We caught up with wave and future garage pioneer Resonata (owner of Sekai Collective) to talk life and the future of underground music. Read his story here…
Hey Resonata, thanks so much for agreeing to an interview. Where are you based? Do you tend to travel a lot, or are you firmly rooted at home?
I’m currently based in Richmond, VA but I travel a lot and have lived all over the U.S. Before Richmond, I lived near Seattle, and I grew up in Texas.
Can you recall your first real exposure to music?
I started young so it’s a blur what exact moment I remember being exposed, but my dad was a huge music enthusiast as well as a vocalist in various bands while I grew up. His music tastes and passion for what he loved probably had the most impact on me and how I came to love music in the same way he did.
How and when did you first begin writing and creating music?
I started digging into the dubstep scene around late 2010 and was inspired to create my own. A friend of mine at the time told me a list of what I’d need to get started so I bought them all the next day and began grinding away on FL Studio.
Can you describe your music for us?
My sound has generally been very chill until recently and somewhere along the way I coined the phrase “dance music for sad people” which I feel kinda stuck.
Tell us about your recent live shows? Would you like to do more shows or tours in future? Anything coming up soon you’d like to tell us about?
I love organizing and playing shows. Being involved in the music we’re pushing feels more real when you have a direct hand in putting artists that have previously just existed online on a stage in front of fans. I don’t want to jinx anything, but I have a lot moving behind the scenes right now which I hope will become very big moves over the next year. However, for anyone in the Seattle area, AETHER’s first show featuring acts like Levitate, brothel, WRCKTNGL, Essex, Dyzphoria, etc. will be at The Underground on August 5th and it should be pretty amazing.
We hear you are currently making a documentary about the wave music scene. Care to tell us a bit about that? When can we expect to see it?
I have no idea when it will be finished or if it will even be finished. I started that project with a lot of optimism but it’s been a bit of a nightmare to organize everyone filming shows independently, not to mention being screwed over by our camera guy who toured with us. Because of him, we have no documentation of the tour outside of what people recorded on their phones and 1-2 independent photographers who were generous enough to send me what they had.
What have been your biggest influences?
I grew up on heavy and industrial metal. My favorite bands/artists from back in the day include Nine Inch Nails, Deftones, Rage Against the Machine, Fear Factory, and Stabbing Westward. As I became older, I started appreciating artists like Massive Attack, Burial, Synkro, and HEALTH more.
Do you think producing electronic music requires technical or creative skill? Or both
To be honest, I don’t think it “requires” creative skill, but being creative helps ensure your music doesn’t get lost in a sea of music that sounds exactly the same. Anyone with technical knowledge knows you can create a pop hit by the numbers and never stretch a creative muscle in your entire body. They all practically recycle the same 4 chord progressions. Creative skill is necessary if you want to be remembered.
Do you tend to find the creative process a cathartic or therapeutic experience? Has creating music helped you cope with difficult times in your life?
Definitely. Many of my past songs have been ways for me to process feelings of grief, abandonment, or other feelings that maybe talking about isn’t enough. I also like to leave pretty vivid descriptions on SoundCloud, detailing what I was going through with specific songs at the time I created them.
Any collabs or new joint projects on the horizon?
I’m always working on new stuff. This year seems to be pretty productive for me so I’m hoping to possibly have a couple EPs out before the end of the year or possibly begin working on a 2nd album, but I won’t make any promises.
Any new genres or musical styles you’d like to explore in future?
I’ll probably just stick to the more emotive electronic styles right now. I wouldn’t even say I’d necessarily want to explore other genres, I just try to see if that sound can fit somewhere within the natural flow of my music. Like I wanna produce wave, future garage, witch house, etc., but with my own personal Resonata stamp/style to it. To keep it defined by me.
Do you have any thoughts on the future of underground musical styles? Do you think the scene will evolve further?
The scene will always be evolving. Music and creativity is just one of those things that never stops moving forward. I’m all for it. Just ready for the masses to finally start hearing all of these super underrated artists they’ve been missing out on all this time.
Any new releases coming our way?
Not sure how soon I’ll be releasing anything new, but I still run Sekai Collective and we have a lot going on with that, including a massive compilation album due out next month.
Any artists or other individuals / collectives you’ve not worked with yet that you’d like to work with in future?
Too many to count. I don’t bother with the thought of being involved in other collectives so much unless they were doing more IRL to make this music more tangible or in the public sphere, which is what I’m trying to do. They’d have to be as driven as me basically, if not more than me. As far as collabs go, I just like consistency and dependability in artists I work with. Sometimes I get inspired and try to finish tracks in a week and I can’t collab with someone who will sit on that project for a month, only to tell me they can’t come up with anything for it.
Do you have a favourite track / song of all time? Favourite artist?
I’ll never be able to pick an all time favorite song or even artist for that matter, but “Right Where It Belongs” by NIN could possibly be that song for me. For me, listening to it is almost therapeutic. By the end I’m getting chills and tearing up. It’s such a beautiful song.
It’s been said that a life in music can be a hard one. Would you agree with that
Definitely. It’s not sustainable when you’re still an irrelevant nobody, but something worth the sacrifice when you finally see yourself getting somewhere comfortable. It’s just disheartening when you see people get rich and famous with no talent and who couldn’t care less about the craft or the art behind it.
Do you have any words of advice for aspiring young producers?
Yea. If you genuinely love producing and creating, keep going. It’s good for the soul. Eventually you’ll have a music family to be a part of and grow with and hopefully tour with one day and nothing in life could come close to those experiences.
Any other Resonata projects on the horizon that you’d like to tell us about?
Working on a wave EP for a big label atm. Working on another EP with more of my older chill sound as well, but if inspiration hits hard enough, I might just turn that into a full album.
And finally – are there any tracks / artists that are relatively unknown that you’d like people to know about?
Trying to bring back a monthly mix series I used to run where I can showcase more of the unknown artists I seem to find. Can’t think of any off the top of my head, but if there were a place to find what I’m really into at any time, it will be those mixes.
Thanks so much Resonata!
Resonata’s back catalogue is available here. Sekai‘s compilation album will be released next month (watch this space for details).