Bryan Deister is a classically trained musician who turned to electronic music with stunning results. His latest album Spines of the Heart is a dark ride. With brooding tracks like Today, the album is both minimal and nightmarish. A student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Deister has been studying writing and composition, while constantly recording music. Calling to mind the 20th century composition of John Cage, Deister proves that a successful musician is not someone with great publicity or even pyrotechnics, but really, is someone who knows how to write music. We asked what that meant in today’s cultural landscape, especially with electronic music. This is what he had to say.
LSD: When did you make the crossover from classical/jazz to electronic music? Or is it all relative?
BD: I actually have pretty much always been recording music on my computer, I got Pro Tools when I was like 11. Only recently have I started doing classical for maybe 4 years and jazz for 3 years. But I don’t think it really matters if it’s electronic or acoustic as long as it’s good music. And I’ve always felt that technology allows music to expand so vastly and it would be a waste to avoid it unless necessary.
LSD: Intelligent, well-written music was, I thought, a thing of the past. Why is composition so underrated in mainstream music?
BD: Well that’s where I might disagree. There is a romantic notion that the compositions of old are so much greater, but really in terms of songwriting, the song factory started all the way back in the late 19th century. And before that you have Opera being considered akin to a musical joke at the end of the classical era. What I’m getting at is that most of the great advancements in the art form have happened in the last 300 years, and almost none of them extended to songs. As to why the present music is so worthless I don’t have any clue. It seems most people don’t listen to music, maybe they put it on and then do something else, but careful, attentive listening doesn’t even happen at concerts and shows nowadays, everyone’s tweeting their Facebook to Tumblr. And if people do get excited at someone playing, it’s because they have chops, but they aren’t playing anything interesting with the chops.
LSD: What is your latest album about? Specifically Today and Into The Sky?
BD: Nothing. As another way of say thing that it doesn’t pertain to another thing. Or in other words, Spines of the Heart is about the music. And all of the double meanings and metaphors are really second to the melodies and all of those are really second to the rhythms. Today is about having a really good day of fishing. Into The Sky is about waking up from a hellish nightmare and wanting to go back to it.
LSD: What else are you working on or have upcoming?
BD: Another album in the works. Right now I have 12 songs fully recorded and mixed, but I have a whole bunch more written that are in the process of realization. I’m also getting a tour together.