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Tuesday Phillips
by: Tuesday Phillips - March 2, 2012


Jonathan Dagan doesn’t do things by the book. He writes the book. And, after watching his Grammy nominated project for his newest album, Rivers and Homes, unfold before our eyes, we see why. Each song on the album, which was 100% powered by fan love and funds, allowed him to create spontaneous music for real people, in real time.  The end result? An unwavering fan base and a seamless surge of eclectic, electro-moods, infused with in-your-face immediacy, once on strict reserve for the “live show experience.” Until now. Rivers and Homes flows unexpectedly with euphonious ease from break beats-to-trance, funk-to-reggae, and it’s all washed over with an electronic wave of dance-floor friendly grooves and soul capturing vocals.

We got to talk to him a little about the success of Rivers and Homes, how his love for Back to the Future has influenced him creatively.

What inspired you to add pages of artwork by various designers and photographers to your CD package? Are these people who have contributed to the inspiration your work in some way?
Since the whole process was fan-funded, I really wanted to come up with a physical item that would feel like a present. The art that I got from people sometimes sharpened my direction with some songs. It's like, I pointed at a general direction with the draft that I sent to the designer and his visual response was him pointing at a particular spot in that general direction, then I continued to work on the song with an image in my head.

How did functioning in a fan-funded manner work out for you systematically and creatively in comparison to traditional recording methods?
The thing I loved the most about this process was how current and real-time it was. I appreciate traditional methods and with certain types of albums that's the only way. Mostly though, the artist would release music that is around a year old. The band usually says goodbye and gets into its sterile environment to create an album, and a year later they come outside with something that documents whatever happened in the past year.
At some point I realized that I never worked in this method.

You seem to have a keen sense of where to go next with your work, as well as an innate understanding of what your fans want and need from you. Is this attribute deeply rooted or do you think you have grown over the years with experience?
I think that I've always had a very strong drive to follow my artistic urges. So i'm not sure that I know where to go next necessarily, but I know that I’m going to follow my intuition wherever it leads, it's always where I need to be.

All of your songs have an ability to drum up emotions and nostalgia from the past, but the track "Building a Home" also has a vintage feel to it that accompanies this sentiment perfectly. How was the process of creating this song different than making the others?
That's the last song I recorded for the album, and I did it in a day and a half after getting the finished master of the album. I was on such a creative roll that I just decided to sit and mess around with a cassette deck I have in the studio and some synths. I can really say that the making of this song had almost no thought involved mainly because I had no time, so it brought something intuitive and pure.

I hear you are a huge fan of the movie "Back to the Future" and have seen the film at least 100 times. How has this impacted the way you approach your creative process?
I like to think that many other movies or songs had an impact on me, but whenever I'm a little tired in the studio, or just not trying to be complicated, all I want to do is to re-create songs like “the power of love.” “take on me.” “sawing the seeds of love.” That period is probably when I decided I wanted to get into music.

Your style is really unique, with elements of break beat, jazz, folk,
rock, R&B, and various other forms of electronic music. How did this fusion of genres and sounds come together for you and when?

I'm not sure how I got to be into lots of genres but it's just in the past year or two that I started to feel like it makes sense for me to combine everything that I want to touch. I feel like I found some glue that isn't necessarily musical, it's more like an after-taste, or a manner in which the different styles are used.

" in the past year or two I started to feel like it makes sense for me to combine everything that I want to touch. "

"'Rivers and Homes' "

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