We got to take a different take on dubstep this week when we sat down with CONTAKT, an up and coming dubstep producer from Portland, Oregon. We got to talking about his collab with Figure, some of his upcoming projects, and everything else on this week's Lockdown Radio.
How old were you when you first started making music?
So I've been playing instruments since I was younger, I started playing bass around seventh grade, feel out of it a bit, and then came back to music production about four years ago, so I was twenty-one when I started actually producing.
What kind of instruments did you play?
Guitar, Bass Guitar, and a tiny little bit of piano.
CONTAKT had to bring out the finger guns!
(Photo by CONTAKT)
What was the first show you went to?
So the first concert I ever went to was Bring me the Horizon in seventh grade., way back when. You know, it was some tiny hole in the wall. Nobody knew about it, it doesn't exist anymore. My first EDM show was Excision and Liquid Stranger, that was a proper showdown, like 2014 I think.
Would you say that influenced your sound?
Definitely like early helicopter showdown for sure. Before people were really doing the heavy dubstep, you know, it was kinda more vibey of more we're drifting back to, but definitely that early heavy stuff has had a big role on what I do now.
Do you think your influence in hip hop has really influenced your sound as well?
I would say so, a hundred percent. Aside from EDM, hip hop has really like, my love, as far as music goes. I do like a lot of hip hop kind of into tracks. I want to start working with more vocal artists and stuff like that.
CONTAKT showing off his natural habitat.
(Photo by CONTAKT)
So you've also worked along with some heavy-hitting dubstep and tearout artists like 2FAC3D and SCHWEEZ, can you tell us a bit more about how those collabs started and what it was like?
Totally, so 2FAC3D, I actually got in touch with him through KRIS CAYDEN. Paul from 2FAC3D, he was the A&R for Doom, for Figure and i kind of shopped around for the idea to Andy, said " Hey, I want to get something on Doom, I don't know where to go or who to talk to, could you put me in touch with Paul?" and then it took off from there. We did the Hoodpass EP and that was about the same time and that was about the same time I was talking to Shaun, Sweez as well, and then we started doing some collabs and I remember it really kind of ended up just happening just cause we got along so well. Both of our music were pretty heavy and you know, just seemed like the right fit.
So sometimes artists seem to hit some form of writer's block, is there anything you do to get rid of it?
The two things that I do when I have writer's block is one, if I can't figure out something to put down in the DAW myself, I like to work on remixes. it's kind of cool to have a base point to jump off of you know. You have an idea kind of laid out in front of you and that can kind of unlock your creativity in different ways too. Taking someone else's idea and mixing it in that piece, or a lot of times when I feel stagnant or not progressing, for me at least, leaves me to writers block quite a bit, so if I'm not progressing then I'll go and teach myself something. How to make a new sound or a new technique for tracks in the future. It usually works pretty well and just knocks everything loose.
You recently just released a song with Figure called "Ravenous Flesh" can you tell us just a little more about that and what it was like to work with the OG dubstep legend himself?
Man, he's such a cool dude. Josh is so nice, you know, it took a really long time to get the collab out. We were emailing each other back and forth for about a year before we actually decided to sit down and do the thing. I actually got in touch with him through Paul from 2FAC3D. He's actually really good friends with Josh and he was just talking to him about my music, was trying to get a single on DOOM, but then Josh kind of came back and said "Well, Fuck it. Let's just do a collab, let's just do a song". I mean, you know, how do you go from sending someone your music to be like "oh, hey, let's just do a song together", is pretty crazy, pretty wild.
You've also released on big labels such as Dirty Snatcha Records with Hyperdrive, and other labels like Dead Cell Audio, is there any other labels you'd like to see yourself on?
Yeah, you know I had a release that was suppose to come out on Buygore back in May, and it ended up falling through, you know I was super disappointed at first, but I feel like it's kind of fueled the fire more. It didn't work out, like I need to go farther. So now I'm really pushing to get on Buygore, I'd love to be on DPMO, and of course, Subsidia cause it's what everyone's kind of freaking out about right now.
If you could give a piece of advice to an up and coming artist, what would you tell them?
Believe in yourself. As corny as it sounds, I feel like a lot of artists struggle with insecurity issues, like "Am I doing this right? Like, is this what's going to get me plays?" and it's not really about that. I feel like if you just be happy. It's so much harder and easier said than done. I can't tell you how many times, I've made songs and I get to the end and I'm like "aw this is crap, I hate it, I don't even want to listen to it anymore", but you should be proud of what we're doing. We're taking a piece of us, and putting it into a different medium that people can understand like who we are or like who we are inside of ourselves. You know, just believe in yourself and just be happy with what you're doing, cause if you're not happy with what you're doing, what's the point?
What do you do in your free time when you're not making music?
Video games, man. Playing a lot of Fortnite. I watch a lot of TV, I live in Oregon so I smoke a lot of weed. I definitely kind of chill out, especially now with Covid, I feel like trying to stay active and do more stuff, but it's just so difficult.
Has the hardest part mostly been staying inside?
I'd say so, my day job, I mostly work with food, I was a breakfast cook, but the place I worked was also a music venue. So it's a music venue and a restaurant, so we we're the first place, the first ones to go in March, everybody got laid off at the same time, it didn't leave anybody, so it's been kind of difficult, but
Where would you like to see yourself in three years?
Realistically, kind of seeing myself doing the same thing, like i said early, it's all about being happy, I love making music so much, even if it never takes off like, I'm content.
If you could choose one flavor of ice cream, what would it be?
So there's this place here in Portland called "Salt and Straw" and they make like super decadent over-the-top kind of like, fancy ice cream and they have this Old Fashioned Doughnut flavored ice cream and it was just like the wildest thing i've every had it was just so good, it just tasted like you're eating like a cold doughnut, it's so good.
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