If you are interested in what was Desimal’s life like, and what was behind his music, then you should definitely check out these materials. First of all, we would advise you to get familiar with the producer’s biography, which we found on Last.fm.
Desimal was the moniker of Canadian Drum and Bass producer Graham March. Creating a highly unique style of neurofunk, his work was signed to a number of important Drum and Bass labels, including Black Sun Empire Recordings, Obsessions, Barcode, Citrus, and Renegade Hardware. He also produced more experimental work under the names Epidose and Emisdee.
Born on November 18, 1980, Graham grew up in Winnipeg, Canada. Being a very quick learner, he began creating electronic music in 1994 using an Amiga computer, influenced by early breakbeat and bands like The Prodigy.
After having been at a Ed Rush & Optical Show he decided to focus on Drum and Bass.
In 2001 Graham’s son Seth was born.
A sufferer of schizophrenia, March committed suicide on May 23, 2006, at the age of 25.
“It’s like, 200 hundred channels of Television all on at once and you can’t turn them off, nothing but unwanted noise and thoughts.” – Desimal’s explanation of what it was like living with schizophrenia.
Below is Desimal’s interview for the currently defunct dnbnation.com. It was published in January 2006.
Desimal and his various drawings. You can find more of his artwork here.
The story of Desimal could read like the legend of high ranked, skillfully trained, lethal assassin. An unknown, originally discovered in the plains of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada by Cyanide, he was recruited and signed exclusively to represent Armada Recordings. Yet lack of output by the said label had forced the floor killer to search the world for other respective opportunities for work. In result, Desimal has recently seen releases on Black Sun Empires oBSEssions, Renegade Hardwares offshoot Barcode and has forthcoming material in the new year on Citrus Recordings and Vibez Recordings as well as previously mentioned labels. With a sound and style all his own, Desimal has the ability to obliterate a system in a matter of seconds. Within the first few bars of any of his tracks, you know immediately its his work and what you are in for. He has set and defined a sound all his own.
No one really knows a whole lot about you. Care to shine a bit of light on to what makes Desimal tick?
Mostly my sheer will to make music that scares old people. I feel a lot of frustration and anger when listening to the radio or the trendy music that most people are subjected to in the mass media. Pop music, a lot of the new rock and hip hop stuff is so formulated and devoid of all life and originality. I feel sorry that this is the only kind of music that reaches the minds of most people, especially younger people, and they really dont know any better cuz they have never heard anything else. I think of drum and bass as an evolutionary kind of music that is going to take peoples minds to new places and bring in new ideas as to what forms music can take, and a lot of people just arent geared for it mentally, and will hear it and be like whats this noise cuz it’s so different. Then other people will hear it and start feeling it immediately. It’s like how certain people can see a UFO and they go hey whats that and try to sort it out, and someone standing right beside them could see the same thing but their mind isn’t ready to process it, and it’s like they dont even see it at all. But dont get me started on that ..
How would you describe your music?
I think one of the main things Im trying to do with my music is reach mediums, like have things be light and dark, or complex but simple at the same time. Usually I’ll lean towards one or the other but try to keep elements of both, so the tunes arent just 1 dimensional. I struggle a lot with complexity, back in the days of un-necessarily technical tracked demo music where we would have say, 5 synths going at the same time and changing up every 3 seconds, and then another 4 tracks for just strings, thats sort of where I started out and now Ive been working my way back trying to simplify things a bit so it’s not just totally mental. I try to make stuff that is as danceable as possible, I really want to create tunes that people LIKE to dance to, that give them energy and I think at the very root of this is just the simple, repetitive beat over time. Kinda like how natives would dance around the fire to a simple hand drum. For some reason this beat has such an effect on us. So a lot of my beats I keep fairly repetitive but I’ll say, change up the hats or percussion every few bars to keep things flowing. If I wanted to I could do super technical breakdowns and beats that fly all over the place but I think often this takes away from the danceablilty. As for everything else, I try to always have evolving elements throughout a tune so its never the same thing for too long, that way I think it keeps your mind interested as well.
What dnb artist were and are your biggest influences?
I think when I really started getting interested in drum and bass was first time I saw Ed Rush & Optical do a show. I was like yeah, ok this is it . Before that I was producing all kinds of styles, everything from trance, breaks and hardcore. After that show I decided to focus strictly on dnb. It had everything I loved about electronic music. It had so much energy to it and just made you want to dance, but it was also highly creative and original, it made you think and was mentally captivating. I could really tell there was a lot of places you could go with it. Also, at the time I was really inspired by Konflict, Stakka & Skynet and Bad Company stuff. The dark, gritty, techy sounds.
And other musical influences?
Before I started going to a lot of raves, I listened to mostly industrial, like Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, Pop Will Eat Itself. I still like this stuff alot and think it still influences my tunes in a way. I also try to take elements from all the styles Ive been into in the past, like the more technical stuff from mods and demo music, some melodic stuff from trance, and try to fit it all in. Ive had so many influences from all types of music it’s hard to list just a few and say these were the main ones. Its interesting how we seem to put up walls around all these different genres of electronic music to keep them independent from each other, but at the same time they seem to borrow so much from each other, almost on a subconscious level. Another thing I’d like to get into eventually is mixing tempos and genres and seeing what kind of variations on styles can be created that way, but at the moment Im highly focused on dnb and that takes most of my energy.
What do you listen to besides dnb?
It’s funny, at the moment I dont listen to all that much dnb outside of my own production. I find after spending a night working at 175 bpm that when I go to listen to other stuff it’s usually ambient or downtempo stuff like Shpongle or Liquid Morphine, it helps my mind relax a bit. Although I do try to keep up with what dnb is being put out there at the moment. I love to hear where people are taking things and get a lot of inspiration from other artists work.
I dont have much of a studio, really its just my computer and monitors. but if anyone asks thats what I call it.Im really happy with software right now and where it’s been going the last few years. I feel like I can do everything I need with software at this time and I love it. I wouldn’t mind having a few bits of gear to play around with but really Id probly just end up back in reaktor cuz theres such a huge library and variety of sounds you can make with it and the sound quality just keeps getting better. Also for mixing down, I might get a desk to run my output though but for now Im happy with the plugins I use and the system I have going. I started using renoise as a sequencer about a year ago. It has everything I love about trackers and I’ve gotten familiar with over the last 10 years but it has a ton of new features and sounds great.
Describe your sound..
I dont really like using buzzwords to describe my sound, or I start sounding like a commercial or something. I think when my sound starts to fit into a set of terms then I’ll have lost my creativity and have moved onto making music for ipod commercials or something.
What upcoming releases do you have slated?
Im in the middle of a few projects right now and it’s hard to say as nothing is definite yet, but possibly some more stuff for Armada, oBSEssions, Citrus, Vibez and Barcode. Right now Im trying to broaden my horizons a bit and reach a wider audience, hopefully I’ll be able to find other quality labels that are interested in my sound.
How were you discovered, so to speak?
The first person that really took an intrest in my sound was Cyanide. I think he yelled at me on AIM one day and then I had a deal. Ive never been much for the business end of things, marketing yourself and all that. I think I sent out a few demos a very long time ago, that was before I had even started mixing things down and I realize now the tunes sounded pretty shitty. Cyanide was a huge support and was very motivated, I liked his idea for a label and could tell he was putting a lot of energy into it.
How did it make you feel when you were approached to have your music released?
A bit relieved. Id been producing for a long time and at that point was pretty eager to start putting some things out there. Also, I think it gave me the confidence to stay focused on production and try to take things to the next level in terms of mixing down and quality control. Getting the final tunes sounding good is still my biggest challange and I feel like Ive learned so much about mixdowns over the last year or two, but I still have a long way to go, and I dont think its something you can ever fully master. If I was to sum up the main thing Ive found for myself about production, it’s to use quality samples. If youre not using good samples from the start, no matter how good your production skills are, youre not gonna be able to polish them into something great. What you should be trying to do is taking someting that sounds good and make it even better, not trying to make something thats crap sound reasonable.
Who’s work are you into these days?
All the guys pushing the new neuro sounds are a big inspiration to me, Noisia, Corrupt Souls, Phace, etc.. I always look to see what these guys are up to and Im always impressed with how their progressing with their own unique sounds and styles.
Anyone you want to collaborate with?
I’ve been supposed to do a collab with Noisia for like 2 years now, it’s almost gotten started a couple times but, like most of my collabs that didnt happen, we run into compatability issues. I work in trackers and the guys I go to collab with are usually in cubase or logic, so its a bit of a
leap to get things going. Really I have yet to collab with anyone (or remix anyone for that matter). I’ve been really tied up with my own stuff but its someting I really want to do in the near future, we’ll see.
You’re stranded on a desert island with three movies, five tunes, and one choice of food and drink. They are?
I’m not that big of a movie guy so ill just say Akira for movie. Every time I watch it I realize a bit more about how deep the plot is and I love this style of animation. For tune, I would have to say Konflict Gene Sequence and food, I’d say hotdogs and beer, because I love camping and trust me this combination alone can sustain you for months
Shouts go out to…
DOA Grid krew, ive been neglecting my forum posting duties a lot lately and I miss spending hours talking production with these cool like-minded people. Also the man E-dub and Dnbnation for letting me speak my mind a bit.