit down and intend to write a song a certain way. So I don’t think “This is going to be a song about that time that this happened.”
[00:35:20] So as I’m putting album together, I’m like trying to retroactively fit the songs that I have written into that narrative. I’m like, “How does this song fit into this?”, and so I start to kind of adapt my own interpretations around what this arc might look like.
[00:35:34] >> JAKOB: That sort of answers the question I was about to ask which is: do you tend to like write a bunch of songs and then go, “It’s time for an album”, and try to find a way to put them fit them together or do you tend to have like a sort of a vague idea for an album and then see if you have anything that fits?
[00:35:49] >> CODA: So I am the person who does a concept album, but kind of accidentally. So like it’s a concept album, but I realize that at some point in the process that it is that.
[00:35:59] I will start off having like three or four songs that I’ve done in the recent period of time and go, huh, I think maybe I should start putting something together.
[00:36:08] And as I do this, it’s like I will spend months listening to those over and over again, thinking “Do I need to tweak these songs?” and I will be in that period of time also just writing stuff because I feel like writing something – I want to get out the music equipment and write something.
[00:36:22] And then, usually if I like what I made, I start thinking “Does this fit into this album that I working on, do I want to try to fit this into that?” and sometimes I don’t.
[00:36:30] A lot of the time, I will try to find a way – “How can I work this song that I’ve just started into this project that is now going?” and I do it in this very iterative, very gradual, very ad hoc kind of way.
[00:36:44] I don’t sit down and go, “This is going to be the album about this.”, but at some point in this process, I might come across a phrase or an idea like a concept that I’ll think. “Oh, I could probably adapt this to the album. This is how I could – here’s how I could kind of create this narrative.” and a lot of things I do are very unintentional and I interpret them after the fact.
[00:37:04] >> SIRIUS: That’s fair. That’s always very fair.
[00:37:07] >> JAKOB: Also deeply relatable because when I write music I’ll tend I’ll be like halfway into a song will be like, oh no, this is about this.
[00:37:15] >> CODA: Right? [ Laughs ] Right, no, I’ve definitely been there too.
[00:37:18] >> SIRIUS: So let’s see, Is there anything more technical or whatnot, or are we?
[00:37:23] >> CODA: Honestly – oh, oh, I guess one more interesting thing about this was this is one of the first times that I had ever attempted writing a song while other people were around for it or I did this on stream for a few folks.
[00:37:36] >> SIRIUS: Ohh.
[00:37:37] >> CODA: I was – I was really anxious about it to because, you know, I’m used to doing a lot of stuff in – with the exception of like DJing – I’m used to doing a lot of stuff in isolation and kind of like a place where I can just sit and loop something for hours and make small gradual tweaks to it, if that’s how I’m feeling.
[00:37:53] In that kind of context, you really have to just do stuff and just go for it and not think too hard about it. So I actually like got a bunch of songs together in a playlist that I was like, “Maybe I could sample these songs.” and I ended up sampling that Sufjan Stevens song and just started building stuff around it.
[00:38:10] And that’s also a bit why it has the construction of like being just a bunch of layers that kind of swell over the course of the song is I wrote it kind of ad hoc, like just sitting there, “Okay, here’s the sample I’m starting with, I’m going to build a song around it.”
[00:38:22] It was really fun to do. I’d like to do more of that stuff definitely but I have like – I can have some like performance anxiety about writing music, even though every time I sit down to do it it comes to me really well a lot of the time, but I get really I get really anxious that if other people are watching like, I’m going to get stuck and then I’m gonna feel really weird about it.
[00:38:40] >> SIRIUS: Alright, so with that we are going to our last but not least song “Fireworks”.
[00:38:48] >> CODA: Alright.
[00:38:49] >> SIRIUS: So what you have to say for yourself?
[00:38:50] >> CODA: So “Fireworks”. I just want to be clear here that it does have it has a sample in it. I mean, it has a sample running through the entire thing of literally fireworks and a few people.
[00:39:02] Those people are actually my good friend Benjamin Burns. Also a musician, good friend of mine from Minneapolis, and he and I have known each other for most of the time that we’ve been doing – or that I’ve been doing music anyway, and he made a bunch of like, field recordings of different events and different places and he was like sharing them around and I ended up using this one and kind of building a track around it. I’m not in that recording in any way but a very good friend of mine is.
[00:39:29] >> SIRIUS: Alright. So let’s let’s dive into this. Shall we?
[00:39:32] >> CODA: Mhmm.
[00:39:33] >> JAKOB: Let’s go.
[00:39:34] [ Song “Fireworks” begins ] [ Instrumental only ]
[00:44:21] [ Song ends ]
[00:44:22] >> JAKOB: I like this one a lot it’s so just it just it just is so.
[00:44:27] >> CODA: Yeah, no, that that sounds about right to me.
[00:44:29] >> SIRIUS: Definitely. I don’t know, how would I put it feels like there is some sort of distance in there.
[00:44:35] >> CODA: I could definitely see that I could definitely see that.
[00:44:38] >> SIRIUS: Well, I mean like I was sort of feeling that with how the music is.. since there are a lot more like subdued- it’s just kind of a disconnect from you know, fireworks are “Whiz bang boom!” and this is like a – this whole feel that I feel like, you know, there’s a couple friends laying on a field just like, and watching the fireworks in the distance, and just quietly enjoying company.
[00:45:00] >> CODA: I actually really really like that that description of it. Like I mentioned before we listen to it those the the sounds of the fireworks and the people talking were from a recording that Ben made during a fireworks display and he was there I believe with with his wife Christine and some of her friends and she’s really into hula hooping. Like as a thing.
[00:45:22] >> SIRIUS: Okay.
[00:45:22] >> CODA: That’s definitely a thing that people do and are into. Like, there’s hula-hooping clubs and that kind of thing.
[00:45:27] I don’t know a whole lot about it, but I know that she’s really into it and Ben was there recording just the sound of everything going on, just to kind of like get some sample material for like using in music, and and like she was there doing hula-hooping, her friends were there, he was taking photographs.
[00:45:46] I used to have some of the photographs from it, but I don’t think I have them on – I haven’t seen them in a long time. He was there just kind of like documenting it and hanging out and so, you know, he was having them like, get into like the frame of the camera while he took like pictures, and he took pictures of them, fireworks – and this is just kind of like a just a documentation of this event that happened.
[00:46:10] I definitely didn’t write my song like around that context necessarily. I mean, I knew both of them obviously and you know, I knew the context of that he made the recording in but – I have a really hard time talking about the emotions of this one more explicitly like with some of the other ones, because what it represents to me is more something that I don’t really have good words for.
[00:46:30] That this song was actually a good representation for, that like I use in place of that. In the way that it’s produced, like there’s a lot – there’s a lot of reverb, there’s like distortion, there’s all these different sort of effects that give a sense of space.
[00:46:44] And I almost think about how much I really like – especially when I was much younger, whenever I’d play like a video game or something or read a book, there was always aspects to the narrative or the setting that like, were not presented to me as the person playing or viewing a reading or whatever.
[00:47:08] There’s always like the implication of the world that this takes place in and sort of – like I can remember I can think specifically about like maybe like old NES, you know, like racing games. Where you see off in the distance. You see a little like city or an island or something.
[00:47:25] And I’d always think about those scenes or those places off in the distance and I’d think a lot about what they were like, but how you never really like see them explicitly, like you always just see them at a distance.
[00:47:36] In a similar kind of way, this is sort of like, there’s a little bit of a window into this event that happened in a particular place and time, but you don’t really have a lot of context for it.
[00:47:44] Like you just get these little pieces of that. You know, also, there’s emotions that I can’t really describe very well, there’s feelings and memories that I can’t really describe very well, that like, I feel like I have kind of a glimpse of that when I listen to this but I couldn’t really tell you like almost kind of like a dream like you kind of like talk about maybe how a dream felt sometimes but it could be really hard to really describe the world that it takes place in.
[00:48:04] It’s almost like the the emotions there exists outside the frame of it. Like they’re not fully represented, it’s kind of this is just sort of a slice of it or just a glimpse of it.
[00:48:15] And more on sort of the production or technical technical level – this song is pretty much just a loop. So there is just like the synth – like the synth patterns and everything just loop through out the entire song.
[00:48:29] And then it’s got that sample playing over the whole thing. The thing that changes throughout the song, in terms of the actual melodies, is mostly just the effects and like the filters and whatnot.
[00:48:39] I remember sitting there just kind of like, listening to it, and then just taking my mouse and just sort of like tweaking knobs and stuff and I just recorded all that.
[00:48:47] I never really went back and even edited that that much I just kind of went, “Okay, so I recorded myself, you know, messing with the effects and the reverb and whatnot a bunch and I like how that sounds so there’s the song.” pretty much.
[00:49:00] And there is another version of this where I actually took some of those fireworks sounds and cut them down into smaller samples and made drum patterns out of the sound of the fireworks themselves and I gave it more of like a conventional song structure.
[00:49:14] Like it has the same kind of ambient beginning, and then it goes into more of like a conventional, like electronic song, and I’ve been realizing that the ambient version really to me just has a lot more of that sense of, “Here’s all these experiences and places and emotions outside the frame.”
[00:49:33] And I realized that sampling the fireworks and stuff to make drums was really cool, I was really proud of it, but I really like the ambient version emotionally a lot better. And that version I think is going on on an upcoming release of mine.
[00:49:50] >> JAKOB: So tell us a little bit about the your kind of upcoming things.
[00:49:55] >> CODA: I have no idea when my next album is coming out because it’s not done yet. So I haven’t tied myself down to a date yet.
[00:50:01] So who knows what will be coming out around the time that this podcast is posted. But I am currently working on a new album called “Superhot Light” and that is an album that the last track we listened to, “Fireworks” –
[00:50:12] at least currently as I’m working on the album – I’m planning for it to be on there and maybe if I don’t have it on the final checklist, maybe I’ll release it. But currently it’s slated to be on that album.
[00:50:22] And “Superhot Light”, most of – most of this album is frankly stuff that I’ve done with a very different process than the music we’ve listened to today, because between the time that I did this music and now, working on this album, I started really getting into hardware sequencers and synths –
[00:50:43] >> SIRIUS: Ooh.
[00:50:44] >> CODA: a lot more than I had in the past. So I have started using a lot of gear by a company named “Electron”.
[00:50:50] They have been releasing, for many years now, kind of their own take on hardware sequencers and one of the really popular pieces of gear that they have out right now, that came out last year, is called the “The Digitakt”
[00:51:02] Just kind of a small black box – it’s a drum sequencer and sampler, and I got one of those last year and I really really fell in love with the workflow of it.
[00:51:12] It was very very hands-on and very kind of – I don’t know, works really well with my process and so I started getting into more of their gear and I also have something that was released more recently by them called “The Digitone” which is similar to The Digitakt but instead of being a drum sampler, it is an FM synth sequencer.
[00:51:32] >> JAKOB: Nice.
[00:51:33] >> CODA: So I’ve been really really really excited about making music with this kind of gear. It’s also something that lends itself really well to live performances.
[00:51:44] So a thought there was like, “I’m going to write music using this stuff and also it’s going to be set up in a way that would be really easy to do in a live setting.”, because that’s – I’d really like to get back into doing more live stuff.
[00:51:56] But instead of DJing, more like performing original material. So this album “Superhot Light” is, I would say, about 90% – at least 90% – stuff that heavily involves this kind of gear and the involvement of Ableton is less on the composition side and more in kind of the arrangement and like mastering side.
[00:52:16] So that’s something that is coming along pretty well. I have a lot of songs written for it already and I’m getting to the point where I want to start buckling down and going. “Okay. So what’s the tracklist on this thing? Let me sit down and actually finish these songs.”
[00:52:30] That’s probably all I got to say about that right now, but I really really appreciate being able to share this stuff with you guys and talk about it and frankly just hear your interpretations on these songs, which in a lot of cases were very different from mine.
[00:52:44] >> JAKOB: Got to do our hot plugs now, I think. So you keep a Twitter.
[00:52:51] >> CODA: I do.
[00:52:52] >> JAKOB: I think that we decided we were going to do b.trx which has very many underscores just right in a row.
[00:52:59] >> CODA: Yes. Oh so that that Twitter is “b__” – There are two underscores – “trx” [ b__trx ] and that is where I’ve been putting my my creative work.
[00:53:10] I also post – I post some videos of me doing stuff with with those electron boxes on there. If you want to see what those are like.
[00:53:17] And also, I’ve been posting visual artwork, since that’s a thing that I’ve been getting into, and I’ve doing some work on games and I post that stuff there. So it’s kind of a like creative work journal for me
[00:53:27] >> JAKOB: And then I know that you also have – and this is nice because it links to literally everything – you’ve got your Beatrix dot Studio, which is btrx.studio and that just has links to everything –
[00:53:41] >> CODA: Yes that’s correct.
[00:53:42] >> JAKOB: – which I’m just a big fan of for that reason.
[00:53:44] >> CODA: Yeah, so if you want to find me places btrx.studio is a good way to do that.
[00:53:51] >> JAKOB: And then you’ve also got one of your albums is on Spotify. Is that right? Just the one?
[00:53:56] >> CODA: Just the one. I actually need to figure out distribution stuff for getting everything on there. But yeah, my first album “Coda” is on there. Eventually, I’d like to get “deletemotif” on there as well. Both of those are on Bandcamp, which is b-trx.bandcamp.com.
[00:54:14] >> JAKOB: Nice and then I know that they’re are also both on Soundcloud.
[00:54:17] >> CODA: Yes. No, they’re on there as well.
[00:54:20] >> JAKOB: It’s b-trx, It looks like, in the URL and then you can but you can search it, I think, with or without the dot.
[00:54:27] >> CODA: Yeah, it is b-trx on Soundcloud as well.
[00:54:29] >> JAKOB: Alright, beautiful. I think that that is all of the business, unless you can think of anything else.
[00:54:36] >> CODA: No, I’m good.
[00:54:37] >> JAKOB: Thank you very much for being our second like guinea pig while we’re figuring out what kind of what the show looks like and –
[00:54:43] >> CODA: Of course! No, this was awesome. I – honestly it felt great to be to be invited to be a part of it. And the last time I did something like this it was about 12 years ago, so.
[00:54:53] >> SIRIUS: Wow.
[00:54:54] >> JAKOB: Oh my goodness.
[00:54:55] >> CODA: Very very different place in music then so.
[00:54:57] >> JAKOB: Yeah. In music and in life too, I feel like, probably.
[00:55:00] >> CODA: Absolutely yeah, in several ways. So.
[00:55:04] >> SIRIUS: So, again, thank you for coming and –
[00:55:07] >> CODA: absolutely.
[00:55:09] >> SIRIUS: – and this was Coda.
[00:55:10] [ Theme music: “Ode an die Freude (Instrumental)” ]
[00:55:28] >> JAKOB: Alright. So Coda had a lot to say. This – most of my thoughts, kind of, are about the way that they talked about the first song. Full disclosure, we are recording this like two or three weeks later and I don’t –
[00:55:42] >> SIRIUS: We had reflection time.
[00:55:43] >> JAKOB: Yeah, but I also didn’t look at my notes. I don’t remember what any of the songs are called. Oops.
[00:55:48] >> SIRIUS: Congrats.
[00:55:50] >> JAKOB: [ Laughs ] The first one, they talked about kind of how they retroactively applied meaning to that song of like being trans and –
[00:56:00] >> SIRIUS: and moving towards a direction.
[00:56:02] >> JAKOB: Yeah, and –
[00:56:03] >> SIRIUS: That’s the name of the song.
[00:56:05] >> JAKOB: Yes. It is. It’s “Towards”, you’re right. And kind of working on their relationship with their family after coming out and moving away and a lot of that really resonated with me.
[00:56:17] I am also trans and I live with my family and it’s a whole – it’s still a whole thing that is constantly being worked on but that looks you know looks okay going forward but like we’ll see, you know?
[00:56:29] And I really resonated with the idea of maybe not having a strong idea for what a song will be like beforehand and it kind of Katamari Damacy like –
[00:56:39] >> SIRIUS: it just keeps rolling on you just keep collecting feels.
[00:56:42] >> JAKOB: Yeah and it like collects meaning as it goes on as you work on it and afterwards that feels very familiar to me.
[00:56:50] Alright, so we as always are going to have all of the links to their songs and their Soundclouds and their, you know, Twitters and all of that in the show notes and that will include links to individual songs and all the places you can find them which in this case do include Spotify.
[00:57:11] And we keep a SoundCloud, a Twitter, a Tumblr, and a Facebook all at zoofonix, Z-O-O-F-O-N-I-X, and our website is zoofonix.com. It’s spelled that same way.
[00:57:24] And you can find the show notes at our website on zoofonix.com and it should also show up in your podcatcher, but I don’t use every single podcatcher so I can’t say for sure.
[00:57:35] Hey everybody, it’s Jakob just doing a quick little interjection here. I wanted to say that Coda got a new distributor.
[00:57:42] So now both of their current albums are on Spotify and we are on iTunes and you can also find us on Google Play and Stitcher. We’ve got those all sorted out.
[00:57:58] >> SIRIUS: Alright, well, thanks for tuning in and to everyone, whenever you’re listening:
[00:58:04] >> JAKOB & SIRIUS: Have a good everything.
[00:58:05] [ Theme music: “Ode an die Freude (Instrumental)” ]