The humus-loving warrior's beats are absolutely spot-on and I felt it would be awesome if we invite him for our next mini mix series and an interview (below). That's definitely the start of series of features because there's a lot to catch up with Ian's sounds, but for now enjoy (and download for free) the awesome mini mix he created for us.
Hey Ian! Thanks for the mini mix and the interview. First of all, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how did you get into music production?
Thanks for having me! Well producing was kind of a natural progression from where I was musically a few years ago. I’ve been making and performing music since early high school. I was really unaware of hip hop and other electronic-based music at that point. But God bless Jurassic 5 for being my gateway in. Once I heard them, it was kind of a cascade of falling in love with a whole bunch of hip hop; and then different kinds of electronic music; and so on and so on.
So by the time I was in college, I was a drummer who loved hip hop and had a strong drive to make music. So I just searched around the Internet for programs that I could play around with and create. Little did I know, the love of my life named FL Studio would find me. And we have had a beautiful relationship ever since.
You are part of RootNoteCollective, along with a few other producers I've been following up closely (Brock Berrigan, Flamingosis, Chaos Kid to name a few), BLVNT Records and Noh Life. Could you briefly share what these three projects stand for and how did you end up joining them.
Yes, super blessed to be with all 3.
Rootnote is an LA-based collective that just pushes very creative music. They have been around for about 3 years and the guys who run it have a great philosophy on music and what a collective should be. Also, the roster is straight incredible in my humble opinion. I had the privilege of releasing my debut EP, Pool Party, with them just a few weeks ago! Feel free to take a listen/give me money on their Bandcamp.
Blvnt Records is a Chicago/Ann Arbor-based collective. We have been with each other since the very beginning. They messaged me very early on asking if I wanted to contribute to their first compilation. And from then on we kept working together and growing substantially. I’ve had had the pleasure of developing really great friendships with both of the founders, and I hope to grow with all the guys on the roster. I’m really excited for where we go together in the future.
And Noh Life is my sexy Milwaukee family. It’s a very close-knit group of DJs and producers all residing in the city. The collective has been going strong for a year now and we continue to try and revitalize a strong and creative electronic music scene in the city. We release a lot of music through the collective, curate shows, and one of the founders is an amazing designer who has developed several clothing lines that we have for sale on our website.
Aaaaand we just announced a tour we will be going on from about mid-January 2016 into February! So hopefully I can come to your city and eat your food.
And not to look like a total collective slut here, but I’m also a part of Melody Soul. Please check them out and all the incredible artists!
I feel like nowadays, a lot of producers are in collectives or families. What's the main reason behind that? Mutual support or just learning from each other?
Oh man, collectives are a crucial part of today’s music industry!
They have metaphorically Russian leg swept major labels and changed the dynamic of how artists can reach their audience. It’s definitely both the things you mentioned, and even more. I can speak to that personally from my experience in collectives. It gives small (or big) artists a chance to be a part of a team that (ideally) fights for each other, teaches each other, combines their resources, shares knowledge, and so much more. It’s a beautiful thing. I just explained this dynamic to my dad the other day and he was pretty mind-blown at how different it is today compared to when he was my age, haha.
Besides musician (which you state is your second... thing), you're also an interpretive dancer. Are there any performances we could share with our fans and do you try to bridge those two things?
Well... I’m not a legitimate interpretive dancer per se, haha. But I definitely channel the groove gods when I perform.
How do you learn and improve when it comes to music production? Playing around or there's something/someone you look up to?
There are too many people I look up to that I could even begin to mention! But that’s definitely a crucial part to it. It’s invaluable discovering sounds that you relate to and inspire you.
Beyond that it’s both experimentation and straight up studying. That’s basically the nature of producing. It’s both a creative art as well as a technical one. So I try to split my time fairly evenly between both studying sound design and good ole fashioned creative exploring, which most often involves practicing and writing on different instruments.
You play a few instruments, which ones are they and do you think that's a good solid foundation for every producer or playing an actual instrument is not really a must?
Yea, instruments were my introduction to music making. I’m primarily a drummer, and beyond that I play piano and a bit of guitar. Totally trying to pick up something new in future, preferably the violin or the sax!
The great thing about how accessible music making is these days is that plenty of people can get involved in making beats and be unrestricted by their technical abilities in various instruments. So it’s not a must at all! But I would never say someone with a musical foundation is at a disadvantage, ya know?
I think it’s unique to the individual. As for me, I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I really appreciate having at least somewhat of an idea of what’s going on harmonically when I work on songs, haha. Also, I hope to heavily incorporate instrumentation in to my live shows in the future, so it’s kind of a must.
How does your average day look like?
A pretty average day is wake up pre-8 am and start making a fresh French press of coffee and a bomb breakfast usually consisting of eggs, avocado, and a bunch of vegetables. Then I usually spend the morning knocking out that coffee and either writing new ideas or working on existing projects. After a good deal of that and possibly a 2nd French press, I try to get some physical activity in. Then it’s back to music, either working on my solo stuff or working on a few side projects I have with some good friends.
Ideally I can finish the day hanging out with my close homies and catch some live music somewhere around the city.
I have to ask - what's with the hummus thing and where's the best place to buy one in Milwaukee?
Hummus is the truth. It’s the only way to get where you’re going, yet you’ll find that hummus is also the destination itself. It’s the lifeblood, what awakens me out of my sleep every morning, and what sustains me in my never-ending journey to conquer the world.
And let me tell ya, the best place to find hummus is in your kitchen, cause you aint gonna find the that shit in a grocery aisle. Homemade hummus is super superior to anything else. Anybody ready to make to make the transition and forever change their lives, hit me up on Twitter and I’ll walk you through it :)
Who are your favourite producers right now, which we've missed on featuring on Stereofox?
I will note that each member of every collective I am a part of inspires me immensely and I’m obsessed with their music.
With that said, I’m always really into producers that have very interesting melodic ideas and well-composed instrumentation. So as of right now it’s whereisalex, Tennyson, Tom Misch, Galimatias, Swindail, weird inside, just to name a few.
Thanks for the interview, Ian! Any last words?
Thanks so much! And so so much love to anyone and everyone who’s rocking with me, I love you all very dearly <3