You must read this interview with Kouss! He used to rock it as a badass drummer in the Stellar Revival band, but now he’s spilling the beans about how he switched things up and got into making electronic dance music (EDM). The spotlight is now on his latest track, “Can’t Go Back.” Learn more here.
1 — Putting your sound into words, how would you convey the mood and sensations that your music evokes to someone unfamiliar with it?
My music aims to be an uplifting and thoughtful blend of Progressive House and Dance-Pop. Even though the music is very dancefloor-friendly, the songwriting is very Pop-forward. I also love mixing live instrumentation with electronic production to create layered recordings. As a drummer, having live elements mesh with the electronic really brings out a unique texture.
2 — Your transition from Rock music with Stellar Revival to EDM is quite remarkable. Can you tell us more about it?
The transition from Rock to EDM is an exciting and natural creative evolution. I’ve always been passionate about electronic music, so finally being able to fully immerse myself in the genre as a producer and songwriter has been fulfilling. My background as a touring Rock drummer also gives me a unique musical sensibility that I try to incorporate into Kouss Records.
3 — As a drummer, you had to adapt to a different genre. How did you translate your rhythmic background into this new realm?
When approaching any genre, especially Dance music, I’m utilizing my background in percussion to create grooves and drum patterns. The drum parts still come from the same creative place whether I’m sitting behind a drum set or drawing with a MIDI controller. I will say that with EDM I find myself focused more on groove and restraint.
4 — In what ways have Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta played a role in shaping the sound of your new single “Can’t Go Back”?
Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta definitely influenced the melodic and atmospheric vibes in “Can’t Go Back.” Their music motivates and challenges me to produce massive soundscapes on the highest level. They’re all melodic magicians, and I continue to be inspired by their work. I also feel like I put my own spin on “Can’t Go Back.” It’s almost like the line between EDM and Pop became blurrier on this track.
5 — What’s the story behind the song title?
“Can’t Go Back” is generally about moving forward and not dwelling on the past. For me personally, it’s about evolving as an artist and person.
I was introduced to Anna soon after starting the Kouss project by “Can’t Go Back” co-producer and dear friend Phil Barnes. The second I heard Anna sing I knew I wanted to work with her. She’s an incredible songwriter and an awesome human. It was an organic collaboration that we’re both stoked about. Definitely be on the lookout for more collaborations with Anna in the future!
7 — How do you aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through this single?
I aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through the authenticity and musicality of “Can’t Go Back.” It’s about delivering that special feeling to the listener. We crafted this recording from a place of passion as artists. The lyrics are relatable and cathartic, and Anna’s vocals draw you into this sonic world we created. We also tap into some nostalgia with the Big Room House vibe. But overall the goal was to give listeners an authentic musical experience that resonates with them, regardless of what genre they usually listen to.
Yes, “Can’t Go Back” mixes electronic production with live drumming and live guitars. The live instruments give the song a dynamic texture and human feel. Not every Kouss song will have live instruments, but it’s definitely a major part of the debut EP coming in 2024.
9 — Looking ahead, how do you envision your music style evolving?
I want to continue bridging the gap between organic and electronic. Creatively, I think there’s a lot of meat on that bone. I also don’t want to limit myself to a single genre or style. I love all types of music and ultimately hope to develop a sound that draws from those diverse influences and experiences.
10 — Lastly, reflecting on your journey so far, what’s been the most memorable or rewarding moment of your music career?
Working with talented musicians and creators who are excited about my music has been humbling and inspiring. I didn’t expect it, but the reaction to “Can’t Go Back” has been both unexpected and validating. It’s so cool to see the song played in clubs, gyms, and cars. I’m truly fortunate to share my passion for music and connect with listeners who share the same passion.
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Exclusive Interview: Paul Mayson Delves Into His Debut Album ‘One Life’
Paul Mayson‘s first-ever album, ‘One Life,’ is like a special mix of his love for House music, blended with different kinds of sounds and cool collaborations from artists all over the world. You definitely don’t want to miss this interview!
1 — With the release of your debut album ‘One Life,’ what are your expectations for how listeners will connect with the music?
My goal was to showcase my story and my sound. And for it to be an uplifting, positive, and summery album. Hopefully, it feels like that! It’s a collection of songs made at the moment, to make you feel happy and free. It’s about embracing life, the good things and the bad. And about doing what makes you happy.
2 — You’ve teamed up with a diverse range of international artists on this material. Please let us know how these collaborations came to be.
It was really exciting taking elements from different genres, working with a group of great artists who come from very different backgrounds, and bringing all of these sounds and flavors together on one project. A lot of artists I meet myself, reach out to the people I’m interested in. I often travel abroad to work on music together and do sessions in London or LA. Sometimes collabs can also happen through the label or the publisher, but ultimately it’s great to have an artist-to-artist relationship.
3 – What compelled you to emphasize the themes of life, freedom, and diversity in this album?
I’m very passionate about House music culture and the way it started. Which was all about positivity and celebrating life together. I love that message and think the soulful, feel-good element of House music is what always really attracted me to the genre. And to music in general, including other genres like Soul and RnB.
A few of the songs (like “Tell Me How” and “I Want You”) were basically made during one big jam session. It’s me just trying out completely different sounds, textures, and rhythms and experimenting with live drums, guitars, and whatever I feel like. Letting go of any rules connected to dance music allows for a really fresh approach to the album songs.
6 – How does the artwork complement the album’s concept?
It emphasizes the feel-good element and the overall message of the album. Life is in front of you, it’s there for the taking. You’re in the hallway, step into the light and embrace life.
7 – Will there be another amazing music video like “Have It All,” dropping in the near future?
We released a really cool art piece and visualizer for the album which I’m very excited about!
8 – Given your ambition to push boundaries within the Dance genre, do you think the bunch of producers already out there could make it tough for you to really stand out?
I think individuality is key. Doing something you’re passionate about. Telling your own story. If you go into that process, the outcome will be unique. Not following trends and doing my own thing is what helps me stand out and allows me to be ahead and I try to keep pushing myself.
9 – Among your studio essentials, what’s the item that you consider the cornerstone of your setup?
Quite a lot of my work is digital. I carry my laptop around and can produce and write anywhere with it, whether it’s my home studio, the studio in Amsterdam, a hotel, or even an airport. That’s what makes it flexible and international! Just being able to work anywhere and get the creative process going. At home I also love my Adam A77x monitors and I also use a Prophet synth.
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Exploring “My Friends”: Tobtok Talks Creative Process And More!
In this exclusive interview, Swedish producer Tobtok discusses all the details about his latest single as part of the ongoing countdown to the upcoming ‘My Friends’ EP. This is a collaborative effort with farfetch’d that you definitely shouldn’t overlook.
1 — Congratulations on the release of “My Friends.” Please tell us more about the influences and musical style that shaped this cool track.
Thanks! This tune has taken inspiration from bits and pieces of tracks I’ve been into over the last 10 years, everything from Daft Punk to Fred Again. It contains a lot of micro samples and vocal lines that are in a similar vein as old French House records, but we also wanted to experiment with the current UK rave sound, which we think ended up in a pretty unique and interesting way.
2 — How did you and farfetch’d navigate the creative process together, especially when faced with differing ideas or disagreements?
We were kind of on the same page with most things to be fair. Jerry from farfetch’d is a very creative guy and he loves to bash out new ideas, which worked well for me to develop into full songs. We worked on every track together in my studio and finished them off together. Of course, we had some different ideas about certain things but since none of us had a big ego, we just compromised. I think when you like the same kind of music, you usually think quite alike.
3 — What sets this collaboration apart from your previous singles?
I think this is possibly the strongest single from the EP. It feels catchy and is super simple yet not too boring. It also has Jerry’s voice in it which is unique to any other of our tracks.
4 — Can you share any funny anecdotes about specific moments while crafting “My Friends”?
We have hidden a few wacky voice notes in it as a sort of ambiance. It can be heard in the second verse or whatever you wanna call it. You clearly hear Jerry laughing about something, but I can’t remember what it was.
It’s track no.3 from our ‘My Friends’ EP which has a total of 6 tracks. It was released via Perfect Havoc on 29th September.
6 — What are your emotions when your music receives recognition and praise from other producers in the industry?
It’s always so much fun to get praise from your peers and colleagues. These people live and breathe music and probably hear way more stuff than the average listener, so I guess they tend to be less impressed by music.
Haha most definitely. I started out with French House which evolved into Nu-Disco. I later jumped on the Tropical House train (quite early on in my defense). Left that and tried something cooler with my track “ABER,” and from there, it’s been more of a mix between UK and Deep House.
8 — Is there any specific music genre you’re eager to explore?
Old School Disco and Soul. I’m a big fan of the 70s as a whole, that’s why I’ve bought a few vintage Roland pieces in my studio and a Rhodes Piano.
9 — Considering the global nature of music today, are there any international artists you’d love to collaborate with?
I love Jungle right now, for reasons made quite obvious in the previous question. They’ve mastered this cool retro 70’s/Motown sound and yet managed to make it sound fresh somehow. I’d love to just hang out in the studio with them and see what they do.
10 — As we conclude, do you feel that there’s a certain formula that artists can follow to produce chart-topping hits?
Nowadays, it’s all about doing something that stands out from what everyone else is doing and probably also adding a sprinkle of nostalgia and familiarity into something. A good example is the new Peggy Gou record which is a massive hit that takes inspiration from ATB but puts it in a new and interesting context. It doesn’t hurt to have a massive TikTok following either lol.
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Cameron Glasgow Discusses The Making Of New Single “No More Tears”
DJ, producer, label boss, and promoter, Cameron Glasgow, takes you behind the scenes of his latest single “No More Tears.” With an openness that’s both refreshing and inspiring, the electronic music artist delves into the technicality that sparked the creation of this moving track.
1 — How does “No More Tears” represent a new direction for your music?
“NO MORE TEARS” is definitely a fresh sound to my discography.
Last year and this year have been amazing thus far. I’ve been able to play shows across the UK, Europe & Australia and also attend a bunch of festivals & events. This sound incorporates a lot of influences I’ve picked up along the way and it’s a new sound that really intrigues me.
When I started going to raves in Belfast years ago, I went to shows from the likes of Above & Beyond, Tiesto, John O’Callaghan, Ben Nicky & more. As you can see there’s a ton of trance influence with those artists that still resonates with me to this day.
I love creating music that provides a sense of emotion, be that through euphoric synths, pads, vocals, and whatnot. I‘d consider the new sound I’m exploring to be delving into the Eurodance niche but giving it a more modern revamp. Let’s call it Tech Trance.
2 — Could you share the reasoning or story behind its title?
Honestly, with the title – I feel it resonates with a lot of people in a lot of different ways and it’s left up for interpretation. Of course, I have my own interpretation of it but you know after the difficult few years we’ve all had with the heartbreak, chaos & destruction that’s gone on, I’m sure everyone has something that they can let go of when they listen to this one.
3 — Is there any particular software or hardware that played a significant role in creating this track?
I’m a big Ableton fan. Not long before starting this track, I was actually going through a dry spell with writer’s block. I came across the vocal in this track that immediately I loved.
For the main synth, I used a built-in patch I created within Ableton’s software, for the bass I used Serum to help me get that old-school donky trance bass and to be honest I think the drums are what brought the track together in the end.
There’s no better feeling than having all the elements sounding tight as one and I felt this one coming together right from start to finish.
The master was done by Kevin from Denizens Mastering, we work with him for all our label releases and he always does an amazing job.
5 — Who were some of the artists you looked to for inspiration while working on the sound of “No More Tears”?
Some of the artists I’ve been listening to a lot recently include the likes of X Club, Funk Tribu, Ollie Lishman, Southstar, DJ Heartstring, Malugi & Lucas Boston.
I always find myself really immersed when listening to the music these guys have been releasing recently.
6 — When it comes to producing music, is there something that hinders or restricts your creative flow?
Definitely. I like to think of myself as genre-fluid when it comes to music. I feel this in itself is a hindrance sometimes within both my DJ’ing & music production although I don’t think it should be.
I play to a crowd at the moment or produce how I feel at a certain time. I don’t like being boxed into one single genre and I think a lot more artists should think like this. There are so many great tunes out there that some people will never know about due to their inability to see beyond a strict style of music.
To answer the question — I overthink a lot when it comes to producing, asking myself should I be pushing this or that sound forward?
But hey who minds, if it sounds good I’m sure we can all appreciate it.
Our main focus for a while was throwing label parties in different cities around the globe but I pulled the plug on this for the time being very recently.
It takes a lot of time, energy & resources to run parties, especially on an international level. I didn’t want to burn out myself first and foremost and in regard to the label, I also decided we shouldn’t try to run before we could walk.
In regards to our discography — times have never been better. We’ve almost reached 3 million label streams in the short time we’ve been running. With lots of great music in the pipeline, I’m very excited to see how the rest of the year pans out with my main focus back on this side of the label.
There’s no better feeling than helping push artists who deserve more recognition to the spotlight.
8 — When reviewing submissions for your label, what specific qualities or attributes do you seek out?
There’s no black-and-white checklist. We’ve released a ton of different dance music genres in the past few years, including breakbeat.
It’s all about the music and the artist for us, if we believe in the artist and the release then we will explore releasing it.
We tend to go for Techno, House, or Trance. As you know there are some blurred lines between those genres so it’s hard to say but if any artists are reading this and would like to send us demos be sure to listen to our releases on Spotify or Soundcloud. If you think your release would suit us, send it over!
Besides creating music, I’m a big marketing nerd & festival goer. I run my own music marketing agency where we help artists, labels & events with their social media strategies.
I also love to travel to different countries, indulge in new cultures, and attend cool festivals and events.
10 — Finally, what can we expect from Cameron Glasgow for the rest of 2023?
It’s tough to say right now but there is definitely more music releases coming. I’ve been very dry with releasing music this year but I’ve been working behind the scenes so hold tight for new music soon.
I also plan on moving somewhere within Europe for a bit to focus on my music in a different scene, and then next year there’s a big move on the way. So yeah be sure to follow my socials to keep up to date!