murkury is an Undergrowth Foundation affiliated producer whose style combines futuristic, bass-heavy sound design with chill melodies and hard-hitting drums. His minimalist yet groovy style has been entrancing audiences in the Western Carolinas for over four years. We caught up with murkury to find out how the Undergrowth Foundation came about, how he became interested in music, and much more.
Tell me about the Undergrowth Foundation. How did this collaborative network come about? M: What a story. I can't even begin to describe the many tiny, seemingly-random life events that eventually snowballed into this idea. I mean, this time last year, I didn't even know the other founders of The Undergrowth. Fast-forward to this summer: on a whim, I followed my gut to Asheville. Almost immediately, I met this visual artist, Jakeb, by chance, and at my first show I was introduced to his friend Greg, a DJ. We all hit it off and Greg invited us to spend 4th of July at his cabin outside Asheville. That weekend, we spent hours on end listening to Greg mix vinyl, exploring the woods, drawing, and talking about music, art, and the universe. We saw great talent in each other and felt like if we combined those skills, we could do great things. Not only this, but we felt the need to unite other likeminded artists who were talented but didn't have a platform to express themselves. We felt some force beyond our comprehension leading us to the understanding that this was to be our purpose in life. It was only given a name after we were inspired by "Life In The Undergrowth", a wildly profound BBC documentary that illuminated the lives of the insect world. This undergrowth scene, we thought, was just like the underground music scene. Overlooked and underrated by mainstream society, it's actually what holds everything together. It's the place where every good musician rises up from. It just made sense to us, and the rest is history.
What's the music scene like in Asheville? M: Well, keep in mind, I've only been living in Asheville for a few months, yet every day I'm in the city, I'm working overtime to make my way deeper into the scene. I know first-hand what it's like to not have a recognizable name in Asheville...and while that's difficult in any city, it's still amazing to even be here as an artist. The people who are established are friendly and very open to discovering new talent from all genres. You just have to know where to look. There's so much opportunity for someone to make music in Asheville...way more than Boone, which is why I moved to begin with. And when you aren't getting shows, you can busk. With the right people behind you, you can even create your own scene, like we are with The Undergrowth. It's just a great place to do something different and there's inspiration on every corner. People in Asheville are very open to hearing new sounds and experimenting with new artists, which is perfect for an electronic junkie like me.
When and how did you become interested in music production? M: I think producing was just a natural progression for me as an artist. I always played instruments growing up (piano, guitar, drums) and then in college at App State, my passion for music turned into DJing. We threw parties wherever I lived and somebody had to be the DJ, so why not me? I've always loved the idea of setting the vibe and taking people on a journey through sound. At first, I didn't have any equipment of my own, so the mixing was rudimentary at best. I did this for a long time for lots of different people, eager to take the next step but without the resources to do so. To compensate, I got some production software and learned how to make edits and bootlegs so it would be easier for me to mix live. That evolved into making remixes, and eventually, after watching countless hours of tutorials, I started producing originals. Finally, I got some equipment of my own and started to branch out and find a style to call my own. Most of the material I've made will probably never see the light of day, but it's all practice. Even the tracks I released this past month. It's all just practice trying to convert the visions in my head into organized sound. Game day only happens when I play live.
Do you have a dream collaboration? M: Cashmere Cat or Tipper. I know those styles seem contradictory, but honestly, I just want to get in their studios and see how the hell they make their music because I have no idea how they do it. Here are some dudes who propel the consciousness of anyone around them to some next level ish, and that's what I want. 99% sure it'll never happen, but it's nice to think about.
What's next for you and your music? M: Apart from a new EP and several more singles, remixes, and bootlegs, I'll be collaborating with the rest of the Undergrowth crew on our first official mixtape, to be released in 2016. It will be chocked full of drippy, trippy, undergrowthy vibes, so be on the lookout for that. I also hope to play my first music festival next year. Dreaming big got me this far, so why stop now?