Written By: Amanda Almonord
Alfred Darlington, better known as “Daedelus,” visited the Brooklyn College Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema on Apr. 23 to discuss electronic music and their practice.
Originally, Darlington did not come from a very musical family.
“[My parents] had no musical ability,” they said. “My mom played the contact mic, which made for great photos, but I’m sure the music at the time was kind of off.”
The most life-changing advice Alfred Darlington ever received was to quit playing the double bass. Three years deep into the jazz program at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, Darlington’s teacher knew that they weren’t passionate about it. Deep down, Darlington knew it too. Their passion was creating electronic music.
While their parents didn’t understand what Darlington was pursuing, they were happy that Darlington had a passion for the arts. Their parents’ “open ears” was a great benefit to them.
Darlington’s parents’ record collection was filled with “a lot of weird…electro experimentation acoustic music,” bending Darlington’s ear to a new sound and leading them to the rave scene in Los Angeles, where Darlington grew up.
“I had a fake ID, it was absolutely atrocious, but it got me to all kinds of goth, industrial and electronic nights; that was enough as a young person to doom me to try to pursue this…,” said Darlington.
With electronic music demystified, Darlington decided the next step was learning to create it. They spent their last year at USC taking every modular synthesis class that they could.
“There wasn’t [that] many, so I took the same class four times,” Darlington said, which gave them the confidence to pursue electronic music properly.
Darlington credits “Low-End Theory,” a weekly experimental hip-hop and electronic music club night, as a significant inspiration for their work. They found the clubhouse to be a place where steel sharpens steel. Darlington also found the technical and visceral aspects of electronic music invigorating.
“To many people, it was their church,” Darlington said. “There’s something about the sound when it hits the same kind of frequency…there’s an elation that’s hard to source elsewhere…”
When performing, Darlington says the trick is finding the perfect way to instigate the dance floor, cheerleading people as they react to the music. Their alias helps them get into a place where they can perform and instigate to their fullest capacity.
“It’s fun to have your different selves…by having an ‘other,’ it allowed me to both better realize myself on a stage and also create a place of wonder that I don’t think I would feel [otherwise],” explained Darlington
Darlington suggests getting uncomfortable and being fearless in creating outside of what’s expected for those pursuing their own creative endeavors.
“There’s a way we can art our current reality to heighten moods and intentions,” said Darlington. “Give your work the gift of being that much more…it will lead to special things.”