Dasychira Doesn’t Sacrifice Soul for Sound


Cassie Cui

Tisch Clive Davis sophomore, Adrian Martens, also known as Dasychira, sat down with WSN to discuss music, travel and identity.

Connor Gatesman, Staff Writer

Electronic musician, insect aficionado and current sophomore at Tisch’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Adrian Martens — better known by his stage name Dasychira — sat down with WSN to discuss his new EP, “Immolated.” A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Martens explained how world travel and his identity have shaped his music.

Washington Square News: How long have you been making music?

Dasychira: I’ve been making music since I was about 15, but I only got more serious about it after I moved to New York about two years ago and started working under the name Dasychira.

WSN: What makes this project meaningful to you?

D: With this project, especially with the record that I put out, I wanted to explore my identity through the lens of an insect as a metaphor for the journey I’ve been through. I pulled inspiration from growing up in Johannesburg, moving here, and moving around [to] so many different places of the world, and how that affects my identity, and my music too. Arguably, my music is my identity. At least that’s what I strive for.

WSN: What does the word “immolated” mean to you?

D: I came across the word a little while ago while reading a poem. I looked it up and the word meant “to sacrifice by burning.” Although in the context of this EP, I wanted “Immolated” to be more of an offering of myself than a sacrifice, sharing this part of my identity that I could communicate sonically. I wanted it to be as upfront as possible, so that I was vulnerable to my musical process, sacrificing all comfort, all complacency.

WSN: Did you use samples on this EP, or is it all your recordings?

D: It’s definitely a bit of both. I love using found sound recordings, but I think there’s such a cool, processed vibe to samples from existing songs. One of my favorite samples to work with for this record was the sound of a seal barking, one of those Northern California elephant seals. You can hear that sample in the beginning of the song “Vipera,” which I made with my friend Embaci. That sample was just so much fun to use, because I had no idea how it would work in the context of the track. But once I started warping it, it ended up being a really powerful rhythmic device.

WSN: How would you describe this EP’s aesthetic?

D: I wanted it to sound alive but also dead inside, being pulled apart and reborn again. I was trying to follow the cycle of an insect. Throughout the track listing, I wanted it to sound like an insect that is on the verge of dying, being dissected, dying, and its reincarnation. In terms of texture, I wanted the EP to sound like it was breathing and full of feeling and emotion. That was the most important thing to me, to convey my interpretation of an insect’s emotional experience.

Find Dasychira on SoundCloud, Facebook or Twitter. Download “Immolated” on Bandcamp or iTunes.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 6 print edition. 

Email Connor Gatesman at [email protected]