Exclusive: The Land Increases

Manhattan sound technician Jeffrey Dalesandro shares the weirdness of his wilderness

Music First Look
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The Land Increases, real name Jeffrey Dalesandro, is a luddite in a metropolis. The 28-year-old has checked off four of New York's five burroughs, and refers to his music (or lack thereof) as "a devotional exercise" and sees himself not as a musician, but more as a "painter of sound". "I don't necessarily think of it as music as much as I do just sound," he explains. "A lot of it is about sending secret messages to my friends." Those messages – hidden in the mechanical folds of his attention deficit sound experiments – aren't meant to be understood verbatim. His arcane delivery and even more perplexing tunes, however, have us deeply intrigued.

Here, we speak to Dalesandro and exclusively premiere two tracks – "Melting Man" and "Ca Fe" – from his debut 7" on No Recordings.

The Land Increases is an interesting approach to making music. It doesn't sound like it's trying to be anything or fit into any box. It kind of reminds me of what it's like walking down the streets of NY, you have noise coming at you from every angle and your brain takes the bits and pieces it chooses to process. I don't know how he made this record. It sounds like he went to the black lodge in Twin Peaks with David Lynch and some drum machines and sampled the dancing guy talking

- Empress Of's Lorely Rodriguez

Dazed Digital: I was wondering if you could tell me who you are?

Jeffrey Dalesandro: I’m a guy who keeps calm and plays what he plays, who goes completely crazy when the right time comes. That’s probably the best way to put it.

DD: So is music something you’re going to be pursuing for quite a long time?

Jeffrey Dalesandro: It’s a devotional exercise. I’m less interested in presenting a finished product than to be practising or working on things all the time. This release is a little different for me because it is a sort of product in a way that the things I show people usually aren’t. I wouldn’t say it’s polished but it’s definitely being presented in a more formal manner.

DD: Is there a concept behind the accompanying visuals?

Jeffrey Dalesandro: The way I see it is, throughout the day I’ll come up with some trash and I’ll fill the bag. Once it’s full it will become something else. It’s more of a lifestyle concept. When I make the videos it’s an accumulation of photographs I’ve taken over time – there’s less deliberation.

I was reluctant. I just kind of put it out there without thinking about who’s going to look at it or listen to it

DD: Do any of the tracks have a specific story?

Jeffrey Dalesandro: There’s a track called "Every Man". It’s about camping and the urban wilderness and it’s the psychology that kind of accompanies sleeping in your clothes with the lights on, with no windows. The story is the way it’s sung; I don’t really know how to translate that into a conversation.

DD: So you’d rather people listen to the music and then whatever they get from that is what was behind it?

Jeffrey Dalesandro: Yeah, I’m not expecting everyone to understand it in the way I do or to expanse it the way I do, at least when I listen to it. When I record I don’t like really to refine things. I like to go with the first thing I say, but I have to prepare to be able to go with the first thing that comes out of my mouth. There are times where I sit down and try to speak and it just doesn’t run because there won’t be anything happening around my life, does that make sense? It’s like, it’s about timing, a lot of it is about timing for me. I’ll prepare to go camping, to disappear for a little while.

I’ll do it all day and I won’t speak to anybody else and I’ll just go through this phase where I’m kind of possessed to just speak things and what comes out of my mouth just resonates with me, in a way that, I might not be able to speak in that same way if I’m not camping, if I’m not in the wilderness, if I’m just living my regular life, you know?

DD: What kind of process did you go through to make these?

Jeffrey Dalesandro: It’s partly emotional. It’s almost like a certain kind of possession. I’m possessed by something to step into the wilderness and I won’t come back for a couple of days. What I’ll do, I’ll have a couple of hours of these recordings and I’ll go back and flick through to find out what resonates with me. There’s no real concrete concept. It’s all this mutating.

A lot of it is just about sending secret messages to my friends. I don’t really think of it beyond that, it’s actually quite private for me.

DD: Were you quite reluctant to release this?

Jeffrey Dalesandro: I was reluctant. I just kind of put it out there without thinking about who’s going to look at it or listen to it. I’m not necessarily opposed to the idea of people listening to it. I mean, I like hearing what people think of it but sometimes I feel uncomfortable with imposing it on people, you know?

DD: Did your friends have any response to those secret messages?

Jeffrey Dalesandro: Well, a lot of my friends like to respond with their own projects. That’s just kind of how we keep things going for ourselves and each other creatively. It’s just like communicating through the things you make.

DD: So you like to create very much on your own?

Jeffrey Dalesandro: I feel like when I start to think about other people and how things will sound to other people, it starts to turn into this masochistic feeling. I start to feel like I’m in school, being told to practise things and being told to sit down and eat my spinach because other people know what’s good for me.

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