Absafacto Interview – Ossama Awan

1. How did you guys (absofacto) get started?

I’d been in various bands for a while before, but had always loved just writing songs, producing them, and in general just seeing how good I could make things all on my own. It’s just something I naturally love to do, so Absofacto needed to exist.

2. Who came up with the name such as Absofacto?

I saw someone arguing online that said “absofacto” when they really meant “ipso facto,” but they were using it to just mean “absolutely factual,” and something about the complete and utter wrongness of it appealed to me at the time.

3. Who are the members of your band and what do they play?

It’s just me, Jonathan Visger. I sing, play keys, bass, guitar, do all the electronic stuff, record, mix, and master. I collaborated with my friend Brian Konicek on a few of the songs, who is a great guitarist. I also play with him in my other band Hollow & Akimbo.

4. What type of music do you guys play?

It has morphed over the existence of the project while maintaining some consistent characteristics. In recent times I’ve arrived at a sound I think of as “glitch hop meets pop.” Or something like that.

5. Who are you currently listening to on your ipod/Iphone/Andrroid etc.?

I’ve been spending a lot of time with Deltron 3030 lately.

6. Who or what inspired the band?

It’s such a conglomeration of influences, but Flying Lotus, Gorillaz, and Bonobo have all left a deep mark. I’d be remiss to discount James Mercer’s melodic influence on me too. I’m also very inspired by the feeling Haruki Murakami’s novels evoke. Dreamlike, but in a sort of mundane way.

7. What do you guys expect with your band in the upcoming year?

All of a sudden it’s been getting a lot more attention so it’s harder to predict, but I’m planning to keep releasing new material and trying to up the ante. I’m feeling pretty on top of my game and inspired, so I’m excited to keep stretching the upper limit of what I can create.

8. What do you hope to achieve with your band?

I just want to make beautiful and unique sounds that make people feel like life is a little more magical when they’re listening to them.

9. Your song Dissolve sounds amazing in my opinion, how did the song came to be from the way it is now?

Thank you! I came up with the basic idea around January 1 of this year, and over time it evolved into what it is now. There’s a certain neutral feeling it evokes for me that I managed to hold onto and remember though out the process of getting all the details in place.

10. First glance at your recent album cover you get this hipster, indie vibe how did this become the cover of choice?

I work with a brilliant designer (Chris Everhart of the Silent Giants). I had actually attempted to make a cover myself, but wasn’t happy with it. Chris bailed me out. I think he captured the dreaminess of the song, but also the casually cruel theme of the lyrics.

11. I also noticed that the same color play comes up in each album care to go into detail about that?

That’s another contribution from Chris. He helped unify all the music by finding a visual theme that felt right for it all.

12. What makes your band standout from the rest of crowd?

I’m not sure that that’s my place to say. I can say that I have a very specific vision at this point and work excessively hard to try to get it across. I also don’t play live with Absofacto right now, which I think helps set the recordings apart from some other artists. It’s very liberating to not have to picture how a song will translate live when you’re making it. What’s great when you’re listening to a song at home or in headphones is so different than what is great if you’re at a live show.

13. How long have you been making music?

I’ve been pretty serious about it for the last ten years.

14. Where was your first show?

I’ve only done two or three live performances as Absofacto, and they were both 1-2 songs long.

15. How does it feel getting up on stage in front of a live crowd?

It can be amazing. My other band, Hollow & Akimbo, does play live. When it’s the right crowd it puts you in the moment like very few other things in life can. It’s terrifying but thrilling, and when it’s really working it feels like my body is a nuclear reactor on the verge of a meltdown.

16. Are there any obstacles whatsoever when it comes to the band?

My own perfectionism is a constant problem for me… The recordings never end up perfect, but at a certain point in the process I fall in love with what I’m making and decide I’ll spend any amount of time or effort to make sure there’s absolutely nothing about it that doesn’t feel right to me. That amount of time ends up being obscene.

Kery Leva Interview – Colton Hoffman

1. Well first of all, what was it that got you into music?

I grew up with music in my house – my dad was in a band and always held practice in our basement. He taught private piano, guitar, and bass lessons too. I heard one of his students playing piano one day and really wanted to learn how to play like her. So, I asked him for piano lessons, he asked if I wanted him to teach me, or another teacher. I said him. And so it began…

2. Did your dad charge you? Haha. Ok well I saw Ellie Goulding was one of your favorites, what do you think is the biggest reason you like her?

Hahaha Dad didn’t charge me, but he definitely didn’t let it slide if I wasn’t practicing! Haha Ellie Goulding is just simply one of my favourite singers and writers. I love the atmosphere in her songs and the way her vocals are produced.

3. I know I’m very superstitious before anything I do, do you have any superstitions maybe before a concert or recording?

I used to always have sushi for dinner before shows, but other than that, my day-of show prep consists of coffee, practicing, and yoga. My recording sessions are so laissez-faire – as long as I’ve had coffee, and I have water and apple cider vinegar on hand if I’m feeling a little congested, I’m set and ready to go. :)

4. Usually I need about 2 cups of coffee before I can do anything in the morning so I feel you there. Are you working on anything now??

Haha ugh I used to go through multiple extra-shot venti Americanos from starbucks.

I just finished up a remix for a producer called Noel Sanger for his track ‘Never Let’ – it should be coming out on Nuevadeep soon.

I’m also working on a solo EP – it’s had to be on the backburner as of late because of some other projects going on, but I’m excited to get back to it – sort of a blend of NIN, Imogen Heap, Burial, and Hybrid. It’s indie, pop, electronica in one. Hoping to finish that up in the next couple months.

5. Thats awesome! I have to keep an eye out for it, your music is great. Just a couple more, what is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Thank you! One of the best pieces of advice I got was from Stephen Croes, who was the dean of the Music Technology division at Berklee College of Music (my alma mater). He told me to ‘create something every day.’ The focus was not to worry about writing a full song every day, but to exercise the creative muscle every day, because you never know when and where you might be inspired by just a simple sound, or a melody, or a few words. Sure, you might end up creating a lot of BS, but you have a lot more ideas generated that could potentially be developed into great songs, etc. Even if I’m busy, I try to follow this advice by recording a melody into my phone as soon as get it, or I’ll spend an hour making drum sounds or synth patches. I keep a notebook handy for lyrical ideas.

The other equally important piece of advice I got was to keep a gratitude journal. Coincidentally, my sister gave me a beautiful notebook for my birthday two years ago. I dedicated that to writing 5 things every day for which I’m thankful. It has totally helped me be more positive about everything in life and focused on my own journey and progress, which I think is a struggle for a lot of creative types.

6. It’s so true. Ideas could pop up any time of the day. One last thing and for me this is the biggest question. My singing skills are limited to New York New York and Don’t Stop Believin’. If you’re ever in Hamden, CT or in New Jersey. (I don’t suggest either) Can I get singing lessons? Hahah

Hahaha yes!

That’s Nice Interview – Josh Brewer

1. Who is your music inspiration? Over the years I’ve had a few artists that are big influence on me, but I have to say Daft Punk has been the main one. Because of them I got into dance music. Doesn’t matter which genre you play, those guys are respected by everyone and there is a reason for that.

2. I see That’s Nice was founded in 2013, but have you been making music for longer than that? If so, since when? I’ve been playing music since I was really young, but this is the first serious music project I’ve done. I run my own recording studio, I record and produce bands but nothing related to That’s Nice. In fact, that was one of the main reason I put That’s Nice together, I wasn’t producing the style of music I wanted.

3. Who are you currently listening to on your iPod? A lot of artists, but the ones that are never missing are RAC and Cassian. “Strangers” album by RAC is great and the remixes they have put out are amazing ! I’m usually taking them as reference when I’m mixing a song.

4. Can you explain the reasoning behind the name ‘That’s Nice’? This is a funny one, when I was living in the UK a lot of my friends used to say that a lot. Wether was to change the subject or saying they like something they were saying “oh, thats nice!” and it just got to me. Also, I wanted something short and easy for everyone to pronounce. I didn’t want it to change depending on regions/countries. It’s a simple name so no matter if fans are from United States, France, Mexico, China, they will all pronounce it how it is. This happens a lot with movie titles, where the name it’s pronounced differently from country to country.

5. Who or what got you interested in music? Did you take classes as a student, work as a DJ, play at events, etc.? I’m passion about music, every time I’m listening to music i try to find out how they did certain things, like how to get a drum sound or special effects, reverbs, delays, etc I have never taken music classes but I studied Sound Engineer at SAE in Liverpool UK.

6. What drew you to writing music the kind of music you produce? It is just the music I listen to, you start getting into some genre and you pick up from there once you start writing. But it doesn’t mean I like just to that genre, I listen to a lot of stuff from rock – pop – dance – disco.

7. What are some of the best aspects of acting as an independent artist? Best aspect is that you have control over everything on your own project. But that could be a good thing or a bad thing depending from where you see it. But as an independent artists you are not asked to do anything you don’t want to or rushed to release music. It definitely has it’s PRO’s and CON’s

8. What are some of the most difficult aspects? The most difficult aspect I guess has to be that you need to find out everything on your own, there is no one telling you how to do things like how to upload your music to digital stores, or signing remix agreements, or best way to expose your music. I consider myself pretty new as I’m still learning a lot from the whole music industry

9. What advice do you have for anyone who aspires to create their own music? My advice would be to just do it. Don’t hold back and start releasing your music. We tend to be too critical at our own material and afraid to put it out because it doesn’t sound like those big hits you hear on the radio, or we say “it’s not perfect yet” . My advice is to let that thought go and start doing your thing, you should just do whatever feels right for you and eventually you’ll start turning heads. I find it a bad thing to be asking for feedback as everyone will tell you something different, I used to do that and didn’t get me anywhere but frustration and wanting to change everything i was doing for a particular song.

10. I see you use a lot of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)—would you say that’s how you gain the most listeners? The main social media has to be Soundcloud, that’s how i gain most of my listeners. It is such a good tool for artists/producers to put their music out and be heard.

Lusts Interview – Josh Brewer

1. Can you provide a brief history of your band? (i.e. who is in it, how you got together, what each person is responsible for, etc.)

We’re two brothers from Leicester, UK. We launched Lusts in September, but we’ve been writing music together from a very young age. We locked ourselves away last year and spent our nights recording music, reading Arthur Rimbaud, and the band was born. We put our track ‘Sometimes’ online in September and signed to 1965 Records. Everything has been happening pretty quickly from there.

2. What person or band would you say is your inspiration?

We would probably have to say David Lynch. Watching his films was really inspiring, because it showed us you didn’t need to have an obvious narrative, you can create a mood and a vibe and let people take their own meaning from it. That felt like a real breakthrough for us

3. Can you explain where the name “Lusts” came from?

Lusts came from the fact that we wanted a name that was a feeling, not necessarily an object or something tangible. I’ve also always loved something that could be perceived as positive or negative, and I love that ambiguity.

4. How often do you try to produce new music?

We never really switch off from music, it’s always there. I have a pocket recorder and I’m always singing melodies or lyric ideas into it. It never really stops.

5. What’s your favorite part about the music process? (i.e. editing, recording vocals, uploading to Soundcloud, etc.)?

We’ve been talking about this the other day, we can timeline our lives to what music we were listening to, so the thought that maybe someone who likes our music could associate Lusts to a moment in their lives is pretty amazing to us.

6. What has been your favorite memory thus far from your performances across the UK?

We’ve just finished our first UK tour with the band Coves which was brilliant. It all went by in a blur of strobe lights and gin so I’d say the whole experience has been our favourite memory so far

7. Have you ever considered coming to the United States to play?

Yeah we would love to, it’s always been a ambition to come and play the US. I recently read Kim Gordon’s Girl in The Band, and she spoke about the scene in America at the time which really inspired us. We want to come and find out what’s happening now.

8. What are some of the challenges associated with being a band that has to pave its own path to success? Consequently, what are some of the merits?

I think one of the challenges is to always remember why you started, and not compromise and dilute your message. We have a clear idea about what we want Lusts to be and it helps you to make the right decisions and stay true to yourself.

9. Which one of your songs is your favorite and why?

We’ve really enjoyed playing our song ‘Cross’ at our shows, I think it’s because it was written in such a time of change, so whenever we play it live we just get this surge of energy that somethings going to happen.

10. Do you have any advice for young musicians/bands who are trying to make a name for themselves?

Accept Yourself.

Senor Roar Interview – Chris Brachelow

1. Where did your name come from?

Mike: At the time we were producing under a different alias and we wanted a name we could “hide behind” so to speak.

PK: Yeah we were looking for something that suited the styles of music we wanted to play. Mike happened to came up with Señor Roar and it stuck.

2. What are your musical backgrounds?

Mike: I grew up listening only to Punk, Metal, Indie and later Hip Hop, played guitar and drums and was only introduced to Dance music well after school. I think having a love for all types of music has really influenced this project as we are approaching it with no rules in regard to genre.

PK: I was similar, listened to punk, metal and rock with artists like Blink 182, Metallica, Slipknot and Muse. I dabbled with the guitar but never found a passion for music more than listening. That was until I fell in love with electronic music at 19 and then started learning to write when I was 20. My musical taste has broadened a lot since then, I used to hate hip-hop but now I really enjoy it. When you become a producer you learn to appreciate different aspects of all styles of music.

3. Do you guys have any main inspirations?

Mike: When I first got into this scene guys like DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist inspired me because it was such an innovative approach, In terms of this project my main inspiration are guys like Diplo, GTA, Skrillex, guys like this who are able to influence the direction of the culture with their music taste

PK: For what we’re doing at the moment I look up to guys like Diplo, not only from a writer’s perspective but the whole empire he has created. As a DJ I’ll always be a big fan of acts that like Ajax (RIP), A-trak, DJ Craze, Astronomar, I could go on. Guys that have their own unique style and it shows in the music they play.

4. Experience with EDM world so far?

Mike – So far so good I guess. We are lucky to have a good dance community here in Australia and lots of support.

5. Do you guys have any favourite venues or towns to play in?

Mike – In our home town our favourite event is ‘Trapped’ which is a sweaty underground bass music night that always produces the goods. In Australia we love playing Sydney & Perth because they have a great bass scene.

PK: Werd, we just enjoy playing venues that are open-minded. Clubbers that get more excited when they hear something they haven’t heard before rather than simply walking away and waiting for the next hit to come on.

6. What is your main motivation to keep pushing and making new tracks?

PK: I think I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to writing music. I always feel like I have to be working or finishing something in the attempt to do better than the last one. I also get a real high from writing something that people enjoy or acts I look up to vibe on.

Mike: Other music is my main inspiration, when I hear something that moves me, or gets me pumped up, no matter what style it is, the motivation is there to want to create something that is powerful like that.

7. Where do you see yourselves in 10 years?

Mike – Hopefully on a tropical beach somewhere but the reality is probably still staring at a computer screen. If im still happy and still making music in 10 years that would be a win

PK: Hopefully just enjoying life, every day is a blessing.

8. How does it feel to get recognition from a DJ such as Diplo who is one of the most successful DJs to date?

Mike – Crazy, we are pretty modest about what we do but we definitely fan girl hard on diplo so to get approval from him really inspired us…we wrote a lot of music that week

PK: Probably my favourite moment of 2014. It was a ‘yes you’re doing the right thing’ type moment. A pat on the back from Diplo doesn’t get much better.

9. What do you guys have coming up for your fans in the upcoming months?

PK: We’re working our arses off in the studio. We finished a record with another aussie ‘LowParse’ and we’re wanting to finish music we’ve started with Kronic and Seany B

10. Are you guys coming out with an EP soon?

PK: At the moment we’re focussing on these collaborations we’ve started although putting out our first EP is high on the list. We want the tracks to be special, so we’re being patient.

Mike – Definitely in the next 6-9 months there will be a full EP…well that’s the plan anyways

11. Any special thanks to specific people or groups who helped you out?

Mike – Big thanks in general to anyone who has listened to our music or come to our shows and also to my family, girl and anyone who has had to live in my house and put up with constant noise and late nights.

PK: Yeah we appreciate anyone who has taken the time to listen to something we’ve written, we put a lot of work in and that’s always the best reward. Also big thanks to the guys at Main Course who took on our first record Jenga, those guys are legends and pushing so many good vibes.

12. Are you guys excited to play in the future music festival:

Mike – Future Music will be great. We are lucky enough to be sharing a stage with artists like The Prodigy, Yellowclaw, Tchami and Die Antwoord so we are just as excited to see them as we are to play.

PK: Can’t wait, we love playing the festival circuit.