Posted on Feb 14th 2012 3:00PM by Jesse Ship

“I wish I played piano my whole life but at the same time, I don’t think I’d be where I am, coming at it backwards from a post-modern aesthetic shows in my music — and I’m glad to be where I am, regardless,” Paul Salva, creator of the surprise hit ‘Complex Housing,’ a fusion of abstract hip-hop, funk, Detroit techno and old school house, tells Spinner.

As a Chicago-native and child of the ’80s, the former turntablist who goes under the moniker Salva owes a lot of his fan appeal to dissolution of musical boundaries over the past decade. Less stylistic limitations means a potentially wider appeal and a more open-minded audience.

“It’s the cornerstone of me being able to be an artist; it’s unlikely that I’ll get negative online reviews from fans that like [LA] beat music because I write a straight, dark house tune.”

Not that he doesn’t respect time-tested crafts and tradition. Salva pays tribute to the masters, and believes that the most important thing for any musician or artist is history.

“For anyone who wants to approach being a master and honing their craft, learning the history plays a huge role. I tend to look backwards be it classic house, ’80s electro-funk, Miami bass, or early rap. But it can go both ways. There are young artists where ignorance plays a factor into accidental genius. For example, take the 20-year-old kid who just got Fruity Loops and is all of a sudden making the hot new sound. But if you look at artists who have been around for 10 years-plus, they’re the ones who can best keep a neutral perspective on trends. So it’s a mix of both.”

Salva is also head of Frite Nite Records, a deliberate nod to the campy ’80s horror movie. His label has little to do with vampires and slashers, but the name helps convey the kind of fun and knee-jerking vibe that he’d like to portray in their releases. He’s also fairly modest about things, using the label as a platform for friends and peers’ music that he believes in.

“Frite Nite is more of a crew; I encourage everyone to get other record deals. If someone is going to invest in your music, publicize it, I encourage that. We’re really an artist-run label.”

And artist-run labels understand the power of recently demonized torrents and other file sharing services like MegaUpload. Salva’s mostly an advocate for the proliferation of ideas when it comes to Internet culture — after all, as an underground artist, getting exposure is what allows him to keep touring.

“I know that a lot of my music is pirated,” he says. “The kids that are downloading are the kids that are going to come out to my shows and allow me to go out on the road. I’ll record music for free if it helps me stay out on the road.”

He agrees that the sharing of data and information shouldn’t be restricted, but with the entertainment industry flipped on its side at the moment, something should be done.

“You think the artists are suffering but it’s really hitting the corporations, which I couldn’t really care less about. However, with technology going the way it is, I really do think that they need to find a way to curb this stuff. They have to figure out a file codec or way to store files that you can’t illegally share. “

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