As with the thousands of musicians who flock to Austin to be heard during South By Southwest, LA-based producer Daedelus (born Alfred Darlington) had no grand ideas about being discovered. The electronic-music veteran was in town to play a couple of sets at parties for JuiceLand and PayPal. Despite the long night and being a bit under the weather, the producer is up and ready to go for his second and last day of activity. As he's explaining the previous night's events, he abruptly hangs up in order to chase after the owner of his Airbnb's dog who scampered out the door.
Returning calm despite the disaster in the making, the 37-year-old chuckles describing the incident, and then resumes his story about the abridged 20-minute set that featured technical difficulties and "felt like two hours." Sound issues aside, you'd be hard-pressed to call haphazard anything he's done during his 15-year career that has seen him release a slew of albums, EPs and remixes.
Last year, he returned to Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label after four years for the release of The Light Brigade. Having spent time touring in Ukraine, Daedelus used the Crimean conflict of 1843 to 1846 as the backdrop and theme. The album's more deliberate pacing and melodic sound featuring acoustic guitars was a departure from what fans of the Low End Theory favorite may have been accustomed to. "It's interesting because I've done records with moments that are more meditative or quiet," he explains. "It was really fun for Brainfeeder to put out a conceptual record; that's why it's such a platform for vision."
The Light Brigade was released Sept. 29, but that hasn't stopped the producer from feverishly working on his next album, tentatively titled Labyrinth. Over the past three months, he says, he has 29 potential songs in the works, adding that he's returning to the high-energy sound that has become the hallmark of his live show. Calling it "bombastic," Daedelus is confident in its direction, even as he offers a warning that it could go in a mellower direction if that's where the music takes him. "Sometimes, you have these ideas, and then you try to do the thing, and melodies come out different, and it's not something you expected," he says.
While the songs came to him "super-fast," the hard parts are the whittling down and turning those ideas and stems into full songs. That process usually entails careful analysis, and he relies on his team of advisers–which includes his management and trusted friends–to have a cohesive record to properly unveil. Fortunately for the producer, outside of Friday's show at the Wayfarer, his schedule will afford him enough time to sit down and complete the album before heading overseas later in the month.
"I guess that isn't the most amount of time, but for me, it's a good amount," he says. "But those songs need to earn their place on the album, and everything needs to say something. I like putting out music and remixes and thoughts, and they're meant to be heard, but there's a thousand other things to take your attention off. For EPs and LPs, I hope people go deeper, and I want the music and words to say something larger than just lyrics."
As he continues to work on Labyrinth, Daedelus feels that, above all, he has a lot more to say.
"This is a golden age of production," he proclaims. "My peers, people like Tokimonsta, Flying Lotus and Gaslamp Killer, are making really wonderful, dynamic music from the perspective that I'm moved by, [so] that I want to contribute to it as well."
Daedelus performs with Free the Robots at the Wayfarer, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 764-0039; www.wayfarercm.com. Fri., 9 p.m. $12. 21+.