American EDM has exploded as a whole in the last 3-4 years with the rise of dubstep, moombahton, and now (club) trap. Another less spoken sub sect has also been perpetually alive and growing while being just as successful in terms of booking major festivals and venues. The path that electronic music has taken into mainstream airwaves over the last few years has been unexpected to say the least. As EDM has risen to fame in the US, category brand labels such as OWSLA and Mad Decent have supported larger American EDM genres with cash flows created through Beatport, big media, streaming revenues, and album sales. The come up for a new breed of independent artists has been based upon the new world order in music distribution….giving away music directly to fans: for free. Defined by its fusion of electronic driven bass lines, mingled with soul and hip hop sampling; the closest to terms we’ve gotten to a genre is Electro Soul.
Many would classify Garret Meyer, known by his DJ/producer moniker Artifakts, as the latter. But hold on…he’s not so quick to reside in any particular box. Keeping up with Artifakts on social media it’s obvious that he’s constantly and consciously building a signature sound. While known for his soulful and bass driven dance floor bangers, he continues to experiment and attempt to expand into new sounds and genres. At only 22 he’s gained significant following on both Twitter and Soundcloud as well as hit the road for shows with some of the biggest artists in the game. We asked him a few questions about what his experience as an independent artist has been like so far. (Read Below)
Music is reaching a pivotal stage with the phasing out of Dubstep and establishment of Trap. How would you classify your sound and what place do you feel it holds in the current state of music?
I’m confident in saying it’s neither of those genres, yet I still haven’t established a sound that’s consistent. One day I’ll work on a vinyl cut, trip hop tune and the next a banger funk remix. At first I thought I should possibly gear towards a relevant, consistent style but at the end of the day I don’t want to make something insincere. If I had to pick one it would be electronic hip-hop with some soulful flavor.
You have managed to pull in +/- 3000 followers on Soundcloud and Facebook, 5000+ twitter followers, along with tens if not hundreds-of-thousands of plays. What do you attribute to your current social media success in a relatively short period of time?
I’ve always been keen on finding new ways to interact with people. I’ve also lived a good chunk of my adolescent life during the social network boom. I’ve been on twitter for more years than the Artifakts project has been (as a beat maker selling to MCs). I attribute a lot of followers to long term from those days. I’m also not one to sit on a song very long, so when you post new projects as frequently as I do, it tends to get attention.
I actually discovered Pretty Lights through a friend of mine in my first year of college quite a bit after embarking on the sounds I’ve put out today, as well as Michal Menert through Soundcloud. At the time I was making mostly hip-hop beats and had just started dabbling in electronic influenced music. A couple comments on my old beats on Soundcloud said that my sound was much like Michal Menert and that I should check out his music. Needless to say I was curious to discover an artist that clearly had established himself with a similar vision. After researching both acts, I was astounded that this whole subculture of music existed where not only producers flourished but were they served as sole acts and focal points in the live music industry. Not a year and a half later and I had both met each artist and established relationships on a personal level with Michal. I had even been given the opportunity to play a show with him this past New Years for the ‘Super Best Records’ NYE party (a collective you’ll hear more about soon!) Pretty Lights was definitely an artist that opened my eyes as to what my sound could develop into, but Michal has directly opened doors to opportunity in the Denver music scene as well as establishing myself alongside credible artists that I never could have alone. As far as playing alongside Blake (Supervision), it was an awesome experience. He’s another producer I quickly went from listening to and admiring, to being able to rock a show with him. It’s humbling to have even been on the same bill as these guys.
What has your experience been like as a new DJ to the tour scene, and what are some of things you’ve learned playing new gigs in new places?
It’s been other worldly. I’m from a town of less than 1,000 people (although I always try and make it out to shows in nearby Milwaukee) so being exposed to such a wide audience, no matter the size of show, is both humbling and a bit overwhelming. As far as new gigs in new places, I’ve learned that you’ll have you’re “on” days and you’re “off” days. I’ll put the same amount of effort and emotion into one show as the next day, yet some nights it seems as though it’s pulling teeth with the crowd. The nights where I can ramble to a group of strangers and they connect with every word and every beat of the music are the nights that make every show and every minute producing worth it.
What was the most awesome thing that has happened before, during, or after a show?
Meeting Blake (Supervision) was a pretty awesome experience. It was also at my first live performance as Artifakts ever. It was a very small first year festival in central Michigan and I was clueless to the scene and what to expect. After meeting Blake backstage, wandering to find a drink nearby, I found myself in a hospitality trailer with him, Grant (Griz), Stratus, and the dudes from Robotic Pirate Monkey. It was an awesome introduction to everything. I wasn’t even aware as to who I was kicking it with, I just knew it was an atmosphere I could get used to. I’m sure theres a few things I could talk about but this one always stands out in my memory.
Who are you listening to these days? What’s your go to track right now?
Lately I’ve been channeling my inner 17 year old girl and rocking Lorde. That girl is the definition of talent. I’ve also always had a guilty pleasure for trap music (real trap music). The BSBD and Gucci Mane track has been on repeat for a few months now.
What’s your philosophy on releasing music? Do you always plan on giving things away for free?
Always. I hate paying for music. You shouldn’t have to pay to enjoy one of your senses to the fullest.
When can we expect your first album?
Great question. I’ll know more on that answer when I’ve found what I’ve needed. For now it’s beat tapes and EPs.