We met music producer Wax Roof through our homie and fellow LIFESTYLE collective member Mike Summer. Originally from Santa Cruz and now living in Oakland, Wax Roof discusses the importance of personal experience when listening to music and the unique connections each of us have with different sonic textures. He stays busy putting out solo instrumental records while also working on upcoming collaborative projects with vocalist Genoa Brown and MC Marc Stretch. Peep his words below and check out some tunes from an ill Bay Area beatsmith!
Your taste and receptiveness to certain sonic textures are the product of a lifetime of experiences, musical and non-musical. No one can take that from you.
– Wax Roof
Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?
WR: I am originally from Santa Cruz, and now live in Oakland. I grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains before going to high school and college in Santa Cruz and finally working and living in the Bay Area. So the migration has gone woods, to the beach, to the town.
What does Reflection and Response mean to you?
WR: Well that’s a really hard question, isn’t it? I mean those are two aspects of existence that are so vast and personal I am not really doing them any justice trying to define them in a cute one liner. I think they mean more than I can ever fully understand, but put simply to reflect is to try to find meaning, and to respond is to try to do something meaningful.
How does Wax Roof fit in with that definition?
WR: Wax Roof is the ever evolving sum of my journey through the cycle of reflecting and responding to life and the music I witness within it.
Your taste and receptiveness to certain sonic textures are the product of a lifetime of experiences, musical and non-musical. No one can take that from you. It is very unique and in the same way that you search for identity and a sense of happiness [it] is sought through REFLECTION and RESPONSE, so goes your pursuit of music that moves you. Everyone should take pride in their musical taste, whatever it may be, because it is something YOU have created. Wax Roof is the by-product of my taste as a fan for music, who also has the means to create their own.
We are never passively observing culture, we are always creating culture simply by internalizing that which we witness.
What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?
WR: I am doing a series of releases here shortly called “Wax Roof Presents…”
I have released solely instrumental albums so far because I felt like I had a lot to say on my own. But all along I have been working with vocalists and I am ready to share that with the world too.
I have a project with MC extraordinaire Marc Stretch, of Foreign Legion fame. I’m really excited about dropping that one, the guy is a beast and we share a lot of the same vision for music.
I also have an EP coming out with my longtime collaborator, Genoa Brown. She is a soul/RnB vocalist out of Santa Cruz and we have been working together for almost 5 years.
I have also started doing remixes for artists, I am doing a remix of Tiger Speak, the band of one of your recent features, Michael Summer.
MUCH more to be announced later at waxroofmusic.com
Who or what inspires you?
WR: Dancing, Partying, seeing others dance and party. I love witnessing music that has that effect on people. I love music that is a balance of appealing to the heart and mind, but also the body. I’m greedy, I wanna move AND be moved at the same time.
My day to day inspiration to go and write comes from so many different sources. My favorite is when I get ideas in my dreams. I will be hearing a soundtrack in the background of my dream, and sometimes whatever is happening in the dream kind of just freezes and in my sleep I realize I am loving the background music, at that point I try and snap myself out of it and record some rough idea into my cell phone before I forget it. I have some hilarious recordings of me half asleep singing gruff out of tune notes at like 4 in the morning. But those really go somewhere because it sounded so good in my dream, I always try and take the actualization of it to that point.
“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”
I am always inspired by and trying to fully understand this quote. I feel like it sums up beat making. We are making mantras not essays. Small beautiful phrases that need to be re-read and repeated over and over to fully internalize their meaning. We dive deep into tone, timbre, melody, harmony and rhythm and come back up with tiny pearls.
Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?
WR: We need catharsis and climax in life. Not just occasional amusement in between maintenance of balance and health and finances, but a means to celebrate existence. Music and art are a way to induce something vital. The potential is not just to create something that is pretty or entertaining, but something that flirts with freedom.
As someone with a chronic pain condition (Fibromyalgia) I first fully immersed myself in music as a means to escape pain. But what started for me as an attempted distraction from physical pain eventually revealed itself as a liberation from greater suffering. A means to seek for an answer to the question what is freedom? what does it feel like to be free? I see freedom as the breaking of the wall between your desired version of your reality and what it truly is. This requires a way to manipulate and sculpt reality and the creative process has the potential to be that.
Shout out to…?
WR: Anyone who has made it this far into reading my rambles.
Reflection and Response.