ash.ØK talks with us about his debut album ‘The Unraveled’, which is a hodgepodge of emotions and different elements of Electronica, Indie, and Pop. Therefore, he makes his alternative music even harder to define. However, everything he creates is pretty enjoyable. Besides that, he’s also a fan of making films, so you can’t miss watching the video for the first single, “Holding Sand”, produced by the artist himself.
1 — How has 2018 been for you so far?
Surreal is probably the most accurate way to describe 2018 for me. My album dropped at the beginning of this year and it still gets me every time I hear anyone talk about this music. For the past two years prior to the drop, I was pretty much holed away in my studio without a single ear listening to what I was working on. So yeah, it’s still hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this music is being listened to by anyone, let alone fans on the other side of the globe.
2 — Since when are you passionate about making films and music?
I’ve always been really obsessed with the details that lead up to a final piece of work. Even from a pretty young age, I would dissect songs on the radio to figure out a certain bassline or riff, and then try to cobble it all together into my own version of that song. I could still sit for hours watching behind-the-scenes footage of how an album or film came together. I’ve always geeked out over movie and music facts – sometimes, I get more of a thrill out of hearing how a particular song came together more than the actual song itself. I think that curiosity lends itself to being passionate about your craft and wanting to focus yourself on the act of creation.
3 — What’s your favorite song on your recent debut album ‘The Unraveled’?
Bruh don’t ask me to pick between my babies…😄 lol. In all honesty, I think the album is varied enough that I’m drawn to different songs for different reasons. The title track is probably the most emotional one and it was the catalyst for the rest of this. I love the mellowness of songs like “Bitter Herbs” and “Holding Sand”. From a producer standpoint, the harmonies on “Breathe Me In” get me every time. And tracks like “Don’t Say Xie-Xie” and “Just Freedom” have a totally different energy than the rest of the project. Not trying to be cliché but I’ve spent so much time obsessing over each track that it’s ultra-hard trying to pick which one I’d want to call my one and only.
I honestly wasn’t sure what the reaction was going to be. Not because of the music being good or bad, but because I kept so much of this under wraps for so long. To me, it’s just too difficult working on anything when anyone is over my shoulders especially if there’s any negativity or doubt being injected, it just kills the creativity. So I kept what I was working on pretty much to myself and a handful of folks. The first release off the album was “The Unraveled”, which premiered on HuffPost with a really powerful video. Just because of the basic content of that story dealing with suicide, it just floored everyone and began the whirlwind of questions around this album and what it was all about. In the end, the reaction has been so positive and amazing and I really couldn’t have asked for a different response.
5 — How many artists collaborated with you on this project?
Easily over two dozen vocalists and instrumentalists contributed to this album. About half of these were listed as featured artists, but so many people outside of this had a hand in the final outcome. I had some pretty amazing talent on this album and there are versions of some tracks that never made it outside of my studio which I’ll probably release at some point.
6 — What is the one thing you’re proudest of ‘The Unraveled’?
What really grounds me about this album is that it started with me telling the story of a very close friend who tried taking her life. Since the album came out, I’ve had so many people reach out to tell me how much “The Unraveled” spoke to them, how they were going through something similar and that this music actually meant something to their own story. It can get overwhelming at times, but I’ve built some really meaningful relationships because of this single project, in ways I definitely would not have been able to do otherwise, and I think that brings me the most sense of completeness when thinking about this music.
7 — Were you inspired by a historical event for your latest music video “Holding Sand”?
Not so much a single historic event, but I’ve always been drawn to stories from Medieval or the Dark Ages, which are almost always morose and full of heaviness, broken hearts, death, etc. We drew much of the inspiration from Braveheart, Game of Thrones, etc. and wanted to create a storyline that fell in that world. I flew out to Eugene, Oregon from Philly to film this video – the dense forests and the general dreary tone of that day really set the mood for the final video. In thinking of the visuals, I just wanted to see something from that realm juxtaposed to music that was really bass and synth-heavy, just two totally different ends of the spectrum.
8 — How was it possible to produce those relaxing vibes and melodies?
The original production started exactly how it’s heard on the final track, with that single reverse piano line. As much as the cello takes the center stage, the simple piano melody was really what started the song for me. I went in and laid down the cello line against that. At the end, though, it really was the bass kicks and rolling synth organ that set this into something that was more modern. I wanted to do something super 808-style heavy in there to balance out the rest of the lighter notes. The other instruments on the track, like the erhu and Native American Bass, were just sounds I really wanted to hear over a more EDM/electronica beat, just for the contrast in genre and tone.
9 — Will you continue to experiment with different genres of music in the future?
In all honesty, there’s really no way I can keep away from experimenting between genres. I create music in the same way I consume it, without boundaries or categories. Even if I tried making a standard, genre-specific track, it’ll still ultimately morph into something that bleeds into another category.
10 — Do you have any final words you would like to say to our readers?
I’m truly humbled at the support I’ve received from folks from so many parts of the world for this project. In addition to people reaching out from all over the US, the album has been picked up by a number of stations in Europe, Japan, India, etc. and it’s incredible to hear back from people who discover my work. I often write directly to fans that this is a one-man show with no corporate support or backing, and it’s 100% true. Doing this grind solo makes it that much more meaningful when someone gives an indie artist or producer like me a spot on their playlist. I don’t take any of this for granted, truly humbled and grateful that I’ve created something that made its way into another person’s music collection.
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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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Quickfire Interview With: Grant Saxena
This is the second time I have an exclusive interview with International DJ & Producer Grant Saxena. Yesterday, he released an original tune called “Palolem”, which features exotic oriental sounds, but at the same time creates a trancey atmosphere. With short questions and answers, we try to find his artistic essence. Discover many unknown details below!
1 – You’ve been DJing and Producing since…
Since 2000… almost 20 years.
2 – You got involved in the music realm because…
I enjoy the creative process! Performing is also a fun part of the job.
3 – Your sound is…
Epic, progressive, dynamic. Evolving from one track to the next.
4 – Your biggest inspiration is…
Experiences in life… drawing from the adventures in the past, present, and even potential future.
5 – Fans should listen to your new Trance single “Palolem” because…
“Palolem” was inspired by Travels to Goa, India. Has a modern trance bassline fused with world sounds.
“Resurrect” is a good place to start with the 30 track discography.
Achieving a #1 on iTunes for Digital Arkham’s album: Amsterdam Dance Event Essentials 2018.
8 – Your dream is…
Touring original material at festivals and venues globally.
9 – Your next release is called…
“Drivin’ Me Crazy”. A classic trance vibe with stellar vocals.
11 – Your favourite venue/club is…
XS Las Vegas. The club opens up into a giant pool area that is great as a dayclub / nightclub.
12 – If you weren’t a DJ and Producer you’d probably be…
Scuba diving. Recently certified in Mexico on a trip also spinning a 2-day yoga festival. The location was prime in Balandra Beach, near La Paz.
14 – In a few years, you want to be…
Expanding into foreign markets for dance music. Performing outside of the USA at so many of the newer and upcoming festivals.
15 – What are you doing for the rest of the day?
Going to watch the new Avengers: Endgame movie. 🙂
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