To some, Cody Miller is a West Chester University student and English major. To others, he is Kali Ma, electronic music producer. Miller admits he is a huge Indiana Jones fan, hence the name, Kali Ma. English major and Indiana Jones posters aside, Miller devotes his time to sampling music, pulling sounds from “literally anywhere” to create the big picture. He says, “If there’s one thing that connects everything, it’s all really dancy.”
Miller’s original attraction to music landed him in hardcore bands, but tight spaces in dorms, along with the influence of Baltimore artist, Dan Deacon, hooked him to electronic music for good. Without the influence of Deacon, Miller wonders if he would have ever truly discovered electronic music, “He’s the one who taught me that there’s more to electronic music than 127 beats per minute, 140 beats per minute, with kicks on 2 and 4.” Now Miller refers to electronic music as “the perfect genre” which he never tires of exploring because, “you can fill any frequency with any conceivable sound if you know how to make it on a synthesizer.”
Miller also cites the influence of Animal Collective on his work, “Their composition is better than any stereotypical pop song but they still have that pop dance sensibility.” Meanwhile, Crystal Castles influence is to credit for the tough heavy video game sounds Miller sometimes incorporates into his music.
Miller’s first official EP as Kali Ma, Seddhartha EP, epitomizes his experience with video game indie style music. However, Miller explains that as he begins understanding sound, he is slowly leaving this old style behind. He describes his earlier music as “high frequency bells that make you pour out of your chest with rainbows,” while he says he is now getting into base sounds “that fill up your chest and vibrate it.”
Miller keeps his music up to date by releasing EP’s instead of full albums. With each EP as a learning experience, he keeps flexibility in his music’s theme and style. He acknowledges, “Every time you see me I probably have a new EP and three new songs in my live set.” This fast pace allows him to put whatever inspiration hits him immediately into music and still release an EP with a steady theme.
True to form, Miller stated he is currently working on a new EP. Miller cannot say for sure what his new EP will sound like since he is presently enjoying the inspirations of UK base and UK garage while also exploring indie and working with vocals. He also continues to explore the “texture of sound.” Miller strives to make each piece of sound uniquely his, “Once I figured out how to combine all the sounds I downloaded to make the songs I wanted to make, then I kind of just took everything and thought backwards and that’s when I started using my microphone and started recording my own samples.” His move away from conventional electronic sounds represents Miller’s challenge to mainstream music which he refers to as “carbon copies.” He explains, “I’m not any better than any other producer in technical ability. All I can do is arrange songs in a way that’s different… try to stand out among the infinity of waves of internet music.”
Last Sunday was the first event of a project Miller recently started up called “Church Electronic Music Showcases.” Aptly named, Church gets together every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month to do showcases of local east coast electronic music acts. Though the events are small, invite only parties, the main goal is to stream online to get the music out there. Miller expounds, “Common exposure and networking between all the musicians will make Church become an entity of itself.” By including only bands that are doing something interesting, Miller aims to introduce people to experimental musicians he believes will be a welcome break from the mainstream, “That’s what Church is. It’s a response to a music scene that I’m not really into.”
Now, Miller looks forward to playing a Papadosio after-party show in a private space in Philly. More details can be found on Kali Ma’s Facebook page. Though he is willing to play anywhere, Miller prefers a tight space for his live performances. “I think there is something special about being in a tight sweaty place with a lot of people,” he muses.
Certainly his music carries the energy that encourages a lot of jumping and bumping in a stuffed full basement. Whether rainbows or vibrations, fans of Kali Ma are sure to enjoy the textures and sounds of music carrying them from one sweaty basement to the next.
Joy Wilson is a fourth-year student majoring in communications. She can be reached at JW794401@wcupa.edu.