Duncan Daniels is well aware that creativity is improvisation. The talented artist discusses the process behind his new single “Obalende,” and also his upcoming album. Scroll down to listen to the track and read our exclusive interview.
1 — Why did you pick “Obalende” as the first single of your upcoming album S.O.L.O?
The great thing about this project is that I had 7 months after completing the project to plan its release. During this time I had set up mini virtual listening sessions with friends, other producers, and A&Rs to help gauge the project. Based on the feedback, I felt in other to properly roll out the project it needed to be Obalende that led it. It’s a very easy earworm nostalgic track and its job is to work on the listeners’ psyche, subliminally inviting them for more.
2 — What’s your favorite lyric line from that song?
The lines that begin the and verse.
“I never felt like this before… We did it on the kitchen floor”
3 — When and where did you write down those verses?
Funny enough I actually did not write, I just got on the microphone at my home studio where every track was recorded and just began recording what came to mind and this just stuck. That’s the beauty of this project. I allowed myself not to overthink things and just let my creativity flow like water from a faucet.
4 — What message do you hope fans take away from the lyrics?
To be honest, I hope it brings some kind of sweet positive memory & that’s the beauty of these songs, they can have many different interpretations depending on the listener. I’m just satisfied if it’s a positive one.
5 — How does your writing process work?
Typically I try to get my melodies down first. I’m a keyboardist and that’s how I convert melodies to lyrics. This can be difficult sometimes when I’m having writer’s block but I always tend to know when the right lyrics surface. This project was different though. I pretty much free-styled all the way, then made sense of it after the fact. This was very new for me.
6 — What images does “Obalende” conjure up in your mind?
What comes to mind is my earlier years in music visiting Lagos for the first time from Port Harcourt. Before getting to Lagos island, you had to go through that part of Lagos and at the bus parks, you always hear the conductors screaming “OBALENDE!..OBALENDE!…OBALENDE!” yeah! That’s what I think of when I listen to the song.
Oh! I am already working on a deluxe version of the album with Grammy Academy producer Antonio Vergara and also hope to add some Afrobeats a-listers to the remixes.
8 — Can you reveal what makes the new album so unique?
Wow, so many things set this project apart. First off, I allowed myself limitless range and surprised myself by doing so many different things I do not normally do. From rapping to Jamaican raga, to vocalization styles, experimental harmonies, and vocal layering. I can go on and on. What really also makes the project unique is that it’s one of the first Afrobeats albums to be mastered by Abbey Roads Studios. Yes the same Abbey Roads of The Beetles, Harry Porter, U2, Florence and the machine, etc.
This album was touched by the same folks that finalized tracks for all these legendary artists but it did not stop there. We took the project a notch with the help of mixing pro-Alex Solano, by up-mixing it so the listeners can enjoy it in immersive 3D spatial audio, so the project will be available in Dolby Atmos on Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal as well as any DSP service that adds this feature down the road.
9 — Did you collaborate with other artists for this project?
Haha! so there aren’t any other artists vocally on the project. S.O.L.O right? However, I did co-write 2 tracks on the album with US-based Afrosoul songstress Yemilove and worked with 5 other amazing young and gifted African music producers whose names are on the album credits.
10 — Lastly, what other things are you working on?
Right now I’m solely focused on a long-term strategy with this project, I am looking forward to featuring other artists’ works and collaborating on production with other music producers. However, S.O.L.O album is special so I’m going to give it a campaign befitting of the quality of work.
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The Reactivitz Shares Thoughts On Techno And “Todo En La Vida”
“Todo En La Vida” is one of the latest club bangers from French Producer The Reactivitz. He has releases on Suara, Filth On Acid, Octopus Recordings, and more. In this exclusive interview, he shares his thoughts on Techno and, of course, the new single.
1 — What’s the story behind your artistic name?
Hey Guys, thanks for having me on your interview series. My name is Jonathan, a 29-year-old French DJ, and producer living in Lyon, France. I started producing and playing music under the name of ‘The Reactivitz’ about 10 years ago. At the start, I was producing different sounding music, more like Deep House, House, and Electro. Therefore, it took time to find my own style as I have always enjoyed many genres of music. The underground scene always gave me a buzz and I felt a strong connection with Techno in particular. For years now I have been releasing and playing Techno and Tech House. I love creating dark and powerful tracks with melodic elements, peak time energy, and cool vocal samples.
2 — How do you genuinely feel about the current state of the Techno scene as a whole?
Besides COVID-19 which put the whole scene at a standstill for 2 years, in my opinion, the Techno scene is at the same time full of opportunities yet really closed.
Indeed, we hear more and more amazing music from upcoming talented Techno artists. Every week, I listen to music on different platforms, and I am always amazed by all the new tracks I find from artists I never heard before. With social media, streaming platforms, and Beatport, we have now the opportunity to discover more music than before and it’s a really good point as we have a lot of choices. These ways of communication are helping a lot of the artists to showcase their tracks, even if sometimes DJs and producers spend more time on social media taking off their image than music.
Regarding festivals and parties, we are seeing more and more big Techno events worldwide. Many people enjoy Techno and it’s a good thing for the future of underground music. Nevertheless, I would deplore the fact that we can’t see new names on lines-up. We have so many talents out there, but I am always disappointed to always see the same names when I go to a party. I really think that a lot of truly talented producers and DJs would have their places at the top of the scene, but politics and connections are blocking them. As an artist, even if you are talented, you will need patience and a lot of hard work to get to the top.
3 — Where do you get inspiration for your Techno tracks?
Most of my inspiration comes from what I listen to every day. I listen to many artists in different genres and it’s helpful to give me some ideas for my tracks. I can spend days listening to house, techno, rap or even pop music to find interesting new sonorities. I really like to see how artists structure their tracks and how they make them sound, whatever the genre is. When I am producing, I am trying to mix elements from different genres to have a unique sound. It means that I am not putting up barriers, I produce what I feel when I am in the studio as I love to explore new things. Sometimes producing outside the box allows getting amazing results.
4 — As a producer, does it matter if music is commercial or underground?
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter as long as the music is good. Personally, commercial music is not something that I really enjoy as I prefer producing and playing underground music, but I am not against adding a bit of commercial sonorities into my tracks from time to time. Today, we can see a trend in both genres: a lot of the former commercial artists are getting into the underground scene and also underground artists are adding more commercial elements into their tracks. Is underground becoming the new commercial? The future will speak.
5 — What prompted you to take this Latin-influenced approach for your new single “Todo En La Vida”?
“Todo En La Vida” has a special meaning to me. It’s been a while since I have wanted to produce a track with some Latin vocals because my family is born in the south of Spain, so I wanted to do something related to my origins. Also, as I said before, I wanted to explore new things and I thought that the summertime was the best time to offer something different, more groovy and housey.
6 — “Todo En La Vida” is translated into English as “Everything In Life,” that being said, what’s the most important thing in your life?
The most important thing in my life is my family and my friends. I spent a lot of time with them. They give me advice and support me every day with what I am doing. I am happy knowing that I have their support whatever happens.
7 — Would you consider remixing this track? If so, what producers come to mind?
At the moment, I don’t think that it would be necessary to have another remix done on this track as Luke Andy made a stunning remix already. But maybe it could be a good idea to have some more remixes in the future. I am always interested to hear what other artists can do with my tracks.
8 — What do you think about this collaboration with Luke Andy as a remixer?
After having sent “Todo En La Vida” to There Is A Light, they suggested me to have Luke Andy as a remixer. I thought that it was a good idea as his style perfectly matches the vibe of the track. He did something different with his own vision and I really love it. Can’t wait to play his remix at my next few shows.
9 — What’s next in your schedule?
After “Todo En La Vida,” I will release a new collaboration track with djseanEboy on my label Immersion called “Strange,” followed by a two-tracker EP on Unity in August. I have also planned to release some tracks on Immersion further this year. This week, a new EP with Mauro Somm has been confirmed on FORM which will be released on September 2nd. During the next weeks, I plan to keep producing a lot of new songs and I have many tracks that I’m excited to release.
10 — How do you plan to keep your music style so innovative?
Listening to more music helps me to keep my music style innovative. As I said before, I love to hear many genres to get inspired for my next tracks. Traveling and discovering new amazing places is also a good opportunity to innovate. When I come back to the studio, I have a head full of new ideas and it’s always a good thing! Another important thing is to collaborate with other artists. I love sending and receiving new projects, so we can both share our visions and come up with something completely different from what we did at the beginning.
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Niko The Kid Talks Career + EDM-Driven Single “Fine” — Interview
Niko The Kid dove into 2022 with rapid fire. Upcoming releases on Toolroom, At Night, Sony, UMG, and more were all scheduled for this year. With this interview, you can learn more about his career and his recent EDM-driven single “Fine.”
1 – How would you describe your sound to someone listening to you for the very first time?
I’d say my sound is pretty versatile. It’s definitely very synth-driven. I love pulling inspiration from older dance records, Disco, Hip-Hop, and combining them with these modern sounds. I think I land somewhere between House and EDM.
2 – What do you enjoy the most about your artistic career?
I think my favorite part is DJing. There’s no better feeling than playing music out live and seeing people enjoying themselves to music you created yourself.
I would say Throttle, Oliver Heldens, and CID. I love these guys and they’ve been a tremendous help to me coming up.
4 – Did you ever imagine yourself creating beats for Akon, Young Thug, and Gucci Mane, among other heavyweight talents?
Never in a million years. It’s been a wild journey so far. Coming up in Atlanta and spending 6 years or so in LA, I found myself in these situations to be able to work with some incredible people. I’m super grateful.
5 – What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?
I would say navigating the ever-changing landscape of social media and streaming. It’s definitely a challenge getting new people to hear about you and grinding to create content while also making music. It’s definitely tough juggling all these things without losing your mind.
6 – Where did you get the inspiration to drop your single “Fine”?
I’ve been listening to a lot of melodic stuff like Rufus Du Sol and Camelphat. I’ve always loved these dark brooding synths and melodies. When we wrote the original demo I had these inspirations in the back of my mind.
7 – With this new release do you think your music has grown since you first started?
Absolutely. When I first started releasing music, I think I was still figuring things out. One of the hardest things about being an artist is honing in on a direction. It’s easy to get lost when you have such a passion for many types of music.
8 – What do you hope your listeners take from “Fine”?
The idea of the song is that we all tend to have self-destructive tendencies; big or small and that it’s okay to acknowledge that and move on.
9 – What’s your philosophy towards work while being at the recording studio?
My thing is to just always be creating, whether it’s music or visuals. Just making something. I also found a passion for 3D art during the beginning of the pandemic. It’s nice having another outlet. I find it helps recharge my creative juices for music to sit and create artwork or animations.
10 – Can we expect more songs to be released soon?
For sure! I’ve got a ton of new music on the way. I’m considering dropping an EP by the end of the year so definitely stay tuned for that.
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VON BUOYAGE Discusses New Song “You Ain’t Close” — Interview
VON BUOYAGE is a young artist making a name for himself in the electronic music world. This interview explores all the details about his recent collaboration with Australian rapper Honey-B-Sweet on “You Ain’t Close.”
1 – First of all, how did you come up with your artist name?
A lot of people call me “Bui” (pronounced like BUOY) so I wanted to stick to my family & cultural roots and incorporate that into my name. I also love traveling and the original word “Bon Voyage” means “have a nice trip”, so I thought it’d be cool to turn that into VON BUOYAGE.
2 – How did your approach in making “You Ain’t Close” differ from your debut single “Baddy”?
“Baddy” was a collaboration that took months of bouncing ideas back and forth before we were happy with the finished product. “You Ain’t Close” was a lightning strike inspiration moment, where everything came to life in the same night. I remember it was a late night because I don’t stop when it’s flowing. “You Ain’t Close” is a song that’ll always be special to me because it helped define my sound and what to expect from my music in the future.
3 – What are your thoughts on Honey-B-Sweet’s vocals?
I love her vocal performance and lyrics. I actually started this song with a recording of my own vocals on my iPhone – my first time writing lyrics and recording my voice on a song. But I wanted to take the song to the next level, so I sent Honey my lyrics to work off and the rest was history. She completely smashed her part out of the park, and I think she brings a new level of depth to the song.
4 – Where do you see yourself playing “You Ain’t Close”? Clubs or festivals?
I can definitely see people getting down to this song at large-capacity events and clubs. Depends on the vibe of the night 😉
5 – Who would you love to see do a remix of this song? Why?
Taiki Nulight – I think he’s got a diverse range in his production and I’d be super curious to see how he’d flip this one.
6 – How much importance do you give to the number of streams, views, or likes towards your music?
That’s a tough question that I’ve been reflecting on a lot lately. At the end of the day, the value of the artist and their body of work isn’t based on streams and likes. Unfortunately, numbers talk in this industry for better or for worse. Followers, likes, and streams, they’re all looked at, and I noticed that people will treat you differently based on your numbers. I hate it, and I hope it changes.
I started back in 2017 after I started working a full-time corporate job. I was on the search for more, and thankfully music found me. I self-learned on and off for a few years then decided to dive fully into the world of music at ICON Collective for their Music Production program.
8 – What’s the most fucked up thing that ever happened to you at the studio or performing live on stage?
Fucked up? Other than the typical producer horror stories of writers’ block and frozen computers, I don’t think anything crazy happened to me. Maybe a spilled beer on my keyboard haha
9 – Some artists are unhappy with the state of music right now. How about you?
I think there’s a lot to be unhappy about with the current state of music, but I also think there’s a lot to be grateful for. There’s always something to improve on, but the biggest change I’d like to see is platforms and opportunities for rising artists on lineups. I want to see fresh faces in music – talented people that treat everyone equally and with respect.
I would also love social media platforms like IG and TikTok to focus more on good music rather than virality. Eventually, music is going to sound very different with artists and labels pushing agendas around “good” content vs good music. Of course, great content will always be important, but platforms are starting to stray away from artistic creativity and freedom.
10 – What are your hopes for VON BOUYAGE’s future?
First and foremost, I want to influence positive change in music, both within the industry and in the stands. There’s too much negativity towards each other because of “reputation”, jealousy, and selfishness. I want to forge this mindset into crafting fun and memorable live sets for people who come to see me perform. My first goal is to tour within the US, but I’d love to take my music overseas to Vietnam, other Asian countries, Europe, and really anywhere people will connect with my music.
Otherwise, expect to see a lot of unique music coming from me in the near future. I’m collaborating with a lot of people who I think are pushing the envelope in the House & Bass community, and I can’t wait to show the world what I’ve been working on behind the scenes.