Desert Hearts has been on an absolute roll this year, releasing the likes of some of the scenes most notorious names like Joeski, Matt Tolfrey, Kevin Knapp, and Doc Martin as well as many up and coming artists like Black Girl / White Girl, RYBO, Lubelski, and R. Fentz. With the rapid success of their burgeoning label, the Southern Californian party crew is also responsible for bringing the musical wizard Damian Lazarus to the California for some of his few West Coast appearances. After playing an epic 4 hour sunrise set at their flagship festival, it was only right that they would bring him back for a special Haunted Hearts at Belasco Theater in Downtown Los Angeles on Halloween night.
Now, Desert Hearts welcomes San Diego talent, Sly Turner, to their imprint with his Mellow High EP; a deeper 3-track release including ‘The Groover’, ‘Mellow High’, and ‘Vitamin C’. We asked the young producer to join us for a chat about his inspirations, writing process, and favorite Desert Hearts memory.
WWD: Thanks for joining us Ty. Congrats on the new release. What inspired you to send these to DH?
Sly Turner: Thanks! I’ve been a huge fan of Desert Hearts for a couple of years now & always wanted to to land a release on the label. I sent them a few tracks that weren’t quite up to par to put it nicely, so i took a step back & thought “ok the next productions i send over need to be amazingly unique & different”…so i actually made these three exclusively for Desert Hearts. If they didn’t pick them up, i wouldn’t have let these tracks see the light of day, so i’m glad it all worked out!
WWD: Could you tell us a little about the process behind writing some of these tunes? Any inboard / outboard gear you may have used in producing them?
ST: I wanted to make an EP that had a very old school feel to it. At the time I made this, I was really into Basement Jaxx early stuff from the mid 90’s and was listening to a lot of Mood II Swing as well. To be honest, I didn’t have any gear when I made ‘The Groover’ & ‘Vitamin C’. I made those tracks over a year ago and was strictly using plugins and samples. I literally made every song on my laptop with only one Mackie monitor and my headphones. So for those two, I used Sub Boom Bass & Sylenth, mostly.
I finally invested in some gear before making the title track, Mellow High, I think it made a whole world of difference. I used the TR-8 for a few of the drums and used My Korg Minilogue and Elektron Analog 37 to make the chords, pads, and most of the FX.
WWD: Who’s your absolute favorite artist right now and why? Who’s your favorite up and comer?
ST: Big Miz. Hands down. The man is an absolute talent and deserves a lot more recognition than he receives. I cannot speak enough about the quality of his productions… The Build / Destroy album that he put out earlier this year on Dixon Avenue Basement Jams has to be my favorite album of the entire year. I highly recommend it…”The Hadal Zone” in particular!
I’m also a huge fan of Lubelski and Wyatt Marshall. I’ve been listening to and playing their music for years, and their tunes only continue to get better… keep your eyes and ears for some new stuff from them.
As far as up & comers, you gotta check out my guy, Shuski! I love the music he is putting out lately. We also have a few collaborations coming out later this year as well.
WWD: What else inspires your music?
ST: A bit of everything I guess. I get inspired by friends, family, emotions, things I see or hear; even something as simple as a funny conversation or a hilarious movie can provide inspiration! Look up in the sky… it’s not a bird, or a plane… it’s inspiration.
WWD: Favorite Desert Hearts memory?
ST: Kevin Knapp’s set at the festival was absolutely incredible.
WWD: Favorite show and why?
ST: Jamie XX at CRSSD Festival in Fall of 2015. It was the most incredible performance i’ve ever seen by a DJ. He completely controlled the crowd from beginning to end. Once he dropped “Gosh” I fully lost it.
WWD: If you were stranded on an island and you only had one piece of gear, one type of food, and one friendly animal, what would they be?
ST: My Elektron Analog 37, an endless supply of Reese’s Pieces (that’s actually pronounced Re-sees Pee-sees in case you were wondering), and my co-worker’s blind pug, Toby.