IZA: What got you started in music?
AUDIO BUDDHA: “I would say my family was a major influence to me. My mother sang in community opera, my grandmother was an organist for the local church and my father was one of those rare individuals that you could put an instrument in his hands and he could master it. I swear the man had perfect pitch (but he could not read a stitch of music) because he could hear a melody and recite it perfectly without practice. He was a carpenter by trade and he actually built his own fiddle that he would perform with!”The big catalyst was seeing Kraftwerk for the first time on American TV in 1974 performing “Autobahn” then I knew then what I wanted to do musically!”
IZA: How’s the scene in Albany, New York?
AUDIOBUDDHA: “Albany has an interesting musical scene, obviously very influenced by New York City with a lot of New Wave and Punk bands. At that time (’80’s to early ’90’s) club culture was limited to the gay bars so in search of great dance music and culture me and my straight friends would go to the gay bars to dance. In the 80’s and 90’s I was experimenting with electronic/punk and electronic/goth musical hybrids which was quite a standout in a guitar bass and drums oriented environment of Albany at that time. I also wanted to add that there was a great New Wave scene in Saratoga Springs, a small city north of Albany that is also home of the great college station, WSPN, from Skidmore College, in which I was a DJ for more than 6 years. WSPN was this little 10K watt power house of a radio station where I got my first exposure of Chicago House and Detroit Techno.”
IZA: How did the name AudioBuddha come into inception?
AUDIOBUDDHA: “I have to thank my dear friend Mikhaila for that name! I was working at Borders in Santa Fe, NM and she was one of my co-workers plus a dear friend. I remember having a conversation about starting a musical project and she simply said, “you love music and you are studying Buddhism, how about AudioBuddha?” So simple and straightforward!”
IZA: Do you have any influential Musicians, DJ’s or people that you listen to that have aided in your artist development?
AUDIOBUDDHA: “Oh lord, where do I start?…….I would have to say first and foremost one if my original introductions and loves to electronic music was through Progressive Rock. In my early teens I loved bands like Yes, King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer and early Genesis with Peter Gabriel. Kraftwerk was my initial introduction to “purely” electronic music. When punk came in 1977 and ’78 I respected the “do it your self attitude” ethos of it but at times found the music a bit old fashioned so I got attracted to groups like Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, The Normal and New Wave acts like Gary Numan, Ultravox, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell and Yaz. Today I find inspiration in artists like Bjork, John Digweed, BT, Sasha, Way Out West, Bonobo and Carbon Based Lifeforms.”
IZA: What instruments do you play and what are your top favorite instruments of choice?
AUDIOBUDDHA: “I started on piano when I was around 8 years old and discovered the synth when I was around 18. I’ve been playing synth since then. I also dabble in playing bass, but my main instrument is the keyboard.”
IZA: Talk to us about your current DJ/Production setup.
AUDIOBUDDHA: “I currently have a mini Mac with a I7 quad core processor and 1TB drive, my audio is handled by and Akai EIE pro 4 channel audio interface. The software I use is Pro Tools 10, Ableton Live 9, Studio One 2 Pro and Reason 7. I’ll bring my mac out for live PA sessions with an Akai Synthstation 49 controller (which also is a controller for my Ipad running a variety of synth apps), a Korg Nanokontol 2 and a Akai APC mini. For my live PA gigs I’m using Ableton Live 9 as my main software. I simplify for purely DJ sets where I will bring my Ipad running Tracktor with a Native Instruments Z1 controller. Its a simple elegant setup that can be ready to go within 5 minutes!”
IZA: What’s your favorite piece of hardware/or software at the moment?
AUDIOBUDDHA: “Currently its software, Reason 7, I love this software!!!! Reason is such an elegant production system that works well with “old school” types like me that still like working with rack synths and hardware, albeit now its in a virtual software environment.”
IZA: What’s your most profound experience with music and how has it aided you with your productions and DJ sets?
AUDIOBUDDHA: “I was performing in a group called 42 (named from Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy) back in the mid eighties, we were one of the few electro-pop groups in upstate NY at the time and we did this show at a small venue called the Half Moon Cafe in Albany. The show was one of those rare shows where the audience, music and band were in perfect sync with each other…people were dancing, the band was on point. It was one of those amazing moment where you saw the power of music to move both the audience and the performers – it was a perfect feedback loop. I use that experience as a standard to recreate when I am in front of an audience. It also influences me when I’m in the studio – does this music move me, inspire me? If not, put it aside and do something else until that moment hits again. Its not one of those things that one can quantify and bring forth at will, but can only work towards through constant diligence and practice. In a way its a lot like meditation, you do the daily work and practice, not looking for some expectation or “reward” and when you truly let go into the flow, the moment “happens”. Too many people treat music as a product or a commodity today to mass produce instead of a channel to revelation and knowledge…….this thinking has to stop, it is dehumanizing and a destructive step to reducing our emotions and experiences to a mere “product” or “commodity.”
IZA: Talk to us about your favorite memorable experience as a DJ and where it took place?
AUDIOBUDDHA: “Wow, I’ve had several amazing experiences as a DJ, I would say one of the best was Meow Wolf’s New Years Eve Party at Molly’s Santa Fe in 2012 – again a perfect feedback loop of music with audience. I was playing almost all electro swing that night and the audience was bouncing off the walls!”
IZA: What projects do you currently have going on and what does the future look like for Audiobuddha aka Steve Brisk?
AUDIOBUDDHA: “I am currently working a all new original material and soon will be in discussion with a local label to release this material, hopefully by mid next year. Also working on some new material with a vocalist by the name of Saralinda Camp which should be part of this release too. Looking forward to doing some out of state gigs in the coming year and of course the outdoor festival season with gigs at Foundations in June and other festivals in the planning stages at this moment!”
IZA: If you could stage a rave anywhere, where would you choose?
AUDIOBUDDHA: “The ancient ruins near Lake Titicaca in Bolivia – we are talking about ruins dating more than 12000 years in human history, I would love to bring back the energies of celebration and sacred intent to that part of our planet…….”
IZA: If you had a time machine what year would you go back to and why?
AUDIOBUDDHA: “I would say 1968 in New York City, the Andy Warhol factory at that time……to see the Velvet Underground perform at the Factory live would have been incredible!”
IZA: Aside from music, what do you like to do for fun?
AUDIOBUDDHA: I am an avid cook – I love to prepare home cooked meals for my friends. I’ve also got back into painting again after a long hiatus. An avid Sci-Fi nerd and love watching movies at home, (I’m partial to classic Film Noir, 30’s musicals and Marx brothers comedies)
IZA: Thank you very much for taking the time to open up to us.