From being a bedroom producer to now one of the best prospects of the future beats scene, Sydney raised producer aywy. has seen his status take a rapid rise through his scrumptious experimental soul compositions and being a co-founder of the young and fantastic universal collective known as Flow-Fi. We caught with the burgeoning producer, to find out a bit more about the man behind the beats. Check it out:
MU: What was it specifically that attracted you to the sort of production you do?
aywy.: Haha that’s a tough opener…Well a lot of things really, I’ve always been huge on R&B and Soul, particularly neo-soul of the 90s and the contemporary R&B and Hip Hop of the 2000s. It’s what I grew up on and was most exposed to. I listen to a lot of everything though, so experimental bands like Boards of Canada and Burial influence my sampling and synth styles but I’ve always been drawn to soulful vocals.
When artists like Frank Ocean, The Weeknd and Shlohmo came into prominence in 2011, I got that push in the right direction and I’ve just been in love with that experimental future R&B sound ever since. Now it’s big in the indie scene so I’m glad I’m living in a time where that future beat sound is well received. It’s just that there’s a lot of competition now haha.
Haha true, plus I can now hear the Burial influence that gives the dark and sensual edge to your music. What equipment (hardware/software) do you use to create the delightful sounds you make? And was it what you started off with?
aywy.: Yeah, Burial is good for that haunting stuff. Anything he touches is gold I use FL Studio for production, I handle most of my recording on FL because it pretty much does everything I want… I’ve moved over to the wonderful world of custom VSTs though, so I’m learning more and getting better with every song I craft.
As for hardware, I’ve got my trusty MPK mini for drums and soft synth midi control, a guitar, a fender jazz bass and an old school Yamaha DX21 that I can get some nasty 80s retro sounds from.
I played around with FL 6 years ago and kind of liked what I was working with… I stopped producing for a long time and only started again last year but FL was something I jumped back on. I’ve tried making the switch but I really can’t deal with other interfaces haha. I get too frustrated on Ableton. (That was 6 years ago, not FL 6 b the way).
MU: You answered my next question haha, no worries though…How did you end up choosing the name aywy?
aywy.: That’s a funny story… I went under the name Abstract Youth for a long time probably cause I love Q-tip and Kim Gordon so much but yeah, I stuck with that name until I started playing around with my style.
Once I got to the sexier, darker stuff I thought it didn’t work as well so I started to stylise things with the initials ‘A’ and ‘Y’. Joked around by changing the name to aywy like the pronunciation. Over time it kinda fit the music I was making so I stuck with it. Straight up mysterious shit haha.
MU: As a fan of Q Tip and Kim Gordon, was it any of their songs that got you interested in producing? If not, what was the first song that got you interested in production?
aywy.: Nah. I just listened to a lot of Tribe and Sonic Youth as a kid. Tip’s verses were the coolest. Plus he was crazy on production too. The way he worked samples and pretty much came up with that unique style of hip hop is pretty inspiring stuff.
It’s hard to really pin down the first song that got me into production, but it’d either have to be “Feel Something” by Holy Other or “Archangel” by Burial. I mean, I’ve always wanted to be able to make music, it’s just that I was never competent until now haha. I think listening to clams casino’s beat tapes when they were getting a lot of attention kind of got me started as well.
MU: You are currently part of a rising collective called Flow-Fi, how did that come about?
aywy.: I’m real glad that people are noticing the connection actually. It all started last month when a couple of artists I met on twitter by the names of Fortune and Subdaio hit me up about forming a collective. I suggested we call it Flow-Fi and I got to designing and branding the collective.
We’ve brought on plenty of artists since our inception and it’s been surreal to see this kind of growth and recognition after a month. We’ve also made some great connections, friends and incredible underrated artists from all around the world. To be the co-founder of an independent label on the rise is exciting stuff. We’re going to see where this year takes us. SXSW 2015 perhaps?
MU: Go for it bro! Can definitely see you guys there. If a random listener checks through your music they will realized you have collaborated with many talented producers and have created some awesome remixes. Do you see yourself working with any vocalists in the future or are you just about beats and remixes?
aywy.: I’ve actually worked with a vocalist by the name of TVNE on co-production and vocal additions on my Weeknd ‘Drunk in Love’ remix. He’s part of Flow-Fi and we get along better than anyone else who live on opposite sides of the world! We’re thinking of doing a collaboration project in the future but for now we’re just focusing on building our catalogue and trying to get on that live grind.
I’d love to produce for other vocalists as well. My song ‘Naked’ actually started out as a production for a vocalist but ended up becoming an original instrumental piece due to a bunch of unforeseen changes. I should add that most of my soul vocal samples and chops essentially ‘sing’ the songs that I make. To actually work with an artist who can sing over my instrumentals would be incredible,
MU: Soundcloud has introduced me to many talented musicians from Australia, especially Sydney. What’s the scene like in your city?
aywy.: Good question…It’s a bit of a mixed bag in Sydney. We’re generally considered third tier when it comes to music cities in Australia (behind Perth and Melbourne) but we’ve still got a great live scene that supports upcoming talent. Producers are on the rise here and you can see big acts like Flume, Cosmo’s Midnight and Wave Racer really getting some love and playing big shows here.
There aren’t too many artists that go down the darker, smoother route like me though and I guess that’s where Sydney kinda falters. It’s a more energetic city than the other two because it’s the busiest city. That being said, we get some crazy live acts coming here so that’s always a plus.
MU: True there is you and Nehzuil who have that soulful sound. Finally,what is the perfect environment that your music should be listened in?
aywy.: Aayyyee Nehzuil is that DUDE. He’s too dope, I listen to his stuff all the time…Lol I’ve never intended it, but my music seems to be best digested in the bedroom. At least that’s what people tell me haha. I’m trying to switch up things though, so I’d say a more relaxed, dimly lit bar would be a little more along the lines of my music.
MU: Do have anything else to add?
Take a listen to aywy’s fantastic mix for us and enjoy!! FREE DOWNLOAD!!
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