A slow, gradual build: one instrument layered on top of another, begging you to count down until the music explodes. Then, almost silence. At a minute and 27 seconds, the drop finally comes, and Kraddy's "Into the Labyrinth" challenges you to stand still. Don't try, it's impossible.
"I love all of the songs on the EP," says the artist of his recently released Labyrinth, "but 'Into the Labyrinth' is epic."
One of the founding members of the Glitch Mob, Kraddy (whose real name is Matthew Kratz) knows how to create electronic music best heard loud and with others. Every beat he creates is meticulously placed for maximum harmony — or disruption — with the notes around it.
"Glitch is like punk rock," the Los Angeles-based musician says. "There were bands like the Eagles and Led Zeppelin around, creating these extravagant guitar ballads, then punk came along and made minute-long songs where they just went crazy the whole time, pushing the instruments further than if they were just there, strumming them. That's the attitude needed to push things to the next level.
"So for us, we took all of the things that were traditionally called errors in digital music — distortion, nonsense editing, chopping and reversing things, stutters ... and made that our palette."
Since leaving the Glitch Mob in 2009, Kraddy has gained positive recognition as a solo artist, especially after his song "Android Porn" was featured on America's Best Dance Crew in 2008. Chuckling, Kraddy says, "Hearing Mario Lopez announcing my name was the highlight of my year."
As a solo artist, Kraddy says his music is following the path he envisioned it would, even if he doesn't know where that vision is going. "Writing music is very personal and every time I write new music I am uncovering a path, but I'm never sure where it will lead."
Inspiration strikes in different ways for Kraddy, but one thing is key: There needs to be a spark. "Sometimes it's just one sound, other times it's a vocal track or a loop; whatever it is, it needs to make my ears perk up."
He sometimes remixes others, but most times he makes original music. "After finding that spark, my songs quickly stretch out, but it's a give-and-take process: You want what you want and the song wants what it wants, kind of like taking care of a kid."
Or, in some ways, like being one. "You know when you're a child and you create something you're proud of, so you're excited to show it off to everyone? That's me with my music."
The aim on tour is to bring that excitement to the stage. "To me, performing is all about making it a celebration. I want my set and the songs in it to have a beginning, middle and end; the builds and drops need to take the audience on a journey."
Kraddy had similar intentions when he was recording Labyrinth. "I left the Glitch Mob, and then it was like, 'Now what?' So I wanted to go to the center of things and come back out on the next level."