Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine (Lido Remix)
Dan Farber – Dreams (Free Download)
Brass Tracks – Say You Will
King Henry – Party Girls Edit
Kilter – They Say (Lewdite Remix)
The Geek x Vrv – I Wanna Know
1. Set Goals
Goals are not just a benchmark for success. They are a fundamental piece of turning an idea into a product. When you set a goal, you must write them down. It takes an idea from a mental construct that was formless and lifeless, and turns it into a real hardcopy prototype. The most iconic inventions of modern times were at one point mere lines on paper. It stamps its presence into reality and moves potential energy into BECOMING something. It’s no longer imaginary, and it sets the stage for development and implementation.
2. Just Start, Just Stop
What plagues most productivity is procrastination. The hardest part of any task is getting started. What we fear as humans is a task that perceptibly takes an eternity. Literally some tasks seem so massive that our mental state has no reasonable finish line. The key is to set aside a portion of time that is marked by a beginning and end to at least get started. Once that time period is up you are free to move on to something else, but often times you find yourself enjoying the work more than you thought you would. If this is not the case, simply stop what you’re doing and move on to the next part of your day. While you may have only spent minimal time on the project, you have given yourself an idea of where you’re going, and you can begin to estimate how long you have until completion.
3. Search for new techniques and inspiration
The Internet is a great place to start for new strategies and tactics that will take you to the next level. There are masses of resources for almost any hustle that will provide you with bundles of tips, tutorials and resources that can help you break through. The key is to immediately and continually apply the things you have learned otherwise you WILL forget them. Try to incorporate two new strategies you have learned into the same project, the results will astound you.
4. Clean Up Your Space, Take Care of Important Tasks
It’s hard to be productive with mounds of trash cluttering your workspace and invading your creative zone. For us messy people it doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but subconsciously it adds drain and baggage to the present state of things. Knowing that you have other important tasks to do creates stress that is non complimentary to being a creative zone. Make a list and find out where you priorities lie.
5. Be Persistent. Accept that it wont be easy.
Anyone who is attempting to accomplish things knows the routine. Start something new with high expectations and as the hours go by the idea slowly fizzles away and we become bored, tired, and uninterested. This is the black hole. It sucks you in and spits you out a lifeless and uninspired blob. The key is when you hit that wall ||||| CONTINUE. I’ve experienced this for years and it usually turns out that right when you become so frustrated with an idea that you are about to quit, you just need to get that extra 5% of work to hit the top of the bell curve. You will break through. It will come together. It’s not going to be easy. Just be persistent.
6. Quantity Over Quality
Said no one ever right? But the truth is that ideas are continually fleeting and your current skill sets to execute these ideas are continually growing. The infinite potential of starting a new project and idea exponentially exceeds a current one that has already been molded and shaped. Give up on perfection. Remember that while your taste for ideas is excellent, you often do not yet have the skill to match that expectation of quality. That is ok. Save these ideas and move forward. You can come back to them when you have more skill and ability. In the meantime continue pushing forward, experimenting, and keep your eye on the big picture.
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.
While relatively new to the production game, hip-hop and electronic based producer GRYFN, has a profile of a seasoned and well-rounded producer. The sound scape of GRYFN’s works feature elements of instrumental, electronic, atmospheric, and always bass driven grooves. A theme throughout his works resonates a personal character and vision. The vocals are soul driven and the texture is heavy. He brings a well-defined and refreshing sound that is creating an impeding wave resonating throughout the Internet. For now, he continues to fly under the radar, while continuing to work on honing his craft. GRYFN is currently working on a collaborative effort with local MC Illiam D as he explains below. We got a hold of Griffin and learned a little bit more about his outlook as a producer and musician.
Illiam D. – N Front St (feat. Tyra Guldseth)(prod. GRYFN)
Just Vibed Out Ft. Illiam D.
Break It Down [Cannaholics]
Ciara – Body Party (GRYFN Remix)
Start out by telling us a little bit about yourself and how/when you got into producing music.
My name is Griffin Belzer, I’m 20 years old and I started producing about 3 or so years ago. I have always loved/played music, in bands and stuff, but when I went away to school (and away from my band) I needed some sort of outlet for creativity and that was about the same time I really started listening to a lot more hip hop and electronic music. So I started making electronic music my freshman year and have just been going at it ever since.
Your tracks range from pleasant melodic instrumentals to heavy bass rattled trap bangers. What type of you music you enjoy making the most?
It really just depends on what I’m in the mood for most that moment, or that week. I listen to a lot of every type of hip-hop and music, so I try to draw influences from everywhere. Trap beats are fun because they don’t take long to push out but they always feel epic and hyphy, like something you just wanna blast and feel ignorant and have a good time to. On the flip side, I really try to be creative and push my limits as far as sonic elements when I’m not trying to make a typical banger. I like making really artsy, ghostly sounding things that I can just get lost in. Stuff that just feels emotional.
What producer do you feel is the most innovative and prolific at moment?
Most innovative? A lot of the underground guys that are coming up right now, like Shlohmo, Clams (Casino) obviously, I’ve been getting really into Mount Kimbie lately as well. As far as prolific, I feel like Mike Will and Yung Chop are pretty much running the production game right now. They’re everywhere; on fire.
What’s the most satisfying thing about creating music, what keeps you going?
It’s like a drug. Every time I get excited about an idea and lay down the initial melody/loop/or sample and then layer the drums on it I get a total rush. Its addicting, like a total thrill every time I get those first patterns over an idea and can blast it and it sounds exactly like I’m hearing in my head.
What advice would you give to aspiring producers?
Make a lot of music, and don’t let yourself plateau. With each new track or idea, try to do something different and try something new. Constantly listen to other producers and artists that you love and figure out what specific little things they’re doing that you aren’t, then figure out how to do them and incorporate them in your work.
How do you feel about the local scene in a smaller city?
The local scene hasn’t been delivering much innovation (illiam and a handful of others excluded). I think there is some undiscovered talent and I’d like to keep working to put La Crosse on the map. But at the moment, I’ve been trying to branch out with my music because of the lacking hip-hop scene locally. The current La Crosse hip-hop movement is too niche-oriented and desperately needs to embrace adaptivity if it wants to grab any attention.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Lots. I’m currently working on a collaborative mixtape/EP with my boy Illiam D. that should be out in the near future, as well as more free instrumental mixtapes, some more remixes, and some other artists I’m collaborating with. I hope to just continue to expand my sound, try new sounds, and work with different people and rappers.
As far as Illiam D and I, we have been friends since high school. a year ago, we started collaborating because we listen/vibe to a lot of the same stop. Him and I mesh really well together. Since we were making so much music together, we decided to release a split EP with me handling production. It’s been dope so far.
A new genre is spinning in the low-end frequencies. Artists such as Flume, Ta-Ku, Lindsey Lowend, and little known Yahtzel the are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to progressing influences of trap and R&B into a soulful, tamed, and textured version of the all so popular 808 driven dance floor banger.
If you’re reading this is probably safe to say that you already have this download, and most likely you’ve listened to it on repeat. Its incredible to see what an independent artist can do with a vision and an arsenal of musicians and vintage equipment. Its even more stunning to record this entire vision to vinyl and then produce it, knowing that he must have had nearly the entire album and feeling engrained to his mind, before he ever touched the samples. To have such vision of completed tracks is true mastery of the craft, and a statement that has pushed the standard of electronic musicianship to a reach far beyond what anyone with a simple laptop could achieve.
You can watch the documentary of the making here:
You can download the album via Pretty Lights Music here:
A wide range (as in the only one your will ever need) of calculators for finding reverb, compression, Freq rates, and beyond.