To celebrate the full stream release of 7 Minutes Dead‘s EP Peacock, which was recently featured here, I got to sit down and talk with Alex, as well as the project’s remixer Haywyre. However, before we get to all the shenanigans that were had via Skype, let’s get to this Monstercat EP that now features both 7 Minutes Dead’s original and Haywyre’s bumpin’ rendition.
If you missed it Monday, you’ll be glad we brought it back. The original is a parade of lively sound that’s one of the most fun tracks I have heard in a while. It’s full of positive energy that is transmitted through a complex composition and I guarantee it will have you moving. Haywyre’s remix will have you moving too and it’s better than anything you could have imagined. Which is why nobody except Martin is Haywyre. The track is just as upbeat and funky as the original, but it’s influenced by a few different genres to give “Peacock” a fresh new life. It’s a beautifully good time from beginning to end; there are just too many things I could talk about. So why not just have you listen now.
Then after, you can join us for the formal interview, or you can read the entire Skype conversation the three of us had. You get more in-depth, along with tangents to the Thunderdome, bathroom stall art and the Sunnyvale Trailer Park plus so much more! It was quite a fun time with the boys to say the least.
Purchase EP On Beatport
YourEDM’s Edited Interview:
1. Alex, how did you come up with the track/name “Peacock?”
7MD: Well I didn’t know what it was going to be called until towards the end of it. As I was making it, it started to sound more and more like someone was strutting around, confident and showy. Acting ostentatious. Of course, I figured “Ostentatious” would be too long of a word for a song title, and possibly an unfamiliar one for a lot of people (it was for me at first, haha), so I went with “Peacock.” Peacock as a verb, of course. That also worked out well since peacocks are colorful and complex in their feather designs, so that fit as well with how complex the song ended up being. But, it’s mostly for the strutting around aspect. I got a lot of pushback on it at first, but I liked it haha.
2. Martin, how did you get hooked up with Alex for the remix?
H: Well, I’d say it all started when I joined Monstercat in the first place, months ago. There is a Monstercat Skype chat group where many of us share works in progress; I stayed in touch with Alex and vice-versa because we respect each others work. We started throwing ideas back and forth for collaborative projects, but nothing stuck. So eventually Alex showed me “Peacock,” and since it was already so far along in it’s production process, we decided that it would be cool for me to remix it instead of collaborate on it. So here we are!
7MD: Yeah that’s pretty much it. He’s the one guy on Monstercat that I’m a big, big fan of and we became friends through Skype more or less haha.
3. What is it like being a young producer with one of the most innovative labels in Monstercat?
7MD: It’s pretty amazing, although I’m far from young compared to some of my fellow Monstercat artists. I’ll be 26 next month, and a lot of the producers on here are 18-20. I mean, that’s not a huge gap but I’m blown away that people can get started so early on in their lives. I’m just glad I’m finally started on my passion. At the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy, my dream is *actually* possible. I just don’t know how to process that, and will never know how to, even if I make it all the way to whatever the top may be. So, I’m just going with it. So in that way, it feels no different than how life was before, haha. Just now I have an amazing fanbase. But it just feels like having a lot more internet friends. And I’ve always had internet friends from gaming and whatever else. Myspace… Oh god Myspace. Good times.
H: I say its a pretty big privilege to be working with Monstercat. One of my favorite aspects is that its essentially a huge, friendly family of musicians, promoters, managers and just artists in general. I’m guessing im not even one of the younger artists on Monstercat either as I’m 21 now. Either way I’m happy to be here and I suck at answering questions! Wooo!
7MD: Yeah the one thing that still blows me away about Monstercat is how big and serious their following is. I don’t see any other labels with a very active subreddit, for example, haha. I’ve never gotten a sense of community from any label, until I found Monstercat.
4. What are your guys main source(s) of inspiration?
7MD: Ah, that’s a tough one. It can be anything from hearing a song I like to just *needing* to hop in my DAW and write. And usually it’s the latter. It’s the same itch I get for needing to play drums. There’s probably some things that inspire me, but I’m not consciously paying attention to them at least, so it seems sporadic. As far as music goes though, I have a lot of influences. Or, just groups I absolutely love. Deadmau5 was one of my earliest and biggest influences ever. Tool has always been and always will be a big part of my life. I absolutely LOVE The Mars Volta and am torn that they broke up. The past year I’ve listened to a lot of Caravan Palace. I fucking love Michael Jackson. I don’t know, I’m everywhere haha. Too much to list.
H: A short list of inspirational musicians / artists: Abdullah Ibrahim, Koan Sound, Emperor, Galimatias, Zeros (no public material yet unfortunately), Austin Peralta (R.I.P.), Flying Lotus, Avishai Cohen, Chrome Sparks, Culprate, Joe Ford, Koven, Hans Zimmer, Animals As Leaders. The list goes on and on though. Other than specific artists, my influences are as wide as they could possibly be. There’s something to be learned from every experience, and whether big or small, it always has an impact on my music. Sometimes I’ll be on a walk and I’ll hear melodic ideas pop up into my head out of nowhere; or, sometimes I will be trying to imitate some jazz harmonies to make a structural outline for a new tune. Sometimes its something completely irrelevant, too. A lot of my musical output has to do with my relationship with myself. As I grow older, I have grown more honest with myself and what it is that really defines me, my goals, my tastes and distastes, etc. I used to strive to imitate; at points, music acted as a means, and not an end. Now, music is literally my life. I live and breathe it, and there’s nothing in the world I could spend 15 hours a day doing than sitting in my studio and trying to challenge myself musically. So really, even just any source, external or internal, is an influence.
(Tangent 1 Here, Page 5)
5. Both of you produce/have influence from multiple genres, what is your view of the infamous term?
H: I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with genres. They’re essential terminology used to describe broad ranges of music with specific characteristics. Many people complain about genres, but instead of listing all of the influences and elements of each particular track from each particular artist, it saves time and energy. For example, I would never personally label my music under a single genre. The most general term I could use that might incorporate everything I do would just be electronic music. People know me best for my glitch-hop, so people generalize all my music as glitch-hop usually. However, to really understand an artist, you have to dig deeper. The people that generalize will do it no matter what, genre name or no genre name.
And the fact that people generalize is why people get angry about it in the first place. I wouldn’t want to say my music is glitch-hop, cause suddenly everyone thinks all my music is mid-tempo electronic music.
7MD: Yeah exactly. Genres are great for trying to find similar music, and for organizing your library. But they’re not even good at that most of the time. For me though, I’d rather just organize by artist name and nothing else, but.. that wouldn’t work for our obsession with lists and charts and organization and optimization. But it is a strange thing when something as simple as a word used for organization influences creation. Seems almost backwards. But, it’s all subjective. There’s no particular way that you’re supposed to create, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, not even me. Or Martin. Especially not Martin.
Yeah, just think of genres for exactly what they are. For helping you find somewhat similar music, for organizing. People shouldn’t get bent out of shape when something doesn’t exactly fit what is the majority of a particular genre. It’s just a broad label for assisting in finding more music. If you want precision, you need artist names. Recommendations from others.
H: The real distinguishing characteristics don’t lie in the genres, but in all of it’s finer details.
6. What genres do you tend to listen to?
7MD: I can’t say I like or don’t like one genre or the other, because they all have songs I like and don’t like. there’s never been a genre in which all the songs that fall under it, do it for me.
H: Honestly with electronic music, most the time I’m merely browsing Soundcloud or examining something closely to listen to sound design or stereo imaging for example. Its rare that I listen to a piece of electronic music just to listen to it. There’s only a very small number of artists, let alone tracks in the electronic music world that I will purposely listen to.
7. Alex, how has playing the drums influenced your music production?
7MD: Oh who the hell knows haha. Most obvious one is probably my sense of rhythm. Melody has taken me a long while to grasp, but rhythm and structure of notes and percussion has been easy since day one of producing. Also stepping away from four on the floor was the most free I’ve felt in a long time. And as soon as I can live in a place where I can play an acoustic drum set (can’t do that in these apartments), and mic it properly, there’s going to be a lot more real drumming in my work. I just cannot get my electronic set to put out sounds I like, but I’m still experimenting with that. It’s just really unnatural feeling/sounding, for me. But I’ll get to a point soon where I can do that. Also, that’s a plan for live shows. Live drumming. I’m still figuring out how I’m going to do it all, and I may not do it right away, but I have some big plans and ideas for long-term.
8. What does a live show consist of for Haywyre?
H: I only play my own music at my sets, first off. Secondly, I launch the stems to my tracks and mix between them while playing the main melodic motives on my 88-key keyboard. There’s a lot of improvisation when it comes to the actual melodies I end up playing, and I play a ton of unreleased tracks live usually (generally because I’m still testing them out).
9. You guys are both active with fan interaction (Twitter, Email Message Board), so what pushes you to be this interactive with your fanbase?
7MD: I enjoy being social, that’s about all there is to it haha. I’m the same way in person, more or less. It’s just me being myself and Twitter gives me the ability to shout at the world, if they’ll hear it.
H: Well, being active with fans is important. They have interest in my music, which helps me take my career as a potential full-time producer and composer more seriously. Therefore the least I can do is keep them up to date. Plus getting to know people that enjoy your work can make for some really interesting conversations sometimes!
10. For someone who’s looking to take their music production seriously, what is the best advice you could give them?
H: If you are really considering taking music production seriously, I would say it’s important that you stick to making the music that you can call your own. The last thing you would want to do is build an empire of dirt, so to say. If you end up doing really well, but making music that doesn’t really speak to you, it will not have done much for you in the long run; especially considering you are spending a lot of time making things that you don’t enjoy! Only one of the million tips that would be good to hear, but that’s the best I got.
7MD: Patience and consistency. Things will take a long time before your skills allow you full possibilities of your creative mind, so you can’t get impatient. And you have to stay consistent so that you do keep growing and advancing. You can’t take months and months worth of breaks and expect to make any progress beyond a hobby, even if years of this pass. If you really want to separate yourself from the ocean of musicians that are out there, you have to do what they aren’t willing to do. Make sacrifices and commit the time needed to turn it into an obsession. You *have* to obsess over it or you’ll never separate yourself. For me, and this doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone, but I’ve made an effort to stay single over the past two years now since my last relationship ended. And it’s paid off. Look where it got me. And it’s all because I have all my time to myself to grow now. And it’s working so well I’m going to keep things that way. You just have to be willing to make sacrifices to do what you really want to do.
I know a lot of producers who worry too much about trying to produce what they think is going to be popular, because they’re afraid they aren’t growing their audience fast enough. But you dig yourself into a hole doing that. You grow a fanbase that likes you for the stuff that *you* don’t necessarily like creating. Then when the time comes where you’re sick of it and want to do what you really want to do, it’s not going to clash well with the fanbase you’ve created who like this other thing that you didn’t really truly love and then you have to create a whole new alias. When, if they had been patient and just stayed true to themselves, it would take a lot longer, but they could have been working towards the fanbase they wanted all along. A lot of people never even consider this long-term.
11. Alex, it says on Facebook that you are your own General Manager. How is it being an artist and handling the role of manager for yourself?
7MD: Mostly I have a lot of people I can always ask for help. Mike Darlington, Jon (Going Quantum), Ari, and my fellow artists.. They’ve all been amazing. Mike has been especially helpful with discussing things and giving me advice. I trust his insight more than anyone. Chris James (you’d know him from the Veldt with Deadmau5, most likely) is also incredibly smart and an amazing audio engineer in addition to an amazing vocalist, and we became good friends over the past year so I’m always talking with him about things. There’s just a lot of help that is easy to reach. I love my people. And Martin!
Oh yea, and Chris and I are going to work on a track together very soon. Should be interesting to say the least.
12. Speaking of that, what does 2014 have in store for you guys?
7MD: Definitely more releases, and hopefully enough interest where I’ll be able to begin doing live shows everywhere. I want to create experiences beyond the bedroom! Something bigger than just the audio, or even visuals. Something bigger than myself. Something truly great and memorable. And then do it over and over and over, in as many locations, in front of as many people as possible. I want to leave my mark on this world before I move on to whatever’s next, preferably!
H: What I’m looking forward to most is Two Fold: Part One and potentially Two Fold: Part Two. Part One is an LP scheduled to go up for pre-orders on February 28th; Monstercat’s first LP ever, and also their first time selling physical copies of any of their releases too!
7MD: God that LP is so good, you have no idea.
1. Favorite plug-in?
7MD: LFO Tool
2. I am waiting for an album/EP/LP from ___.
H: Koan Sound
7MD: That too.
3. You’re at the movies, what candy do you grab?
7MD: Whoppers, those chocolate balls.
H: Probably not candy, just popcorn.
4. You’re granted a super power, you choose ___.
7MD: Power to fly, no hesitation.
H: The power to grow some decent facial hair.
5. Favorite Tarantino Film?
7MD: For me it’s a tie between Inglorious Bastards and DJango Unchained. Christoph Waltz is incredible!
H: Pulp or Resevoir. I’d have to say Resevoir Dogs.
For more, check out the entire Skype conversation we had which features some more goodies as well as a whole bunch of other shenanigans. You can find it here. More music from 7 Minutes Dead and Haywyre will be presented to you as it becomes public!