Peripheral Vision 010: RJD2 on the power of uncertainty

"I went from being a DJ to being a producer, to realizing that I needed to branch out and have more things I could use to make records," John "RJD2" Krohn explains. "So I started immediately buying old stuff. I had built out my tool set and component set enough and felt comfortable enough doing it that the next step was to go into building modular synth components." This is the garage of a man who's branched out. Its interiors echo the outside of the suburban Philadelphia home he shares with his family next door, those front lawn childhood playsets traded in for the toys of one of the most successful and diverse indie music producers around. There's recording equipment, a slew of live instruments, including two drum sets and synths of all stripes, plus a number of self-assembled musical components in various states of disarray.

Krohn, a micromanager of sorts, has happily injected himself in nearly every aspect of the music creation process, from production, to vocals, to live instruments to running his own record. Building his own equipment was, naturally, the next logical step. Among other things, the components assembled on his workbench lend an air of uncertainty that has driven his compositions and recordings over the years. "I never know what things are going to sound like until I finish them," he says. "Having an idea and exploring that idea as you're recording it is very exciting to me. That excitement pushes you and inspires you to put more time into a thing and really get every minute component of it right. And that is enormously satisfying."

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