Mutations is out now! (Plus other news!)
A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the making of this album, with complications every step of the way, from COVID to being forced to relocate halfway across the continent, to the eternal pain of having to do self-promotion, something I guarantee you very few artists enjoy doing!
Mutations was a major milestone for IDDQD in many ways! Tracks from the album were placed on Podcasts and playlists, as well as my first music video, with more to come, and it's also the first IDDQD record that I'm officially selling.
9 years ago, when I founded IDDQD, my aim was to always have the music available for free. My philosophy has always been that digital music should be available for free, and I still believe that, but the world of music has changed irrecognizably in the past few years, and while my music is still available for free, you can name your price on my Bandcamp (which can still be Zero if you like to!
It's probably obvious to you that now more than ever, it's important to support Indie artists, who make most of our money from performing, and help us power through the pandemic and come out the other way still making music! I encourage you to donate whatever amount you can, either through my Bandcamp or my website. My music is still available completely free of charge on my Soundcloud, and for your convenience, also on Spotify, Google Play, and all other major streaming platforms, but as I've discussed in length before, I'm not the biggest fan of Spotify, and would do my best to direct traffic to platforms which have the artist in mind, and not their greedy CEOs.
The rest of this post is basically a thank you note to everyone who have helped bring this record to life. The aim of IDDQD was always to explore musical ideas that didn't fit with the bands I've been involved with, but ideas that I nevertheless didn't want to explore alone. Collaborations was always the focus of the project, and I am really proud that, despite making this album in the middle of a pandemic, I got to work with other musicians, each of which brought something new and unique to the sound. This is my way of humbling thanking them, as well as doing my bit at connecting you to them and their work. I'll be sharing more links as they become available!
Sheena Truong is a singer/producer/guitarist from Vancouver-based band TEMET, who are set to release their own debut record soon. Sheena lent her wonderful voice to Platypus, hitting so many of the notes that I couldn't hit. I actually re-released Platypus purely because of how great a job she did on the track.
Junhong McIntosh Lee is a guitarist/producer and another member of TEMET, as well as one half of ambient/noise rock outfit Peter Plum. He brought a lot of character to the ending of Puffin with his guitar playing. We're collaborating on more music as we speak, and I hope for Junhong to be a lifetime collaborator. His unique style, insane mixing chops and sound design skills are sure to impress audiences for years!
Jenna Ballarin is a Soul/R&B singer & producer set to release her debut EP soon. I fell in love with Jenna's voice and music, and enamoured with her warm personality, huge energy and humbleness from the moment we met, and was honoured that she graced the record with her voice in Pika. Pika is the oldest song off the record, and I always felt like it needed a little something, which turned out to be the soulful vocal performance of Jenna. She helped me re-do the vocals, and added tons of lush harmonies to really lift the song off the ground, as the lyrics suggest it should!
Before I get to the next collaborator, I must confess to something: Most of the drums you hear on Mutations is sequenced! There, the cat's out of the bag! Every bass player has a drummer soulmate, and I was lucky to have found my drummer soulmate early on in my musical journey, in Arash Farazmand, my amazing friend and bandmate from The Free Keys, back in 2005 in Iran! Arash and I clicked and locked together from the first rehearsal, and grew together as musicians and kids! We travelled the world together, and got separated in 2010. I always longed with anticipation to play with Arash again, but sadly the universe had much more sinister plans. Arash was killed in a tragic shooting, when our fellow bandmate Ali Akbar had a mental breakdown in 2013, and proceeded to take a rifle into the Brooklyn house where Arash and other members of the Free Keys and our sister band, The Yellow Dogs, lived and shot and killed Arash, his brother and Yellow Dogs Founder Soroush and fellow Iranian musician Ali Eskandarian, before turning the gun onto himself. It's an event that shaped my life like few others, and continues to haunt me.
All of that is to say, It's always been hard for me to find drummers to collaborate with, with each one coming up short to Arash's style and pure drumming class. As a result, I have gotten insanely good at sequencing human-sound drums, if I may say so myself. When it came to Mutations, I was hoping to collaborate with a number of drummers, which sadly didn't pan out after the COVID pandemic led us all into our homes. Few people on this planet are able to record professional drums from their home, which brings us to Dami Alabi.
I met Dami Alabi through freelancing site Fiverr, and hired him to record the drums to Platypus, which I had already written, and improve upon it. He did that and then some in a matter of days, and I couldn't be happier with the results! Dami is a seasoned session drummer, and if you need a drummer for your next song, I highly encourage you to visit his Fiverr account and hire him. His services are cheap, high-quality and fast!
Finally, I'd like to give a huge thanks to my best friend and frequent collaborator Nova Rakhmanina. Nova and I met in Film School and have worked together on a number of very different projects together. I scored her first Sound Design project, which you can watch here, and we founded Bad Neighbor Productions together. We also worked as sound editors on fellow Bad Neighbor Productions founder Aleksandra Savicheva's debut film 'Alienated' for which I also wrote the main theme and worked as post-production sound mixer.
Nova painted the artwork for Mutations and directed the video for Platypus. She also handles most promotional material around the album, from merch to banners and logos! Nova supported me and believed in my music in a time when I felt very little hope that I will ever make it as a musician, and her work on Mutations has been invaluable to it turning from loose ideas in my head to a legit record!
I'd also like to thank all my instructors and mentors: Adam Fulton, Brad Hillman, Tolga Tüzün, Turgut Pöğün, Tolga Zafer Özdemir, Dave Bernstein, Kevin Kowal, Aleksander Klinke, Nat Jay, Rob Hunter, Curtis Wright, and Mine Erkaya
Finally, I want to thank all my fans and listeners, and everyone who helped me spread the word. I think we live in a weird time for music where you have to either trick people into giving you their time, or shove your music down their throat, so it helps a great deal to have engaged fans who take off some of that weight off your shoulders:
Erin Voith, Sarah Khalbuss, Ahmetcan Gokceer, Frank Castillo, Cao Bergo Lopes, Lukas Kell, Fariba Arjmand, Firoozeh Arjmand, and too many more to name!