Steven Lee Covers FaderPro, His Musical Family, and the Black Mamba [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]


Some of dance music fans out there might not be in tune with who Steven Lee is, and how much he influenced the scene they’re so heavily ensconced in, but we’re hoping to change that today.

At just 20 years old, Steven Lee had recently moved to NYC for business school, but as we often hear with so many talented musicians, life had other plans in store for this then unknown producer. Working at the #1 dance label in the world, Strictly Rhythm, he partnered up with the legendary producer Albert Cabrera, forming the iconic duo that so many came to know and love. What came out of this newly developed partnership? Only one of the most highly-touted records of all time – “Shake It (Move A Little Closer.” It quickly rose to the #1 dance record on the planet, garnering two Essential New Tune nods from Pete Tong, and a World Music Award nomination.

Since those early days, Lee has continued to produce music on his own, touring the world and playing for highly regarded clubs in the industry. As you’ll soon see, the future holds quite a bit of intrigue, as Lee is continually developing new tunes, as well as helping launch FaderPro, a new platform that should excite every aspiring producer out there.

TMN: Hey Steven. Thanks for taking some time to sit down with us. First up, let’s talk about this new project, FaderPro. Can you give our readers a quick elevator pitch on what it is?

Likewise and thanks for taking the time to hang with me, you guys have supported all my new Steven Lee music, appreciated.

FaderPro goes into the recording studios of the top names and films the production of a record from start to finish with the actual producer/DJ, then provides the same files used to make that record to the purchaser, so they too can follow along and re-create the same record that of their favorite DJ/Producer. We aren’t a tips & tricks company and we trim the fat by giving you the inside track of how the best in the world make their music.

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Galimatias Dishes on His Tour, Remixing Porter Robinson, and Sade [TMN RESIDENT ARTIST INTERVIEW]


As we started planning this month-long spotlight on Danish producer Galimatias, we were anxiously awaiting this portion of his Residency. Knowing that we would soon enter a selective group of very few publications who have had a chance to talk with this quickly rising star, we relished in the opportunity. The only drawback to this exclusive chat was how difficult it would soon be to narrow our questions down to a reasonable amount. In all honesty, we could have dialed up at least twenty-five, but that would have been a tremendously long read. Instead, we went with what you’ll find below.

TMN: First off, thank you so much for being a part of our Residency program. It’s an absolute pleasure to have you. You’ve just come off tour and a wildly successful EP. Did you take a moment to breathe, or have you jumped right back into the studio?

Thank you, it’s been a while since I’ve had time, so yeah, I’ve been excited to get back to making music. It was a pretty short tour run, but being the very first live shows for me and Alina both, we had a lot to learn going into it. So, it was still a big process.

TMN: Speaking of the tour, we have to imagine that you had a few “Holy shit!” moments. Was there any particular show or fan interaction that made you step back in disbelief?

Oh yeah, the first show in Santa Ana was for sure the craziest experience. It was so packed that some people couldn’t fit into the room and were standing in the hallway. The energy was so raw and positive. It’s one thing to see the numbers on the internet, but getting out there and feeling the people behind it is a whole new world. Once Alina started singing, everybody was singing along. My proudest moment was when Nas shook my hand after the show and said he was down with it. He was one of the artists I grew up listening to.

TMN Let’s touch on Urban Flora. It’s safe to say that this whole project started from a simple Soundcloud message, correct?

Back when Alina was just starting to write, which is only about 2 years ago, she was looking for instrumentals and came across a track of mine. So she wrote what would become “Drift” and sent it to me on Soundcloud. I was blown away and we started talking about music. Already then, I knew she was very different it was apparent not just in her songwriting, but also in the way she presented it. She is the most beautiful girl, but used this pitch black square as her picture across all social media and I remember asking her why. But, that’s how she connected with the right people and built a fanbase that fell in love with her art and not her face. I don’t know who would make that compromise and not just utilize everything they have. It was very intriguing to me. That’s when I knew this girl is 100% about her music. She sent me some acapellas of songs she had recorded. With two acapellas, I would make what became “Make You Feel” and “Pretty Thoughts”. This was late 2013. We released all those 3 tracks on Soundcloud. I didn’t look elsewhere for people to collaborate with after that. I was so set on us making a project together. From then we would just send back and forth ideas until we had created the 8 tracks of the EP.

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[TMN Exclusive Interview] Kenton Slash Demon On Recreating Moments in their Music

Kenton Slash Demon

Danish production duo Kenton Slash Demon didn’t first appear on the pages of TMN until about a month ago, but they’ve been making waves in electronic music for over half a decade now. Across a series of EPs, Silas Moldenhawer and Jonas Kenton, the artists behind KSD, have displayed a versatility fueled by a passion for dance music of all kinds. Regardless of styles employed or influences evoked, there remains a distinct emotional power across their catalogue even with an often minimalist approach–using stark undertones as a powerful point of contrast. Perhaps some of that dynamic range also stems from Silas and Jonas’s work as half of successful indie-electronic outfit, When Saints Go Machine. Their latest project, the Harpe/Syko EP, sees the Future Classic-signees continuing their sonic evolution with two lush and textured, albeit vastly different, compositions equally appropriate for a festival sunrise or an at-home chill session.

We had a chance to catch up with Silas of Kenton Slash Demon about growing up in Copenhagen, their production approach and the emotions that fuel their creativity–check out the interview below. You can grab a copy of Harpe/Syko now here and check out KSD’s upcoming US tour dates here.

TMN: How did you and Jonas first start making music and were there any memories from early on that stand out?

Silas: I think it was around seventh or eighth grade when Jonas started listening to electronic music and I had an older friend who had been DJing who got me into it. Jonas had been listening to some Danish artists like Future 3 and Bjørn Svin—he bought those CD’s and played them for me. We were not really good friends at that point, even though we were in the same class. We kind of bonded over the music.

At some point, my dad bought an old school sound module with standard MIDI sounds and hooked it up to our PC with, I think, Cubase 1.2 or something, in black and white and with no effects. We had no idea about equipment, programs or synthesizers. We had never even heard about synthesizers at that time, so we just started trying to make electronic music from these standard MIDI sounds. At that point, it was psychedelic trance we were trying to copy and it sounded really weird because we didn’t have any of the sounds you needed to make that kind of music.

TMN: How important has the Danish music scene been in forming your sound?

Silas: We never thought about how the scene affected us, but looking back it had a massive impact–just getting inspired by what’s close to you, what’s going on when you’re growing up, when you start to go out to clubs and you experience your first rave. For us, the scene we were first part of was like shitty trance music in a club called Gorgeous and it was only on Wednesdays. I remember we had fake IDs to get in and we were not really participating in the party. We were just standing in the corner looking at the DJ and all the dancing, just trying to learn. We were really curious about the whole thing.
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Khai Introduces Himself & His Upcoming Octal Sound EP [TMN Exclusive Interview]


Last month we had the pleasure of sharing two amazing records with you from a new artist who goes by the name of Khai. Octal Sound is releasing his If You EP, which both previous records are taken from, this Friday October 16th. As an instrumentalist and singer, Khai takes charge on the project that takes from several styles of music, resulting in intriguing sounds that are sure to mesmerize. We had a little chat with the Austin resident, who got to introducing himself, along with his upcoming solo EP, If You, which includes a collaboration with the Chicago singer CYN that we, and the Hypem charting Justin Abokhai, are super excited for. So, without further adieu, here is the exceptional musical talent we call Khai.

Do You Go Up

TMN: How did you originally get into music?

Khai: I’ve been listening to and playing music since I was a little kid. I started out playing the piano, moved onto the guitar, and eventually started singing as well. I didn’t start producing music until I moved to Austin. I was living with my brother, and a producer friend of mine and I was using an old PC to produce these simple melodic beats in Fl studio. Eventually that evolved into me meeting a few Austin electronic producers and getting more involved in the scene.

TMN: What artists did you grow up listening to?

I actually grew up listening to a lot of English Rock. I used to teach myself a lot of older music on guitar. Bands like: Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Who, The Clash, etc. Towards High School I started listening to more electronic music and a lot of Hip Hop. I was influenced by music like Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Coldplay, and The Gorillaz.

TMN: What artists are on your radar right now? Any people you’d want to collaborate with?

Khai: I’m watching a lot of music right now. Way too many to list, but I really love BAILE’s project. His EP was really amazing. Lucian has been consistently putting out fire tracks. I love Manila Killa’s sound, his tracks are always so melodic and well executed. As far as people I’d like to collaborate with, I’d love to work with Flume, Porter Robinson, or Odesza.

TMN: When did you feel you really had something special, and wanted to break away with your solo project?

Khai: Very shortly after I decided to get more serious about production. It gave me the ability to create my own sound, which isn’t always easy when working with other artists.

Into The Dark

TMN: How did you get connected up with the people at Octal Sound?

Khai: I was actually featured on a Bronze Whale track “Love To Feel”, that they released. I sent my EP to Dexter Palmer (one of the partners at Octal) and he really liked it, so we started talking about the future. My manager has a pretty great relationship with them as well, so it made a lot of sense for us to work together.

TMN: What can we expect from your upcoming If You EP?

Expect to hear a lot of different sounds. It’s an eclectic EP that showcases minimal production. Personally, I’m really excited to release my collaboration with CYN. It was amazing to work with her. Most importantly expect a stepping stone. These are my first steps as a creative.

TMN: How was performing at SXSW for the first time this year?

Khai: I did a session with Samuel Proffitt for Daytrotter, which was fun. SXSW is a fantastic opportunity to network. Especially for new artists. At a time when the internet is such a fundamental part of our lives, as an artist you tend to build these relationships with people via web. It’s amazing to meet groups of those people in one place. I love SXSW.


TMN: Has living in Austin shaped your sound at all?

Khai: Living in Austin definitely made a lot of impressions on me. I have some amazing friends there, and it’s where I first experienced music on that scale. Austin has so much live music and culture. It’s truly an amazing place.

TMN: What are some of your goals for next year?

Khai: I really want to start releasing visuals. Hopefully we can deliver some music videos next year. I hope to also give a much broader picture to listeners of who I am.

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Mew’s Johan Wohlert Discusses Touring, the New Album, and What’s Next [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

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Every Mew fan out there is fully aware of how much this tour means. For years, we’ve been patiently waiting, occasionally checking the band’s facebook page for tour dates, listening to our favorite songs over and over, and wistfully hoping for the five-year hiatus to come to an end. Well, it has, and not only do we have a collection of new favorites, but we also have the opportunity to catch this storied band at numerous venues across the US.

We were fortunate enough to catch one of Mew’s shows down at SXSW, but couldn’t find the time to sit down with them. Luckily for us, and you, we locked down a chat with Johan Wohlert ahead of their stop in the Mile High City this Saturday.

TMN: Hey Johan! Thank you for taking some time to chat with us. It’s been quite some time since you’ve had a full tour in the states! How long has it been?

JW: I think it’s been 5 years.

TMN: How’s it been going so far?

JW: It’s been great, to be honest. The states have always been really good to the band. It seems like there’s a lot of excitement around the fact that we’re back here.

TMN: We’re really excited to have you in Colorado on October 3rd.

JW: Absolutely!

TMN: We had the pleasure of catching you at SXSW for your make-up show after the rainout. We’ve been waiting a long time to see you play live and it definitely did not disappoint. One thing we caught is how well you capture your studio sound in your live performance. How much of an emphasis is that for you guys?

JW: The general rule is to try and be well prepared. A live set should never be exactly the same as a record, but we try and at least make it sound really great. I think, in the case of this new record, we spent a long time before we even started recording. We made sure the songs were sounding up to snuff with just the five of us playing them in a room. We knew that they would work in a live setting.

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Hayden James On His Musical Roots, Finding His Voice and Upcoming Releases [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]


Hayden James
Something About You

For the first piece of exclusive content in Hayden James’ TMN artist residency, we’ve got an interview with the talented Australian artist! Peep the conversation below where Hayden discusses his musical roots, his success thus far and what he’s got in the works. If you’re not yet familiar with Hayden James give our introduction post a read and enjoy some of his fantastic tunes through out this piece. 

TMN: What was your first musical memory?

Hayden James: My mum playing the guitar. She would play Spanish style flamenco stuff. That and my parents listening to Lionel Richie records.

TMN: When and how did you first start getting into making music?

Hayden James: I started writing a few years ago. I used to DJ a lot so all the stuff I used to write was skewed towards playing in clubs I guess, as opposed to now where I’m writing more songs to be played whenever, wherever.

TMN: Your original music has such a distinct groove and emotion to it—can you talk a bit about some of the artists and sounds that you were really into when creating your debut EP?

Hayden James: Thank you! It’s really important that my music has that emotional element / connection with people. Artists that give that kind of feeling to me is Daft Punk, James Blake, Jai Paul, Odesza to name a few.

TMN: Did singing come around the same time as producing for you or was that a bit later?

Hayden James: It was pretty much the same time. I would write these songs and didn’t really know any singers, so I just sang on them myself as demos. From there I started to manipulate / pitch them. I never intended to sing really, but it has worked out so far ;).

TMN: So many artists need to flood the market with a slew of releases to get noticed but you’ve amassed a large following on the backs of a few quality releases. How meaningful is it for you to have such an avid fan base at this stage of your career?

Hayden James: Yeah it’s so crazy. I’ve only released 2 singles (along side an EP) to date. It’s really amazing to be able to tour so many places around the world with the music i’ve released so far.

Can’t wait to release more music really soon! Continue reading

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[TMN Exclusive Interview] The Underachievers: On the Road to Enlightenment

Evermore_ The Art of Duality
The Underachievers
Chasing Faith

In today’s fast-paced society, emcees have the power to play the role of modern-day philosophers, imparting beliefs and morals to followers through their own life experiences. While that connection proves little more than an afterthought in most cases, Brooklyn hip-hop duo The Underachievers approach their music with a distinct awareness for the message behind it–one that reflects their soul-searching and marked spirituality. Hitting the scene in 2013 with their debut mixtape, Indigoism, AK and Issa Gold impressed hip-hop heads with their quick-hitting lyricism all the while coating their rhymes in every facet of psychedelia, both lyrically and sonically.

Since that first project, The Underachievers have only gotten more ambitious displaying an ability to convey their musings equally effectively over head-banging and laid-back soundscapes. Their latest album, Evermore: The Art of Duality, sees them bringing both sides together for a culmination of the sounds explored in their catalogue thus far. As its name suggests, the project explores themes of dualism and inner-turmoil featuring some of The Underachievers’ most philosophically poignant lyricism yet. Aside from being split into two distinct parts, a chilled-out, thoughtful A-side and a more intense, mischievous B-side, feelings of contrast are deeply embedded within each song allowing the duo to explore duality on a multitude of levels.

We had a chance to catch up with Issa Gold about putting together a hip-hop concept album, the philosophy behind their music and the duo’s broader aspirations. Check the interview below and grab a copy of Evermore: The Art of Duality here.

TMN: How did you first get into rapping, and did you guys get into it together, or separately?

Issa: Well, AK started rapping at the age of 12 or 13, so he’d been in it for like 11 years and I started rapping around late 2011. He was the influence for me becoming a rapper. Originally, he was rapping and I was studying the Internet and figuring out ways you can blow up instantaneously using it. So I went to AK and I was like “Yo, I’ll be your manager, because I have this whole vision for how you can become famous.” At the same time, I was working on a clothing line to push this whole Indigo message that I had. After “managing” him for a week, I was in the studio with him just sitting there one day and I was like, “I’ll write a rap”–it was almost a joke at the time. It’s a song that ended up on Indigoism. It’s funny because that’s the reason that song has two verses from AK because I wasn’t even supposed to be on it. So, people started to motivate me like, “You should just rap. You should keep doing it.”

The next song we made was “The Mahdi” which is probably one of our biggest songs. AK was working with a producer at the time too, and the producer who made that beat was really big on us making more music together. So, I pretty much took my Indigo dream and the whole plan I had for attacking the Internet into it. AK was “AK The Underachiever” at the time and he was like yeah you can fucking join The Underachievers, and he took me under his wing. We pretty much blended the two movements of his being a musician and me having my own vision–and we were already on the same wavelength in terms of the message in the music. That’s how it really started–it was experiment-that-worked type shit.

TMN: How did you and AK first meet? 

Issa: With AK, it’s kind of funny how we met.

When I was younger, psychedelics weren’t as cool, especially in the inner city. Being black in the hood, doing psychedelics was pretty much the equivalent of doing heroine. Back then, me and my friend Juice (of Flatbush Zombies) were super outcasts in a sense because we did psychedelics and people didn’t understand.
So, one day I meet this kid named Jacob, random kid, we’re buying weed from the same drug dealer. We started talking, it turns out this kid does psychedelics. That’s the problem when you find someone who does psychedelics it’s like, “Oh, we’re family.” So he takes me to AK’s crib the next day, and AK is some rapper dude from the hood. Juice, Jacob and I are talking about psychedelics and AK just walks in the room and he’s like, “Yo I wanna try ’em.” We look at him like, “What the fuck, no way does this dude from the hood want to try psychedelics” and our friendship started from there.  Continue reading

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