Adrian Hibbs is a true artist in every sense of the word. Recently, when I was exploring his songs I quickly got hooked by his original funky style. Besides that, he’s a man with many skills, especially as a keyboard player. Well, after reading this interview article you’ll agree with me his music is cool, and his personal stories too.
1 – What was the very first instrument that you laid your hands on?
When I was about seven or eight my Grandmother taught me some boogie-woogie licks on a Casio keyboard I was obsessed with but it was the fourth grade where I joined the school band as an alto sax player. The competition was fierce lol but I made the band and had recitals thru out grammar school and junior high. I really didn’t get serious with piano until I was 16 and dreamed of going to Berklee College if music which eventually happened. I was self-taught on the keys so I had my obstacles in music school. Singing & writing came later in my 20’s after I left Berklee and moved to NYC.
2 – Was there a moment in your life that allowed you to discover who you are and enabled you to translate it into your music?
The high school I attended had a very large theater that I would sneak into. I loved setting the lights blue, rolling the nine-foot grand piano on stage and playing by myself for hours and hours. I miss that environment and it was a part of my life that definitely had a huge impact on me. I still enjoy exploring empty churches or old theaters and there is always a piano, hidden, waiting for my confessions. Looking back though I think that I knew I wanted to give people the business from a young age, always inspired.
3 – How would you describe your sound?
I’m such a sucker for the classic soul artists before me and over the years it merges with modern production… Kind of a neo-funk / soul mash-up. I tend to collab with people who share a divine love for Stevie Wonder, Prince, Earth Wind and Fire and a lot of bands from that era. As a solo artist, I have the ability to rotate chairs in my band. Also living in LA grants me access to some of the greatest players in the world and each of them has an influence on me and shapes the sound but if I had to describe its genre then “Feel Good, funky soul”
4 – What ideas were put on the table before producing your new single “Voodoo”?
Most of the time I start writing with a bass and drum groove. I had been playing with melody ideas for weeks and weeks over the two changes in the Verse (B-7 / Bbmaj7) and knew I was onto something but it was a hard range for me to sing in. I had my close friend Lex Sadler lay down some more bass for me and then the song kind of evolved on its own.
It was a bold move for obvious reasons but to the objective listener (who will enjoy the most) the feel of the instrumentation with the lyrical content made sense to title the track with the hook. You know that pull someone has on you? That’s their own Voodoo that they’re putting on you.
6 – How did you discover the talent of Myra Washington? Where did she record the vocals for “Voodoo”?
Myra and I first met during a recording session for a FIFA World Cup commercial that aired for the Brazil Games. We are also both session vocalists and played phone tag for about a year until our schedules aligned. When she came over for the first writing session last April I had a track in mind for her because Voodoo was actually taken by another artist (who will remain nameless) but I could tell the original singer ( for Voodoo) was not super excited about the track. When Myra heard it she stopped me and told that is was hers so that was that. Her enthusiasm won her the track in the beginning but she made it her own after we started punching her verses right in my apt in Hollywood. I made most of the track here then went to a few different studios to get the drums right and some final mixes then I sent it off to mastering back east.
I have been grateful to tour all over the world with some incredible artists and bands but most recent I have been stepping in as a keyboard player for an Australian band ‘The Intergalactix’. They are so much fun with a huge indie- electro/funk sound. I’ve been working with them for about two years touring both the east and west coast and Canada. The last time we went out to support “Strange Talk” also from Australia and every moment felt like a comedy. The border agents did not like us so we missed a few sound checks getting to the Toronto and Montreal shows but let’s just say what happened in Canada stays in Canada lol 😉
8 – What has been your favorite performance show so far?
That is a hard question. I can’t say I have a favorite because all the experiences are so different but the best shows are usually a product of a well-rehearsed band, I’m always more confident when I don’t have to cut parts live and make sure they’re playing all the parts that were written. Over the years my whole setup changed from just playing keyboards then singing, now I’d love to not play keys and just sing…. We’ll see, I’m nervous, the keyboard standing or sitting is a crutch on stage so I look forward to having a bit more freedom to move around a bit. I think my favorite shows will be in the future.
Believing that I have something to offer this world. It’s our job (as artists) to reflect what we experience in life and then report it back thru songs and live shows and it I feel extremely undervalued most of the time, I live for the moment, for the performance, the rest of the time is preparing for that moment which only lasts for about 40-50 minutes. You really have to mean what you’re saying because there is a lot of noise out there. I don’t want to feel like I’m adding art for art’s sake, especially since so many people are hustling their creative talents. Man, I could go on and on here but this is how I am feeling today, ask me tomorrow and I’ll vent about digital streaming or pop music (haha). Honestly, though, anytime I have that self-doubt monkey on my shoulder I ask myself right then and there “What the f*ck else is there to do?”
10 – What can your fans be expecting from your future releases?
I have another record with Myra “Silk Blue Birds” scheduled early May and then a few other artists I am excited to feature. Chenai out of the U.K. and Maiya Sykes to name a couple so I’m pretty busy finishing these other cuts. I want to get back to performing soon, I’ve taken a lot of time off to focus on production and it’s been a transitional period for me cause my performance was full time to a screeching halt since last winter. I really needed the time to focus on these songs but I’ll surface, soon.
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Feather Talks About His Music Career And Latest Song, “Fixing Me”
1 – How long did it take you to become a music producer?
Haha, man some days it feels like I haven’t quite made it yet to that official title! But I guess there are many days where I do feel like it fits. I would say it’s taken me about 5 years to get to a point where I feel somewhat confident in my ability to create a workable idea. Although one time the artist and producer Blanke told me it takes about 8 years until you really feel confident!
2 – Where do you get the motivation to keep going?
This is a great question because I don’t totally know. My friends have always told me I’m a bit of a relentless maniac with my work ethic, but it’s just always been some component of who I am – overly passionate and hardworking. I prefer to be proactive in life as it helps me feel more in control of my situation instead of being a victim of circumstance.
Actually, I think the collaborative album project I just finished might be one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. There were so many moving parts and components between artists, collaborators, and teams from the conception of the song to finally getting it released, and as an independent artist specifically who is rather involved personally in the process it was a lot of work at times.
4 – What do you prefer producing or performing live? Why?
I prefer performing, hands down. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been a performer. I’ve been involved in some sort of performance art since I was young so it’s rather ingrained in my being. I feel very comfortable and natural up there and it’s one of the few places that I don’t think too much and I’m able to just be in the moment.
5 – What gives you satisfaction in your career?
I’ve gotten a lot of satisfaction and actually cultivated a lot of respect for myself through the process of conceptualizing an idea for the project and then going through the (often frustrating and exhausting) process of attempting to execute the idea and eventually ending with a finished product. That entire process teaches you a lot about yourself and many other avenues involved, and in the end, you feel really capable and proud.
6 – How would you interpret the lyrics of your latest song “Fixing Me”?
To me, it’s really about the ability someone can have to completely change your perspective around, whether it be about life, love, yourself, etc. But their influence helps shift your energy back to a positive or optimistic feel-good vibe.
7 – What new things did you learn from this collaboration with SEGØ and Rajiv Dhall?
One of the coolest things that I felt happened through making this song was really a profound connection of being understood by other people. We often spent a lot of time in our sessions having these group therapy-type talks and I was blown away by how similar a lot of my personal issues ended up being to others’ problems! Through the process of talking and sharing and venting I think we all left feeling a little more understood and seen by another person and ultimately I think that leads to more happiness, better art, and a better life.
8 – Is there anything you would like to highlight about its creative process?
I could go on and on about so many things with the creative process, but I think one of the biggest things is how everyone creates differently and hears music differently. Each person contributes in a different way and it was really cool to see how we all filled in the gaps of everyone’s abilities. But it takes a lot of trust, understanding, and compromise so it’s not without effort but that’s why it’s so great that we all got along and were able to share personal things – it really helps the creative process feel smoother.
9 – How do you deal with self-criticism when it comes to creating new music?
Hmmm… I really am not the best when it comes to this as my internal dialog can be a little negative at times. I am constantly working on this and lately, it’s been focused on not thinking too much and just creating. Not worrying about what it sounds like or what it’s for, just let it come out and figure it out later. The thinking brain is not the creative brain so the more you can turn that part off through the many stages of the process, the better you’ll feel as you won’t really have the time or bandwidth to criticize what it is you’re making!
10 – What are your future plans for the rest of 2022?
I’m looking forward to getting this album out and then I really hope I can find some opportunities to perform and play some shows for people. As I said, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I really feel that I thrive up there and I want to show people what this project means to me in a live environment!
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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.