Chris d’Eon takes dance music to the ashram
Chris d’Eon lived in a monastery in northern India after college, where a Tibetan musician taught him to play the dranyen (the lefthand instrument at right). PHOTO ELSA JABRE
When I showed up at a crowded coffee shop to meet Chris d’Eon, I wondered how we would recognize each other. Turns out d’Eon isn’t hard to miss.
With hair hanging below his shoulders and clad in a white linen tunic, d’Eon has a way of standing out in a crowd. So, too, does his music, a surprising multi-genre experience blending techno house beats with folkier, Middle Eastern acoustics.
Halifax native d’Eon, who performs under his last name only, has a passion for music that started at an early age. When he was four years old, his parents bought him some synthesizers and a sequencer. He soon started mixing together his own tracks.
“I would record loops, like a drum pattern, and then I could record a bass line and then I would sequence them,” said d’Eon, now 24. “When I was a little kid I was really into making dance music.”
D’Eon’s musical interests expanded when he started college and began studying Iranian, Arabic and Turkish music. This interest took him to northern India, where he lived in a monastery and studied with a Tibetan musician who taught him to play the dranyen, or Tibetan lute.
Sometimes this influence on his musical experimentation even comes as a surprise to d’Eon himself.
“It’s all sort of subconscious,” he said. “Like, it ends up being that I want to make, say, a house tune and it turns into something with Turkish lyrics and I’m like, ‘Oh shit, how did that get in there?’”
D’Eon, who has been in Montreal for just over a year, has already released three cassette tapes. He released the two most recent on his own label, Numbers Station Recordings, which he founded with Zach Fairbrother and Matt Wilson, his co-members in local band Omon Ra II.
D’Eon explained that he was aiming for a less experimental, poppier sound on his latest cassette, ÆON, released in late 2009.
“I have this internal fantasy of wanting to sing pop music,” he said. “I think it’s because I’m in my mid-20s now, and we were all born in the ‘80s, and that was our childhood. And so I think that a lot of people releasing music now are sort of really into ‘80s R&B, like Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson. All that stuff is great!”
When asked if he had any interests outside of music, D’Eon shook his head.
“I’m not really good at being a regular member of society,” he admitted, “and when you’re a musician you sort of have more license to be a fucking weirdo.”