The Up-Turn Presents: A Conversation with Tortilla Pass

Sometimes experimental musicians are too serious for their own good.  Somewhere between unlocking new dimensions of texture in sound and redefining the definition of noise, artists may lose the sense of fun that may have attracted them to music in the first place. Kallie Lampel of Tortilla Pass is not an artist that takes himself too seriously.  Maybe it’s just because he’s still a college student, but while making his own brand of experimental electronics he’s not afraid to name his tracks things like “Peanut Leap Cascade” or “OOOoooOOoo”.  This sense of lightheartedness can be heard in the undeniable fun of some of his tracks like the Gold Panda-esque “Luna Tribe” and the remix of Boards of Canada’s “Roygbiv”.  I had the chance to chat with Kallie and in between talking about Orange Juice and emoticons we covered his influences, hopes for Tortilla Pass and his sanctuary of like minded musicians at his school.  Read the entire interview below, left largely unedited…

Tortilla Pass- Luna Tribe:

PK:  how did Tortilla Pass come to be?  When/how did you start making music?

Kallie:  I started playing guitar, bass, and oboe in 4th grade.  Throughout middle school I would write rock songs with a friend of mine who you might now know as Quam, he makes dance music in the Boston area now, in high school I started recording a lot of my own compositions into Garageband and they gradually became more experimental and electronic eventually I downloaded Reason and used that primarily to make music.  Around 11th grade I started taking Ableton Live very seriously; I started using a lot of samples rather than only electronic sounds like I did in Reason.  Now I’m playing a lot of guitar and bass again in most of my unreleased material, so I guess that’s how I got to where I am now.

PK:  nice dude, I’ve also always wondered how you chose the name ‘Tortilla Pass’, it’s a cool name haha

Kallie:  thanks haha. the name comes from a joke my Dad made up when I was really young.  It really has nothing to do with the music. I just think it has a nice ring to it recently though I found out that it’s an actual place in Arizona I think… pretty cool.

PK:  sounds like an awesome place! Were you raised on any particular artists or bands growing up?

Kallie:  I definitely found interest in music in music from a very young age, I had a lot of toy instruments that were very near and dear to me haha.  I also have vivid memories of coming home from preschool and watching late 90′s VH1 music videos.  I don’t think I ever had any interest in pursuing music as a profession though until 4th or 5th grade when I got really heavily into rock music, yup.

PK:  word, what musicians do you credit with inspiring your current sound and musical output?

Kallie:  I’d probably have to credit MF Doom and Madlib for teaching my 10th grade self that not all hip hop is complete trash. I’d also have to credit Animal Collective and Aphex Twin for teaching my 10th grade self that not all electronic music is shitty house music.  I reference my 10th grade self because that was really the year that my perspective of music changed drastically enough to turn me from an aspiring rock musician to an aspiring electronic musician

PK:  All those artists are rites of passage for most music lovers, have you heard the new Animal Collective tracks?

Kallie:  definitely. yes they are amazing, I ordered the 7″ this morning

PK:  haha me too, my friend and I were talking about how they manage to change their sound on every release while managing to sound like Animal Collective

Kallie:  exactly, they remind of the Beatles in that way

PK:  yeah for sure, looking at their entire catalog of releases is amazing (for both bands)

Kallie:  absolutely

PK:  haha yeah well I could probably go on about Animal Collective… are there any other releases or current artists you’re digging right now? whether or not they are influencing your sound

Kallie:  I could really go on and on and on.  My friends here at school are some of my favorite artists right now and biggest influences on my music and how I choose to make music. Dali Vision, Ace Mo, Photay, Mood Tattooed, and RAJA are all friends of mine here at SUNY Purchase. You should also check out my buddies Archie PelagoAether, who mastered Spirrows, is also someone everybody should be familiar with

PK:  word, a lot to put on my “Listen To” list haha.  I am really into Mood Tattoed’s new tape

Kallie:  oh yes, Hagan actually found my music on Soundcloud about a year ago, now we hang everyday haha

PK:  that’s awesome that you guys have basically a SUNY collective

Kallie:  Yeah yeah, we actually recently formed a collective with some visual artist friends of ours.  It’s called Makoshine, you can check it out at our facebook page…hopefully we’ll have a tumblr up soon. Oh yeah. I forgot to shout out to another incredible beatmaker in the Makoshine family, my man Dr. Buddha. he’s a good friend of mine from my hometown. He goes to school in Oneonta though.

PK:  nice dude, that’s really exciting for all of you.  what are some of your plans for Tortilla Pass and Makoshine in the coming months?

Kallie:  for Makoshine we’ll continue to post our latest output on facebook whether it be new songs or new drawings. We’re also uploading monthly ‘Makocasts’ which are just DJ mixes made by Makoshine artists. This month is Moody’s Makocast so keep an eye out for that. For Tortilla Pass I’m working on a full-length and I’ve also got some mixes coming out soon… one for RTFKT and one for Sunday Morning’s Chuuchmuzak blog.  I’ll probably make some new music under other aliases this summer too

PK:  sounds all good man, I’ll look out for all of it

Kallie:  word up

Tortilla Pass- Breath Seaglass:

PK:  what is your favorite animal?

Kallie:  pet-wise I love cats.  Outside of the pet world I think I have yet to find my favorite animal, whales are pretty amazing

PK:  true that, what is your beverage of choice?

Kallie:  Orange Juice

PK:  good nutritious choice

Kallie:  Green Tea too

PK:  another spectacular choice, there is only one more thing to ask, if you had a unicorn what would you name it?

Kallie:  Uncle Breigus

PK:  word, haha, well anything else you want people to know about Tortilla Pass?

Kallie:  I thought of a million things I could say to troll, but I’ll leave it at this: peace out y’all

Tortilla Pass, AZ

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-PK

//The Up-Turn//

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