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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Exclusive Interview: COY SWEDE & J.O.Y Collab On “Never Ever”
This is the first time COY Swede ventures into RnB by joining forces with J.O.Y. In an instant, you will be blown away as the quality of his new single “Never Ever” feels like charting song material. Read our exclusive interview with both artists!
1 — How did you end up working together?
COY Swede: Me and J.O.Y also did “Closer” through Soundbetter platform together. And RnB being one of J.O.Y’s genres I knew we could make another magic track together.
It’s very rare I work with the same singer again. But we speak the same language musically and we connected, even more, this time.
J.O.Y: Me and COY Swede first met up online on Soundbetter (the leading platform where singers and producers meet to finish each other work). He wrote me to be his singer for his track “Closer.” From there on we became friends and collab more frequently together!
2 — How would you define RnB music?
COY Swede: It depends on how far you go back in time, 50, 70, or 90, and our time. Genre changes very fast in our time and gets a bit blurred or, some genres evolve into something new.
But for me, RnB is still pure Soul and Blues and also can be a flavour of Chill Pop and influences rhythms from Hip-Hop. That’s my personal thinking.
J.O.Y: RnB was my first love in music! I remember listening to greatness such as Joe, Brian Mcknight, and Craig David and was impressed by the runs, variation of tone, and vocal skills these guys have! This made me do a lot of cover songs of the RnB genre and me ending up having my singing style from them.
COY Swede: For me, it evolves me as a producer. Gives me more experience. I work only with the best singers that share my passion among the independent areas.
Over the years I also have learned how to know what I’m looking for around a genre and theme for the song. What vibe do I want to create.
Marketing strategies change all the time and we Indie artists work really hard with the tools we have.
The most important thing for me is to keep going and deliver the music to my listeners. Show interest in other artists, be helpful if I can, and also learn more about how to get my music out there.
J.O.Y: Doing collabs is one of the best ways to showcase your music and learn from it. You learn to see different kinds of colors of music. You are also forced to go out of your comfort zone which allows you to grow.
4 — What new things did you learn while recording “Never Ever”?
COY Swede: Well, it’s actually the first time I produce an RnB track 😊 I would be very happy if the listeners can connect to it. The bells in the intro are actually recorded by an instrument and then I added some effects using “Thermal from Output.”
Every track I make gives me something new. I’m very happy with the variated bridges in this track to be a little technical. And my challenge was, how to make a short song feel longer than it actually is. We also wanted this song to have a good hook and a chorus to sing along to.
J.O.Y made awesome work with his skills as a singer and writer.
J.O.Y: As a songwriter, you always get to learn a new perspective after each song. Especially here I evolved my songwriting by having the hook be a statement and the verses describing my story. I will definitely write more songs like this, where the hook is simple yet catchy and the verses a bit more complex.
5 — Who is the main songwriter of this new track? What inspired you to write the lyrics?
COY Swede: We worked from a theme I sent J.O.Y. And for the chorus, I recorded a sample of my voice. Then J.O.Y did his magic. Just a note, only the VOCAL is mixed together from 15 stems to give you a perspective. 😉
It’s also a love song for people that found new love and how to carry it forward. But as a songwriter/producer you are open to how a listener feels about it. You can, “Never Ever” know. 😊
J.O.Y: COY Swede presented me with the theme of the song, and explained it to me pretty well. From that on I felt inspired and tapped into some of my experiences to replicate this feeling.
The unique bells in the song maybe is a slight try to call on that upcoming Christmas vibe. Mariah Carey, are free to make a cover if she wants. 😉
J.O.Y: To all the listeners that go through a tough time right now. It’s that season again when tracks like these are needed.
7 — How would you imagine the music video?
COY Swede: No plan at this moment. Maybe a lyrics video on my YouTube channel.
8 — Are you planning to drop remixes for this release?
COY Swede: No plans at this moment.
9 — How do you spend your free time when not making music?
COY Swede: Family first, I love to travel around the world, health, training, and love cooking if I have time. I also read everything that has something to do with space research and am also engaged in earth’s environment and climate.
J.O.Y: Coy Swede nailed it. Family first. Sometimes music can feel like a job where all you think of is music. It’s good to have breaks to enjoy with your loved ones. Also, it’s very good for your creativity and finding new inspiration to write music.
10 — Lastly, what are your future plans?
COY Swede: Next year maybe I will try to do some more DJ appearances. I did one this year 2022 in Stockholm. Maybe together with my music bro Alan Walker or, even Tiesto would be really cool!
It would be cool to finally meet them both in real life, and talk about music experiences and future experimental stuff. You “Never Ever,” know! 😊
One thing is for sure I will keep doing this, and create more music. I would also like to try to make a score for movies or TV in the future, would be cool, if one of my released songs were featured.
J.O.Y: Be more active as a songwriter and have a lot more placements with bigger companies or TV/Film. I want to watch a show and hear my music in the background – that’s something I can imagine would be super cool and surreal.
Blind Mutation Discusses Experimental Music Video “Shadows”
If you’re into hypnotizing Ambient Techno tracks, then Blind Mutation should be on your radar. Her latest experimental music video “Shadows” was awarded and this exclusive interview explains it all!
1 — If I’m not mistaken, electronic music is your passion. How does this interest has come about?
I actually think my dad’s taste in music really influenced me a lot. He used to put on a lot of quality electronic music for me when I was a child, from classic Depeche Mode to more underground experimental electronic How to Dress Well. So, my interest in electronic music started growing from a very young age. When I became a teenager, my mental health started to get worse, and I started to relate, and thereafter, listen to darker and gloomier electronic music like dark ambient, triphop, or hard warehouse techno. That’s basically how my music taste was formed, and why I love electronic music.
2 — When exactly did you become Blind Mutation?
In theory, I think I became Blind Mutation pretty much as soon as I started producing and composing music which was 2 years ago. I began writing tracks with an emphasis on cinematic melancholic sounds that translated my deep intense emotions, and I still continue to do it exploring more and more ways to express my feelings through music. But, officially, let’s say, I became Blind Mutation when I released my first DJ Mix called “WAVE/PHONK MIX” on SoundCloud almost a year ago.
3 — Musically speaking, who is your biggest influence or inspiration?
I love to answer that question 🙂 I would say that my influences/inspirations have been changing throughout the years. When I was 14-16 my favorite band was Coldplay. I loved their not-that-well-known tracks which were more on the electronic/ambient side, like my all-time favorite “Midnight”. As for now, I very rarely listen to Coldplay. Now I am more into experimental dark emotional stuff like Techno, Dark Ambient, IDM, and Trip-Hop. Some of my inspirations/influences at the moment are Aphex Twin, Arca, Trentemoller, Clams Casino, Hans Zimmer, I Hate Models, and Crystal Castles.
4 — Congratulations on winning Best Experimental Video at the Indie Online Film Festival. Did you ever expect this result?
I was hoping for it 🙂 But I don’t really like expecting something to happen, especially when it comes to receiving awards. Because if you think you would win the prize, and then you don’t, you would probably get upset. But if you don’t really think about it and just let it happen, you get more excited if you win, and don’t really care if you don’t get an award 🙂
5 — Tell us more about how your collaboration with All Around came about.
We met a little more than 4 years ago in college in LA. He was a directing major, and I was an acting major. We’ve been very good friends since that time, and we’ve done small projects together here and there in college and just for fun. Then, when I switched from acting to music and started releasing my DJ Mixes, he began doing all the visuals for them. So, when I was ready to release my debut track “Shadows”, I knew that All Around would be my director, cinematographer, and editor. We have a similar vision when it comes to art (music/video/films, etc.), and so it’s very comfortable and fun for us to work together.
6 — Would you interpret this clip as a short horror film or is it something else?
Shortly, I would say, yes, it could be interpreted as a short psychological horror film. To elaborate: it’s interesting that when we showed the music video to our close surroundings, a good amount of people said that “Shadows” looked more like a short horror film rather than a music video. “Shadows” indeed has a much slower pace than a usual music video. In terms of cinematography, it’s also shot more like a film rather than a music video. But I think I would still call “Shadows” an experimental music video rather than a short horror film, because, in my opinion, it still has a dynamic of a music video, and our initial idea was to create a music video not a short horror film.
Well, the track itself was produced, mixed and mastered in Ableton. As for “Shadows” music video production, My friend All Around who I collaborated with, has an amazing RED Komodo camera, the music video was shot on it. Also, my face, chest, neck and my arms had to be bandaged in the shot all the time. We needed special bandages, the ones that stick to the skin and to each other. We had 3-4 shooting days, and not all of the bandages could be reused. So, I had to buy lots of them. Was driving from one CVS to another buying the entire available supply of those specific bandages 🙂
We also had a chance to work with an amazing super professional makeup artist, Darya Kholodnykh, who did the make-up for the “demon’s” hand that appears in the music video. She managed to find a creative way to make the hand look realistic and creepy although we had a very small budget.
8 — What can we expect from Blind Mutation next? Are you keen on exploring science fiction themes?
I love science fiction, and I would like to explore themes connected to it in the future. But as for now, I think I’m more focused on expressing my inner feelings and emotions through my music, and treating producing/composing/creating DJ mixes more as a therapy for myself. I’d love to dive deeper into the psychological aspects of our lives and have an influence on people’s emotions and their unconscious through my music. That’s what my next release will hopefully do! It’s a dark ambient track called “I come with the rain”, and it’s coming out in the beginning of January! I’m also working on a new dark warehouse techno DJ mix which will also come out around the same time.
9 — What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I’ve always loved to think about this. I am very interested in psychology, so I would definitely study it in college, and then probably become a psychotherapist (do not mistake with psychologist or psychiatrist), I would do scientific research and come up with new more effective therapies.
I would also love to direct and shoot (be DOP and operate camera) my own film(s) in the future! It’s a big dream! Plus I got my first degree from a film college, so I am familiar with that stuff. By the way, I’m also super interested in graphic and game design! Would love to try doing that in the future too!
And just to top off the list with more geek stuff: if I had another life, I would become an astrophysicist to study and explore space.
10 — Lastly, do you have any specific goals for 2023?
The most important and clear goal is to get the artist visa in order to be able to stay and work in the U.S. Speaking of my artist goals, I would love to get my first DJ gig in 2023! I would also love to explore new music genres in my productions (like trip-hop or hard dark techno)! Finally, I have so many things I still have to explore and discover in terms of production, mixing sound design, etc. So, another very important goal is to just continue learning!
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Bubba Brothers Talk Last Summer And Tribal House EP ‘Basstribe’
Bubba Brothers continue to take the Electronic Dance music world by storm. Their latest release, ‘Basstribe’ was well received by listeners all over the world, marking a new milestone for the duo. Alongside impressive releases and powerful live shows, the duo recently celebrated their anniversary by playing at important venues all over the summer.
We found time to talk with them about their summer season, what they were up to and what was coming for them.
1 — Hello Bubba Brothers, how are you?
All good thanks. 😊
2 — Summer is now over, what have you been up to this past season?
This was a fantastic summer… we had great moments. A big thank you to all our fans all over the world.
3 — You released your EP ‘Basstribe’ around summertime, can you tell us more about what it was like working on this production?
It was really exciting; the timing was perfect and it was great to see and hear DJs playing the tracks live around the planet, so yes… ‘Basstribe’ was really fun. 😊
4 — Have you got any summer highlights?
So many… playing in Ibiza, having Oxia at our anniversary party, and sharing the decks… many good moments. And as said, we are very grateful for that.
5 — Which artists were on repeat for you during this summer?
Hahaha… great question! Tube and Berger, Dennis Ferrer, Kolsch, Themba, and many others. 😊
6 — Did you develop new projects or ideas during this season?
Yeah… just came back from Iceland, and a new track is already in the horizon. So, stay tuned! and also 2 finished tracks will be launched in a few weeks.
7 — What’s the last thing you learned over the summer?
To stay focused and humble. Keep your feet on the ground.
8 — Aside from performing, what other activities did you enjoy doing during the summer season?
Like any Portuguese, the beach and anything that involves the sea is our thing 😊 Missing summer already.
9 — What are you looking forward to doing next summer?
Playing in Europe as much as people book us and I hope they will do, a lot!