About Dain Daller
Dain's & Amanda's Earthship 2021
Today marks the 11th year of building this house. Our personal interpretation of independence day. So much blood, so much sweat, and so many tears. From the ground up with all four earthship DIY books. We had plenty of encouragement to guide us, and the discouragement to propel us even further. It’s an ongoing project but the end is near. We started to pour the last floor today. It would have been done a month ago but we are installing a stone/light feature which will be well worth the time it’s taking: pictures of that to come in a week or two!! And two more coats of plaster on one more wall…the dome interior.. and well done? Really? I think that’s it. We are still building a studio though, so a few more years of hard labor for that giant 600 sq. ft addition.. We have an indoor, self watering tropical paradise. A flushing toilet. A magical shower. A completely self sustaining water system. Solar power. Earth Based, bermed into the ground natural air conditioning. Passive solar heat.. A community. A work at home life. Friends. Non-stop laughs.. And yes, we did celebrate today by working on this house all day. Also, I’m proud to say I’ve had the same pickaxe for 11 years, and used it again, today.
AMANDA SPEER, DAIN DALLER
Images courtesy of the photographer, Amanda Speer
Feeling burnt out on city life, artists Amanda Speer and Dain Daller moved from Chicago to northern New Mexico in 2010 to seek a more economically and environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Around the same time that they purchased a plot of land, they learned about Earthships, a holistic home/life design developed by architect Michael Reynolds. To build an Earthship, you must adhere to strict tenets regarding materials, energy sources, garbage and sewage treatment, etc.; however, Dain and Speer work continuously to infuse their Earthship with creativity with the inclusion of decorative elements throughout the home and property.
Much of the artwork built into the home is inspired by the materials that Dain and Amanda scavenge that they repurpose as mosaics, woodwork, curated collections, textiles, and more. Though the duo believe they will eventually complete the home, they are already planning for additional structures, like a separate Earthship studio and then a kiln, as well as development of the surrounding property with outdoor sculpture and landscaping. Dain and Speer’s studio practice is based on fiber work (Warp Zone Weaving); however, Speer describes the home as their “masterpiece.”
Statement from Amanda Speer, August 2019:
We are Amanda Speer and Dain Daller. We identify primarily as artists, musicians, and homebuilders. We became disillusioned with the city life after living in Chicago for almost a decade. It was primarily the lack of prospect for home ownership. We wanted a freedom that urban life was prohibiting. A life with less daunting bills, and people not living on top of people. We took a giant leap and left the city in a tiny muffler-less car in 2009.
We are both self-taught builders. We are influenced by mud building techniques from all around the world and all throughout all periods of time. We built our home in the Earthship stye with the help of an Earthship internship and the four DIY Earthship books written by Michael Reynolds. We have built every component of our house—plumbing, cabinetry, framing, couches—you name it, we built it with our hands. We have dug every bit of dirt out by hand, which is a far less destructive method than using large machinery, and it is also much more peaceful and gratifying.
Dain and I will most likely continue to build into the sunset. We do very much intend to finish our house, yet there will always be something more to do or decorate or embellish. We are currently drawing plans for a huge weaving studio to be added on to our house. We don’t cut corners, so our projects are usually quite slow to develop. It will be another Earthship around 700 square feet and have its own water system for a full dye kitchen.
The work sometimes feels endless and daunting, but we realize we have built an amazing life and environment that even feels unbelievable to us at times. We are fortunate to have been able to do so. We’ve created an environment that only gets closer and closer to being our personal utopia every day. We live and work at home, and remain grateful for this opportunity and try not to take any of it for granted.
Amanda has a BFA from Columbia College, Chicago, and Dain has a BFA from the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. We learned to weave in 2012 at the local Española Valley Fiber Arts Center and have now shown our work around the world. We continue to work, teach, and build in Northern New Mexico.
Materials: adobe, tile, brick, wood, other scavenged materials
Building an earthship in New Mexico with Amanda Speer
Amanda & Dain's Chicagoclimatefest Video
Published on Oct 27, 2016
Earthship video... 6 years into the project.... check back in three years and maybe we'll be done... :)
2017 - 360° tour of earthship
2017 - 360° tour of earthship upstairs
Here's Amanda's blog website:
RaiseHighTheRoofBeamCarpenters.blogspot.com (most recent)
Starting from the beginning (I like to read from the beginning)
And Amanda's YouTube channel:
Amanda J. Speer with Dain Daller
Earthship; New Mexico
various natural and manmade materials
This Earthship project creates an affordable, sustainable, home in the Southwestern U.S. The entirety of the project has been conceived and executed purely by myself and my partner Dain Daller. As artists and builders, we have a goal of making a positive impact on the declining health of our planet.
The Earthship is made of rammed earth walls, and a glass front. The glass front face is almost completely south facing. This allows full sun in winter, and no sun, during summer. The tire walls are filled with rammed earth which creates a thermal mass. The house is completely buried on all sides besides the glass front. The structure soaks in heat like a charging battery.
This home is self sustaining. It will use its water five times before it is put back into the earth’s atmosphere. After the water is collected off the roof, it is stored in a cistern. It is then filtered for drinkable water. After the water is used in sinks and showers, it is filtered into the indoor green house. The water then drains into a separate tank. This storage tank is for flushing the toilet. When water is flushed, it drains into a standard septic tank. There is no leach field. Human matter is decomposed and then put into a ground level black water planter, creating a fertilized soil used for landscaping.
For more information visit: http://raisehightheroofbeamcarpenters.blogspot.com
Dub Techno with Prophet 08, MS-20, XOX, JV2080, El Capistan
Prophet 08 and Roland JV2080 sequenced by E-Mu MP-7. MS-20 Sequenced by MFB URZWERG. XOXbox, Volca beats, Oberheim DX sequenced by themselves.
I got the Prophet a while ago, and honestly wasn't that into it. But I have grown to appreciate it more and more. Running it through the El Capistan dTape Delay really makes it breathe and feel much more alive. That pedal is amazing, highly recommended!
Hope you like the sounds.
Fractal was generated using Xaos, it's free and tons of fun to play with.
Dain broadcast on KRUU, live or sent in remotely for 12 years
"Below low tech, above water, beneath the sky, across the fire
It's Dain Daller - your outstanding inspoken No-Fi Field Guide"
Tune in Live at: (KRUU is no longer broadcasting)
- Thursday 4-5am
- Saturday 10-10:30am
- Saturday 10:30-11am
"popular mechanics" on SoundCloud
popular mechanics on: SoundCloud
The Tirehouse Tapes
by Dain Daller
Dain Daller was part of the Chicago based electro-acoustic group Tiny Music, who have released a few great cassettes of epic machine music on Notice Recordings and Nihilist Records, as well as a few self released full length smokers. These days Dain has been keeping himself busy out in the desert of rural New Mexico, building a house out of recycled automobile tires. He is hunched over in full-on solo mode here, playing remarkable non-music seemingly without any instruments at all. Snippets of crackling vinyl and magnetic tape, bits of radio static, air compressors or whatever else got dragged in from the tool shed. Occasionally rhythmic, but proudly abrasive and atonal, perhaps a hint of garden hose or running motors? Seven sprawling serenades span these sides yielding a skewed sense of plunder-phonic/concrete structures carefully piled and stacked, resulting in a remarkably engaging narrative of squealing shortwave and relentlessly skipping 78’s. Desert dweller creak-howls, from a whisper to a roar. Dank opaque olive-green shell cassette comes beautifully packaged with full color labels and matching double sided full color wrap around U-card featuring photography of the actual Tirehouse shot by D.D. himself, and a stamped b/w photo insert printed on recycled sand colored art paper. Dry heat.
released 15 October 2011
Review on cassettegods.blogspot.com
DAIN DALLER "Tirehouse Tapes Vol.1" c48
Dain Daller, of the Chicago band Tiny Music, now lives in a self-constructed house of automobile tires in the desert of New Mexico (pictured on the artwork). This tape resonates with the unique vision one might expect from someone with such a hermetic existence. "Tirehouse Tapes Vol. 1" is an album length collection of thoughtful musique concrete constructions. Daller employs household objects, skipping or crackling records, snippets of radio and perhaps an instrument here or there to create 7 distinct compositions. A suite that shows the path toward a possible future for music in a post-technology collapse.
TIREHOUSE TAPES - Volume 2
by Dain Daller
Untitled track from the upcoming c57 cassette - available from (Sold Out) lightenupsounds.blogspot.com
New Mexico desert dwellers Dain Daller and Amanda Speer return as Tirehouse Tapes with this remarkable second installment of deep desert improvisation, distinct junk clatter and bizarre detritus experiments. Long form player of bump and sputter, synth wobble, shriek and pilfered tone rattle. Hair caught in broken zipper, this one wonks steady. Real time duplicated bright tangerine translucent shell c48 with chocolate brown labels comes packaged with double sided cardstock three-panel J-card featuring original full color photograph of the Tirehouse itself. Hand-numbered edition of 50. Sand sound, sweet song.
Teen Center Rap on SoundCloud
Tracks from the free rap class at the Los Alamos Teen Center. Taught by Dain Daller. All beats and rhymes original by Dain and Teens.
More on SoundCloud: Teen Center Rap
Dain Daller, Sept 07, 2007
This American Artist: No-Fi Field Guide to Dain Daller
BY JAMES MOORE(The Iowa Source)
After a brief raft trip down the Mississippi, Dain hopped on his bike and headed west.
ART IS A SMALL WORD but a huge thing. It’s hard to define, defend, or contain. Art has been usurped by states for propaganda purposes, threatened the existence of governments, challenged status quos, and raised or lowered community standards—depending on your point of view.
Here’s a definition: Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature. a. The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium.
Beautiful. Now there’s a mouthful—or should I say: ear-full or eye-full? You know what they say: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Beauty is also, of course, in the mind’s eye of the artist. Or the mind’s “I,” as my good friend Richard Beymer likes to say.
Art can also be measured by how much scratch it commands at auction. But this is to focus on the fruit, not the fruitcake, as it were. Now before you get your bundies in an undle, I’m using “fruitcake” as a metaphor for the artistic process, and mean it in the most elevated sense.
Artists are known to follow the beat of their own drums. This I applaud. Human beings are not putty, pipe cleaners, or robots. We have feelings, inspirations, intuitions, a need to express, explore, touch, hold, taste, connect, build, create.
Today we salute the calling and life of a remarkable artist named Dain Daller. Fairfield residents may know his parents, Donna Colby and Doug Daller, and his sister Adrien, a legendary chanteuse. Both Donna and Doug are deejays on KRUU-FM, Fairfield’s grassroots radio station, which I manage. Adrien has just completed her vocal and theater studies in England. In her first tryout, she secured employment in a touring musical theater production of Godspell starring Steve Gately of Boyzone (an Irish boy band that has sold over 15 million records to date).
The first time I worked with Dain was incorporating beats he’d created on his computer for an upcoming dance my band was scheduld to play. Besides a plethora of killer beats, I found Dain’s work ethic and focus utterly impressive, his company good medicine. He had definite opinions about what worked best where but wasn’t the least pushy or attached. He exudes an air of joy, not in any nervous, self-deprecating or escapist way, just in his carriage. Even though it was mostly cover music, everything soared, everybody danced every song, every musician was high as a kite by evening’s end. I still have the cassette he recorded for me of the basic beats.
Turns out he is still working with cassettes. Dain is host of a show on KRUU-FM called No-Fi Field Guide, which airs Saturdays at 10 a.m. (rebroadcast Sundays at 1 a.m., downloadable at www.kruufm. com.) High art meets low fidelity at the corner of Kerouac and John Lomax. A proactive found artist, this cat has the gift of sight in spades—a veritable bull’s eye of a mind’s “I.” That’s the thing about art. It’s all starts with vision, what you see or imagine, as well as wherewithal and composition—what you put next to what, what you leave leave out, what you snip and what you tuck. The great ones make the act of juggling those elements look easy.
But here’s Dain’s secret.
Whether he’s living under a bridge somewhere, or in an abandoned building in Chicago, or biking the distance of Europe . . . whether he’s playing an ancient horn-fiddle or trumpet-violin known as a stroviol, or any assortment of instruments, or wearing a hat he embroidered, pants he stitched, or eyeglass frames he rolled himself . . . whether he’s competing in a no-holds-barred eating contest, planning a raft trip down the Mississippi or a crosscountry bike excursion from the banks of the ol’ Muddy to a cabin in the corner of Arizona ten miles from both New Mexico and ol’ Mexico—everything the guy does is friggin’ art. The world is his oyster-canvas. Did I mention he’s totally charming, completely blown, utterly unpretentious, and perfectly centered?
When Dain decided he was ready to do a weekly show, I was ecstatic. He planned to bike across America and deliver shows from the road. Watching him pull the tools togther to accomplish his field-recorded musings was a beautiful thing. He researched and tested different equipment, trying them out in different settings, finally settling on his old standby—an old-school no-frills cassette recorder.
What were the odds a 28-year-old tent-packing illuminated minstrel would be able to deliver the goods on time through the snail-mail?
As I suspected, you can set your clock to this guy. When his first cassette came in the mail, I did a little jig. The little handmade envelope was a work of art in itself. I placed it reverently in a cigar-style vintage black candy box with a maroon tassle on the front, “BLACK MAGIC” in bold letters across the top. It was Dain who had left it for me to collect his offerings in.
Each track of each show is written out in freehand, Lewis Carrol-type etchings, on little scraps of paper, often with little pictures or drawings relating to the contents. Stamps add effect. It’s like Christmas every delivery, to paraphrase Rimbaud. Or was that Henry Miller? I plan to make the envelopes into a 3-D wall sculpture.
Shows highlight the people and places Dain meets along the way: the Navou Brass Band, a chance encounter with a fellow violin-toting bicyclist named Laura Bennet, rolling thunder over the Mississippi, a Madonna cassette he finds by the side of the road, a story about a tough kid and his tragic pet duck at high school, a resident in Missouri talking tornados, rain on his tent, frogs, owls, a congregation singing in church, a barge going through a drawbridge, 98 rpm records recorded in people’s homes, jams with fellow gypsies and in sundry roadsters. . . .
What rocks is not just the sublime no-tech texture of each week’s offering, but the crystalline collecting tentacles of what catches Dain’s eye and the way he adeptly threads each bead of each show together into a heartfelt headress. The greatest storytellers can explode the universe with a single grain of sand. Maybe when you listen to No-Fi Field Guide you won’t hear what I do. All I know is when God created grassroots community radio, this has to be what He had in mind.