Cascade Equinox Festival is right around the corner, and HIHF was lucky enough to get the opportunity to chat with Dirtwire ahead of the festival to talk about music, touring, and more. With a sound they coin as “back-porch space cowboy blues, swamptronica, and electro-twang,” this group offers a sound for everyone. They integrate a multitude of instruments including West African kamale ngonis, jaw harps, space fiddles, whamola basses, Rickenbacher electric twelve-string guitars, bowed Banjos, and mouth harps from around the globe, tied together with modern, electronic production. They have been on the road extensively this year, playing festivals such as Summer Camp, Sonic Bloom, Shambala, and now Cascade in Oregon. Keep reading below about their musical journey to learn more! Don’t forget to get your tickets to Cascade here before it’s too late. We hope to see you there and at the Dirtwire set!


HIHF: Dirtwire has become a pillar of the live electronica scene — can you tell us a little about the importance of the live elements, and how you’ve seen the scene change since the start of the group in 2012? 

Dirtwire: We love showing everyone how the music is made. We enjoy bringing a lot of organic sounds and instruments with us to blend with the beats onstage.

Bringing the human elements into the music gives the experience more life and excitement. Band culture and DJ culture are always evolving in different directions. We like to straddle these paths and find common ground. Our creative process is driven by the challenge to explore and experiment with styles, tones, textures, and production techniques.

HIHF: Dirtwire was birthed after Beats Antique — where did the inspiration and desire to form another group originate from? 

Dirtwire: Dirtwire actually formed as a recording project between Evan Fraser and David Satori around 2007 at the same time as Beats Antique formed, though the Dirtwire debut album didn’t come out until 2012. Evan and David had been bandmates before in an LA-based psychedelic funk band called The Funnies and did some touring in a vegetable oil-powered bus before relocating to the SF Bay Area and starting Dirtwire.

HIHF: You incorporate a lot of different genres and elements into your live performances — how do you go about putting together your sets? Building off of that, there is a lot of bass music influence in your sets, especially recently — how do you choose which artists and tracks to include? Does it change from show to show on tour?

Dirtwire: Mark Reveley puts the live sets together and finds bass drops and beats to mix with our original material. We like to create a seamless and connected dance experience that serves the dancefloor by blending beats, bass music, and global influences with various instrumentation and vocals.  

Tracks are selected based on tempo and vibe and chosen from whatever we’re being inspired by. It varies from set to set. Sometimes we stick with a set for a while if we’ve found a combo of tracks that flows well and achieves good feedback from our audiences. We’re always looking for new tracks and are creating new pieces to try to incorporate into the set and eventually release.

HIHF: What is life like on the road for you guys, and how do you find a balance between that and making new music? 

Dirtwire: Road life has been pretty constant this past year as we’ve been going through changes in the band personally and breaking into new regions.  We’re playing more shows than ever now so it can be challenging to find rest and produce new stuff but we’re pulling it off!

HIHF: Can you tell us a little about the inspiration and process behind the track “Intertribal” and what it was like to collaborate with the Black Lodge Singers?

Dirtwire: “Intertribal” came about from David Satori’s vision to reach out and collaborate with the Black Lodge Singers from the Blackfeet tribe whom he met while in Montana. David produced the track and we all contributed to the production.

It was an honor to collaborate with such a legendary powwow group and create a piece of music that unites people together. John Scabbyrobe explained in an interview that the lyrics are about the wind that gets generated when a herd of buffalo runs on the Great Plains.

HIHF: “Dirtfest” looked like an incredible event with lots of special guests — why is it important to include people like Migizii Kwe and others in your live shows? What was that experience like for you? 

Dirtwire: The two nights of Dirtfest at the Mishawaka Amphitheater were really special. We wanted to bring our shared passions, amazing artists, activists, and special guests all together to create unity and beauty while showcasing the causes we care about.  Land conservation, trail preservation, mycology, permaculture, and regenerative agriculture are all a part of that.  

It was a great experience and we all had a good time exchanging positive vibes and inspiration.

HIHF: Who are some up-and-coming artists that you’re really excited about?

Dirtwire: Savej, Jon Casey, Sarz, Sanji, Biko Casini, Poranguí, Gone Gone Beyond, High Step Society, Snow Raven, Johnny Buffalo, Tor, Vincent Antone, Josh Teed

HIHF: Is there one show in particular that stands out to you as remarkable or most special? 

Dirtwire: Playing the Amphitheater at Hulaween in Florida felt like a turning point into a new level for us.

HIHF: What advice would you give to rising artists? 

Dirtwire: Do what inspires you and keep on doing it. Then do it some more and share it with as many people as you can. Do it for something you believe in and have fun!

Collaboration is a key to collective creativity, cross-pollination, cross-promotion, and cultural understanding.

A massive thank you to Dirtwire for having a chat with us. Be sure to show them love on social media and we hope to see you at their Cascade Equinox set!

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