Audien: A Look Into His Ever-Evolving Sound, The AUDaCITY Tour, and Surviving Zombie Apocalypses

November 23, 2014 -

Daily Beat Staff

On Saturday, November 8th, the ever-so-melodically talented Audien performed at The House of Blues, San Diego. Spinning a high-energy set filled with big-room bass and plenty of sing-a-longs, he lit the dance floor ablaze. Before this, we were given the opportunity to speak with him about future collaborations, titling tracks, and shoe choice. To get in on all the juicy details, keep scrolling.

DB: What is the story behind the name 'Audien?'

AUDIEN: Well, my friends kinda came up with it back in the day. We were kinda looking for a name for me and I didn't wanna use my actual name, because it just sounds lame to me. So, they came up with 'Audien' -- it's like part of 'audience,' you know?

DB: Attracting a crowd, of a kind?

AUDIEN: Exactly. And I don't think it means anything, but to me it sounds good.

DB: Audio, Audien. It kind of fits the sound and all that good stuff.

AUDIEN: It does. It's relevant.

And he doesn't seem to disappoint.And he lives up to it. Photo courtesy of Alex G Perez Photography.

DB: How would you describe your sound in five words or less. And at what BPM would you say your heart beats?

AUDIEN: Five words or less. Melodic, energetic, different?, fun?, happy?. 128, for sure.

DB: And what instruments do you play? What's your preference?

AUDIEN: Well, I play just keyboard. I don't know how to play keyboard, I just play it by ear. I do everything by ear -- even just producing by ear. So, everything's just like: 'if it sounds good, it is good,' to me.

DB: So you don't really discriminate between violin, guitar, or anything really?

AUDIEN: No. Well, when it comes to mixing -- now that I've learned a lot of mixing techniques -- I've learned what each sound is kinda good for. But yeah, I'm just not very trained in the 'live-instruments' thing.

DB: So, you're no Hans Zimmer, huh?

AUDIEN: No, no Hans Zimmer, these days.

DB: Aye, only a year away, huh?

AUDIEN: Hahaha.

DB: Who are your current and all-time favorites in the music industry? Doesn't have to be EDM.

AUDIEN: Lots of guys. I'm really digging what Zedd's doing, always. He's the pinnacle of what an EDM career should be like. It's just the best. And I love Calvin Harris's new album; his music's great. I'm really looking up to him. Flume, Porter, who are doing different stuff. That's in the EDM world. Outside of the EDM world? It's kinda hard to say. I'm just constantly submerged in EDM.

DB: Okay, so you're geared more towards almost poppy, vocals, sing-a-longs. They really keep the audience going.

AUDIEN: Yeah! Sing-a-longs and just music that lasts longer than a week on Beatport.

DB: When you produce tracks that are purely instrumental, how do you go about giving them the perfect title. Like "Hindsight," for example. Why 'hindsight?'

AUDIEN: Well, I named it "Hindsight," because it was kind of a shout-out. 'Cuz at the time I was doing more progressive-housey stuff, and I wanted to do a kinda-trancier track. So, I wanted to do "Hindsight" as one of my last kinda-trancier tracks that I did. I called it "Hindsight," because it's kind of like looking back at my old style, but still with the new techniques and stuff that I've learned.

DB: So, that's your... last trancey track?

AUDIEN: I'm gonna do a lot more, but I mean, any kind of music that I do is always gonna have the same little touch that I think everyone likes.  And I think it's a certain kind of melodic 'chorded' kind of... umm...

DB: It's gonna have 'the Audien touch' at the end of the day.

AUDIEN: Exactly. 'The Audien Touch,' hahaha.

DB: Hahaha. 'The Audien Touch.' We coined it this night.

AUDIEN: Yeahhh~

DB: So, would you say that the naming-process is equally important to the production of a song itself?

AUDIEN: Yes. Definitely. And because the name is like... that's what people remember it as. And if it's not a good name, people aren't going to really remember your track, I feel like. But, of course, the music is where it is. But if you have a really long title, people aren't gonna be remembering that. And I think the goal is to have your music be remembered for years and years. That's my goal.

DB: Yeah, rather than just naming it after like a five-second snippet before a drop, you kinda put some heart into it. Like, 'this is like my almost-last trancey track.'

AUDIEN: Yeah, some substance. And a meaning behind it, even if it's just one word.

DB: How would you explain your choice in kicks... in terms of your pink shoes. I see those all over Instagram.

AUDIEN: Kicks? Like actual feet -- like shoes? I thought you meant kick-drums! Haha.

DB: Hahaha. I guess, like, why pink? Why Nike? Did Paavo kinda sprinkle them with holy Anjuna water, or what?

AUDIEN: Haha. I mean, I like Nikes because they fit very well. I'm not wearing Nikes now, but I love them because I know they're gonna fit no matter what. I know that I'm a size eleven, and I know that there'll always be a size eleven. No matter what shoe it is: the Free Runs, or the Air Maxes. So, that's why I like Nikes. And I think they're cool, ya know?  They're easy. And I can get them all dirtied-up during deejaying, and then just get a new pair. They're not so expensive.

DB: Exactly. And they're very 'jump-worthy.'

AUDIEN: Very jumpy. Very jumpy shoes.

With a look of 'yeah, I did it' (on the left.) 'Yeah, I blessed those shoes' (on the left.)

DB: And, I guess this is a good segue to the next question. I recently heard your remix of "Jump" on Group Therapy 103. Can you tell us a little bit about how and why you approached that song the way that you did?

AUDIEN: Yeah, I just love the original. It's one of those huge classics. I think it's kind of like the earliest form of the sound I make today. It kind of still has that power-chordy 'stab-silence-stab-silence' kinda thing I do. It really resonates in the club.  I did it with my own sounds and the same techniques with the melody. And it really works, you'll see people really dig it. I won't be able to release it, because they weren't really up for it. I'm gonna just have it for my own sets, and I gave it to a few deejays. It's gonna be an exclusive one, for sure.

DB:  Nice! I actually really enjoyed the whole 'retro' sound to it. I love how you're kind of bringing 'that' back. It's a nice little throw-back considering all the over-saturation you hear nowadays within big-room.

AUDIEN: Yeah! And it's something everyone recognizes, you know? It's a classic to me.

DB: Well, from hits like "The Reach" to "Wayfarer" and "Iris," what drew you to Anjunabeats and Enhanced Recordings relative to the other big names in the industry (besides good taste, of course?) 

AUDIEN: Well, back then -- about a year or two ago -- it was a bit different, I feel like. And my goals were a bit different then. So, Anjunabeats was always my goal when I started out, because I was a huge Anjuna fan. I love Above & Beyond's music, and I love their artists' music. So, I really wanted to release on their label. Once I did, though, I kinda started to switch my goals up a bit. And now, I just really have no boundaries. I'm trying to do different tempos. I'm doing some hip-hop and trappy stuff -- still melodic, of course.

DB: Yeah, naturally.

AUDIEN: I mean, that's why I did it. Because my sound fit the label at the time. So, it was really just a good fit for me.

DB: Nice! Should we be expecting any new releases via Anjuna or Enhanced, anytime soon?

AUDIEN: Not those labels, per se. But definitely new releases. I have a lot of tracks done. A lot of vocal tracks, and stuff. So, a lot of releases coming up. Some big announcements, as well.

DB: Hell yeah! And who on Anjuna or Enhanced would you collaborate with and why? What strong-points do you think they would bring to the table that you otherwise could not?

AUDIEN: I would definitely collaborate with Arty. We're already talking about it. Me and him have always had a very kind of similar sound. I've always been inspired by him, and I think he has a little inspiration from me, too. I know he likes my stuff. So, we were talking about maybe doing a track at some point. So, I think that would be a good collab, for sure.

DB: That sounds really awesome.

AUDIEN: It sounds like it would sound like an Audien track or an Arty track, because we have the same kinda sounds.

DB: I totally agree. The same kinda 'groove-driven' bass-line with the awesome vocals. What more could you ask for, right?

AUDIEN: Exactly.

DB: What should fans be expecting from your AUDaCITY Tour? Any IDs fresh from the kitchen that you will be playing tonight?

AUDIEN: Yeah. Well, tonight, I have a lot of new edits. During the AUDaCITY Tour, I'll be playing a lot of new music that I've finished, and I'm kind of keeping it exclusive to that. But, the thing about AUDaCITY is that I've picked the opener, and I've picked all the venues, and stuff, so it's a really personal experience for me to be able to make the show myself.

DB: For the up-and-comers out there, what would you say are the most important elements to a very 'fat' and heavy-sounding drop?

AUDIEN: I think the drop should have the peak-most energy. So, to get it that way, I think that compression is really good. Just a lot of good EQ-ing is really important. And using the right EQs, because people use the wrong EQs and they get a lot of distortion and stuff. It really shows.

DB: Where do you think EDM will be seven years from now, considering live-acts from the likes of BT, Infected Mushroom, and Netsky?

AUDIEN: Seven years. It's hard to say, because half a year it's changing. There's the new hyped thing: like future house and big-room kicks, and stuff. I don't know where it's gonna be, honestly. I think it could be so minimal, that it's honestly just a kick-drum in seven years. And people will be like, "Ahh, it's awesome... It's a kick-drum."

The  way of the future. 'The way of the future.

DB: Do you think turn-tables will forever dominate, or electronic live-instruments?

AUDIEN: They're always gonna be classics. Turn-tables are always gonna be classic from here on out. And anyone that uses them is considered cool. And soon it'll be CDJs. I'm sure there's gonna be like a using-your-mind-to-deejay thing soon, in the next five years. Beatport will be connected to your ear, and you'll be able to download tracks that way.

DB:  Many critics of EDM have a difficulty associating certain tracks with certain genres. Why are the genres so ambiguous nowadays, anyway?

AUDIEN: Because the line is becoming blurred. There are tracks with like four different genres in them.

DB: I'd say for better.

AUDIEN: For the better, yeah! Because genres are stupid. And I think that because people are making tracks with four different genres in them, it's hard to put them in a spot.

DB: Almost like Mat Zo or Flume.

AUDIEN: Exactly.

DB: What would you say is the largest issue that the world is facing in this day and age? And if you could change anything with the snap of a finger, what would it be and why?

AUDIEN: Phew. Wow, that's a really easy question. Largest issue? Probably... probably poverty. Because a lot of people are working really hard and not being able to afford things still. There are some people at the top with billions and billions of dollars, and the minimum wage is pretty low.

DB: So, you're in a zombie apocalypse. Who is in your party of four, what's your weapon of choice, and why?

AUDIEN: Party of four? Like people? My girlfriend Katie, my brother, and Bill Clinton, for sure.

DB: Wait, wait, hold on. This is awesome. Why Bill Clinton?! That's so awesome!

AUDIEN: It's just Bill Clinton. He's just Bill Clinton. Bill. Clinton.

DB: And your weapon of choice?

AUDIEN: Like a... Like a diaper gun: just something that shoots dirty diapers at people. Nobody would wanna be near that.

DB: Hahahaha. So, you wouldn't even shoot the zombies with them! You'd shoot the humans!!

AUDIEN: You shoot the diaper at a victim of the zombie, so that they can take the fall while you're running away.

With a look like that, wouldn't you want him on your post-apocalyptic-zombie-world team? "Shoot 'em in the head, stupid." "Shoot 'em in the head, stupid."

DB: And, lastly, what's the golden rule behind your success? Do you have any words of wisdom to share with the world out there?
AUDIEN: Yeah, definitely stay true to yourself. And don't just make whatever's popular, of course. Try to have a connection with the people that like your music, and try to understand what they want and deliver them what they want while still pleasing yourself. I think that's the golden rule. But, do it for yourself. That's the first thing. Make whatever you want, it will come out better that way.

'Stay true to yourself.' Like music to my ears. Whether you're a fan of progressive trance, electro house, or big-room house, Audien's diversified set will leave you and the audience smiling. Expect a pleasant dose of energy and sing-a-longs at The Fillmore, SF on the 26th, The Yost Theater, Orange County on the 28th and The House of Blues, LA on the 29th of this month.

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