The Transformational Journey of ShadowStarpdj
It has been a real pleasure to work with ShadowStar and watch his evolution during his time in the Dojo. His new Komorebi EP is the culmination of all of his dedication and hard work and it also serves as an audio travelogue of his inspiring journeys across the United States. I really enjoyed catching up with Dylan Lohrstorfer to learn more about his transformational experience and his plans for the future.
Dylan, congratulations on the release of the Komorebi EP. How long has the music production journey been for Komorebi?
Sean, Thank you very much! The Komorebi EP has been roughly a two year project from start to finish. Creating the palette, timer beats, feedback, arrangements, mix and master.
What new skills have you acquired as a direct result of your work on this EP release?
Great question, I learned how to “download” and implement the feedback and guidance through my one on one sensei session at the dojo. The ability to take constructive criticism as an outsider view to see inside my process to get the end results I am looking to accomplish.
I also learned how to turn ideas into songs and create compelling intros and outros using the elements from my timer beats. This is a very important skill to have early on and to continue to flex this muscle as it is the foundation of taking the “loop” and turning it into the initial arrangement.
Furthermore, I learned how to find the “pocket” this is something that took me some time and I think to the layman it’s easy to assume a drum loop or the drum rack that I’d be jamming to had “enough” Swing and groove but it’s so much more. Finding the pocket, for me, was like shifting gears in a 1985 CJ7 Jeep. Everything needs to flow and sync but also the tension and release.
Do you have a favorite song on the EP and why?
I do, my favorite song is Cerise. It’s my favorite because I wrote it in a Love’s trucks stop in the Arby’s that was attached. We were shut down for a while and it was like 2 am and I had just woken up. I started gathering the pieces of my palette and was playing around with EZkeys looking for a chord progression. Things just started to flow really well and before I knew it 10 hours later I had finished a few iterations. When I was on the road it was really difficult not to be overwhelmed with thoughts and while writing this song it easily helped me look to the future and be very thankful for my loved ones.
I also really like “it may be.” The cypher challenge was posted and I started writing it quickly. I called my father who is a voice over artist around 11pm. He is in Texas and I was in Connecticut. I spoke with him for about 5 mins and pretty much strong armed him and said “I need this like now” lol. So he went and took 2 takes and I ended up using the first take and it just naturally lined up. What’s so impressive about that, is he hadn’t had a chance to even hear the music yet! I finished the track in Auburn Washington while waiting outside a terminal while it was overcast and rainy. Couldn’t have a better scenery to finish this song to. Mainly because I was at the end of a very long journey driving across the country for the past 16 months and now I could finally go home…kind of. I was stuck there waiting for a new truck for about 2 weeks.
What are the next steps for ShadowStar? Are there any special collaborations planned for the future?
I suppose we will have to see what happens in the coming months with the pandemic and all. Anyways, I have been retired from CDL driving for a few months now and have been catching up/ making up for lost time with my loved ones and my fur baby Dulce. I’ll be working mostly on growing my reach and fan base. This EP release brought to light people I was unaware of who generally and genuinely enjoyed what I bring to the table. So I’ll be working on finding the people who can benefit from listening to this style of music I write. I also want to pursue the labels on my dream list I have yet to get on to. (Lost&Found, Anjunadeep, yoshitoshi) though it would be cool to give back along the journey and teach (maybe find a position that needs to be filled at the dojo in the future). As far as special collaborations I am open to make those plans I would love to do a future garage collab with Spiderhound ;). There is a pretty cool side project I have been dabbling in with an artist named Tonal Space, which could be promising.
Tell us about your new Artist profile and products in the Producer DJ marketplace.
Well, It’s pretty new to me but I will say when I was given the opportunity to join the ranks of the artists that make up the marketplace it definitely made me want to step up my game and do it. I have created a few products to give something to those who like my style.
Komorebi Mega Bundle: Breakdown & Walkthrough (includes Greenwich Project File, Komorebi Sample Pack and Trashbag Guitar Drones) = $12. The project file has a video walkthrough with me talking about some concepts of how the song was produced and the song came to be. The sample pack is organized and includes a 128 ableton drum rack. It can be mostly used for drum programming though there are some bass noises and fx. The best and funniest part is the trashbag drones I originally made for THE HUMAN MUSIC PODCAST (go listen) its drone pads I made with 1.trash bag, 2.guitar, and 3. Box fan (+ableton 10) a 20 min mud pie with alternate tuning; good for beds in tracks. People can also buy these individually.
What are your top 5 favorite VST’s right now?
DIva | Gatekeeper | Levels | Loopcloud play/drum | ANA
How do you prepare for a live performance and what equipment do you use?
It really just depends on the situation in current times. Typically I’ll play on what the venue or party place has. I can play on pretty much all industry standard gear but I prefer timecode vinyl + traktor + RED tri Infader (discontinued digital mixer ) and my handy dandy USB (organized melodically and by style). Furthermore, I mix melodically most of the time though I like to do some crazy switch ups. I am currently working on using my apc40 as a step sequencer, the midi fighter twister as my fx controller, and my push for live production and clip launching in unison with the way I am working on my future templates to create songs from palettes.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
I’ve been wanting to give back lately and help other artists but I haven’t really found the need to be filled. I’ve often wondered if there are any house heads on the fence about joining the dojo that might need some encouragement as it may seem the dojo is only focused on one genre or style, which is not the case the dojo is very diverse but maybe if there is a need in having a sensei more house focused/ influence would help share the dojos curriculum in a fashion house heads would feel more inclined to approach and join up I surely would be happy to help fill the need/spot. Let the Dojo know if this is something needed.
Other than that happy producing! I greet you with my wishes and my blessings! Namaskaram!