David Starfire is an enormously successful musician, but maybe not in the way you would expect. Primarily a producer, he is perhaps the premiere innovator behind the Global Bass genre, which has made him into a world-renowned artist. He also composes music for psychedelic therapy, as well as being a VR and phone app developer, which speaks to his high technological aptitude. Well-known within the EDM ranks, Starfire has released six full-length albums and eleven EPs over the last 15 years, the latest being Alchemy of the Heart. Released this summer via Soul Land Records, it’s an ambient album that features meditations from the late, revered, highly revered spiritual teacher Ram Dass.
Within the realm of psychedelic therapy, Starfire is the head of music and sound at TRIPP VR. It is one of the most popular meditation platforms in virtual reality. In 2020, he co-founded PsyAssist, which is a VR and smartphone app that features music and guided meditation for psychedelic therapy. Similarly, he helped develop the TRIPP meditation phone app, to which he contributes music. Speaking of contributing music, Starfire has worked with companies like Lucasfilm, Industrial Light and Magic, Beats Audio, Samsung Red Bull, Warner Music, and many others.
Today, we are joined by Starfire to discuss his music, his career and his new album Alchemy of the Heart, all in an effort to find out more about this brilliantly talented artist.
How would you describe your own music?
David Starfire: “My music is a mix of West Coast bass music mixed with world music. I’ve traveled the world and recorded traditional and indigenous musicians. I’ll use those recordings, and then I’ll add my electronic bass music production to it.”
Tell us about Alchemy of the Heart. What was your experience of making it? What went on behind the scenes? Any notable moments that stand out?
“My new release, Alchemy of the Heart with Ram Dass, recently came out. It was a departure from the music that most fans hear, and it’s an ambient album with meditations by Ram Dass. I spent a lot of time with the production and cleaning up the original recordings from the ’60s and ’70s. The title track, ‘Alchemy of the Heart,’ extended version still brings me to tears.
What’s the best show you’ve ever played?
“At Burning Man (probably my top five are from there).”
What’s your favourite city or venue to play?
“Black Rock City, Burning Man.
Which do you enjoy the most: writing, recording, practicing, or playing live?
“Playing live. I love the excitement and adrenaline from the crowd.”
What’s the most dangerous thing that’s happened at one of your shows?
“Performing on the Incendia 20-foot high stage at Burning Man in a booth made of fire. My computer shut down, and I almost passed out!”
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened at one of your shows or on tour?”
“DJing at Dr. Bronner’s camp at the Foam Bath with about 100 naked burners showering. (Artists) Alex and Allyson Grey were also there live painting.”
What’s next for you?
“Working on music for Psychedelic Therapy retreats.”
Your new album, Alchemy of the Heart, was recently released. Now that it is complete, how do you feel about it, and what has been the response so far?
“The response has been amazing! I’ve had so many fans reach out to me to tell me that it has really helped them. Fans will send me videos and post them online. We have videos for all the songs, and the fans really like them!”
Do you receive a lot of support from your local scene and fans in general?
“Yes, I have a wonderful fan base in Arcata (Humboldt), and the scene is a mix of world music and ratchetness!”
Do you have any rituals before you hit the stage? If so, what are they?
“I usually try and meditate for 20 minutes before my set at my hotel to get into the zone.”
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
“DJing at the Pyramids of Giza in 2012 at the Great Convergence Festival.”