Denver Disco resident DJ Falcon Punch -- or Avery Henderson, as he's known to folks back home in Minnesota -- recently moved to Boulder from Los Angeles. After graduating from Occidental College, where he majored in sociology and minored in music, he took a job at an ad agency in Boulder and immediately tuned into the local music scene. Through a friend, he found the Denver Disco thread, submitted some music and earned a spot in the crew. Combining his fluency in bass, guitar and piano, Falcon Punch is reviving the funk and disco movements by inserting a modern, upbeat tempo into the flavors that founded the best dance-music era of them all.
Westword: How did you get into music production?
Falcon Punch: I've been involved in music for a long time. My family has a studio at our house in Minnesota, and I played in a Blink 182-esque band when I was in high school. Then, in college, I started dabbling in the music-production side of things. When I went out to school in L.A. and started to get more exposed to it, I just really got into funk, soul and disco. I started working with old samples; all my old songs really sample old '70s disco. When I was studying abroad in Amsterdam, I put out my first song, and it did really well -- much better than I thought it would.
What instruments do you play?
I grew up playing bass, which meant I learned to play guitar, and from there, I learned to play piano well enough to play any other instrument on a keyboard through a computer. I do all my own drums by playing the drumbeats on a keyboard using the keys as a MIDI sequencer to launch drum hits. Physically on a drum kit, no chance, but on keys I can. What do you think is the next step in musical progression from there?
For me, it would be getting better at piano. I'm good enough to learn a key signature to jam on a song, but I'm not the person to play along with a song that I hear for the first time. Being able to get to that step would be great. You can naturally compose and jump be-tween keys and chords, and basically, your production quality is more robust.
Honing piano skills would be the best. I'd also like to learn saxophone, but for now I'll just lean on finding people to play for me. You can never really tap out of music production, but the skill improvement lessens when you master the software side of production. And more synthesizer programming -- which is not learning an instrument, but it's a huge part of production. I'd really like to get into the analog-synthesizer world, but that's a whole other thing.
I know the nuts and bolts around it, but there is a hard aspect. When you use a software synthesizer, you're just using your mouse to turn knobs. It's not the same as using an analog with all the knobs, which is so much better, but I won't be able to get that for a while. It's basically the same kind of investment as a car if you really want to get it.