[ARTIST SPOTLIGHT] Beauty in the Breakdown

Last week, West Coast EDM had the opportunity to break it all down with Beauty In The Breakdown (sorry). You can check out our exclusive interview below. Looking forward to catching these guys all over California and beyond!

West Coast EDM: How'd you guys all meet?

BITB: We actually all met when we were each playing in different bands while on tour. We had a mutual admiration for one another and became friends through the music. From there, we remained in touch and when the time was right, we connected and knew that if we in fact played music together it would be electrifying and fulfilling. And it truly has been.

West Coast EDM: Five is a lot for an electronic music group - describe the dynamic!

BITB: You're right. However, it's been such a brilliant experience being able to create an EDM sound with our acoustic instruments. Many don't know this from the record but I actually play 4 percussion instruments live: the congas, timbales, electronic cajon and the djembe. This has really allowed us to take our creativity in directions we never imagined possible. It is at the same time very difficult and time consuming. But I believe the are no short cuts to greatness so we just put the time in and let inspirations flow.

West Coast EDM: Have to ask - what’s the story behind the name?

BITB: Well, after watching one of my favorite movies "Gardenstate" the song at the end is actually called Beauty in the Breakdown and it's by The Scene Aesthetic. It touched me profoundly and I thought to myself, therein lies the truth of our existence. My greatest mentors and the greatest scholars have all achieved what they have because they had to experience darkness before they could truly understand the majesty of the light. I feel that you truly discover your authentic self when faced with adversity which allows your true beauty to then shine. Which is why there is Beauty In The Breakdown.

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"I feel that you truly discover your authentic self when faced with adversity which allows your true beauty to then shine."

West Coast EDM: How did you each get your start in music?

BITB: We come from so many different backgrounds. I would say we all probably feel like we have been playing since birth but really, at least for me, it started when I was rocking out in drum circles in Venice Beach while also bonding with the people. It brought me a joy and inner glow that I had never felt before and I just knew I didn't want to do anything else. And because music was my voice and the driving force in which I wanted to share with the masses I just started to manifest opportunities. Good ole power of intention. This led to my first band getting to play on the vans warped tour, to rocking with Cypress Hill and then eventually playing with Duran Duran. I think that when you are honest and mercifully passionate about your pursuits and desires they organically present themselves and allow you to take hold and never let go. I think I can speak for all of us in BITB that music is like the air to us.

West Coast EDM: Most memorable adventure together?

BITB: I would have to say it was probably playing a festival in Juneau, Alaska. First, it was always a must visit but never did I think that a). they loved EDM as much as they did, and b). how diverse and creative the natives were.  Not to mention they showed us a whole other level of what it is to party till the break of dawn. I mean who knew - Alaska, we love you!

West Coast EDM: What track are you most proud of and why?

BITB: I would have to say Firebird at the moment. And not just because it's our newest single but because the meaning of the song and that which it was built from has profound meaning to us. Especially in a world right now that appears divided, Firebird comes at a good time as it represents rising from the ashes and being capable of changing the paradigm shift into that which is wholly positive and vibrant. Writing it felt effortless and it allowed us to experiment with trap, which we are huge fans of.

West Coast EDM: Who are your electronic/non-electronic music influences?

BITB: This can go on for days but to keep it brief I would say everywhere from Sade, Kaskade, LCD Soundsystem, Prince, OceanLab, The Cure, Disclosure, FKA Twigs and Santana.

West Coast EDM: By the same token, who would you love to collaborate with?

BITB: I mean it would definitely have to be Kaskade but it would also be incredible to work with Sia as she has such beautiful vision and an authenticity that I fully relate to.

West Coast EDM: What are your other hobbies outside of music?

BITB: Well, we love the outdoors. Connection with the planet outside of the city landscape is always inspiring. So that includes everywhere from surfing, hiking, sailing and camping. I love to paint as it brings such peace to my heart. Also love to meditate and we're huge fans of soundbaths as they just ignite the senses. Another love is to float. If you have never done it please do yourself a favor. It's life altering.

West Coast EDM: Where do you see BITB in 5 years time?

BITB: Touring the world, inspiring planet earth and truly making a change that allows us to touch people's lives deeply and personally. I see us challenging ourselves to bring forth a fresh approach to everything we do and all while just enjoying the ride by being present in every moment.

If you appreciate the refreshing outlook on the impact of their music as much as we did, catch them next at Hard Rock Cafe in Seattle on October 20th. Can't wait to see what the future has in store for these guys!

Alison Wonderland Teams Up With Microsoft's Music x Technology Program

Last night, Microsoft and LA-based electronic DJ and producer Alison Wonderland packed the house at The Microsoft Lounge in Venice to unveil a new custom performance kit for her upcoming tour, kicking off this weekend on August 5.

Inspired by spiritual iconography and elements of high fantasy, Alison has collaborated with Microsoft to produce jaw-dropping, dynamic visuals that she and her VJ are able to control in real time, from stage. It’s all powered by a performance kit running on a Microsoft Surface Book; a new plug-and-play solution that can adapt to any stage and any vibe.

The invite-only event included an intimate DJ set by Alison Wonderland and an exclusive look at the Microsoft-enabled live show, which fans will be able to experience this summer around the US, before it travels to Europe, Australia, and beyond.

Alison Wonderland's first full length album, Run, landed at #1 on the US Billboard electronic music charts and went gold in Australia. Now she's collaborated with Microsoft to produce a visual experience that will take her upcoming international tour to the next level.

"All I've ever wanted was for people to leave my shows feeling like they have truly experienced something. I feel like the project with Microsoft, which I’ve been working very hard on, has really helped bring my vision to life. I want people to forget about their phones and enjoy the 'now’.” — Alison Wonderland

This collaboration is the latest in artist series Music x Technology, an initiative that celebrates forward-thinking artists who are using Microsoft technology to transform the way we create and experience music. With regular artist collaborations, the program seeks to empower artists with unique opportunities to create one-of-a-kind experiences for their fans. Find out more at: www.microsoft.com/inculture/musicxtech.

[ARTIST SPOTLIGHT] COUCHERON

This week's artist spotlight features an immensely talented and hilarious DJ/producer from Norway. He's a Gypsy Jazz lover named Sebastian Kornelius but you might know him better as Coucheron. Well, West Coast EDM had the opportunity to get the personal scoop.

West Coast EDM: What’s the story behind the name?

Coucheron: The name comes from my great-great-grandmother, and for some reason it dissappeared with her. But I liked it and thought it sounded cool so I started uploading songs with it. Not my best decision seeing as it’s really hard for people to spell it out when I tell them my name is “Koosheron.” But you win some and you lose some.

West Coast EDM: How did you get your start in music? Do you play any instruments?

Coucheron: I started playing in punk bands when I was 10, I played the guitar and drums. My band was just about to start growling (FUCK YEA BRAAAWWWH) when we decided to quit. After that I got into making music on my computer, and made some incredibly sucky music for 2 years before putting anything out... I often think about who I would be if we started growling.

West Coast EDM: What’s your process when creating a track? Do you generally have something in mind or is it a completely blank slate?

Coucheron: It depends. It often starts out in one of three ways:

  1. I’ll have voice memos on my phone, and start from there.
  2. I’ll play the piano or guitar until I hear something interesting to start off.
  3. I’ll browse through my “sample” library for inspiration. It’s a pretty extensive library made out of bits and pieces. It’s very neatly organized and I use them without getting sued yay. It’s a fun way to work because I can take ideas that are meant for one thing and do something unexpected with them. 

BUT I'd say most of the time I’ll come up with something by accident while tinkering around in the studio.

West Coast EDM: How has your style evolved from your perspective?
Coucheron: I think I’ve grown out of having a particular “style”. Whenever I think “omg I’ve finally found my sound,” I grow really tired of it shortly after. I used to think I made French House, but nowadays I’ll just make anything that strikes a nerve with me. I usually tell people “I make pop music” mehe.

West Coast EDM: Who would you love to collaborate with?

Coucheron: Arctic Monkeys (!!!!). Or Vampire Weekend. Ty Dolla Sign would be supertight too.  

West Coast EDM: Which producers have inspired your style?

Coucheron: I started out by copying a bunch of french house acts like Justice, Daft Punk and SebastiAn. And Lemaitre, whom I share a house with in LA now yay. I still am very inspired by all of them but the list of inspirations has grown immensely over the past few years. Timbaland, Noisia, Cashmere Cat, Madlib, Billboard, Diplo to name a few. Ariel Rechtshaid has produced some incredible records over the years as well.

West Coast EDM: Favorite sub-genres of electronic music?

Coucheron: I’m really bad at keeping up with the names of sub-genres. I still like a Nu-Disco record and have gotten really into Drum N' Bass as of late. But I digs some future bass stuff too. I do go to SoundCloud from time to time and discover mindblowing music.

West Coast EDM: Any pre-show rituals?

Coucheron: Not really. I’ll crack a cold one with the band and then have a few minutes in solidarity.

West Coast EDM: If you could throw your own festival, which producers would be on the roster?

Coucheron: I’d like to hear DJ sets from Mark Ronson, Cashmere Cat, Questlove, Max Martin and Noisia. But I wouldn’t really want to hear them play their own songs, just their favorite songs.

West Coast EDM: What are your other hobbies?

Coucheron: I like to joke around with music as hobby. I recently started to play violin. I play gypsy jazz guitar with my roommate, Ketil. We’re gonna do a show at an open mic in LA later this year. I love playing football (soccer, that is).

West Coast EDM: What is one of the biggest challenges you've encountered throughout your career?

Coucheron: I’ve had a few down times in terms of motivation and inspiration. Where I’ve gone for weeks and weeks without enjoying anything that I make. You start to forget that adrenaline rush you get when creating something amazing. I found that scary, but that awesome feeling always come back at some point.

West Coast EDM: Any special new plans for future events?

Coucheron: I’m reeaaaally hoping to do a few shows in the states this year and a thousand festivals next year. 

West Coast EDM: What advice would you give to anyone trying to get into music production?

Coucheron: Try to recreate and copy other’s work. When copying sounds, pay attention to how every paramater changes the sound. I’ve stumple upon awesome ideas and sounds by mistake trying to copy others.

West Coast EDM: What current projects are you working on?

Coucheron: I’m working with a few artists besides myself at the moment. I’m spending a lot of the summer working with a Norwegian singer called ARY, who is amazing.

West Coast EDM: What can we expect to see from Coucheron in the next 5 years? Which cities do you hope to visit?

Coucheron: You can expect THE BIGGEST TUNES OF ALL TIME. And I want to get to Tokyo asap.

You can check out Coucheron's EXCLUSIVE West Coast EDM Spotify playlist below:

It was an absolute pleasure, Mr. Kornelius. We can't wait to hear what's next!