This month’s cover design was produced by David Oppenheim aka Day-Dream who has three different faces as a musician, designer and director.
As most of you already know about him for his contributions to Gasbook 4, 5 and 7, he has created commissioned web-installations for Hot Wired and Word’s The Thing. He also founded his own label and is working as a musician, there is no end to his activity. We interviewed him about his newly released CD-ROM entitled ‘DAY-DREAM.CDR’ includes the works of his friends, Yoshi Sodeoka from C404, Noah Stollman and E13.
First of all, please tell us who you are.
I studied electronic music composition in London, then graphic design [for print] in Jerusalem, Israel, took some classes in animation and video, moved to New York, worked in design for print, then interactive work, then web & now broadcast design.
What are you currently doing?
At the moment I am working on a new solo music project, the working title is CADAVER EYES [taken from an old Alice cooper song]. I am recording drums live and then sampling them into the computer and adding layers of midi and other audio stuff. I am trying to figure out how this will translate to a live performance & am looking for other people to collaborate with.
I’ve been planning to do this cd 4 years ago [or so] and started actually producing the material as I was working on the Tokyo piece for Gasbook 4. I asked Noah, Yoshi & Eric to create pieces for this and when they were done I figured out the interface and the amount of randomness that I felt the cd needed in order to work.
Where do you usually get ideas for interactive navigations?
My first instinct is to try to follow some kind of machinery, that usually doesn’t work [for me], then I start playing around with some material & then while playing around with shapes, sounds and animation the interface builds itself.
Sounds from your own bands ‘Mildew’ and ‘bARBARA’ are used effectively. Have you ever been inspired from sounds to create works?
Yep, and also the other way around. I usually try to work on both of them at the same time, this reminds me that I’ve been working in total silence for the last 5 hours, better put on some music, today is the day, in the eyes of god.
How was it actually produced? I’ve heard that it’s over a year past the original deadline to complete. What was hard for you?
There were a few things that slowed down the process for me [work for money/music projects/other projects/spending time with baby mai], but the main reason that it was delayed is that I wanted to spend time with the cd, play around with it, let it sit for a few weeks and then play around with it some more, the hardest things were making sure that the randomness is not interfering with the viewing experience. The way it works is that there are a few pieces [a moon, c-death [p] & blk] that are less likely to come up, other pieces have more of an equal 50% 50% chance of coming up but since most users spend somewhere between 10 to 30 minutes playing with it I had to try and make sure that they will go through a variety of pieces.
There were other issues, noah’s piece was delayed, eric’s piece had too many floating windows and yoshi’s piece was using an extra that did not want to work when burned onto a cd. The process was that once the other contributors delivered their pieces I had enough material so that I can plug it to the interface and see what the interface feels like, then I realized that I wanted some more small pieces while constantly refining the interface and figuring out the sounds. Its hours of playing and tweaking – back & forth, nothing too pre planned.
You have created commissioned web-installations for Hot Wired, Word’s The Thing, etc. Which personal principles do you follow in your creation?
Usually I try to think about what kind of materials I want to use, I am constantly collecting visuals & audio and I always have a few projects that I am in the middle of. I then set out to create something drawing on my background & past experiences, in most cases what I set out to do and the end result are very different, images that started out clean are distorted, the sounds get cropped into short loops and so on. The mood also changes-sometimes a piece that was meant to be dark and spooky ends up cheerful.
When you made the cover design for Shift this month, what did you imagine and how did you work on it?
I thought that since its just a cover and not the content in-it-self, it should be relatively simple, but, since you referenced the cdr I thought that I’ll do something with the feeling of launching the cdr, it was also important to me that it loads super fast [it’s just the cover after all] and that the music is loud. I used mostly one-bit images that are 1 pixel big, and left the traditional Shift-white background.
The first sound is your computer beeping [depending on how long it takes to download the rest, then there is a short drum hit, then sounds created in soundedit 2 and then drums recorded live then sampled and cropped.
Is it important for you to work in New York?
It was for a while but it isn’t any more.
What do you think about Japan?
I am very interested in Japan and I hope to get a chance to go there in the near future.
Who are your favorite visual/graphic designers and sites?
I cant say that I really get a chance to surf these days, the last thing I saw was Yoshi’s c404 & E13, I know, they are also my friends but still I think their stuff is the best stuff out there. I may have stuff to say about both of them but I think it’s best to just check it out when you have more then 5 minutes to burn.
The last question. Do you have any plans for the near future?
Near future; a show in Philly that combines a web installation and a physical installation [June] Also as I mentioned earlier, my new MILDEW project, combining audio and visuals in a live performance.
David Opp / Day-Dream
Address: DAY-DREAM Studio . 448.W.16TH. 2ND.FL . NEW YORK, NY 10011
Interview and Text: Mayumi Kaneko