NCM GUEST MIX 004: RED SPECTRAL
LIKE SNAPSHOTS IN TIME, RED SPECTRAL TAKES NCM ON A MELODIC TECHNO JOURNEY
1. Dextro "Inside the Wormhole” [Tanira] 2. Aggero "If I Could Ask" (Poison Pro Future Love Mix) [Intricate] 3. Inner Square "Made In Black" (Alexander Harris Remix) [Thunderlab] 4. Dop’q “Snorkeling In Space" (Anjei v. PP Remix) [Slowdance] 5. Andre Sobota "Morning Lust" (Microtrauma Remix) [microCastle] 6. Stephan Bodzin “Sungam" (Patrice Baumel Remix) [Systematic] 7. Guy J "Stolen Memory" [Plattenbank] 8. Metodi Hristov "The Road" [Witty] 9. Henry Saiz “Anubis" (Tentacle Remix) [Natura Sonoris] 10. Uto Karem “Reflective" (Paride Saraceni Remix) [Agile] 11. Cid Inc. “Response" [Sudbeat] 12. Gorje Hewek & Izhevski “Calinerie" [All Day I Dream] 13. Gorje Hewek & Izhevski “Calinerie" (Ambient Version) [All Day I Dream]
Where are you from and how did you end up in Salt Lake City?
I was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, but made the move to Utah years back when I attended and graduated from Brigham Young. After graduating, I shed the cocoon of Mormonism, fell in love with a boy, and began a life here in SLC. Nowadays I’m still around because honestly, I’m falling in love with this place.
Which bands or artists inspired you when you were in high school?
Jam bands were my thing in high school—specifically Widespread Panic and Phish. I remember following Widespread around the South and I would just get completely lost in these spontaneous, lengthy psychedelic jams they would create. Looking back, those Widespread and Phish shows were my introduction to the psychedelic mindset that influences what I do today with Red Spectral. I get really nostalgic when I think back to that period in my life.
How did you become interested in music and electronic/dance music and which artists influence you today?
I have always created music in my head for as long as I can remember—but I’ve always lacked the patience and work ethic to become “trained” in any particular instrument. In 2006, I discovered a band named STS9 that would fuse traditional jam band structure with electronics. They would use electronica created in Ableton to accentuate their live instruments and I was hooked. I went out and purchased the software and I have been addicted ever since. Today I’m influenced by the Israeli melodic techno scene that includes artists like Sahar Z, Khen, Guy J, and Guy Mantzur. There is also a niche Russian techno scene I’ve discovered that produces a lot of slower, retro 80’s deeper house that creates a lot of nostalgia for me as someone who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. I’ve included both styles in this mix.
What is the origin of your DJ name Red Spectral?
According to the Mayan Calendar, everyone has a specific name given to them based on their birth date and year—mine is Red Spectral Serpent. So Red Spectral is just another way to say “Cody Layton.” Which I guess begs the question, “Why the Mayan Calendar?” The Mayans predicted a major shift in collective consciousness around 2012 (not a doomsday!) and I want to be a part of that shift as humans shirk dogma, violence, and bigotry in exchange for truth, peace, and universal acceptance. Red Spectral is just an external manifestation of that desire.
What equipment do you use for DJing (or producing)?
I’ve been using Ableton for 8 years, though currently I’m trying to become proficient with Traktor so that I can jam with buddies more often. I use my APC40 for hardware and an M-Audio Fast Track Pro for sound.
Tell us about your particular style of selecting and mixing?
There is a lot of intention that goes in my selecting. Sometimes I’ll spend hours/days preparing for a mix or a live set so that I’m sure it conveys the emotions I want. If I were to describe my art form from 30,000 feet, I’m simply creating collages of sound—nothing more and nothing less. Realizing that keeps me humble. Sometimes I hear people boast about mixing on the fly and coming up with sets and mixes spontaneously as a way to lift themselves up and put others down. For me, quality trumps quantity every time. I’d rather put together a well-thought out collage that conveys meaning, than a hot mess of jumbled tracks. I try very hard to disguise transitions to ensure the smoothest mix possible. Mixing in key is important! I wish more folks kept that in mind. It makes such a huge difference.
How would you describe the underground dance music scene in Utah to an outsider?
As some of my fellow New World crew members already know, I can talk about this subject for hours. I think Salt Lake is an incredible breeding ground for creativity in the underground. Most outsiders equate Utah as a place where spirituality is important—yet, I have sensed many here are becoming disillusioned with religiosity. They see beautiful towering temples strategically visible from every point in the valley and instead of feeling sacredness and a longing for something greater, they see buildings that for them symbolize divisiveness, inequality, and hollow spirituality. Underground movements I’m involved in like "New World,” as well as newly-formed “Undergrowth" seek to rescue the concepts of sacredness and universal consciousness that have been hijacked and redefined by orthodoxy. For literally thousands of years, humans have been able to tap into universal consciousness using rhythm and dance, and New World and Undergrowth for me have truly recreated that sacred experience. When you attend one of their events, race, gender identity, age, and sexual orientation no longer have the same divisive meaning as the real world. They are places where you celebrate the unique manifestation of the universe that you truly are. It’s incredible, and it’s what is keeping me here in this city.
What do you think could be improved?
Intention! You obviously need capital to continue to throw events and supplement your income if that’s what you need. But when that becomes your sole focus, your project tends to disappear quickly in this city I’ve found. People here are spiritually hungry …help them reconnect to the universe through rhythm and dance and the money will follow that allows you to keep doing what you’re doing.
Outside of music, what’s surprises you the most about living here?
The resistance that is growing to the de facto theocracy we live in here in Utah is very surprising to me. When you look at the various theocracies around the world …they almost always have an incredibly vibrant counter-culture. Utah is no exception. The progressive mindset is growing here and its presence here will surprise any visitor with preconceptions that everyone in Utah is ultra-conservative.
What can you share about the exclusive mix you've made for NCM?
This is a musical journey that is a snapshot into my current internal state—it almost mimics the traditional “past-present-future” tarot card reading. The first half of the mix is nostalgic and ethereal until you reach the hallmark track of the mix—Guy J’s “Stolen Memory.” That track, down to its essence and even its name, describes a lot of the feelings I’m experiencing at the moment. It sort of jolts you out of the ethereal state you thought you were in and reminds you of the reality you’re really in. The rest of the mix brings feelings of the future I want to cultivate and eventually experience as my reality. That’s how these mixes are with me… snapshots in time. I hope you enjoy the journey.