Would you please introduce yourself to us and tell us some stuff about what you do?
My name is Andrew & I produce music under the moniker, MÒZÂMBÎQÚE. I’ve been a drummer for most, if not all of my life. I’ve always been in bands – everything from folk to country to reggae to jam bands and indie rock. Over the years, as technology and needs progressed, I started running backing tracks for live shows. That led to making the backing tracks, that lead to learning about programming and some production. Eventually, I learned enough of Ableton / Logic that I thought, “I can probably make music of my own.”
I demoed out a few of my first songs and started my own solo project. I loved the freedom it created – I didn’t have to be at band practice at a certain time, I didn’t have to book recording studio time, I didn’t have to wait for other band members, etc. etc. I was free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to do it!
2. How would describe your style of music?
The most simple answer to this is to name my favorite & most influential bands. Around the time that I started making my own music, I was listening to a lot of Tycho (and by a lot, I mean a ton). I love how groovy they are & how catchy the songs can be without any vocals. I think I’ve also always been attracted to Tycho because there are no vocals & as a producer who doesn’t (or can’t) sing, I was able to really tune in and observe their music – figure out what kept it interesting without vocals. How they did transitions, how they layered sounds, how they intertwined percussion and always kept things movings. Another major influence of mine is Bonobo – again, mostly instrumental. A facet of Bonobo’s music I love (and also from Tycho) is there are really great danceable tracks around 110-120 juxtaposed with downbeat, ambient tracks, sometimes without any drums. The third artists I usually call out as an influence is Aphex Twin. The thing I love about them most is they literally do whatever the f#$k they want. For example, listen to “aisatsana ” and then listen to “Xtal” – they are completely different. So much so that you wouldn’t even think it was the same artist. Which leads well into the next quest…
3. When a creating a new track, what do you mostly care about?
When I began making music as MÒZÂMBÎQÚE, I wanted to be able to think like Aphex Twin. Above all, I wanted to be able to create anything I wanted. If I was feeling sad/somber, I wanted to make simple ambient music. If I was feeling upbeat and groovy I wanted to make danceable/club songs at 120bpm. If I was feeling weird or silly I wanted to be able to depict that in some crazy song, that doesn’t whatever it wants. I want to be able to capture any moment or feeling I’m in and not think too much about it. As a producer, I don’t want to get myself put in a box and only cater to one style or genre. Which is why my first album, “For Never & Ever” had weird ambient songs and hip-hop songs and post-rock songs.
4. What are your main plans for 2019?
2019 is looking very exciting. I’m trying to juggle a bunch of releases right now. I already put out my first release of the year – a track EP “Myth / Gossip” that came out Feb 1, on Stereo Breeze records out of Germany. I’ve already finished and lined up the release of another 2 singles and a remix of Fearious Black’s song “Trust Me.” I’m close to completing my first all ambient project. I’ve flushed out 16-20 ambient songs, which I plan to have released in 2 different parts on two different albums – pt. 1 to reflect the daytime (sunrise) and pt. 2 to reflect the night (sunset). On top of that, I’m working a handful of collaborations with other producers and singers (which isn’t far off from being completed either).
5. A lot of people say that musicians make good music when they do drugs, do you agree on that?
I’m not sure actually. I haven’t really taken “drugs” while making music, other than the occasional marijuana and drinking a little bit while working. I’m sure it helps a lot of people creatively, but sometimes (at least when I’m high), I definitely think something is way better than it is when I listen back the next day, haha. But that also happens sober, and I can’t be the only producer who gets that feeling. When you’re in front of loudspeakers or got the headphones up loud & you’re creating & you just made that beat or drops that bassline and you think it’s the best thing in the world – then the next day you bounce it out and listen back & you’re like, “oh ok, well its alright I guess.”
6. What are your thoughts on music theory and the traditional way of making music?
Also hard for me to answer personally. I never took music theory lessons or traditional learning. I mean I had private drum lessons as aid and a little bit of piano but I never really studies theory or anything. When I started producing my own music I learned a lot of things just by figuring it out on my own. I youtube’d a lot of things, I watched videos on how artists & producers I looked-up liked to create. I found guys using samples and grabbing bits and pieces from all over the internet. It was inspiring and so much fun to learn. In the early stages, I really didn’t know what I was doing. But I’d get on the computer and start with say, a drum beat since that was where my knowledge was the most experienced. I’d lay out a whole track on drums in a very ‘cookie-cutter’ sort of way, like 8 bar intro, 16 bar verse, 16 bar chorus, interlude, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, end (or whatever). This way I’d have somewhere to start. Then I’d just listen to stuff and what videos and grab on to some little sliver of inspiration from a song I liked. Then 8,10, 16 hours later I’d still be in front of my computer, lost in it & have most of a song done.
7. What advice can you give to the beginners?
Just do whatever you want. Be yourself, be true to what you create & really believe in it. Put in hard work, tons of hard work. A couple of the most important things I find are. 1) Be genuine and support other artists & producers. Reach out to them and tell them you loved their track or they’re an inspiration to you or whatever. I will hear a new artist on Spotify for the first time & dig it and ill immediately get on their Instagram, follow them and reach out and say, “dude! this song “wxyz1234″ is awesome. love that groovy guitar lick” or whatever you know. People appreciate that and if you’re sincere about it, it doesn’t go unnoticed. 2) The second thing is to try not to get discouraged. It’s hard, but just keep creating and making new sh#t. Keep putting songs out there bc you never what’s going to hit and what people are going to love. It’s easy to feel down when you spent 100 hours making a song and $500 getting it mixed/mastered and then 34 people listen to it. But there’s literally nothing better than feeling so excited about something you’re working on that you’re heart starts racing hard as f#$k
8. Have you ever been forced to change the style of a song or album by a label or person?
No, fortunately not, given my previous answer based on doing whatever I want. So far I’ve worked with 2 small indie labels, Text Me (SF, USA) and Stereo Breeze (Germany). Both liked my songs as is and didn’t change anything. Although, sometimes I wish someone would be like, “hey this song is actually not good, lets cut it or rework it.”
9. How did you learn all this?
I touched on a lot of this earlier, but most of it was trial and error. Just sitting down in front of a computer in my studio and experimenting. Playing things, looping them, putting effects on them. When I had questions I couldn’t answer through the internet I reached out to friends who are better and more experienced than me. I also have always kept this advice close to my heart when creating, from Drew Domalik (of Cymatics.fm), “The #1 way to get better at sound design is to THROW OUT every music production “rule” you have ever heard! Try every weird thing you can possibly think of. Use EQ’s in ways they weren’t supposed to be used. Try effects you would never normally touch. That’s where you will find the magic.”
10. Anything special you’d like to mention?
Learn. Grow. Think. Act. Do. Repeat. “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” ― Billy Joel