posted by Lu
4 weeks ago

In many ways, Whethan is the kind of artist who disobeys form and conformity. He possesses the ability to not only express his musical versatility impressively but also to collaborate with a wide range of artists from different backgrounds, tapping into the best of what they have to offer. The 25-year-old U.S.-based producer initially gained prominence in the electronic music scene with his distinct style that blends elements of future bass, electronic pop, and indie electronic genres.

Through the course of his career, he has expanded beyond that and amassed millions of streams, created hit tracks, and is a frequently touring artist. One of his most seminal albums was his sentimental 2018 debut Life of a Wallflower, Vol. 1 - and this showcased that he can churn out hit singles and remixes, AND build a bodywork that's immersive and cohesive. The LP is a testament to his love for all corners of electronic music and his commitment to pushing the boundaries of his production skills. He continues its legacy this year by rolling out Vol. 2. In this interview Whethan opens up about working on the second installment, his view on collaboration, and so much more.

Whethan · Whethan - DO YOU REMEMBER?

How do you think your upbringing differed from others? And would you say this had an impact on you diving into music above everything else?

I think starting so young and having the internet full of samples and tutorials showing me how to produce from an early age made me feel like I had an advantage over some of the older producers who didn’t have as much to learn from.

What were some of the most cherished moments for you before becoming the renowned Whethan, back when you were younger, and creating music in your bedroom?

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My schedule back then consisted of going to school, racing home as fast I could to start producing for as long as I could until I had to go to hockey practice where I would then show my teammates new tracks and continue once I got home leaving very little room for schoolwork. But I also loved playing hockey.

At which moment in your life did you go "all in" on music, and what did this look like for you?

I think it became serious to me when one of my remixes on Soundcloud “XE3” started to gain traction and the established DJs Zeds Dead played it at the Hard Summer Festival in LA. I was still 16 or 17 at the time and had never been to a huge music festival before I was still just in Chicago. Videos got posted online showing a huge crowd raging to the track which at that time I wasn’t sure if it was possible or if what I was making would sound good on the big stage. That moment gave me confidence and showed me I could do it.

I think something your audience knows about you is that you don't conform to any particular genre. Where do you think your insatiable desire to continuously blend different sonic worlds comes from? Do you also think it's reflective of a part of your personality, or it's purely an artistic choice?

I do think it is a huge part of my personality. I have a love for so many genres and enjoy trying out new things to incorporate into my tracks. For some reason, I have a hard time making the same thing twice but I enjoy that because I do want to push sonics forward and constantly challenge the listener to new grooves and feelings as I grow and evolve as well.

What are you usually most nervous about during the period of an album rollout?

By the time the music is ready to come out, I have sat with it long enough that I know I love it but I do get nervous sometimes when playing new tracks out to big audiences. Overall more of an exciting feeling that is fun to see people react to something they haven’t heard before.

Why did you feel like it was important for you to specifically continue the Life of a Wallflower series as opposed to creating a new body of work with a different theme?

I think this body of work is reflective of my first wallflower project because it was such an exploring phase of my life and a time when I wanted to blend as many genres as I could that I was inspired by and not conform to one super cohesive project. I felt like one day I would like a certain vibe more than others and the Wallflower project has always been about combining all of those feelings together.

What was going on in your life during the making of Life of a Wallflower, Vol. 2?

A lot of the songs were made in between traveling to Brasil and London where I got to spend time in working on music. I was also back on the road playing a lot of shows that were feeding the new energy for the music.

How did your selection process when it comes to features differ for this release compared to previous albums?

My project has always been huge on collaboration and I always want to keep it exciting whether its a brand new artist that you have never heard of or someone that you might know but might not expect. Its been really amazing getting in the studio with different artists and just letting our wildest ideas flow and not force ourselves into a box as well so it really comes down to best song wins. There are alot of songs I’m sitting on that I didn’t feel were right for this project but I do believe will come out shortly after this one.

In your opinion what are some of the key elements that produce the best collab relationship between artists?

I think alot of the best collaborations happen when both artists can truly be themselves and have both their personalities on the track. In my case as a producer I usually cover the whole beat and the instruments while the artist writes the lyrics and song to it so most of the time that 50/50 split is a beautiful combination.

How are you trying to make people feel, or what kind of space are you wanting to put people in after they've experienced Life of a Wallflower, Vol. 2?

I want my music to electrify people and be able to let loose and have a good time. I want to get peoples heads rocking but also something you can look at a little deeper and introspective. 

I noticed you don't get too personal on social media. What is your philosophy and approach to using social media as an artist?

For some reason I’ve always kind of been like that. I find my favorite way of communication is through music so I try to let the music do most of the talking. When I was younger and social media was more new it was a lot more exciting to post more mundane everyday things but as I got older I love living life outside of my phone and computer because I spend so much time making music on it. I do have a blessed life and get to travel almost every other week so its hard not to post sometimes because its to crazy.

What's an area in your craft where you're feeling unsure about and really looking to improve on currently?

I’ve always been mainly in the box as a producer meaning most of my production comes from the computer. I’ve always loved live instruments and have incorporated them a lot into my music overtime but I’ve loved exploring playing guitar myself recently and have found that a breath of fresh air into my workflow. I am terrible at guitar though and always looking to improve.

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