Recently, I had the absolute pleasure to get to interview an electronic music producer with a pretty short name, 1i2c. He’s an artist with an extensive career in music you need to know! In this occasion, he shared his most intimate thoughts, incredible details about his life and also what’s next on his project. This interview is worth reading.
1 – What does your artistic name mean?
I wanted a small, easily recognizable name that had more than one meaning. It needed to be recognized by the young and I can only actually see out of one eye!
2 – How and why did you get into electronic music? Who influenced you as an artist?
I was drawn into electronic music around 11/12 years old. My parents and elder cousin I remember the most playing odd sounding albums. My Dad liked the Tornado’s and Jeff Wayne’s ‘War of the Worlds’, my cousin would be listening to Jean-Michel Jarre and Kraftwerk. When I identified with Depeche Mode and Tangerine Dream between 15/16 I had established my own groups of major preference.
3 – Was the first track you ever made a jingle? Do you still make songs for advertising campaigns?
The first track I produced was for an advert for myself, promoting myself in an advert create to become the new man for Milk Tray adverts. I got beyond the first section of the audition and the next part required a 30-second video of an action type character. I dressed in black, ran around my hometown with my daughter filming me and created a small track entitled “Speedy Origami”. I wanted the whole video to be self-created. The video was available on YouTube for a short period of time when I first started getting into creating my own music.
4 – What software and tools do you use to create music nowadays?
I have possessed Yamaha keyboards since around 17/18. My first keyboard still in possession is my PSS-170, then a few years later I purchased a PSR-70. I still own these and use the PSR as a midi device. I also have 2 Oxygen 25′ (2 generations), 1 x iRig and my recent musical tool is a Jamstik. I use Logic Pro as my software of choice but have also dabbled with Ableton.
The next album to be released will be ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’. It will be released on May 29th, 2017 by Pink Dolphin Records and will be the first album released on Vinyl too.
6 – What can we expect from this new material? How would you describe its sound?
Some people assume electronic music is always the same. I obviously disagree. Due to the fact I don’t use many vocals and certainly don’t sing ‘often’ I have to make the music itself do the hard work. I make sure the music doesn’t become too repetitive. I set out to make each album have its own distinct sound. ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ was a work of devotion to producing a professional sound. It grew into a collage of some of my best work to date and flows like a rollercoaster, the majority of tracks reflect huge emotion from feeling sexual, to anxious, to lonely, to elation. For those who might not have noticed and the reason for the album title is that each track is a single word starting with the letter ‘I’.
7 – Have you ever had a near death experience? Does it still affect you in some way?
I came close to assuming my time had come back in July 2015 whilst taking a shower after pushing myself hard in a cycle that same afternoon. I often challenged myself using cycle apps and for 3 years running had secured the number 1 spot using these apps on 8 of my closest hill climbs. I was the fastest and endured these climbs the most. The afternoon I took a shower and suffered what I presumed was a heart attack, it was after climbing one of these hills 3 times in succession to push my points higher, but that particular hill was the worst of the 8. Wanting to keep my dignity and wondering if I would make it, my first thought was to get out of the shower immediately, get dried and get dressed. I managed to succeed whilst all the time experiencing pains in my chest that I’d never experienced before. Once dressed I considered all aspects of my life, wondering if I had fulfilled everything. I seemed content with my life, but of course, albeit the continued pain, I was still alive. There was no-one at home. My family had gone on holiday. Within the next few hours, I was in the hospital with suspected heart attack symptoms due to high troponin levels in my blood. It transpired I had Myocarditis. I spent 3 days in hospital having numerous tests and as a result missed participating in the Prudential 100 bike ride I had been training for. The main thing was, I was nervous about getting back on my bike. As the weeks moved on and finding myself with time on my hands, I turned my attention to using the time I spent cycling into being finally creative with my musical equipment. It unleashed a new passion and I would sit for hours making noises that eventually became tracks. The only thing was, three times more that year when I did attempt to get back on the bike or jump into a go-kart for fun, I experienced 3 more heart-related incidents and on the last occasion just after Christmas 2015 was back in the hospital. Subsequently, I’m not as fit as I once was and my bike sits stubbornly in my room behind my keyboard! It’s a Specialized Venge (the same make and model bike that Mark Cavendish raced in 2014!). I think I keep it to remind me to be careful, but with it also reminds me of the reason I started making music.
My children swim in and out with my music. My son gave me a strange compliment once when he said “Dad, is this your music? It’s getting hard for me now to distinguish if it’s your music or somebody else’s.” I felt this was a pivotal point actually because up until that moment, all the music I was producing was for me. The fact that I released it was only a platform to share. My daughter 4 years younger than my son, star of “Hammer Blows” video always tells me she likes my music, but I think that is usually just to make me happy or because she wants something. My son, mainly listens to Spotify and doesn’t listen and collect music like I used to, he is hard studying for University and wants to get a degree in Mathematics, so he will be pursuing a music venture and will keep his feet on the ground. It is my daughter that will veer more towards the artistic world, but she mainly dances (Ballet and Modern). She and her friend recently came close winning a prize in a talent competition out of hundreds of applicants through her dance. She will be starring in a dance show at the Gordon Craig over the weekend of 1st & 2nd April and she is due to have a lead part in a small independent film in summer 2017. Her singing voice is really good, though. She has perfect pitch & tone, but I will not push my kids into things they do not want to do.
9 – Where can we stream to your music online?
My music is available to listen to on Spotify and other listening platforms like Apple Music, Deezer, Soundcloud, Indie Sound, Bandcamp, etc. It is also available to purchase from iTunes, Amazon and other similar sites. Even the purchase sites have the ability to hear extracts. I am recently putting a few YouTube videos online to give more visual presence too. There are already a handful of videos, but this should increase to around 9 or so within days. So keep a lookout!
10 – What are your future plans for the rest of the year?
I have produced a follow-up track called ‘Axe Happy’ to ‘Hammer Blows’. I will be shooting a video within the next couple of months to go with this track. This track will then appear on another album to be released much later in the year called ‘Destiny’. This album is much heavier than most of my work, but the Jamstik is having that effect on me. There are possible collaborations also, maybe some vocal tracks. I also aim to stage at least one gig towards Christmas, when I hit my 50th birthday! It would be great to see many of my friends and family and other supporters getting together and having a good time.
Exclusive Interview: Jenna x On Debut Single “When The Party’s Over..”
Jenna x emerges in 2021 with “When The Party’s Over..” which is an incredible debut single that plays equally as well at the party, at the afterparty, or the next morning. Definitely, the best asset is her melodious singing voice. Scroll down and learn more in this exclusive interview.
1 — First of all, how would you describe your sound?
My sound is constantly evolving within Pop, but it’s more cinematic. I envision each of my songs as a scene from a film and try to capture everything that would be there—the temperature of the sunlight, the scent in the air, the city sounds, and the words that are being spoken.
2 — Why did you pick “When The Party’s Over..” as your debut single?
It was the exact type of sound and message that I wanted to release as my debut single. I also think that it’s a good representation of me as an artist because it’s a song that I really tried to be honest with myself about, as well as the other parts of myself that I am revealing, like my inner thoughts, emotions, and philosophies.
3 — Is this song based on a personal experience?
Yes! The party in my song is both literal and figurative—I, like anyone else, have gone to a party or a large gathering just to fill the emptiness I was feeling inside, only to leave with a greater sense of loneliness. I’ve also felt like I have nowhere to go emotionally, which is the figurative part of the song.
4 — What’s your favorite line from it? Why?
The entire chorus is my favorite part, especially the “will there be anyone to watch me die / someone just shows me how to cry” part. I think they really capture the essence of the song and are the parts where I am the most direct with what I want to say. The second half of the chorus is almost like a cry for help you can’t ever let out.
For me, they usually come together but for this song, the lyrics came first. I had a clear idea of what I wanted the song to be about lyrically and then used the melody to fill in the blanks.
6 — Given the situation the world is in at the moment, do you miss partying?
I’m not the type to usually enjoy large parties, but I do really miss gatherings with my closest friends. But who knows—by the time this is all over I might be dying to go to a huge party.
7 — What makes you different from other singers?
I like to think of my music as very visual—I always try to paint a picture with my music and focus on what the music is painting. Each sound is like a color I use to paint the song, and the way they are delivered are the brushstrokes.
I think I had a lot of phases where I was into different types of music and different artists. I grew up listening to singer-songwriters like Stevie Wonder and The Beatles. I was always fascinated with how brilliant and revolutionary their melodies and lyrics were. Later in my teens, I had A Great Big World’s albums on repeat. A part of me is also in love with classical composers, like Elgar and Rachmaninoff. The second movement of Elgar’s Serenade for Strings is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard.
9 — When you’re not at the studio, how do you usually spend your time?
Usually prepping for studio time! But if I’m not working on music, I’ll watch movies or binge a show. Right now I’m on season 4 of Criminal Minds, and it’s been sucking me in. I’ve also been really busy these days with my new release and everything that goes along with it, but I’ll still find time to video chat with my friends and listen to my favorite albums on repeat.
10 — What are your plans for the upcoming months?
Working! I have an EP coming out in February, so I’m prepping for the release and other music that I’ll release during this year. The upcoming EP is part two of the story of loneliness I started telling with “When The Party’s Over..” and the more colorful, visual part of the story, so I’ll be working a lot on perfecting that. I also hope to be wherever I can be with my music, doing whatever I can to express myself through it.
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Dar.Ra Talks Latest Single And Confirms New Album In 2021 — Interview
Following the release of his latest single “Rise Like The Sun” along with its proper EP, Dar.Ra also plans to drop a new album in 2021. ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ has been confirmed to be out by the end of January. In this exclusive interview, the British artist talks about the recent single, the most important details on the upcoming album, but also his various side projects, which include his own radio show.
1 – Can you reveal to us the name of your upcoming album?
I have two new projects out, a single called “Rise Like The Sun” with 6 killer remixes. One from Columbia and one from Sri Lanka from a killer Producer called Vidula who did the “Lights” remix from the new kinda normal album.
I did the other mixes which have a tribal House feel and an Ambient 6 am Chill Out mix. All mixes have a Sunshine title, from UK Sunshine mix, Indian Sun mix to Australian, Indonesian, USA, and Columbian mix. It’s all about not being dictated too in your time here and “Rising Like The Sun” every day of your life.
The other project is more of an alias back vibe and is a compilation of slower more Ballad type songs that I have had released over the years. I am doing a radio show called The Kusha Deep Radio show which is going out around the world through various Radio outlets and I did this show which featured some of the laid-back tracks I’ve done and I thought it would make a great album of torchlight songs. The album is 12 tracks long and is titled ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ and is out later this month.
I am also working on a new album of songs for the spring with a new single planned for the first quarter of the year release.
2 – Were there specific things that helped you get creative?
I’m always inspired by life, it’s hard not to be unless you shut off from what’s going on around you. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, I had two singles out “Stand Up For The Heroes”, “Rise Like The Sun” and the ‘Whisky n Honey’ EP plus two remixes out. I also started doing a new project which is now syndicated around the world called The Kusha Deep Radio Show, which started off playing tracks that I had out over the past 25 years.
I also started doing a TV show with a Washington DC-based journalist MJ Godfrey which is a cultural review show looking at things happening in the UK and the USA. I’ve also written the next album to follow up on 2019’s ‘New Kinda Normal’. If you stay open to ideas and let them flow it’s a natural vibe for staying creative.
3 – Are you discovering new sounds on this new record?
I explore different sounds all the time, I’m getting known for merging styles and creating new hybrids like Rock Step a vibe that featured on the ‘New Kinda Normal’ album which mixed the elements of Rock and EDM together which you can feel on tracks like “Nightstepper,” “The Beat” and “Heart Shape Pill.” There’s also a genre called Gothic Soul which you can hear on tracks like “The Lights” and “Whisky n Honey.” I was feeling the Latin vibe on “Rise Like The Sun.”
I wanted something uplifting that holds no allegiance to what’s happening in the charts but has a classic Santana vibe mixed with that Gothic style vocal.
The actual record itself is truly global, the mixes and mastering were done all over the world, the drums recorded in Italy, the Horns in Portugal, the rest in the UK. I love that about the technology vibe that you can work with people everywhere now.
4 – How many tracks will there be on the album?
The album ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ has 12 tracks and “Rise Like The Sun” single has 6 mixes on it. The new album will have around 12 tracks on it as well, value for money I say!
5 – What themes will the new album explore?
The new album has some wide themes such as loyalty on a track called “No Time For Tears” which has a cool Rock vibe about it. There’s a track about power struggles with relationships on “Don’t Make Me Beg.” There’s a track about migrants looking for a safe place to call home on “Renegade Serenade.” At the moment, it’s looking very love-oriented in one way or another.
6 – Did you collaborate with other artists?
I do work with other artists when the vibe is right. I’m doing a track with a producer called KDX in the UK, a Deep House kinda groove.
7 – What makes your latest single “Rise Like The Sun” special to listeners?
It’s honest, it’s real and it’s played with passion.
8 – What exciting projects can we expect from your label Kusha Deep Records?
All the above and more.
9 – Can you tell us more about your 2021 tour?
We were supposed to be doing a US tour last year, not sure how things will pan out this year but would be good to get out on the road again for a bit.
10 – The global pandemic forced the music industry to try innovative things. What do you think about private live zoom concerts?
I played Rock the Lockdown back in May and we had a few thousand people all rocking out to the set. I also did a US online tour in the summer which broadcast shows into the venues from my studio. I’ve been doing lots of interviews from Brazil to America, Australia, and the UK online which is ace as you don’t have to drive anywhere. Less hit on the climate and you can hit so many more people with a live stream if it’s set up properly.
Nothing will take the place of a jam in front of people, but I think the live stream is here to say alongside the live gig. I love technology though so it’s all good in my book. Be safe out there and looking forward to partying with you all soon!
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Quickfire Interview With: SOUNDQ
Hailing from Krakow, the cultural capital of Poland, Kuba Kubica aka SOUNDQ carries the flag of innovation when it comes to producing electronic music. The interview below is very clear and gives you a deep insight into his art. Scroll down to read his answers.
1 – You’ve been composing songs since…
Year 2000. The year when computer records got screwed by the two 0s was the year when I started programming a dodgy Korg workstation.
2 – You got involved in the music realm because…
I found it liberating not to have to depict anything. To be able to express what I feel without saying or drawing what it was.
3 – Your sound is…
As incomplete as I am. There’s always at least one element causing some imbalance. You’re never quite sure if it all won’t fall apart.
4 – Your biggest inspiration is…
I am most creative when I’m deadbeat and stressed out. So, in a way, pressure inspires me – or rather makes my creative juices flow faster.
5 – People should listen to your new track “Bad Lot” because…
It offers a glimpse into a complete world – fatalistic, sexy, and dangerous.
6 – If you want to know who SOUNDQ is, listen to the track…
“Bad Lot.” And if you’ve heard it already, give “This Heart” a spin.
7 –Your most memorable career moment so far has been…
Crossing the Ural Mountains in -30 degrees Celsius to play a death metal gig in Jekaterynburg.
8 – Your dream is…
Long forgotten the moment I wake up.
9 – Your next release is called…
“Disco Turista Antifascista.”
That’s a tough one. I’ll go with “My Kingdom” by Future Sound of London.
11 – Your favourite place to write songs is…
I love coming up with ideas when I’m traveling. Not a lot of occasions for that in 2020 though.
12 – If you weren’t an artist, you’d probably be…
An Instagram influencer pretending he’s a XIXth Century French flaneur. All dressed in epoch clothes doing product placement for travel gear and shit.
13 – You’ll only stop making music if…
I don’t think I have it in me to stop.
14 – In a few years, you want to be…
Able to go out without a mask, play gigs, laugh together with large groups of people. Travel to big cities and get lost wandering through them.
15 – What are you doing for the rest of the day?
It’s evening already, so I’m going to be busy writing music till late.
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