Tell us about Exeter.
EXETER is my entire musical output. It’s kind of a hybrid of my entire musical taste filtered through my midi controllers and my software. I think it all has a base in hip hop and bass but depending on my mood it might come out catchy or if I just finished watching a horror movie, brooding. I like to mix it up from song to song, but ultimately I want to craft beats that will get stuck in your head. It always amazes me when a beat manages to do that. I grew up having catchy melodies stuck in my head and now that I’m older I find my favorite rhythms playing over and over. I’m trying to achieve a bit of both. Catchy melody and rhythms that stick. At this point I’d say my largest influences are hip hop and 80s movie soundtracks.
What attracted to you music and more specifically to your sound?
I feel like attraction to music is as necessary and natural to humans as taking a shit. I don’t think any of us really has a choice. It’s like, you can try to hold your “love of music” in, but on way or another, it’s gonna come spilling out. Luckily, I was raised perpetually with an instrument in my hands. I’m grateful my parents got me involved at a young age. As far as my own sound, I grew listening to pop radio a lot before discovering more experimental music as a teenager. My ear is fixed more towards rhythm these days, so I feel my sound is a natural summation of a lifetime listening to those disparate styles. I’m a sucker for something catchy.
A lot of artists are now ‘slash’ artists and you have been describe as such (i.e. instrumentalist/DJ/producer/vocalist). Do you see yourself as more one than the rest?
I’d say producer. I like it – it’s like this beautiful all-encompassing term for everyone out there putting multiple inputs into their music. Especially those manipulating digital inputs. I may not touch my guitar or sing everyday, but I can guarantee I’ll be on my software and midi controllers banging something out.
What’s it like performing live in your hometown?
I actually have yet to play a set in Toronto. I’ve been to enough shows to get a feel for the scene though. It’s nice to see people dancing again.
What do you hope to achieve with your musical projects?
To get better. To bring my sound to new, exciting places and really continue to carve out my own individual style. I achieve happiness and satisfaction every time I put in work, so that’s not something I’m really too concerned about - I’ll always be having fun. It would be nice to someday support myself wholly on my artistic output, but for now all I can do is continue to work hard and hone my craft.
What made you apply to Red Bull Music Academy?
I was living in Ottawa a couple of years ago, and I heard that not only was Flylo (Flying Lotus) coming through for a show, but he was also putting on an “Ableton” workshop beforehand at a local streetwear shop. Turns out the workshop was 90% about the Red Bull Music Academy. I had never heard of it before, but I was thoroughly impressed with what he had to say. At the time I thought, well if they’re letting people like Flylo in, there’s no way I’ll stand a chance. Well a couple years of hard work later, I decided to apply. I caught wind of the Red Bull Music Academy tour earlier this year with grads Ango & Lunice, and that really piqued my interest. Those guys are killing right now. I was bummed I didn’t get to see their set, so I checked out their interviews online. The way they talked about the experience…I knew I wanted it. I thought, screw it, if I don’t apply, I’ll have a 0% chance of getting in. So I hunkered down, filled out that beast of an application and sent it in. I spent so long on it, I actually had to run to the post office before it closed on the due date. So glad I did.
What do you know of Madrid?
Admittedly not a lot. But I kind of like that. I’m excited to go into totally new culture and soak it all in for a couple of weeks. My work has a lot of tourists come through, so whenever I hear a group speaking Spanish I try to spark up a conversation to hopefully learn a little more about what I have coming. Those that are actually from Spain say we have similar cultures. Especially in terms of people’s attitudes towards each other- polite and friendly. I know my Dad went there for his high school grad trip and had a blast. I learnt how to order a beer in Spanish as preparation. Oh, I can count to ten as well. I’m sure that will be extraordinarily useful.
Can you describe your reaction when you realized you were selected?
I actually got the news at work. I was standing right next to my boss when I got the email on my phone. I must have been making a pretty goofy face, she asked me if I needed to get a glass of water or sit down for a minute. I left the room and kind of paced around outside for a couple minutes. I’m still trying to process it. It’s probably going to hit me really hard early November. Ultimately, it’s been a real confidence booster though. Seeing the talent of past grads, and that of those selected for this year’s class is really stunning.
What are your musical must have’s when travelling (equipment)?
My laptop is the big one. It stores my samples and all my custom soft-synth patches. I need 16 pads and a keyboard for controlling all that midi, but when it comes down to it, my entire sound is contained in that laptop.
Who can you not stop listening to at the moment?
I’ve been into The-Dream pretty heavy recently. I’m a huge Prince fan, so hearing The-Dream’s song “Yamaha” for the first time was like a purple slap to the face. Within one bar he evokes Prince without completely biting his style. Love King is such a great album. “Turnt Out” is my favorite on there. I only realized afterwards that he’s responsible for a stupidly stacked list of current top 40 hits. Guy’s amazing.
Prison Garde’s Système Hermès has been playing a lot as well. Heavy, heavy 808 jams. Every track on that gets me moving. One of those albums where you never have to skip a track. Dude’s making me want to save up for a vintage Roland drum machine.
Describe your music in three words.
All maxed out.
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