The resurgent East Bay producer tells his story.
In the mid-'00s Dax Pierson cofounded two leading alternative hip-hop groups, 13&God and Subtle. Subtle released four LPs on Lex Records, originally a sub-imprint of Warp and home to Danger Mouse and Gnarls Barkley, while 13&God was something of a super group, featuring members of Themselves, The Notwist and Subtle.
In 2005, the Subtle tour vehicle encountered black ice and flipped over, leaving Dax with a spinal cord injury in the fifth and sixth vertebrae. The last 12 years have been spent exploring ways to make music again. With his individual fingers paralysed, Pierson experimented with touch surface interfaces and now uses iPad apps to control a laptop. This is how he wrote his new album Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Disappointment), whose subtitle is drawn from a quote by choreographer and modern dancer Martha Graham. In conversation with Matt McDermott, Pierson shares how the quote came to name the record, his relationship to Afrofuturism and the development of his new music making set up.