Choose Your Own Reality with UHNK

UHNK’s DIY Reality EP was the #1 Leftfield Bass release on Beatport and has been hailed by FUXWITHIT, Electric HawkHeadbang Society and Festival Squad to name just a few. I was excited to congratulate Alex Saldana on his successful EP launch and learn more about what went into the making of “DIY Reality.”

Alex, congratulations on your debut EP release – “DIY Reality.” Tell us the story behind your new EP and how are things different for you now compared to when you began working on it? 

Let’s see… I started working on this EP early in 2019, around April I’d say. I think it was fresh off the tail of Deja Voom, which by the way was an amazing event that I am returning to again this year.  I got a chance to meet a few dojo members while I was down there and spent a good portion of the weekend hanging out with a select few. (Shoutout Slowform, Chris and Andy!) I also met Brandon (Wreckno) for the first time in person while I was down there. I had messaged him two years prior on SoundCloud asking him for advice on some acapella stuff. He had helped me out and then we really didn’t talk again until right before Deja Voom. Meeting him was actually hilarious and I don’t even know if I’ve mentioned this to him yet. I was walking to one of the stages with some friends and I heard him yelling like 20 feet away and somehow I was like “Brandon?” and it was him. I still have no idea how I knew it was him. We became good friends and started talking about working on a song together.  ILL.Gates dropped my song Power a few times that weekend and that was awesome to hear live on that huge soundsystem. I would say that I was still relatively unknown at this point except in certain circles. That event left me inspired to go back home and get into the studio.

Fast forward to today, the EP is dropping and a lot has changed. I’ve played headlining shows, released more music, flown around the country, met many more producers and friends, improved my production chops and have received insane support from one of the artists I look up to the most (shoutout Lorin).

For these reasons, I chose to name my EP DIY Reality.  When I first started producing, it was just for fun. One of my best friends Matt told me something when I started a new job with him 3 years ago. “About how long does it take for you to become something? About a year.” This has stuck with me, and while I still have a ton of room to grow, through unbreakable resolve I have created my own reality for myself. Everyone will give you a different answer if you ask them what their reality is. This debut EP is meant to grab you and shake you to your very core. It is meant to inspire you and to light a fire under your ass.  When I write music my brain takes me to another world. I am showing you that reality that I have created so that you can create yours.

What new skills have you acquired as a direct result of your work on this EP release?

Hours and hours of sound design, songwriting and arrangement, processing, mixing and mastering.  I will say this though. There is not a single “technique” that will do more for your music than just writing music constantly like a maniac.  Just write music everyday and try and learn something new everyday.

Is there one song that you are most proud of on your latest EP?  If yes, why? 

They are all such unique individual songs it’s hard to select a favorite. At some point in time at 5 in the morning I have been in love with every song.

This Finger – Anger can be a beautiful thing when it’s channeled into productive endeavors.

SLAM  – I am insanely competitive and this is sort of an anthem about going hard. Absolute slammer.

UHNKNO – This song is about rolling up to the function with your squad and taking over. To Brandon and I, it’s about taking over the music industry.

Wookslayer – I made this with a good friend Moonsplatta. This is a fun track about being stuck in your own head after getting too high and hearing knocking at the door. When the bass hits, guaranteed to knock a wook over at the show.

Witch Doctor – When I hear the phrase “throwing ass” I think of this song.

Notes from the Underground – I am an underground artist and these are my closing statements for you.

As far as most proud… Hearing Bassnectar drop both UHNKNO and Witch Doctor on his rig was a pretty proud moment. I still can’t believe that happened and that I was there to hear it.

What has been your favorite UHNK live performance experience so far? Tell us about your performance set up…do you use Ableton or CDJs? 

Hands down The Mousetrap in Indianapolis. That place was packed and the crowd was going HAM. I wish I had more videos from that show. I became friends with the people who camped next to me the first year at Okeechobee and they all live in Indy. They all came out to support and it was also their first time seeing me live and it was just a blast. I’ve DJed with Ableton, a Midi Twister, an APC 40 and CDJS.  I mainly use CDJs but I do have some plans to test out some more complex Ableton setups with Ableton in the future. I am very into the visual aspect of shows and have some plans to do some cool stuff with live visuals and Ableton.

What are some of your near-term and long-term goals for your music career?

Near term, I am building my music library, sampling my analog gear, and working on a handful of collabs. I am continuing to play shows and then I have a few secret projects that I’ve been working on that will slowly get released this year. Long term I am trying to build this project into something where I can create the full audio visual experience I have in my head so that others can experience it the same way I do. 

What creative ways do you promote your music?

I wouldn’t say these are necessarily creative, but I hop in a few different Twitch streams to give/receive feedback sometimes (shoutout 6th Street and Yewz). 

Tell us about your experience with Producer Dojo so far? When did your journey first begin with Producer Dojo and what are a few of the game changing lessons that you learned along the way?

I’ve been in Producer Dojo for about 2 years now? I lurked for the first year and didn’t talk to too many people and was just trying to absorb the content. Since then I’ve made many friends in the dojo both online and in person. I’ve learned many things.  Feedback from people more skilled than you is invaluable, as is working with other producers, and making a focused effort to make music everyday. Don’t overcomplicate music. Write with your feelings and not your brain. Oh, and write in your journal every morning.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? 

Theoretically we are all made of cheese.

Stream/Download: UHNK – DIY Reality