My 5 Favorite Things: Dawn Golden & Rosy Cross
Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross is the project of producer Dexter Tortoriello. On Saturday he's scheduled to play Mad Decent Block Party Los Angeles. Before heading out from the Windy City to the City of Angeles to get down and dirty with the Mad Decent crew, we asked him about five of his favorite things that keep him in his comfort zone while on the road. He was more than eager to oblige. "At some point every trip," confides Tortoriello, "each of these items proves itself to be invaluable."
1. Handkerchief: When you think of a handkerchief, you think of a few different things, the first probably being some old guy blowing his nose loudly into a piece of fabric and then stuffing the whole mess back into his pocket. That is disgusting, and I still can't be convinced that even after a thousand washes that it would be clean. This is not what I use my handkerchief for. In fact I couldn't give you a single consistent way I use it, as the situations where it comes in handy are always different. I've used this as a small blanket for my cats, a quick towel to clean a spill in a confined space (airplanes, etc.), a hand towel when paper isn't available (i.e. every dressing room bathroom in every venue anywhere), something to eat lunch off of in the grass, the list goes on practically forever in every direction. It's become something I carry every day, though I only use it once a month or so.
2. Buddha Machine: The Buddha Machine is this fantastic little box (about the size of a pack of cigarettes) that comes loaded with a handful of ambient droning music loops. There's a volume and pitch knob and a speaker and that's about it. Basically it just plays one of several 30-second loops of music that seamlessly stitch together forever and ever into eternity if you let it. This has made several long trips with me. I've fallen asleep to it in the back of a cargo van during a monsoon, in a tiny cabin in Hawaii, and in bedrooms across the united states. It's one of those things that instantly makes me feel at home and warm and safe, no matter where I'm at. My girlfriend also has exhausting dreams about tremendously intricate patterns when she sleeps with it on. It's a powerful little box that can transform any physical or subliminal space you're in and bring you somewhere a little better.
3. Teenage Engineering OP-1: It would be ridiculous to describe everything this tiny synthesizer can do here, so I'll just describe one of my favorite moments with it: I was on tour with ††† (Crosses) at the start of this year and had brought my OP-1 along to use in my sets. As it's insanely entertaining, I often times would go back to my cabin on the bus and play around with it after the shows. One night after we played Sacramento I was playing around and making some dumb beat on it with my headphones on. Chino Moreno (of Crosses) came over and was like "show me what that does" or something like that. In an attempt to impress him with how cool it was, I used the onboard FM antenna to grab a loop of some reggaeton song off the radio and instantly made a simple beat by cutting up the loop. I then had him hum into the microphone and sampled that to make into a synth sound. We basically passed the thing around the bus plugged into the sound system and made a bunch of noise for the rest of the night. It looks and operates like a toy, but is one of the most powerful synths I've played with. It also works as a MIDI keyboard so that I can work on music from the road with a very compact setup.
4. Medicine: Touring can be exhausting. Like it can be the most spirit crushingly hectic awful thing on earth if you aren't prepared to endure it. You keep crazy hours, you eat horribly, you exert a ton of energy after having exerted none all day while driving/flying/traveling, and sometimes it's wintertime and you're touring the east coast and it's like a thousand degrees below zero everywhere you go. I've learned that with minimal effort, I can keep myself happy and comfortable by using a few different tricks.
Vitamin D3 - 5000 IU of D3 a day is pretty much a guarantee that you aren't going to get sick. Most people are deficient in D3 anyways, so don't worry about taking too much. If I feel like I'm about to get sick I megadose on it and take like 75,000 IU and will literally feel better by morning. I obviously can't recommend that, so do your homework and talk to your doctor or whatever. It's basically a cure all.
Colloidal Silver - I always feel crazy recommending this stuff, as it makes me sound like a new age ghost hunter or something, but it works and I can't deny that. A simple Internet search will bring up a thousand things it claims to cure (everything from an eye infection to cancer) and another thousand sites telling you never ever to take it because it doesn't work and you will turn blue. The fact is, you might turn blue if you're an idiot about taking it, but it has worked for me every time I use it. Burns and cuts, colds and flus, shingles, and canker sores — all cured before they ever got serious by using a tiny bit of this stuff. I'm a firm believer in it.
Nicodrops - A small lozenge supposedly able to help you quit smoking. I smoke cigarettes unfortunately and these have never curbed a craving even a little bit. They do however have a bunch of valerian root in them as well as some other calming herbs and they taste really good. I use them to help me fall asleep, shake nerves before big shows, or just relax if I've drank too much coffee or something. They're pretty cheap and will last forever.
5. Notebook: I have a ton of notebooks and most of them are dedicated to pretty specific things (lyrics, stories, general planning of the rest of my life), but this one is pretty general, and is mostly used while on tour to collect things in and to capture different places. Some of it is just plain journaling in different places (although I don't keep a daily journal or anything, I've realized how important it is to take written "photos" of different days that you'd probably forget about. I also use this notebook to hold physical items from different places. I'm a little bit of a hoarder and mostly of paper goods (receipts, matchbooks, notes, whatever). I used to just shove them into my pockets and then empty my pockets into my suitcase and then empty my suitcase when I get home and wonder why the hell I felt it necessary to save part of a napkin and then throw it out. Now I press them into this notebook using some tape or gum or whatever is around and write a small description. It's amazing how much a few words and a date can trigger your memory. It's important to know who you were on May 5 of 2012 and to be able to read a short description of a day you spent doing nothing with people you met once in a city you live nowhere near by. This particular notebook is a Leuchtturm 1917 and it's great because it has a few nice labels for the cover and spine and most importantly numbered pages with a corresponding index, so you know exactly where everything is. Organizing your past is every bit as important as organizing your future.
Dawn Golden & Rosy Cross plays Mad Decent Block Party Los Angeles on August 25.