So, who is Cooda? (Continued)
As far as “what, or who is Cooda?” I guess – I kind of have two different beliefs on it. Cooda is a representation of the weirdness that is me, as well as a representation of perspective and awareness. The first belief is, yes, I am Cooda. That’s my artist name that I chose. However, I think of Cooda as this… trippy entity. The name itself and the music is meant to be a little far out, just like me. It allows me to be weird. It’s meant to make you think a little bit, and not just be the same formulaic music you’ve heard around the inter-webs, but all the while making you move. I’ve always loved that about electronic music, it puts you in a unique place. To me, electronic music makes you feel like you’re on drugs. That’s what I love about it; it’s trippy. Psychedelic literally means mind expansion. I love psychedelic music. I’m a big fan of psytrance and stuff like that.”
“Second, I want Cooda to be about paying attention, observing the world around you and seeing the truth in things. It’s about perception. I think that’s very interesting, how I view something is different than how you view something, and the reason someone reacts a certain way is based on their childhood and past experience. I’m really interested in understanding things. If I don’t know something, I want to understand it, and based on that, you have to observe it, right? So you have to pay attention, plus there’s so many beautiful things hidden around you. You just have to take time to appreciate it. Sometimes I like to just look around in a public setting… see what I can observe. My favorite thing is, with people, you can kind of tell, just based off the first five seconds when you meet somebody, not everything about them, but you can definitely tell what type of vibe they’re putting off; if they are being genuine, if they care what you think or are pretending, etc. So there’s that side of it, but Cooda is also just a fun name, man! Someone described it as a little brother’s name, and I didn’t know how to take that at first. But that’s kind of who I’ve always been, because I’m the youngest of my family, and I’ve always had friends that are older, so they’ve always kind of treated me like a little brother. So there’s that. I’m also kind of a nerd who loves Pokémon and the aesthetic of the 90’s.”
So you’ve got a handful of tracks out right now, and the acid vibe in “Cicada” is killer. Where did it come from?
“Thanks man! I’ve been making a lot of music. I plan on releasing more and more. But “Cicada” was definitely the first track that I made as Cooda. When I finally decided on the name, I was making “Cicada” at Icon. I was showing it to some people and my friend Chase kept asking me, “oh, is that the Cooda bass, is that the Cooda sound?!” So he was saying that as I was making the track. I felt that identified the sound in a sense, and yeah it came together really well. It was perfect ‘cause I made the sound, and right then the person who reserved studio time before me told me they were going to cancel and that I could take their time if I wanted. I went up in Studio Icon and pretty much wrote the whole thing in two hours. It was literally that one sound that brought it together. Random; But I also love to throw in little video game samples from my favorite games growing up. In “Powerpuff” there’s one towards the end, it’s Starmie from Super Smash Bros. 64. In “Cicada” there’s one too. You wouldn’t necessarily know it as well because it’s from the Wii Smash Bros. game, but there’s a growl at the half time drop, it’s actually Donkey Kong. It’s really quick, but it’s fun and I love throwing that stuff in there! But yeah with “Cicada”, it was that one sound that grabbed me. It’s acid and it’s a squelch, and it’s just weird, man. I was listening to a lot of house at the time and was just thinking, “Fuck man, I love four on the floor.” So I just built it and built it, kept adding more layers and thinking I could make it even housier; “Add this hi-hat and add this white noise.” But then it came to the point where I got stuck. I was almost done with the track, and where it gets to the half time drop – again, Icon, the collective, it’s incredible – I was playing the track and someone walked in and I was saying how I thought it was a little stale, and my friend JR (Signal Froyd) said “why don’t you throw it into half time?” So I did it, and it changed the whole vibe of the track and I loved it. So yeah, it was very interesting how it came about.”
So would you say “Cicada” is indicative of what we can expect from you in the future?
“Definitely, man! I started out wanting to make dubstep, and then got to the point where I really wasn’t vibing with bass music and decided to just make whatever I wanted to make. So I spent a year making trippy Flume stuff, and then one day I thought “I miss making this style.” I completely changed my direction. It was always in me I just wasn’t letting it out.”
“Cicada” is actually – I don’t want to say it’s lighter, but there are parts of it that are not as heavy. If you listen to “Spittin Game,” that one is pretty similar to some other tracks I’ve been making. A little on the heavy side, but yeah, you can always expect in the tracks coming up, unique sound design, and whatever my idea of “future dance music” is. I don’t want to call it house because sometimes it’s breaks and sometimes it’s trance or whatever. Classifying it can be limiting. But yeah, dance music. It’s very interesting where dance music is right now, in 2015, because even two years ago, compared to where we are with computers and programs, and not only that but just the sounds that people are creating. I just want to do my own version of dance music. I grew up on it and it’s held deep in my heart. I don’t try to be anything, I just let it come out, and it’s definitely a representation of me as a person. I’m very high energy, and go-go-go, and most of the time my music comes out like that.”
So can we expect a breakout EP in the future, or are you just going to keep drip-feeding tracks?
“If I had the right release, then yes, I would, but right now I’m going to drip-feed tracks. I know that’s effective to catch attention, and that’s what I want to do before I drop a whole EP. I feel like that would be more effective to have a bigger fan base and then with that loyal fan base, give them a solid release that’s almost like a reward. But I write a shit ton of music, man. The last few weeks I’ve been writing a track a week, so I’m always writing, and I plan on releasing pretty much all of them. They’re all a very similar style; I finally nailed the sound. And yeah, I’m just excited to put more music out and hear what people think about it! I have a few curveballs too. The tracks that I have out now seem to have gotten pretty good responses. The one I have out on EDM network is almost at 100k and the one on Bodhi Collective has been doing well. I like reading comments and seeing plays comparatively to other tracks, it’s been helpful.”
What are some influences or experiences that have helped you find your sound?
“Number one would be Skrillex, just because he’s the man. I really like Alvin Risk as well. He’s got this vibe that’s very dark and contemplative. I like to write my chords to sound contemplative and I get that from old school trance. I actually grew up listening to trance back in the day, so the album “Just Be” by Tiësto, “Tranceport” by Paul Oakenfold and any other vocal trance mixes. My dad was the one that got me into electronic music, actually. Him and my sisters would listen to trance albums on road trips. He would go out and buy like Ultra Trance 2001 or whatever, and put it on in the car, and we’d be driving down to the Grand Canyon or Mount Rushmore, and as we were driving we would be bumping it. (laughs) He always liked it because it was very uplifting and positive, and yeah it was really interesting to grow up on that. I make playlists now-a-days for our vacations. He loves Skrillex as well. Again, that trance music was very psychedelic and trippy. If you’d ever listened to like “Game Master,” by the Lost Tribe, these tracks were really big in Europe at the time, and I remember getting made fun of in elementary school because I listened to ‘techno.’ So that influenced me as well, Today, so many people are putting out unique songs now, too. NERO, Drezo is killing it, Trump Disco, too! He’s not very big, but he’s got this one track “Outerworld,” that really inspired me to make some heavier music. I like Habstrakt, Gesaffelstein, Porter Robinson, Kill the Noise… The big guys for sure, ‘cause they do it so well.”