"The Summer of 808," inspired by the nostalgic sounds of the 80s.
“When 'Stranger Things' first came out, the music just blew me away,” Draper says. “It sounded like vintage sounds. After watching the show and getting inspired, I went into the studio and started making all of these sounds.”
He made those sounds authentically, with vintage ‘80s electronic drums and keyboards, recorded on cassette tapes.
“The most popular of those drum machines is the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Performer — the 808,” he explains. “It came out in the early ‘80s, and I was born in ’79, so I heard of all of those sounds, with the dawn of hip hop.”
Listening to the tapes, Draper realized he needed a format to match the sound (which is one reason there's not a sample of this music online).
“It was recorded with cassette; I wanted to release it on cassette, and digital,” he says.
Draper knew about a cassette-only label in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called Cult Love Sound Tapes, run by Natty Watson, one of Draper’s former music business students at KU.
But who besides vintage technology enthusiasts could hear this new record? Ten people, at least.
“The first ten pre-order cassettes will go out with a Walkman, headphones and batteries,” Draper says reassuringly.
Everyone else might have to dig through their parents' basements, visit thrift stores or arrange rides in Draper's Jeep, which still has a cassette deck.
"The Summer of 808" project might seem like a fun one-off for a guy who can't stop making music, but the return to cassette technology is consistent with his other work: it requires the kind of mental focus he enjoys.
“When you have a cassette, and you have a cassette player, and that’s it, you don’t have five million options to be played on a satellite radio, or iTunes, or Pandora," he says. “When you just have one tape, you have one tape.”
“When you’re really into the music, whether it’s meditative music or playing a show with an ensemble or performing solo, if you’re able to completely let yourself go and really be in the moment, be present, when you’re finished playing, it’s almost like you’re waking up.”
Mike Warren - KCUR Kansas City MO
released August 1, 2018
all sounds, machines, instruments, engineering, mixing, mastering
art: Christian Holtzscher
Distribution: Cult Love Sound Tapes