‘Electronic music is without limits, the same is true with the experimentalists of our time. wasaaga’s music is between art, culture and beat-orientated patterns, coupled with melodies that make you dream of unknown places, but so much more. #WEATNU DM had a moment to hear what wasaaga had to say about his music, he is a solo artist from Michigan.’
Photography by Ben Armes
How are you doing today?
wasaaga: I’m pretty good, man. feeling very mellow today. Sunday seems to have that effect, haha.
Great to hear that! We’ve been playing your music for some time on #WEATNU OUR, but some haven’t heard you in #WEATNU, could you tell us about your style and music?
wasaaga: My music is ambient, eclectic, and raw; even disorienting at times. It’s a constant experimentation. I’m learning all the time.
How long have you created this type of electronic? I hear dream-like moments with side-chained instruments connected to each other.
wasaaga: I enjoy that description! Haha! I’ve been building electronic music for about 5 years now. Yeesh.
Were you making music before that time?
wasaaga: I was! I’m originally a drummer. I have been since I was about 14-15, so prior to electronic music I was playing in bands. Believe it or not, I originally come from playing metal!
It’s not surprising as I come from a guitar background myself. Could you tell us the story behind wasaaga?
wasaaga: Wasaaga is a place I spent a big chunk of my childhood at. My family and I grew up there. it’s always been a place of inner peace for me; a place to let everything go. My family eventually sold their property there, but that place has always inspired me, and the feeling that place gave me has always served as a huge inspiration to what I create.
That is a great story, you can feel it behind the music with the pulsing rhythms. Much like when I first heard “The Truman Show" your concept album taken from the film.
How did you come up with the inspiration to write such a unique album?
wasaaga: I was really just learning. Truman was a huge learning experience for me. I’m pretty impartial to it now, myself, but it’s cool people are still finding something special in it. Truman was really me learning how to come into my own, and for that, it served it’s purpose. Overall, it taught me a ton about what my goals were and what I wanted to do with my projects.
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Would you consider yourself an avant-garde.
wasaaga: I think it’s hard for me to self-assign a title like that. I’m just doing what feels right to me. What it’s considered is up to the listener, really.
Kind of a post-art, that’s more or less what I was speaking of, one can’t label avant-garde, thankfully. What projects have you been up to these few years?
wasaaga: I’ve mainly been working on my debut LP, “Wasaagamach," which we’re hoping to release later in the Spring.
Is wasaaga one person or more?
wasaaga: It’s all my vision; however, there are more people involved with the construction of this project than just me. All of the music is written by me, though.
Kind of a collage of minds then?
wasaaga: Yeah, that’s a good way to put it.
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Do you play often in venues in your area, around Michigan?
wasaaga: Not yet. We’re still building the live set. We’re working to create an audio-visual experience for shows, but we’re not quite there. So not yet. But soon!
What influences have you had had to create your music, and how did you get started creating electronic music?
wasaaga: I’m really inspired by my friends. Some of my closest friends started to pick it up and I guess it just stuck. I really loved the element of sonic exploration, and it kept me coming back for more.
Do I hear hiphop beats in your sound?
Brad: I pull a lot of inspiration from the genre, so yeah, I’d say so.
What kind of music did you grow up to, do I hear a hint of Classical?
wasaaga: I grew up with a pretty wide genre range. I came from metal, which I think has endless correlations to classical music. Listening to progressive music growing up, things so complex in theory and structure, really taught me about what makes classical music so amazing.
These days, I’m very interested in the world of minimal classical music. Artists like Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, etc. So it’s definitely an influence, yes.
Did you learn how to write music through the experience of simply listening?
wasaaga: It’s a happy balance between listening and experimentation.
Was Wasaaga here in the States or elsewhere?
wasaaga: Canada, actually.
Canada is very open to electronic artists these days, they would be open to your unique sound.
wasaaga: Absolutely, I agree. Especially the west side.
How do you start music, from scratch?
wasaaga: Usually from scratch, yes.
wasaaga: Propellorhead Reason.
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You’ve also done some special video work for Sounds of Skateboarding, what is the story behind that?Â
wasaaga: An old friend of mine, Brad Stencil, always had this idea to create a skate film scored by the sounds made when skateboarding. He and his closest friends went out and recorded samples from the park, which would eventually come together to create the score.
Have many seen the amazing artistry of this video?
wasaaga: Yeah, a good amount have. I was interviewed by Everything Sounds about the project, and for a while that interview was #2 in the storytelling category on Souncloud. I’d call that a success.
It also premiered at the Broke Student Film Festival last year.
It certainly is brilliant.
wasaaga: Thank you, sir!
Very welcome. Do you also play the keyboard?
wasaaga: I do! I was classically trained in piano but had a falling out. The motor memory is still there, so once I started writing my own material my passion for it came back.
How has your music be received in We are the New Underground?
wasaaga: Pretty well, from what I can tell. It’s very cool what you guys have going.
It was important to find the talented artist and let the world know about them, that’s been the mission.
wasaaga: It’s great, man.
Do you have a plan for the future of wasaaga, looking to expand into bigger places, live and so forth?
wasaaga: Definitely. Just plan to keep working and see where it goes!
How many albums have you’ve written since you began?
wasaaga: I guess this upcoming release would be my fourth.
Have you heard any artists swimming around in #WEATNU?
wasaaga: Yeah, I like to keep up with the station when I can. I’m loving a lot of material on there.
It’s cool to know people are listening.
Where can people find your music?
wasaaga: On soundcloud.com/wasaaga
Wishes for SXSW?
wasaaga: Wishing I was there to see Mew. I’m really hoping those performances turn into a U.S. tour.
You could also play there, I’m sure the exposure would be great for you.
wasaaga: Absolutely! I’d love to. One year.
And a curve ball… What’s you’re favourite commercial on tv?
wasaaga: I love the Danny Trejo/Brady Bunch Snickers ad.
Thank you so much for having this interview with #WEATNU DM today.
wasaaga: Absolutely man! Thanks for having me!
And a huge “Good Luck" to your future in music!
wasaaga: Thanks man. You too.
#WEATNU Digital Magazine