There is nothing new in the fact that greedy corporate interests represent a threat to our Mother Earth. Climate change is a critical issue that will get worse in the next years if we don’t take action and protect our planet. In this interview, I had the pleasure to chat with Kēvens, who worried about the environment, created a music video entitled, “World Is Burning”. Open your mind to his words, and let’s raise awareness together for the conservation of nature. Learn also about the artist’s career below.
1 — Do you really feel the world is burning?
I certainly do. I learned long ago if your neighbor’s wall is on fire, it’s your problem too. What happened in Australia will happen again somewhere else, I pray not but it’s up to us to be vigilant and do everything in our power to reverse global warming. That window of opportunity is closing fast.
As a Florida resident, the last few hurricanes we went through have gradually intensity and I have a nauseating feeling that’s not going to stop.
In 1992, I experienced my first cat 5 hurricane and it was devastating. Now due to increasingly careless human activity on the planet, primarily the burning of fossil fuel that pump (CO2) in the atmosphere, methane, and other greenhouse gasses, the atmosphere and oceans have been heating up, glaciers melting way faster than originally predicted. Yes, World Is Burning 🥵
2 — Why is it important to create awareness through music?
Music is a language everyone can speak, it is the best platform for sonic expressive communication I know. If you have something serious to say, put it in a song.
3 — How do you respond to those who deny the reality of climate change?
I simply tell them the climate crisis is real, whether they believe it’s manmade or the Earth’s natural cycles, climate change is happening. In the end, no matter what, Mother Nature will heal herself, but we may not be able to recover.
4 — Where do you find the most inspiration to write your lyrics?
I’ve been asked this question the most over the years. My source of inspiration comes from The Almighty through life’s experiences.
5 — Can you tell us more about your life’s mantra?
My life’s mantra is “Positivity is a Necessity “ When I was much younger I had a best friend, Anthony Booker, who died tragically. I felt at a loss since we had plans to take our band Le Coup at the time to higher heights.
Years later after countless trials and errors in the music industry in addition to personal failures in love relationships, I discovered meditation. Through that new outlet, I came to know the power of positive thinking.
In 1997, a gentleman by the name of Jason Donavan (of Zenfest) hired my group, to perform at The Florida Zen Music festival. After my performance, DJ and Producer, Francisco Mendez said to me, there is trouble brewing by the main arena, the audience is being rowdy due to the heavy police presence. He urged me to get on stage and “do my thing”. Mind you, this is the rave era when parties got shut down regularly.
I went on that stage, while a member of Rabbit in The Moon (DJ Monk) was spinning. I did a little toasting to the drum and bass track he was spinning to get in sync with the audience before I decided to address them. I told the masses, “Most of us have travelled from far to be here. We don’t want to cause any trouble with the authorities, we just want a chance to dance and celebrate life!” They responded with loud screams of joy, to my surprise.I went on to say, “We don’t want this party to get shut down, so let’s raise our voices and tell the Police ‘Positivity is a Necessity’ “. At this, the crowd started chanting along with me — there was little to no music playing, just me and thousands of “strangers” raising their voices in peaceful resistance. That was the first time I used my motto in public and saw its effect. After that, things cooled off, and the event continued without any more tension with the authorities.
6 — Would you describe your musical style as drum and bass?
I would say that drum and bass is the foundation of my musical style. The drum and bass I am talking about is not the modern one but from the early reggae dub days.
7 — Over the years you’ve performed in different music festivals. Which one is your favorite? Why?
I have three special moments that comes to mind and want to share them with your audience.
A.- Being the closing act at the Ultra Music Festival Soundstage in Miami back in 2003 Bringing an all live band to an EDM scene was a challenge back when I did it in the rave days and it’s still is today. Closing that night validated me as a headlining act and changed the way I promoted my brand.
B.- Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in New Mexico. Over 500 tribes come together to dance, I had never seen anything like that before, so many spiritual dancers with costumes and songs, a treat for the mind-body and soul and experience of the Native Americans no books can teach you. To have been invited to perform in that arena was a true honor, one I will always carry with me.
C.- My all-time favorite to date is in a little town called Takamatsu Japan, the festival was One Love Fest. It was the very first time I performed in a foreign country as a Headliner. Although it was a small arena, I will never forget that experience. I ended up doing three encores, on the last one, the people in the front row rushed the stage, lifted me, and attempted to carry me. It was surreal, I never experience fans with that loving intensity until that point.
There are a few things I always do:
A.- Pray for a strong spiritual connection with the audience, that’s most important to me always.
B.- I like to be alone and silently visualize my intro, a strong intro set the pace.
C.- A quick check with my stage manager making sure the band is dialed in, dancers ready and my wardrobe person is the last person I interact with before walking on stage.
9 — What are you most excited about right now?
At this very moment in time, I am very excited to have lent this song to The Creative Youth Community Development Initiative (CYCDI) with the support of United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Lagos, Nigeria in a campaign against Climate Crisis to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of United Nations.
10 — Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
With guidance from The Most High, in 10 years my brand will be well established globally for years, inspiring young and old towards taking positive action in improving the human condition.
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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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A Daydream Person Talks New Single “Down In Flames” — Interview
A Daydream Person is probably our favorite emerging producer from South Korea. Discover his catchy Nu-Disco single, “Down In Flames” and the meaning behind it. Without a doubt, his creative energy reflects personal and intimate emotions. Scroll down to read this interesting interview!
1 – I really enjoyed your new single “Down In Flames”. What was the inspiration behind it?
After experiencing countless disappointing relationships, I realized people used me and pretended that they’re nice. I tried my best to make the relationship get better, but didn’t get anything back. Sometimes I punished myself and told myself that it wouldn’t have happened if I was a more attractive person. All these are about my collapsed self-esteem.
2 – Musically speaking, what sets you apart from other artists?
I like to talk about my own self-esteem. When I talk about my self-esteem in my music, which is not too good, not too bad, a lot of people feel it and relate to it. I just realize that there are lots of people that feel the same as me. These days are such a hard time for everyone. People always have to struggle with failures and obstacles. I want to share some feelings with them through my genuine honest vibe. So I think what makes me so special compare to other artists is ‘being honest, real and not pretending’. However, I still root for all artists living around in this desolate world.
3 – What’s the music scene like in Seoul? Is Nu-Disco popular?
Originally in Korea, I think because of ‘Han(한)’, which is kind of feeling refers to deep sadness that can’t be expressed easily if at all, gentle soft music like ballad was so popular. But as K-pop just appeared in the world and developed so fast, we started to get used to electronic music. And after UMF settled down in Korea, music like Big Room and EDM got so popular.
Some people switched their taste into Hip-Hop. I heard there is a growing number of people that actually enjoy the ‘Nu-Disco’ genre, but I guess when I introduce myself as a Nu-Disco artist people wouldn’t know what that is. A genre of music? or cookie brand? They just consider it music that’s usually played by street shops or some cool restaurant.
No, I don’t think so. K-pop is just only a kind of music, but a huge system or culture. So it seems like many artists that don’t play K-pop think it’s not just their barrier anymore, they just try to cooperate with it. But you know, the position of K-pop is so huge that many musicians are reluctant to try different genres of music and some even just give up.
5 – Whose idea was the use of falsettos on this track?
Basically it’s Marcus’ idea. Actually, I didn’t know he was such an amazing vocalist until I first heard his track on SoundCloud and suggested to work together. Later, I listened to another track of him, and wow this guy is talented and his falsetto was amazing, so I started mastering right away. I highly recommend you listen to this music. It SLAPS.
6 – How much participation MxRCUS ALEXIS had in the creative process of this song?
Marcus made lyrics and melodies for the music. Originally, I was going to write the lyrics, but when I received the guide melody before the lyrics were completed, I thought it would be better if he writes the lyrics, not me. So I suggested only the overall direction and he worked on the specific part.
7 – Who is “Down In Flames” dedicated to?
I’d like to dedicate this song to the girl who pretended to be a nice and kind girl on the outside, who was in fact quite the opposite, who lives in Gangnam and likes working out. (She even stole my clothes.)
8 – What’s the message you want to get out with it?
Rather than trying to convey a message to those who live their life pretending to be nice people, which is not true, I just wanted to reveal my
thoughts in the most confident and legal way I could. Actually there’s no place in the world to talk about my innermost thoughts as we think it would be.
Actually, I want to make a music video, too. However, I am worried that the quality won’t be as high as I expected, and it is not easy in reality because of the epidemic situations. I’m going to try it when it gets better. Also I aim to release the EP/album within the next year. Hopefully, I don’t get lazy.
10 – Besides music, what else makes you feel happy?
I’m a foodie. I love going out to grab something so yummy. But these days, as you know, I can’t really go out so I just need to settle for delivering food. I guess you guys would think pizza or chicken, but in Korea you can deliver all the food you can think of. Even ice cream and steak.
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