Sean Anderson has been deep in the production side of dance music for a very long time under his alias Pointbender. His label Harmonious Discord, which just celebrated its 15-year anniversary, has featured some of the best and brightest in Texas electronic producers, as well as artists from beyond the Lone Star State. The label has 47 releases to its name — no small feat by any measure. Just this week, Anderson released his latest Pointbender album, Dusk Frontier. For this week's mixtape Anderson explores his vibe as a DJ and producer and drops a few of his own tunes in the mix along with Dallas house (and Ishi) producer Dorian.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started deejaying? How long have you been at it?
Pointbender: I started deejaying in 1998. I was 18 years old and had a job working carryout for Red Hot & Blue. I would collect my tip money each week and visit Latin One Stop or Bill's and buy records usually by the cool artwork they had. I didn’t really have any idea about how the records would go together or what being a DJ was about but the collecting process began. My first gig was at a small Jamaican food restaurant in North Dallas called Caribbean Red. ... I started spinning trance and progressive house and over time got exposed to good house and techno and my tastes matured as I went along.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
I generally do not like to put too much premeditation behind the sets I put together these days. I like to collect tracks from a time period and experiment with how they go together. This mix actually was pretty easy. There are two tracks off the album on there and a couple more from Texas labels like Denied Music run by Daniel Allen and an unreleased tune by Brad Dale.
How did you start getting involved with Dallas DJ culture?
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Very early. I threw my first rave when I was 19 years old at the 32 Degree’s warehouse. From 19 to 22 years old, I was a very active promoter in Dallas, hosting several parties under my company Moon Magnet and United Tribal Project. ... Even after moving to Austin, I still play a majority of my gigs in the Dallas area, and with the support of crews like Soundslike and others my live performances have become very well attended in the Dallas area.
What is the story behind your new album?
The new album started about one and a half years ago with four tunes that were mere loops but had a lot of potential. I had been stuck making remixes just out of [the] sheer ease of some of the material already being there, but really wanted to write an album. ... I wanted to focus on the limitations of hardware which in many cases makes the music sound very linear, but I actually kind of like that. I first aimed to create a really great dance floor album, but as the songs progressed they turned into very much a listening album. Once I came to peace with that the rest of the album came together very naturally.
Your label Harmonious Discord had its 15-year anniversary this year. How does that feel?
It feels pretty awesome, and in the same breath I am not sure how we made it. We weathered some intense shifts in the music industry. Our first five releases were on vinyl which nearly bankrupted us all, then to digital downloads and now into mobile media like iTunes and Spotify. Also learning how to promote in a digital age was a process. It wasn’t just convincing a record shop to put your record on the shelf; we now had to reach actual listeners.
You've managed to keep a lot of Texas talent on the label's roster, too.
The real secret is that there was never a shortage of great music from Texas. We never had to really search far and most of the Texas producers were better than the international submissions we got. A couple years back we went with a formula where we would either sign a big name and get Texas native remixes or get a Texas artist with a big name remix. That formula has served us well.
Where do you like to dig for new tunes?
Over the years I got added to some nice promo services, nothing fancy. Mostly unknown artists, many of them from Mexico and Canada. I have been able to get about 60 percent of my music from those services and I always chart and support them to the best of my ability. I use Beatport and iTunes to get more established releases and love supporting artists on Bandcamp or Kickstarter.
What has been your most significant musical experience of the past year?
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This year was my second year at Burning Man. I love the festival because I can hear some of the newest music out there along with intense visuals and stage work. I always come back with tons of ideas and motivated to experiment.
What gigs do you have in the near future?
I am actively working on the third version of my live performance, which will incorporate more of the gear used live that was used on the album. I have been laying low until I can retool the live show but have some upcoming gigs at Plush, Ethics and a private fundraiser for mentorship in Austin. We also host a large yearly event for SXSW where we showcase artists from the label and I can be heard every other Sunday on the radio show.
1. Lal – Towards the Door [Lal]
2. Dorian – Run, Run, Run [Unreleased]
3. Pointbender – Dusk Frontier [Harmonious Discord]
4. Marc Suun – 1989 [NoPreset]
5. Keine Moniker – Childish Games [Denied Music]
6. Carlos A – Bipolar [Sticks and Stones]
7. The Passenger – In Flight Acid [RF]
8. Daniel Allen and Hector Moron - Westheimer [Something Different]
9. Francois – Why Push? [Menomale]
10. Pointbender – Passive Casio [Harmonious Discord]
11. Mad Science – Diagrams [RF]
12. Pablo De Monte – Dub Frequency [Denied Music]
13. Muntal – Alma Musica [Halieetus]
14. Nadastrom – In the Air pt.1 [Friends of Friends]