Andy Ellis is always on the lookout for organic and electronic sounds when it comes to producing music. This interview serves as a great introduction for people who like to explore rising indie artists. In the case of Ellis, he is not a newcomer. On the contrary, his wide experience in the entertainment industry has developed over time in a band, as part of a duo and even as a TV & film soundtrack Producer.
1 — How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
I love songwriting, I love organic instruments, and I also love making music with computers, so most of my music is some hybrid form of Electro Pop or Electro-Organic Pop and then it goes all kinds of places from there – like Alternative or Psychedelic or New-Wave or some crazy version of all those. As a sci-fi nerd, I joke that my music is always some mutant form of biotechnology.
2 — What do you hope listeners will get out of your debut solo album ‘Sunshine At The Edge Of The Earth’?
I want to hit you over the head with a hammer and wrap you in a wonderful warm blanket all at the same time! To me, there is something cathartic about that, especially because the album is all about conflicts – going on a journey through my conflicts to sort them all out. Maybe that can help someone else sort out their conflicts too…
3 — There’s a pretty good fusion of synths and drum patterns in almost all the tracks. Are you fan of electronic music too? What artists in this genre do you admire?
Yes, all my life I’ve loved electronic music! Everything from vintage Nintendo Games to Japanese Anime to Prince and David Bowie, who both passed away while I was making this album, influenced it in many ways. I grew up with rock music alongside electronic music which together were always influencing my taste and style. I constantly pick up influences but some that go way back would be New Order, Tears For Fears, Tom Petty, Peter Gabriel, & Vangelis who I feel were all Electro Pop music pioneers. Some classic electronic influences of mine would be The Prodigy, Orbital, Crystal Method, Moby, Underworld, Massive Attack, & Daft Punk.
4 — What’s the underlying concept of your new music video “Wasteland (Where’s All The Money)”?
Wasteland is the song on the album where all the big conflicts come to a head. There are many themes it’s circling like, money, death, and what’s important in life, and a big one is that people’s values are all out of whack. In the video, we really tried to present visually the question of what’s the real Wasteland? Is it the city or the desert? Is it where you are now, where you’re going, or perhaps where you’ve been? And depending on the answer what is actually valuable that’s worth taking with you as the world becomes unrecognizable? Perhaps what we think is most important isn’t and so forth. These are all questions that keep me up at night.
5 — Is it true you are currently working on a crowdsourced project? Please tell us more about it.
I had an experience while writing “My Town” which is going to be my next single which made me realize how the place I live has inspired and changed me, and I saw in making a video the opportunity to share that experience with people that listen to my music and have the video be built around their’s and my relationships to the places we live. I had this idea that people all over the world could express that idea if they shot a little video on their cell phone while riding in a car and then upload it to me to put in the music video. So far I’ve gotten submissions from all over the U.S. and Europe and I’m super excited about what it’s going to become. We are starting to edit the thing together now but I’m leaving the window open for people to send me footage up until the very last minute. The more footage the merrier! The details are all on my website here.
6 — You’ve been part of Black Lab, an Alternative Rock band that began in the 90’s, and the Electro Pop duo The Boom Circuits for some time as well now. What made you decide to finally make a solo album?
Well a few years ago I wrote “My Town” and it created this unique nagging feeling in that I wanted to keep the song for me. Then I wrote “Faith” and I had no idea what I might do with that song and soon more songs followed in the same vein where I was spending most of my time working on them. Eventually, I was just forced to admit that I was making a whole album, and that I was going to sing it, produce it for real, and it was really happening and I was going to have to finish it. So after I submitted to that, I decided the only way to do it right was to really give my all and try to make as awesome an Andy Ellis album as I thought I possibly could.
Well, to me the real dream is to be able to make and distribute music directly to and for individual fans and not have to rely on any middlemen or corporations to reach people or monetize it. The online world we live in now has teased the promise of that to artists but I don’t think as a culture we have really sorted it all out yet, at least not on a consistent basis. This solo album is a grand experiment for me, to see what kind of possibilities there are out there to reach people.
8 — What does it take for a producer to get into the movie soundtrack business?
It takes persistence, luck, and above all great music. It’s all changed so much since I started in the business but I think the thing that is always consistent when creating music for sync (as we call it) is to keep in mind that a movie automatically changes a song from being a complete thing in and of itself to something that must now serve a greater whole. I’ve written songs specifically for movies and TV and also had songs that were written in and of themselves, synced very specifically for scenes so it happens both ways, but in every scenario, everyone is always thinking – how does this serve the overall emotion, the story? One way or the other that is always what’s important, and then you just keep your fingers crossed and hope that the powers that be believe in the music enough to put out a soundtrack album.
That’s hard because I’m both proud and humble of each one I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in. I think my favorite movie moment with my music in it is “This Blood” in Blade Trinity because it’s like a little music video right in the middle of the movie. Also, RZA from Wu-Tang Clan composed a lot of music for that movie and I just love what he does; and also Crystal Method!
10 — Finally, what keeps you inspired or motivated with this artistic profession?
The idea that music and art can emotionally move someone and perhaps bottle some emotion that you can come back and access later is really what motivates me. So every time I create something I try to get better at accessing the emotional content that inspires me while also trying to grow better at communicating to people. To me, that’s what’s most important.
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Quickfire Interview With: Naizon
Originally from Brescia, Yassine Mokdad grew up listening to his parents playing the sounds of Barry White, Lionel Richie, Peabo Bryson, and Elvis Presley. Since then Yassine’s fascination with music began, he went on to study vocals and piano before finding himself learning how to produce and DJ.
Representing the Tech House sound, he strives for perfection and the attention to detail, which makes crowds tick. He has taken his sound all over the world in over 300 gigs spanning Thailand, Australia, Switzerland, and Italy. We caught up with Naizon for a quickfire round to find out a little more about the rising star.
1 — Music or acting?
2 — CDJ or vinyl?
3 — Favourite club?
4 — Favourite festival?
6 — Streaming or downloads?
7 — Last album you bought?
Kygo – Cloud Nine.
8 — Dogs or cats?
9 — Favourite food?
10 – Early bird or night owl?
12 – Favourite colour?
13 – Last artist you listen to?
14 – Ibiza or Berlin?
15 – Best gig you’ve played?
16 – Funniest career moment?
I actually fell whilst on stage, most people would be embarrassed but I thought it was hilarious!
17 — Preferred BPM?
18 – Favourite sub-genre?
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Exclusive Interview: Dhyan Talks Debut Album ‘The Sun Never Says’ & More
In our latest interview, the Maryland-based artist, Dhyan talks about his debut 10-track album, ‘The Sun Never Says’. So many emotions, it’s been quite a sonic journey so far. Press play on the album below and dive into our interview to learn more about it. He has revealed a music video is on the way, and more…
1 — Thanks for your time, how long did it take you to produce your new album ‘The Sun Never Says’?
‘The Sun Never Says’ took me about 4 months to fully create it. I put out “Lady In the Shadows” and “Speak of the Devil” as singles a while before tho haha.
2 — So, what was the initial concept for this record?
Initially, I wanted to make the entire album have a darker more mature vibe to follow my two singles. I eventually wanted the project to be more diverse to show I can capture different types of emotions.
3 — In your opinion, which track has the most memorable melody?
I would say “Back in Business” has the most memorable melody while “Lady in the Shadows” has the catchiest beat.
4 — Is the acoustic sound part of your signature style as an artist?
I LOVE THE acoustic sound and incorporating into Pop and Hip-Hop. I usually am not the biggest fan of putting myself in a box for genre but I would say I definitely say the acoustic melodies are part of my sound.
My favorite lyric would probably be “Lookin in the mirror and I see / the person staring in front of me / does he know who he is?” in “Speak of the Devil”.
6 — How many people participated in this project?
Me, the producer, and the two people I collaborated with! And, of course, the people in my life that sometimes spark inspiration. 🙂
7 — What’s one thing you could change about this finished album?
If I could change anything I wish I could have included the Lady in the Shadows Remix I’m currently working on. 😉
9 — What about upcoming music videos?
I definitely have a music video coming soon. I have an insane animated music video coming up for my song “Hypocrites”.
10 — Finally, why people should listen to ‘The Sun Never Says’?
People should listen to this album because it’s a lot about raw emotion and honesty. The project name is inspired by a poem by a Persian poet named Hafiz which discusses loving without expecting anything back. ‘The Sun Never Says’ you owe me. The project was meant to capture feelings like lust, infatuation, curiosity, confusion, harmless fun, impulsiveness, and ends with a message selfless love. I think a lot of people my age would relate to a lot of the songs because of the sheer frustration we all share in this aspect haha. Lastly, I have a diverse variety that could be Pop, RnB, Hip Hop, Latin Trap and more. Hopefully, there’s something for everyone.
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Interview | Questions & Answers With PhiloSofie
PhiloSofie like many new rising artists is making her way into the music industry with a high level of originality. Here she talks to Electro Wow about the early stages of her career, plus, the new single “Go-To”, which is a favorite among her fans. Singing, and songwriting ain’t only a hobby but also her true passion. Learn more below.
1 — First of all, how did you come out with your artist name PhiloSofie? What does it mean to you?
My brother was the one who initially came up with the name and suggested it to me when I was about 15 years old. I was attracted to it because the word ‘philosophy’ itself asks people to look inward towards values and thought. The name ‘PhiloSofie’ captures an ongoing search for wisdom and purpose. My music serves as a vehicle to get me closer to whatever that may be. Songwriting and producing allow me to explore and cross boundaries within myself.
2 — When did you start your music career? Was your family supportive?
I’ve always been writing and making up little songs since I was little, six years old. As I grew older, I would borrow my dad’s work laptop and use Garage Band to make music and then post what I made to SoundCloud. Writing, singing, and producing have always been my passion. Putting the three together into music-making served and continues to serve as an outlet for my emotions as well as a way to tell stories. My family always supported it because they saw how passionate and happy creating made me feel. When “Do My Thing” with Lucian came out, I realized I could do this as a career.
3 — How has your music style changed over time?
My music is constantly evolving and expanding over time. The collaborations allow me to stretch in ways I wouldn’t normally do and put me in genres I wouldn’t normally listen to. This helps inform my own sound as I can take what I like about a particular collaboration and apply it to my own music. No matter how simplistic or sophisticated each song may sound, there is still a dreamy element to my music that is distinctly ‘PhiloSofie.’ No matter how my sound may change, I would like to keep that.
Prince, Prefab Sprout, Stevie Wonder, The Gorillaz (still have the T-shirt from their second album “Demon Days” which is my personal favorite album of theirs), David Bowie, Gene Kelly, Lily Allen, Empire of the Sun, Norah Jones, Queen, Fergie, The Internet.
6 — Let’s start talking about your newest single “Go-To”. What was the inspiration behind its lyrics?
0:12 – 0:35 seconds and the vocal chop that comes after was recorded a year ago. I decided to revisit the project and write additional vocals centered around the ‘you’re my go-to’ line because there is someone in my life who is indeed my ‘go-to’ and who the song is directly inspired by. I wanted to capture the feeling of being in love and being with someone who is your everything. Not everyone is in love, and not everyone wants to be, but I want to be able to create what one may not have in his/her daily life, even if it only lasts for 3 minutes and 31 seconds. If I can do that, then that is a day made in my book.
7 — Are you planning to release a music video in the near future?
Yes. To begin with, a video of me singing with the song playing in the background, I’d like to have some visual so people can see how I move and create. There will definitely be a music video to one of the tunes I’m currently working on. There is a note in my phone that contains a huge list of scene ideas. It is high on the list of priorities to turn these ideas into videos.
A professional music studio offers a creative space that is optimal for collaboration because you can hire an engineer to do the technical work. You can also work just as well on your own or with other musicians in a bedroom. I still use the same midi microphone I used when I was in high school. Owning a preamp and monitoring speakers do really help the production and recording process but these are still tools you can easily put in your bedroom and that you don’t need a studio for. It really depends on how you work. I would love to get inside a studio that has all sorts of gadgets and analog instruments to play with as well as work with an engineer and musical team to produce some insane music.
9 — What equipment or basic tips do you recommend for beginner artists?
Find a DAW that works for you. It is relatively easy to learn the layouts of other DAWs when you have a good understanding of your own. I use Logic pro but would love to learn how to use Ableton as Ableton is a great DAW for live performances. Get yourself a pair of over-ear headphones. These block out most outside noise and keep you in the zone. One of the biggest tips I can give for beginner songwriters that I wish I had listened to time and time again is to be truthful in what you write about. You don’t need to tell the truth, but whatever you’re writing about, let it come from the heart.
I see myself being able to live within my means from the music I create.
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Interview | Questions & Answers With FUREA
The Internet is a magical place where you can discover so many great artists. Such is the case of FUREA, a genuine Electronic Music Producer/Singer from Germany. Electro Wow caught up with him to know all the facts about his latest gem, “This Can’t Be Happening”. A fresh track I’m listening on repeat mode!
1 — Thanks for your time. You have put out a new song called “This Can’t Be Happening”, can you tell us more about the lyrics?
Thank you too! Yes, sure. The lyrics are about the younger generation, my generation and how suppressed we are when it comes to doing things that we love. We fear a lot of things and it is even cool to be negative these days.
2 — What do you expect listeners to take from it?
I want people to understand, that they should believe in themselves because everyone is unique and you can do a lot of beautiful things in this world. It is just a matter of time!
3 — What were the steps you took to produce it?
I was in The Hague in a hotel lobby when I was producing this song. I started with a House song and ended up with an experimental witchy Trance sound like this. I like Trance but I wanted to use my own sounds.
4 — What challenges did you overcome during the production process?
Vocals were pretty much all over the place because I layered them a lot. It worked well though.
Absolutely, I think that it is something different. So yes!
6 — What kind of music did you grow up on?
I always tried to do my own thing with my music so I don’t know if a genre exists for me. My label also focuses on this element, Graycrest wants artists to name their own genres.
7 — Do you draw inspiration from contemporary artists?
Yes, for example, while I was growing up a really big Bring me the Horizon fan. I still am. They still inspire me.
I’m going to dissatisfy people with my answer but I guess I just like nice computers. Otherwise, if I had a retro synth I would use it but I don’t really own one.
9 — What do you like to do when you’re not working in the studio?
I like to be in nature and meditate. Sometimes I go out with certain people I love and care about.
10 — Finally, what made you want to start a career in music?
Everything and especially my perception of happiness. I thought I could be happy if I persuade the right thing in my life. The people who have supported me really increased my courage to do so. Thank you all!
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Quickfire Interview With: Mr Hudson
I had the absolute honour to interview Mr Hudson. The artist who is ahead of his time is back with a futuristic album entitled ‘When The Machine Stops’. This 11-track project is probably his best work to date and it revolves around modern isolation. As a music fan, I wanted to find out the intimate details about his career. Scroll down for more info.
1 – You’ve been Songwriting and Producing since…
I was nine and wrote a song called “Will You Be Mine” always the sensitive soul.
2 – You got involved in the music realm because…
It’s the closest thing to a religion that I have.
3 – Your sound is…
Sad robot music.
5 – Fans should listen to your new album ‘When The Machine Stops’ because…
It’s the best thing I’ve ever made.
6 – If you want to know who Mr Hudson is, listen to the track…
“There Will Be Tears”.
7 – Your most memorable career moment so far has been…
Meeting Elton John on the beach and taking him to the studio to work on MBDTF with Kanye.
8 – Your dream is…
9 – Your next release is called…
“When The Machine Stops”.
Bowie’s “Space Oddity”.
11 – Your favourite venue/club is…
The Greek Theater in L.A.
12 – If you weren’t a Songwriter and Producer you’d probably be…
13 – You’ll only stop making music if…
I lose my hearing.
14 – In a few years, you want to be…
15 – What are you doing for the rest of the day?
Sitting on a plane to London.
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