Electronica artist Emancipator hits Columbia

The American artist got his start in Japan.

By Christine Cauthen | Oct. 22, 2010

Tags: Music

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Doug Appling might be the only person who can get away with mixing the music of Sigur Rós with the music of Mobb Deep into one successfully moving song.

Appling, the man behind the electronica band Emancipator, got started producing at a young age.

"It happened when I got a copy of Acid Pro software in high school, and my favorite part about it was that I could combine any sounds the way I wanted," he said. "It was a lot of fun."

Appling's passion for music in general is evident when listening to Emancipator's songs.

"I just like finding new music all the time," Appling said. "Whether or not it's my style of music, I feel like it has its influence in small pieces."

His open-minded view of music is what gives Emancipator the power to make unique songs, rather than regular, run-of-the-mill techno-influenced electronic music.

"I listen to all kinds of beautiful music, a lot of electronic production or folk stuff," Appling said.

His wide range of influence is clear in the music he makes.

The electronic producer's career initially started in Japan, where his first album Soon It Will Be Cold Enough was picked up and released. The success he found there is what essentially skyrocketed Appling's career.

"It got started for real after I released my first album in December 2006, and in 2007 I got signed to Hyde Out Productions in Japan," Appling said. "That was probably the first moment in which it took off."

The American artist owes a lot of his success to the Japanese.

"They're just really awesome people, the people I've met over there as fans," Appling said.

From this unexpected start came a successful future.

His career then began to take leaps and bounds, landing Appling a Puma sponsorship and giving him the opportunity to hear his song played during the Beijing Olympics. It was then Emancipator truly started becoming a career, not just a time-consuming hobby.

"It's always been a dream, and in the past couple years it's been coming true," Appling said. "It felt natural to me."

The depth and range of his music shows in the intricate beats and subtle melodies. Appling's musical knowledge is apparent in Emancipator's songs.

"I played the violin when I was four, and I can play guitar, bass, drums, piano," Appling said. "I have a banjo and a mandolin. Anything that makes noise, I'll be happy to take a stab at it and try to get some sounds out of it."

His variety of musical experience adds to his success in creating songs.

"It's unlike being in a band where you can only play one thing and kind of compromise your ideas with everyone," he said.

Emancipator's latest album, Safe In The Steep Cliffs, was released in January 2010. Appling is touring, though that doesn't stop him from creating new music.

"My main, personal focus is working on the new album, and I'm making a lot of progress for sure," Appling said. "My albums generally take a long time before I can say that they're finished. The next one is well on the way."

Emancipator will perform at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Blue Note.

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