Wave Racer has been a staunch figure in the future house genre for a while now. Though his productions go between a wide range of genres, “future” is the term most generally associated with him. But it’s odd to think of how the term has come to possess such a unique sound. Wave Racer himself says he doesn’t understand the association, but it’s hard to deny that there is something unique and refreshing about the “future” style.
Wave Racer’s Flash Drive EP is out today, and I had the opportunity to send him some questions about the EP itself, and to talk about what “future” really means. Grab the EP here, and take a look at his eye-opening answers below.
What were some of your influences for this EP?
My main driving force behind this EP was the desire to create something cohesive – I wanted to make something that you could listen to from start to finish and have it make sense sonically. Up until this release I had basically only created a handful of singles and several remixes, so making this EP felt like taking the much needed ‘next step’ for me. I also wanted to showcase a bit more diversity and creativity in terms of the song writing and production. I wanted to be able to make a very diverse set of tracks that somehow all made sense together, and I think I achieved that. Obviously I was also greatly influenced by the talented producers and artists who I collaborated with. I learned a lot from working with other artists and I think it was extremely valuable to do so. Each song on the EP was born in a different place and time, so I think I drew influence from simply being in different places, travelling for shows and learning things along the way.
You have quite a distinct sound, but a lot of other “future” artists are starting to form sounds pretty similar to yours. Do you worry about differentiating yourself from the pack?
To be honest, I have never been too worried about that. My main goal is just to produce good music. A well-written and well-produced song is always going to stand out, no matter what style or genre it’s in. I think it’s great that so many producers now are making really awesome, colourful and fun music, and I find it enormously pleasing that people are directly inspired by my music, that’s really all I can ask for as an artist. However, I think choosing to adhere to words like “future” when thinking about the music you create is self-limiting, and I definitely don’t think about my music in that way. But this is only the beginning for me so far. I have yet to explore all the sounds that inspire me and the ideas that exist in my head, so I don’t feel pressure to do anything apart from make the best songs I possibly can.
Speaking of “future,” what do you think of the term? Is it like post-modernism in art? At what point will “future” become the present?
I’ve actually never really understood the use of the term “future” to describe my music or anyone else’s. I don’t think there is anything inherently “futuristic” about it. As I’ve said before – at its core, all the elements of my music are drawn from existing musical styles and influences, both old and new. So for me to call my music “future” would be disingenuous. I think one of the coolest and most interesting things about music culture is that we can watch it shift and evolve in real time, so for me it’s not really that exciting to think about “future” music or whatever is coming next, because whatever is happening currently is the most real and the most exciting thing. That’s the great thing about art in general – it is most often a response to whatever is happening in the artist’s world at the time of its creation. I guess you could say the same thing about music.
Tell me what it was like working with Lido on “World Record.” Was the collaboration done remotely, or did you have some studio time together?
Both! We had a couple days together in a studio in Melbourne at the start of last year, where we worked on a couple of different ideas for songs. We didn’t finish anything during the studio time we had, but we walked away with a couple of great demos, one of which ended up becoming “World Record”. The demo was full of chopped up samples of Lido’s voice mixed with some synth chords I laid down and some crazy percussion sounds, along with some very rough melodic ideas that Lido played on keyboard. At the time I was working on loads of other things and touring a lot so I ended up forgetting about the demos for a while. But then later in the year I went back and re-listened and had a sudden urge to finish one of them. So I started working on it and changed like a million things and re-wrote some of the chords and structured it into a proper song and polished it up a bit. Then from there it was just back and forth with Lido over email, he would give me feedback on the changes I had made and I’d take that on board while working on the song until it was basically finished. We had agreed that it was going to be a song for my EP so I did all the final touches and mixed and mastered it to make it consistent with the rest of my release. It was really exciting to be able to work with him, he is amazingly talented and a very intuitive musician.
You headlined a show in Los Angeles last month with Shawn Wasabi, tell me what that was like.
That show was so much fun. It was at The Roxy, which is kind of an iconic venue on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. It ended up selling out completely which was incredible and unexpected. It was definitely one of my favourite shows of the tour. I also had a live visual setup that night which made the show extra special. Shawn played right before me so I didn’t get to catch much of his set while I was preparing for my own, but he definitely had everybody real hyped up. It was super crazy to see that many of my fans in one room, on the opposite side of the world from where I live. A lot of friends came along as well which was nice. Los Angeles has always showed me a lot of love, even though I’ve only played there a few times, and this show was the best one yet. One of the best crowds I’ve played to.
If you had to give a beginning producer one piece of advice each about production, what would it be?
I guess my piece of advice would be to learn about how the sounds your using actually work – for example, if using synth presets, study the parameters that make that sound what it is, so then eventually you can create it yourself, and in turn create something uniquely expressive and your own. It’s easy to rely on go-to sounds, samples and presets but it’s a lot harder to actually understand what it is that makes a sound good, so put in the work and learn about the intricacies and details of sound design, that way you can grow as a producer.