Jasper Patterson AKA Groundislava has remained a discreet character in LA’s electronic music sphere over recent years, fusing 8-Bit video game aesthetics and sci-fi soundscapes with any manner of genres that take his fancy. Skipping from Glitch-Hop to House music sometimes all in the same track, putting a unique signature to each outing that remains peculiarly nostalgic for anyone that grew up in the 1980’s, his productions are playful and fun.
Part of the increasingly popular ‘Friends Of Friends‘ record label, and the enigmatic ‘Alpha Pup Records‘ family, 2012 is shaping up to be Groundislava’s most well received yet. With a full length self-titled LP and a 5 track EP ‘TV Dream’ on its way, Jasper applies his creative freedom and densely layer melodies with bold brush stokes.
Groundislava’s mix presents an eclectic selection of music that has helped shape his musical direction over the years, featuring Aphex Twin, Ceephax Acid Crew, M83, Plastikman, Vitalic, Maya Jane Coles and Mark Morrison, what’s not to love!
For those less acquainted, could you tell us who you are, where you’re from and what you wanted to do when you grew up?
I’m Jasper Patterson AKA Groundislava. I’m from Los Angeles and I wanted to be a chef for most of my childhood.
What records did you find yourself listening to back then, and have you had any formal musical training?
When I was a little kid I listened to all sorts of shit… Kraftwerk, Blur, The Cranberries, Weezer – those were all really early favourites. As for my middle school/high school selections (a lot of which I still frequently listen to) – Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, M83, Mew, Vitalic, Tortoise, Ceephax, to name a few. In 9th and 10th grade I took really basic piano courses at school. I’d say the actual instruction of the class was a lot less productive than the time I was given during the course to just fuck around on a keyboard with headphones on.
When did music begin to play a more prominent part of your life, and how do you see your music being received by an audience?
I’d say around 10th grade (2005) I started to make some tracks. They were very confused, disorganised mashes of a million sounds and inspirations. In senior year of high school I got more focused, and in my first year of college I really began to realise how important music was for me. A big turning point was taking an indefinite leave of absence from USC (in the visual arts program) in the fall of 2010, in order to pursue my music goals. It’s a decision I made, and haven’t ever regretted… I wouldn’t have had the time make even a quarter of the music I’ve made the last two years had I not made that decision.
Your music explores elements of Glitch, 8-Bit, Hip-Hop and House music. What has attracted you to this peculiar palate of sounds and rhythms?
I figured out what styles of electronic music I liked a long time ago, and I’ve stuck with them through the years. My music really is a sort of amalgamation of all these years of scattered inspiration – my attempt to sort of collide all the shit I want to hear across several genres, into one big super-genre.
Could you tell us a bit about how you hooked up with ‘Friends Of Friends’ and ‘Alpha Pup’?
It was pretty simple. In the beginning of 2010 I made an EP with Jake Weary as a group called “Landlord” (this is where the tracks “animal” and “panorama” came from). Leeor Brown of FoF MySpace messaged shortly after I released the EP for free. We met up soon after that and I began working on my first LP for the label.
Your second album is due out in August, would you like to discuss its content and musical persuasions?
It’s definitely an evolution of my sound and a more focused album. I felt that the last album was basically a selection of my best tracks from that year, and that this album is really a singular entity, that progresses with a introduction and conclusion. That’s not to favour one format over the other, I’m just very excited to approach this process in this way. It’s a little darker than my past stuff, a couple tracks are really chilled out, others are much more dance-y and upbeat than any of the other stuff as well. It’s all still super melodic and synthy, though. That much you can rely on.
The mix we asked you to put together, was there any particular motivation or motif behind it?
I just took a bunch of music I love, across several genres, and made a mix out of it. I spent a good amount of time creating the flow and making everything somewhat seamless. I think it will really give anyone a sense of what I listen to, and draw inspiration from, so it’s definitely a success in that regard.
What are your instruments and software of choice when producing music? Could you talk us through your creative process?
I’m doing most of it through Reason and Ableton. In terms of hardware, a lot of sounds also come from a Casio SK-5 and a Yamaha VSS-30 Portasound… both of which can utilize short samples. The VSS-30 is like my favorite thing ever. I also have a Casio RZ-1, which is an awesome drum machine that can record samples. It makes drums sound super grimy but also very warm, I recently have been recording and sequencing 909 sounds with it and it sounds amazing. I have a lot of other gear that I don’t use as much for recording.
What can we expect from ‘Groundislava’ in the future? Any projects, collaborations, live shows in the works?
On the new EP and LP there’s a handful of great collaborations. I have a bunch of shows lined up, and will be traveling a good amount over this summer to play shows. That’s everything at the moment.
Do you find working with others beneficial to your own sonic journey? (Jon Wayne, Young Montana?, Shlohmo)
It really depends on the artist. Some people are hard to collaborate with for what ever reason… I think some people are just more compatible in that regards. I learned a lot collaborating with Jake Weary on like 10 songs. It’s great practice to work with a singer, or anyone for that matter who does something you can’t or don’t do. I find it’s hardest to work with someone who wants to do the exact same thing as you, or try to work on the same computer at the same time. I have the most success when I set up a bunch of hardware, or two computers and just jam or whatever until shit starts sounding cool. I did a collab track with Shlohmo for the new album that came together in this way.
Let’s have an insight into what you are listening to at the moment?
Plastikman, Ceephax Acid Crew and AFX have been the main things at the moment. Been getting back into a lot of acid techno stuff. I find I listen to music mainly on youtube at this point. I enjoy the active nature of it and I find all sorts of bizarre shit that I would NEVER find otherwise. I like watching people make and perform tracks on dated groove boxes and lame gear. It sounds really great to me.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not grafting beats?
I cook a lot. I play video games. I was a visual artist primarily for most of my life, but that’s definitely on the back burner for now. I think if I’m not making music I’m generally staring at the wall or something.
Any words of wisdom for our readers?
Buy some cheap old gear. It’s a lot of fun. There’s so many cool drum machines and keyboards you can get for around 100 bucks. It’s really a different experience interacting with a physical object as opposed to a computer screen… definitely something worth checking out ;)
1. Mew – Beaches
2. Aphex Twin – Xtal
3. Ceephax Acid Crew – The Womanizer
4. Groundislava – Reflecting
5. M83 – Kelly
6. Ceephax Acid Crew – Trabzonspor
7. RL Grime – Amphibian
8. Plastikman – Rekall
9. Santuary (Groundislava Remix) – Utada Hikaru
10. Vitalic – The Past
11. Supersweep (3D Dot Game Heroes OST) – 荒野を行く
12. Maya Jane Coles – Little One (Original Mix)
13. Groundislava & LOL Boys – Blade Dancer
14. Mark Morrison – Return Of The Mack / Tuccillo – Mathematics
15. Macromism – Groover
16. SM – Empty Spaces
17. Aphex Twin – IZ-US
18. Hystereo – IPO