Last month, I reviewed Enzo Sprigg‘s new album ‘Cosmic Bipolar Nebula’ and my initial impression was quite positive. In no time, this left me with the desire to know further details. Currently, he is expanding his artistic vision to new horizons. So, I was fortunate enough to interview him. Enzo took his time and literally explained everything about his latest release!
1 – What was your first exposure to electronic music?
I clearly remember seeing Gary Numan’s “Cars” video and being completely blown away. Not only did he look like no one else I’d see before, the sound of the music was so futuristic and slick sounding. It also had a subtle edge and he seemed very forward thinking. I think that’s why I like electronic music so much. It constantly sounds like the future.
2 – Does Enzo Sprigg has his own signature style?
I would say my voice and lyrical approach brings a lot of my signature sound. Vocally I sing higher than most other male electronic singers. My voice is more like Martin Gore (Depeche Mode) than Dave Gahan. I think that gives my songs a bit more vocal range and is also a big part of my sound. I also play with genres a lot so I try to stretch and expand my songs beyond standard electronic music. I’m still developing but I don’t want to stay in one place musically.
3 – Why did you name your newest album ‘Cosmic Bipolar Nebula’?
I wanted something memorable and descriptive to what the album is about. “Cosmic” because I make it a habit to try to think beyond myself. I also wanted the album to sound spacey and psychedelic. “Bipolar” because I pressed myself to explore both the lighter, euphoric side of my personality as well as the sorrow and pain I carry. I knew this would make the body of songs dynamic and varied. “Nebula” was my last word because I always strive to be shifting, growing and changing, moving beyond myself into new territories musically. What’s weird is after I released the album I found out that Bipolar Nebulas actually exist! Google it!
4 – I read that you were involved in almost all its recording process. How good and bad is to be a multifaceted artist in today’s music industry?
I personally think it’s great and suits me well. I doubt it’s better for my career but to be honest that’s not my main motivation. I’m always looking to grow and learn as an artist. Doing as much of the work myself helps me do that. Besides, I tend to be hyper-productive anyway and would prefer to work on something musical or artistic than nearly anything else.
5 – Was David Bowie’s music your biggest inspiration on this album?
A bit of Bowie’s direction is in everything I do. He is just a blueprint for the sort of artist I want to be. Musically, I don’t think we sound the same though. I’d say his approach to songwriting (i.e. doing his own take on shifting genres) is definitely there on this album. The spacey theme is a subtle nod back to his Ziggy days. Sort of a tribute to his passing which was a big loss for me.
6 – Which song features the most profound lyrics?
I think the song “Oh Mother” is the most personal song on the album. I’d been wanting to write a song for my mother for a few years now. She is a very creative person and early on in my life showed me the way to express myself and encouraged everything I did artistically. The song also talks about how the world and time can take you away from the ones you love. The loneliness of that. It’s a pretty heavy song emotionally for me and when I was recording I had to take time to collect myself. I think you can feel it in the song.
Well, there are acoustic and electric guitar parts here and there but for the most part I wrote, sequenced, and produced it all in Reason 9. It’s incredibly flexible music software and I feel I can create any sort of song I want with it.
8 – I really like the Space art concept on your album artwork. Do you believe life exists anywhere else in our Universe?
I sure hope there is. Not the most efficient use of space if not. One side note about the album cover. The porthole on the cover is actually what my mirror looks like in my bathroom. I look at my face every morning through it so it has sort of an inside meaning. This album is meant to be a journey inward so that’s why the cover looks like that.
Yes and I think the first one will be for “Oh Mother”. I also want my mom to be in the video. I think that would give it so much emotional power and I’d love to share that moment with her. I’ve already started the planning on it so expect it in the new year. I’m also planning another hand-drawn music video. That will come after “Oh Mother”.
10 – Finally, I know besides being a musician you’re also a Makeup/Costume Designer. What is your favorite past Halloween costume?
Actually, I’m pretty happy with how this year’s Halloween costume turned out. I handmade a Night King costume (from Game of Thrones). It was very complex both in makeup and clothing but was also a lot of fun to make! The reaction people gave me when I walked in the room was worth all the time I put into making it.
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Quickfire Interview With: Mike1/2Nelson
Meet charismatic Indie-Pop singer, songwriter, and actor Mike1/2Nelson. His latest single, “Strongheart,” is for everyone out there fighting for what’s good and right. It’s about meeting challenges with bravery and courage. This tune is part of his recent EP, ‘All Are Welcome’, available to stream via Spotify. Check out the short and concise interview I had with the Brooklyn-based artist below.
1 – You’ve been composing songs since…
Since I was 6.
2 – You got involved in the music realm because…
All the other realms were taken.
3 – Your sound is…
Retrograde and futuristic.
4 – Your biggest inspiration is…
5 – People should listen to your new EP ‘All Are Welcome’ because…
7 –Your most memorable career moment so far has been…
Releasing my debut project during a pandemic.
8 – Your dream is…
10 – Your all-time favourite track is…
“All Through the Night” by Cyndi Lauper.
11 – Your favourite place to write songs is…
12 – If you weren’t an artist, you’d probably be…
A mime or a cowboy.
I get drafted to the NFL.
14 – In a few years, you want to be…
Recording with Rick Rubin in Malibu.
15 – What are you doing for the rest of the day?
Auditioning for the NFL. My tap number needs work.
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Exclusive Interview: Steven Jones On Lockdown & Writing “Shedding My Skin”
Steven Jones‘ recent release “Shedding My Skin” is heavily influenced by swirling synths and drum machines. The outcome of cutting-edge Synthpop with the vintage-esque aesthetic is what makes his music so special. What’s more, the spread of COVID-19 accompanied by large lockdown periods become the inspiration for his latest lyrics. Scroll down and learn more about this interesting song.
1 – When it comes to your music, what three words best describe it?
Dystopian Analog Beauty.
2 – How have you been keeping yourself entertained this lockdown?
I’ve continued to practice yoga on a daily basis. I’ve done more walking in the park than ever before. I’ve made a special project of carefully listening to the back catalogues of my favourite artists. I’ve watched lots of movies and read a pile of books. Lockdown has given me a time to experiment with video, take moody photos, and pen obscure apocalyptic lyrics.
3 – I’m loving the vibes of your new EP, “Shedding My Skin”, what’s the inspiration behind this material?
“Shedding My Skin” is a lockdown anthem. I suspect a lot of artists will have been inspired by the deep strangeness of the world’s response to COVID-19. This EP is our response. The starting point was Kevin O’Dowd’s claustrophobic lyrics. Using these as a foundation, I created a basic demo I tended to reflect the dislocation and fear of the quarantined mind. I envisaged a skeletal soundscape out of which a voice intones images of despair and hope. Once this was achieved, Logan added his cinematic electronics and sleek production. The dub mix, “New Skin” purifies the emotion of the isolated spirit of lockdown into sheer atmospherics. A wordless cry from behind a closed door.
4 – How much time did you work for this EP?
One of the most interesting aspects of lockdown was a sense of timelessness. It’s easy to spend hours recording and experimenting. I suppose I worked on the demo for a few days before Logan got busy with it at Sky Studios. It was a relatively speedy process.
5 – I’m curious about your creative process, what comes first lyrics or sound?
The songwriting process usually begins with sound. A basic demo provides an atmosphere or emotional cue from which the lyrics arise. I usually start by improvising a vocal on the track, singing whatever comes into my head. So often the lyrics come right out of my subconscious. After several improvised takes I’ll begin to feel a structure appearing. Then I’ll begin to edit the lyrics. When there is something the feels like a song, I’ll send the stems Logan who will make suggestions, play in new melodies and add dynamics. We discuss ways to refine the atmosphere or take it in unexpected directions.
6 – Do you have a specific writing technique for the lyrics?
It starts with improvisation around themes that currently preoccupy me. I take inspiration from novels, films, art, overheard conversations, dreams. Sometimes I’ll draw from my own experience and encode this into the song. Many lyrics arise spontaneously in response to the mood of the track. Sometimes we have a song title which guides the overall content of a lyric. I have a very language-based thought process so I can easily generate imagery and curious sentences.
We can appreciate both as warm and icy sounds soundscapes, but I know Logan likes to focus on vintage hardware, that was used to create the synth soundscapes for the final Visage albums recorded before Steve Strange died.
Live performance is exciting and it’s an amazing feeling to sing one’s own songs but I prefer recording. I find it immensity fulfilling to write and record songs and then allow them to live in the world. I feel it’s like capturing time. I think my love of recording has its roots in my life-long passion for records! I’ve always preferred listening to an album than going to a performance. Gigs are cool but nothing beats immersion in the self-contained sonic world of a great album!
8 – Is your music only suitable for nostalgic lovers of the 80s or Synthwave fans?
I suspect that a lot of people view us as a Synthwave duo arising from a scene based in nostalgia. And while it’s true that our musical DNA can be traced back to the electronics of the early 80s, I’m keen that our records are creatively vital and future-thinking. Our music is a direct reaction to modernity and not a flight from it and we actively reject pastiche!
Some of our songs draw upon the world around us. “Corrupt State”, “Deluxe Tourist” and “Supply Chains” look at issues of corruption, “Syria” is an ode to the ongoing war and “For Europe” laments our departure from the EU.
My current reading list consists of the surreal poetics of William Burroughs. I recommend “Cities Of The Red Night” for a journey into the bizarre. And for light relief, “An Officer And A Spy” by Robert Harris.
“The English Patient” for doomed romance. Polanski’s “Macbeth” for windswept tragedy and “Network” for a cynical take on the media!
10 – Lastly, if you could design your dream music video right now, what would it look like?
A virtual swim through the cosmos, a shimmering journey from darkness to light…
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Tyler Okun Reveals What His Music Is All About + New EP ‘The City’ In Interview
Music has been the focal point of Tyler Okun’s entire life. He has the ability to easily convey his feelings through relatable songs that touch your soul. Not for nothing, his debut EP, ‘The City’ is full sincere emotions and contemporary melodies for your pleasure. Tyler wishes to impact the world positively and bring smiles to those who listen. Learn more about his amazing music below.
1 — Who are your musical influences?
Growing up, I was exposed to many artists from the 70s/80s, so I’d consider that my backbone for influences. But since then I’ve grown to really appreciate Pop and Alternative. I’d say my main influences are Green Day, The 1975, Troye Sivan, and Tom Misch.
2 — Why do you have a special interest in guitar-based music?
I was introduced to the guitar when I was five years old when my aunt bought me a beginner acoustic guitar. Naturally, I was drawn to music that I could play along with. Some of my earliest memories include strumming along to concerts playing on my TV.
3 — How would you describe your signature sound?
I play into what people would consider “Pop” sensibilities. However, with each song, I try to find a cool way to integrate other genres into that Pop sound. Take “Basic” for example, I had this really awesome baseline in my head, as well as a really catchy hook, and then I and my producer decided it would be crazy to add giant 80’s style synths and a trap-style drum pattern. And it just worked.
Absolutely. I find songwriting to be a very cathartic experience because there’s been huge highs and lows in my life. Putting it to lyrics is my way of communicating it to everyone so that I can get the gratification of knowing at least one person who hears this song has gone through the experiences I write about and can relate.
5 — What subjects do you prefer to explore in your songs?
Writing about love was my way of writing songs. The first song I’ve ever written “Serenity” was my way of explaining such a powerful emotion. Since then though, my songs have evolved into territories like empowerment, dancing, heartbreak, and even depression and anxiety.
6 — You just released a new EP, titled ‘The City’. What does this project mean to you?
For the majority of my time actually making music, I was writing acoustic songs and never even considered what I’d do with a larger sound. That all changed when I started working with my producer, Matt “Malto” Loss. We spent so many hours just trying anything possible in the makeshift studio in his basement. This EP is displaying my new sound that I was able to find while recording there. This sound feels more like me, more fun, and just plain awesome.
7 — Which is your favorite song from this material? Why?
I’d have to say the title track “The City”. It’s just so fun, and it just gives me so much energy every time I hear it. I was able to really shred my guitar and pull off some really high notes with my vocals. I think it’s the perfect way to get people ready for what’s to come with the rest of the EP.
8 — Are you open to remixes? If so, what are the requirements?
Definitely! Requirements would be just to have fun with it and present my song in a new, interesting way! Side-note, I really dig electronic remixes so I’d be really curious to see what an electronic specific artist could do with my stuff.
Playing my music wherever I can, and spreading positivity with it, I think the world really needs that right now. And who knows? I’ve got a lot of plans for more future releases!
10 — Finally, what’s the best career advice you’ve received as an artist?
Honestly, I’d have to go with my Dad’s classic phrase “Knock ‘em dead!”, his way of saying to just give it all I’ve got. He has always believed in me from day one. From the first time I performed anywhere till now, my Dad would always say that phrase to me before I’d start anything. So in everything I do, I go into it hearing him saying that to me, and I know I’ve given it my all.
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Lailien Talks His Gigi D’Agostino Cover + More In Interview
Meet the magician of music, Brad Shubat aka Lailen. Carried away by his great creativity and imagination, he gives new life to Gigi D’Agostino’s classic “Fly With You”, which is featured in the crime thriller Uncut Gems. Known for experimenting with electronic music, pop, and rock, you can learn more about how he works and much more in this exclusive interview.
1 – First of all, what made you want to do a cover of one the greatest hits of Gigi D’Agostino?
In the words of my collaborator and co-singer Ruby Perl, the song is divine! We both love the song, including its many other formal iterations of covers and remixes. We had just finished our version when I heard it play at the end of the new Safdie brothers’ film Uncut Gems, soundtracked by Oneohtrix Point Never, so I knew the stars had aligned for sure!
2 – What’s the new perspective you want to bring with this cover?
Every artist brings their own peculiar idiosyncrasies to a cover if they’re doing something interesting and I felt that the generosity of this tune was still far from exhausted in its sonic possibilities. Primarily we wanted to take it into new stratospheres of playfulness and jubilation.
3 – Which is your favorite lyrics’ line on “Fly With You”? Why?
“I still believe in your eyes, I just don’t care what you’ve done in your life”
It’s so powerfully eloquent. A perfect encapsulation of the prospect of innocence at religious depths of profundity expressed through common phenomenological beauty, the eyes being windows into the soul.
4 – What do you use in your studio when producing these types of tunes?
Lots of various equipment and software, including Ableton, Logic Pro, Omnisphere, Native Instruments, UAD plugins, Waves plugin package, a Neumann M147 mic, Gibson Les Paul guitar, Music Man sub-bass and more!
I do think it’s very important. Humans exude technological extensions of our imaginations and studio equipment provides a basis for catalyzing new possibilities. I will say though that one can have all the most expensive equipment in the world and still not make anything interesting if the creative spirit isn’t properly attuned.
6 – Besides producing the catchy beats, did you also record your own vocals for this track?
Yes, and here I have to give a massive shoutout to producer and all-around brilliant musician Mark Zubek who was absolutely crucial and essential on this track. All my songs are recorded with him at his Zedd Records studio in Toronto.
7 – Who is the singer that collaborates with you on this cover?
Ruby Perl. She is such a beautiful soul and was the driving force behind this particular song’s creation. This is actually her first professionally recorded tune so I’m super psyched by her performance and what’s to come next!
8 – Are you planning to release more covers or remixes in the near future? If so, tell us more.
Not currently, but I do have a lot of original material coming out soon, including several videos!
9 – Where do you usually find inspiration?
There’s a poet friend of mine named Michael Boughn who told me he believes in perspiration over inspiration. That always stuck — putting in a consistent work effort regardless of the day to day fluxes of motivation. Thankfully though I do find myself inspired most of the time regardless, especially by what other musicians are making, the poetry I read, and the love of creating in general.
10 – Do you believe the electronic music scene will evolve after the pandemic ends?
The pandemic will definitely have an impact, but not in some homogenized, congealed manner. I expect an ongoing proliferation of diverse and nuanced artistic practices to reverberate and emerge. Life constraints have always informed and propelled creative agency, sometimes in paradoxically nurturing ways, so if anything I hope it brings further compassion, respect, and appreciation to artists in general which in turn blossoms into magnificent new works.
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Exclusive Interview: Ronni Zag Talks New Single, “No Me Llames”
If you like Latin Pop and Reggaeton, you must discover more about this up-and-coming artist called Ronni Zag. Charismatic, passionate, creative, and visionary are the best words that describe his personality. You can expect a high dose of energy with his next single, “No Me Llames”, out on June 26th.
Ronni is available to help indie producers with his technical feedback and further input via Instagram. Scroll down to read this exclusive interview.
1 – You’ve been composing songs since…
I have been composing music for quite a long time, since 2007. Even though I didn’t know much about composing then, however, my passion for music helped me to progress with rapid improvement. There is a saying “if you love what you are doing difficulty gets out of your way”.
2 – You got involved in the music realm because…
I got involved in the music realm since I was born in a family where both of my parents were also into this cultural activity. Luckily enough, this became my influence from an early age and I’m so happy about it.
3 – Your sound is…
Since the “sound aspect” is something that changes through the years depending on the progress and my influence, I cannot answer this question directly, but what I can say with certainty is that the main characteristic of my sound is between Latin Pop and Reggaeton with summery vibes. I also love the Spanish language hence the song “No Me Llames”.
4 – Your biggest inspiration is…
My biggest inspiration is traveling to places that I have never been before and exploring other countries’ cultures.
5 – What was the most difficult times in your life…
The most difficult time in my life was when I was pretty much “sentenced” by medical experts that I will live the rest of my life with an excruciating back pain. “You will have it for life” they said. To their surprise, I managed to not only get over it forever but people around me could never believe what was happening. After those dark days of my life, I feel that if I could manage to overcome that difficulty (which seems impossible at the time) then anything else is pretty much doable. That works out as a motivation for me as well.
6 – People should listen to your new single “No Me Llames” because…
If you ever caught yourself dancing in a club just to find later that this happened because of a catchy hook that was playing, that is the reason you should listen to “No Me Llames”. The catchy rhythm and melody make the song memorable to your mind which is a vital part of any hit song these days.
7 – If you want to know who Ronni Zag is, listen to the track…
Some of the songs that represent the style of Ronni Zag are “Mi Gente” from JBalvin and Willy William + “Bailando” from Enrique Iglesias.
8 – Your most memorable career moment so far has been…
One of the most memorable moments of my journey is when I worked as a sound designer on vital-audio.com. This helps me see things more clear so I can have a bird’s eye view when I make music.
9 – Your dream is…
My dream is to live in Bali-Indonesia away from any distraction so I can write music living in a place full of inspiration and exotic beaches. That gives me a tremendous amount of appetite for making music and gets me in the zone of creation and abundance.
10 – Your next release is called…
The title of my next release has a name that I am not aware of it yet. I want to create music as I get the inspiration and not preschedule releases heavily just for the sake of releasing music. Prescheduling releases can lead to a lot of issues regarding the quality of the music.
11 – Your all-time favourite track is…
This is definitely an answer that includes a big list of tracks but one of them is “Reggaeton Lento” by CNCO.
12 – Your favourite place to write songs is…
My favorite place to write a song is when I go to places out of my everyday activity or my routine (whether this is vacations or anything else that can make me recharge my energy). My creativity mode gets wild and I can tap into ideas that I could never imagine I can come up with.
13 – You’ll only stop making music if…
I would say a reason that could be an obstacle for me to stop writing music is some kind of a serious health condition as I already had one, but thankfully enough I made it all the way through and now I am stronger than ever.
15 – What are you doing for the rest of the day?
I love reading personal development books as it can help me stay on track with every aspect of my life. What I also like is working out regularly and staying fit.
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