Jazz Pianist, Producer & DJ HiFadility Releases Memoirs of a Traveling Soul

Theadora Curtis

 

When did you start playing piano? 

Around the age of four.

Did you enjoy it as a kid or were your parents on you for a while?

I enjoyed playing but I didn’t enjoy practicing. My parents weren’t on me for playing but practicing and discipline. I tried to make everything fun and I think that was important for my journey. It was important for me to also learn degrees of discipline so that I could really delve deep into not just piano but a whole dimension of creative ability. All that time, practice was to prepare me to be an open thinker and learner.

Was there a clear time when you started wanting to apply your abilities to production versus just being a player? 

I took music production classes at Berklee when I was in High School. The classes I took were actually really great in regards to connecting instrumentation and live production. So I feel like I have been integrating both processes for some time now.

The desire to produce on digital platforms intensified in college and came from wanting to hear fully produced compositions but not always having access to a band. I got deeper into the study of sound design and programming to expand my creative vocabulary.

 

 

It seems like jazz is a strong influence for you no matter what genre you’re producing. Is that the case? And is there is a reason that jazz informs your music so much?

Jazz did influence me, it was the first time I was introduced to an improvisational atmosphere. The ability to transform and rearrange music was amazing to me and related to the way that I wanted to express myself sonically. Jazz really opened my mind to so many variations of sound, harmony, rhythm.. overall it impacted how I thought about structuring my sound. Jazz left me feeling like there were no limits.

Do you enjoy producing other people’s music as much as being the sole creator? 

I enjoy both. For me the key is really achieving a level of creative integrity. Whether it be working alone or with someone what I seek is to produce, compose, design, create something that speaks to the hearts of people.. inspires them to search for their creative voice.

We’ve always connected on having the cosmos as a heavy influence creatively, why do you dig space so much? 

Space seems to be everywhere, it is an internal and external phenomenon – above and below. It’s so mysterious and in so many ways the questions of identity, politics, religion, have to do in some degree with cosmology. For me space represents the unseen connection between all things.

I feel like that connection is a very sonic thing, it seems like musicians incorporate cosmology into their imaging and sounds a lot. Is that connection what drives you to make music and what you want to bring to people’s awareness? 

Exactly. Finding the connections – discovering and unveiling the mystery. You don’t really ever see the sound unless you use frequency analysis.. similar to what an astrophysicist would utilize to discover levels in an atmosphere. Sound, music, art, life to me are forms of space travel, trying to identify the experience between here and there.

Your DJ sets are very intricate and balanced and sort of offensively good.. how did that develop?

My set developed through trial and error. My first time DJing was when a friend, Jason Acevedo, asked me to watch the turntables while he went back to his room to get some records. I didn’t really know what I was looking at but there were about 30 seconds left in a song so I had to figure out what to do. That’s kind of been what DJing has been ever since except now I feel more creative — similar to a jazz musician improving. I’m not as petrified of making a mistake because of that first experience.

 

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I loved your zodiac album [The Traveler] and actually have a print of some of the inspiration artwork since Aries stood out :). The image that you eventually used for the EP is very in line with your love of the cosmos. How has your work evolved with Memoirs of a Traveling Soul, it strikes me as a little more autobiographical than your past releases.

Thanks – I’m glad you liked The Traveler. Memoirs of a Traveling Soul is a compendium, a piece of the process from where the soul lies to now. It is a story of my growth, my failures, my conflicts, my identity, hopes, fears, dreams. It is a story of living and being.

“Memoirs” and memory usually are equated with the past – for me this project required not only peering into my past and that of my family but also into the future. Who will I be tomorrow? What will this project mean a year to ten years from now? Will the future generations listen to it and have some understanding of the time and era that I come from?

Working on the project literally required that I project ideas and manifest them from mind to matter. In many ways I watched the future unfold as the tracks were completed and simultaneously made more sense of myself through internal dialogue, the process of expression and reflection.

The project, the music, the silence and crackles are all intentional and represent the journey and evolution as an interactive growing being.

Day or night? 

Both.

Cats or dogs?

Both.

Water or fire? 

Both.

Wool or tweed? Are those the same? 

 

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