Call & Response: Digits
Welcome to the world of Alt Altman, also known as Digits. His new EP Lost Dream — a handful of electronic tracks — follows his debut Hold It Close (2009). It's a nexus of contagious and "sticky" electro-pop that captures your ears.
During our chat about his new EP, Alt Altman discusses his dreams, Canadian Music Week and more.
Lots of writing comes from personal experience. How does Lost Dream relate to your life?
A lot of what's in Lost Dream comes from personal experience, but it's not easy to directly answer how it relates to my life. I can tell you that the title track "Lost Dream" is about trying to reclaim one's life from victimization, but in the end remaining trapped by it. It's also about me trying to get used to the idea of being Digits.
What other dreams do you have, besides being a musician?
I don't know. I'm so very focused on making music that sometimes it seems like I have no other goals. I would like to travel to space one day. That is a goal.
Obsession seems to play a role in your new EP, like your chase for the phantom-like "Rachel Marie", a song that recalls another of your songs - "Sarah" from Hold It Close. How would you describe Lost Dream?
I'd describe Lost Dream as dark synthpop with a sparse, maybe even minimalist feel. It sounds a bit like Junior Boys or Diamond Rings, but like you say, there's this kind of obsessional element that makes it very dark. But I don't think obsession plays that big of a role in this record, as compared with my last album Hold It Close. So "Sarah", which is on that album, is about a guy who's obsessed with a girl that he danced with once, and he's built it up into a big romance in his mind. While "Rachel Marie" is about two people meeting on a space train and having a tryst, and about how it can't be wrong.
How does obsession or being obsessive play a role in being a musician in the electronic genre, relying on the exact manipulation or calculation of mechanized sound?
Well, that's an interesting connection you're suggesting. I would guess that a lot of electronic musicians do have an obsessive attention to detail and are into the exact manipulation of sound. I feel like I don't — I like things to be a little imperfect and leave in lots of mistakes. I do like the exactness of programmed drums, and their repetitiveness, but I think that's more of an 'I like the way it sounds' decision rather than a 'must obey grid' situation. I am obsessive though, which is helpful sometimes, especially when it comes to finding and listening to a lot of music.
The synths slither and fade in the morose "Desire," giving the listener this feeling that things are slowly slipping away...the lost dream. What sort of images and impressions go through your head when you sing this song?
This song's supposed to be sung from the point of view of my own desires and talk about how they...um....seduce me? So I would say that it feels weird to sing those lyrics, ha ha. It's a bizarre point of view.
You recently played at CMW. How was it? Did you get to test some of the new songs live?
The CMW show was great! I debuted two new songs that night and they seemed to go over well. Also, I made a few tweaks to my live setup and I think it made for one of my best shows yet.
What's next after the EP?
I'm recording another EP right now, as yet untitled, and I'll put it out in the summer, and play some shows across Canada to promote it. I do all my recordings in my bedroom so it just feels like I should always be recording. Even though I don't seem to have a clear idea of an album right now, I've got a bunch of songs I really like and want to put out. And personally, I really enjoy making and listening to EPs as well.
You can download the Lost Dream EP for free on the Digits website. Below, download his self-titled track "Lost Dream".
Digits: "Lost Dream" (MP3)
Lead photo of Digits by Bryanna Reilly.
Join the conversation Load comments