Tearing Down the System w/ Sound Remedy

Tearing Down the System w/ Sound Remedy

From completing a finance degree at one of North America’s most elite business schools to defying the laws and conventional rules of the dance music game — Sound Remedy is already cutting out a unique place in music all for himself.

With both parents graduates of the world renowned Juilliard School of Music Sound Remedy might have been an inevitable creative outlet. Nonetheless the decision to move away from a safe lucrative job in the financial sector to the volatile world of dance music signifies immense strength of character and an unbridled passion for musical production.

As Sound Remedy’s We Are The Dream tour enters its fourth month BC is set to be treated to a two date run: #FVDED November 19th at Celebrities and November 20th at Distrikt in Victoria. Perhaps even more fascinating than the music itself is the man behind the beat: but be warned, once you peer behind the curtain you can never go back…


Blueprint: Let’s jump right in to the deep end…integrity is very important to you not only as a producer but as an individual. Could you share a bit of your artistic philosophy and how it interplays with your desire to maintain a sense of personal integrity?

Sound Remedy: When a song comes to me I believe the idea is sacred. It should be preserved at all costs. I think the more that other people have input on the song the more the potency of the idea is decreased and it becomes watered down. The concept of having people at record labels who don’t even make music, tell you what to do is really repulsive to me. I have a vision and I’m going to get it out. Part of my integrity is not letting anyone or anything get in the way, tainting my vision and decreasing its’ purity.

Blueprint: This may make readers want to get up and do something else, but a while back you said: “if you’re reading this, that means you’re alive. Now go do some cool shit cause it’s your life!!!” –what should people be doing?

Sound Remedy: Whatever they want!!! I think life is a total miracle and it doesn’t last for long. I took a risk with my life and followed my passion and I would encourage everyone to do the same. Too many people in life get held down by things and they lose sight of their vision. They stop listening to their inner voice. Society advances the most if we all listen to our inner voice and turn our visions into realities.

Blueprint: You believe that the business of EDM has “shifted to a commodification of the partying aspect of dance music as opposed” to focusing on the music itself. How do you think this problem arose in the first place and what can both artists and fans do to rectify the situation?

Sound Remedy: I go on a lot of twitter rants. My point being is just think we are living in an era where the artist has less and less control. DJ’s are become more expendable because the music is starting to sound really similar and the market supply is increasing. This will drive down the pricing that artists can command and therefore decrease their leverage. This is horrible because it creates a race to the bottom. It makes it harder for everyone.

The way I’m dealing with this is continuing to be a nonconformist and just making whatever music I feel like. I’m really not trying to be anyone except for myself. I think the artists who are really showing their true individuality don’t really fit into this large pool of EDM acts which are kinda getting sucked together into this huge machine that really doesn’t care about them. Granted, it is nice to party and get paid but I don’t think a lot of DJ’s realize that they’re operating in a non-sustainable environment that is constantly changing.

Blueprint: Many those DJs Sound Remedy would label as blissfully ignorant rank amongst DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJs. In his opinion they all sound the same, yet he does not blame them for this. In his opinion the blame should be placed on the economy of dance music.

If DJ/producers could make a living creating new and interesting music they would, however, currently all of the industries financial opportunity stems from becoming a popular live touring act which means playing to the common denominator. With such an exact view depicting DJ Magazine’s supposedly illustrious top 100 it’s a safe bet that he has a thought or two on how to change the system in order to move towards a brighter future.

Sound Remedy: I think the common denominator is changing now. Porter Robinson touched on it when he said a lot of the top 100 were trying to go into a pseudo deep house genre. There are still artists who make a living creating new and interesting music. I’m one of them. I’ve strayed away from doing any ‘genre’ and all my music sounds different with the only common thread being “that Sound Remedy sound.” I don’t know what it is, but I know it exists or I wouldn’t be here.

I think the problem with the business plan is the problem with the way it has been for the entire history of the music industry, which is…hey, let’s try and make as much money off this artist as possible and when they aren’t popular let’s move onto the next one. The problem is that the vast majority of the people on the business side don’t give a shit about you. I’m okay with that because I have my own back and I’ve taken steps to protect myself. The problem is that a lot of artists haven’t. Many artists don’t have the proper education to create a sustainable future for themselves. They may have gotten ‘drafted’ right out of high school which is the equivalent of being signed to a label. You can’t expect someone that young to understand the repercussions of their record deal.

I could go on and on and provide examples or artists getting screwed over. Here is the solution, try and build a sustainable music industry which grants artists more control over their content. Create a system where there is a more even relationship between the artist and the people they do business with. Don’t just take all the rights to their master recordings and touring and try and exploit them, try and work with them. I’m pretty young in the industry but as time goes on I plan on vertically restructuring a lot of the industry but that takes a lot of time.

Blueprint: On a much lighter note: “the era of post deep house break beats infused tech house” is here—can you elaborate?

Sound Remedy: Have no idea what this meant…I just said it…I do love deep house though.

Blueprint: Regardless of abstract genres your musical pursuit encompasses the endeavour to “show an entire generation of producers that you can stay independent and still be successful.” How important is your own personal independence to your artistic integrity and why do you believe that this is an important message to take a stance on?

Sound Remedy: My independence is everything. I own all the rights to my music. I haven’t signed anything away. My song Victory that just came out was charting internationally in the iTunes 100 dance charts and competing against the biggest record labels in the business. My last three songs actually have charted on the iTunes dance charts.

My personal independence allows me to write music without anyone else telling me what to do and it therefore affords me the ability to create products I really believe in. I write music that really reflects a point in space and time and a specific emotion. It’s whatever I’m going through at the moment. I think the more artists listen to themselves instead of the A and R’s who are telling them how to sound, the better off our industry will be.

Blueprint: While some would argue that major label backing is a step in the right direction towards success and wealth: Sound Remedy points out “money literally fucks everything up.” Now we have to ask, how?

Sound Remedy: I think money creates an expectation that can taint art. I am all about purity. When I first started making myself money, and then other people money, that’s when I kind of had more pressure put on me. I think this made it more difficult to write music. Once you start thinking of ticket sales, how much you are going to sell, and just money in general, a whole lot of stuff gets messed up in your brain.

I’ve finally gotten back to a place where I’m only thinking about how to make the dopest music possible. That’s how it was when I first go into the industry and I’ve finally gotten back to that. So ya, when you start making money, try not to let all the $$$ blind you from your goals in life. Try and stay focused. It’s hard at first, but it’s really important.

I also believe you should write music because you love it and you want to share awesome sounds with the world, not because you wanna increase you bankroll. Coincidentally, the best way to sell a lot of records is to make whatever you want. The more you focus on the money the more shit your music will be.

Blueprint: Switching focus to another system you believe needs to be reworked, you said: “teaching someone to remember facts from a textbook and how to follow orders is not beneficial for our collective society.” This may be true, but when the entire governmental system is codified on such rigid rules how would you suggest change, and what would those alterations look like?

Sound Remedy: Our government is too big. We operate in too much of a bureaucratic system. If you put too many people in one room, there is never going to be a moment where everyone agrees. It’s just logic really. Anyway, I feel like we teach our children to be followers and not leaders. The whole point of being a leader isn’t about following rules; it’s about breaking rules and showing people a new way of doing something.

If we teach our young ones to follow orders then they won’t think for themselves. That system works well if you want people who have been in power to stay in power, but that isn’t what capitalism is about. We need to start teaching people to believe in themselves and question the world around them.

Blueprint: Speaking of believing in yourself you once professed: “I am proud of the music I write which takes infinite skill and is incredibly complex. I have never been proud of being a ‘DJ’ to be honest.” –what does this say about fans who pay to see you DJ?

Blueprint: Ya right? I know probably shouldn’t have said that, whatever. At the end of the day a DJ blends two tracks together, or 4. But you’re playing music. I’m proud of the music I produce. It’s so much more than that. A new project file is a completely unrestricted platform. 4 CDJ’s and a pioneer mixer is so finite, it’s incredibly simple. I get it, there is a skill to reading the crowd and playing stuff people like and being a ‘DJ’ but that skillset pales in comparison to what it takes to sit down and produce a quality song.

All you have to do is look at the inherent set of restrictions on each platform to know I’m right. When you sit in front of a computer to write a song the options are totally limitless. Lastly, I’m not saying I don’t turn up. All the shows are great. I love being a DJ. I love performing. But I am going to try and incorporate a few more live elements so I can personally have more fun when I’m up there.

Blueprint: Lastly, you have toured around North America almost continuously for the last two years and have declared this your last tour. What will make the last leg of your tour, Vancouver included a spectacle to remember?

Sound Remedy: I love Canada and all my shows there have been incredibly memorable. I’m quitting the big aspect of going on a huge tour for at least one year. I want to go back to focusing on music and working on the other aspects of my business that extend beyond touring. Now that I’ve started writing original music, there is a really a whole new world of money to be made aside from just playing shows. That’s why I said it’s important to stay independent so you can keep all the rights to your songs. I will be playing shows next year but there won’t be any big ‘tours.’ I will also be playing music festivals. It’s really just going to be like any other year except the number of shows will be greatly reduced and my creative studio output will be greatly increased (hopefully).

At the end of the day creative purity and artistic integrity never fail to win out with Sound Remedy. With 2015 set to offer far fewer opportunities to experience the man’s original productions lives Sound Remedy fans need to jump on this opportunity while they still can. Limited tickets are still available for both the Vancouver and Victoria shows—grab them.

– Ryan Hayes

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