Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Artist Spotlight/Interview: POINDEXTER

A few months ago, I stumbled across a remix of James Blake's, "Wilhelm Scream" by Portland, Oregon musician, Andrew "POINDEXTER" Rodriguez. I am pretty sure that "obsessed" is a slight understatement, because five months later, I'm still listening to it at least once a week. It's my four minutes of serenity, and after hearing the synth drop with the lyrics,“I don’t know about my dreams,” I can't help but smile.

One listen and you'll realize why so many, including myself, compare him to Breakbot.

(Interview) AFTER THE JUMP...

Seriously, who can transform a slow ballad of lost love into something wonderful? Apparently POINDEXTER can. He remixed Sailor & I's, "Tough Love," turning the track from this:

To this:

If that doesn't show how quality remixing and producing transforms (an already awesome) a track, I'm not sure what does.

Aside from making kick-ass remixes, POINDEXTER recently released his first EP, "Forever", this past December. It featured NuDisco, Pop with Chill-wave vibe tracks that can brighten anyone's day. One track, "Helpless" was featured on Kitsuné America last week. The release is a HUGE deal because it is the first, of more than 10, to feature U.S.-based artists only.

POINDEXTER was kind enough to chat Facebook and email with DPC about himself, the EP inspiration, what to expect in 2012, and the current music scene in Portland, Oregon.

BT: I'm really curious as to how you came up with your name, "Poindexter". Is there any story behind it?

POINDEXTER: Poindexter is an extension of me that doesn't take itself too seriously. I became fond of the idea of making fun of myself while at the same time creating music that I really like. In that way, it gives me the space and the freedom to try a lot of new ideas.

BT: How did you first get involved with producing music? Do you have anyone who inspired you to start?

POINDEXTER: From the time that I could walk I was playing things on the piano by ear. Eventually I was enrolled in lessons that led to other instruments and theory. I've always gravitated toward the arts and enjoy writing music as much as photography or cinematography. Can't see myself doing anything else.

BT: I first stumbled across your remix of "The Wilhelm Scream" sometime in December, and let me tell you that I am obsessed with it. I love how you added synth and your own touch on it making to completely danceable! What made you decide to remix that track?

POINDEXTER: Thank you! I had just completed my EP and I was trying to come up with a way to re-build some buzz to promote it. There was a lot of potential in the original mix so I just went after it. It was actually the first remix that I "bootlegged" the vocals to make.

BT: Your sound is very distinct, and whenever I try to describe to people what to expect from a track, I compare you to Breakbot. Do you get that a lot? And what artists give you inspiration?

POINDEXTER: Breakbot is the bee's knees. I have been compared to him before and it's of no surprise to me since he is one of my greatest influences. I also really enjoy Jamiroquai and Phoenix among many, many others.

BT: Going along those same lines, are there any tracks out there that you would love to remix?

POINDEXTER: I would love to wake up to an inbox of the masters to Phoenix's 'United' album. In addition to that, 'Thriller' has always been high on my list as well as 'Genius of Love' from Tom Tom Club.

BT: Congratulations on releasing your first EP, "Forever"! I bet it feels awesome to have that done. Since it came out, you've gotten a lot of praise, and most recently, "Helpless" can be found on the Kitsune America compilation album. Did it take you by surprise??

POINDEXTER: Thanks! I wrote 'Helpless' two years ago and I really wanted it to set the tone for the future of Poindexter at the time. It's really fantastic that it's getting a bit of a rebirth now via Kitsune America. Often I forget what it's like to hear something for the very first time. It's as if I wrote the song yesterday for these new listeners which is really cool. I couldn't have asked for a better journey for my music to have taken.

BT: Where did you draw inspiration from on Forever?

POINDEXTER: The entire thing started with my obsession with horror films. I was looking through old horror movie posters and I stumbled upon the design for the original 'Fright Night'. 'Helpless', the first completed track, was written while I stared at it for hours. From there, everything else developed.

BT: Can we expect any mixes moving forward or are you working on any future tracks? A possible tour?

POINDEXTER: I'm working on a few different remixes right now that I am excited about for some very talented individuals. I've also been working on new original material for the past 6 months but I am definitely taking my time. I care so much about everything that I do. It's a blessing and a curse being a perfectionist. Ultimately, I'd love to take Poindexter to a stage and other platforms as well. We'll see...

BT: This is a question more out of curiosity since I'm in DC right now, but what's the music scene like in Oregon?

POINDEXTER: The music scene with respect to international artists coming to Portland is phenomenal. We get quite a range of talent in our venues. When it comes to the local level however, I'd say what is "acceptable" and "popular" is a bit more narrow, for now. Portland is very much a 'D.I.Y.' city, but like any label, it carries a certain connotation in the same way that "indie" is now more a musical sound than a disposition. In essence, there's more to Portland than folk music and its derivatives but change takes time. Time will tell!

BT: And since we are The Dance Party Chronicles, can you please indulge us with your favorite dance move?

POINDEXTER: My favorite dance move(s) would have to be the entire dance break from 'Thriller'.

A huge thank you to POINDEXTER for the interview and supplying the relaxing, happy tunes. If you haven't already, please check out his website for more information, stalk and "like" him on Facebook, tweet the crap out of him on Twitter, or Follow him on SoundCloud for his latest remixes and tracks!

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