Get To Know The Mad Beat Scientist Jack Squire [TMN Interview]

Jack Squire
Creatures

Often times when producers preach that they’re doing something special, they aren’t really. Jack Squire is someone who is in the lab cooking up some hot concoctions that are sure to change the game. There are already several producers fusing classical music with dance, but Jack is one of the notable ones you’ll need on your radar.

Recently, Jack came out with his fiery electro tune “Creatures” that showcases just the style he is going for, however that doesn’t mean he can’t take his style into new sonic territories. With “Creatures” we get a single that moves from an old-school dance sound to a cinematic break that finally leads us into some energetic bass. It has come just in time for festival season, so if you want your set or playlist to stick out, you’re going to want this in there. We brought Jack Squire into the dojo to answer a few questions so that all of us could get a glimpse into the mind of such an intriguing producer.

TMN: Where did the name Jack Squire come from?

JS: It’s actually my name! Squire is my middle name.

TMN: What was the inspiration behind “Creatures”; and how do you tap in creatively to the bass sound that fits you?

JS: I wanted to do something that felt very cinematic, and I’ve always loved the sound of string ensembles. They're so full of emotion. For the drop, I wound up using a lot of random sound effects for little fills. Gunshots, a woman shrieking, chainsaws, even the famous Wilhelm scream. It all makes it sound like the song is playing during a monster movie montage. Hence the name “Creatures”.

TMN: Who do you look to artist-wise if you are lacking inspiration in the moment?

JS: Joyryde and Blackgummy. Joyryde’s music is on a whole other level. I absolutely love it. Blackgummy and I actually have a studio together, and he is always doing some wild stuff. I don’t think anyone uses effects (whooshs, sweeps, little noises, subtle changeups, etc) as well as he does in his tracks. There’s lots of producers out there doing really interesting things across all genres, it really depends on my mood and what I’m doing. I think Pixel Terror’s remix of ARMNHMR’s song ‘Wings’ is one of the most interesting bass heavy tracks I’ve heard.

TMN: What do you wish you knew 2 years ago as a musician that you hope other young producers will learn now?

There’s no right or wrong way to make music. Use loops, use presets, make every sound from scratch, record the sound of stuff around your house, do whatever the hell you want. At the end of the day, if it sounds good, it sounds good.

TMN: What is your dream show?

JS: Honestly, in my experience, as long as the dance floor is packed and everyone is feeling what I’m playing, it doesn’t matter if its 50 people, 500, or more. It always feels amazing. But I definitely dream of doing some incredible stuff live eventually. I would love to bring out live instrumentalists and vocalists to big shows in the future, and do some live performance shows with incredible visuals. That’s still quite a ways off for me, though!

TMN: What is the Jack Squire plan for 2017?

JS: Lots and lots of new music! I’ve got tons of solo stuff I’m going to release this year, and have a few collabs in the works as well. You can definitely expect at least one new song every month from me.

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Delving Into The Mind Behind JNTHN STEIN’s “Changes” EP [TMN Interview]

JNTHN STEIN
Changes EP

Ableton Push spokesperson and Team Supreme co-founder JNTHN STEIN recently released his latest EP Changes, also remixed by fellow Team Supreme artists Mr. Carmack, Djemba Djemba, and Penthouse Penthouse, featuring a melding symphony of electric guitar, bass riffs, innovative production, synths, delicate jazz piano and vocals. His abilities created a layering masterpiece that exposes the intimate workings behind a mind capable of exposing sounds and textures that we didn’t even know existed. We got the chance to talk to Stein more about the EP and the beginnings of his musical career, check out his detailed insight below and be sure to stream or download here.

TMN: You attended the Manhattan School of Music which is awesome, so many great producers have come out of that school, before this though when did you pick up your first instrument and which one was it?

JNTHN STEIN: My first instrument was actually clarinet, and I started playing it when I was 12 so as to meet my middle school band requirement at the time. However, the first instrument that began my obsessive and passionate relationship with music was the electric bass, which I started at age 14.

TMN: Were you self taught or given lessons when you first started?

JS: I taught myself as much as I could for about a year before taking instruction. I enjoyed learning my favorite rock basslines at the time by listening to records and just being patient. I’m incredibly grateful for all my time spent with great teachers however, they kept me focused on the most universal and versatile applications of music through the respective instrument, and on the path of taking care of my body most importantly. Musical instruments can be very physical, and the most valuable thing I’ve taken from them was playing with as little labor and ergonomic stress as possible, so that I can keep playing them for the rest of my life with comfort and happiness.

TMN: How do you think MSM shaped you into the producer you are today?

JS: My studies and experiences at MSM gave me a broad vantage point on the history and trajectory of music over the span of 1000 years, and helped me understand that, not only is change and evolution incredibly important to the development of art and the society it reflects, but simply inevitable. Everything that has been, from when man first struck a rock with a stick and called it a drum to the hyper-eclectic world of digital/electronic recorded music of today, has been one linear trajectory, and it will keep changing drastically for all of our time. No matter how much tradition and pretense you study and observe, the end result always points to a path of perpetual and sometimes chaotically arbitrary forward progress and constant cultural imaginative innovation, based on understanding the established rules, and then breaking all of them.

TMN: At what point in your studies did you think to start branching out from classical music?

JS: I had always been pretty all over the place aesthetically since I started making music, from growing up in the hiphop/funk-rich city of Oakland to my parents taking me to see the living jazz greats play live whenever possible. However, while at MSM I was taking the seemingly tried-and-true path of the orchestral musician, despite me knowing that it would be at the expense of my creativity and spiritual freedom deep in my heart. By my third year in school, I had reached a personal unprecedented cynicism on the musician’s life and morbidity of life altogether. I felt that, despite all my efforts and passion, my voice was so small and would never be heard from this small bubble inside the big picture of music, let alone would I ever get to say what I truly wished to express. So, I started to casually make beats on Garage Band for the sake of escapism, and then Ableton upon getting my first cracked copy. It didn’t take long after for me to see the limitless creative possibilities with this medium, and connect the dots to its already established and blooming accessibility. That summer I realized that this would change everything, for myself and my music making, and for music as a whole.

TMN: You play each instrument yourself in your EP – Which ones can listeners find if they listen closely? Any hidden ones?

JS: It’s no secret that I use a lot of organ and rhodes in my music. I suppose the catch is, both of these are instruments I designed in Ableton, and perform on Push, along with the rest of the EP’s synth and drum work. I also use a lot of guitar, and the fun fact there is that all of these parts are played on the higher strings of my 7 string bass.

TMN: What was your introduction to the electronic side of music?

JS: Sophomore year at MSM, my ears started to wander to the nuances of programmed drum loops, particularly J Dilla. There was a soothing constance and cyclic rigidity, yet the feel was still so dangly and reclined while simultaneously being snappy and forward-pushing, it was an awesome combination to me that created a bounce that swung your body back and forth like a gelatinous stick figure. From here I grew to appreciate the production of popular music such as Timbaland and Pharrell through their simple yet sultry, smooth and seductive use of harmony, and soon after the brilliant timbral range of synthesizers through artists like Kaskade and Skrillex, and the raw boundless textural atmospheric possibilities through Flying Lotus and Toro Y Moi.

TMN: You worked closely with Ableton Push as a spokesperson, which resulted in your Berlin EP – how did that collaboration come about and what was the best part about it?

JS: I was first introduced to Push the summer of 2013, and immediately connected with it because of its guitar/bass-inspired keyboard layout. I took the risk of using it in a show with Team Supreme in LA, and there happened to be an Ableton artist rep in the audience whom I’ve become great friends with and was nice enough to offer me a Push in exchange for feedback. The next year and a half was spent getting to know Push as closely as possible through my music production. Finally after this period of study, I had the pleasure of meeting the creator of Push itself, and had the chance to show him how I used it. Our afternoon together ended with him inviting me to film a video of me making music with Push for Ableton. The video was filmed in Berlin some time later, for which we did three takes of me making a song from scratch for two hours each. The third take became the video they published, but additionally I thought it would be fun to release all three of the songs created as an EP and simply name it after where it was made, a city that I loved for its raw outspoken stand on social and artistic freedom, good coffee and food.

TMN: Do you think producers that have classical training or are able to play an instrument have an advantage over producers who don’t? Why or why not?

JS: The most wild imaginative sounds I’ve heard have come from some of my friends who’ve never touched a physical instrument before. The new instrument is the laptop and the DAW, and it already has its own virtuosos. But, while you can be an incredible beatmaker with this instrument and knowledge alone, to truly tap into the whole cultural amalgam that has been built from day one and led to the musical idioms we have today and project the ones to come and use this to try and make the songs that might change the world for the better, I like to think it helps to have experienced how music was made before the computer. While timbre is very much at the front of recorded music today, it functions on top of the foundation of rhythm, melody, harmony, and the iconic nostalgia-inducing sounds of strings, horns, drums, guitars, keyboards and piano of older times, that will never ever fade and become irrelevant because of how acoustically unique and imprinting they are. Nothing excludes anything else, I’d like to see how far we can go with computers, instruments, and of course humans working together endlessly.

TMN: As a member of the Team Supreme collective, how does it feel to have such amazing artists that you know personally remixing your EP?

There’s truly nothing better than your best friends being awesome musicians that inspire and awe you with their diversity and unique imagination in the downtime of you goonin and just being perpetual kids with them.

TMN: Where did your inspiration and ideas for your Changes EP come from? Are you someone that comes up with melodies in your head before you lay them down? Do they come from sounds you hear, or certain influences etc…?

JS: I consider myself an empty jar when the music process begins, the moment I form preconceptions I become anxious and feel restricted. I like to push record, turn Push on or put my bass in my lap, and just follow wherever my fingers take me in real time, and then edit it all into cohesiveness afterwards. I suppose the sounds of my muscle memory and subconscious come from everything I’ve ever heard, jumbled into a tasty music stew in my brain.

TMN: Lastly, what can we expect from you in the future, maybe an album or a tour?

JS: You can absolutely expect more EP’s as well as an album, a North-American tour starting in mid April, more music to come for a long long time, and most importantly, you can expect me to always go through ‘Changes’ 😉

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Get A Behind The Scenes Look Into What Makes No Way Back [TMN Interview]

NOWAYBACK
Minute ft Sophia Black

After the release of “Minute” on Enhanced Music, we wanted to get together with its creator, No Way Back, to see just what makes the Los Angeles producer tick. We’re loving the soothing vibes of his work and had to get a behind the scenes look at where he has come from.

No Way Back is one producer you need to know if you don’t already. Anthony Pisano is doing things right bringing great music to the table with a signature style that will identify him for years to come if he keeps up with it. AFter only being on the scene for around a year, he’s managed to make a lot of headway, so we wanted to give you a look behind the project with the current interview. While you read through our concise Q&A, listen to his the collaboration with Sophia Black on “Minute.”

TMN: We love your mix of 90’s influenced R&B and house! How did your sound come about?

NWB: I grew up listening to R&B, soul, and hip-hop in the 90’s. When I first discovered Daft Punk it all came together for me. I realized that blending feel good R&B/soul elements with dance music was my sound.

TMN: What are some R&B acts that have influenced your sound?

NWB: The Weeknd, TLC, Aaliyah, Cashmere Cat, Kaytranada, and Miguel are a few that influence my sound.

TMN: When you’re not producing or touring, what are you up to?

I like to work out, go on hikes and do yoga when I’m not in the studio. I’m definitely a foodie so I love trying out different restaurants. I live in Los Angeles so there’s always so many good spots to try out.

TMN: Any new releases coming up you’d like to tell us about?

NWB: I just released my new single called “Minute” featuring Sophia Black a few weeks ago. I have a lot of music finished and ready to go so it’s about figuring out the next release date. If I had to guess I would say probably April or May. The plan is to put out another single followed by an EP so I’m currently working on that right now.

TMN: Any acts you’re excited to check out during Miami Music Week?

NWB: MMW is always an inspiring week for me. I always go back to the studio after that week with so many new ideas. I’m definitely excited to see Magician. I haven’t seen many line ups yet but I get inspiration from so many different genres and artists right now I’m just excited for the whole week.

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

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.

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Party Thieves Talks Max Capacity Tour [TMN Interview]

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.

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

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

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!

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