TAP DAT: A New Electronic Music Project

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TAP DAT: A New Electronic Music Project

TAP DAT: A New Electronic Music Project

Sometimes different is good. Especially for the soul. As a musician whose primary focus is playing traditional music in traditional settings, branching out into different styles and mediums can be very liberating. Recently, I found a new outlet for my musical endeavors and creativity in a collaborative electronic music project, TAP DAT. Now, I know that name sounds suggestive. But, it is an innocent play on the medium being used to create the music. Mostly! The name is a play on the musical technique of tapping.

Tapping Instruments

Chapman Stick, Maschine and Komplete Kontrol keyboard in my home studio.

“Tapping” is the technique of using the fingers to tap notes on an instrument. Meaning, simply putting your finger down creates the sound without any other form of input like bowing, strumming, blowing, or hitting with a stick. Piano or keyboard is a good example. There are families of tapping stringed instruments. The most common is the Chapman Stick. An 8-12 stringed instrument which the primary source of sound production is tapping. I started playing this instrument in 1992. I found my voice on the Stick playing with a band I formed that same year, Ozone Quartet. With all my other musical activities, I found that I did not have the time or motivation to continue playing the Stick around 2004. I just recently started playing again and fortunately, a lot of muscle memory is still there from before. My motivation for getting back into playing is my new project, TAP DAT. This project has taken the form of an electronic music duo collaboration between myself and a long-time friend and musical collaborator, Paul Gallant. He is the yin to my yang in this situation. He sings and writes lyrics. Something I have never had the inclination or interest to do. He also writes music and is a very creative person in general.

Another key component in this collaboration is a fairly new musical instrument and production device called the Maschine. Its musical interface is a set of 16 square pads that can be used (tapped) to perform live or sequence music. It is driven by computer software that contains all the sounds. Similar instruments have existed for a long time, like the Akai MPC (Music Production Controller). The MPC was introduced in 1988. These devices have mostly been associated with hip-hop producers, but now they have spread to many different styles of music. The German company, Native Instruments, makes the Maschine in addition to many other music production devices and software instruments. Their products are becoming increasingly popular with electronic music producers. After doing a lot of research on the subject, I decided to go with their suite of tools.

Ever since I started playing music at the age of 13, I have never been content to play just one instrument. That year, I started playing saxophone and electric guitar. Since then I have learned many other instruments. I consider myself to be a multi-instrumental musician. It definitely keeps me busy. There are times when I focus heavily on one. But, I always end up gravitating to another before too long. Doing this has enriched my musical experiences – professionally and personally. I thrive on the diversity of musical styles and the mediums used to create them.

I have been envisioning a creative musical project that brings together all of my disparate musical experiences from a lifetime of pursuing and listening to music. I have been a big fan of electronica for many years. Drum n’ bass, trip hop, chill, downtempo, EDM, synth pop and other styles. TAP DAT has only existed for a few months, but it is becoming the vehicle to distill many of my interests in music. Paul and I are in the process of finishing 5 new songs. We hope to be able to share them with the world soon! You can follow us at tapdatmusic.com.


About the Author:

I am a woodwind performer and instructor based in Raleigh, NC, USA.