Wasim Armstrong, better known as NO_GUESTLIST, is an up and coming Groove producer who has received support from Martin Garrix, Bob Sinclar, Yves V and had his music played at huge festivals like Tommorowland and Creamfields. His latest single is available now on Arise Records.
What was your first musical experience?
My first musical experience happened at the age of seven when my mother enrolled me in guitar classes and the Church band. Ever since then, I've tried my hand at various musical instruments like drums, piano, and bass guitar. Around sixth grade, I started broadening my musical horizons beyond just the hymns that I used to play at church. I went to download Limewire but I had no clue how to operate the software. All I remember seeing was a bunch of tracks with a download button in the music section. The first track I ever downloaded was “American Idiot” by Green Day which started the Punk Rock phase of my life. It really changed my whole outlook growing up and that group inspired me to form my own band which was called 4 Ways Only
How did you go from playing into a band to production?
It all began when I met a close friend of mine named Shannon Barrid in High School. He'd just gotten Call of Duty on PS3 at the time and we met at his place almost every day to play CO-OP. One day, we got bored with the game and so he showed me that he'd been working with Virtual DJ. He got me into electronic music from people like Funkagenda, Carl Cox, Axwell, Bob Sinclar, Scooter, Swedish House Mafia and so many more. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. He showed me how to DJ and I loved it because it was something different from what I used to do. I began practicing and he decided to invest in an DJ Console. Since CDJ's were expensive, he'd gotten a Gemini iTRAX-BLK Dual iPod DJ Mixer Console which was still very cool at the time. He would spend all day and night practicing on that controller. I played around on it as well but I was always curious on how all my favorite artists made tracks like that. He told me that they used something called FL Studio and so I rushed home and began downloading FL Studio 8. By then, I was able to get tutorials from YouTube; I remember staying up all night harnessing the skills I've learned from those videos and production forums. Bless Shannon’s father and mother for tolerating all the music we be tested on his home theater speakers .
What sort of music did you start off making?
Electro House and Fidget House; something your parents would call "Illegal Rave Music" if you know what I mean
How did you move from that project to NO_GUESTLIST and move from Electro to Groove?
Shannon decided to move back to his hometown and pursue college while I decided to continue on with music on my own. I came up with the name “Paul van Hyden” out of my love for Paul van Dyk's music. I decided to focus more on Dark and Berlin Techno which had those huge drums, thick basslines and weird synths that I just fell in love with. That project didn't work out too well because I began to suffer from depression and Insomnia. Whenever Swedish House Mafia released Greyhound, that's when I made the transition to Groove Music. I went on Soundcloud to look for more inspiration and eventually started to work on my new sound. I sent out a few demos with the new tracks I had made but no one liked them and they told me that my tracks were shit and I wouldn’t succeed. Instead of letting that bring me down, I took it as inspiration and found a fellow producer on Soundcloud to work with. I came across one of his demos and sent him a DM asking if he would like to collaborate on it. He accepted and we added each other on Facebook. We sent demos back and forth but never released anything together. It was after 3 years that we decided to form a duo and work together professionally. We were in love with NEW_ID and wanted to do something with an underscore in the name. We decided on NO_GUESTLIST based on the promise that when we get big one day, we would let everybody into our shows without having to be on the guest list. Not too long ago, Andrew, the other half of the duo, had a hard time balancing work and production. We had a good run and three fantastic releases but now NO_GUESTLIST is a solo project. The latest release, Amnesia, was the first solo release
How did you go about improving your craft?
I think it was the determination and perseverance that got me going while fighting my personal demons. I challenged myself to be better at what I do best. I also built a circle of friends and producers that I could send demos to and receive feedback. Having that played a huge role in improving my music. A dear friend of mine named Asad has been with me from the beginning and he was one of the friends who kept me going and reminding me that I need to be better than what I was yesterday. He's always praised my demos and has given me constructive criticism on each of them. If it wasn't for insomnia, I don't think I would be of any good producing. I spent 12 hours every day working and practicing on production.
What do you have lined up for the future?
I’ve been so motivated by the support our tracks got from Martin Garrix, Bob Sinclar, Yves V and having them be played live at Tommorowland, Sensation White, Creamfields. I'm searching for management at the moment so I’ve got my fingers crossed and hoping for the best. I have an entire vault of ID's like George Z calls me the King of ID's. I have this really weird habit of producing half a track and letting it sit in my vault. Mr. Sid told me to finish them since they have potential to be huge. Some of those tracks are with Mr. Sid & George Z really soon and another one with Antheros. George and I have been working on something really different that might good for a label like Axtone.
What has been your proudest moment so far?
Getting all that support meant the world to me because some of them were my idols when I started out back in 2008. My tracks getting played at those huge festivals brought me to tears. Looking back at how It all started and where I am now, it’s all been a blessing. It's like a dream come true.
Do you have any messages you want to send out to aspiring producers?
If you want to be successful, don't be in a hurry to get your tracks out there. Take the time to work on your skills and mix. Be prepared to take hate thrown at you. Don't let anyone tell you that you're no good. Believe and you shall receive. Work hard and don't forget to never stop learning.
Any shout outs you want to make?
Shannon - If you're reading this, I'd like to thank you again for everything you had to offer. I know we don't speak that often because of life and stuff, but if it wasn't for your mom and dad tolerating all the shit we blew on your home theater.
Asad - Thank you for listening to every track I've sent you and putting up with my demos. If it wasn't for your continuous feedback, I wouldn't have worked as hard as I have.
Scott (Ashton Love) - Thanks for working on our debut track. Working with us meant everything in our career.
Jose de Mara - Thanks for releasing our first track and for being a great friend and awesome label boss. I'd like to thank everybody else who has been there for me and supported everything I've ever released.
Lastly, I'd like to thank my mom and dad for giving me the chance in life to do music. If it wasn't for you all enrolling in me in guitar classes, I wouldn't be where I am today.
Chris W. Lao
DJ, Writer, and Student
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