Dead End | Interview
[Kian] I would like to start off by saying that you’ve absolutely smashed it with this EP! The quality and consistency of Strapped is astounding. It’s a real shame that parties are on hold at the moment, I would love to hear all of these go off on the dance floor!
[Dead End] Thank you so much man! It’s a big achievement for me, to release an EP on Unchained so I’m really stoked about it. Hope that things can be better in the near future so we can party together and drop these beats in a club. That would be sick for sure!
[Kian] We’re in very strange times at the moment, how’s the situation over in Portugal? Has your creativity been affected at all during these lockdowns?
[Dead End] In Portugal everything stopped since the beginning of the pandemic situation. We’re stuck in our homes, the clubs are shut down and lots of people are going out of business. Some friends of mine from music are really struggling to keep going, so culture is literally dying and we have no real support or initiatives from the government. At the same time this is a worldwide health situation and we need to be cautious, be patient and keep fighting so everything can return to the way it was. In these times I’m fortunate to have a full time job aside from music. Since my boss is making me work from home I always try to make even more music than I was able to make before. For a producer I think lockdowns are very common so as much as the whole situation is worrying, music is always my safe place, a place to get away. So when I’m in my zone all things disappear and the creativity flows.
[Kian] Yeah man it’s tough times at the moment, good to hear you’re managing it alright… So tell me a little bit about your journey as a producer. How did you get into making electronic dance music?
[Dead End] I started making beats ten years ago and the production was all more hip-hop oriented but I soon realized that I wanted to make my music as an individual and unique body of art that meant something to me and besides that I didn’t fit in any group or produced for a specific artist. Some people said my beats were weird to rap on, but I believed in my music, so I began experimenting, pushing more, learning sound design techniques and fusing elements from different genres and of course influenced by electronic music artists that I love. Things just evolved from there to where I’m at right now.
[Kian] What have been some of the greatest moments and challenges to you in your career so far?
[Dead End] The first greatest moment was when I realized I wanted to make music for life when I won a national beat battle competition as an unknown bedroom producer. That really was a boost in my motivation. But since in Portugal this type of music is not very well known and it’s an underground thing, we don’t have many parties around. I think my biggest and hardest challenge was to export my music worldwide. There are so many awesome artists around the world it’s difficult but with a lot of effort, training, evolution and support from fellow producers I finally got to release music in labels that I admire. Also being able to play in Fusion Festival last year in a Saturate Takeover was really a dream. Playing in an international event was a goal I pursued for a long time.
[Kian] I understand that the late Razat (rest in peace) had an impact on your musical journey. Would you mind sharing what kind of an influence he had on you?
[Dead End] Razat was one of the best producers, he was really a production genius, a master in sound design and a pioneer in electronic music. I’ve admired Baltazar’s music for so long and when I got to know him it was amazing, he was a great person, a big artist and a dude who always had the right words to motivate. He was always giving feedback and support on my music, pushing me to make better beats, to evolve my sound design and also helped me to launch my music internationally. So he’s a person that I will never forget and as far as I’m able I will always play his music in every show I’m in. I miss talking to him but his legacy will be forever.
The sound design on Strapped is extremely technical and is cohesive throughout the whole EP. I understand if it’s a secret sauce, but could you shed a little light onto your process?
[Dead End] Yes of course. When I don’t want to make beats or feel a lack of inspiration I force myself to make long sound design sessions with my Neutron and then I add those weird sounds, noises, synths and basses to my library. I also search for movie samples, traditional music, weird foley sounds, etc. When I’m in the mood, that library helps me get new ideas. I usually start with the drums to get me in the rhythm then I chop the sounds or samples I worked earlier and spend hours experimenting, processing, being meticulous and getting things sounding right for me.
[Kian] If you were forced to produce with only one piece of hardware/VST for sound design, which one would it be?
[Dead End] For my music right now Neutron for sure. It’s an affordable hardware synth that helps me get new ideas, as it has a lot of potential in a variety of music elements such as synths, basses and noises. The learning curve is a bit long but when you get it you can get super creative and make amazing sounds.
[Kian] On a slight tangent, the ’80s sound has been making a big resurgence in today’s popular music. What’s your favourite ’80s jam?
[Dead End] I have a few guilty pleasures from that era, “Africa” by Toto, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album, “Where is my mind?” by Pixies, “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics , Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”, “Pump up the jam” by Technotronic or some Queen’s tracks, etc.
[Kian] We’re coming up towards the end of 2020 now, what are your hopes and plans for next year?
[Dead End] I hope this pandemic passes so people can connect again in a more emotional and intimate way. I also hope the suffering that this virus is causing on our society can be compensated and overturned. I also hope that human beings get more comprehensive and tolerant of each other’s ideas without constantly fighting for rights and liberties that need to be already in place as they are common sense in a modern society.