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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Exclusive Interview: Jaksan Talks New Tech House Banger, “Let’s Get It”
Jaksan had rapidly become a rising name in both the Los Angeles & Las Vegas scenes. His sound is distinct and can be instantly recognized by its originality, groove focused basslines and wild sound effects. Some of his releases include tracks such as “Effort”, “Blowout”, and more recently “LaLaLa” originally a Birdfeed exclusive but by popular demand has made it on to Claude Von Stroke’s Dirtybird Miami 2019 compilation. Jaksan has paired up with Alonso Garcia and David Sien, otherwise known as KIVI to produce a Tech House banger called “Let’s Get It”. Check out the interview below to find out what happened behind the scenes of this release.
1 — Firstly, what was the inspiration behind “Lets Get It”?
Honestly, it was a drum loop and bassline they sent to me that kicked it all off. The rising and falling of it was so fun and unique.
2 — What was it like working with KIVI? How did you meet?
It was great! Definitely looking at doing it again. I love both of those guys and we met after they reached out to me in March about doing a release party in Austin since we were both on the Dirtybird Miami Compilation together.
4 – How does this compare to some of your other releases?
Honestly, it’s a fun track that catches everyone off guard and really wakes them up whereas some of my other tunes can really suck you into a trance.
5 — How has the initial reaction to the track been?
Fantastic! Saw a video from Techno Street in Spain where the crowd absolutely loved it & of course nothing beats the first time we played it together in Austin.
7 – Have you got any big plans for the winter seasons?
Yes, there are some big shows coming up for me in places with snow that are TBA, I’m so excited for it!
8 – What’s next for Jaksan?
I’m playing a very well known festival very soon & I have signed some new music recently that really showcases some variety in my production.
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Quickfire Interview With: DJ Hova
Check out this interview with up-and-coming talent from New Jersey, the one and only, DJ Hova. A few weeks ago, he dropped his ‘Labor Day Mix 2019’, which captivated EDM fans across the world on SoundCloud. Learn more below.
1 – You’ve been DJing and Producing since…
2 – You got involved in the music realm because…
I’ve always loved music. Couldn’t walk to class, go to the gym, or drive without it. There were also a ton of mixes out there that I liked, but they would always include songs that I wasn’t a fan of. For instance, I love the Big Bootie mixes Two Friends put out, but there were always songs I didn’t like, so I made my own.
3 – Your sound is…
EDM and Progressive House.
4 – Your biggest inspiration is…
5 – Fans should listen to your new Labor Day Mix 2019 because…
It combines all the Jersey Shore classics plus the songs of the summer.
6 – If you want to know who DJ Hova is, listen to the track…
The Garden State Pregame
7 –Your most memorable career moment so far has been…
DJing at Cornerstone in Hillsdale, NJ
8 – Your dream is…
Making a track of my own one day.
The Garden State Pregame 2020
10 – Your all-time favorite track is…
Calling (Lose My Mind) – Alesso & Sebastian Ingrosso
11 – Your favorite venue/club is…
D’Jais in Belmar, NJ
12 – You’ll only stop making music if…
I have no one to make it for anymore.
13 – What are you doing for the rest of the day?
Beginning the next mix.
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Interview | Questions & Answers With Klipr
Klipr is an artist who is constantly pushing the boundaries with his music, after teaching himself how to write, produce and DJ, he has gone on to produce some incredible releases with each one exploring the depths of a multitude of genres. As Klipr continues to develop and mature as an artist, he continues to show signs of becoming one of the most promising new acts in the near future and with his sights set on future releases and the success of his record label ‘Streamin’ Music Group’ it’s clear that Klipr is reaching for the stars.
1 — First off – tell us more about Klipr.
Klipr is a self-taught musician, passion project & an escape from reality into a world of feelings conveyed through music.
2 — When did this project start and how did it come about?
The project was initiated in early 2015. This happened after partying with friends, going to DJ gigs and music festivals during my college years. The first time I saw Tiesto perform at Ultra Music Festival was a life-changing moment for me; it helped me find my passion & love for music.
3 — What makes your signature sound?
I love designing and using different layers of bass and writing groovy and moving basslines. I would say that I don’t have or wish to chase a signature sound but rather create different sounds and experiences through my music. I wish to be creative and constantly explore different styles and be as creative as I can.
4 – Who are your biggest influences and why?
My biggest influences would be Tiesto, Skrillex, Martin Garrix, ZHU & Chris Lake. These artists experiment a lot with their music productions & the energy in their shows is insane. Any particular artist who does that successfully is an inspiration to me. Listening to their productions gave me a lot of insight on how to create emotion, groove, and energy in my productions.
5 – How far do you want to go with your music?
It’s really not about how far I can go but about how many people listen to the music I make & how it makes them feel.
6 – Describe ‘Klipr’ in one word.
Klipr is “passion”.
7 — When can we expect your debut release?
I have already released several tracks and my latest single “Running Back” is out now at most of the digital platforms.
8 – What can we expect from you in the coming months?
Expect the unexpected. A completely different vibe. I’ve been experimenting with my music from the very first day. From Progressive House to Future Bass, I’ve released multiple tracks. But in the coming months I’m ready to flip the vibe and bring a different experience. This is just the beginning and I have a lot of music coming up which will definitely surprise the audience.
9 – Lastly – who would you like to collaborate with in the near future?
I would love to collaborate with Tiesto, Skrillex, Chris Lake, Martin Garrix, Zhu, Flume, DJ snake, Magnificence, Malaa, Loopers & the list of singers is never-ending honestly. My music has been influenced by so many artists from EDM to Hip Hop to pop; It’s just not fair to name a few of them here!
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Interview | Questions & Answers With DPNT
I had the pleasure of interviewing Orlando-based duo DPNT. Both of them are professional artists whose different skills complement each other. Nowadays, they’re promoting a bedroom Pop piece entitled “Distant Memories”. Discover everything about these up-and-coming talents in this exclusive interview!
1 — First of all, when and how did you decide to combine your creative powers as a duo?
Michelle: We first started back in 2016. I met Jaz in Orlando while she was studying audio engineering. I was intrigued by her musical capabilities and was provided the opportunity to provide vocals for her tracks.
Jaz: I mainly work solo, however, due to the fact that my voice is mainly for a different style of music I decided to get a vocalist for my tracks.
2 — How would you define your sound?
Jaz: Honestly, so many different styles of music. I wouldn’t put a specific genre on my music but if I had to, I would lean more towards Indie-Pop.
Michelle: We’ve heard everything from Indie-Pop to Alt-Pop. Some people have even said some of the releases have an 80’s vibe to them. I guess as Jaz said, you can’t really put a specific label on it.
3 — What kind of things inspire you to write songs?
Jaz: I base my songs off of past experiences. I can’t write a song without meaning. What’s the point?
4 — Who are some of your biggest influences in musical terms?
Jaz: Some of my biggest influences include Diplo, Bazzi, Khalid, Charlie Puth and Magdalena Bay. I like any artist that I can chill and vibe to.
5 — What are the benefits/problems of being indie artists?
Michelle: I believe the benefits of being an artist, in general, is that you get to express yourself in ways that you couldn’t with just words. Problem wise, I’d say no matter what you put out, be ready for criticism. While criticizing can help one progress, it can sometimes affect you personally. In reality, you can’t please everyone so you might as well do you.
6 — Your newest single “Distant Memories” is filled with beautiful chilled vibes. What’s the secret formula behind its sound design?
Jaz: It comes from the heart and soul. That’s all I can really say. There’s nothing more to it. I have a really hard time expressing myself verbally and through music that provides me an escape and way to express how I feel.
7 — If “Distant Memories” becomes part of a movie soundtrack, what would it be?
Jaz: I feel it would be included into a romantic comedy or a movie with a trippy feel to it.
Michelle: Definitely. I think that it could be incorporated into the end credits somehow. That would be really cool.
8 — Are you planning live shows or touring the states?
Michelle: Not at the moment but we’d love to look into performing live shows in the near future. Right now, our main goal is to put out music that people will love and can vibe to.
9 — So far, which is your favorite track you have produced together? Why?
Jaz: I really enjoyed working on our newest piece. I had a lot of fun making it because at first, we were just bullshitting. It began as an acoustic solo/piano track and turned into a whole different thing. I went on my own musical trip just writing and producing it.
Michelle: For me, it is really hard to choose just one. They’re all so different in their own way. It changes for me sporadically. For now, I’ll say I’m indecisive.
10 — Finally, what does the future have in store for DPNT?
Jaz: We’re currently working on a multitude of new tracks. We have a lot of upcoming projects. Follow us on social media for all of our upcoming projects.
Michelle: We’re definitely excited! I’d say we have a lot in store for you and can’t wait to continue this journey.
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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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