In the past three years that Joseph Sardashti AKA Sard has been living in Detroit, (originally from a small town in Oklahoma) he has already built a supportive community around his music and presence. His own sonic progression has resulted in a number of live performances including a monthly residency that is going on two years strong as well as an evolving creative identity that recently came to fruition with his latest release, Meshed.
Below Sard talks about his process, how his latest project on Fixed Rhythms label came to be and what to expect next from this budding musical and organizing talent, including his monthly over the border in Windsor, Canada.
Broccoli: Do you remember what the first album that you ever purchased was?
Sard: Ooh damn- let’s see… Probably Gorillaz’s self-titled project. That was the first album.
B: Tell us about your music and your process.
S: In music, my creative process is pretty intentional about the use of different types of hardware, and I like to record things live to tape or computer. I’ve explored a lot of different styles in the past, much of it being pretty beat driven. Lately my work has become more dance oriented.
B: What are the inspirations, process and context of your latest project, Meshed?
S: The project was recorded in live takes, so each track captures a specific performance. I don’t always make music that way, but I was really focused on having that aspect of live manipulation when I was creating this one.
Throughout the process I was finding inspiration by going out in Detroit, and seeing live music as much as I could, and seizing every opportunity to go to shows whenever I was traveling. Over the last year or so, I was able to play in and visit a lot of different cities including Toronto, Montreal, New York, and back home in Oklahoma. The music was made over a period of about six months and a lot of the inspiration came naturally from what I was seeing and what I was listening to.
B: If you had to imagine the perfect setting for listening to your music, what would it be?
S: The record kind of has two sides: the A side is meant to be darker, and the B side more light, so it’s hard to give a definitive answer. The two sides represent what the title is referring to, the “meshing” of different things, so the two parts have a very different feel from one another.
I would say that the A side might be reserved for a more intense setting. Maybe a club, a basement venue, or something like that. The B side would be more, like you could listen to it while you’re driving, you could hear it as a build-up during a set, or even outside at a day party; any situation that fits a more uplifting energy.
B: What do you hope listeners will get out of the project?
S: I think part of it is that I want people to understand the context in which it was created. At the risk of sounding cliché, it’s all a sort of manifestation of the inspirations that I gathered while traveling and exploring new areas of music, which I think is becomes even more authentic when it also comes from a creative process that is very situational and can’t be easily replicated.
I don’t mean to claim some sort of groundbreaking singularity, but any genuine creative approach that rests on someone’s first-hand experiences is inherently unique, to some degree. I hope that the project makes people wonder what factors made it happen; [to consider] what are the places, the tracks, the people that played small and large roles in the end result.
It’s all pretty cohesive but the pieces are not connected to a particular theme or style. The music draws from a lot of different things but it’s not an attempt to represent any one of them in particular. I hope it comes across as an intriguing result of many well-intentioned explorations.
B: Beyond your work as a musician, you also organize and put shows together. How did your monthly event at Phog Lounge come to be- now celebrating it’s Two Year Anniversary?
S: I organize a series called “Tunnel Visions,” which originally started two years ago as a different party called “Step Tue.” I was running that with a friend of mine, and it eventually transformed into “Tunnel Visions” about eight months ago. It’s been going strong as a monthly, and it’s the longest residency that I’ve had at a venue to date.
It started as a way to bring friends from Detroit out to Windsor. We host it at a spot called Phog Lounge, which is kind of a staple in Windsor’s nightlife scene. The atmosphere is incredible, very intimate, and it’s got a great reputation throughout Windsor and even beyond that across Canada. I’m really happy to be able to book shows there and to give artists that I respect a chance to experiment; it’s a Tuesday night show, and many of the visiting artists come from the states, so it ends up being a very accessible situation for people that want to try new things in front of a welcoming crowd.
The main thing is to encourage people to play whatever they want, and I try to invite guests that I know I’m going to have a great time playing with. My goal is not to throw a crazy banger on a weeknight, I just want to create a good space for artists to play and for fans to come out and see something new.
If you’re looking to hear the latest from Sard, check out Meshed, and definitely look out for more to come in 2019. “Tunnel Visions” will continue every second Tuesday of the month if you are looking for a reason to head to Windsor.
Cover photo by Blake Lusk.
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