Sad Robot – dr_nothings

Dan Rasch ’14 put out the E.P. Sad Robot over winter break under his musical venture dr_nothings. Listen below while you read his comments!

Hey my name is Dan and these are some tunes I made to inaugurate my new-ish musical venture, dr_nothings. I say “new-ish” because I used to produce under the name “dr.dr.” until I found some dudes on soundcloud who are doing fairly well at producing future garage music with that exact same name.

But it was time for a change, I’d been producing for years but all the dr.dr. stuff was mostly beats and ambient electronica, with one weird little synthpop ep where you can barely hear my voice. I’ve also been writing songs for some time now but I never felt like they were anything even remotely good, so I felt more comfortable just trying my teeth at producing, or obscuring my vocals as much as possible.

My songs at still far from even remotely good but I’ve gotten more comfortable with hearing my voice in the center of the mix, which is I guess the big difference with the dr_nothings tunes. You can tell I still prefer to hear it distorted or filtered super weird but that’s a habit I am moving away from.

So I had the idea of calling the EP “Sad Robot” after listening to this interview with two of the Low End Theory guys. Low End Theory is this incredible club in LA that put dudes like Flying Lotus and Baths on the map. Thom Yorke, James Blake, & Erykah Badu have all spun there, it’s the kind of place where you’ll hear Turkish psych rock and trap and NWA played out in the same set. When I came to Kenyon that was all I listened to, really off-kilter beats and left-field dubstep/hip-hop hybrid stuff. That and like, the Postal Service album.

So these two Low End Theory dudes were quoted in an interview as having invented a new genre name: “sad robot shit.” 808s & Heartbreak, Drake, the Weekend…it’s supposed to pick out that style of auto-tuned r&b and hip-hop about how you’re wildly rich and successful but you just feel empty inside. I guess the antithesis to that would be Lorde – but I digress.

Basically I liked the phrase, had this batch of sad electro-emo pop tunes I made with a synth, a sampler, and Pro Tools, and thought it’d be a good title. But it’s not like I wrote these songs with that theme in mind, “sad robot” – the first track was produced and written in its entirety like, 3 years ago. The last one I cranked out fall semester this year. There’s no auto-tune and there’s even a track that’s just me and a guitar, so if it seems all over the place or insufficiently “robot,” that’s why.

The next thing will be more cohesive, I’ve written like 85% of a 10-song album with only a guitar and a piano, which will be interesting. Usually I start on a computer and work in instruments gradually but this is already sounding super different so I’m interested to see what production techniques will best shape the new material.

Thanks for listening & thanks WKCO!!

Dan Rasch ’14

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