Ryan David Dwyer is an instrumental pianist and lyrical song writer crossing many genres. He goes by the moniker of Harpazio from a Greek word that means, “Rapture”. His desire is to elevate people through the music/lyrics. Recently, I had an interview with this interesting artist who has also invented an original music learning curriculum. Learn everything below!!!
1 – Did your parents or the city you were raised in, heavily influence your decision to write music?
My parents never chose to learn an instrument. I grew up in a small suburb of Portland, Oregon and although Portland has an amazing music scene, I was more influenced by specific people in my religious network, than from a city. I’d say that my grandparents played a huge indirect role because one set on my dad’s set providing us with an organ, then my grandparents on my mother’s side provided us with an old saloon piano. Getting that 1890 saloon piano really inspired me to want to make music!
2 – Upon listening to your songs on SoundCloud, I noticed you are an artist with different skills. How did you develop your talents as a pianist, singer, and lyricist?
When I was 8 my family inherited an organ. A family friend of ours who plays by ear mesmerized me with his impressive abilities to play any song. I didn’t desire to play by ear as much as I desired to play really impressively. But the first approach I learned from him was through a number system, and eventually recognizing Chords written upon musical Staff. Note reading had zero appeal. Growing up in a religious environment, I’d get inspired to play songs I really liked. I’d practice the chords. Eventually, at the age of 12 I decided to write my own lyrics based on spiritual ideas and enjoyed trying to create fresh ways to play chords. At the age of 14 my parents signed me up for piano lessons with a teacher who plays multiple instruments. I brought in a song I wrote and it impressed him greatly. As the weeks progressed he noticed that I would not work on the note reading lessons. So he focused on Chord patterns and encouraged me to write more songs. Surprisingly though, I ended up practicing scales a lot. What I noticed is that putting forth the effort to learn scales opened up a huge door of possibilities for me that allowed me to “flow” between chord changes. Regarding my current lyrics vs those of my teenage years, I do my best to invest a lot of thought into deep meanings that can be said as simple as possible. Matching the feel of lyrics to the way the music is played has always been a priority for my compositions. A year ago I decided it’d be ok for me to develop my voice better. It has been challenging for me to compete against myself since my piano playing musicianship is much better than my singing. So I will be trying my best to improve my voice over time to be more prepared for singing my own songs publically.
3 – What’s the music style of your latest song? What is it about?
My latest lyrical song is about 2 months fresh. It was inspired through an album concept and a book I began writing called, “Romance Myths” which will go into great detail about all the various different definitions and expectations of relationships in society. The style is ironic because it is a rare song (for me to write) through which I use the same chord pattern throughout. Often I advise people to never use the same chord pattern repeated. What I do is repeat D Minor, B Flat, F Major, and C Major over and over again. I wanted to write the song to demonstrate that through creativity you can take something which is common and make it sound uncommon. I add color throughout by playing variations of the chords with very contrasting melodies. I also use octave playing a lot, for the intro and final scene of the song. Octaves give a unique power to a melody line. Also, I sneak a lot of 6th chords, suspended chords, and chords over chords – such as C Major over E in the bass line. The actual title is called, “Missing You Now”. It describes many various feelings of missing someone and the longing to resolve the feelings by moving on.
4 – In your book, ‘You’ve Had The Keys All Along’ you write that people learn to play piano and write their own songs. How does this book differ from others?
I’ve never seen a music curriculum designed with songwriting as the main emphasis. There are hundreds of courses that teach how to write songs but they are normally tailored and based from the assumption that the student already knows how to play an instrument. Yet learning to play an instrument does not guarantee that the learner is prepared to write their own music. Being trained to read notes means that one is trained to regurgitate knowledge, not innovate. In the book, I point out the irony that all Classical Era musicians were songwriters. But if you were to interview piano teachers who are members of official music teacher associations and inquire if they write their own songs, you’d likely be surprised out how few actually do. And then you could ask them how many students they teach to write, and you may end up with a similar small statistic. So there is a great question to ask, “When in history did the excitement to teach songwriting die?” But with my music curriculum Key Identity AccessTM, we approach learning piano from an entirely different viewpoint than even that of historical note reading. We assert that the best way to learn to play music is naturally, that is, similar to how we all learned a language. First, we learned to speak, then we embraced reading and writing. Therefore, we encourage non-judgmental “speaking” of music, which leads to natural song composition. Babies experiment with words; therefore, why not encourage experimenting with sounds while learning all the necessary basics of music?
5 – What inspired you to write this book?
Since note reading teaches you to play other people’s creativity then it is automatically not favorable toward helping someone express their own originality. Writing the book is a wake-up call to shed unnecessary obstacles that prevent being oneself. This approach is radical and the book was written in order to make an impact on society by encouraging people to use their musical learning as a tool to be and become who they are, instead of the opposite. About a year before writing the book I had signed up for email lists online to be trained on how to write a book fast and also identifying one’s motive for writing one. I’ve always enjoyed writing since elementary school but I was always under the impression that a book takes a very long time to finish. What I learned recently was that if you have a topic you know you’re an expert on, then you already have all the necessary content to write a book. The next step is to organize how you want the content to be explained and revealed. I wanted to clearly set my company apart by giving the background behind the meaning of our name, “Key Identity Access”. We are access to all the keys of the piano. With a note reading approach all the keys of the piano are not accessible equally. What this means is that you have to learn the differences between sharps and flats by recognizing those symbols on a page. We get rid of all abstract symbols and form a bridge between abstract and concrete learning. Our bridge is the use of the 12 colors in the color wheel, consistently associated with the same keys. Also, the diagrams are very vivid and often show the recommended fingers to play. I have been told by many adults that they quit piano but wish they had not. In the book I pointed out that you don’t easily quit something that represents yourself.
6 – How useful is this book for electronic music producers? Does it contain the key to create a number one hit?
I know there are various approaches that determine a hit song. Sometimes I think hit songs don’t deserve to be at the top of the charts. Every company has different criteria to decide popularity. Nevertheless I often hear electronic music sound exactly like other songs. Miles Davis, the famous Jazz Trumpeter, said that, “First you imitate, then you innovate”. There is nothing wrong with imitating in order to gain fresh ideas and to become a better musician by practicing other people’s expression. Yet imitation does not belong in the final production of a song. If you are really wanting to set yourself distinguished from every other musician out there, then you should make it a priority to shed yourself of all regurgitation, and try to hone in on your original melodies, harmonies, and chord patterns. In this regard, my book delves into my philosophy of music making. I make distinction between Music Theory, Musicality, and Musicianship. I define Musicianship as the ability to express the same sounds that you imagine in your mind. Playing by ear is not the same thing as Musicianship. Playing by ear can be another form of regurgitation. Being able to expand yourself to imagine totally unique ways of making sound and rhythm collaborate, is what truly makes a person a musician. Therefore, since my book provides ideas to be able to philosophically acknowledge the differences between Music Theory, Musicality, and Musicianship, then it truly possesses the foundational Key to create a number 1 hit. In order to make a hit one has also to consider how they will transform their song in a way that the masses will appreciate, so that it is not just pleasing to yourself to listen to. Yet the problem I witness often is what I call, “songwriting laziness”. Basically, if you make an electronic song that sounds like every other out there then you are a lazy songwriter. You probably thought it would become a hit because it has scientifically been proven that certain “hooks” are popular. While that is true, why not come up with a hook that is even better? Use popular hooks as a source of inspiration to innovate, but don’t blatantly copy someone else’s hook.
7 – Have you ever written songs for other artists? Do you sell your lyrics online?
As of yet I haven’t written for any other artists and I don’t sell lyrics either. I’d be willing to do both under the right set of contracts and compensation.
8 – Would you like to collaborate with mainstream or underground singers? Why?
This would depend on how personable the individual is. If they are open to constructive feedback, that is the most important thing. But I also am open to constructive criticism, so it is a fair situation. On first thought though, underground singer collaboration is a more favorable idea because my feeling is that they are more open to creative expression, rather than a “popular package” that might stifle innovation.
9 – In your opinion, are music schools admitting too many students for the number of employment opportunities available?
If I am to understand your question correct, you are asking me if there are too many graduates with degrees that never end up teaching? If that is the case, I’d say, “Yes”. There are plenty of music teachers available therefore it is very tough to compete for obtaining students. What there are not plenty of are music teachers who invent their own methods.
10 – What are your future plans for the rest of the year?
It is hard to believe it is May already. My plans are to do my best to get their word out regarding the Key Identity AccessTM music curriculum and also do a lot of advertising experiments for my music career through Facebook. I’m just beginning to learn how to test Facebook ads. I’m amazed at their targeting features but there is so much to understand, and so many ways to formulate an ad. Some people claim that building an email list is vitally important, and then offering sales promotions after delivering a lot of valuable content. Other people claim that you can formulate an ad to do direct sales. I’ll be discovering what works best for me. I’m putting together some strategies for targeting high end clients that will pay thousands for a very valuable offering. Ben Sword with Music Marketing Classroom (London) says that the most important thing to do first is to build trust, then sell. I’m making that a priority.
Exclusive Interview: COY SWEDE & J.O.Y Collab On “Never Ever”
This is the first time COY Swede ventures into RnB by joining forces with J.O.Y. In an instant, you will be blown away as the quality of his new single “Never Ever” feels like charting song material. Read our exclusive interview with both artists!
1 — How did you end up working together?
COY Swede: Me and J.O.Y also did “Closer” through Soundbetter platform together. And RnB being one of J.O.Y’s genres I knew we could make another magic track together.
It’s very rare I work with the same singer again. But we speak the same language musically and we connected, even more, this time.
J.O.Y: Me and COY Swede first met up online on Soundbetter (the leading platform where singers and producers meet to finish each other work). He wrote me to be his singer for his track “Closer.” From there on we became friends and collab more frequently together!
2 — How would you define RnB music?
COY Swede: It depends on how far you go back in time, 50, 70, or 90, and our time. Genre changes very fast in our time and gets a bit blurred or, some genres evolve into something new.
But for me, RnB is still pure Soul and Blues and also can be a flavour of Chill Pop and influences rhythms from Hip-Hop. That’s my personal thinking.
J.O.Y: RnB was my first love in music! I remember listening to greatness such as Joe, Brian Mcknight, and Craig David and was impressed by the runs, variation of tone, and vocal skills these guys have! This made me do a lot of cover songs of the RnB genre and me ending up having my singing style from them.
COY Swede: For me, it evolves me as a producer. Gives me more experience. I work only with the best singers that share my passion among the independent areas.
Over the years I also have learned how to know what I’m looking for around a genre and theme for the song. What vibe do I want to create.
Marketing strategies change all the time and we Indie artists work really hard with the tools we have.
The most important thing for me is to keep going and deliver the music to my listeners. Show interest in other artists, be helpful if I can, and also learn more about how to get my music out there.
J.O.Y: Doing collabs is one of the best ways to showcase your music and learn from it. You learn to see different kinds of colors of music. You are also forced to go out of your comfort zone which allows you to grow.
4 — What new things did you learn while recording “Never Ever”?
COY Swede: Well, it’s actually the first time I produce an RnB track 😊 I would be very happy if the listeners can connect to it. The bells in the intro are actually recorded by an instrument and then I added some effects using “Thermal from Output.”
Every track I make gives me something new. I’m very happy with the variated bridges in this track to be a little technical. And my challenge was, how to make a short song feel longer than it actually is. We also wanted this song to have a good hook and a chorus to sing along to.
J.O.Y made awesome work with his skills as a singer and writer.
J.O.Y: As a songwriter, you always get to learn a new perspective after each song. Especially here I evolved my songwriting by having the hook be a statement and the verses describing my story. I will definitely write more songs like this, where the hook is simple yet catchy and the verses a bit more complex.
5 — Who is the main songwriter of this new track? What inspired you to write the lyrics?
COY Swede: We worked from a theme I sent J.O.Y. And for the chorus, I recorded a sample of my voice. Then J.O.Y did his magic. Just a note, only the VOCAL is mixed together from 15 stems to give you a perspective. 😉
It’s also a love song for people that found new love and how to carry it forward. But as a songwriter/producer you are open to how a listener feels about it. You can, “Never Ever” know. 😊
J.O.Y: COY Swede presented me with the theme of the song, and explained it to me pretty well. From that on I felt inspired and tapped into some of my experiences to replicate this feeling.
The unique bells in the song maybe is a slight try to call on that upcoming Christmas vibe. Mariah Carey, are free to make a cover if she wants. 😉
J.O.Y: To all the listeners that go through a tough time right now. It’s that season again when tracks like these are needed.
7 — How would you imagine the music video?
COY Swede: No plan at this moment. Maybe a lyrics video on my YouTube channel.
8 — Are you planning to drop remixes for this release?
COY Swede: No plans at this moment.
9 — How do you spend your free time when not making music?
COY Swede: Family first, I love to travel around the world, health, training, and love cooking if I have time. I also read everything that has something to do with space research and am also engaged in earth’s environment and climate.
J.O.Y: Coy Swede nailed it. Family first. Sometimes music can feel like a job where all you think of is music. It’s good to have breaks to enjoy with your loved ones. Also, it’s very good for your creativity and finding new inspiration to write music.
10 — Lastly, what are your future plans?
COY Swede: Next year maybe I will try to do some more DJ appearances. I did one this year 2022 in Stockholm. Maybe together with my music bro Alan Walker or, even Tiesto would be really cool!
It would be cool to finally meet them both in real life, and talk about music experiences and future experimental stuff. You “Never Ever,” know! 😊
One thing is for sure I will keep doing this, and create more music. I would also like to try to make a score for movies or TV in the future, would be cool, if one of my released songs were featured.
J.O.Y: Be more active as a songwriter and have a lot more placements with bigger companies or TV/Film. I want to watch a show and hear my music in the background – that’s something I can imagine would be super cool and surreal.
Blind Mutation Discusses Experimental Music Video “Shadows”
If you’re into hypnotizing Ambient Techno tracks, then Blind Mutation should be on your radar. Her latest experimental music video “Shadows” was awarded and this exclusive interview explains it all!
1 — If I’m not mistaken, electronic music is your passion. How does this interest has come about?
I actually think my dad’s taste in music really influenced me a lot. He used to put on a lot of quality electronic music for me when I was a child, from classic Depeche Mode to more underground experimental electronic How to Dress Well. So, my interest in electronic music started growing from a very young age. When I became a teenager, my mental health started to get worse, and I started to relate, and thereafter, listen to darker and gloomier electronic music like dark ambient, triphop, or hard warehouse techno. That’s basically how my music taste was formed, and why I love electronic music.
2 — When exactly did you become Blind Mutation?
In theory, I think I became Blind Mutation pretty much as soon as I started producing and composing music which was 2 years ago. I began writing tracks with an emphasis on cinematic melancholic sounds that translated my deep intense emotions, and I still continue to do it exploring more and more ways to express my feelings through music. But, officially, let’s say, I became Blind Mutation when I released my first DJ Mix called “WAVE/PHONK MIX” on SoundCloud almost a year ago.
3 — Musically speaking, who is your biggest influence or inspiration?
I love to answer that question 🙂 I would say that my influences/inspirations have been changing throughout the years. When I was 14-16 my favorite band was Coldplay. I loved their not-that-well-known tracks which were more on the electronic/ambient side, like my all-time favorite “Midnight”. As for now, I very rarely listen to Coldplay. Now I am more into experimental dark emotional stuff like Techno, Dark Ambient, IDM, and Trip-Hop. Some of my inspirations/influences at the moment are Aphex Twin, Arca, Trentemoller, Clams Casino, Hans Zimmer, I Hate Models, and Crystal Castles.
4 — Congratulations on winning Best Experimental Video at the Indie Online Film Festival. Did you ever expect this result?
I was hoping for it 🙂 But I don’t really like expecting something to happen, especially when it comes to receiving awards. Because if you think you would win the prize, and then you don’t, you would probably get upset. But if you don’t really think about it and just let it happen, you get more excited if you win, and don’t really care if you don’t get an award 🙂
5 — Tell us more about how your collaboration with All Around came about.
We met a little more than 4 years ago in college in LA. He was a directing major, and I was an acting major. We’ve been very good friends since that time, and we’ve done small projects together here and there in college and just for fun. Then, when I switched from acting to music and started releasing my DJ Mixes, he began doing all the visuals for them. So, when I was ready to release my debut track “Shadows”, I knew that All Around would be my director, cinematographer, and editor. We have a similar vision when it comes to art (music/video/films, etc.), and so it’s very comfortable and fun for us to work together.
6 — Would you interpret this clip as a short horror film or is it something else?
Shortly, I would say, yes, it could be interpreted as a short psychological horror film. To elaborate: it’s interesting that when we showed the music video to our close surroundings, a good amount of people said that “Shadows” looked more like a short horror film rather than a music video. “Shadows” indeed has a much slower pace than a usual music video. In terms of cinematography, it’s also shot more like a film rather than a music video. But I think I would still call “Shadows” an experimental music video rather than a short horror film, because, in my opinion, it still has a dynamic of a music video, and our initial idea was to create a music video not a short horror film.
Well, the track itself was produced, mixed and mastered in Ableton. As for “Shadows” music video production, My friend All Around who I collaborated with, has an amazing RED Komodo camera, the music video was shot on it. Also, my face, chest, neck and my arms had to be bandaged in the shot all the time. We needed special bandages, the ones that stick to the skin and to each other. We had 3-4 shooting days, and not all of the bandages could be reused. So, I had to buy lots of them. Was driving from one CVS to another buying the entire available supply of those specific bandages 🙂
We also had a chance to work with an amazing super professional makeup artist, Darya Kholodnykh, who did the make-up for the “demon’s” hand that appears in the music video. She managed to find a creative way to make the hand look realistic and creepy although we had a very small budget.
8 — What can we expect from Blind Mutation next? Are you keen on exploring science fiction themes?
I love science fiction, and I would like to explore themes connected to it in the future. But as for now, I think I’m more focused on expressing my inner feelings and emotions through my music, and treating producing/composing/creating DJ mixes more as a therapy for myself. I’d love to dive deeper into the psychological aspects of our lives and have an influence on people’s emotions and their unconscious through my music. That’s what my next release will hopefully do! It’s a dark ambient track called “I come with the rain”, and it’s coming out in the beginning of January! I’m also working on a new dark warehouse techno DJ mix which will also come out around the same time.
9 — What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I’ve always loved to think about this. I am very interested in psychology, so I would definitely study it in college, and then probably become a psychotherapist (do not mistake with psychologist or psychiatrist), I would do scientific research and come up with new more effective therapies.
I would also love to direct and shoot (be DOP and operate camera) my own film(s) in the future! It’s a big dream! Plus I got my first degree from a film college, so I am familiar with that stuff. By the way, I’m also super interested in graphic and game design! Would love to try doing that in the future too!
And just to top off the list with more geek stuff: if I had another life, I would become an astrophysicist to study and explore space.
10 — Lastly, do you have any specific goals for 2023?
The most important and clear goal is to get the artist visa in order to be able to stay and work in the U.S. Speaking of my artist goals, I would love to get my first DJ gig in 2023! I would also love to explore new music genres in my productions (like trip-hop or hard dark techno)! Finally, I have so many things I still have to explore and discover in terms of production, mixing sound design, etc. So, another very important goal is to just continue learning!
CONNECT WITH BLIND MUTATION NOW!
Bubba Brothers Talk Last Summer And Tribal House EP ‘Basstribe’
Bubba Brothers continue to take the Electronic Dance music world by storm. Their latest release, ‘Basstribe’ was well received by listeners all over the world, marking a new milestone for the duo. Alongside impressive releases and powerful live shows, the duo recently celebrated their anniversary by playing at important venues all over the summer.
We found time to talk with them about their summer season, what they were up to and what was coming for them.
1 — Hello Bubba Brothers, how are you?
All good thanks. 😊
2 — Summer is now over, what have you been up to this past season?
This was a fantastic summer… we had great moments. A big thank you to all our fans all over the world.
3 — You released your EP ‘Basstribe’ around summertime, can you tell us more about what it was like working on this production?
It was really exciting; the timing was perfect and it was great to see and hear DJs playing the tracks live around the planet, so yes… ‘Basstribe’ was really fun. 😊
4 — Have you got any summer highlights?
So many… playing in Ibiza, having Oxia at our anniversary party, and sharing the decks… many good moments. And as said, we are very grateful for that.
5 — Which artists were on repeat for you during this summer?
Hahaha… great question! Tube and Berger, Dennis Ferrer, Kolsch, Themba, and many others. 😊
6 — Did you develop new projects or ideas during this season?
Yeah… just came back from Iceland, and a new track is already in the horizon. So, stay tuned! and also 2 finished tracks will be launched in a few weeks.
7 — What’s the last thing you learned over the summer?
To stay focused and humble. Keep your feet on the ground.
8 — Aside from performing, what other activities did you enjoy doing during the summer season?
Like any Portuguese, the beach and anything that involves the sea is our thing 😊 Missing summer already.
9 — What are you looking forward to doing next summer?
Playing in Europe as much as people book us and I hope they will do, a lot!