This is the first time I interview a Heavy Metal band, and contrary to what many believe, Images of Eden‘s music isn’t too dark. Surprisingly, their art is just the opposite as there is always a positive message through lyrical content. In this interview, we chat with band members Gordon Tittsworth (GT) and Steve Dorssom (SD) who clarified everything. If interested, watch below their video clip for “Shield Me”, which has already won several awards in national film festivals due to its production.
1 — How do you describe your genre?
GT- The best way to describe it is a mix between modern hard rock with classic metal/progressive elements, but with a very unique sound. Musically – A lower end/ heavy sound but lyrically – Very positive, uplifting, inspirational and hopeful.
2 —How did you get the name ‘Images of Eden’?
GT- “Images of Eden” was actually the working title for the first release. There was no band name at the time but since the concept of the first album worked with what we are about and trying to say, it was a no-brainer to use it as the band name, so voila.
3 — What makes you unique from other bands?
GT- Many things- first, our sound is very unique and cannot really compare to anything specific, and even though our sound is heavy, you will hear a very positive tone/ arrangement/ delivery which in many cases, seems to offset (or “contradict”) the heaviness. The lyrics are very “divinely inspired” and also very much contradict the heaviness as well, which lends to the uniqueness. All of the IOE releases have been “concepts” in their own way. The first 3 albums were a concept trilogy about the ongoing journey of life and how we persevere. But, when we completely reformed the lineup in 2016, the content shifted a bit as well. “Soulrise” is actually a narrative/ “conversation” (so to speak) from the very beginning to the very end. I won’t say anything beyond that because I want the listener/reader to interpret it their own way. But… The lyrical content is 100% about bringing hope, strength and inspiration to the world in a very dark time. We cover all of the trials we face on a daily basis but there is a very real common denominator that brings us through everything and strengthens us. I encourage everyone to read the lyrics because writing this album was completely life-changing for me. I hope it cascades to each listener.
4 — What was the inspiration behind your new song “Shield Me”?
GT- Being haunted by a “demon” (addiction, fear, frustration, hopelessness, etc) and fighting hard to unsuccessfully escape it. However, when turning to faith, we find that we gain all of the strength to win the war and defeat what is trying to destroy us.
SD – The inspiration to this video storyline was the fact that we are all tired of seeing young people, or at any age for that matter, get hooked on drugs, then it’s, over they die. We’ve witnessed friends, family, and parents go through this and it’s horrible! We thought this was a good way to give back and put a message in metal music that actually means something and could be life saving.
So, the storyline in the video was a little visually metaphorical in the sense that the dark figured demon just would not leave the girl alone until he got his way. It was also a setting for a kid who feels alone, no parent involvement or understanding, the things this girl faces on her walk home is just tremendous pressure for a young person to deal with. This video brings a view from the outside in so maybe someone who has a similar situation can say, “Yeah! That’s me”… and know they are not alone, there is hope and things can be good with the right choices in life.
5 — Who wrote its lyrics? What’s probably the best line?
GT- I write all of the music and lyrics. Everything I write comes from faith-based inspiration, but very specifically, drawing strength, hope and inspiration from personal struggles that we all face every day. “Shield Me” is specifically based on personal experiences with addiction/ loss, and warnings against (or trying to deter) death due to addiction. But most importantly, a) gaining strength to conquer our demons, b) convey the message that addicts are not alone and should not feel alone, so they should all be encouraged to reach out to someone, and c) that life beyond addiction is far superior than life during (and prior to) addiction. I even say “prior to” because once you have won a war on substance abuse/ addiction, you feel stronger and have a much greater appreciation for life than you did beforehand. At least I do.
6 — How good was the experience of filming together the visuals for this single?
SD – This was a two-part film shoot. I produced and directed the video so it was a wild experience to say the least. The first shoot we did was strictly the storyline, what we call “B-Roll”. This is where we filmed all the actor scenes at various locations, the emergency scene etc. We had about 90 days of pre-production just for this 3-day shoot, due to the fact we had to finish scripting the story for film, cast actors, find the right locations and so on. We needed every day of it. Then we took another 90 days of pre-production just for the live band performance 2-day shoot. This is when the band came together for the very first time to meet and perform in the same room. It was a pretty special moment for this band!
GT- Right now, we have been playing high-profile concerts in support of national acts (Geoff Tate- 30 yr Operation: Mindcrime, Stryper, The Iron Maidens, etc) but are also playing 2-3 dates at the 2019 Exodo Fest in Mexico and will be coordinating a tour there as well. Beyond that, there are some irons in the fire for a possible 2019 North American tour.
8 — Do you have a ritual before going on stage?
GT- Nothing crazy… get ourselves pumped up, fight off the nerves and have a group huddle/ prayer before the show.
SD – Yeah our group huddle that we do before we go on is our thing! We started this when we first got together to film the music video and now we do it every time before we perform. Someone steps up in the huddle and states a short motivational speech. then we GO!
9 — What gets you excited when you think about the future of music?
GT- We have all been writing, recording and playing music for decades but with “Soulrise”, it was as if we reached a new level in every way. It was also very clear that everything we have all been working so hard for so many years for has all been in preparation for this, and that everything we need has been miraculously placed in our paths. So, we are extremely excited to see where things are going.
SD – The only thing you can do as a musician in a saturated musical world is be YOU and do your thing the best you can do it! That’s what you have control of….the rest you hope takes care of itself. With that being said, this is the most amazing band I have ever been a part of. When Gordon and I found each other it was like from that point on everything came together in an awesome but unorthodox way. This is the best album I have ever recorded, hands down! I am putting all my cards in on this one and really hope the fans feel what we feel.
10 — Any advice on starting a band?
GT- A LOT of advice:
1) NEVER give up no matter how much discouragement you get. Those first pieces of negative feedback make you question your abilities and whether or not this is something you should be doing. Do NOT let it discourage you. Learn from the feedback and use the info to improve your skills. I got a ton of negative feedback over the years and I would never have improved without it. Be grateful for the feedback.
2) HANG IN THERE! Most bands fail because they throw in the towel. They think that if they are not rock stars after 1 or 2 releases that they did not make it. Longevity is the key. This is a marathon and not a sprint.
3) LOVE THE JOURNEY and have no expectations of reaching a “destination” because you may never see that port that you hope and expect to reach. I would not trade ANY part of my journey for the world. I have grown, matured, lived life and become even more than I thought I would be by taking this journey.
4) Cliché but stay true to yourself and who you are. Trust your gut and do not let someone else dictate what you do/ how you do things. Everyone thinks they know what you should be doing better than you do. News flash… they don’t!
5) Be careful who you take advice from. I would only recommend taking advice from those who have proven success, not from the yo-yo who is still at the same place they were at 20 years ago.
• You will hear NO a lot. Let that motivate you to keep going.
• Put a notepad and pen at your bedside. The best solutions and thoughts come at night when your relaxed.
• Do it for the love of your instrument and the camaraderie of your band. If your in it for fame and money your hearts in the wrong place.
• Believe everyone but trust nobody
• Be a dreamer! That’s where it all starts. It’s the people who act on those dreams are the ones that prosper.
• Work on your craft everyday
• Remember always put your best foot forward
• Invest in your vision. It takes money to make money. Invest in your gear, recording and presentation. These are foundations to being a pro!
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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.