We were lucky to get a chance to catch up with one of LA’s biggest rising stars, Clinton VanSciver, and talk to him about his latest EP, Rings, fresh off Your EDM Records. We got to find out his thoughts on his new EP, Rings, who his influences are, and his feelings on the Electro-Progressive sound. Learn more about the man behind the decks and what went into making this fantastic and diverse EP!
Considering that this is your second EP, what made this one stand out from the last?
I guess I’d have to say where “Indie Anna Jones” sought to subvert the pop world’s early imitations of dance music, “Rings” captures the energy that dance and pop stand to provide when they collide in a live setting. Sweet sing-along melodies with stadium hooks, and a crunchy edge that makes it really hard to stand still. That’s where I am right now, and the Rings EP is a representation of that.
What prompted you to name the EP after the track, “Rings”?
“Rings” was a lot of fun to make. Kelley Jakle has such a beautiful voice, and I really wanted to juxtapose that with a hard-hitting refrain that would be fun to drop during my live sets. In my opinion, it’s the perfect transition from the Indie Anna Jones EP to my more updated sound, and like anyone else I strive to evolve as an artist while staying true to my roots. The lyrics walk the fine line between lust and love, which is how I like to think about music genres as well. I’ve never been one to “marry” myself to a particular tempo or style, but my love affair with electro house is no doubt a hot and heavy one.
What was your favorite track to produce and why?
“Mr. What” gets the shoutout on this one. Kiely Rich is a hilarious dude and super-fun to work with. I met him when we both played mainstage at City Lights Fest in Grand Rapids last July, and we got way too drunk on Fireball at the afterparty ( or maybe that was just me… ) Either way, there was a YouTube video that had been bouncing around between my friends and I for awhile, and of course when you’re a producer and there’s anything musical involved, everyone says “dude you should sample this.” Kiely and I had a pumping track already, but it needed something more, so we got creative and “Mr. What” is the result. The best thing is that the dude in the video has mega talent; it barely took any warping to match his tempo to the grid, and his pitch was almost perfect as well. I’m buying that Birmingham fella a beer if I ever cross paths with him.
With Electro and Progressive house being two of the most popular EDM sub-genres to produce, how do you find ways to stand out from others?
All too true. I like to think my musical background has a lot to do with it; I grew up playing guitar and singing, so it all comes from a really melodic place for me. Whereas a lot of producers might skate by with a cool synth sound or some kind of unique effects dynamic, I always have to have a catchy melody before I even start adding all that stuff. There’s nothing exciting to me about the woodblock sound, and if you’ve got a one-note sub kick line, you better damn well have a catchy lead chord progression over it. I love the energy of the so-called “big room” genre, I just think there’s no reason that it has to come at the expense of a melody. There are a lot of people who are balancing this really well, so I’m reluctant to write off an entire genre because of a few similar-sounding hits. That said, I’d rather go back to playing John Mayer songs in Italian restaurants than become famous on the back of some ghost-produced cookie-cutter piece of garbage.
Who and what were your greatest influences when working on the ‘Rings’ EP?
Max Martin. As usual.
Are there any specific vocalists or producers you hope to collaborate with in the future?
I would love to get in the studio and just jam with Collin McLoughlin. I feel like we’d make some really cool stuff, but more than that, I feel like it’d just be a great time. He’s got a great sense of melody and he’s a hell of a songwriter. Also Lana Del Rey for the most obvious reasons in the world (stimulating conversation, long walks on the beach, etc).
Being that several genres are covered in your new EP, which was the hardest to work with, and which was your favorite?
The hardest to work with was glitch hop on “Interested,” which was also my favorite. I love trying stuff I’m totally unfamiliar with, because I always pick up a ton of new tricks and learn from it. It’s easy to stick to your saved racks and presets when you’re making tracks in genres and tempos you’re used to, but when I take myself out of the box, I end up questioning all that and coming out with something totally fresh. It’s a totally grueling process but it’s so rewarding in the end and I think listeners appreciate it as well. My favorite producers are the ones who I consider jacks of all trades, where there’s at least one track on every record that completely catches me off guard. So that’s what I strive to do as well.
You can purchase Rings HERE