You might not expect a conversation with Californian beat maker Charles Dickerson, aka Mono/Poly, to turn to metaphysical Australian authors, but it’s just one of the influences on his latest release. Dickerson is currently hanging out in Saigon getting ready to play a show – he’s already played Singapore and Shanghai and felt the audience reacted positively during his very first run of Asian shows. “I felt the energy, I looked up for a second and they were really getting into it,” he said.
His sound stretches out past the standard conventions of electronic dance music and he takes a mystical approach to beat making, something he shares with the other artists signed to Brainfeeder records, with whom he released his first full length album.
He was exposed to the music production process from a young age. His father had a recording studio and he would mess around with the equipment, even showing some potential. “They’d look at me and be like ‘Hey, he’s kinda good,’ but then I’d have to leave after a while, I’d go to my room and think ‘Shit, I could make better music than that,’” he laughs. “And I was like five or something.”
Dickerson said he’s always had a sense of confidence in his musical ability, but he’s sure to distinguish between this and arrogance. “I thought I could always do something better than what was around me,” he said, “But that’s where a lot of people get lost because they get too confident and they don’t really listen to their music, they don’t really sit down and reflect on it and think, would I really like this if it was somebody else putting it out there? That’s where you have to have that balance and it’ll humble you.”
This approach, largely attributed to his father, has always been part of his personality. “I’d rather people just feel it, I’d rather people come up to me and tell me they like it rather than tooting my own horn,” he said. His humility comes through in the dreamy, yet danceable glitch-hop tracks that make up his latest release Parramatta, an album influenced by his interest in the spiritual side of life.
After reading the works of a couple of Australian authors he was compelled to come down under. “They were really obscure authors that changed my life,” he said. “There is something about Australia, I have to go there, it seemed like somewhere I needed to be,” he said. His reading interest falls to the metaphysics of Robert Bruce and the astral projection of Thom Chalko, describing them as “spiritual stuff that really works.” Dickerson even got the name of the release from his readings. It means, he says, “the Over-Soul, it’s really like the god within everybody, I just feel like that really represents [the album],” he said.
Reflected in the album is his search for depth in life, woven with hard beats that hit the ears tenderly. As such, he reflects on our inability to focus on what really matters. “Everybody is freaking out about the economy and shit, and the funny thing is if you really look at this shit it’s not an economy, it’s just the most wasteful way of living,” he said. “A lot of the people who have the most anxiety are like the most well off people, they have so much, and it’s like, ‘C’mon man.’”
BY JOE CASSIDY
Mono/Poly [USA] plays alongisde Kasra [UK], Jonwayne [USA], and more on Friday August 10 at Roxanne Parlour.