This week i interviewed Drivepilot, a name that has been featured on the Metalectro blog a few times with his tracks. Drivepilot is based in Portland, USA and during the last year he has already released over 30 original tracks and remixes, including his “Fuck Yeah!” EP.
01. Hi Nick! Would you mind introducing yourself?
Hey, I’m Drivepilot, I’m from the States, and I make noises.
02. So how long are you doing Drivepilot?
I’ve been doing this project since around the beginning of 2010, so just over a year now.
The feedback and support has been incredible from the very beginning. Already more than I could have imagined. The “Fuck Yeah” EP was what really started things going crazy though.
04. You grabbed our attention with your remix on “Firefriend”. Was this the first Metalectro track you ever did? How did you come up with the idea?
No, not at all, I have been doing Metal + Electro for a lot of years in different projects/bands, but it was more metal/rock with electronic influences, while Drivepilot ended up being kinda the opposite, Electro with a metal/rock backbone.
Actually it’s kinda funny, one of my early unreleased songs from before I officially started Drivepilot was actually called Metalectro! (no joke haha) So I got a kick when I saw your blog for the first time.
05. You recently got on #52 of the Beatport Indie Electro/Nu-Disco chart with your Autodidakt & Electro Ferris “Chainsaw” remix. As a remixer what do you think is the best approach to remixing someone else’s music?
With remixes (and originals I suppose), I like to dive in without thinking too much about it. Actually as little about what I’m doing as possible… and just sort of let things happen. Almost like an accident or something. I find when I work like that, songs just come out, extremely quickly, and come out more powerful than I would have expected. But if I go in with too many pre-conceived ideas as to what I want to do with something, I usually end up struggling through it, and it can take forever.
I also really try to do something different with the track rather than just move loops around etc. really more like making a brand new track, but sampling in some elements that made the original song special to me.
06. Do you prefer writing original tracks or remixing?
As I said, I sort of approach both Drivepilot original tracks and remixes relatively the same way, but, with remixes, I do like taking a song I personally connect with and enjoy and taking it to a different place, energy or emotion. Although with originals, there’s something to it being 100% my art/expression. So, each has its place.
07. What would you say is your biggest music achievement/highlight so far?
Just got back from a couple gigs in Portugal, after spending a week over there. That was a pretty great experience and highlight for sure!
08. What are your influences/music background? Have you ever played in a metal band?
I played in some hard rock/metal bands when I was younger, but I have a hard time being in a band element since I can play most instruments myself, and don’t like the drama that can come with multiple egos/schedules/motivation levels, etc.
So what I ended up gravitating towards was a lot of studio production… it started slowly but I spent about 5 or 6 years before Drivepilot, huddled away in my studio working on a couple of solo projects and recording dozens (maybe hundreds) tracks that never saw the light of day, mostly Post-Hardcore, or Rock, but even hip-hop and orchestral compositions.
I think hands down my biggest influence would be Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. His ability to single-handedly (for the most part) write, record, produce, engineer, and master his own albums, playing all the instruments on them himself really struck a chord with me. So I slowly got obsessed with engineering/production, rather than just trying to get better at playing specific instruments, and as all my writing styles/genres started to blend over time my songs started to morph into what is Drivepilot now.
Some of my other influences would be: Thrice, MSTRKRFT, Every Time I Die, Justice, Circa Survive, The Bled, SebastiAn, Peaches, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, The Bloody Beetroots, Ratatat, Boys Noize, to name a few…
09. Do you prefer working only with computers/sequencers or do you get your hands dirty playing and recording instruments? Do you use samples and what’s your opinion on sampling and copyright?
I love incorporating organic instruments as much as possible. You can find live guitar, bass, drums, vocals, pianos, etc scattered through my Drivepilot tracks. It definitely is part of what defines my sound I think.
10. Do you use analogue equipment or do you prefer keeping everything “in the box”?
I used to be really big into analog gear, and acquiring as much outboard gear as possible, but I’ve ended up getting almost everything in the box at this point. I still use some external hardware compressors, synths, as well as instruments, and guitar pedals/gear from time to time though.
11. So, what is music for you and what do you think about the way the music industry is changing?
To steal a quote, “Music is my religion”. Music is powerful! It’s deeper to me than almost anything. I’m a huge music fan, and it’s always been the one thing that has gotten me through tough times, or been the soundtrack to the best of times.
The combination of global social networking, with reduction of equipment/recording costs really changed the music industry 100% within the last decade, especially the last 2 or 3 years. More people now can create music without having to rely on traditional record labels, and can share instantly with people with similar musical tastes, who can then with one click, re-share and so forth. It really allows good up-and-coming artists to get worldwide exposure in a way that would have never been possible before.
12. What do you think about today’s mainstream music?
Couldn’t tell you, I don’t listen to it anymore! Haha… Haezer’s got it right! Commercial Music Is Dead.
13. Do you believe that an electronic music artist can earn his/her living from music nowadays?
It’s possible, but only happens for a small % of artists.
14. Are you signed with any record label? Any future plans? (live shows, release, remix etc)
I co-founded my own indie label in 2009, Traction Records, so we could self-release my original tracks, as we intended, on our terms and without having to deal with other labels if we didn’t want to. The next couple months I’m focusing on live shows, and when I’m home, I’m always working on new tracks.
15. What are you listening to lately? Any tracks/artists you recommend?
Yeah! Redial’s remix of Barretso’s “We Won’t Stop” is pretty killer, as well as his remix for Zombie Kids. Plus I’m always all over the classics, great music never gets old.
16. It looks like you are producing music all the time! What do you like doing when not in the studio?
I’ll let you know when I manage to pry myself away from the studio… Haha… Nah, I’m a regular dude, I like to catch movies, shows, be around people I enjoy and that sort of thing but my music obsession keeps my down there a LOT.
17. What do you think about the Metalectro blog and the music featured on it?
I love hard electro, so it’s really nice to see blogs dedicated to growing the scene as a whole and giving exposure to up and comers, as well as keeping everyone up to date on new releases from heavy hitters. I’m not a DJ so I’m not so on top of new releases so it’s great to log into Facebook/site and boom! All sorts of fresh new stuff!
18. Anything else you’d like to mention and we forgot to ask?
I think you got it all, my friend. Been a pleasure, thanks for all the support.