Interview: Desert Dwellers talk about Breath Reimagined Vol.2 + quarantine and more

Producers Amani Friend and Treavor Moontribe have been releasing music as Desert Dwellers for over 20 years, and they continue to evolve. Their 2019 release Breath marked a slight departrure from their psychedellic bass roots, drawing influence from tribal beats and other genres previously untapped by the duo. In their tradition of collaboration and connection with others, they have handed the building blocks of of Breath over to 11 musical adepts from the realms of downtempo house and electronica for a scintillating new installment to their global music tale with Breath Reimagined, Volume 2. We had the chance to ask the guys a few questions about the new release, as well as their experience with the current hold that’s been put on live music and concerts. Check out the interview below and be sure to give the new project a listen.

Get Em High: Reimagined Volume 2 is out today! What can fans expect from the latest adaptations of Breath?

Desert Dwellers: For Vol 2 we brought in 11 of the world’s top producers in the Organic House/Downtempo House field including Coss & Iorie, Rapossa, Luca Bacchetti, Derun and Unders!

GEH: There’s a few songs from the original album that were left off, and others done multiple times. Total of eleven producers. Tell us about the creative process of piecing together a new body of work with contributions from so many different people, and how you landed on the finished piece we’re hearing now…

DD: Although we always try to have songs remixed only one time on a remix album, it just didn’t work out that easily this time around. There’s no songs that are untouchable at all, but definitely for this style of music there were tracks that work much better for remixes. Clearly “Traversing The Endless Road” was a top pick for many on this release, and thankfully each remix of it is really quite different from the others.

GEH: What made you choose the producers you allowed to remix your works?

DD: It actually wasn’t super easy to get producers in this Organic House/Downtempo House genre to remix for us. We are more known as a Downtempo/Bass artist and a lot of producers only like to work within their sub genre. Luckily for us though we managed to bring on 11 of the top names and each of these producers were very open minded and saw the benefit of working with an artist who’s a bit outside their normal scene. We honestly feel that this is how an artist gains new fans and it’s something we have always been open to doing ourselves. We are very happy with the final product as each remixer really delivered something very special.

GEH: You guys have had an amazing career spanning over 20 years at this point. A lot of artists struggle to top their first or second release… with so much under your belts already, what do you think made Breath so successful?

DD: One thing about us is we are big fans of many different genres of music. We take inspiration from them all and by the time we started working on Breath we were feeling a bit burnt out on the Psy Bass/Chill genres. We were deeply inspired by the emerging slower BPM tribal house style and this style is actually very similar to the sound of the earliest music that we made together. We worked with over 20 different musicians to make Breath and even though we certainly felt a little backlash from some of our more die hard Psy Bass music fans, it seems that the new album was well received by most. It went #1 on Beatport’s Electronica album chart too and was Billboard top 10 in Electronic too!

GEH: We were going to catch you guys at Mission Ballroom back in March with Beats Antique. That was one of the first shows that was cancelled due to the pandemic. As touring musicians, how have you guys adapted to this new unknown landscape?

DD: We have taken advantage of the time off by making a ton of new music, not just as Desert Dwellers but with our solo projects as well (Liquid Bloom, PheuZen, Forever & Ever). The financial loss is staggering, but we aren’t the types to mope around about it and we are managing to get through this time as gracefully as possible.

GEH: From a music and technical standpoint, do you approach live stream sets different from actual concert or festival performances? Is there anything you like better about the live stream set up?

DD: With live streaming there is much less pressure about keeping the dance floor rockin’. So we have been able to dive into our catalogue much more and play some of our more chill music. I guess we like the fact that after our set we are at home and can just get back to whatever we were doing before our set.

GEH: What have you guys been listening to during quarantine? Any new artists on your radar?

DD: This is different for each of us. Amani has been listening to a lot of ambient and relaxing music while Treavor has been deeply into alien breakdancing music.

GEH: Where’s the first place you guys want to perform when shows are safe again?

DD: It would be pretty amazing if Global Eclipse Festival still happens, but we’re not holding our breath!

GEH: What’s next for you guys release wise?

DD: After Re-Imagined Vol 2 we have a single called One Giant Consciousness that features spoken word by Paul Stamets. It will be released one week after Re-Imagined Vol 2 actually.

GEH: Thanks again for taking the time, and congrats on another release! Anything else you want to add, shoutouts etc.?

DD: Stay safe everyone, wear your masks, follow the guidelines of experts, not youtube videos and silly people on facebook! Lets get past this pandemic asap so we can all get back to our lives!

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