They say that everything is bigger in Texas. The Lone Star State has its fair share of amazing artists, ranging from the of blues maestro Stevie Ray Vaughan to the chopped and screwed sensibilities of Houston’s U.G.K. (R.I.P. Pimp C). Nestled in its heart is Austin, Texas, a city famous for the annual week-long musical orgy known as SXSW and a characteristic“weirdness” best exemplified by the cult classic Slacker. Regardless of its reputation it has become a popular destination for young people looking to ride out our haggard economy whilst figuring out their lives in friendly atmosphere with warm smiles.
Though it has only rained about three times this summer, with a record breaking 67 back-to-back days of triple digit highs, Austin is not suffering from a lack of ambition and creativity from its burgeoning electronic music community. Despite its relatively small size, Austin has started to make waves in the blogosphere with a new generation of electronic artists who want nothing more than to demonstrate to the world their particular approach to synthetic rhythms.
Multi-instrumentalist Cody Wilson a.k.a. Corduroi is a red blooded Texan, born and raised in San Antonio,TX. Now based out of Austin, Wilson is a beatsmith who crafts his very own blend of electronic music, ranging from ambient chillbeat to laid back post-dub. He was recently added to the impressive roster of artists at Mush Records after releasing his Anything for Now EP in May and continues to work on new material and preform.
Sometimes it seems that while some musicians are made and others are born. Would you say that you come from a musical background with strong creative genes or did you develop you own skills?
My family definitely has its share of talent. My grandma Mazy Barnett was a very talented women who played ukelele, piano, and was also a very gifted painter. My dad played guitar in his teens and was into jam bands and stuff back in the 70’s. He was in a number of bands playing that a lot of Americana, Country, etc.
How did you first become interested in music?
I got interested in music through classes in elementary school where I first played woodblocks, recorders, glockenspiels… the normal kid music stuff.
In 1st grade I got a Casio keyboard and started playing melodies like the Jurassic Park and Darth Vader theme songs. I was really into movie soundtracks when I was a kid and didn’t even listen to rock. Though I was raised Christian by my mom she didn’t discourage me from listening to different kinds of music.
I picked up the guitar when my brother got one in 7th grade. I am self-taught with some help from my dad who taught me basic chords. At this point I started developing an ear for composition after listening to classical music and covering movie themes written by people like John Williams (Star Wars), who is the shit.
When did you begin appreciating the beats you make so well as Corduroi?
I started skateboarding in middle school. That brought a whole other level of artistry into my life, introducing me to indie rock, hip hop and electronic artists like Tortoise, Deltron 3030 and Aphex Twin. Skateboarding is very artistic sport, with the skateboard itself being not only a means of transportation but also an piece of art. I would also like to mention I was into a lot of shitty music until I listened to Kid A.
As a teenager did you start out making electronic music or were you into different stuff?
After picking up the guitar I never really wrote anything until high school. What really got me into writing was seeing Explosions in Sky live when I was 16. After seeing them I decided that post-rock was the kind of music I wanted to get into.
I started out in a jam band, playing Herbie Hancock and other funky shit like that. It was funny though because we would do these jams on “Chameleon”, some originals and then played some of my post-rock songs at the end to throw everybody off.
What marked your transition from traditional bands to electronic music?
It started when my friend Ryan who makes beats in Austin as Ruler ? Why got me into Fruity Loops. We would chill and fuck around on FL for hours and it was pretty fun. I started recording samples I made on guitar, piano, and vocals, inserted them into FL and tweaked them up. The beats weren’t all that good because I was using really shitty cereal box microphones but I was learning.
I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2008 and continued to experiment with electronic while playing in a large folk ensemble called The Apple Miner Colony and in my post- rock band called Everyone Only. Around this time I started listening to a band called D Numbers, my favorite live electronic band, who introduced me to Abelton live. After seeing them and Dan Decon I started to get into a lot more electronic music. Harry Nilsson was also a big influence on me, he was also one of the main influences of The Beatles. Listening to MF Doom’s Special Herbs releases, J Dilla’s Donuts and The Books were very big factors that pushed me towards production. Another huge influence on me was the Prefuse 73 and The Books collaboration called Prefuse 73 Reads The Books.
Was it at this point you became Corduroi?
Corduroi comes from my nostalgia for the book of the same name. The first word that came to mind when thinking about the music I am making was “Corduroi” because my music gives me a deep sense of nostalgia. In the beginning my music had a very a rustic, lo-fi sound. Once I learned how to properly sample, compress files and utilize effects properly I had a better ear for mixing. I was getting upset with sampling my own instruments because I couldn’t afford the equipment to get the sound I wanted.
What is your set up when you play live?
I use a Macbook, a M-Audio midi controller, some guitar pedals and an Electribe beat machine for my live set up.
As an artist are you influenced by or involved in the blog scene?
I definitely follow the blog scene. Having a smart phone is a godsend because it lets me hop on twitter and be connected with the artists and blogs I like, allowing me to find new music daily.
How did you go about getting your music out there so it could be appreciated by the hungry hungry listeners around the world?
For a while I was submitting to Altered Zones but was not getting any bites. I found a blog called Life Aquatic based out of Australia and sent them a track called “My Dear”, which was well received. It was reposted on other blogs and then this guy from Spain who runs a blog called Egyptian Marracas contacted me. He had a hook up with Vice Spain and they wrote a little post about me and that made me super happy. He asked if I had an EP and I said, “No…”, to which he replied, “You must think bigger!”
With that encouragement I really started to work my ass off, put my best songs together and released the Anything For Now EP via Chill Mega Chill Records in May.
Austin, Texas is a town known more for indie rock than its electronic music scene. Despite its low profile do you feel it has a supportive community or are you kind of a stand-alone artist?
There is definitely a growing scene here. Austin has things like Exploded Drawing, a bi-monthly showcase of local and national electronic acts. It’s not as large of a scene in comparison to the bigger cities but its growing for sure.
Along with the Anything for Now EP being available on Bandcamp for free, Corduroi will be releasing a yet to be named EP this fall via Mush Records. He will also be preforming at the Goldrush Music Festival Sept. 16-17 with other splendiferous acts including label mate Galapagos, How To Dress Well, Candy Claws, and Teen Daze.
Corduroi – Monk’s Muse (stream only)
GUEST POST BY: LAURENCE “PUCHO” HENRIQUEZ