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Interview with David Reeves from Otraslab - conducted by James Graham - 7/98

James: Why do think that Otraslab has such a distinct sound?

David: Indistinct might be a better description, hazy and druggy and highly repetitive. It's music created in isolation, both physical and mental. I live in a small village with no proper clubs or venues for forward-looking music, so I have to invent what I think the music of the future might sound like. Otraslab is just an audio version of my environment, and it isn't all that flashy or exciting, but it's accurate and it's real. From my mind to yours.

James: What is your musical past like?

David: First synthesizer, a Yamaha CS-15, in 1984. No formal training, thankfully.

James: Can you cook?

David: No, not really because it's not really required on my restricted diet. The big nasty five get no quarter in the Otraslab commissary. No meat, no eggs, no cheese, no butter and no milk, but large quantities of everything else. Boiling water is the extent of my cooking abilities, for pasta and rice, or steaming food. Or I'll make a soup in the winter. But lots of tortilla chips, breads, salsa, peanut butter and jam and honey and garden burgers and French fries and Subway subs and PitaPit garden pitas, cereals with soya milk, tea, coffee, every fruit and veg in season and local.

James: Do you get Mr. Gouda soups down there?

David: They rule and I always keep 20 or 30 cans around just in case, what with Y2K coming up. I've been eating this way for 15 years and believe me I eat like a PIG, but I never gain weight and I look 10 years younger than other guys my age. It would be 15 years younger if I didn't do drugs.

James: Is you current abode conducive to making music?

David: Well, I just live in crappy apartments that I wouldn't dare call home, and I don't have a studio, so my world is my laptop and headphones. I'm always going around to guys' studios and stuff, but when I'm at my place I've got my studio in my lap, sprawled on the couch with the TV on, a cold beer, a fat hash joint and my feet up on the air conditioner, and I live blissfully alone. Yeah its pretty conducive.

James: What have you released besides the cuts on Noise Reduction II?

David: Three CD's on the Fax label, one on Discreet, Otraslab and Noise Reduction one on Alleysweeper, and a track on the Sabotage "Chill-out" compilation. Otraslab2 is coming soon on Alleysweeper.

James: Can you describe your relationship with Alleysweeper?

David: It's a somnabulent relationship, very slow going. The boys have their own projects on the go and of course money is tight, so I don't really expect that much from them. The Otraslab CD came out and I got 100 copies and that is that. No money, no contract. And that is cool because my CD is out there, I don't have to pay to press it, a few people hear it, and I get to do interviews on the Internet. Given the type of music I do, this is a very lucky situation for me. I do exactly what I want, and it gets put out. For me to make money at music I would have to compromise at the creative level, which is not an option at this time.

James: What pisses you off about the music industry?

David: The music industry itself doesn't piss me off, it's a self serving entity that wants to sell lots of records to perpetuate itself. No problem, just not for me. What does piss me off is painfully hip tattooed anti-record industry types who start a label and then neglect, lie to and rip off their artists worse than any major, all under a halo of righteousness and cool.

James: What do you like about your music?

David: Everything, but I don't sit around listening to it any more than I sit around looking in the mirror. It's pointless to communicate with myself, I already know what I'm saying, Best to give my time to someone else and learn something.

James: How would you define Otraslab?

David: Otraslab is my laptop computer, and what comes out of it.

James: Have you done anything on the live front?

David: Yes, last week Otraslab opened for Malhavoc here in Guelph. I play out whenever anyone asks me.

James: Who would you consider to be your contemporaries?

David: The masters are Coil, Eliane Radigue, Burzum, Mortiis, Autechre, Farmers Manual, Alan Lamb, Thomas Koner, for you their souls to hear, inventors of new musical languages and inner exploration. I worry little about other students.

James: Do you feel that the act of creation is influenced by past experience?

David: Yes, thankfully, otherwise we'd have nothing to bring to the table but our genetic make-up, not a pretty sight. Experience allows you to overcome obstacles and be a better whatever. Learn from yous mistakes. Give an album for laughing, an album for crying and an album for lying in the sun to. Farmers Manual "Explorers We", Burzum "Balders Tod", Brian Eno "Neroli"

James: Do you feel you have significant interaction with those that listen to your work?

David: No, I have no interaction whatsoever, I haven't a clue who listens.They're just shy, I guess, coy little things.

James: Do you have any future plans?

David: Otraslab2 on Alleysweeper, and I'm currently building some fat beats for the Lyrical Assassin's "Sixpacks" debut CD. My next CD after these projects will be a strange new direction, no title or label yet.

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