Dive Into The Mind Behind Two of Norway’s Biggest Hits, Julie Bergan [TMN Interview]

julie-bergan-postkort-p3-gull

Julie Bergan is what pop music needs, even if it doesn’t know it yet. From her home in Norway, Julie has been the creative mind behind two of the country’s biggest hits. First came “Arigato” then “Blackout,” both of which share a similar future pop sound that is steadily becoming a go to style for many artists. The only thing is, Julie is doing everything right.

These two songs have went viral on Spotify, and each have their own music video that have seduced fans from all around the world. With multi-million plays each, Julie is turning heads in a big way. She’s making all the moves she needs to pave the way to becoming one of music’s biggest stars.

We sat down recently with Julie to get a sense of where she’s come from and where she’s going. Part of where she’s going is – hopefully – everywhere, as she just unveiled her new live show. It’s already taking Europe by storm and we’d like to see her make her way across the pond. Enjoy the amazing music video for her single “Blackout” before diving into our conversation with one of music’s brightest talents.

TMN: “Arigato” was a huge moment for you in 2016. Tell us a bit about your breakthrough single – did you expect the track to leave as big of a footprint as it did?

JB: I was blown away by the way it was received. The whole track was based on a conversation I had with a friend about her over controlling boyfriend. I think everyone has the right to take their own risks and live life without someone trying to bubble wrap them. Relationships can be a place where this happens the most, so ‘Arigato’ was very much a track about liberating yourself from a safe and controlled environment. To see it stream and gain as much love as it did was really touching.

TMN: “Blackout” marked what seemed to be another very personal single from you. What can you tell us about the inspirations behind the single? Was it at all nerve-wracking to follow-up “Arigato”?

JB: “Blackout” is very much about being stuck in your own head and the mental barriers that appear in life. The idea was having these little “Blackout” moments are the only way to escape and find yourself. The video very much echoed this idea and I was very proud of how the track came out. I tried not to think of it too much as just a ‘follow-up’ to “Arigato.” I want every track to stand on its own feet and speak for me as an artist. The response has been great and I feel very positive about kick-starting 2017 with the single.

TMN: Where do you find the most inspiration from musically?

Real life is definitely one of the biggest influences on my music. Part of the blessing in making music is finding a way to translate human emotions into relatable art or memories. I am lucky because I get to see and be part of the whole process, from the creation of the music to the performance. All of my material to date has been inspired by real situations and feelings and I like to think that people can relate because of that.

TMN: You’ve recently been showcasing the live element of your project. How important was it from the start that your music could be re-produced and performed live?

JB: It has always been very important. I think listening to the records you can get an idea for my energy, but the show is where we can really bring it to life. I have been dancing since I was a child, so to be able to incorporate that to music I have made myself is of course a really fun thing. I am super lucky to have an amazing band behind me and the more we are playing the more people are seeing the fuller picture of what my music is about. I get to be involved in every aspect of it creatively, from the sets to the design, so it is a very personal and important side of the music for me.

TMN: What do you consider to have been the biggest challenge or obstacle to you within your career so far?

JB: The blessing and curse of anything involving creativity is that it’s easy to overthink. You can become obsessed or overprotective of certain aspects of a song or yourself and then when this happens it is hard to get out of your own head or make decisions on what should be the solution. With time I think I have been able to become really comfortable with my style and sound, as well as what I want to stand for as an artist.

TMN: You started 2017 on huge form with ‘Blackout,’ what can we be expecting for the year ahead?

JB: New music!! We are doing a lot of great shows around Europe off the back of “Blackout,” but there is plenty more to come for the rest of the year and I am very excited to show it off soon.

Related items:

Party Thieves Talks Max Capacity Tour [TMN Interview]

partythievesmct
PARTY THĮEVES
100K #THEFTARMY MIX

What better way to show fan love than a four stop mini tour in 300 capacity venues all for free? One of our favorite heavy hitting trap producers is doing just that for fans across the country. Party Thieves recently took to social media to get a feel for what his #theftarmy thought of the idea and, naturally, the dedicated fans and his team helped bring this generous offer to fruition.

Kicking off at New Orlean’s Republic in February with a stop at popular venue, Heart in Miami, a 3rd stop (not yet revealed) and ending at Fulton 55 in Fresno, Party Thieves is stealing the party from larger capacity venues to bring an intimate experience. Free of charge. For his biggest fans. Wait for it…no strings attached. We got the opportunity to speak to the man himself about the Max Capacity Tour below. Join the army by clicking this registration link.

TMN: Was there any pushback from your team when you decided to do these intimate shows considering they’re free?

Party Thieves: Funny you ask this first. My manager at first did not think we would have enough time to do this as well as finish getting my first big headline world tour done. My team is all about giving back to the fans so the free concept was something they were in favor of.

TMN: Why do you think it’s important to give fans this kind of experience?

PT: Music is a very powerful thing. To be able to make the type of music I love and have fans that vibe with it is amazing. I want to be able to share that feeling I get when I play, whether in front of 300 people or 15000 people. They have been with me from the start so I want them to feel that same energy and this is a way I can do that.

TMN: What would you consider some of the pros and cons of larger events that require tickets?

PT: There are no cons here. Cons only will come from the actions of the people at the shows. Pros are more people to share your music with.

TMN: A lot of the larger shows, when they sell out, end up with outrageously scalped tickets, what are your thoughts on scalpers?

I want people buying tickets to my shows that want to be there. That goes for other artists as well. Don’t buy a ticket if you don’t plan on coming.

TMN: How did you choose which cities?

PT: I was very vocal on social media prior to really deciding what cities we chose. I had a lot of people email, DM, or directly call my team wanting to be part of this tour. A lot of promoters really appreciated the fact I want to make something more intimate and personal with my fans. One city that I definitely kept a look out for was Fresno. I was supposed to play Trap Fest late 2015 but had transit issues that kept me. So I wanted to keep my word and give back. We still have yet to announce the 4th show so have one more city to go!

TMN: What can attendees expect besides a smaller crowd and it being free?

PT: These shows will be like if a Meet & Greet met an actual show and lasted for the length of a set. I think that should paint a good picture for everyone.

TMN: Could you see yourself doing this multiple times a year or in twice as many cities?

PT: I don’t think I can give an answer on how many times per year but this is definitely something I’d like to have grow into more cities. I will keep doing it until every fan has that chance to attend.

TMN: When was the last time you played a show this small, but unintentionally, and can you describe the experience/memory?

PT: Oh man, I don’t remember the city but might have been like a year and a half ago I had a last minute venue change. I don’t think the promoter got the memo out and there were like 50 people. I still put on a wild set so those 50 left happy haha.

Related items:

Benjamin Francis Leftwich talks touring, Kanye, and having wine with Damien Rice [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

Ben Leftwich by Pip for Dirty Hit Records

After years of pouring over Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s music, on both sunshine-filled days and blustery winter nights, we finally got what we’ve always wanted. It took six years for us to see him perform, but it was worth every bit of those agonizingly long 2,000+ days.

Before we watched him perform, we, of course, had to spend some time with him to get up to speed with everything that had happened in that lengthy wait. Instead of crafting questions, though, we ended up just talking for a half hour. Nothing was planned, rather just two music nerds talking about life, and everything that comes with it.

TMN: You’re on a tour right now, going through the states, and you’re midway through. How’s the reception been so far?

BFL: It’s been amazing. We did a tour up here in July — a shorter tour. Kind of normal places to play. This time, I’ve played at places I’ve never been to in my life. Mobile, Alabama. San Antonio, Texas. Spent a night in New Mexico. Dallas. Houston. Orlando. Denver, Colorado, where we are now. I really take that stuff very seriously.

Where I’m at as an artist, some nights we’re playing to a lot of people, some nights we’re playing to very, very few. The truth is — I love it all. Even when it’s a few people. Those people have driven so far to be there and I’m so grateful to have them there. It spurs me emotionally as well. I know what it’s like to fall in love with a record.

It’s an amazing feeling and I’m lucky to tour with such a nice group of people. I’ve met some beautiful people. And, so much of the music I’m into is American, or heavily influenced by America in some way. Tom Petty. Springsteen. Even someone like Tallest Man on Earth. He’s one of my favorites. I know he’s Swedish, but he’s influenced by American worlds.
Continue reading

Related items:

The Aston Shuffle Talk New Remix For Neo-Soul Legend Maxwell [TMN Interview]

astonshuffle-maxwell remix

This track boasts seven minutes of Neo-Soul legend Maxwell’s falsetto voice paired with The Aston Shuffle‘s groovy, deep house production and is simply stated, a perfect match. The Australian duo recently impressed us with their “Only 100s” mix and now they’ve given us a track worthy of placement in their own series. With basslines capable of inducing a trance like state of mind matched to a smooth body moving melody, The Aston shuffle have created a project to end 2016 in a bold way.

“Huge fan of The Aston Shuffle, they keep it so soulful and raw for the dance clubs.” – Maxwell

2017 is soon approaching and news is they’ll be gracing us with another original release on The Magician’s Potion label. After what we’ve seen in 2016 there’s no question these two should be on everyone’s watch list. I got the chance to ask the guys a bit about the new remix. You can stream the track on Spotify or Youtube.

TMN: 2016 has been quite the year for music – How have you guys grown throughout the year and what would you say was your greatest moment?

TAS: 2016 has been great for us! We had 3 releases (High With You, Only 1 and Make A Wrong Thing Right) come out on one of our favourite record labels, Potion (The Magician’s label). We did a few national tours here in Australia and Vance has been busy spreading The Aston Shuffle message across the US with his recent move to NY, and we’ve continued to get great listenership with our Friday Night Shuffle radio show.

TMN: MAXWELL is no rookie when it comes to music. The NYC soulful R&B singer has been around for quite some time. What did you like best about remixing this particular track?

TAS: It was all about the vocal, it’s so dope and catchy! The producers treated the vocal with some really cool effects which really grabbed our attention and ultimately drove the direction in which we took the remix.

TMN: How did it feel to have Maxwell reach out to you about this remix? Describe your reaction.

TAS: We’ve been long time fans of his since the 90’s. He reached out to us saying he really vibed on our song “Tear It Down” It was unbelievable to have an artist of this calibre resonate with our music. We’ve been in regular contact since. He’s an absolute legend so to have remixed a song off his album was one to tick off the bucket list!

TMN: Did you have a certain direction in mind for this or was it more go with the flow?

TAS: Not really, we just went with the flow like we normally do when doing remixes. It was totally unintentional but it ended up with a bit of a nod to some classic Armand Van Heldon vibes.

TMN: Not only have you released this remix but started the Only 100s mix – What do you look for when selecting music?

TAS: Between our radio show and DJ sets, we are seriously inundated with new music. It’s seriously crazy the amount of music we have to go through each and every week! So to help with our workflow we create a shortlist of club weapons. These tracks are what we consider to be the standout tracks of the moment whether it’s a Balearic house jam or a certified techno banger, if it’s dope, then we’re playing it on Only 100s.

TMN: What direction do you see yourselves going in 2017? Is there anything particularly exciting you can share?

TAS: We already have a few releases ready to go in 2017 which you’ll be hearing about very soon. We’ll be continuing our Friday Night Shuffle radio show and also building the Only 100s name. It’s going to be a busy year for us but we’re already looking forward to it!

Related items:

Thomston – Float (Anden Remix) [TMN Premiere]

anden
Thomston
Float (Anden Remix)

NYC duo Anden are known to push boundaries and experiment with music outside of the norm. We’ve heard bouncy up beat dance tracks to dark and emotional ballads and the direction that it’s taken them has proven to be successful. “Float” is another prime example of how unafraid the duo is to think outside the box. The original track by Thomston boasts emotionally driven lyrics and a deep melody, but Anden digs even deeper adding their personal experiences and history into the track.

Anden does a great job of keeping their remixes close to the original while still giving it a personal flair for those who want a taste of both artistic touches. The lead synth brightens Thomston’s original yet doesn’t hinder the darker side of the track and while this song proves to be a bit different, it’s a good different and we’re excited to see what else these two have in store. I got the chance to ask the duo a few questions about the remix; check it out below and make sure to listen to the track which is also a free download.

TMN: How did doing this remix come about?

A: We first heard the original song at the beginning of the summer and immediately reached out to Thomston’s management about doing the remix. We connected very strongly with the vocal and the songwriting and are really excited we were able to do the remix. We actually finished it back in August, so we’re happy it’s finally out now!

TMN: What was the hardest part about it?

A: Our first ideas for the remix were to expand on the writing in the original and build out a longer arrangement. The initial sketches for the remix were around eight minutes in length (much like the final version), and so it was tough at first to commit to something that was already a bit unconventional. With a song this long, we wanted it to evolve and progress in order to stay interesting, so that was a really fun challenge we took on in our approach to the remix.

TMN: Favorite part about creating this remix?

A: Writing the lead synth part in the main breakdown of the song. We were hoping to have something more hopeful and elevating to contrast the darker feel of the chords and bass, and we’re really happy with how that section of the song came together. Technically speaking, we made that instrument with our Korg MS20 (a hardware synth), so the whole process had a very natural and organic feel to it.

TMN: You guys have been experimenting with darker and more emotional music, why is that?

We had a collection of experiences earlier on in the year that inspired this new sound – many were music specific experiences (parties we went to, etc), but others were more personal ones. One important personal experience was quitting a day job to do music full time. Along with the happiness and excitement of doing music for a living came an increased amount of anxiety and stress. Experiencing such an intense range of emotions definitely played a part in wanting to create music that captured that same feeling – something that is dark and melancholic, but also uplifting and beautiful.

TMN: Can you give a little insight on your production process for this remix? Did you try anything you may not have tried before?

A: Most of the writing actually happened very quickly, we wrote pretty much all the instrumentation in just about a day. There was still quite a bit of tweaking and fine-tuning after the fact, but we find that the songs where the ideas flow out quickly and naturally are often our favorite ones in the end. In terms of new things, not using a normal 4×4 kick drum pattern was a first for us!

TMN: When will we see another original track from you guys? and what does 2017 look like?

A: We actually are in the process of signing our first original record (more details to follow soon!) and are working with a few artists on a remix pack for it. That should be out early next year, along with a number of other remixes and originals we’ve been writing. We also recently started a monthly radio show called Sound Room, which you can check out on iTunes and Soundcloud. For performances, we are wrapping up the year with a show at Hammerstein Ballroom for NYE, and we will be hosting our 3rd popup party in NYC early next year. These popups have been an awesome way to showcase our recent work and take a unique space in the city and convert it into a house party for one night only.

Related items:

Helena Legend Talks New Direction, No Explanations Series & 2017 [TMN Interview]

helenalegend-noexplanations-2

It’s not easy for artists to master a new sound. It’s even harder for them to commit to trying something new, especially when they’ve had so much success with a signature style. However, that didn’t stop Helena Legend from putting together her strongest project yet, appropriately named No Explanations.

Helena’s EP marks a new chapter for the UK born, Australian bred DJ/producer. She’s conquered the world with her powerful house sounds, but now she’s diving down a different path, bringing fresh bass sounds to new BPM territories and even providing her own vocals. We previously covered her excellent EP, but we wanted to catch up with her and talk about this new direction and what comes with it. Moreover, we recap 2016 and find out, perhaps most importantly, where Helena thinks the best food in the world is. Enjoy our chat with Helena Legend, as well as some songs off No Explanations Pt. 1.

’Helena Legend – Illusion’

TMN: What prompted this change in direction for your music?

HL: Personal tastes change, I wasn’t vibed anymore on what I was making and I needed to do something fresh, I have found my new direction to be way more inspiring for me and more fulfilling than anything I have ever done.

TMN: How have fans reacted to these new sounds, both in a live atmosphere and online?

HL: The reaction has been incredible, I have had better feedback and more interaction on this EP than any of my previous work. the tracks are still fairly new to the world to get a really good reaction live, though it still has been good, but the more they know the tracks the bigger the reaction will be, so I just need to get the awareness of the EP out and get people listening to the new sounds.

TMN: When did you decide you wanted to hop on “Illusion” and make your vocal debut?

I wrote “Illusion” with me in mind to sing it, it was something I always wanted to do, I just needed the guts to actually push myself to do it. I was pretty nervous about putting myself out there singing on the track, but the reaction has been amazing, so maybe i’ll do more in the future.

TMN: Are you planning on getting any remixers for No Explanations?

HL: It’s still being decided, I think we’ll just push this EP and see how it goes. Maybe I’ll follow it with remixes.

TMN: No Explanations is listed as being Part 1, is Part 2 already in the works?

HL: Part 2 is already finished, set to be released Feb 10th, another 3 tracks this EP changes it up a bit more.

’Helena Legend – RU Feeling It (feat LYRE)’

TMN: As I was digging through some of your past interviews and work, it seemed to me that you have been always evolving as a creator. What drives you to keep advancing/evolving as a creative human being?

HL: I am certainly not the same person as I was 10 years ago or even 5 or 2 years ago, people change, life changes, tastes changes, hair color changes haha.. you need to move with life and roll with it, being stuck and not evolving creatively will give you a very limited career.

TMN: How would you sum up 2016 for yourself?

2016 for me was good but it was a bit of a weird year to be honest.. I was lost for half of it trying to figure out what direction I wanted to go in and spent the other half creating a new direction. I have kept my head down and worked hard in preparation for 2017 and I’ve never been more excited than I am right now.

TMN: What can we expect to see from Helena Legend in 2017?

HL: A ton of music, I feel now I have my new path set, there is nothing in my way, I will be going hard. I just make a kick ass music video for “RU Feeling it” featuring Lyre, in Shanghai I can’t wait to see final version, this is out in Jan, a tour with my homeboy Kennedy Jones of North America Jan-March plus so much more. I feel my best is still yet to come.

TMN: I think New Year’s resolutions are ridiculous, but what’s one goal you have for yourself, creatively or personally, for 2017?

HL: Don’t let up. This is my time I feel to show what I can really do.

TMN: One last question: You’ve traveled the world playing shows, so I must ask, who has the best food?

HL: AUSTRALIA OF COURSE!

Related items:

Quinn XCII Speaks On New Track Straightjacket [TMN Interview]

Quin XCII-straightjacket
Quinn XCII
Straightjacket

You wouldn’t think the temperature is starting to drop when listening to Quinn XCII’s music, including his recent single “Straightjacket.” This vocalist/songwriter has seamlessly melded electronic, hip-hop, soul, and pop and brought heat to everything he’s touched this year. His singles and EP’s have landed him a tour with Louis the Child, #1 spots on HypeMachine, over 40 million plays on Spotify, and regular spins at Top 40 radios around the country.

The single, produced by The Wiild, is a buoyant tune that floats just in between hip-hop and electronic, a skill that Quinn has mastered. The simplified melody keeps focus on the lyrics and the story behind them telling a relatable story that some, if not all, of us may have experienced when dealing with love. We were excited to catch up with Quinn and ask him more about his year and the single.

TMN: What got you into music? Have you always been a singer?

Q: I can remember being a fan of music since I could walk and hearing my parents play it around the house. That, and I was always into creative writing. It wasn’t until my freshmen year of college, though, that I really put the two together and started writing my own content and sharing it with friends. At the time it was actually more indie-rap stuff, but then I started focusing on singing and things started to evolve into my current sound.

TMN: Detroit is a huge hub for music and art in general, has growing up in Michigan influenced your music in any way?

Q: Definitely. The older Detroit music I feel has strongly shaped my writing in terms of melodies. Motown, du-wop style melodies that have that ear-candy quality about them has always attracted me, and I think have definitely crossed over into my own music.

TMN: A lot of your work is in collaboration with ayokay, did he help with “Straightjacket” or did you work with someone new?

Straightjacket was actually produced by The Wiild, a very talented producer from Australia who works with a lot of the pop acts out there. ayokay and I are still working very closely on my new music though, he’ll be producing majority of my next project again. We live together and have a studio in our house so we’re constantly writing new things together – it’s a really creative environment.

TMN: Almost a year ago you released the Bloom EP – Is “Straightjacket” just a single or can we expect something more after this? Another EP or LP?

Q: Straightjacket is the first song from my upcoming debut album. We’ll be releasing a few more singles from the project in the coming months and then we’re expecting to have the full album out by Spring/Summer of 2017!

TMN: Any specific inspiration behind Straightjacket?

Q: The idea behind Straightjacket was really about shedding light on the girl that has secrets, more bad ones than good. She acts a certain way in public and in front of your friends, but behind closed doors is a bit of psycho and can’t be contained. The two-faced mentality was very appealing to me to try to put into words and narrate.

TMN: You were on tour with Louis The Child, what was that like? What would you say was your favorite stop?

Touring with LTC was amazing. They’re both super talented guys and it’s really inspiring to see them at such a young age connect with people the way they have been. I’d say my favorite stop on the tour was in Minneapolis.. All the stops were amazing but that show has stuck out to me since getting off the road.

TMN: How would you sum up your 2016? Any specific moments stick out in particular?

Q: I signed with Columbia Records over the summer, which has definitely been one of the most memorable moments of the year. I’d say 2016 as a whole can be summed up as a big stepping stone for both ayokay and myself. I think we really made a big stride in our careers and are finally beginning to get placed on the platform we’ve been striving for. Now it’s just a matter of how much we want this to continue, and putting in the work is what will dictate that. I’m ready for it.

TMN: What’s 2017 looking like for you?

Q: 2017 will include the release of my debut album, a lot more touring, festivals, some really cool collaborations, and hopefully a lot more.

Related items: