On March 1st, 2011 Dovecote Records released Hard Mix’s first solo album, Defaults, as a free download. Since then I’ve marked March 1st as Hard Mix day and have succeeded at listening to the album under different circumstances, each time enjoying a different outlandish experience. Dovecote has been making waves with their promotion of Hooray For Earth and some engaging riffs with Absolut Vodka over that company’s use of some music represented by the label without permission. The argument was later settled with Dovecote, happily receiving a case of Absolut and attribution for the artist.

Noah Daniel Smith is the author behind Hard Mix and we’ve asked him some capricious questions.

You’re a fairly accomplished, (or at the very least, very good), graphic designer already, I hear a lot of visuals in your music.  Do you have Synesthesia?

It’s funny that you ask that, because actually, I do. Just kidding. I actually just found out what that meant yesterday when a friend of mine told me about it. I like to think that my design work is pretty simple for the most part, but at times can be very complex. My music roughly plays off of that concept. I try to keep it minimal but well thought out.
What are your plans for live shows? I’m sorry if I missed any one that had already happened, but would you care to play at one of ours?
I definitely want to play a ton of  live shows. I just hate that the whole “macbook and midi controller” setup is frowned upon these days. I’m trying to incorporate other stuff, but realistically, who cares what you are using as long as people like it and are having fun right? Of course, let me know when and where!

What else are you into, books, movies… is there time for outside distractions like this?

My first and main instrument is drums, I’ve been playing for about 10 years now so that’s one of my main interests that I actually haven’t had time to do lately. I am also a cinematographer/photographer and designer. I don’t actually read much at all, I used to be really into Terry Goodkind books but stopped for some reason. I haven’t watched that many movies lately, but the last good one I saw was Greenberg, Ben Stiller ruled. I’ve been watching a lot of TV online these days, finished up all seasons of Entourage a few weeks ago and that was amazing, I also just finished watching all of Eastbound and Down, Danny McBride is so classy.

The choice to name your album “Default”, did it take hours of deliberation or is the name literal?

The album is actually called Defaults. There really isn’t some awesome story about why I chose that. I was just thinking one day about how everyone has their own unique personality/how they do things. It’s almost like a “Default” that we don’t even think about. Not to mention, in terms of design, Defaults looked best.

What’s the blueprint for your composition style? Samples rule or motifs in your head?

I normally start off a song using a synth or piano and create a melody. From there, I will add the drums and then I will start sampling vocals. I don’t just sample for the heck of it, I really enjoy the mystery of not knowing what a song is going to sound like until some other vocals are added onto it. It’s fun seeing what you can do with a 2-second sample.

Personally I can’t stop listening to “Fell Of Somewhere”, followed by ”Now Her” and then running down the album from the beginning again. When Dovecote asked for audience favorites for an LP press, everyone else seemed to have other suggestions, so freaking good on you for creating an album with many different variations. But now “Fell Of Somewhere”, tell me about that one, what’s the inspiration behind it?

Glad you like it. “Fell off Somewhere” was made right after “I’m Gone”, which may be why they sound slightly similar. I really wanted to make a song that was a little slower and darker than the others. I’m not even sure if the sample is saying “Fell off Somewhere,” but it sounds like it and it felt right as a title.

Listen up to Fell Off Somewhere and Now Her and check out Noah’s site at noahdanielsmith.com.