There are a few things we know about the enigmatic palmdrive aka deadprocession aka ujochi aka Josh Scheepers: He loves taking naps, making music, skateboarding, playing retro games and tweeting about Charli XCX and GRIMES. In that order. He’s also a pretty sweet graphic designer by day (and sometimes night), but having a day job gets in the way of the other stuff. Josh is well known on the Durban scene – which means you probably haven’t heard of him because nobody knows what the fuck is going on in Durban, not even Durbanites – from playing in short-lived bands like Meth Breath and Teenage Teethmarks, but more recently as a solo artist. The multi-instrumentalist recently put out a (mostly) synthwave EP drenched in sonic nostalgia called A A // B B // EP, and even though he hasn’t seen Drive yet, it would fit perfectly on that soundtrack. We chatted to the piss-taking producer about retro gaming, balancing multiple music projects and not being able to nap at work.
This new EP has quite a bit of retro gaming influence, from the name to the art to the music itself, what is it about old school games that inspires you?
I’ve always liked video games since the first time I played Frogger on the Atari! The thing I like most about retro games was their restrictions in regards to the art/sound etc. Didn’t have a lotta megabytes back then to work with so you had to make do with what was available, an evergreen ideal.
Which is your favourite gaming console or have you always been a PC and emulator kinda guy?
I never actually owned many consoles so that’s a difficult one to answer… but… Sega Genesis. Or the Mega Drive if you prefer. I use a VST that emulates the Genesis sound chip sometimes (fm synthesis ain’t easy). PS1 is up there as well. Sega Saturn has the best controller of any console ever made ever this is fact and cannot be disputed. Emulation is just a great way to relive the classics and to find new (old) games you might really enjoy!
What’s your favourite game and why?
FAVOURITE?? Couldn’t say, I have many. There’s classics I still play like Diablo 2 and Crash Bandicoot, but I really, really, really, REALLY loved Mirror’s Edge. Too many new indie games to mention. Papers, Please is pretty awesome. Okay I guess Monkey Island 2 is my all time fave. Point ‘n click adventures in general make me pretty happy.
You’ve been in bands and you’ve got 2 solo projects, which do you prefer and why?
Bands are cool because playing with other humans is always a good time, bouncing ideas around, making something together that you would never be able to do or think of alone. Solo is cool because you get to do whatever the heck you want and no one can stop you.
What do you prefer about bedroom producing to playing live, and vice versa?
Bedroom producing can get a little frustrating. Depends on what you’re trying to do I guess, but I tend to get distracted by a sound or direction and get carried away from what I was trying to do in the first place. Playing live is cool because you can let the distractions happen without worrying about it too much. It’s also cool to see people enjoying themselves to whatever weird shit I might be playing.
How does playing multiple instruments affect the way you write and produce music?
I play piano differently to the way that I play guitar, so they contrast nicely I think. Playing many instruments just helps with being musical. I wouldn’t wanna be stuck to one instrument. There’s a lot of them!! Each instrument helps in different ways regarding to melody/rhythm etc.
Also, with the new EP, how much is made with production software and how much was made with instruments? Do you enjoy getting to mix the 2 together or do you not really care, so long as it works for the song?
Depends on the song, but mostly I just click things in with the mouse lol. I’ve been trying to mix my old live band type producing with the newer electronic production ways. Still a long way to go, but I’m too obsessed with synthesizers at the moment. And vocaloids!
You’ve consistently put out music as both palmdrive and deadprocession – how do you decide what works together as an EP, and what to release as singles? Also, how do you keep the 2 projects separate? ‘Cause there are guitar parts on ‘Where is the Sun’, which is a bit different to most of your palmdrive stuff.
deadprocession is just for punk/pop punk/alt rock kinda stuff. I generally don’t put any synths or samples or anything like that in there, and I write lyrics and do vocals for it. palmdrive is for full-on electronic and whatever else kinda musical spazzing out, more of a free to do whatever solo project with lots of experimenting and learning new stuff – dp has some loose rules and regulations I try stick to.
tbh the new palmdrive EP is cobbled together from the farthest corners of the soundscapes I’ve been dabbling with. I didn’t intend for those 4 songs to be together specifically or anything, it just kinda happened. It’s a bit of a vague one, unfinished exploration. I just wanted to put something out before I put more stuff out with a little more direction and intention. I have some semblance of a plan brewing.
Is “Lite Rails” about cocaine or skateboarding?
Neither! It’s about driving through the dystopian retrofuture megacity looking for abandoned battery packs to charge muh lazerz.
What’s the worst part about having a day job? Not being able to nap?
No naps is painful, ya. I just hate not being able to get rolling with a song idea or sound idea when I get the urge. Which happens a lot. So many lost bangerz I will never program teh MIDIs for 🙁
If they were both playing live at the same time and you could only catch one, who would you pick: Charli XCX or GRIMES?
Difficult… I think I’d go watch GRIMES and then try find Charli afterwards and pop some bottles, yeah?