Canadian chillwave artist Teen Daze explores his other passions in his DJ sets.
Teen Daze's music is patient. Meditative. Contemplative. Even stately at times, but the songs don't start that way. The Canadian chillwave artist is working to fight his tendency to take a song from start to finish in a single setting. "A lot of times I'll come back to it a month later and think, Aww, I should have done this," he says. "I almost finish them too quickly. I've been learning the value of being patient when it comes to writing and recording my own stuff." He can cut an album in a week, he says, but the irony is that if the music is to come out as a conventional album release, it would still take another three months at best for the music to get to market.
Tonight, Teen Daze will do a DJ set at the Hi Ho Lounge, where he'll appear with XXYYXX, and his DJ sets aren't what his own music might lead you to expect. "I love DJ'ing French house music," he says. "It's so melodic and positive. I like the idea of a DJ set that's 45 minutes to an hour of pure excitement." That music is part of his personality too, but one that is expressed less. When he's not traveling, he tends to be a homebody and doesn't go to clubs. He makes his music alone at his computer. In his DJ sets, his more social side comes out. "I really have so much fun playing the high energy stuff that it would be a disservice for me to get up there and play slow disco or ambient house," he says. "I can't help myself. I have to play big, fun music." That extends to his performance as well. He's not one to brood onstage over his laptop as if he's updating his Facebook status. "I love seeing those DJs that are so high energy that it spills out, and you and the crowd want to be high energy and be dancing."
His own music is content-driven, with a feeling, vibe or emotion determining the musical choices. "If I have a message for a song - even if it's not with words - if I can do the best of my ability and be honest about what that message is through a melody or a series of chords, then hopefully it comes across to people." Considering how the visual component of recorded music has been minimized since the CD, it's ironic that to some extent Teen Daze considers his album covers as integral in conveying his ideas. They recall the Hipgnosis covers for British prog rock albums as they blur the line between the real and unreal in their powerful directness with a clear mood. "Any Storm Thorgerson one," he says. "All those Pink Floyd covers. In high school, that first Mars Volta album came out and I totally fell for it, and the design was so vivid."
The covers are an appealing part of the enterprise because they're the only place where his art has been collaborative up to now. "The music is something that is very much a solo project," he says. "Every aspect of it is a part of me, so I love getting to expand it, letting other people put their touch on it." Later this fall, Teen Daze he'll take collaboration a step farther when he tours with his own music and a full band. It will be learning experience, but he's curious to see how other musicians' abilities and personalities affect the music. "I think it's going to take a totally different shape," he says.