Well let's start at the beginning with how you got into EDM and what made you want to start producing.
I got into EDM when I was fourteen or fifteen years old. I was laying in my bed after school listening to Coldplay music and I kept thinking about how boring this was. So I went to the Google Play Store and started looking into the genres I never heard of before. Through that, I discovered artists like Deadmau5 and Skrillex. Between the two, Deadmau5's music captivated me the most and I started to wonder how he made those sounds and plucking noises in his tracks. So I sat down in front of my shitty computer and searched up "deadmau5 music program" which led me to Ableton. I started by trying to make anything that sounded like a Deadmau5 track. In addition to being a creative outlet, I quickly found that making music was also a great way for me to channel my stress.
After a while, I started to get bored of the genre, so I switched back to more melodic music again. I was still enjoying the dark energy of bass house, so I worked to make my melodic sound more aggressive and ended up finding my sort of niche in the genre. But even that wasn't enough to keep me engaged with the genre. I was looking to create even more complex tracks which is where I started adding that Hexagon sound into my songs. What blew me away was the fact that some producers like Steff da Campo, Retrovision, or Alpharock were able to make some massive bangers with just some saw waves. So I changed the focus of my productions to make the most simple element the most complex one in my projects and now here I am!
One of the things I've always had issues with is coming up with good breakdowns. Whenever I get stuck on this part, I like to go search for inspiration in simple, real instruments like the piano or guitar. It's also fun to explore instruments from other cultures to find something unique to try and reproduce inside the DAW. A perfect example of taking a simple instrument and making something exceptional.
After that, I started to send them more demos. They ended up releasing "Bring Me Back" as well and then it got reuploaded on the big YouTube channel, "Diversity" which really helped me gain some more fans. I've got to give them a huge thanks for helping me get that initial exposure. My problem was that I was only sending demos to these few channels and so when Imminent became inactive for a while and Illicit rebranded, I was faced with the choice to make better music or keep doing what I'm doing and self-release. Since I'm not good at promoting, I forced myself to go back to the studio to create something that bigger labels would want to pick up. I started sending demos to other labels like Fated and Illicit but for me, collaborations with other artists gave me a lot of inspiration and opportunities on other labels. For instance, if I hadn't teamed up with Blaze U, there was no way I would have made it on Revealed Recordings on my own. On the flipside, having too many collaborations can be a huge stressor because you're facing this pressure coming from so many sides. It really began to weigh me down over time.
How have you dealt with those pressures?
The only way I could handle it was by improving my workflow. While doing things like saving presets and streamlining your creative process can help your overall output, it was also important for me to talk with the people I was working with and being honest with what I could deliver. If I knew some collab wouldn't work out anymore, I just told them. We're all human beings in this industry and we all need to sleep at some point.
Quirky question, but tell us the story behind "Magic Chocolate." For those of you who haven't heard this track yet, it's this really unique, airy sound that is both melodic but extremely light. The first drop is one of the most interesting things I've heard all year and the second drop builds upon it perfectly.
I was wondering if you were going to ask about that one! It's just a really funny story through and through. For that track, I was still in this place where I wanted to make the lead out of just one wave shape. Like for instance, "Revenge" is just a single square wave, "Never Wanna Stop" is a single saw wave, and so that means I had to make a track out of a single sine wave! I tried to not distort it that much but that also made it really hard to work with. Eventually I just told myself that I was going to have fun with this track and not take it too seriously. By the end though, I had made something really happy and fun to listen to so it all worked out. Sometimes I like to tell people that it's connected to an hysterical story with my friends in Amsterdam, but the truth is that I thought it was a funny name!
For my track, I wanted to challenge myself to create something outside of house music so I took this opportunity to create a drum and bass track. My Sustainable Development Goal is "Clean Water" so I included a bunch of water samples over the snares and creating this liquid feel with the leads I used. I'm very excited for the album to come out on December 10th!
Outside of that moment, Tiesto playing "Bandit" was a highlight for me as well as getting accepted by the PopAkademie Mannheim which was also attended by Virtual Riot. Getting into that school made me realize that I'm a better producer than I thought.
Lastly, where are you hoping to go from here? What are you looking to accomplish next?
My ultimate goal is to find a way to make a living out of making music. Overall though, I just want to release quality music and make people smile and dance when they hear one of my tracks. There's also something in the works that could be really huge. I know it's a bit of a cliche for a producer to say "something big is coming up," but this time I really mean it! I hope to share it with you all soon!
A huge thanks to High 'n' Rich for taking the time to answer our questions! Be sure to follow him on social media to stay in the loop on his latest releases and updates!
Chris W. Lao
DJ, Writer, and Student.
High 'n' Rich
DJ Luane de Lima
DJ Natalia Moon
Tom & Jame