Interview: Beat Session with Daniel Saylor

(Image collage courtesy of Daniel Saylor and Windows 98の.)

Daniel Saylor is as inventive as a composer as he is as a producer, and today we get some insight to his musical world. First known to me for his budding Windows 98の project (the “の [no]” Japanese hiragana dubbed as “wave”), D. Saylor had made a splash in popularizing the Windows 95/98 sound effects in trap and beat music. Releasing on labels like Midnight Moon, Bedlam, and Beer Wizard, he’s now moved on to bigger projects under his own name. Let’s get to know a bit more of that.

A: Alright, hit me with all those questions.

Q: You’re the second person to say that, hah. How have you been? What are you up to this time, Dan?

A: I’ve been alright. Right now, I’m trying to finish up my double album Spring Rain/Opaque Summer. I should hopefully be going into the studio sometime with Cobalt Road (and some others) to record some material. There’s a tune I’m arranging, but for the most part I want the session to be mostly improvised a la Bitches Brew by Miles Davis.


Q: I’m loving the Miles Davis influence! I notice you have a lot of glitches in your percussive mixing…is that influenced from JPEGMAFIA (being a fan of his work)?

A: Haha, no unfortunately. I do like the raw digital sounds he uses but I don’t think it’ll fit the project. Most of the percussion influences are with hip hop and partially footwork (“Crossing Paths,” for example).


“Crossing Paths” by Daniel Saylor, courtesy of his Bandcamp.


Q: So, tell us about yourself, Dan. Who are you for new fans out there?

A: I’m Daniel Saylor: a composer, percussionist, and sometimes visual artist from Orlando, Florida.


Q: Do you mind detailing a significant or important music project you’ve done so far?

A: I have one alias that’s somewhat successful. In terms of compositions, I’ve had my pieces performed by members of the Orlando Philharmonic, by the M.A.T.A. [Music at the Anthrology] organization in New York (under the M.A.T.A. Jr. program last year), and my piece, “Waves to Oceans,” was performed at the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) conference in Texas earlier this year.

I’ve also performed at the Orlando Museum of Art on occasion, as well as venues like the Timucua Arts White House. Most of my albums and things like that have been through other projects, so I’m trying to make my double album more representative of myself now.


Q: Do you have any releases to recommend for new fans to get started in your music?

A: I would say, just listen to the album singles, haha. I have releases like Youtube Music up on my Bandcamp, but that’s more of an experimental aleatoric series of pieces. It’s sort of a one-off thing.


“Human” by Daniel Saylor, courtesy of his Bandcamp.


Q: Tell us a bit about your relationship with percussive instruments and some of the inspirations behind it.

A: I’ve been playing percussion since I was about 9, maybe? My dad always had a drum set in the house, so I guess I just naturally gravitated towards that. I didn’t start taking it seriously (or being good at it) ’till I entered high school. I was very lucky to have a school with a great percussion program. It showed me how wide percussion is. It’s funny, if you look at any orchestral percussion audition list. It’s guaranteed that you’re actually learning 3 separate pieces for 3 different instruments (usually snare drum, xylophone or any mallet instrument…and timpani). Compared to a flute audition, you play 1 or 2 pieces of literature.

Q: That’s some impressive background! I myself took some music theory with piano in high school, and it does open a door to the range of pieces and compositions.

A: If I could dedicate time I would really love to learn the piano or saxophone. I play a bit of piano on my album, but I have no formal pedagogy training in relationship to the piano.


Q: Fun question! What is the best midnight meal for when you are out of your mind on 2 a.m.?

A: Probably somethin’ greasy, like McDonald’s or whatever. Or maybe Mexican and/or Latinx food, if it’s available.


Q: Very nice answer. Last question a la Nardwuar: Why should people care about you? Why should people care?

A: You’re only alive on earth for a short period of time, so you should care about something. I can’t remember who said this (it was one of the guest on Pensado’s Place), but they said, “…to be interesting you have to be interested.” If you aren’t interested in anything, what are you doing with your time?

Q: A poignant way to end this.

A: Thank you, thank you.


If you want to support Daniel Saylor and his future projects, go to his Bandcamp HERE.

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