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Ployd's long strange trip from DJ to producer 

ATL bass music innovator drops first original track and discusses Giant Skelly project

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GOOD VIBRATIONS: Ployd says he went cross-eyed twice from the bass during his first DJ set. - JOEFF DAVIS
  • Joeff Davis
  • GOOD VIBRATIONS: Ployd says he went cross-eyed twice from the bass during his first DJ set.

"When I started writing this track it just kind of flowed out of me," he says. "I've made other tracks since this one that are technically better, but this one is near and dear to me because it taught me a lot about EDM production. I've had to go back over it a couple times and learn how to make the different frequencies work together. It's still not perfect in my mind but hey, what is?"

The sounds of birds chirping over a collage of angular beats, clicks, bass drops, and the swooshing of a razor-sharp pendulum blade give rise to a dark and enigmatic sound. Despite its many working parts, the song feels minimal — far from the busy and full-throttle grind of his club music pursuits.

On this track, Ployd delves into a more ethereal crossroads of warm synthesizer tones and dub beats. The combination is hypnotic.

"I've always been a big fan of mysterious-sounding music," Ployd says. "Dark soundscapes that are slightly aggressive and a bit scary. That's the vibe I wanted to accomplish with this track."

Gaining skill as a performer is one thing, but producing music comes with a much different set of challenges and rewards. It's the kind of change Ployd needs to keep moving forward.

"I have certain things that I want to express artistically," he says. "DJing is fun and great, but there are certain things that I want to express using my own voice and my own music. Not just someone else's music."

In his basement/ bedroom lab, Ployd leans over his computer. His nose hovers inches from the screen and deep concentration washes over his face. His mouse zigzags across a galaxy of twittering sine waves and a maze of digital knobs and sliders to make subtle adjustments to the bass, a beat, or a sample.

Ableton software seems to be his instrument of choice — that and a library of sampled voices and real-world sounds he's culled from the BBC Sound Effects Library. He riffles through files on his computer, pulling up tracks he says are still works in progress, slowly being assembled for another new project he's working on called Giant Skelly.

A collaboration with fellow DJs/producers Brian Lørd (Kaynara) and Jake McDonald, Giant Skelly finds Ployd gradually moving toward performing with live instrumentation. Don't expect to catch them playing anytime soon — the group has yet to turn out a finished track, but it's all in the works.

The name Giant Skelly is a nod to both role-playing games of the '80s and '90s and a far-out conspiracy theory that's recently kept Ployd's mind occupied. Certain conspiracy theorists speculate that during ancient times, the earth was populated by a race of giants possibly from outer space. For some reason, their presence has been concealed as part of a Smithsonian cover-up. The only evidence of their existence, the theory goes, are the few scattered remains fringe archaeologists have unearthed around the world.

"I'm less concerned with the story being true than I am with just hearing a good story," Ployd says. "What could be cooler than a story about space giants coming to earth, and why are they being covered up? That's just a cool story, and it involves the Bible, so even the skeptics are secretly thinking, 'Could it be true?'"

Still in its infancy, the group has its sights set on performing more for the festival crowd than the club circuit. "Aliens, Bro. Aliens" and Giant Skelly are fitting next steps for Ployd. As an insider with one eye constantly looking toward left field, the city's electronic music scene has benefitted from his exploratory spirit.

"I want to see some eerie vibes come out of this — dark, but not overly aggressive," he says. "I'd like to see it go in a different direction than a lot of what we've seen with the evolution of dubstep and other forms of electronic music."

In January, one of the city's most prominent electronic music venues, Quad, closed. While its shuttering feels like a blow to the scene, Ployd remains hopeful.

"Since we've seen the music go a little more mainstream, a lot of kids have developed loyalties to clubs over the music itself," he says. "It makes sense. They know there's a party there on certain nights. Coming up in this music scene, when people went to electronica shows they knew exactly what they were going to see — if they didn't already know the DJ. It's become more of a party scene in recent years. Now, maybe some kids who didn't already know about some of the other things that are going on around town will get turned on to something new."

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