Monstercat Signee Sound Remedy Talks Colorado, Giving Back, and the Business of EDM

Reaching numerous top ten charts over the last few years, Sound Remedy has been one of the defining Gen Y EDM acts to break out of the dance music scene. Coming from a family of classically trained musicians, music has always been a passion for the artist, something that is shown through his remixes, original work, and production. His latest track, “Leaving You,” features fellow Monstercat comrade Savoy, alongside vocalist Jojee. I was able to interview Sound Remedy about his new track, his musical history, giving back to his fans, and the business of EDM music.

You just finished up your Red Rocks show in Colorado and have another two-hour gig scheduled for August 21. That space is legendary. What are your thoughts on the venue and on Colorado in general?
Colorado is probably my favorite place to play music in the USA. They have incredible crowds and I always feel a genuine appreciation for the music in that space.

Recently, you posted a Facebook status for anyone with extra cash to comment on the post below with their Paypal email and to upload a screenshot of the receipt afterward. You hashtagged the post as #‎REMEDYGIVESBACK and people responded really strongly to the initiative.

I sense that your fan base is incredibly tight-knit with the community you’ve helped harvest. What inspired you to start #‎REMEDYGIVESBACK and how did you manage to cultivate such an involved group of fans?
I think it’s important to show appreciation to the people who helped you get to where you are. Giving them money is my way of doing it. DJ’s are overpaid anyway and I honestly don’t have much else to spend the excess money on so I figured I might as well just give it back to the people who helped me.

Coming from a family of graduates of The Juilliard School of Music and full-time Chicago Symphony Orchestra players, you decided to join them in taking the risk of pursuing a career in music as opposed to pursuing a career in finance. With that background, the decision wasn’t very far-fetched. How important was music in your upbringing? Do your family members still play professionally?
My mom still currently plays violin in the CSO, but my dad doesn’t. He played for twenty-one years. I love classical music and a lot of the music I’m currently writing has strings and horns in it. I’m really excited about the new music that I’ll be releasing soon. So yes, music was crucial in my upbringing.

Continuing with your family background in music, who are your favorite classical musicians? Are you classically trained in any instruments?
I’m classically trained on the piano. My two favorite composers are Beethoven and Claude Debussy. I do listen to all of them though.

On your Twitter you’ve stated that, “The music industry and modern business is built on the premise of making people, ideas and products seem bigger than they actually are,” and that, “It’s important for the ‘small’ artists or new entrants to EDM to not get discouraged. The ‘popular’ artists aren’t as big as they seem.” Would you mind expanding on that? How much does business behind the scenes have to do with the success of prominent EDM figures?
Business is how the world functions and without it everything would be chaos. Everything in the music industry has to do with politics, alliances, and a lot of pufferies. At least that’s how it is as you get deeper into it and start making good money. From a younger producers standpoint, they see these huge acts who have all these followers and social media stats and they get discouraged. They might think to themselves “oh I’ll never be this big” or “it’s impossible to get that many followers.” What I think people don’t realize is that real fans often cannot be purchased via a marketing campaign. Genuine value comes from the products themselves, in this case, the music. This is why if you make really good music then you can still get paid a lot of money even if you don’t have all these BS inflated social statistics. Good music can overcome anything. My ability to create in such a way has put me in a financial position where I don’t need anything from anyone. Any money that I make now is on my terms with little to no negotiation. This is a byproduct of being reliant on core products on not marketing.There are also some deeper implications that the new business models in music consumption have to do with success, but I can’t give those away yet.

You’ve seemed to shift to some more original material this year rather than remixing other artists’ material. How has that change been? Do you prefer one approach more than the other?
I’d rather make original music than remix people even though it’s more difficult.

Your new single, “Leaving You,” features vocals by artist, Jojee, and fellow Monstercat artist, SAVOY. You’ve previously collaborated with another Monstercat artist, Nitro Fun, on the single, “Turbo Penguin.” How has your relationship been with the Monstercat roster and what can we expect in the future with your work and the label?
Monstercat is a great label and they are easy to work with and fair. I will continue working with them. I also like how their business model is based on making money off music that has been written instead of giving an artist a huge advance and forcing them to recoup it. Hopefully, they’ll continue to operate like this and continue to provide these kinds of opportunities.

“Leaving You,” has been described by some blogs as “future bass,” but I’m more interested in your own definition of the sound of the release. What vibe were you going for with the release of this single, and what did you have in mind during the track’s recording process?
To be honest, I’m just trying to make good music and not pay too much attention to the genre.

I saw that you were putting together a label called A5C3ND. At this time, what is the status of the label? Can we expect anything from this venture anytime soon?
I had some legal issues with that which I can’t discuss. I learned a lot from the experience and in the future will be launching something under a different name.

In previous interviews and performances you used to wear a Greek gold mask. You’ve stated that the significance of the mask was meant to, “encapsulate both light and dark ideas in my music hence the comedy and tragedy.” Is this still a prominent idea in your work?
Sound Remedy evolves. I wake up every day different from the day before. The idea of combining light and dark elements however will be a lifelong commitment because no matter how far I progress I always come back to that idea.

What can we expect from your Green Label Live: Vegas show? What’s your relationship with the city itself?
I love Vegas. I expect to see how the crowd is and just vibe with whatever the mood is! I’m excited.

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