If you are in search of a truly experimental sound, look no further than [email protected]’s “Autumn”. A synth-filled cut will transport you to a realm filled with romance and lust as electronic sensibilities run rife, the artist invites listeners into a world dreamed up by his creative mind. Having abandoned the constraints of genres, expect a wildly unique style of production that merges varying musical processes, all of which culminates in a cacophony of love-focused sounds.
When speaking on his creative process behind “Autumn”, the artist went on to state, “I had been talking to my friend Be Steadwell about working on a song together, so I went to her place and we pretty much wrote the whole composition and lyrics in like three days, I remember working on a few chords when I got back to my place. Be wrote the lyrics and I just remember her composing all these lyrics on the spot, I was thinking to myself this is incredible.”
Upon the release of his latest single, the artist sat down with Wonderland to discuss his inspirations, working with his band and the advice given to him. Head below to read our interview with [email protected] below…
Hi [email protected], how are you doing?
Hey! I am doing great, thank you so much.
When did you first start getting into music?
I grew up around music, my dad is a musician and my parents homeschooled me, so I was able to travel on tour with my dad when he was touring in the 90s. I started playing the drums when I was two or three, and my dad put me on stage he was kind of like, ‘here go get it’. Then when I was seven, I switched to saxophone and kept playing in my dad’s groups for a while.
My dad was so key to helping me develop my ear. He would always say, “train your ear, train your ear, and the rest will follow”.
After college, I got into production, and I learned the ins and outs of production from my guy Yuri Beats. Yuri had called me one day and he was like, “Hey, you wanna put some saxophone on this track?” Or something like that. And at the time I didn’t know much about production, but yeah we did a bunch of those sessions and I really got a hands-on approach to the fundamentals of producing, just a really great learning experience.
Who would you cite are your biggest musical influences?
Anything and everything I can get my hands on. I try to study as much music as I can from all over the world, starting now and going back all the way to when humans first started documenting music; whether it be a recording, a video, a music score that’s written down, I think it needs to be accessed via all mediums.
I’ve done a lot of piano reductions; that’s where you take an orchestral score transpose it back to the concert if it’s a transposed score, and play through it on the piano so you can see and study the chordal, harmonic, melodic, rhythmic movement and progressions. I’ve also used YouTube for transcriptions or something like studying drumming via additive rhythm and divisional rhythm.
What I mean by all the mediums, is making sure you cover every aspect, and that you don’t skip any steps. So you have the aural part: training your ear; the technique and proficiency aspect: doing it on your instrument. And, studying the theoretical part of it.
It’s really about encompassing all of it and taking a holistic approach because when you are playing in real-time, everything is happening at once and it’s important to be able to process the data. When it’s time to play you just go, just go with the flow, but the more practice and studying and preparation, I believe will put you in a better position to be successful.
Your work is wildly unique and impossible to slot into one genre! How would you describe your personal sound?
I would say progressive, to always keep moving forward and growing. I don’t really think about genre or anything It’s really about being open and letting the songs compose themselves, and just go with the flow.
Congratulations on the release of your new track, “Autumn”! Can you talk us through the production process?
I had been talking to my friend Be Steadwell about working on a song together, so I went to her place and we pretty much wrote the whole composition and lyrics in like three days, I remember working on a few chords when I got back to my place.
Be wrote the lyrics, I just remember her composing all these lyrics on the spot, I was thinking to myself this is incredible. After that, the song stayed in preproduction for quite some time, and I changed some things from what I had originally composed but for the most part, the composition stayed close to what we wrote.
In general, for the creative process, I try to stay as open as possible. So it can be anything, a song can start with a rhythm, melody, chord, sound design, lyrics, etc., the main thing is to record and save your ideas so you can go and work on them. Usually, when I get an idea I’ll sing it into my phone to save it because you gotta catch it while you can.
And for the composition I might compose different sections of the song at different times, like maybe apart at the end of a song, then I’ll go work on the beginning of the song then the middle or some production or melodies, or rhythms, it really can be anything.
It comes accompanied by other-worldly cover art! Who is the woman that features on the cover, and how did you land on this concept?
Thank you, yeah the album artwork is by my guy Fishman Art 89, he’s amazing. Fishman has done a lot of our album covers, I love working with him.
The lady on the cover isn’t anyone in particular, that was just my idea that I had for the cover; usually, when I think of a song there’s also a visual that comes into my head that goes along with it. So I’ll sketch out the concept and send it to Fishman, then Fishman will send me a few of his sketches, and we’ll pick one and take it from there. But yeah, I really just let Fishman go in and do his thing.
I know that love is a big inspiration behind the track. Does romance play a big part in the creation of your work?
Sure I would say so, but it doesn’t have to be just a romantic relationship with another person; it could be the love you have for your craft, I would say it’s about passion. Because once you develop a passion for something then you will have the drive to want to always work harder and smarter.
And also if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from my experiences it’s that not only do you have to be the hardest worker and smartest worker in the room, you also have to be up working before everybody else. Because those extra hours of correct practice really add up in helping you to be prepared for when opportunities arise.
Because everything we do is a relationship albeit it is a romantic relationship, your career, friendships you have; whatever it is it’s about really trying to bring your A-game all the time, and that comes in the preparation and putting in the hard work. So yeah, to me that’s where the love, the romance and the passion are, to always try and be a better version of yourself.
The track also features the sounds of your bandmates! How did you meet them and go on to collaborate on music?
Yeah I have incredible bandmates, Taber, Dan, Andrew and Peter those are my guys; I learn from them all the time and they’ve helped me grow so much as a person and as a musician.
We had been playing together previously in different settings, so It just kind of happened naturally, you know compose some songs get together and start playing them. The main thing I would say is just starting, just show up and take that first step, consistently put in the correct hard work and let it grow.
If you could work with any other artist in the world, who would it be?
I’m very grateful to be working with my bandmates, and they are all incredible artists in their own right. But yeah, I love cooperation so, in no particular order, I’d be down to collaborate with NUU$HI, Skrillex, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Junkie XL.
What is next for you?
Working on more music projects with my bandmates, and also working on my Nightwing script. I really believe I’m the guy to play Nightwing, so yeah just working on that.
I know Chris McKay is passionate about the project as well, you know I love collaboration, so I think there are a lot of options we can go with, we could either make two movies or even combine the scripts. And with platforms like HBO max, there are a lot of opportunities to make a high-quality film and not have to worry about run time; people can just watch it how they want, and we can just focus on putting out the best possible product.