Exploring the city of Detroit and all it's surrounding cities has lead me to see and hear all sorts of new things. I have tried new restaurants, new venues and attended events to hear new types of music that I hadn't experienced live before. I have learned that there is a lot out there that I don't know about and if I give it a chance, I just might like what I find.
Traditionally I have not been attracted to electronic music. It is not a genre that I understand or know much about. When I heard Phantasmagoria last year I didn't know what “type” of music it was, but I knew that I liked it. When I go to their shows, I have a great time and what they are playing sounds amazing.
Shortly after discovering Phantasmagoria I went to see James Linck open up for them and saw Chris Jarvis play alongside James using the same fancy tools he uses to perform with Lianna. About a month later I saw him play solo at the Loving Touch after Linck’s set, and within a few minutes he had the entire place dancing and even got a couple of ladies up on stage shaking their things.
I learned that what Chris was playing was some solo music that he had put together for his side project, Ancient Language. He also told me that he had started a monthly event at The Loving Touch Called High Vibrations that was was going to feature himself and other similar artists. The first High Vibrations took place last month and the next one is scheduled for March 22nd. It will feature Chris alongside Eddie Logix, DSJR, John Zott and Technicolored Moustache. Click here and check out his newest album "Modern Babble" which was just released. While you are listening, read on and hear what he has to say about himself, Ancient Language and making music.
HipInDetroit- When and why did you start Ancient Language? Would you consider this to be a side project?
Chris Jarvis- I started Ancient Language because I'm always making a lot of different kinds of music. It started out as just an outlet to release songs that weren't used for Phantasmagoria but it's sort of started to take on a signature style with my last couple releases and shows. I'm definitely putting a lot of myself as well as lots of time and effort into this project.
HipInDetroit- What do you use to create this music,what kind of equipment do you use to make sounds like this?
Chris Jarvis- I make it all on my laptop. I use some midi controllers here and there, some keyboards, my apc40 but it's mostly created all in the laptop.
HipInDetroit- Is this all original music or do you sample from other sources?
Chris Jarvis- I do sample from other sources, especially for this album I sampled a lot of old jazz records. I was really into sampling jazz when I made this album. I was reading a lot of Haruki Murakami at the time and he's always referencing jazz artists in his work so it kind of inspired me to get more into it. I also have a massive library of classic drum machines and a lot of hip hop kits. I take the sounds and make them my own. Everything is manipulated in a way so that I can create new pieces of music out of a library of samples that I've built. I usually add completely original elements too like synths and field recordings.
HipInDetroit- Why did you name the project Ancient Language?
Chris Jarvis- Ancient Language was a name I had been toying with for a while. I initially wanted to call the first Phantasmagoria album Ancient Language but we didn't end up using it. I liked it a lot so I started using it for my solo work. It basically just stemmed from the idea that music is this kind of ancient way of communicating with people no matter where you are in the world.
HipInDetroit- When we listen to your album it reminds us of sitting outside on a sunny day, it's very uplifting, how would you describe your music?
Chris Jarvis- I would definitely describe it as uplifting and positive. Making music is sort of meditative for me. Hopefully I can create something that captures a certain atmosphere or feeling that when I look back on, I'm excited and proud of what I made. It's definitely therapeutic for me and I hope it has the same effect on my listeners. I'm always trying to expand peoples consciousness for two or three minutes or whatever. A lot of my song titles have to do with that.
HipInDetroit- When did you start writing music?
Chris Jarvis- I guess I started when I was around 14 or 15.
HipInDetroit- Do you work with or collect vinyl?
Chris Jarvis- I wish I collected more vinyl but sadly my collection is pretty small. It's something I really want to start doing though. The sound of vinyl inspires me. I love the way vinyl sounds, that warm, crackly sound. I try to imitate that sound somehow in my digital productions.
HipInDetroit- What inspires you to write?
Chris Jarvis- Everything inspires me. Literally everything that happens to me on an everyday basis influences my music in one way or another. Lots of times other music will inspire me too. I'll get so excited when I hear good new music that it just makes me want to step my game up and make something better. Certain films and books really inspire me too. One's that have a really good atmosphere and texture.
HipInDetroit- Who are some of your biggest influences?
Chris Jarvis- Four Tet, Boards of Canada, J Dilla, Radiohead, Broken Social Scene, Burial, Portishead, Daedelus, Flying Lotus, Madlib.
HipInDetroit- When you go on stage alone is it more intimidating than when you play with Phantasmagoria or James Linck?
Chris Jarvis- Sometimes it is but usually not really. When I play by myself it's usually more in party atmospheres and I'm just trying to get everyone to dance and have a good time which I guess can be stressful but I just try to enjoy myself and not worry about it too much.
HipInDetroit- A few weeks ago I saw you DJ after Linck performed at the Loving Touch, you had the whole room dancing, was that planned or impromptu?
Chris Jarvis- It was a part of a set I had been working on but the performance was impromptu, I wasn't planning on doing that but people didn't want the party to end.
HipInDetroit- Detroit has always had a love for electronic music, in fact we host Movement here every year. How do you think electronic music has changed? Where do you see it going in the future?
Chris Jarvis- I think it's obviously gotten more popular in the U.S. over the last few years and that has it's positive and it's negative side effects but there will always be good music and there will always be bad music so I'm not too worried about it. I think overall it's a great thing because for a long time electronic music has kind of been shunned by music "purists" or whatever but it's to the point now that people are creating such interesting and rich productions with unlimited cultural references to sample from, literally the whole world is at our fingertips now. Anyone can be influenced by anything, it's no longer regional. I think overall that's going to make music more interesting and strange, and it already has.
HipInDetroit- Name five other DJ’s we should check out?
Chris Jarvis- I'm gonna name a few more than five, gotta rep my High Vibrations crew: Skotarczyk, Doc Illingsworth, Keef Boxx, Technicolored Moustache, Eddie Logix, Jon Zott
HipInDetroit- Tell me about about High Vibrations at the Loving Touch. What inspired you to start it and what is it for people who don't know?
Chris Jarvis- High Vibrations is a monthly at The Loving Touch in Ferndale, MI dedicated to showcasing all the awesome forward thinking electronic artists in Detroit. We're also a crew of like minded artists dedicated to sharing and spreading new music, ideas, art, we aren't just limited to music, we also have photographers and graphic designers in our crew. It's basically a community of artists. We're working on doing our first art show/music show right now with some local artists.
High Vibrations is March 22 at The Loving Touch in Ferndale. The show starts at 8 p.m., 18-21 are $5 and 21 and over are free. Remember this is a monthly event, so if you can't make it this month check back next month to see who is being featured.