Primal Digital History

In the year 1998 Julian Lauzzana formed an audio-visual production company called Primal Digital, LLC (Pd) in New York City in a building reportedly dangerously close to one of Nikola Tesla’s first laboratories on East Houston and Avenue A.  Pd (Julian and various collaborators along the way) have engineered, recorded, produced, mixed and edited sound and video as curated live events and studio recordings.

The first “clients” were the Toxic Monkeys.  Not the easiest couple of guys to work with, believe me, but they like(d) working in the studio and helped to cover some of the costs.

The Toxic Monkeys circa 2001
The Toxic Monkeys circa 2002

The relationship continued on for several years and ended with some pretty epic performances in Brooklyn at BWAC (Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition) and Primal Digital Studio.  Around 2003 the Toxic Monkeys disbanded and left for parts unknown.  Maybe they had to get back to the trees and leave the computers behind.  If so, my guess is that it’s only a matter of time before they get the urge to pick up the gadgets again and make some noise.  There are numerous bands and projects out there now with the name Toxic Monkeys, but little or none of that relates to this electronic art rock duo.

TMGC
The Toxic Monkeys “Genetic Cesspool” Music Video

Here is one sample from 1999 recording called “Lo Mein Bondage.”  This was the opening piece called Apocalypto, Part One.

In 2000 Primal Digital moved out of my studio apartment and into it’s own space… a two level 5,000 square foot warehouse in “DUMBO” Brooklyn with no natural light…a total cave of creation!  To get things going, various bands used it as a practice and storage space (including the aforementioned Toxic Monkeys).

Primal Digital Brooklyn, 2000
Primal Digital Brooklyn, 2000 (photo by Andy Alpern)

We began hosting various happenings like art openings, CD release parties, film screenings and live performance art shows.

Pdentrance

There was a recording studio built in the basement while events took place upstairs.

 

Everything was going pretty darn well until some people decided to run some airplanes into a couple of Big Towers across the river on Sept 11, 2001.  After that time it was hard to have so much fun anymore for various reasons and one of the primary studio collaborators, Mert Balkanli, was, along with countless other vaguely middle-eastern or potentially Muslim people,  incarcerated for 6 weeks without charges .  Eventually he was forced to take “voluntary departure” and now he lives in Australia and plays some pretty heavy music over there with a band called “The Warm Feelings” Here is a link to a silly TV ad his band is featured in..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m47dq7Xuesk  and also with a band called “The Black Turtles” with a guy named Walangari Karntawarra who is of Aboriginal descent.  You can see a video here https://youtu.be/KDaS7jn4108

 

Mert and Julian
Mert and Julian, late 2001

Since moving from 216 Plymouth Street in DUMBO in 2005 Pd moved from NYC to Vermont (1 year) then to Arizona (1 year), then to Portland (2 years) and back to Michigan since 2010.  The Land of Lakes is where I was raised and now I am situated in a rural Southwest Michigan Community Homestead called Earthen Heart.  Our agritopian attempts at radical comprehensive realignment can be viewed at www.EarthenHeart.com.  We are looking for short and long term visitors/residents.   Some of the Pd studio is up and running in the attic space now.

We will continue to put out archival and new material.

The mission of this website is to spawn local and global collaboration on new projects while sharing some of the archival material as well.  Thanks for being here and participating.

Summer of 2017 involved busting out  the Crown K2 amp and pair of Cerwin Vega speakers (from the original Pd studio in BKLYN) to DJ with some LP records and other formats to DJ for a couple weddings!  2015-2016 involved a couple music festivals in barns and outdoors . Ongoing youth media production and education in Michigan Public Schools.  Reach out and connect.  Let’s make something happen!

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