Ever since dance music turned an actual contender within the pop music panorama—rivaling rock and hip-hop when it comes to world affect, artists have been on the lookout for new, distinctive methods to innovate; to tell apart themselves from the remainder of the pack. After all, as soon as any style breaks out of the underground, the variety of artists that hitch their wagons to it practically in a single day will increase dramatically.
As a end result, so lots of these artists calculate their craft for marketability on each stage—from manufacturing to efficiency—looking for totally different features to which they'll draw focus in order to affirm their originality. Sometimes it will possibly come off as gimmicky, different occasions extra real, although the road between is a tightrope stroll.
There are some artists, although, who don’t should manufacture a way of originality. They present up already geared up with a sound and elegance that's inimitably and completely their very own. Chief amongst that elite crop of artists within the digital house could also be KOAN Sound. Consisting of Will Weeks and Jim Bastow, the honored British duo has tackled an prolonged myriad of genres and subgenres, all whereas sustaining their unmistakable sonic identification.
This aptitude for uniqueness is pushed by a concerted effort to imbue their robust instrumental background into each observe they produce. From their breakout hit, “Meanwhile, In The Future,” to their newest EP, Intervals Above, their early days enjoying in a band collectively again in Bristol help their affinity for limitless exploration, each within the studio and on stage.
Dancing Astronaut caught up with Weeks and Bastow at their LA tour cease for a uncommon interview whereby the pair mentioned their persevering with instrumental influences, their model new stay present, and extra.
You’ve simply launched one other rework of “Meanwhile In The Future,” considered one of your escape tracks. What does this observe imply to you each? How did it really feel to revisit this observe as soon as once more as extra seasoned, skilled musicians?
Weeks: Well, that was actually enjoyable to do as a result of we’ve discovered a lot since writing the unique. It was cool attempting out related issues, however with all these new strategies.
Bastow: Out of all our tracks that one’s at all times been one of many largest fan favorites. That sort of period of our productions, the early OWSLA productions, are nonetheless actually in style with quite a lot of followers so we wished to maintain enjoying it, however we thought it will be cool to replace that together with among the different tracks within the set. Kind of put a recent spin on them, and I believe the reception to this point has been optimistic.
Which of the 2 variations would you say you get pleasure from listening to extra?
Weeks: I believe the previous one, you may positively hear the age.
Bastow: Yeah it’s positively partly a nostalgic factor.
Throughout your profession you’ve adopted a plethora of kinds and genres—all the pieces from boom-bap beats to drum ‘n’ bass to dubstep to disco, and but your music is unmistakably your personal. How do you proceed to insert your distinctive sound into all these totally different kinds in recent, new methods?
Weeks : We don’t give it some thought an excessive amount of. We have a means of working so no matter style it's issues find yourself sounding the identical when it comes to sound design.
Bastow : I believe should you do something for lengthy sufficient and maintain working away at it you'll develop your personal spin on it; your personal perspective. I believe it’s unavoidable and its positively not one thing we’re actually acutely aware of after we’re within the course of of creating music. It’s simply one thing that's born out of that. But to me I believe that’s one of many highest compliments that somebody can provide as a result of music could be good and it may be dangerous but when one thing sounds such as you then nobody can take that away from you, and that’s a really excessive praise.
So whenever you go to make a brand new observe do you have got a selected intent when it comes to what style you need to make or does it circulation naturally by the method?
Weeks: Usually we begin with an thought, however we work on tracks for therefore lengthy that they typically become one thing else totally.
Your releases have at all times been accompanied by very bespoke paintings to the purpose that you just created an authentic piece of artwork for each observe on Polychrome. What objective does visible artwork serve in relation to your music? Do the visuals assist outline the music? Or are the visuals a response to the music?
Weeks: Well I believe a part of it began once I mentioned I see quite a lot of shapes and colours once I hear music, however then that grew into attempting to create visuals to go together with our units, however we haven’t finished something on this scale earlier than as we did with the brand new stay present.
Bastow: I got here from a visible artwork background, and that’s at all times been essential to me. For occasion with the Polychrome challenge I assumed it will be a cool solution to attempt to tie the entire totally different components and tracks collectively as a result of, such as you say, the album has quite a lot of totally different kinds and covers quite a lot of totally different stylistic floor so I assumed it will be a cool solution to tie all of these collectively by telling a narrative in every of the items of paintings.
Correct me if I’m improper, however you haven’t made an official music video for any of these tracks, proper?
Bastow: Well that’s what the present is. Essentially every observe has a bespoke music video for it, and we’re enjoying with stuff stay and triggering issues excessive of those house layers which might be operating within the background. But yeah, every observe has its personal full-length music video.
I believe that’s fascinating as a result of if somebody hasn’t come to the present and sees the artwork that's paired with the music, it’s nonetheless very open to interpretation. Whereas a standard music video additional defines a track more often than not. Explain the alternative strategy somewhat extra?
Bastow: I believe additionally we play a extremely massive function within the improvement of the visuals which simply means now we have extra private funding in them and simply extra attachment to them and hopefully that comes throughout.
You each grew up enjoying devices and use them ceaselessly in your productions. What impressed you to go the digital route versus staying the course in your stay band?
Weeks: Well we had been doing them each on the similar time. They had been each enjoyable issues, however I suppose it’s laborious to maintain individuals collectively in a band.
Bastow: Yeah they positively each ran in tandem and I believe over time our pursuits and musical tastes simply developed. We started to take heed to increasingly digital stuff and simply turn out to be extra immersed in that world, however I believe we went by a interval whereas we had been writing Polychrome the place we had been jamming very often with another musicians. Our pal Chalky who performs guitar being considered one of them. That positively knowledgeable among the album writing to a sure extent, and we play drums and keys on stage so there’s nonetheless a little bit of that in there.
Both Polychrome and Intervals Above show a return to your extra instrumental fashion of music. You even put collectively a playlist of guitar music that impressed Intervals Above. How do you translate instrumental affect into digital music? How does a jam session encourage an digital manufacturing?
Weeks: I believe after we document something, whether or not it’s different individuals or ourselves, we simply document quite a lot of audio. Then often we’ll mess around with that inside Ableton discover cool methods to make use of it.
Bastow: It’s actually simply that. There’s not likely a science behind it. It’s simply recording all the pieces that we do after we’re experimenting or simply enjoying one thing after which going by it after and selecting bits out and the bits that catch our ear simply pursuing these and processing them and experimenting with them.
Are there occasions in the course of these jams whenever you’ll cease and immediately know that you just’ve discovered the concept that results in a observe?
Bastow: The recording course of could be very separate from the precise manufacturing course of. We’re not usually doing each on the similar time; recording whereas we’re making a observe. Normally we’ll be out with a discipline recorder or recording another person enjoying an instrument or I’ll be recording some keyboards or what not. Then after now we have these we’ll return to the studio and pay attention by these and select bits from them.
Do you suppose having that separation between recording and producing helps formulate the concepts on your tracks?
Weeks: I’d say if something it results in extra glad accidents since you come away from the recording course of and then you definately come into it recent once more and you'll locate actually fascinating progressions.
Bastow: It’s sort of a piece circulation factor as nicely. Just having that separation implies that the 2 processes are distinct.
What had been the intentions behind Intervals Above? Was it merely leftover tracks from the Polychrome periods? Or had been you attempting to do one thing new?
Weeks: I believe it was a love letter to the guitar music we like. Metal, Latin American music…
Bastow: We take heed to quite a lot of instrumental metallic stuff, with Animals As Leaders being one of many largest names. So, a part of it was that and a part of it was turning into actually shut buddies with a man named Chalky who performed loads on the EP. We had these preliminary concepts and did some brief recordings with him. Those recordings shaped the course of the EP when it comes to sound, and we simply tried to make use of these recordings as a lot as attainable as a result of it’s not an instrument we’ve used loads previously.
When you first emerged bass music was rather more narrowly outlined than it's at present, and your music at all times existed exterior these definitions. Now you have got a protracted listing of giant crossover artists. How do you suppose this development has impacted your music and your viewers? Do you discover extra persons are down for the stuff you’re making now?
Bastow: Well I believe after we initially began we had been fairly intently tied to dubstep. We type of rode the wave of that affiliation and, such as you say, all the pieces was extra within the field at the moment. So, I believe we had been pigeon-holed somewhat bit into that, however I believe it’s been a gradual evolution. From that time we’ve continued to experiment and take a look at new issues till we had been at some extent the place individuals had been digging us as a result of we had been doing that; as a result of we weren’t sticking to that one factor. We turned identified for at all times doing a special factor.
Photo Credit: Sarah Koury / KoLAB Studios