I had the wonderful chance to interview Discrete, a multi-faceted artist from Canada and considered by the blogosphere a producer and DJ on the rise. What caught my attention is not only the fact that his full-length album ‘The Midas Touch’ was nominated for the Juno Award but also his creativity on sampling the right tunes. I’m definitely a new fan of his art in every sense of the word. Discover more below and get into his music.
1 – What were you doing before becoming DJ Discrete?
2 – How did you develop your music style as a producer? How would you describe your current sound?
I would say my sound is much deeper now. They say the things you avoid in life the most are the things you need to embrace the most. I used to criticize Deep House music for being too easy to produce so I tried making it myself, that’s how ‘Mind and Body’ came about. I think when you’re young it’s more about trying to see and hear and experience as much as you can then experimenting with different aesthetics, sounds, etcetera. I would describe my music as sound collage. Old school, nearly vintage, with Dada influences.
3 – Juno Award nominated ‘The Midas Touch’ this year. Why do you think this production has surprised many people?
I was surprised to hear ‘The Midas Touch’ was nominated because I thought the Junos only supported big names. People may also be surprised to hear my sound do so well because it’s old school and right now a lot of people are trying to do something so radically different. Sometimes keeping it simple and rediscovering your roots can be a really invigorating way of creating new work.
4 – What was the idea or inspiration behind the name of your latest LP ‘In My Room’?
Being nominated for a Juno Award inspired me to make a second album. I don’t have a studio so the entire album was produced at home in my bachelor apartment. The album was meant to be an homage to the archetypal bedroom producer so I wanted to create something with as few tools as possible. I also don’t know how to read or write music which is partially why I use samples. I can’t afford microphones, synthesizers or expensive instruments anyways.
5 – What’s the most uplifting song from your new LP ‘In My Room’? Why?
Maybe the intro? Getting a call from DJ Sneak still blows my mind. I played a lot of his records when I was just learning how to DJ so I can’t believe he’s playing my tracks out now.
6 – How many interesting samples did you use?
I chose all of the samples because I found them interesting. Some samples are whole songs, they’re just so minimal they seem like samples. Some are just okay, in which case they are used to support the more interesting ones.
7 – Do you have any criticisms about electronic music production today?
There’s actually a lot of really interesting stuff going on in underground electronic music today, especially with art installations and Ambient music, Techno too. If I had any criticisms I guess it would be when Pop artists co-opt their concepts and appropriate their music into an electronic medium which usually ends up sounding phony and hokey. I love the pristine sound of Pop music but unfortunately some of these larger labels put tremendous pressure on their artists to pander towards focus groups and statistics. If you’re going to try to make music that sounds like House or Electronica, you should do your research first. My favourite Pop artists always know their underground Techno.
8 – I really like the aesthetics of your photos and album artworks. Are you a fan of fashion? Do you work with a brand image consultant?
I do not work with a brand image consultant. I like expressing myself through fashion but I’m not a fan of the industry, it’s just too elitist. I often use images of my artwork for my album covers. The painting I used for ‘In My Room’ is sixteen square feet, it took longer to make than the album itself.
9 – What are the best Deep House and Techno clubs in your homeland?
I don’t actually really like clubs. I find them too exclusive and seedy because of all the drugs. I’m curious about this conscious clubbing movement that’s going on but it’s too soon for me to say much about that. Toi Bar was my favorite place to go to on College Street, they had a great vibe and some great resident Tech House DJs. Circa had some interesting parties while it lasted but I don’t think Toronto was ready to host all these International DJs not everyone knew about. I wouldn’t suggest going to any arbitrary club just for the sake of dancing. If I do that, it’s at Bambi’s or The Beaver, but I typically only go out if there’s an artist playing I really admire. Otherwise there are some after-hours parties on Geary Avenue once in awhile but is not a club per se. Milk Glass Co. has some interesting art parties too. There was also an interesting lineup of noise artists performing at The Hearn Generating Station this summer at Unsound Festival which was really fun. It’s three times larger than the Tate Modern apparently.
10 – Do you plan to make new music or gigs?
I want to spend more time of fewer tracks which means I will be doing EP’s for a while. My friend Colin Greenfield is a brilliant director and is collaborating with me on a music video for the title track “In My Room’. He’s going to be famous one day.
I have a few prospective gigs coming up this year, Fun In The Murky on Bleep Radio in Hamilton, The Underground on CFRU 93.3 FM at University of Guelph, and VInyl Vaults in Toronto.
I also got the keys to a new studio today and have a few surprises up my sleeves with my art practice.
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Matstubs Talks New Platform Designed For Indie Artists — BitSubmit
Check out our interview with DJ & Producer Matstubs, who is the founder of BitSubmit. This is a powerful platform designed for indie artists like yourself. A new tool that will speed up the whole marketing process so that your music can get noticed among labels, radio stations, and blogs. Learn more below.
1 – What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since funding BitSubmit?
I have learned that musicians are not putting nearly enough into their marketing strategy. It took me a long time to realize that this industry is a lot more than simply making music. So many artists go unnoticed, even when their music is incredible. Imagine a painter leaving their art in a basement for no one to see. It’s a shame because there’s a ton of music out there that deserves the spotlight.
2 – What benefits and opportunities do this platform offer to indie musicians?
BitSubmit allows artists to easily connect with the very best in the industry. Spotify & Apple Music Playlist curators, YouTube music channels, record labels, Soundcloud promoters, music blogs, radio stations and so on. We made it as easy as possible to send music to hundreds of places in seconds – it’s mind blowing how easy it is to automate releases with it.
Something that holds back a lot of musicians is the money for guaranteed promotion. Sometimes placements can run into the thousands of dollars for a single promotion – that is way too unrealistic for a lot of upcoming artists. We wanted to level the playing field, so instead all artists will get an equal shot at submitting their music to the largest promoters.
3 — How many people are behind this project?
For the first year, it was just my partner and I as we built the platform from the ground up. We built it alongside both artists and networks because we wanted to make sure we developed it right and got everything that was needed. After we launched, we saw a lot of growth and interest in the platform, so we decided to bring on a few more developers and a customer relations team. Every day we work together to make BitSubmit a better platform.
4 — Do you think there are other similar platforms on the web? What makes BitSubmit stand out from the rest?
Sure, there are some others, but they don’t do the job. I am a musician myself under Matstubs, so I’ve tried all the different submission platforms. I came into a ton of things that were straight up amateur… bland websites, hard to use interfaces, low-quality networks. Ultimately it was a waste of money. This is why I set out to create BitSubmit. Not to sound arrogant, but anything that these other platforms do, we do it better. I can only say this because that is exactly what our goal was when developing BitSubmit. Our platform is by far the most simple to use and straightforward. Our networks are the highest quality in the industry. Our artists get results and it’s as simple as that.
5 — As a marketing tool, what’s probably its best feature?
Let’s go through what happens when you don’t use BitSubmit. You make a track… Okay, now you need to think of the top 100 electronic music networks that you want to send it to. That’s going to take you a bit of time to research. Not only that, but you actually have to go and find the contact for each of these networks. More time wasted. Once you finally have all the contacts in your spreadsheet, you need to send an email to every single one, hoping that your email doesn’t get lost in their inbox.
These networks are getting hundreds of emails per day – yours probably isn’t even getting opened. Now you can sit and wait for a few weeks and maybe you’ll get a reply – but most of the time, you’re in the dark. The process sucks. Now imagine doing all of that in 10 seconds. Imagine that you are guaranteed to get listened to. Imagine you can track exactly when each network will listen to you. Imagine getting valuable feedback from them. This is what BitSubmit will allow you to do. Essentially we’re putting your marketing on steroids – and at the same time allowing you to spend more time making music.
The main difference between the plans is the amount of bits you get per month. Bits are used to submit your music to different networks. I would suggest at least the Premium plan for artists that are serious about getting their music out there.
7 — What record labels and blogs are working directly with the platform?
There’s too many to list… EDM·com, Trap Party, ZIAS, Royal Music, NightBlue, Diversity… we’ve got hundreds of powerful outlets. We have local radio stations, internet radio stations, music blogs, YouTube Channels, streaming playlist curators (Spotify & Apple music), Soundcloud promoters, Instagram pages. If the network is quality, then they are most likely with us.
8 — Can you talk about the contest you have recently launched on the platform?
For sure! We’re always giving away awesome things to help our musicians get to the next level. We just recently gave away KRK Rokit studio monitors and a pair of studio headphones. We want to do more for our artists than simply help them market music. We want to help artists get to the next level in any way we can. We write up blog posts with helpful tips, give away cool equipment, and most important give you a world leading marketing platform.
9 – What temporary challenges are the users currently facing on BitSubmit?
There will always be a challenge to get heard. Although we make it extremely easy to make connections, your music still has to be on point. Musicians need to consider the fact that every single one of us has our own bias towards our own music and we may not agree with feedback from others. But handling objective feedback is such an important part of growing as an artist. This doesn’t mean that artists need to give up their creativity or choices when it comes to making music, but if 9/10 people think you’re singing flat, you’re probably singing flat.
10 – Finally, what further improvements would you like to implement in the near future?
We have something big in the works for our artists. I can’t discuss it in detail just yet, but it is going to be extremely powerful for connecting with brands and other alternative outlets. We’re very excited about pushing it. We have a lot of room to grow, but we’re working hard every day to make it happen. We’re excited about the future.
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Trst Talks New Remix “My Neck, My Back” In Interview
DJ and Producer Trst is back with a stomping remix of the 2002 classic hit, Khia’s “My Neck, My Back”. He has transformed the track into an absolute roof raiser, he is best known for other tracks such as “Throw Yo Body” and “Bitch Boyz”. Inspired by the likes of Tony Romera, Noizu, & Rex The Dog, Trst is on a mission to bring back Fidget House. Electro Wow caught up with Trst to discuss his latest remix.
1 — What made you decide to remix “My Neck, My Back”?
I loved this song since middle school. I’ve tried remixing this song like 8 times and it always sucked. This is my favorite version that I’m finally proud of.
2 — This song has been remixed quite a bit in the dance scene; did you feel any pressure when releasing this?
Not really, no one has really took the direction I did. It was popular a while ago to remix and kinda faded. I’m bringing it back.
3 — What was your inspiration when creating your version?
4 — How would you describe the remix to someone who hasn’t heard it yet?
Grimey and loud!
5 — What has the reaction in clubs been like for “My Neck, My Back”?
Well I live in San Francisco, so everyone’s always like ‘hey this isn’t DirtyBird!!’. Jokes, but its gone down pretty well so far, its a fun song to sing along to, especially in a club since it’s so explicit and you can scream it.
6 — Is there any remixes out there by other artists that you really love?
Not really, they’re pretty old school Trap.
7 — Do you prefer creating remixes or originals and why?
Both are different processes for me. I like originals just because it’s a more familiar workflow.
9 — Can you give us an exclusive into any other releases you are working on at the moment?
I have a release coming up soon on one of everyone’s favorite French label. That’s all I can say for now.
10 — Finally, where can we go to download your remix of “My Neck, My Back”?
Free download on Soundcloud!
Here is the link: https://theartistunion.com/tracks/6ca8cd
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Interview | Questions & Answers With Helsinski
Hailing from Finland, Juho Vehmanen aka Helsinski, is a promising new talent within the world of contemporary Pop music. Electro Wow had an interview with him to find out all the most important details you’ll probably want to discover about himself as an artist. In addition, I fully recommend you to listen to his newest single “Glow Sticks” below, which seems to be on everyone’s lips.
1 — First of all, why did you choose “Helsinski” as your artistic name?
I think the name ‘Helsinski’ (the capital of Finland is correctly spelled Helsinki) encapsulates some relevant information about me in one word. Obviously it gives away my geographical location which – I think – is always an interesting fact to know about an artist, since it puts them in a cultural framework. The name also suggests that the music is somewhat urban. Helsinski also really sounds like a surname, so it could lead to the correct conclusion that the music is performed by one person only. For some, it may represent a humorous reference to the political concept of Finlandization. All in all, I think it’s a name of many associations.
2 — How would you define your music with just three words?
Urban alternative pop would be my genre description in three words. To put it more informally, I’d use the adjectives soft, nocturnal and relaxed.
3 — Which popular artists can we compare to Helsinski?
I’ve heard some Depeche Mode comparisons. I’m a fan of Die Antwoord, Daft Punk and Air myself to name a few, but don’t think you can really hear those influences in my stuff. I keep surfing Spotify for random stuff for inspiration. My background as a musician is in Pop and Rock. I think Helsinski is a hybrid of a whole lot of stuff. I’m eager to hear those comparisons, though!
After marking the structure and chord progressions with a piano I laid the foundation for “Glow Sticks” with a pretty loose Hip-Hop drum groove that’s partially programmed “in the box” and partially played with real drums and percussion. I’m not too solid of a drummer so I had to cheat a little. The bass part is a combination of overdriven and side-chain compressed synth and an electric bass slapped and played with a pick through a Big Muff fuzzbox.
I put some ambiance pads and a groove-emphasizing synth arp to the background. The shimmering top end consists of granulated delay effects derived from other, already existing elements. Most of the guitars were played by Riku Karvonen, a super talented guitar connoisseur whom I’ve been lucky to play quite a lot with over the past few years. All elements combined, I ended up with pretty 80’s sounding track by accident. But I decided that as an 80’s product myself I have all the rights to sound like one. Vocals are pretty heavily effected with saturation, huge delays, doubling, pitch and formant shifting and vocoding.
5 – What is this song “Glow Sticks” about?
It’s about two self-contained, short-term light-sources who find comfort in each others company in this impossible place called life.
6 – Any plans to drop a video for this single?
Would you like to invest in one? I’m short a couple grand. The revenues will be surprising, I assure you!
7 — What can listeners expect from your next release?
The next release after the single “Glow Sticks” will be a similarly named album of 9 songs. It will be released on May 17th and it’s gonna be great company for a night drive under neon lights!
8 – Finally, what’s your ultimate dream as an artist?
To crystallize my own sound to the max and keep the high motivation on learning new stuff every day. A billboard hit would also be cool.
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Interview | Questions & Answers With Adam Noah
Read this exclusive interview with Bronx-based rapper Adam Noah. Not so long ago, he released the music video for “Blaze”, which is a heartfelt tribute to his late mother. On the other hand, he’s currently promoting his brand new album ‘Trajectory’, that could be relatable to some listeners as its concept revolves around life itself.
1 — Hello Adam, when did you begin to develop a passion for Hip-Hop & Rap?
Growing up in the Bronx, Rap was a part of the environment. My older brother was always playing Pun and BIG around the house. I lost a lot of people in my life due to violence, sickness, natural causes, and writing was my only therapy since I was 8 years old. Although I have a passion for music in general, I always felt that Rap was more direct and true to who I am.
2 — Who are your musical influences?
Eminem, Nas, Jay-Z, Pun, Mos Def, Big L, Fabolous, the Beatles, the Neptunes, Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean, Marvin Gaye, Jadakiss to name a few.
3 — What’s your creative process behind your lyrics?
Most of the times it starts with an instrumental. If it doesn’t speak to me, I don’t write. Sometimes I have an idea and I go back to that beat I wasn’t feeling a year ago. There are other times I have a melody or a verse, and we start making the music from scratch.
Yes. I started making beats in high school. Going to thrift shops, buying vinyl off online marketplaces, and experimenting on FL Studio. However, I’m starting to work with other producers and getting more involved in the mixing/mastering aspect of my music. I’m starting to fall in love with actually making each track sound like what I hear in my head.
5 — You recently released the music video for “Blaze”. Why did you choose to film it in your bedroom?
I’ve sacrificed a lot to chase my dreams. I had to leave my childhood home at a young age because I was misunderstood. A lot of my friends are living with their parents and I’m renting out a bedroom. A lot of pain and overthinking goes on in my bedroom. It was only right to perform Blaze in that setting.
6 — Who would you dedicate this single to?
It’s definitely for my mom. I wrote it while she was dying and I just want her to know my presence is not a waste. I have a purpose and this music is going to do great things not only for my family but for the world.
7 — On another note, why we should listen to your latest album ‘Trajectory’?
Everyone struggles in life, I think ‘Trajectory’ highlights it very well. From being homeless to being in a job that you clearly hate, there is something for everyone on that project. Everyone makes life sound easy until it’s time to live it. Bringing lyricism, songwriting, musicality together, makes the album something special.
8 — What’s your favorite track from this material so far?
It changes every time I listen to the project. Currently, my favorite track is “Conditioned”. Heading into my job while listening to that track makes me want more out of life.
9 – Any plans to do live performances?
Definitely. I have a lot of ideas to bring these smaller venues to life as well. A lot of people are performing pretty much the same nowadays, it’s time to give people an actual experience. You can always email: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll kill your stage.
I’m working on an EP called ‘Save UR Emotions’, S.UR.E. for short. I’m coming out with a lot more visuals, Melo’s Story was just the beginning. Also working on a collab with a couple of West Coast artists. So I’m pretty much going back and forth from NY to LA. I’m trying to spend all the time I have outside of my 9-5 to make this happen, staying as busy as possible.
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Quickfire Interview With: Drew Schiff
Over the last two years, Drew Schiff is 100% focused on his artistic career. To my great surprise, the Indie Singer-Songwriter has a degree in political science, but his passion for music would not change it for anything else. “Ride The Wave”, is his latest single, and all proceeds from it are going to the Stonewall Community Foundation. Electro Wow caught up with him to do a quickfire interview to get to know him better.
1 – You’ve been singing since…
Does the shower count?!
2 – You got involved in the music realm because…
It’s a beautiful way to express yourself. When you’re hurt, or happy or excited. I always loved the idea of being able to spread a message, influence people, be the soundtrack of their special moments. It can be a very powerful and rewarding tool.
3 – Your sound is…
How do I describe the ‘Drew Schiff’ sound? Especially as it’s still evolving and hopefully it never stops doing so. “Ride The Wave” is only my third release yet I already have things I would change in both of my previous songs. I think I am very knit-picky. I’ll probably be like George Lucas, going back time to time to enhance my previous works! This probably sounds controversial huh? To answer the question, I’d say pop. But then as we know, pop can go to so many directions, I view it as a tree. Add more heavy, hip-hop influenced beats, or a guitar to make it more rock, I love experimenting. I’d say my heart is closest to RnB, with some good beats, bit atmospheric, added some electronic influences which I think is exciting. One thing I’d make clear: I do not view ‘commercial’ as a dirty word. ‘Imagine’, ‘Like A Prayer’ or ‘Purple Rain’ all reached phenomenal commercial successes, yet I don’t think that any self-respecting ‘musos’ would say anything against them. Be smart.
This is a tough one. I love MJ and Beyoncé for their work ethic and how they consciously built / building their legacy. Kanye West for being so experiential. The list goes on. I’d like to take and implement different traits of different people that I look up to, whether it’s for their message, their vocal technique, their writing skills, moves or styling.
5 – Fans should listen to your new single “Ride The Wave” because…
It’s a beautiful midtempo ballad with a singing style in the pre- and chorus that somewhat imitates the movement of waves. It is a love song but if you listen again and concentrate on the lyrics, it is a song about loving someone no matter what. Where you’re coming from, what some people tell you you should or shouldn’t be. You can have a shit storm around you, but as long as you got someone to got you, you can deal with it all, together you can be the eye of the storm. It is also a charity song, with the proceeds going to the Stonewall Community Foundation. So the more you listen, the more you help. 😉
6 – If you want to know who Drew Schiff is, listen to the track…
Given that I only have three tracks out atm, I’d say, listen to all. Or listen to “Ride The Wave”, the new one.
7 –Your most memorable career moment so far has been…
Charting in the USA with my second song, “It’s Just Today!”.
8 – Your dream is…
To become big enough to play with Ariana Grande.
9 – Your next release is called…
TBA. I mean I don’t have such a detailed master plan. I have checkpoints I want to make but I write a lot so even right now, I am simultaneously working on about eight songs that are at various stages of readiness. Two weeks ago, I gathered some friends for an extended weekend, we went out, played videogames and wrote some tunes. It was awesome!!
10 – Your all-time favourite track is…
Wow, this is a very cruel question haha! Ask me about a favourite album, that’s hard enough, but at least I could attempt to crack it!
11 – Your favourite movie is…
Hm. I’d say The Little Mermaid. I love the music, the old-school, beautiful hand-drawn animation and how Ariel dares to dream big, she goes against what people in her ‘bubble’ tell her. I can definitely relate to that.
I think a politician. I would try to make a difference. And make beautiful speeches with mermaid metaphors.
13 – You’ll only stop making music if…
First I wanted to say, ‘if hell freezes over’ or something cocky like that but come on, let’s be real, if no one wants to listen, I shan’t be as arrogant to keep on pressing it. But I hope this won’t be the case.
14 – In a few years, you want to be…
…called the Prince of Pop.
15 – What are you doing for the rest of the day?
Working on my website, gym, plotting world domination… I actually need to tell my stupid ex off for something so I need to find sufficient time to do that. We are super close but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
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