INTERVIEW | Sweater Beats

Sweater Beats is an electronic music producer who grew up outside Washington D.C. in the suburbs of Rockville, Maryland. He is currently on his For the Cold Debut live tour across North America, in advance of a new EP release in early 2017. Blisspop had the chance to catch up with him before his homecoming show at U Street Music Hall. We discussed his beginnings as a producer, his pursuits as a professional musician, and what inspires him to make music.

How did you get started in producing?

SB: I started making beats on the computer because all my friends that I was in bands with moved out of the area to go to school. So, I was left with myself and a computer which I used to program my own drums to play along with and it evolved from there.

When did you decide to pursue music professionally?

SB: I think only recently because this whole time I used to think of it as a hobby. When shows started to pick up and I started to play music festivals I thought, “I could do this forever.”

Yes! That’s the dream! So why do you make music?

SB: Good question! I’ve always grown up playing and making music, I didn’t have anything else to do. Now it’s just a need to make music. At this point, this is my profession, and I don’t have any backup plans, so I need to make music to pay the bills. But bottom line, I love to make music and I don’t think I could do anything else.

What is the big differentiator between someone who is a hobbyist versus a pro musician?

SB: I think it all comes to tactics. How hard you want to work at it? The hobbyist makes music for fun. But someone who wants to do it for a living – you make music because you’ll need to and you’ll spend ten to fifteen hours a day everyday working to better yourself, as a musician. So I think drive and passion are the main differentiators.

What new music can we expect from you?

SB: I’ve released two singles recently: “Better” featuring Nicole Millar and Imad Royal and “Did You Wrong,” featuring Max. There’s six songs total on the new EP which will be released next year.

In terms of concept albums, yay or nay? Are you for it or is it not your thing?

SB: I love concept albums! I know this EP isn’t going to be very conceptual, but I like the idea of it.

Are there any inspiring albums that come to mind? Maybe it has influenced your music or it’s something you enjoy listening to?

SB: I think Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism. I think I got through a lot of teen angst and girl stuff in high school listening to that album. That’s definitely one of my top albums.

I also love Death Cab for Cutie and also their other projects.

SB: Postal Service!

Yes! You know it. I really dig your remixes and enjoy listening to them. Do you have any tips to make a remix sound better than an original?

SB: The top line has to be great. A lot of the time I will work around the acapella. Although I think there isn’t a formula for creating a remix.

So you’re currently on the For The Cold tour through December. What’s the coolest new place you’ve discovered in America while on your tour?

SB: Currently I am a third of the way into the tour, so I don’t want to say yet since I haven’t been to all the spots yet.

True, what’s next after your tour?

SB: Go to Universal Studios and check out Harry Potter World to celebrate.

Blisspop is excited to see you perform at U Street Music Hall on November 23rd. With regards to that show, will you be wearing a sweater?

SB: I will try to!

It’s practically sweater weather here in DC, although it’s in the 70s right now.

SB: I’m excited for that show because it’s hometown vibes. My friends and family are going to be there. My parents are going to see me for the first time on the tour.

Have they been supportive of your music?

SB: Absolutely, they just wanted me to finish school first.

It’s good to hear that you do have support from your family and friends — that’s not the case for every musician.

SB: They’ve seen the pictures of me on tour and they realized that, okay, you’re not just playing dive bars — you’re actually performing for a lot of people now.


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