On The Fringes of Sound Interview #1: DED RXBBIT

DED RXBBIT is an electronic musician I met a few weeks ago through some mutual friends. His latest album was just released Saturday and can be found on pretty much every streaming service available.




millicow: I'm Jake Duncan, also known as the millicow, here interviewing my friend DED RXBBIT, for the first video interview for the blog On The Fringes Of Sound. So to start off, introduce yourself to us! For those who aren't familiar with your music, who are you, and what do you do?

DED RXBBIT: So, like he said, my name is DED RXBBIT; I've been producing music for the past, I like to say 14 years, because that's when I really actually kinda started. I started dinking around with my grandma's old Mac. I don't know if you guys remember, like back in elementary school, the old Macs that had the silver stand on the back, and they were like 4 inches thick? Yeah. My grandma had one of those and I would just dink around on GarageBand when I was, like, 8 years old, haha.

For a day job, I work production, just something simple, but it keeps the family rolling, you know?

Why the name DED RXBBIT?


millicow: Why the name DED RXBBIT? What's significant about rabbits to you?

DED RXBBIT: It's actually not significant to me, per se, but it's significant to my wife. So, when we first met, I was going by my biological name, at least what it would have been, which was Matthew Hall, and she didn't like that; she thought that it didn't represent who I was, it represented who I used to be, because my biological family, before they found out what my real name was, that was all they knew me to be, was Matthew Hall. But, I decided to use that as an alias.

There was one night that my wife and I were talking to each other, and she was telling me about - this was, like I said, around the time when we first met - she was telling me about this story when she was a kid, and how she bought these three bunnies, these three rabbits, and the day after she bought them, they died of wet tail, and she was so mad about it. And while we were sitting there on the couch, she - "THAT'S IT!" hahaha, and I'm like "What?" She's like "That's what your name should be! Something along those lines, dead bunny, dead rabbit, something like that." So I thought about it for a, couple days, and it really made sense. I'll explain the reason why a little bit later, because we'll find out who some of my influences are.

Actually, why don't we go ahead and just do that? My biggest influence at first was deadmau5. I was huge into house music and techno and stuff like that, so deadmau5, Tiësto, Alesso, Avicii of course, Wolfgang Gartner, a lot of those guys really influenced who I was at first. And then, as I grew a little bit older, my preference kinda changed a little bit. I started getting into Zomboy, Far Too Loud, Dada Life, still kinda in that party phase type stuff, but a little more aggressive with it.

And then when I turned 16, that was the first time that I ever heard metal, and then metal started being an influence. Weirdly enough, you can be influenced by other genres other than the ones that you make, which people, at least some people don't think is possible, but it really is. Like, without the metal scene, and without the people that I've known, I never would have known what the modes are.

And if you don't know what the modes are, I really suggest going out and checking them out because they are so interesting! I've written two songs in a different mode other than major and minor, and I'm working on a third one right now with a buddy of mine. But anyways, influences. Once I got into metal, DED, that was a band that I found. I first started off with Avenged Sevenfold, Metallica, some of the classics, AC/DC, stuff like that, and then evolved into Breaking Benjamin, Slipknot, System of a Down, just getting into that, and then I started getting into metalcore, and now I'm into like death metal and stuff like that, but yeah. Just evolving as time goes on, and I kinda took the influence from my metal phase with DED, and that's the reason that it's D-E-D, and then the rabbit part, obviously because of my wife's story, but it also kinda hearkens back to the deadmau5 type stuff, because deceased animal, haha. But yeah, that's where my name comes from, and that's some of my influences.

millicow: Yeah, real quick, I want to mention I grew up on metal and that's still at least 50% of what I listen to. Even though I haven't made any yet, it's definitely affected how I make my electronic music.

DED RXBBIT: Yeah. I definitely would agree with that.

Favorite track of yours?


millicow: What are some of your favorite tracks and least favorite tracks that you've made?

DED RXBBIT: Okay, my favorite track as of right now is actually a two-way tie with a song that's already done, produced, not released yet, but it will be on my next album, not the one that's coming out right now. That song's called Hands Up, and then it's also tied with The Willow Tree which is coming out with my current album that's actually up on pre-release tomorrow. It will be, um, oh boy; I don't remember when the album's actually going to be out. It's sometime next month [September 11, 2021]. But those two tracks have been the most fun tracks I've ever had, because they were the first two tracks that I worked modally. The Willow Tree is in Dorian, and Hands Up is in Mixolydian flat six. So it's really, really weird, very familiar. If you're not familiar with the different modes, the best way I can describe Dorian is if you took the C major scale, but started everything from D, and that is the basis of the Dorian scale. You have 1, 2, flat 3, 4, 5, natural 6, flat 7. So, it's kinda like a minor scale, but with that natural 6, so it kinda gives it this weird vibe. It's really cool to work with. So far one of my favorites. I've tried working with Phrygian, I've tried working with Locrian, those two are kind of weird to me, but Mixolydian flat 6, that one is really fun because the first half of it is major scale and the second half of it is minor scale. And the best description that I can think of, if you wanna just go out and hear what Mixolydian flat 6 sounds like, I know some of you may not be Star Wars fans, but listen to Leia's theme. That entire song is Mixolydian flat 6 in a nutshell. It's that major 1 to minor 4. It's that push and pull. Very dramatic. I love it. It's definitely my favorite to listen to. But those two tracks tie for first place.

Least favorite track... hmm... how far back do we want to go?

millicow: All the way.

DED RXBBIT: All the way? Okay. Um...

millicow: If you're like me, you probably have a big old pile of thrown away tracks.

DED RXBBIT: Yeah, I do.

millicow: So, out of anything you've released.

DED RXBBIT: Through Distrokid?

millicow: Yeah, like you've actually thought was worth releasing.

Least favorite track of yours?


DED RXBBIT: But then on second thought, haha. Okay, probably, that would have to be Neon World then. I don't like Chaos at all, but Chaos is my first album that I came out with. What I mean by that is the first album that I actually threw out into stores. That album represented that I was starting something. It wasn't really so much that... I just wanted to get my name out there. That's all it was. Neon World was the second song, the second single that I released after Chaos. And it was a synthwave track. And it was all right for what it was, but it just... at first I thought it slapped harder than it really did. Like, it's super weak, the kick is barely there, the sub is all sorts of weird. I just... not my jam anymore.

millicow: Yeah.


millicow: Some of my very most [favorite] and most hated tracks of mine are from my first album I ever made, because I didn't know what I was doing, so some of the stuff was really good because I didn't know what I was capable of, and some of it, I was just messing around, and it really sucked, and it took me some time to realize that. But it's still all on Bandcamp if you want to torture yourself.


When did you decide you want to make music, and what sparked it?


millicow: Anyway, when did you decide you want to make music, and what sparked it, if there's anything you haven't touched on about that already?

DED RXBBIT: Well, the whole working on music on my grandma's computer thing, that was just kind of like a fluke. My grandma, she used to be a, not a special ed teacher, but an advanced education teacher, like people who are like...

millicow: Advanced placement?

DED RXBBIT: Yeah! Advanced placement! That's the word that I've been trying to figure out for like the past three months. But yeah, she was an advanced placement teacher, and her big thing was about imagination. Her favorite movie of all time was the original - actually, her favorite book and movie and everything about it of all time was Winnie The Pooh, because the whole idea of that was Christopher Robin's imagination. And she kind of pushed that on me, not aggressively, but she really wanted me to find my way of expressing my imagination, so she kind of pushed me in that direction. I was like, "Hey, this is kind of cool."

There was a time where I thought that I was going to be a video game designer, something like that. There was also a time in high school where I thought that I could maybe do coding, but I ended up dropping out of that class, haha. And then after my grandma kind of gave me that little shove of guidance, later on into my teenage years, my cousin was the one who introduced me to FL Studio. Cause at that point, I had only used GarageBand, and Mixcraft 6, which I still have on this computer by the way.

When he introduced me to FL Studio, at first it was mobile, and then there was one time I actually got to go and see his computer and watch FL Studio in action, and it was so mesmerizing. I thought it was so cool, and the day that we got back from that trip, I was like "Dad, I need this. Help me out here. Help me out." So he bought me my first instance of FL Studio, it was FL 11, and then when FL 12 came out, it was... for some reason, it was already too late for me to be able to access my account, so I had to pay for FL 12 outright again, which you're supposed to be able to get free updates and shit, but since I didn't have access to my account, I had to pay for it again.

So I would say he was the other reason why I kind of pushed towards music. And then the third reason was because of a middle school class that I had. It was called DML, Digital Media Literacy, and one of the projects that we had was we had to write music for a fake news cast, and we had to do the news cast ourselves, we had to do the music ourselves, everything. And I had a blast. It was working with GarageBand again; at that point, I had just had started using FL, and kind of the nostalgia of using GarageBand was like "Well, I already know this shit; why not?" Haha! It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun. So yeah, I guess those are my 3 major sparks that I had.

What's the most challenging thing about writing music?


millicow: What's the most challenging thing about writing music?

DED RXBBIT: The most challenging thing about writing music. For me, or in general?

millicow: For you.

DED RXBBIT: For me it's lyrics. I suck at lyrics. There's a song that's on the album that's gonna be coming out here pretty soon, it's called The Good Dope Song -

millicow: It's great.

DED RXBBIT: Haha, thank you! I appreciate it. Those lyrics took me a whole year to finish, because I suck that bad at writing lyrics. I started that song and finished it in a different point in my life. I will completely be honest: I started it high, as many great songs start, and I was only able to flesh out the first verse. So what I kept doing was I kept tweaking with little, itty bitty, tiny parts throughout that year so that I didn't forget about that song, because I knew that I wanted it to be something. Originally it was supposed to be 3 verses, 3 choruses, and a guitar solo, but I reduced it down to 2 verses, 3 choruses, and a guitar solo. It was supposed to be almost 5 minutes long, haha!

But yeah, a year later I came back to it, and I was in a really deep place at that point, when I wrote the second verse, and in my opinion there's three moments in your life when you can write anything, and that's your lowest point, your highest point, or when you are high. Literally. I'm not joking. And you can ask pretty much anybody else, and they will say one, multiple, or all of those options. And yeah, I wrote that second verse at a very low point in my life at that time, and I finished it, and I was like you know what? Fuck the third verse, haha! We're chopping this shit off early.

That's one of the hardest things for me is writing lyrics. I don't know why. I can throw a beat together no problem. I can finish a song in a couple days. You'll hear a lot of professionals out there talking about "Oh yeah, I worked on this song for like 3 months" or something like that. Like, no. I can just shit stuff out, and I don't know why. I just can. I don't mean to brag; I'm just saying I can do that for some reason.

millicow: Yeah I'm the opposite; I'm constantly writing lyrics, and I don't have any music to put them with. Or I have a lot of music that I've made already, and I just can't seem to fit the two pieces together, like, I don't know how to do that.

DED RXBBIT: My brother's like that. He's more of a poet. He wants to be a rapper, but he doesn't exactly know how to put the words into a rhythm and figure out what the song should be, you know? He just knows what words he wants to say... which, all the more to him, and all the more to you; you two both have something that I don't, haha!

How has your style evolved over 14 years?


millicow: So, you've mentioned how your influences have changed over the years, how your music taste has changed. Is there anything else you want to say about your style, the way it's grown and evolved over 14 years?

DED RXBBIT: Yes. Like I said, I started out with like house and techno. On GarageBand, it was just throwing loops together and calling that music, which, there's some people that can pull that off, but... My music has gone from being very, I'd say one-dimensional, not two-dimensional. It used to be very, just cut dry, you know. And you could kind of vibe to it, and whatnot, but it was all right, and then I slowly started to understand, like, not the meaning of music, but how it actually works. At that point in my life, the last question would have answered bass, because I sucked at writing bass for some reason. Any time I threw a sub into a song, it was either too low, or too high. Could not figure out the reason why. Now, I would say my music has a little more depth, definitely more emotion... There's some things that I wish that I could change with my music, like I wish that I could be a little more creative. That's part of the reason why I started utilizing modes, because I feel like that would aid in my creativity.

millicow: You gotta change things up once in a while.

DED RXBBIT: Yeah! Switch it up. And that's a great tip for someone who's starting out. Don't be afraid to switch it up. If you don't like the way something is going, you can switch it up, or you can throw it in the trash bin, or you can throw it in the save-it-for-later bin. Do whatever you want, you know? It's not like this is the song that's going to make or break you. Sure, it could, but it could take you 5 or 6 different tries in order to get there, you know?

millicow: I throw away like 9 different tracks before I make a good song.

DED RXBBIT: Exactly!

millicow: Don't get too attached.

DED RXBBIT: I understand that it's frustrating sometimes when you're sitting there and you're working on a song and it's like man, I've only got 4 measures of something that sounds half decent, and I wish that I could take it somewhere, but I can't, and then you scrap that. Oh, this is only 2 measures of something that sounds decent! And then you scrap that. 1 measure of something that sounds decent. And then you scrap that! This one sound kinda sounds cool, haha, you know, it just keeps getting worse and worse and worse. You should have stopped before you got too far, you know? You just keep digging a hole and it keeps making you feel bad, you know? And that's one thing that I really struggled with when I was younger. I really felt like whatever song I made, I had to finish no matter what. So, if something sucked, I just ran with it, and that really was a detriment to my music. If you don't feel it, get rid of it! It's okay! There's nothing wrong with it.

What other art forms do you do?