It wouldn’t be a proper Music Ninja Residency without a lengthy chat with our featured artist. As you’re already aware, we brought in the Sultan Of Summer to help us kick off the best season of the year and before the most iconic summer holiday, we’re offering up a little insight into the man behind Viceroy.

TMN: Hey Austen – thanks for taking some time to sit down with us today. How’s the start of your summer going so far?

Viceroy: So far, so good! San Francisco has not your normal summer weather. I don’t know if you’re too familiar with how our weather patterns work. We have an Indian summer that’s September and October, and our coldest part of the year is actually regular summer. But, it’s been unbelievable, so far. It’s made it hard to want to do any work.

TMN: We’re really excited to have you as our Resident Artist this month. We looked back, and we’ve been covering you for the past four years. Is it hard to believe that you’ve been at it for that long?

Viceory: Yeah – it’s dawned on me that I’ve been at it for that long. The landscape has changed so much since I started. It’s a little more of a rat race than it ever used to be, but it’s still exciting and fun.

TMN: Let’s go back a little bit further than when you started getting blog coverage. How did the “Viceroy” sound come to be? Can you shed some light on your musical history?

Viceroy: I played instruments when I was growing up, and everything like that – guitar, bass, and that kind of stuff. In 2009 I studied abroad in Rome, and that was before electronic music took off on a mainstream level in the United States.

I was drunk the second week of school and at some sort of club or lounge with my friends, and I told one of the DJs, “I want a job here!” I was completely wasted. I went and talked to the manager and he gave me a job on Tuesday nights bringing in Americans. I wake up the next night and was like, “oh my god, I’ve never DJ’d or promoted before. What the hell am I doing?”

I had just recently got Ableton and was just starting to mess around with stuff. I hadn’t made any music on it. Anyways, the parties started going really well. I was playing blog house and nu-disco, and all that kind of good stuff.

After that, I got a passion for electronic music. The first thing I started doing was mash-ups. It’s a really good starting point while learning Ableton. I started that in college after I left from studying abroad. I got really sick of it because it was a saturated market – it’s not hard to make a mashup, generally speaking.

In December of 2010, I asked myself what I liked. I liked disco, I liked French house, and so on. In February of 2011, I released a four-song EP with this small label called Tri-Disco Club. It was a very French disco EP – very sample based. That was the beginning of SoundCloud artists and that era. Then, it took off from there and then I decided I wanted to make music that wasn’t sample based. That’s where I came up with my sound, which now gets labeled as tropical house, but back then it was just what I was doing.

TMN: Through the years, you’ve remixed artists from all kinds of genres, including Katy Perry, Wiz Khalifa, and St. Lucia. What’s your project selection like?

Viceroy: Originally, it was remixing popular songs, because that’s going to get me more traction and showcase my sound. I knew it would get more attention. Once I got my feet on the ground, that’s when I started getting paid to do remixes. When you start off, you do what you can do. Now, I’ll get offers to do a remix and I have to see if that’s something that makes sense for me. If I can actually do something with it.

TMN: Do ever find yourself wanting to just dial up a bootleg? You probably do some for your set, right?

Viceroy: Yeah, I make edits like that. What’s great with the Jet Life series is that I’m able to go to the label and say, “hey, I’m going to do this.” Whether it’s out for free, or not, I’m able to do those.

TMN: You cut your teeth during the golden age of SoundCloud, when producers didn’t have to worry as much about posting bootlegs. Do you feel like the road to you success would have been more difficult had you started Viceroy more recently?

Viceroy: Oh, for sure. I think about it all the time, actually. I would not want to get into the music game right now, to be honest. It’s too much of a rat race. There are ways around the bootleg thing, to make it legal and kosher. But, it’s a pain in the ass now. There are too many people. There weren’t as many people trying to do what we’re doing. Now you have all of these artists that are coming up left and right. Which isn’t bad. It’s great that there’s more good music around. But, there’s a lot more garbage going around, so you have to weed through it. There’s a lot of nonsense you have to deal with, like social media and stuff like that.

TMN:How did you coin your phrase “Summertime all the time” and nickname “Sultan of Summer?”

Viceroy: The Sultan of Summer was later on, but everything I’ve done for my brand has been very organic. None of its been this big, business, money-making concept that I need to be very meticulous about. It’s not like that at all. And, that kind of came up in my head out of nowhere.

TMN: It seems like you’re always having fun with it.

Viceroy: It’s not really about taking myself seriously. That’s the majority of my brand.

TMN: Your Chubbies partnership is spot on. How did that come up?

Viceroy: I hadn’t realized they were in San Francisco, and my buddy told me they were here. Again, this was another very organic thing. So, I shot them an email and we had a phone call. A couple months later, they wanted to partner up. It’s been going really well! They’re great people – the kind you want to hang out with after work. I can’t think of a better combination.

TMN: What’s on deck for 2016? You have a track coming out later this month, but what’s beyond that?

Viceroy: That new track is part of a new EP that’s coming out in mid-January. The things I’ve been making have been more wide-ranging than just house. This one is kind of downtempo. The other ones are reggae, you know, just hitting on all the things that encompass my brand. I’m doing another Jet Life right now and another mixtape. Doing the stuff that the fans want. My clothing line is going to come out later this summer. Yeah! I’m excited!

TMN: Sounds like you have your work cut out for you. At the end of each interview, we like to change things up with a few personal questions for fun. Since you’re the Sultan of Summer, this is an all summer addition. We’ll start with this – what’s your favorite warm-weather cocktail?

Viceroy: Would you consider a Pimm’s Cup a summer drink? I think so. It’s definitely my favorite right now.

TMN: The best beach vacation destination is ______

Viceroy: Amalfi Coast in Italy.

TMN: You’re stuck on a deserted island, but can somehow send for three things. What would you ask for?

Viceroy: Material Goods?

TMN: Yep. And no cheating with something like a helicopter or boat.

Viceroy: A pineapple, unless they’re already on there. A solar panel charger for my laptop, so I could make music. And a friend! Someone I can hang out with.
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