We spent some time this week catching up with our newest signed artist to the Uninvented Records family – No Good! His debut release H3LP is out now for purchase, streaming, and free download via the UR SoundCloud Page. It is an honor to be working with this artist as we feel he has a very bright future in the music industry.
Q: Where are you from?
A: Kailua Kona Hawaii. I was born and raised there. I left the island when I was 18. I’m from the Kona side but did some college on the Hilo side so lived over there as well.
Q: What kind of music did/do you listen to?
A: When I do listen to music I mostly listen to video game OSTs (official soundtracks) while doing work as they allow me to concentrate without getting too hype, but when I’m not trying to focus I like high energy future bass, dubstep, or pop, although when I’m driving I only listen to classical music or the music of the people in the car next to me, sadly.
Q: What do you do to pay the bills?
A: I’m an electrical engineer. I spend most of the days managing projects or designing communications systems and algorithms. It is a great job if you want stability and like working all the time and not having any hobbies or friends.
Q: What are your non-music hobbies?
A: I don’t have many nowadays. When I used to play guitar that took about 2-3 hours of my day every day, but now I just take care of my land and house. I do a lot of my promotional and album art as well since I used to be big into art as a kid so that takes a little of my time now.
Q: How do you feel about collaboration?
A: I absolutely love it. I always have 3-4 tracks in the works with other artists. I really like how two people have to come together and compromise to make something new. I think that you aren’t really doing it right if you go into a collab and plan to do you. I think the most unique and beautiful songs come out of a collab where the artists go into it and are ready to work with each other in earnest, or even better yet there is a disagreement in what they want the song to be or sound like and they choose to compromise.
Q: Where did you learn to sing?
A: Lol, I didn’t. I have been singing forever, but I don’t think that any of my music classes were directed at learning singing. I was in a jazz ensemble and chamber choir etc… but never took a “singing” class. I really struggle with my voice but have picked up on where I can sign and not sound like trash so I stick with what I can do right now, although I’m always willing to experiment.
Q: Who is your favorite musician?
A: John Mayer. Flat out. I don’t think I could ever play as good as he can and his songwriting is out of this world. It is so diverse even if I can never understand what he is singing.
Q: What is your favorite album?
A: Heartbreak and 808’s by Kanye West. Changed my world. I love how simple he kept it, but it was beautiful at the same time as well. All without being able to sing one bit. Kind of reminds me of me without flattering myself too much.
Q: Why do you like cats?
A: They are jerks. They are transparent. You can’t go wrong with that. I know when they are using me and when they want to be left alone etc… People could learn a thing or two from them.
Q: What are your goals?
Rule the world. I know that is never going to happen, and I don’t even know why I want that, but it is still there. I like to set goals that I could never in my wildest dreams achieve so I am always grinding and working harder than I should. Honestly though, aside of all of that, just get my songs into people’s lives/worlds. I just want my music to make it into everyone’s lives and take up a small corner of their brain.
Q: What inspires your music?
A: The yawning chasm. The fact that there is a definite end to this beautiful ride that we are all on, and I want to make the time I have here feel as full and meaningful as it can while I still can. Also my cat and if you listen to my songs you will see that there is a particular individual they are all focused on. I’m not obsessed.
Q: What inspires your lyrics?
A: Really poorly thought out songs. Having to listen to a song where you can tell they phoned in the lyrics for whatever reason has caused me to spend nights just trying to come up with the right set of words for the song.
Q: What DAW do you use?
A: My primary DAW is Reason. I started in FL actually but got Reason about 10 years ago and stuck with that ever since. I use FL for mastering, but that is it now.
Q: What gear do you use?
A: I downgraded to a Blue Ice microphone, and that is it. I have owned thousands of dollars worth of gear in the past, and it all just ended up being a distraction from my music making and slowing me down. So now I just rock the laptop and Reason for all my songs.
Q: What do you do for mixing and mastering?
A: I iterate. I spend hours and days listening and tweaking until it is what I want. I do it all in FL Studio right now due to Reason’s lack of a brick wall limiter. They have a limiter, and I love it, but they don’t have something that is suitable for a master. Anyways, it really all starts with a good mix. Multiple EQs , compressors, and equalizers on each tracka , large cup of decaf coffee, and like 10 hours of time.
Q: What is your songwriting process like?
A: I hear songs in my head when I’m falling asleep, so a lot of the time I slap the tape recorder next to my bed and hum what I’m hearing into it like a mad man. It is always fun listening to those the next day. The other half of the time I just work through ideas in my head while driving in to work. Then iterate on the way home. So on and so forth until I have enough to sit down at the computer and rough out a song. Sometimes I start by trying to rip off a song flat out and just letting what happens come out without forcing it to sound like the song that I started trying to rip off. It almost always takes a hard left right away and becomes a new song before anything really happens. That is all of course when I’m not collaborating. That is a different process.
Q: How has your songwriting process changed over the years?
A: Immensely. I’m all about less nowadays. I used to spend as much time on a track as I could and I didn’t understand that people can only hear so many instruments at once before it sounds like white noise, let alone the engineering issues faced when jamming 60 tracks into a mix. It is funny because the only real negative feedback I get now on my music is that it is too simple, but that is exactly what I am going for. I don’t want complexity anymore , I would rather achieve complexity with forethought and arrangement and sound design etc. than with layering and more sounds. This is a huge question, but I’ll keep it like my new process and end it before it gets out of hand.
Q: How long have you been making music?
A: Probably 16 years or so. I wrote like 300 songs for guitar before I got into electronica and then another 300 in electronica. New songs are a great distraction from actual work and the work on tracks that you are supposed to be finishing up.
Q: How did you get into music?
A: No clue. It was most likely for perceived stardom when I was a young man. I mean, initially, I started playing the piano as my mother, a classical musician and the best piano player in the world (seriously, can sight read and play any piece of insane classical music, an absolute marvel), put me in piano lessons. As I got older I was drawn to the dark side of bass and guitar and that just kind of stuck. At some point, I stopped trying to coordinate with other musicians and keep a band together, so I turned to electronica for its one stop shop band in a box appeal and never looked back.
Q: What is one crazy weird fact about you?
A: I hate listening to music actually. It drives me crazy. I like pure silence. It might make more sense to ask this question before the last one.
Q: What do/don’t you like about making music?
A: It is torture. I can never find the time to work on it, and when I do it feels pressured. It is nothing like it is supposed to be or how it was when I was young. I am creatively tapped out and don’t have the freedom I need to get creative anymore so yeah, it is torture, but the fact that people hear it and love it, when they do love it, means so much to me. I’m addicted to that and wouldn’t be able to live without it.