The Monday Media Diet with Erin Hoagg aka Rare DM
On music, production, and cats
Erin Hoagg (EH) is a friend of WITI and a very interesting electronic producer. She’s using a variety of analog synths as well as some old-fashioned charisma on stage. We’re happy to have her on the page this morning. -Colin (CJN)
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Erin, also known as Rare DM. I’m a solo musician and electronic producer, making music of the darker analog variety in Brooklyn, NY.
I’m the daughter of two fine artists that met at CCS in Detroit, then moved to Baltimore for grad school at MICA, where my older sister and I were born. When I was 4 years old we moved back to MI, but this time to Traverse City, where they had my little sister. Now here I am all grown up, a middle child of 3 girls. They are both really shy and I simply cannot relate because I live for attention. I’m a Leo, I’m a Scorpio Rising, and I’m a Libra moon if you’re into that stuff. I love to dance and spent all of high school going to the local college to partner dance; my favorites being Jitterbug and Argentinian Tango. I’ve worked vintage clothing throughout that time, and have a collection of tiny boxes. I moved to NYC to go to FIT for fashion design, where I got my associates and then dropped to play drums in a band. I started pursuing my solo music career seriously soon after. I found a Casio CZ 5000 on the street in 2016 and it felt like a sign that I was on my way. My studio has grown immensely since then, and I’ve set it up specifically for jamming. I have all of my gear connected through cv/midi so I can play on all of my synths and drum machines at the same time, with 16 inputs to record them all. I like to go through the jams after and Frankenstein them into new arrangements after I find the magical moments. I fostered 23 kittens in 2020, (not all at once) and got Covid right before Christmas, when I met my failed foster, my now full-time kitty, Eevee. I spend most of my time on a bike when I’m not in my studio. I got pretty good at Tiktok over the past 2 years and met some great friends that way. This year I scored an Icelandic witch film and made a music video where I poisoned my “husband.” I like to write highly specific lyrics that are cathartic or make me laugh. I want to live happily ever after and be in love until I die. I believe that if you can dream it you can do it. I’ve been working on not picking at my skin so much.
Describe your media diet.
On first light, I have a look at whatever dm’s I have received overnight on IG. Then email is next because it’s more stressful. While I have coffee I look over the TikTok and Twitter universe - check to see what is trending in the news, if anyone important died, and what my favorite dj’s are on about. On my computer, I have about a thousand tabs open, and they are usually some combination of Bandcamp, Sephora, google flights, Craigslist, reverb.com, articles about music distribution, sync licensing, “finding the right music lawyer for you” etc, researching venues and upcoming shows, and youtube tabs of cool music videos and useful tutorials, some gluten-free recipes, and probably some shoes I want to buy. Recently, I’ve gotten into Japanese eBay for vintage synths and Akira shirts. I like to read nonfiction music books or sci-fi and fantasy. Generally, when consuming things I am trying to learn or escape reality.
What’s the last great book you read?
“Goldenhand” by Garth Nix. I loved the Abhorsen Series growing up, and upon realizing there were more books written after the initial trilogy, and I sprung on the opportunity to re-enter the Old Kingdom. The way that death is represented in the series is incredibly interesting to me. The books are dark and ethereal, they follow Necromancers called the Abhorsens, who fight to keep the dead down and free magic creatures bound. It was hard to match the original magic of Sabriel and Lirael, but Goldenhand did resolve some loose ends of the initial series, and it was lovely to see a perpetually miserable character find happiness.
What are you reading now?
My first cooking book, “Salt Acid Fat Heat” by Samin Nosrat, as well as David Byrne’s “How Music Works,” which reminds me so much of “Ways of Hearing” by Damon Krukowski, which I really really enjoyed.
What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?
If you are going to pick up a print copy, you ideally want to hold on to it. A good book or magazine, after it’s read, can make you feel comforted just looking at it, knowing you can pick it up again. Especially if it’s beautifully designed or well-loved. I may buy a magazine and not hold on to it forever, but my favorite books stay with me.
Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?
Well, now that I’m reading it, I do feel like everyone would benefit from “Salt Acid Fat Heat” because it changes how you cook and therefore you’ll be able to more deliciously nourish yourself, and never have soggy, grey vegetables ever again. If you are an electronic producer you absolutely must own “Making Music, 74 Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers” by Dennis DeSantis. Otherwise, I would say the Abhorsen series - for selfish reasons - I wish I had more people to talk about it with.
What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone?
I don’t know how famous it is or isn’t, but I am absolutely enthralled over the Minimalist App. It’s the best reminder and note app I’ve ever had. The design is beautiful and user-friendly. I have customized widgets taking up my phone screen now, so I can look at Eevee while being reminded of my priorities.
Plane or train?
Plane for now, because I haven’t had the chance to go on one of the beautiful dining/sleeping trains through the Swiss Alps yet. The trains in NYC aren’t very romantic.
What is one place everyone should visit?
I wish I was well-traveled enough to really answer this question properly - I just went to Europe for the second time in my life this fall, so I have to say Rome for now, as it is the most beautiful place I have ever been and I wish the architecture everywhere was as old and beautiful as the ruins of the city.
Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into.
Like any proper New Yorker, I have had to deal with pests before. There was one winter where I started to have a little bit of a mouse problem. (This was before I ever started fostering kittens.) I really loved mice when I was little and used to catch field mice when I could in Michigan. I had pet mice too when I was young, and generally think they are really cute. Well, I started realizing I could catch them humanely with a little food in a bag so I would wait till I’d hear one and then I’d grab the top of the bag and then put them outside. One faithful day there was a really tiny cute mouse and I cornered it in my living room when I saw it scurrying and caught it with my bare hands. I was extremely self-satisfied at my prowess and went to take it to the door to put it outside when the sound of the door squeaked and that baby bit my finger and drew blood. I went to google! There are about 10,000 mice diseases and all of them were going to kill me. I might have rabies, a tetanus shot may do something (I did get one) but it is unclear. Apparently, city mice are not country mice (!!!!) and they commune with the city rats (!!!!!!!!) and basically, I am probably going to die from my 3-year-old mouse disease any day now!! I fully spiraled about my imminent death, and then I bought a lethal electric shock mouse killer 3000 the next day and massacred the colony. I really let that get out of hand. I haven’t seen a mouse since Eevee moved in, she protects me from them now. (EH)
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Thanks for reading,
Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Erin (EH)
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