David Haerle tells us his own story, reveals musical influences and talks about the new single “Finding Natalie”. A pretty nice song we’re digging at the moment. Definitely, if you pay attention to the lyrics its emotional component will make you remember your first crush! 💕
1 — What’s your general taste in music?
I really love a lot of different music, but my taste developed and unfolded in phases. As a kid, I remember riding in the car with my dad around Los Angeles and hearing David Bowie’s “Fame” on the radio. I thought now THAT’S cool! His voice, the groove, the background vocals, the band, I loved everything about it. If asked to name my favorite album of all time, I would say Bowie’s ‘Hunky Dory’. Then there were all the AM radio singles at the time by groups like The Commodores, K.C. and The Sunshine Band, Wild Cherry, Hall and Oates, to name a few, and of course, disco. Then I gravitated towards rock and hard rock, more specifically bands and artists with great lead guitar playing: Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Frank Zappa, Van Halen, Ted Nugent, ZZ Top, Peter Frampton, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple were all early inspirations of mine, especially with respect to guitar. I also loved The Cars, and then many, many bands and hits of the 80s.
My mother’s parents, and my father, had backgrounds in the country music business, and I have very early musical memories of hearing Johnny Cash’s live recording of “A Boy Named Sue” and Tanya Tucker’s “San Antonio Stroll”. Eventually, I developed a passion for my dad’s great love, country music. Artists like Merle Haggard, George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, and also great bluegrass artists, especially those who recorded for CMH Records, the record label my father co-founded with Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith and which I continue to run today.
Over the years my ears would be turned on by so many great artists, I can’t give you a complete list, but here are a few in no particular order: Stereolab, N.W.A., The Chemical Brothers, Radiohead, The Avalanches, Convoy and Anita O’Day.
2 — How many years have you been active in the music world?
Professionally, over 29 years. I had been a music agent for around 2 years at International Creative Management (ICM) when my dad passed away suddenly. I decided to quit that career and take over CMH Records. I have been president of that company now for over 27 years. This does not count starting on guitar around age 13, playing in bands at parties and clubs around Los Angeles in my teenage years, and so forth. Around seven years ago I began working part-time at the label and spending my other working time writing and recording music. It was around that same time that I began work on what would become Garden Of Edendale.
Though I will gladly accept a Grammy if offered one, and would excitedly share news of topping a chart, I would say my goals are more along the following lines: Write the best songs and make the best music I can, with the skills and abilities that I have, and share that music with friends, with loved ones and with the public. I’d be thrilled if my music achieved some measure of commercial success and/or critical praise, as those are forms of acknowledgment that make you feel pretty good. It lets you know that what you have done has connected with someone, somewhere, and thus what you have done has had a purpose beyond yourself. I was very excited to hear that Electro Wow was liking what I am doing and wanted to do this interview with me.
The other day a childhood friend and fellow musician I respect wrote me a long e-mail with quite a lot of detail concerning how he liked my album. That felt quite wonderful and, truthfully, it’s hard to imagine that feeling being topped.
4 — What came first when composing “Finding Natalie,” the music or the lyrics?
The music came first, I had a chord structure and melody for the verse and the chorus, and had an instrumental jam developing.
Sometime after I developed the music I attended an alumni reunion at a school I went to in Los Angeles. I was a student there from kindergarten through third grade. At the reception, I noticed they had a table stacked with old yearbooks. I went over and began flipping through pages looking for Natalie.
Sure enough, there she was, smiling in those old photos. We were in the same class for 4 years before I switched schools. I was looking through the later yearbooks trying to find out how long she stayed after I left. She was there until 8th or 9th grade.
Natalie was my crush, or perhaps I should say, my first love. I started imagining what it would be like to find Natalie again, to tell her after all these years what she meant to me. The chance to tell her she was my first love would be fulfilling because that was not something I was able to do at the time. I was too young. Too afraid of my own feelings.
She wasn’t at the reunion, but the phrase “Finding Natalie” stuck with me. I knew it would go perfectly with the melody and chord progression I had been working on. I debuted the song at a live performance in Los Angeles at an event I love called Strong Words.
5 — I noticed there’s a classic rock feel to it. Are there any legendary bands that inspired your style?
I know I am influenced by classic rock bands and artists, especially those who would have instrumental sections, jams and/or guitar solos in their songs; where the drums, bass, lead guitar and other instruments would let loose on a particular chord progression or musical idea. My love for that is in my DNA, and I know Zeppelin, Zappa, Aerosmith, Sabbath, Hendrix, Nugent, ZZ Top, Van Halen, Deep Purple and many others are responsible for that.
Finding Natalie features a wonderful improvised solo by Luanne Homzy on violin, I take a guitar solo myself, and then Luanne and I do certain melodic lines together in unison and also with her harmonizing to my guitar.
I hope many people can relate to a story of first love or of a first crush. And I suspect quite a few folks might be able to relate to being too afraid of your own feelings, or of rejection, to express them to the person you feel those things for.
7 — Was the music video filmed at your own studio? Who participated in it?
The music video was filmed at the legendary studio Sunset Sound, in Studio 2. That is where we did all the basic tracking. We had done some pre-production before going in, and then overdubs were done at my own Edendale Studio in Los Angeles afterward. My amazing band consisted of Carson Cohen on bass, Reade Pryor on drums, Alex Wand on rhythm guitar and Luanne Homzy on violin. Sabrina Doyle directed the video, and her team included Stephen Paar, Lee Young, Chris “Moose” Stalsworth, Samuel Phillips and Daniel Myers. And you need great engineers, and we had them in David Bianco, Geoff Neal and Jose Salazar.
So many legendary artists and bands have recorded at Sunset Sound: The Doors, Prince, Van Halen, The Rolling Stores, Zappa, The Beach Boys, Neil Young, Zeppelin, the list goes on and on.
8 — What’s the best thing about working with other artists rather than working all alone?
The input and great playing they bring to the table make all the difference in the world. In “Finding Natalie”, I love the drums and drum fills, the bass playing (it is outrageous on section 5 of the jam), the violin answers to the vocal and improvised solo, Carson Cohen’s and Alex Wand’s harmony parts and singing, and so forth. That is all them, not me.
9 — What can your fans expect from your next single?
The next single is a favorite of mine on the album, and it is called “Always.” It’s about a relationship between two people in the late summer of their lives. It is a call to love, from one to the other saying that it’s now or never. They’re both aware their time is finite, but there’s still the chance to pursue a dream, the dream of embracing and loving each other, and spending the rest of their lives together.
In my teenage years, I wrote a song called “Amazon Laura” about a crush I had on a friend of a friend. The chords from that song, simple as they are, have stayed with me and I drew on them for this song and while making my first album. The music has been with me since the early spring of my life, but did not come to fruition until the late summer of my life.
10 — What are your thoughts on the streaming era? Do you see more benefits or more disadvantages?
There are a number of things to like about the streaming era from an artist perspective and an independent record label perspective. But first the disadvantages and what I miss: I grew up holding LPs in my hand, looking at the artwork, the photos, and the liner notes while listening. That is an experience that is hard to beat, and I do miss it. Something tangible to hold and to look at. But as far as advantages go, you have the ability to make your music available to a huge audience at very little cost. And around the world for that matter.
From the independent record label perspective, manufacturing CDs and sending them to stores around the country was and is a fairly costly endeavor, and you have to spend time managing your inventory and keeping track of components (booklets, stickers, etc.). And it was sometimes hard to know what was really selling vs just sitting in record store bins. CDs could be returned by stores to the distributor and the label if not sold, for full credit. With streaming, your manufacturing costs are about zero in one sense, returns are not consequential, and you can stay right on the pulse of what is being listened to via reporting that is available. However, with Garden Of Edendale, I did choose to make a CD with a pretty elaborate package. I just wanted to!
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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.