Figured out: Gard knows where he wants to be
He is an ace of bass, and you can dance to it.
Josh Gard donned the name Figure for his one-man band, began making electro house music, and then created all kinds of electronic and dance tunes.
Gard is giving away his Aesop Rock "Coffee" (Figure remix) on Soundcloud, and you can witness his live performance skills tonight (Thursday, March 28) at the Canopy Club in Urbana.
Gard, 27, got his start when he was about 16, doing turntable work and making beats using an Akai MPC 2000 sampler-sequencer workstation.
He has been influenced by other media rather than music.
"I watch a lot of movies and of course cartoons," Gard said. "Recently I have been loving all of the Marvel Japanese cross-breed cartoons with 'X-Men' and all that. I read a lot of comics and books, so that's always stirring something up in my head."
He loves live performance and says a Figure concert is "high-energy and ever-changing.
"I play a lot of my own music and tons of stuff a bit outside of the typical 'electro dance' box," he said. "I like to make the energy move around a bit, like a movie ... use longer breakdowns to cause some tension until something comes in before you thought it was going to."
His music comes out of his bass playing, but also from other instruments.
"Well, I grew up playing piano, but with this type of music I treat it more like 'punk rock' than approaching it with a more classical sense. Bass music reminds me of all the hip-hop instrumentals I enjoy, just more dynamic," Gard said.
That applies to his "process" for writing songs.
"I really don't have a 'process' any more," he said. "Sometimes I start with a drum track and write around it, but sometimes I might write the entire bass line with no percussion coming in until the end. Whatever gets the ideas flowing.
"I do always write with a sub bass layer on, so I can tell how it's going to hit."
The Aesop Rock remix, a freebie download on the Internet, is a longtime passion for Gard.
"I have wanted to do a remix for him for so long, I have been listening to him since I was a freshman in high school ... like most of us," he said. "I started a remix of 'Coffee' and sent it to him, and he said he 'really loved it, and it was great' ... etc.
"He was really, really nice about everything over email and told me he had my back on anything I wanted to do with it, even if it was us releasing it in stores. I thought it would be a great giveaway, so we ran with it!"
Gard said music on disc and on the Web are both part of his future.
"As of now, I do both: I sell music and give it away at the same time," he said. "The markets don't fully cross, so it's not really hurtful. I have released a download and four months later put it on Beatport, and it went No. 1 in its genre.
"I think the industry is just so crazy right now it's anything goes. I love giving music away because it gets it in the hands and ears of the people faster, and that's what its all about: the music and the people."