Greetings everyone, and welcome to the Community blog featuring the winner of Artists Wanted edition no. 3.
In case you’ve missed it, the Artists Wanted series on the Spotify Community is an ongoing project where we, the Community Music Chat Team, invite artists on the Community to share their newest releases and introduce themselves.
Like the first two editions of the project, the third edition saw many great, upcoming artists share their music and a bit about themselves, which you can check out here. After the Community cast their votes on the submitted songs, the winner was then revealed.
A Liverpool, UK-based artist, Dan King creates upbeat and atmospheric house music. I had the chance to ask this talented artist some questions to get to know him better, and you can read our conversation below:
What initially inspired you to start creating music?
In my free time, music has always been there to fill it in. If I’m playing games, at the gym, doing work etc., I couldn’t enjoy it without a song playing. As I've listened non-stop, ideas are basically engrained in my head. I would always listen critically too. If there was one tiny part of a song I didn’t like I’d skip it.
I will always have the confidence I can improve. And so to test myself, I downloaded the Ableton demo version for the first coronavirus lockdown which was great since it was bumped up to 3 months trial from 1 (I think). I can’t say I enjoyed it much at the beginning. The most valuable thing for me back then was improving hotkey knowledge and workflow. But in the recent months at uni I’ve been watching more videos on YouTube, learning techniques, training my ear, crafting more musical demos, and overall progressing faster.
I still haven’t found my sound yet as my 3 releases have all been in entirely different styles. If I’m honest, I don’t think I’ll ever release another song like See It To Believe It, but who knows?
For someone who described themselves as “boring” in the song submission stage of our project, your music definitely doesn’t seem that way! What is your creative process like for writing and recording these impressive tracks?
Not gonna lie, I wasn’t sure what to put!
I have nearly one hundred memos on my phone of me whistling melodies… at the moment I don’t have enough experience or sounds to transpire those ideas exactly how I want them. As of now, my best productions have come on the spot.
Breaking Loose began when I was scrolling through unspecified one-shot samples to see what I had. I found the pluck lead which would play an arp throughout most of the song. Then I found another pluck for the bass. For the chords I wanted the calmness of the violin to make the intro softer as I knew it would be a bouncy track. Eventually comes the kick. After side-chaining, it felt pretty complete. The effects are simple: compression, saturation, reverb then EQ for most things.
It only lacked vocals at this point. I think it was a big fluke to find vocals that work so well. I had never put vocals on a song before, but now was a good time. It took me a while to research websites as well as pitching, warping, de-essing, etc.
Soon after releasing Breaking Loose, I made the decision to turn off Spotify’s equaliser, because it was messing with my head slightly trying to get the bass balance right. Part of the final mixing process involves me playing the music anywhere I can. AirPods, car and house speaker systems etc.
I think the instrumental aspects of “Breaking Loose” nicely highlight the vocals. Are you the vocalist, or do you collaborate with vocalists in your music?
So far, I’ve only used LANDR to find my vocals. I think vocals on any website tend to be quite monotone so that they can fit any chord progression, but they are still great. I definitely want to have access to proper vocalists because there is more freedom with the melody, tone, volume and aggressiveness. I feel my reputation isn’t there yet, but I’ll start looking around to see if there are other options.
The artwork for your songs “Breaking Loose” and your more recent single, “See It To Believe It,” look awesome; I was curious who designed them?
Me — using Canva.
Breaking Loose was made with a picture I took at Delamere Forest in Cheshire, England. See It To Believe It was actually meant to be a black hole but after using blur, plus other effects, it looked like an eye which fit the title even better.
I usually try to blend white text into brighter areas.
You mentioned that your musical inspirations include Avicii, Calvin Harris, Camelphat, Disclosure, Gorgon City, Kygo, Klangkarussel, John Summit, ODESZA, and MEDUZA. When you’re not listening to your own music, are these your favorite artists to hear?
Yes. Most of my favourite artists fall into the House genre. Even then, they all have differing styles and suit them well. I was super selective; there are many more artists I could’ve picked.
The way I combine electronic and acoustic sounds in I’m Here, Avicii’s influence is most apparent.
Do you have any favorite hobbies?
Over the summer I like to go mountain biking and play tennis. During uni everyone is busy so Saturday and Friday nights are our best bet of doing anything. And we try not to miss any football match.
Poker was a big hobby for a while. I have a group of friends online and we all joined the same online tournaments (only $2 entries) but I cashed out what I had. I was pleased considering I’d never deposited but I wanted to keep it that way so I stopped online. I went once in-person but any casino's atmosphere is too tense for me. They almost scare me.
As you mentioned that you recently posted your newest song on DistroKid, can you tell us more about this new track?
My newest song 'I'm Here' released today! It includes both acoustic and electronic sounds. It is much different to Breaking Loose — The bass isn't as heavy and there are more high frequency, high energy sounds at a faster tempo.
Thank you again @danking1 for taking the time to answer my questions, and congrats again on releasing such wonderful music!
Remember that Artists Wanted is an ongoing project. You can view the submissions for edition no. 4 here; and if you’re an artist, feel free to send us your music in the upcoming submission thread for edition no. 5 (to be posted as always in Chat -> Discovery & Promo).