Pantology delivers Dragonfly 44, an optimistic nu jazz extravaganza filled with a musical conversation between synths and piano sweet licks, wrapped in an electrifying groove. Read our discussion with the artist below!
Describe your sound in 3 words
This is an interesting challenge – I might say, groovy, sensitive, interdisciplinary.
Tell us a few things about your new song Dragonfly 44. What is the main idea behind it and your creative process in general?
The track came about while I was living in Ireland with my girlfriend during a lot of 2021, amid a pretty restrictive Covid shutdown. I think I felt a bit cooped up and got kind of obsessed with the idea of distant galaxies and kind of cosmic drama – like, it may have been soothing to imagine and almost make our circumstances seem trivial by comparison. I was also listening to a lot more electronic and newer jazz around that time and getting inspired by that. I think often times, the most authentic ideas just pop into my head when I feel some kind of salient emotion is present and I can connect to it musically.
The grooves in your music are really cool. Tell us a song with a drop you wish you had composed yourself. Also favorite album of the past year?
Thank you, that actually means a lot since I came from a classical background, which is lovely, but not always the most “groovy”. As for a crazy drop – honestly I think I’d have to point to this track “Reverie” by LoJ from Lucid Monday 024 – just came out. It’s honestly crazy how hard that stuff goes. Album-wise, there have been so many things I’ve loved, but I really enjoyed the record Pino Palladino and Blake Mills put out, I’m a huge FlyLo fan so Yasuke was very enjoyable, Thundercat absolutely killed it. Quickly, quickly can apparently sing beautifully. That was a lot of answers sorry.
What do you love/hate about New York? And which city do you think is the world capital of music?
I love how you can walk out your door any night (without a car) and see like, literally the most incredible musicians in the world just doing it one subway ride away. It has the most density of crazy ambitious people across so many different diverse backgrounds and industries and walks of life and you can really find anything here. It’s hard though because the hustle attitude wears me down and recently I’ve been trying to spend a lot of time in Prospect Park (without headphones on even) and just really enjoy the experience of being in nature. It’s essential for staying balanced for me. I think at this point, for the type of music I love, a lot of it seems to come out of LA, but I think it’s increasingly anywhere. So many crazy talented people with the internet out there.
Do you prefer writing music or performing live? What would be your dream performance venue?
I absolutely love performing live. It’s like the truest expression in the moment. But I think I can also “say more” and be much more thoughtful and architecturally oriented when writing and arranging, so it’s like the two highlight different skills. But my favorite is improvising live in the context of stuff that I have made, because then it’s kind of both. My dream venue is pretty weird but when I was younger I was absolutely obsessed with Vladimir Horowitz’s comeback recital in 1986 – his first time back in the Soviet Union in like 60 years. I just had to look it up – the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory (Moscow, Russia) – but it would be pretty wild and out of context for me to perform there haha.
69,381 monthly listeners on Spotify. Not many bands will see those big numbers. However, how do you feel about the industry at the moment? Is Spotify the music industry’s new Gatekeepers?
My first thought was if I only had 39 more listeners I could have 69,420, and then immediately that I’m a child haha. But honestly yeah, it’s a slightly tough time in the industry in terms of making a living from recorded music. There are obviously people doing it and it’s inspiring, but the economics are just a bit rough for artists. It’s never been easier to start out – which is actually super amazing because it means talent can come from literally anywhere. On the other hand, it’s probably harder to make a living because everyone is used to getting content basically for free. So you have a really long tail of insanely talented people who are basically not making a lot because they haven’t gotten picked up by a big playlist or have support from a major label. But I try to keep a relatively positive outlook – even if the major labels and DSP’s have a lot of leverage at the highest levels of streaming, I think there are a ton of super cool smaller labels who care about highlighting smaller artists and pushing at the norms. I think it’s best to just kind of make the best stuff you can and hopefully it really resonates with some people.
What is the story behind your name?
I think originally I wanted to figure out how to get the best balance of learning everything – like obviously it’s impossible to learn everything – but the sort of optimal tradeoff of the 80/20 principle being “Pareto’s Law” I was thinking, Pareto Pantology would be a decent blog name or something. Then that was outrageously nerdy and a mouthful and I shortened it. I also don’t want to ever be overly identified with one genre so a name that kind of by definition includes everything out there it might be more flexible in the future 🙂
If Johann Sebastian Bach were alive today, what kind of music would he compose?
He’d definitely have some fire baselines, beautiful melodies, and the counterpoint between them would always surprise you. Though it’s probably a cop-out to just say something fugal or heady. I think he might be making the kind of music that Brad Mehldau or Tigran Hamasyan play; intellectually enough to break your brain but also deeply emotional (who knows if he’d be as religious today). He’d probably have insane hand independence too.
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