From left to right: Darren Claxton and Davood Faramarzi (a.k.a. David Far)
Today, I am featuring Darren Claxton and Davood Faramarzi (a.k.a. David Far). It's not every day that you get to interview two of the most talented musicians and music producers on the Blockchain, so I am very excited to have them together here!
Darren hails from Derbyshire, UK, and David lives in Iran...
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Darren and David, thank you for answering my questions. What triggered your desire to start making music? Any particular story?
Darren Claxton: I got my first drum kit at the age of 11 when my dad bought me a drum kit for Christmas. I’d been bashing around on saucepans and on the school’s kit for a few years prior to this. I played drums in bands all through my teens and into my early 30’s and sung the backing vocals too. I then taught myself guitar, bass and keys at the age of 16 and quickly got the hang of it.
It wasn’t until my mid 30s that I started to write songs with lyrics and tried to sing a few lines, this was a real surprise to myself and close family as it wasn’t something I’ve ever tried, and the rest they say, is history.
Davood Faramarzi: Well, it was something which lives inside a musician, somehow I think you are born as an artist and then you are seeking to know more and learn more and reaching a point in that.
As my parents more liked me to keep studying, I couldn't have any instrument, but I remember I could play a child synthesizer and I could play songs that I was hearing. And in those years I knew my ears were great in that way.
I created some kind of instruments when I was a child using some strings on wood and doing creative works like that when I was 8 years old. In those years I saw a Persian instrument called 2tar which one of our old members of family was playing. I couldnt have it in those years cause my father didn't want to buy one for me. Years years passed until my cousin bought a guitar, I could play with it a little bit. So I experienced it in my own way when I was 12 years old. As he was not in my city for a long time, I couldn't have that guitar in my hands any longer.
Later I started producing some electronic music with a DAW called Dance Ejay. It was limited but I was doing my best with it. And also recording my vocals and producing songs with it.
When I became 18 years old, one of my friends bought a guitar and I could borrow it and play it (because my father never wanted me to buy one for me and wanted me to keep studying and taking high degrees).
I started playing with a Nylon Guitar and later with an Electric guitar which I played with the lights off in my room as I had just found it new and it felt great when the lights were off. Later,
I started working with a DAW called FL Studio. As I didn't have a guitar I started to work so hard with it to produce sounds near to real guitar sounds. And I recorded many projects and songs.
Then I went to university. After my first term, I asked my Dad to support me and help me to buy a guitar. Well in that year he came with me to Mashhad city and we went to a guitar shop and I bought my first guitar, which was an Ibanez acoustic guitar. I really loved it, and when I brought it home I started playing many songs with it. Experiencing many techniques without a teacher.
While I was studying in Quchan University, I had many friends who were all in the Music business, one of them had a guitar shop. We would go there and play together. Years passed and there we had a concert with more than 400 people and I played lead guitar and performed a solo in a Persian pop song. After that we had another concert in my city (Dargaz). Me and 3 other friends started a band and I was a vocalist. We were asked to perform a cover of a famous Iranian rockstar (Farhad Mehrad - Booye Eydi), a song he wrote for Persia's new year.
Later after that I started learning more about music and producing more music and started to share them on social medias as well as Steemit and Whaleshares, places where I could also make money with my music productions.
CM: You live far from each other. When and how did you meet? And why did you decide to work together?
DC: Myself and David have been following one other on Steemit since early on in 2018 and had a mutual admiration for each other’s creativity. David’s production skills really stood out for me and the way he bought every piece of music he worked on to life. His skill set is impressive, and he also has a great ear for music.
DF: Yes and I learned to communicate well from far and I learned that distance is not a problem and artists can connect with each other even if they are far from each other specially with all these technology that we have.
We first met on a Radio show called Spotlight on Artists. Later we started talking about what to do and getting to know each other. We found connections in our musical powers (I really respect Darren's power in his performances and writing and singing), so we decided to start a band which called Broken Ocean.
CM: You have created some very beautiful music together. How do you usually collaborate? Do you find distance and time differences challenging?
DC: There are no hard or fast rules to our creations, but we always start with an idea that one of us has penned, then comes the first recording. I’m quite new to DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) and have tinkered with them for the past 10 years or so, but always preferred my old Zoom MRS 1608 Porta-Studio.
After working with D-Vine (@d-vine - Another amazing producer) I soon realised that I needed to get the hang of these computer recording techniques, so I downloaded a free trial of Reaper and got to work. It’s been a real steep learning curve but also, an invaluable lesson in how to capture my musical ideas.
The next part of the process is sending one another the WAV files which are used to build the track. This can take several days or sometimes a few hours, there are no hard or fast rules to our tracks. Finally, after everything is finished, David gets to work on the mix and final master, this is where he really shines! It’s a real pleasure working with such a professional and passionate musician.
DF: We are both so passionate about the work we do, the projects we start. We think about what we are looking for, something special. Usually, it starts with one idea from me and from Darren, and it leads to a point where we manage to play our parts of the track and we really enjoy listening to our creative parts.
As we are far from each other, we surprise each other with the parts we add to a track 'cause we can't listen to it at the same time and we have to send it through email or Discord. And it's really great. We always manage to work when we are ready for it. Not with rush.
CM: Your current project is called Broken Ocean. What a beautiful name! What's the story behind it?
DC: Broken Ocean is a name I thought of after watching a documentary about plastic pollution in the ocean and I thought to myself, the ocean is really broken and we need to act fast. I’m still unsure how our music could help in clearing the ocean, but a documentary could use one of our songs as the soundtrack that’s for sure, maybe ‘Holding On’ could fit the bill?
DF: The name was actually chosen by Darren while we were talking about what to call our project. So we chose Broken Ocean and I think Darren can answer better about the story behind it.
CM: While I have enjoyed all your songs so far, one continues to haunt me. Stay Where You Fall has some of the most powerful lyrics I have heard in a long time. And the music uplifts my spirit every time! I am curious to know what triggered your desire to create it. How have people reacted to it?
DC: Stay Where You Fall was our first track.
Well, where do I start? David sent me the bare bones of an idea that he had, and I just loved the feel of it and the way it had that epic uplifting sound. I’m the lyric writer, and usually just put down on paper how I feel at the time.
It is probably a metaphor for something that I’ve experienced in the past, maybe the destructive relationship I was in or something similar, who knows. That’s the beauty of writing lyrics/poetry, people can relate to them and even find some correlation between them, and their own lives.
DF: This is where we started and enjoyed our time when we were working on this song.
This track started with an idea I had with piano and war drums. I was thinking of bringing something great and sending it to Darren as I heard his power in music, so I chose to start with something special.
At first, it was only an intro. Darren started and wrote perfect lyrics and so we went on and completed the track. Darren did a perfect performance, singing it so powerfully. I really enjoyed it.
CM: What makes your collaboration unique?
DC: Our traditions and way of life make our collaboration unique. David is Iranian and I’m a non-religious English Gentleman. We have a language barrier but have somehow found a way to work around it and not take any offence by what the other one is trying to say. Sometimes we get lost in translation, but music always corrects that.
DF: I think there are many elements. But well I can mention that the way each one of us reached a point in music and the life we spent on music, and our cultures and well also our connections in the taste of music we chose to work on. And the way we try to not do the same things (which mostly everyone does) makes our collaborations unique.
CM: Every artist creates for specific reasons. What are yours?
DC: I hope to become a full-time musician in the near future and continue to write and record my own solo material. My songs are posted daily on Steemit, Whaleshares, and EasySocial which gives me a chance to save up the tokens in my EasyDex Bitshares account.
Unfortunately, Crypto is in a bear market, so there it stays until things start moving again.
Our hope is to release our Debut album or EP in the new year and start to sell some copies which will help us buy some new instruments and equipment. We would also like to get our music onto a movie soundtrack in the near future too.
DF: If I say it only from my ideas, I have to say: The way I find reasons for life and reasons for being in the world, which is a mystery as nobody is totally sure what they are actually doing here. I can't really explain those reasons, but well sometimes there come some ideas and reasons but usually its in our natures what we choose.
I think sometimes it's better to let music speak to audiences and let them choose the path they like to choose, not leading them to a point that we want. I also have tracks that I sing about specific things maybe some about social life and problems of the world, about equality of humans in the world.
But mostly I love a song to be alive in centuries and remain current after a problem is fixed. Not sticking it to something which will be forgotten.
CM: You have been musicians for a long time. What has changed in the industry since you started? And do you think it is easier for indies to make a name for themselves than a few years ago?
DC: When I first started sharing music online, it was on MySpace, which was a great platform for the independent artist. Then came eMusic (I’m now a musician Ambassador for them) and Soundcloud. Facebook and YouTube are other ways to share music, but, these places rarely reward the artist unless you have an incredibly large following.
The new crypto currency space and blockchains, are really helping us indies to earn from our music and it will just grow and grow from here onwards.
DF: There are different ideas. Sometimes I think back then, it was easier to become popular as there were fewer musicians. If someone shouted out, everyone could see him/her ( I mean if someone released a song a few years ago, people could find him/her faster).
But now with social media like Instagram, artists just get lost under huge amounts of songs and performances posted everyday. It's harder to go to the top so fast, maybe it takes more money to reach that goal. (Paying for advertisement and asking big pages to share your works)
CM: Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
DC: Earning a full-time wage and creating our 5th album, maybe in the music charts globally and playing live gigs. Steemfest would be a great place to showcase our work. We’d also like to be regularly featured on movie and TV soundtracks.
DF: I am not too sure, but if you want to know my idea, I will say that I hope that we can be at the top list of musicians of the world (not for being famous). Some people think if you are looking forward to be at the top list, it means that you just love to be famous. But what I see is that being famous is a tool to be able to have more audiences and do more than what you can do without it. And for example companies. And if we wanted to start working on Film Scores and soundtracks, we would have more chance as we reached a point where they can see our works result.
CM: Anything you would like to add?
DC: I’m sure I also speak for David when I say that, Broken Ocean has been well and truly born and will continue to grow stronger each day, each week and each month. We, combined, have so much more to create and release, so watch this space.
DF: Well at the moment I can't add anything but I just thank you for the interview.
For more information on the artists:
- Broken Ocean: visit Choon.