Kastello is a name on everybody’s lips at the moment, especially with the release of his debut EP ‘Kosmic’. After graduating from Icon Collective Music Production school it is clear that the young DJ and Producer has some serious talent. Find out a bit more about Kastello and behind the scenes of his EP ‘Kosmic’ below.
1 – What do you get up to outside of your music career?
I work a shuttle driving job during the day. It helps me sustain my finances and also reinvest in my music for whatever I need. Whether that’s a new DAW or new plug-ins, some new equipment, a new laptop, graphic designer for artwork, etc. it helps me get the job done! I’m currently working that job for 50 hours a week and I still manage to get in a bunch of studio time and continue to release content at a good pace. I don’t have and never will have any cracked software, so I continue to work and put that money to my equipment to make even better music with each release. Aside from work and being in the studio, I play video games and basketball. I have been playing basketball since I was about 6 years old and I played organized basketball for about 10 years, winning some championships and what not. I will always have basketball in my life no matter what else I choose to do because no matter what’s going on in my personal life, when I play basketball nothing else matters to me and I get to be away from it all for some time. It feels good.
2 – What was the inspiration behind the theme of the ‘Kosmic’ EP?
My biggest inspiration behind the theme of Kosmic EP came to me while producing each track. I had been merging genres, sounds, and styles that I’ve always been influenced by and thought this body of work comes from somewhere I hadn’t been to physically, but somewhere I had been mentally or emotionally. That’s where all the outer space track titles and cover art come from! Kosmic was also the project where I chose to do a complete genre/image switch with. I really wanted to make a unique impact on the EDM bass music scene. My managers, as well as classmates and friends I went to Icon Collective Music Production School with had heard my unreleased bass music and always told me to make the genre switch because it would work out better for me. Looking back I would have to agree it really did work out for the better! Going forward, I’m so excited to finish and release all the new tracks I’m working on right now! The best is still yet to come…
3 – Do you have a favourite track from your latest EP? If so why?
I can’t decide between ‘Kosmic’ or ‘The Launch’ but I have reasons for both. ‘Kosmic’ is a melodic, peak time banger track that I can use in pretty much any set and get a reaction from the crowd. It’s almost like a secret weapon on my USB. I had the most fun producing this track as well because it touches all the styles and sounds I’ve been the most influenced by in bass music, but I was able to give it my own unique twist and have it stand out in the EP! ‘The Launch’ is the perfect set opener for me, it introduces a happy melody but quickly breaks down into a dark vibe and that for sure will get the crowd’s attention to start things off. I also believe that in both of these tracks you can hear many similarities that distinguish what can be known as my own unique style/sound. The feedback I’ve gotten on these tracks also clarified which tracks really stood out. All in all, both of these tracks stand out and for sure will turn heads to draw the crowd in!
4 – How long did the process of writing and producing the ‘Kosmic’ EP take?
I started working on this project in the summer of 2017. I had ideas all over the place for the theme, the title, the track titles and what I wanted the cover art to represent. I decided to begin with working on the tracks and let it all come together as each piece was finished. I created about 15-20 extra song ideas in the process of trying to write the perfect body of work for what I wanted to represent. That process really elevated my skills and creativity as a producer, and some of those extra song ideas I produced are now being worked on to be tracks for future releases! When each track was finalized, I would always get thoughts of outer space, that’s when the track names started to come to me and my managers helped me come up with ‘Kosmic’ to represent the EP title and the overall energy. The reaction and support I’ve received on the EP thus far have been exactly what I aimed for.
5 – Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I can see myself touring around the world and being a major act in the festival scene. I’ve always had the festival performance mentality and I’ve always dreamt about performing at some of the powerhouse festivals across the globe, such as Ultra, EDC, Tomorrowland, and Coachella. I love to produce and record all styles of music whether it’s being released or not and whether it can be played in a festival set or not.
I would love the opportunity to work with some rappers and produce some hip-hop beats too. I can also see myself doing soundtracks for movies, TV shows, video games, commercials etc. as I have always been amused by the thought of having a movie or commercial go along with music I had created. I would also love to create some sound effects for video games in the future or even gadget devices like phones and computers. I have much more in my arsenal than just EDM or festival music!
6 – Who are your biggest influences?
I would definitely have to say some of my biggest influencers are Daft Punk, Skrillex, Deadmau5 and Swedish House Mafia. They were the artists I would say that really made me fall in love with electronic music in the first place. I remember being 7 years old and hearing Daft Punk for the first time and my mind was blown! I was constantly asking my brother for the song name or artist name but neither of us could find out. For months we went on and almost forgot about the track but then we finally came across it on TV with the track name and song title and it was all history from there! My brother is also another huge influence on my early days listening to electronic music. He was the person who introduced me to the artists I’m influenced by and would tell me more about them. He actually wanted to be a DJ/producer before I ever did. If my brother never showed me those tracks and artists and told me more about them, I might have never had the interest to want to produce electronic music and be what I am today.
7 – What has been your favourite event to DJ at?
Recently in September 2018, I played a show in Las Vegas. I was humbled by the introduction the promoters gave me when I arrived and when they checked me into my room. I was offered rides from the hotel drivers to go around Las Vegas and was also offered free drinks during and after my performance! The show was great, I had the crowd really energized and the promoters even told me I had the best performance of the night which was amazing to hear! I felt very accomplished to know that I can definitely rock a Vegas club crowd! I had lots of fun that weekend and was truly an eye-opening experience. I absolutely can’t wait to be back there again for another performance!
8 – Do you have any funny stories from a gig you’ve played?
Going back to my early days, one time back in high school when I would DJ house parties, I was the DJ for one of the craziest high school parties I’ve ever been to. So the night started off slowly with just a few people showing up and I was thinking to myself, “why did I agree to DJ this party..” but I just put my head down and started to play the music I had prepared and was trying to make the best of it. About an hour later I slowly realized by doing that it really got the party started and the dance floor was starting to fill up over capacity! The chaos started here, the white walls of the house turned black from bodies grinding up against it while dancing at capacity, one guy’s girlfriend was so drunk that he tried to wake her up by punching her and only gave her a black eye passed out, and we had about $25,000 of damages to the house that had to be remodeled. Someone also smashed a whole watermelon in my DJ equipment boxes but luckily none of my equipment were inside the box. This is still the craziest and funniest gig I’ve ever performed at.
9 – Do you have any more upcoming projects or gigs we can look forward to?
I have just started working on my second EP, I still don’t know what the theme of that one will be but I do have goals in mind. My debut EP was ‘Kosmic’, and with that, I produced all 5 tracks by myself and really wanted to show off what I’m capable of as a solo producer. So with this second EP, I’m taking on vocalists and other producers to collaborate with. I’m planning on producing anywhere from 5-7 tracks for that EP. I have already started contacting a few vocalists that I would love to be featured. Aside from the new EP, I have been contacted by three different record labels and I’m preparing some demo tracks to send to their labels for possible releases. I also got an invitation from a top 10 DJ’s record label and I’m very excited to share my demos with their team and see where that goes! I can’t say who it is yet but I’m sure you guys will hear about it when it’s being released!
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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!