SPOTLIGHT // DEF SOUND
You can call him Def Sound. Definitive Sound on occasion. Deffery on others. Rare Jordan when he's designing. Or Emmanuel Ashley Ricketts if you're feeling official. No matter the moniker, what remains consistent is that the music he creates and spins is magical. As a DJ, producer, and even fashion designer, Def Sound, takes you to a journey like no other. We discovered his music while he did a set at a party, kept holding our phones up to Shazam the tunes, only to realize he was spinning his own special remixes. Don't believe us, just listen to his new radio show kdefradio.com.
We chatted with Def Sound to talk about why he's a Daring Creative.
In your own words, what do you do?
Currently I am a designer of sound. I collect and collage everything. I try thinking from a textual place; I wish to sew love into each fiber, clothing your ears in something more interesting. I realized thee (sic) world was out of everything I was into, so I want to give back to it. I give in thee (sic) forms of poetry (I have a poem published in Saul Williams newest book CHORUS), Rapper (“Kings of Neon” is my newest project out 5/5/15), DJ (I have my own weekly online podcast called KDEF Radio), designer (My online shop is called thatyoungdefshop.com), and Feminist.
When did you decide to pursue your current career path?
I found creating was when I was at my happiest. My older brother Carlos Ricketts Jr. once told me “Figure out what you would do everyday for free, and then do that everyday and know it’s worth something.” Even as a child using my imagination allowed be to transcend my age, race and financial situation. Creating started out as an escape, now it’s a home. I ALWAYS knew there was more. Go listen to Andre 3000’s last 4 bars on “Bombs Over Bagdad” he paints a picture, then decides to take a break and address his community, he says “Hello, Ghetto , let your brain free, believe there’s always more , AH!” He screams at thee (sic) end of that verse because the thought of there being more is sooo intense. That’s me, the scream at thee (sic) end of that verse!
How does the city you live in influence your creativity?
I don’t know maybe I smile more ? Living in Los Angeles is like living on a green screen, except at times you can be colorblind. So sometimes that building isn’t a building or your friend is just a tree or vice versa. Thee (sic) set changes daily. On a different note, I believe Los Angeles is birthing a new sound. There is a renaissance that has been taking place here for maybe thee (sic) last 6 or 7 years. . I know thee (sic) rest of thee (sic) world can feel it as well. Funny thing, I heard that within the last 16 months over 25,000 New Yorkers have moved to Los Angeles. There’s something great weather brings to one’s disposition, which might allow people to be more open. I’ve always lived here so traveling and sharing that Los Angeles sunlight w/ thee (sic) rest of thee (sic) world is what I am more interested in.
What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
Most people think artists are self absorbed or “crazy” but I believe the title of artist or creative is one that is of service, either giving a voice to thee (sic) unheard or sight to thee (sic) unseen.
In thinking about the things that you have created, is there something that you hated but the public may have loved - and perhaps purchased?
I didn’t think (A)Gain was going to be thee (sic) song people fell most in love with. I didn’t hate the song, I jut found no risk involved in creating it. And I’m so concerned with who’s not at the party I am not having as much fun and cherishing the present people.
Who is someone famous that you think is killing it at the moment? In other words, is there someone whose career you admire.
I truly admire thee (sic) career and creative life of Alejandro Jordorowsky. I am currently reading his book Psychomagic. He is a Chilean filmmaker, playwright, actor, author, musician, comics writer and spiritual guru. He’s still creating and being influential at the age of 86 he is still (Go see his newest work “The Dance of Reality). He’s done it a very particular way. He said once “I am like rain, I go where I am needed.” I look up to that. I aspire to create that which is missing from today’s climate. On a more contemporary music level I admire the silent prolific consistency of Toro y Moi as well.
Finish This Sentence...
I want people to remember me as: An Influencer sicker than Influenza. I don’t know, I just hope whatever they remember me by it rhymes.
My biggest frustration is: When I believe in scarcity and let my ego steal the mic from my confidence. The ego is that roommate that is fun at parties but forgets to pay his half of thee (sic) rent EVERY month.
I couldn’t live without my: Knowledge of self and Wi-fi.
Photos by Mark Peaced.
Styling by Ton Aguilar.
Makeup by Joelle Pitts.