Daedelus: Local Heroes

A Hometown Lowdown From Its Musical Residents

If you base your image of Los Angeles purely on the scribblings of the UK press, you’ve probably got a picture of botoxed bikini-clad rollerblading beach babes, while bling-laden hip-hop demons and shiny-toothed celebs cruise by in blacked-out uber-cars, flashing cash and talking trash in the sunshine. But then the media have always been an unscrupulous bunch of ill-informed bastards, so what do they know?

Actually, to be fair all those things are indeed present in modern day LA, but the city is also home to a thriving movement of art and sound at its most inspiring, and some awesome Korean tacos, as renowned electronica producer Daedelus, AKA Alfred Darlington, tells Clash.

“A lot the stuff that goes on here is really underground. There’s a great sense of openness”, says Alfred. This openness has been developed by an unrivalled creative force that is now the city’s heartbeat, first begun through Hollywood’s success many decades ago. “The city is now run by these creative industries,” he continues. “You can do things here that aren’t possible in other cities. If you’re a creative type in London or New York, you get scowled at by the city guys, whereas in LA the top of the food chain is these creative people. Like, you can go and buy art supplies at some hideous hour in the morning.”

Though the city’s film industry is well-documented, less is written about its music scene; although the influence of hip-hop is obvious, there is also a deeper ‘LA sound’, based more around bizarre than bling. “Two or three years ago there were a few producers making a sound that was really compelling but it wasn’t the heartbeat of LA. Now there’s a whole bunch more people who see it as viable to just freak out and make weird music,” explains Alfred. “It’s really become a sound and a mindset. One half of that mindset is super-blunted, super weed-smoked, and the other half is crazy, fast-forward futurism, making for a really interesting combination.”

Though tinged with both of these, Daedelus’ music veers towards the insane, sci-fi futurism vibe, albeit with fragmented, experimental hip-hop underpinning his work. “Hip-hop’s coursing through all our veins in the States, in a really authentic fashion,” Alfred reveals. “There’s so many forms of it here that I think people are more open to mutations of it.”

Daedelus’ latest EP, ‘Righteous Fists Of Harmony’, retains that broken hip-hop feel, but delves deeper into woozy, psychedelic electronica. A far cry from the schizophrenic, beat-laden post rave/electronica of earlier releases such as ‘Denies The Day’s Demise’, but still masterfully spliced together with oddball samples, giving it an unmistakable ‘Daedelus sound’, epitomising the musical spirit of modern day LA.

But the vibe of the city hasn’t always been one of carefree creativity. LA has had its share of problems in the past, including major race riots, gang violence and organised crime. “Maybe it’s just a quiet period, but it seems like a much safer city now,” says Alfred. “And of course, the danger is part of what makes the city exciting and interesting. Not in a direct sense, but in the sense that anything’s possible.”

These kinds of crazy, fascinating contradictions make Los Angeles what it is and always will be, giving it a truly unique atmosphere, off of which Daedelus and countless other creative luminaries thrive: “The city goes through highs and lows real fast,” Alfred concludes. “You get moments of silly celebrity sightings, followed immediately by gangs fighting. We live in an amazing city!”

Low End Theory
“A wonderful club night that happens every Wednesday, and the weirdest music gets played there. Some of it’s commercially viable – The Mars Volta guested there recently, and Sage Francis. It’s become a social meeting point for a lot of great, like-minded producers and artists. It has this feeling of being a cultural hub, where any kind of sound is possible. I love playing there and I love being there.”

Food scene
“The food scene here is incredible. At any given taco stand you might have the best Mexican food of your life. We also have the Kogi truck, which takes Korean meats and puts them into traditional Mexican tacos. It’s a really tasty bite of food. Or you can get sushi that contains parts of a Philly cheesecake. It’s a totally wonderful thing that just really sums up LA.”

Vinyl junkie heaven
“The record scene in LA is really bananas. We live in a city where people come to retire and die. So every once in a while you get these fantastic record collections in the record shops, with temples of vinyl. Any given day you can go into a record store and just be overwhelmed by the amount of music available. It’s a beautiful thing – in death comes rebirth, I guess!”


Ariel Pink
Eccentric purveyor of wonderful freak-folk, through his Haunted Graffiti project.

Independent record label, specialising in highly experimental hip-hop type biz.

Flying Lotus
Alt. hop big-shot and producer, also founder of the Brainfeeder label.

Jane’s Addiction
Seminal alt. rock band, led by fantastic madman Perry Farrell.

Machine Gallery
Experimental space/art gallery, hosting both chin-stroking art installations and practical workshops.

Rage Against the Machine
Angry, political rap metallers who pissed all over Simon Cowell’s Xmas No.1 dreams last year.

Record Surplus
Aptly named record store, with an obscene amount of music crammed into it.

The epicentre of LA-ness: nightclubs, hippies, surfers, skaters, handball courts, basketball courts, ‘Muscle Beach’, fortune tellers, and various wonderful freakage.

The Viper Room
Celeb-drenched club formerly part-owned by Johnny Depp, infamous for being the location of River Phoenix’s fatal OD.

The Whisky A Go Go
Famed nightclub and gig venue, which boasted The Doors as its house band in the Sixties.

Words by Tristan Parker

Clash Magazine Issue 52

This article appears in the 52nd issue of Clash Magazine. Pick it up in stores from July 1st.

Find out more about the issue HERE. Subscribe to Clash Magazine HERE.

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