Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into EDM.
Well, I just moved to Seattle about one year ago. Before that I had lived in San Francisco for about five years, and I’m originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. I had been playing keys in various groups and writing songs since college, and when I moved to San Francisco I decided to enroll in a Master’s program for Music Production and Sound Design for Visual Media at the Academy of Art. The program was pretty much geared towards writing and producing music for Films, TV, Etc. (which I still do), but everything was digital, and throughout the course of the program, the more I produced pieces of music using a midi controller and Logic (more or less), the more I realized that I liked just producing electronic music. I had played keys in a lot of bands that played various forms of funk, jazz, soul, etc., and I had been writing music with pen and paper for years, so I decided to combine the two and start producing EDM. That’s really how it all came together, and since then it’s kind of taken on a life of its own, and now it seems like I can’t listen to or write anything but EDM. So there you have it.
What was your experience like at the Academy of Art in San Francisco? How did this influence the music you produce now?
Well like I said, it gave me the skills to be able to produce music electronically, which was really a foreign world to me at the time. I was doing everything analog, and by that I really mean analog. I actually remember, in about 2007, talking to one of my friends about how awesome it would be if there was some kind of software out there that I could use to record one track, then play it back and layer another track on top. That’s really how clueless I was at the time about DAW’s and digital recording! I was doing everything on staff paper for years. So after a few intense years of learning about digital production and lot more advanced music theory, I was in a completely different world.
What other genres of music do you get inspiration from?
Like I said, right now I’m pretty obsessed with EDM- but that includes a pretty wide variety of electronic music for me. I like a good Trance track just as much as Deep House or Electro. If I feel it immediately, I like it. It doesn’t really matter to me what it is. I’ve been listening to different forms of Electro-Cumbia for a while now. Also Samba, Afro Beat, Afro-Colombian, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Peruvian, etc. I’ve always listened to a lot of Hip-Hop as well- mostly East Coast (Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Wu-Tang, etc.) I listen to a lot of Soul and Funk as well. But then I also listen to Indie Rock, Minimal Classical, all different forms of Jazz, etc. I’ve also been a hardcore fan of traditional Jamaican Ska for a long time, and like some good Reggae as well (mostly of the Rocksteady variety). I think I’ve always had eclectic tastes, and doing my masters in Music for Visual Media has only widened them, because when you’re writing music for films or tv, you really have to be versatile. I think that also really helps with EDM, because my favorite EDM is the type that really pulls in influences from a lot of different styles of music. The kind of thing that hardcore fans end up getting in arguments about what genre and sub-genre it is. That kind of stuff…
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment in your career so far?
I feel like I’m really at the beginning of my career, but I think some of the artists and engineers I have been able to work with over the years would definitely qualify as pretty good accomplishments. I produced an EP in 2008 and worked with some players that had worked with Ray Charles, The Temptations, Fred Wesley, etc. The engineer on that project had worked with David Bowie and tons of others. That was a pretty great experience. I also wrote string arrangements for a band in San Francisco that were recorded by The Magik*Magik Orchestra (who has worked with The Dodos, Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead, recorded the soundtrack for Looper, etc.) I got to be in the studio with the conductor and the players during the session, so that was a really cool experience. And of course getting my Master’s from AAU is a big accomplishment for me.
Tell us about your new track “Stars”. It certainly goes in a different direction than your previous Dance Craze EP that’s much more traditional Trance. What inspired you to go in this direction?
Well, the way music is working these days, I just want to be able to continuously give something to the people out there that are supporting me at this time. I also learned a lot about producing EDM through doing my Dance Craze EP, so now I feel like I’m smoothing it out a little, making things a little more minimal, and creating the type of music that I really want to. I’m working on another track right now as well, and I really feel like things are getting better and better, so I just want to keep releasing things to my fans and keep the ball rolling. Plus I want to get enough quality tracks out there by the end of the year so that I can start do live sets of my own music.
What is next for you?
I’m just going to keep releasing tracks, do another EP, and keep trying to build momentum and get some attention for the music I’m releasing. I want to start releasing on an indie label, and like I said, I want to get a set together and start performing live. I want to work with a visual artist and create something really original and engaging for my live sets, because even though I’ve performed onstage with bands for years, I’ve never done it with just myself and a DJ rig, and I’m a firm believer in making a live performance a real performance, theater and all. I’ve never liked going to a show and just watching guys sit there in t-shirts and tight jeans, so watching a DJ perform (or being that DJ) is no different for me. If I’m going to perform live and ask people to pay for it, I want them to get there money’s worth, on both auditory and visual levels. So I’m going to be working on developing that, and just keep releasing music and moving forward.
Let us into your hard drive… who’s in your heavy rotation right now?
Well, I’ve been on SoundCloud a lot lately and have been making a playlist of stuff that I really enjoy listening to at this exact moment. You can check it out here:
But aside from that, it’s really been all over the place:
Paloma Kippes, Bruce Springsteen, Bebo Valdes, The Polish Ambassador, Lorde, David Byrne, Stevie Wonder, Bettie Davis, Moroder, Matias Aguayo, John Talabot, Uproot Andy, Herbie Hancock, Kavinsky, Surkin… And I could go on and on, but check out the SoundCloud list and you should get a pretty good idea about where my head is at right now.