The Minnesota snow won’t stop Basic Physics (Alex Syse) from bringing his success home to Minneapolis. Catch this local mash-up and bootleg talent for FREE at Rev Ultra Lounge this Friday.
Although Alex has played with major EDM artists including Hardwell, Big Gigantic and Steve Aoki, his mash-ups stem from all genres. He let us in on all of his inspiration, creative processes and how the magic happens.
1. What initially inspired you to make and perform music?
Before EDM became popular here, I traveled around the United States & Europe following jam bands. Phish, Umphrey’s Mcgee, a few others. In high school I was able to travel to San Fran, New York, Atlanta, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, dozens of cities to see music. This allowed see a wide variety of acts, some of which included Pretty Lights, The Glitch Mob, Girl Talk, and Bassnectar. I was curious how they made their style of music and that opened pandora’s box into music production. The big shift from jam bands to dance music came after listening to Daft Punk’s “Discovery.” From that point forward, I knew I wanted to make dance music.
2. You have a lot of experience in marketing and brand design. What was it like balancing the marketing of the Basic Physics brand while still trying to grow as an artist and performer?
It’s a balancing act, but the key is to never stay still and to form real relationships with people. It can be overwhelming to submit your music to blogs for review, to build your brand from nothing, especially with so much competition out there, but if you have a strong team, a good sound, and your humble, you can do it. I certainly can’t take all the credit as I’ve had graphic designers, management, mentors, and artists who have helped me along the way.
3. When making a mashup, what is your creative process for song selections? How do you try to keep the listener into it 100% from beginning to end?
I look at it from a couple of different views. The first is if your combining elements that are completely different from each other, but they fit like a glove, your 90% there. It may only be a couple of instrumentals and single vocal sample, but if it something never combined and different, that’s all it takes to keep a listener into it. One of the first mashups I ever made reflects that process and you can listen to it here.
The second view more of a mashup anthem perspective. How many samples can you fit in to keep it fresh and interesting, without it sounding cluttered? An example of that is here.
4. When you are producing a mix do you prefer to make it live from start to finish all in one take, or to be able to go back and fine-tune?
I like to mix 30 minutes to an hour at a time, and then take a few minutes to do something else. Your ears can actually get tired and you won’t hear certain frequencies properly. Taking time away and coming back to it can give you new perspective too.
5. What kind of music did you listen to growing up? Do you think it had an impact on the music you produce today?
Everything. Beastie Boys to Dave Matthews Band to Daft Punk. I think it does have an impact on the music I produce today. I like to incorporate different genres into mixes, especially live performances, and moving forward in production, I won’t be limiting myself into one specific genre.
6. How did you obtain the skills needed to produce and perform music?
There is really no blueprint on how to do it, but I’ve found the best way is video tutorials on mixing, sound creation, and music theory, reading blog threads, creating sounds from scratch, and also trying to reproduce sounds that I like. I once thought you could learn it all in months. It takes years.
8. Where would you like to see your music take you in the future?
I’ve had an unbelievable run with the Basic Physics brand. I’ve learned so much that I will be able to use on future projects. I will have some major announcements in the next month regarding my future plans as a producer, what other projects I’ve been working on and the new sound that you can expect!