Terrence Dixon: Tales of an Accelerated Future
Daniel Duke is a young producer from Buckhurst Hill, Essex. Although only aged 18, Duke has been experimenting with sound for a few years now, working with friends to explore different avenues of unconvetional, adventurous production.
Duke makes it his business to carry around a recording device of some sort (whether that's a professional microphone or simply an iPhone is irrelevant), allowing him to capture the sounds surrounding him wherever he might be. He calls his style 'Make-Shift' – as the name implies, it's a case of using whatever's around you as your music-making tools.
While Duke has a few EPs lineup for the future, his first project is TTY's 'Back to School'. TTY – an abbreviation of the amazingly-named "The The Youth" collective – is an ongoing collaborative project made up of an undefined, ever-changing number of individuals. Duke acts as the core producer and guiding hand on 'Back to School', but contributions come from a range of friends and family members, with recordings taken everywhere from a park in Stoke Newington to a flat-share in Amsterdam.
Given his working methods, it was pretty obvious we ought to get Daniel Duke in for our occasional Found Sound series, where an artist sends in a field recording that they've made and talks us through it and how it relates to their working process. Hear the sound of a skate trick as re-processed by Daniel below – and we'd very much recommend listening to TTY's excellent 'Back to School' afterwards.
Hello, Daniel! How's your day been?
Daniel Duke: "Shello, it's been alright thanks."
Can you talk us through the found sound you've sent us?
Daniel Duke: "Course – basically I did an ollie on my skateboard, recorded it on my iPhone, and messed with the audio on Logic. I just broke the sound down into four channels and jazzed each section up. Overall it sounds cool – at the end of the recording it faintly picks up my voice. I'm mumbling something – see if you can make it out."
One thing about found sounds and field recordings is that everyone uses them for different reasons. Why do you like to use them?
Daniel Duke: "Sometimes you just can't make those sounds yourself."
When did you first start making recordings of the world around you?
Daniel Duke: "I'm not too sure tbh – I want to give you some magical answer, but I don't actually know. Was probably a natural thing – always having a phone with me and being interested in sound."
How do you usually go about the field recording process?
Daniel Duke: "I recorded rainfall once and just held my mic out the window. More times I'm on the move, so probably just on my phone. I've recorded conversations of people having general idle chat, police sirens, and spiritual situations (my grandma is actually praying for me on the sixth track of this project). If I like the sound, I'll just steal it – I stress 'steal'. Permission makes it less satisfying."
I know you've got a lot of music forthcoming, but we're starting with the 'Back to School' mixtape. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Daniel Duke: "The 'Back to School' sound design project was a collaboration with TTY – some artists who have a really genuine outlook on creating. The whole idea behind it was to challenge the ways in which sound is recorded. The style is centred around a concept of design we called ‘make-shift’, just using what's around you. The majority of vocal contributors on the project aren't older than 20 – I think it's what adds the right balance of naturalness and sophistication. It was recorded in a few different environments – from flats in Vondelpark after walking the streets aimlessly, to North London at my grandma’s, recording on her balcony after inviting a few of my friends round, who'd invite a few of their friends round, and we'd just flow."
What's next in your world?
Daniel Duke: "Keep creating to the best of my ability and see what pans out – I've got an idea though."
What's your favourite sound in the world?
Daniel Duke: "Probably a girl with an accent – it's lovely on the ear."