Brian Witzig has put out three albums of what could be described as instrumental hip-hop under the name The Sound Defects. While his previous two records, labeled Volume I and Volume II, featured a few of his friends on various instruments, Witzig created his latest, Iron Horse, exclusively with samples.
This Sound Defects album is the soundtrack for a film that is yet to exist. In fact, Witzig was originally hoping to work with a friend to create a short animated video to coincide with his album's release, something with a biker vs. Rambo theme. Although the short film never came to fruition, the album features album art and track names ("Johnny Law," "Jean Jacket John") that depict the leather-clad world of motorcycle maintenance.
Highlights of the album include "Angels," which saucily samples Billie Holiday vocals and the eerie "War." "Ain't Right" and "Jean Jacket John" blend funk horns and James Brown's trademark grunts and growls with contemporary electronic beats.
Although Witzig works a 9 to 5 as a network administrator, coming home to his wife and toddler daughter in the evening, he's been able to find time for his music. "My wife is super supportive and she pushes me to get things done," Witzig said. "I'm actually more motivated now; I actually have more desire to get things done."
But he's left live DJing in his past. "The desire to go out and play isn't really there, and my music doesn't really lend itself to performance," he said. He'd rather be at home with his family than at a smoky club.
Iron Horse is the first Sound Defects album released by Lafayette, Ind., label Tone Def Systems. After the label that released the first two Sound Defects volumes - Third Earth Music - ceased operations, Witzig met artist Noah Mattern, who creates music under the name Atarilogic and runs Tone Def.
"It's been really great working with him because he makes music himself," Witzig said. "He understands me; I have a lot of freedom."
"In college he was the guy who actually listened to my music," Mattern said of Witzig. "We were using a lot of the same production techniques."