Feature.fm Artist Spotlights feature some our amazingly talented artists. Within the Artist Spotlight Series, we ask artists questions about their music and experience in the industry along with a showcase of their music.
From the moment we heard AK, we knew he was on to a sound that has never been heard before in the world of electronic music although we wouldn't necessarily confine or classify his unique style to just one genre.
I like to make music that excites the ear and tickles the brain. I am inspired by music that is funky and unique in sound design. The aesthetic of my tracks is maximalist; I try to cram as much as possible into every musical moment, bending and breaking notes and sounds down into components only to build them back up again, as my own. So, I destroy music to make music.
I am 27, an east coast native, west cost transplant. I live in San Francisco and I make music in my home studio. I don't play shows (anymore), and that's ok with me. I am focusing on my craft and writing cool songs. Electronic music lets me nurture my musical curiosity through experimentation, not through the gig-to-gig grind.
I play guitar, bass, drums, piano, harmonica, synths... basically whatever I can get my hands on. I also teach people how to do what I do (through YouTube tutorials) because I wish those sorts of resources existed when I started learning music-on-the-computer.
I write code during the day and I code music in the evening. The whole thing is cathartic for me and I find a great synergy between solving problems with technology (during the day), then using technology to create art that (hopefully) is emotionally meaningful for people.
The plan is to take this project as far as it will go while preserving my love of music.
AK on Feature.fm
AK has had some of the best performing tracks on Feature.fm and is really able to get his music to the right people and find the right audience for his unique, electronic style. It was hard enough for us to choose which of his many tracks to showcase here. So we picked four!
Take a listen to four of his tracks
- Some Chords (AK re-re-mix)
These tracks are an amazing representation of AK's amazing talent and sound, but he is always coming out with more music that continues to surprise us! So make sure you check out the rest of his music and stay on top of his consistent releases and remixes!
How does he do it?
AK releases amazing tutorial videos on how he creates what he creates. Here is one of his great tutorials on how to achieve some of his unique sound:
1. Why did you choose to go into music?
To me, music is an amazing representation of beauty in the universe. By that, I mean that music is really just air, moving as waves. That we perceive music with an incredibly WIDE range of variation and taste is so endlessly fascinating for me that I couldn't really imagine doing anything else. I guess, for me, music has been an exploration - of air waves, of artistic intention & creativity, of my very essence. I'm hooked, and I'll do it forever.
2. How long have you been performing?
I've performed in rock and roll, jam, and funk bands for the last 10 years, but decided about 3 years ago to take everything-in-the-box. So I don't perform anymore; I just work on tracks and release them. And I think that's ok...
3. Who is your single biggest musical influence?
Mr Bill. That guy is a production ninja and he's amazing. Everything he puts out is phenomenally made and brilliantly executed.
4. If you could collaborate with anyone right now, who would it be?
Mozart. I would love to see what that guy would do with Ableton.
5. What are you listening to right now?
Pretty Lights. Filling up City Skies.
6. Who are your top favorite artists/musicians of all time?
- Umphrey's McGee
- Grateful Dead
- Mr. Bill
- Pretty Lights
7. What is your favorite way to listen to music (Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, etc.)
Subsonic. (My own personal media server!)
8. What was the inspiration for your songs?
The inspiration I have for everything I create is really to get a deeper understanding of music itself. I grew up surrounded by music and have always wanted to explore further to deepen my understanding of what music means.
9. What is your ideal concert venue?
My studio, at my house ... or maybe my backyard. 0_o
10. What is your biggest challenge as an artist?
Finding balance... in my mixes... and in my life.
When you turn one thing up, something else has to go down. Creating balance, from silence or a blank slate is hard because everything is disruptive, until things accumulate to a point of creating something beautiful, something greater than just the sum of its parts. Beauty is a narrow wedge between adjacent spectrums of crap and mediocrity. Finding the wedge is elusive, especially when you're composer, performer, and producer.... Nonetheless I do my best.
Also being patient. Producing music takes a long time - even when you know what you're doing. Quality artists out there set the bar really high (which is good), but I'm sort of an island, and I do most everything myself so its hard to compete with the pros (especially with a full time job).
11. Any words of advice for fellow musicians trying to make it right now?
Inspiration comes and goes. There is no substitute for hard work.
Also, if you're a producer and you can't play an instrument, you should consider spending time learning one.
12. Favorite instrument?
Guitar (though piano, more and more everyday).
13. What programs do you use for production? Any other relevant technology behind your music?
AH!!! Gear is pretty important part of what I do.
Ableton. I'm all about it; completely enamored. I'll probably never use anything else.
For speakers, I use KRK Rokit 8s, which sound great to my ears.
Other than an audio interface - and a midi controller that feels like a real piano - I try to keep my studio hardware-independent, because I spend a lot of time on synthesis (and I don't have the money for fancy hardware gear).
For VSTs, I'm really digging:
- Massive (for bass)
- Fm8 (for leads)
- Razor (for more bass)
- Zebra (for wackiness)
- Serum (for textures)
- Ableton's Operator (for... everything)
I'm always trying out tons of different FX all the time, but I probably use Ableton's Autofilter, Redux, and EQ8 more than anything else.
14. Take us through an average day for you.
Get up. Go to work. Think about music. Write some code. Write some emails. Come home. Sit down and do music for a few hours. Maybe work on a tutorial. Spend time with my girlfriend.
Then do it all over again.
It may not be the most exciting routine, but it makes me happy.
15. What does digital promotion mean to you?
It actually means everything for the AK project - since I'm not playing shows, the ONLY way I was able reach people when I started was through people I knew in real life.
But the AK project isn't about making music for my friends, or DJing parties. It's about exploring my innermost creative self and the ONLY way for me to share that with the world (right now) is via digital online promotion.
So to me, digital promotion is basically the only hope I have of getting my music out there.
15. Give us three people you think we should follow on Twitter right now.
- @tom_cosm (Because he's an incredible elecronic artist/instructor)
- @DebbieNeigher (A dear friend of mine from way back, and an amazing musician and up-and-coming in the SF scene!)
- @ihearthummus. (My little sister; unrelated to music, but she's awesome and makes hilarious viral content)
1&. Where do you think your genre is heading in the next 5 to 10 years?
I think it will be enjoyed in obscurity (by the few), but respected by those who are dig complex arrangements, unique sounds, and generally interesting musical motifs.
So basically, I don't expect it to go anywhere, but that's not why I'm doing it.
I'm doing it because I don't think I could do anything else.
Want to support AK's music? Connect with AK and spread the music!