By John Bear

Electronic musician Dan Dave Larson first performed live as a teenager for 20 people at his parent’s Rio Rancho house. The show, if you can call it that, was primarily him and a few friends making sarcastic, cacophonic noise on a variety of instruments. 

Of course, the cops arrived and shut it down. 

To avenge himself upon his buzzkilling neighbors, Larson – who opens for Aesthetic Perfection at the Launchpad on November 8 – sought and secured a noise permit, put together a bill advertising another show with fliers he surreptitiously placed in a now defunct free weekly newspaper and threw another show. 

“It attracted like 300 people to my neighborhood,” he recalls. “It was definitely out of control. That’s what 16-year-old me was up to.”

The police came again when they overran the time on the permit. Larson says that as a parent, he would have nipped this idea in the bu, and he sometimes wonders why his mom let him go through with it. In any case, the chaotic show offered young Larson a “proof of concept” that making music was for him. 

Larson, who has also performed as Elay Arson and Mr. Suit, has long found the process of making music on computers intriguing, even when most of his friends scoffed at electronic music. His first Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW, came as a video game called MTV Music Generator. He was hooked. 

“I’m finding that that’s a common origin story for a lot of other music producers my age,” he says. “It lets you compose stuff with audio clips into a timeline. … I graduated from that. The next year I was actually on a computer.” 

He later sold a synthesizer to get his first apartment, a studio atop a castle-shaped storage facility in Albuquerque’s Southeast Heights. It had no kitchen, just a hot plate. Much of his life centered around working to buy more and more gear. He liked the technology and recording music and the process. The obsession continued to grow. 

“After I bought my house here, I bought the same synthesizer,” he says. “It’s almost a point of pride. This is a thing I had to sacrifice for a deeply uncomfortable existence.” 

Larson later joined the U.S. Army, and managed to record an album while on a tour of duty in Iraq. He’s still not sure how he pulled it off. If you have a laptop and an electrical outlet, you’ve got a ballgame. 

“This was all while working 15 hours a day,” he says. “I was using all of my free time before sleeping just making music.” 

He began to discover the sarcasm-soaked, heavy metal-influenced sound that he has spent the last several years perfecting. (For the record, his mother’s Pink Floyd, ’70s rock, Motown and new jack swing records he heard as a kid also proved influential.)

“It was like Daft Punk only way more aggressive,” Larson says. “I was hearing a lot of French electro and stuff like that but it was angrier. A lot of French artists were very influential, like Danger and early Perturbator.”

Following his time in the army, Larson lived in Colorado Springs for several years because it was cheaper than Denver. In 2015, he started the group Elay Arson and released seven  albums under the name, which included guitar work courtesy of Devin Harrison. He eventually grew weary of the arch-conservative atmosphere and headed back to New Mexico where he now lives. 

Most of Larson’s music is instrumental, but he frequently uses his personal life as inspiration – his Native American heritage, seasonal depression and relationships, etc. – but he’s not averse to the high concept record. The Elay Arson album “Franz,” for example, tells a story of the scientist behind Elon Musk’s laughably stupid Cyber Truck being killed by his own invention, merging with it and then embarking on a killing spree. 

Larson has of late decided to release music under his own name, Dan Dave Larson. His  release “Knives” is, as he puts it, very introspective and self indulgent. The knife named songs deal with different aspects of his life – being a man in America and the societal expectations that accompany it, his military service and the time a woman literally stabbed him in the heart. 

“We dated for like three years after that,” he says. “I can’t say that was the healthiest relationship.” 

Larson has primarily made instrumental music – and it’s deeply personal –  but he wants to explore using more vocals as he continues to compose, record and release albums. It’s a challenge but one he’s ready to embrace because it will make interacting with an audience easier. 

“I have an OK range if I try to keep in tenor,” he says. “I’m not a Freddie Mercury, but I have some songs I’ve been writing. There are some things I think I can do with my voice that other people can’t do.” 

Dan Dave Larson opens for Aesthetic Perfection at the Launchpad on Nov. 8 at 8pm. Tickets: $17