The Morn – Wanda Q [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

futuristic, unpredictable, rare

You blend guitar with chill beats in a very cool way. Tell us a few things about your creative process.

My styles vary so much as I switch from ambient to trap to instrumental jazzy hip hop, but I always start with two things – the BPM and the key signature. I’ve focused heavily on BPMs between 70 and 90 recently but have consistently let the melodic elements guide me throughout. If I find a killer chord progression in Bb major for instance, I riff off that til I find good vocal melodies, often in natural minor scales. I always pitch shift my drum elements to support the key of the song. I’m classically trained in jazz music so I know there are infinite possibilities with chord progressions. I often stick to sixths and major 7ths, throwing in pitch shifted delays and vocal samples. The creative process for each concept is like raising a baby from the day it’s born. You just gotta nurture it and give it all the necessities and attention for the baby to grow into a high functioning adult with swag.

Who is your favorite beatmaker?

It’s between Knxwledge and Pi’erre Bourne for me.

How do you relate to the Los Angeles music scene?

Born and raised in LA, the music scene in the city has functioned as a third parent of mine throughout my life. I started going to hip hop festivals at the age of 9, then raves at the age of 11, so my musical taste was always directly evolving with the acts I’d see at these festivals. Los Angeles has such a rich rap history so I’ve been listening to 2pac, Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg, Dre, and NWA since I was a young boy. As I grew older, electronic music exploded in LA when I approached my teen years, so I got a perfect blend of urban vibes with dance/experimental music to influence me as a future artist. Also with a strong guitar heavy surf rock scene in the city, I’ve related religiously to the variety of the Los Angeles music scenes over the years, going to several shows a week for long periods of time.

How do you think having such an easy access to samples affects the quality of produced music?

I think having easy access to samples improves the quality of produced music as it gives producers an infinite well to source concepts from. In theory this easy access may seem to water down the quality of the music (if you hear the same samples over and over), but I believe that having more resources expands producers’ creative options for the better.

Best music related film?

This one’s outta left field but – Irreversible (2002) – the French film that was scored by Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter. best soundtrack IMO.

When not writing music, how do you spend your time?

I’m an avid trail runner, so when I’m not writing music I’m running in the mountains at high elevation all over California. Also, I’m huge into daily meditation.

Thank you!

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Alvinos Zavlis – Alvinos Vs Lofi [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Experimental, dreamy, spacey

Tell us a few things about your new EP ‘Alvinos vs Lofi’.

My new EP is completely different from my previous releases. In 2020 I started experimenting with Lofi music, a genre that I always enjoyed listening to but never
really found joy in producing. I tried to create Lofi music that fits my personal style and uses characteristics of IDM, cinematic music and ambient. I think the
end result is a collection of unique and fresh-sounding songs when placed in the context of this genre.

Which song of the EP is your favorite?

This is a hard one! I love all of them and while people seem to connect to “The day we met” a lot, “Neverland” is the one that stands out to me, because of how
long it took me to put together and all the different things I got to do harmonically in it.

Is realistically your type of music a genre that can be performed live?

I’d say yes, definitely. There’s so much technology to support electronic artists nowadays that I think almost any genre can be performed live. Just give me an
Ableton Push, a couple of my synthesizers, a big monitor for my visuals and you’ll have a hell of a show!

Cypriot based in the UK. What do you love and what do you hate in each place?

I had to leave Cyprus in order to pursue music, so that is the thing I hate most about it. There’s just not an industry to support electronic music yet, although
I wish to help change that in the future. The weather and food are the things I love most about Cyprus. And in England, I love how alive and multicultural everything
is, especially London and Bristol, where I’m currently based. Ironically, the weather and food are the things I hate most!

What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

Definitely Uncut Gems or Guns Akimbo! Great films, both so tense in their own way from start to finish.

Any future plans?

I’m currently working on an audiovisual reimagining of Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ which will be released early in 2021, and is also the first video I ever
directed. I’m also working closely with my main artist Youngsmart, we are planning on releasing his debut album in the summer, produced and mixed by me. Finally,
I plan on releasing another project before the year ends, hopefully it will build on the Lofi inspired sound of “Alvinos vs Lofi”.

Thank you!

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Thriftworks – TUPUXUARA [Interview]

Describe your sound in three words

cretaceous, spacey, knockville

“I can’t dance but I can’t sit still”. In which state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?

it’s open to interpretation, this is undoubtedly up to the individual listener

Platforms offering sound recordings in a netflix style subscription-for-access model changed the art of sampling in a drastic way. Do you think that having such an easy access to samples affects the quality of instrumental music today?

I recently began using Splice, I think it’s important to stay true to yourself as a producer and not overindulge in premade loopps. Tweaking and repurposing is essential, otherwise things can get lazy and stagnant real quick.

Is realistically your type of music a genre that can be performed live?

Throughout the years i’ve learned that my live shows definitely have a different vibe than a lot of my more upbeat contemporaries. The vibe is much more cerebral and that’s ok.

You are a lover of chess. Which is the best album we should listen to while playing a chess game?

Hydromancy came from an era where I first began playing a lot of backyard chess with the homies. That’s gotta be it.

What would you change in the music industry?

Streaming royalties for sure. Artists are getting low-balled around the world by big streaming services like spotify and apple mucic, etc. etc

One last thing we should know about you?

I eat canned fish more than most people can handle. A can of baby clams has almost 20g of protein.

Thank you!

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CHASE STEPHEN – leaf szn [Interview]

Describe your sound in three words

Lush / Dark / Melodic

You mix guitars with lofi beats. Tell us a few things about your creative process?

So far I still feel pretty new to production and mixing which takes away from my guitar playing but for my recent releases they tend to start off with a guitar rhythm that ultimately sparks a theme or color that I use to develop the song. Usually I add textural elements next and some cliché vinyl crackling to give the music more character. After that I just start riffing around with some guitar leads and use them as a voice for the story that I’m trying to tell. To breakup any creative constraints I like to solo other instruments that I’ve been experimenting with such as keys or bass depending on the mood. Then I kinda sit on my mixes (like most producers do) for a while and debate whether I think the song is good or garbage. The more time I spend on a track the less creative I start to feel and that’s when poor judgement in the mix can start affecting the overall sound. Next thing you know you start bashing yourself for ruining a mix that was good like 5 iterations ago (haha).

Many people consider lofi beats as music to study or relax. For us it is something far more exciting. What are your thoughts?

Considering I came across chillhop and lofi beats while working at my first full-time job after college I’d say it can be great as background music for focusing on tasks but I think I was digging it more as music that I actually paid attention to thanks to artists like L’indecis, Saib and Idealism. Over the years I feel like this genre has become super saturated with beatmakers and not necessarily songwriters considering that most just sample beats and repeat. While I don’t think this genre is intended to be “exciting” like you mentioned, I think lofi beats can be a great foundation for building upon creativity and not having any strict guidelines.

Would you consider performing your music live? What would be your dream performance venue?

The instrumental music I currently write and produce doesn’t strike me as something I’d really perform especially because I feel like it’s kind of cinematic and more suited for sync licensing. Honestly I don’t feel like I fit into the beat scene that much because it’s not my forte and a beatmaker isn’t really what I aspire to be. This lofi stuff was just supposed to be a side project for me so I could get better at mixing and producing for my lyrical projects but I think I underestimated the learning curve of what it truly means to be “good” in these areas (haha). It’s funny because the whole concept of “lofi beats” is to intentionally have low quality sound within your mixes but since this genre isn’t the end goal for me I guess I see it as more of a learning experience for my music that’s yet to come.
As for my dream performance venue I think the Red Rocks or any amphitheater of the likes would be sick to play; maybe some heavy acoustic or rock (haha Red Rocks) since I also write music in those genres but I don’t see lofi beats being a great headliner for one
of these venues.

Favorite producer?

You’re stumping me with some hard questions (haha) I don’t think I can name a fav producer because I don’t really know whether or not some of my favorite artists produce their own music, plus naming a favorite producer would severely limit me in terms of the many different genres that I like. I’d say most recently since I’ve been trying to brush up on my guitar playing that Tom Misch might be one of my favs cuz he’s pretty low-key and he puts out bangers (haha).

Are Spotify playlist curators the new gatekeepers of the music industry?

It seems that way doesn’t it? Maybe some genres more so than others but I feel like the music industry has changed so fast over the past decade (even as I’m still learning) that some musicians are stuck with a label mentality and others are stuck with a starving artist mentality. Even though I’m so new to it all I really enjoy the learning process and not having to answer to anybody when it comes to business or creativity. I know and have worked with people on both sides of the spectrum and it can be detrimental to the artist to have no middle ground understanding. One thing that’s interesting is the global pandemic we’ve been experiencing in 2020 because I’ve seen big labels drop artists like flies and I’ve seen indie artists take some big steps in their careers. I feel like many struggle to see the potential that they could have just by creating good music, branding themselves and learning new skills to better themselves in terms of music as a business and a creator. Back to playlists I actually founded my own label (Le Steez) this summer and a big part of my mission behind it is to have artists supporting other artists. One of the ways I’ve been able to promote this is by creating playlists and running social media ads to target certain audiences which allows me to connect with many artists and helps them to get organic followers, streams and exposure.

One last thing we should know about you?

Umm, big coffee guy over here (haha).

Thank you!

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Bravo Bonez – Love Blast Lounge [Interview]

Describe your sound in three words

Retro. Lo-fi. Textured. (Kinda 3 words!)

You blend numerous different genres. Tell us a few things about your creative process?

I come at musical creativity from a range of perspectives. I can just as easily write a song on the guitar as start with a loop and build from there. Unlike many artists I am not a fan of paring back to only a few simple elements, but rather have a few elements that have many-layered textures, but with those elements still being identifiable. Some have described my music as cinematic, and I think that is a valid observation. I think musically in terms of spaces and depth, and inevitably it links to imagery quickly being associated with that. In terms of the “Love Blast Lounge” EP I worked on linking loops, adding retro touches such as wow and flutter, and phasing, then layering more traditional instrumentation on top of that. Much of the EP has references to 1980s and early 2000s electronica as well as 1990s trip hop and hip hop.

You plan to incorporate live instruments in your performances. Which is the biggest challenge when it comes to instrumental music and live performance?

It is the leaping from the DJ controller to the violin and hoping the prayer to the tuning gods has been heard. Not dropping the instrument is pretty important also. The biggest challenges are with acoustic instruments, mainly miking, and tuning. 

Your dream collaboration?

The Boards of Canada guys. I LOVE Boards of Canada. Problem is I would be tongue-tied, and a useless collaborator.

Best instrumental album ever?

Difficult to say which is best. But I think one of the most influential for me when growing up was Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” from 1973! The layering of ostinato, counterpoint and texture in my music is probably linked back to listening to this when I was very young. That and symphonic music such as Beethoven, Mozart, Mahler.

What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

An oldie but a goodie. “THX1138”. A reminder of where we might be headed. George Lucas at his very best. Not so much a fan of his Star Wars series to be honest, but still enjoy it. Great science fiction is cerebral and often embeds warnings. Sadly not many appear to have listened to some of the warnings of the last one hundred years’ sci-fi writing and filmmaking.

One last thing we should know about you? 

I have watched “2001 A Space Odyssey” about 500 times, and “Bladerunner 2049” about 100 times. Am in therapy for this right now.

Thank you!

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Madd skillz – Off The Dome [Interview]

Describe your sound in three words

Versatile, Dynamic & Psychedlic

Platforms offering sound recordings in a netflix style subscription-for-access model changed the art of sampling in a drastic way. Do you think that having such an easy access to samples affects the quality of instrumental music today?

I used to use samples for all my work, but I felt there was a huge restriction in truly getting taste of my soul out on to a canvas. In other words, I couldn’t truly express what I was feeling and any deep rooted emotions I’m holding onto because I was unable to play the rhythms I wanted with the timing that matched my moods.

Your music could work perfectly as a soundtrack. If you were asked to rescore a film, which one would you choose?

Oh wow, maybe along the lines of The Matrix, Gladiator or Interstellar. I really like films that bend the mind, so creating music around that would be extremely fun.

If you had to choose one Synthesizer (analog or digital) which one would it be?

Given the choice, I would go definitely go analog just to get that constant smooth sound. I feel that it gives more presence of the soul in mixes and fills up so much space In those frequencies only the subconscious can pick up on which is so key in music because people do really pick up on harmony with an innate ear for them disregarding having a professional one.

What is the best instrumental album ever?

Ouf, I’m a huge fan of Thom Yorke’s Suspirium. It’s got a mix of some instrumentals as well as vocals. I feel those albums have the most dynamic because they serve you the best of both words in terms of vocalization and instrumental work. That album itself really taps into a mysterious dark world dwelling deep in my mind that feels very real and once experienced if that makes any sense.

What would you change in the music industry?

I’d make the producers take over, haha! Well, to be honest, I would like the algorithms on streaming platforms to become so advanced in music that it caters to even the small guys putting them in front of the listeners that matter most. I think a great idea would be to give free to bare minimum streaming music memberships to people who can’t afford it but limiting them to listen to only independent musicians with premium features rather than full scaled and/or signed artists. It’s definitely been implemented with some music platforms out there but it should be normalized on the big players. I think it will ultimately improve their algorithms analysis and allow room for independent musicians to reap more profitability and fanbase for an audience that is unchecked.

Any future plans?

I’m hoping to sign to an independent label in the near future that can scale my music to a much larger audience. Right now in the present, my focus is on improving my instrument playing skills on my guitar and keyboard. As for my craft, I’ll definitely be objectively chipping away at it until I have several compositions to call it an album!

Thank you!

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