Longtime Blisspop favorite and friend, option4, was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions for us in anticipation of his upcoming show this Saturday at U Street Music Hall with Justin Jay and Bixel Boys. To make it even better, we have a pair of ticket’s we’ll be giving away to one lucky reader. All you need to do is email your name to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll announce the winner on Friday via email. In the meantime, check the interview out below:
The past twelve months have been quite epic for you. The Elizabeth Rose ‘The Good Life’ remix has won lots of praise, as well as ‘Love Like No Other’ and ‘Do Work.’ How do you intend to keep the momentum going?
It’s hard to judge momentum! Songs you think are great and going to be hopefully loved by people can flop and songs you didn’t expect to be big can be huge. It’s like this unknown world of variables that can only be conquered by just putting out consistent quality releases. Hopefully you strike it at the right time with the right tune and things can pop. So for me the goal is to just keep writing songs I think are better than the previous ones and put out as many songs as possible. Some artists probably disagree completely and I understand the need to let songs and the audience breathe a little bit, however it takes me a while to make a song so I never worry about releasing too many. I’m putting out a new one next week in fact, and another remix in March 🙂 Just going to hope for the best and if they don’t do great just hope that the next one does 🙂
You’ve said you didn’t get into the production of music through DJing or via the use (or rather, the overuse) of samples. What did get you into production?
My Father is a composer for film. He does a lot of work for big networks and such so I grew up around a recording studio. I guess with my love of house music at a young age it was naturally curious for me to start producing. I wrote my first electronic song at 15. My first 4 track EP at the age of 17. We put it onto Mini Disc, you remember those? hahaha.. needless to say it was absolutely awful music but that was where I got my start I suppose. I played my first show of all original music when I was 25 and just sold CD’s at the merch booth. I just DJ’d all my own songs. It kind of lit a fire under me and I realized I wanted to play out a bunch more. I started taking music much more serious when I finally quit my day job about 2 years ago.
I’m a big fan of your track “Deep Diamonds,” which made me wonder–what inspires you to make a track, typically?
Oh man! Thanks! I LOVE that tune. SO much. It was a song that actually got passed over for the most part unfortunately. Makes me smile to know someone else likes it haha. That song came about because I was reminiscing with a buddy of mine about songs that were influential to us when we were kids. Global Underground put out a compilation mixed by Deep Dish when I was real young. It opened up with their chunkier version of the song Diamond Life by Louie Vega. The song literally to this day gives me chills. It was like 02? 03? Anyhow we were in my studio and I put it on because my friend had never heard it and it was crazy fast…like 128 or 129 BPM and it got me thinking that it was time for a rework. Luckily the acapella was on beatport so I bought it and went to work. I showed it to my buddy Lazaro Cassanova because he’s friends with all those MURK cats and then instantly got scared. I didn’t want Louie to get mad at me for the rework/complete vocal jack of the tune. Apparently though it wasn’t a problem and I never got asked to take it down so I just left it up in the hopes that it maybe exposes people to the original masterpiece.
How much time do you spend making beats and how long does it usually take you to make a tune?
Basically I’m the worst producer ever. It takes me FOREVER to write songs. I suffer from the same crap every other aspiring producer does I think. Knowing what is too much and what is too little. The art of not ruining a groove is something that can’t be taught. Some songs have it. Some songs will never have it. There are no production courses that teach an answer to the conundrum. Basically I work on a tune til I feel I’ve found that balance, however there are times when I finish a song and 3 months later hear it again and want to change it. It’s never ending. Knowing when to walk away from a tune is an art form in itself I think. The people who can take simple beats and make them sound rich and full and beautiful (i.e.; Stimming is an AMAZING example) are geniuses. I one day hope to get to that point and speed up my work flow. I’m working on two new singles for example that I’m SUPER amped on, but I’ve had them 50 percent done for like 2 months now. It’s tough~
You use a fair amount of vocals in your music. Do the lyrics come first or the production?
100% of the time if it’s an Original song the vox come later. If it’s a remix or an edit? Always the vox first. I’m a huge fan of chopping and editing til I find grooves within the vocals themselves. Then I just add the music to the rest of it and call it good 😉
There seems to be a lot of musical cross over in your music such as classic house, strong bass music, sonic sounds and flickers of electronica – is that deliberate? Or would you say there is an overriding sound?
Yes…100% deliberate. Right now I am just a huge fan of blending the styles. I don’t make super deep/tech stuff like Innervisions (although some of it is amazing) but at the same time I don’t make super poppy bright disco stuff either. I literally try to stay right in the middle. Sometimes the super bass stuff is fun to play with so drops n such can be fun to work into deeper songs. That being said strings and swells and fun chord progressions that have disco influences can add beauty and pace to a track, so blending stuff like that into deeper grooves can be really fun as well. The most important thing for me is to try and capture the emotion of the song while I’m writing it and get that to transfer over to the listener. Whether it’s deep or grimy or smooth or dreamy, as long as that feeling transfers to the listener then it’s a win for me 🙂
Straight up calling out NAMES here haha…Homies I think are killin it right now…Everyone on Night Supply for sure. Domino Effect is another dope label I follow. I love everyone pretty much on AUS or Hypercolour. Always big love for Dirtybird. They’re the homies. Those are just labels though I guess haha…here are some artists that I support and love:
Moon Boots, Bit Funk, GOLDROOM, Justin Jay, Trikk, Billy Kenny, Dusky, Motez, TEED, MANIK, Duke Dumont, MK, George Fitzgerald, Walker & Royce, Todd Edwards, Jerome LOL, James Curd, Maxxi Soundsystem, Gigamesh, Lane 8, xxxy, Cassian, Yolanda Be Cool, Climbers etcetc…I guess these are more than just DJ’s, they’re friends so I support the nonsense out of their music. There won’t be a set this year I play without their tunes. Period. They’re making the sound/style of music that I’m pushing myself at the moment so it’s pretty easy 🙂
What are you hopes for 2014 professionally?
I guess the main thing I’m hoping to do this year is tour a bit in Europe. Also I’m hoping in between the remixes etc to put out 2 more EP’s. At the end of 2014, if I can look back and say I made a bunch of music I’m happy with and met a bunch of cool people along the way, then I’ll be a pretty happy camper 🙂