The Hustle Series: Guggenz

As the world turns, its 2015, and electronic music is still growing.  It’s anyone’s guess who will carry the signal for next movement of disruption.   There’s no way we could estimate the impact of young and hungry producers on the rise, but its apparent that Guggenz is among the pack.  Indie Hustle is no stranger to soul and funk infused artists, and while we may be slightly biased, it’s not hard to see a mainstream audience of the future grabbing onto something with a bit more substance.  We caught up with him for a few questions, and gave him the spotlight to drop some formally #indiependent knowledge on harnessing a piece of the spectacle.  Read our Q & A while you vibe to his latest Fresh Air EP.

Tell us about your life so far as a musician, artist, and human

I grew up in La Crosse, WI for the first 18 years of my life and have been living in Minneapolis for the last three. I began playing piano around 4 and guitar a few years later.  Throughout my life I have really immersed myself in so many different genres of music. For a while I was into really heavy metal and then hip hop, now electronic.  What I like about electronic music is that it gives me a platform to make any type of sound that I feel. So at 17 I began producing music to try and get make my creative ideas reality. Since then it’s kind of taken off and I can hear my own distinct sound in each track that I make.

Tell us about this connection with OTODAYO RECORDS.  What led to them releasing your Fresh Air EP, and what inspiration went into its creation.

I saw that some artists that I like – namely The Geek x Vrv and Clozee had released music on Otodayo. My music is generally within the similar genres as these artists so I figured it would make sense for a release on Otodayo. Getting them to release it didn’t take anything more than an email with my music attached. In terms of creation it was similar to previous music I have made in that it is all sample based.  The most difficult part of producing it was using different drums than my previous work. I wanted it to have more a natural, hip hop feel to it so it took a while to learn how to process natural snares and get it to pop like I wanted it to.

What advice can you give to producers looking to be picked up/noticed by free record labels or collectives?

First off understand the label and the types of music that they release. If they don’t push the genre that you make then they likely won’t want to release your music. Second, make sure that your music is ready before you send it to anyone. Too often I see producers whose send out their music before it is ready. It’s a difficult reality but as a producer you have to be extremely critical of your work. Sometimes the best thing you can do is sit on a song for a month and then listen to it again. Once it isn’t so fresh you can pick up on what’s working and what isn’t in a track.

What are some of your favorite VST’s?

I use Camelcrusher on the majority of my synth sounds to add some color to them. Sometimes I’ll even put it on samples or drum hits if I need to warm them up a bit, although it can also completely wreck the sound too so I use it sparingly. My favorite paid VST as of late is a plugin called Trillian. It has a ton of live, sampled basses all in with a high sound quality. Lately all of my sub bass sounds have been coming from it. I think that electronic music can sometimes sound a bit dull and mechanical, so by adding a live sounding bass underneath everything it can bring some life back to a track.

Minneapolis has held an impressive foothold in the electronic music scene for over a half decade now. What makes it a destination for independent creators?

More than anything I think it’s the openness of the fans and community we have here. I really love that during a set I could play just about anything and people will get down to it. Whether it be some funky glitch hop, some chill instrumental hip-hop, or a 90’s throwback. For a musician you don’t want to have boundaries, which I feel is a big reason why Minneapolis is a great place for a creative to be at.

Break down what we can expect next, and what the future holds in terms of live shows and if/when/how you’ll getting on the road.

For the near future I’m just going to be writing more music and trying to get my name out there. I have a handful of tracks done and will have to decide how I want to release them pretty soon. For shows I’ll be opening for Lindsay Lowend on the 18th (@FirstAvenue) and FKJ on May 14 (@TheLoft) I would love to do a tour but will need to build a much larger fan base before that becomes a reality. Hopefully sooner rather than later though!


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