Vaedynn shares his secrets on how he crushes the game daily.
A few months ago when Vaedynn reached out to me for feedback on one of his songs, I had enough constructive feedback for him to fill 2 pages. In an amazingly short period of time, Vaedynn has made a startling transformation. Not only have his songs become professional and release worthy, but he has also stepped up to Curate the World of Dance Cypher in partnership with NBC television. In this interview we learn where his drive comes from and the amazing things he has in store for us as he continues to evolve and grow as an artist. Vaedynn, tell us about your musical journey and how did it lead you to ill.gates, The Producer Dojo and the Class of 808?
I grew up with my dad’s music and I was part of a choir in high school. I got to sing at Carnegie Hall, which was pretty cool. After I heard Primus my first time, I picked up the bass guitar. Later on I started playing around on Ableton. Making music was just a side hobby and my main goal was to have a creative outlet, which would be meaningful. Something I was creating to give back to the world. I was getting more and more interested in all the gadgets and widgets on Ableton and started getting lessons from different artists, making sure I am balancing the technical and creative side of things. You may know the program really well, but if you can’t express yourself with it, you are randomly creating something, but it is not the exact definition of your inner inspiration. Ill.Gates is an artist I have admired since my first event Bobolink in 2009 when he opened the illest gates of electronic music to me. His set blew my mind. I had never heard music with creative bass oscillation. I was hooked. I started going to more edm shows and really getting involved into the community. A few years later I was watching ill.Gates set at Emissions in 2012. Someone in the crowd said “You know, ill.Gates invented Ableton.” Right when I got home from that event, I started watching any ill.Gates tutorial videos I could find. An artist that teaches music, but also is making relevant music that I love was very hard to find. His ill.methodology course was extremely helpful in teaching me how to finish tracks, but I still wasn’t sounding like the artists I wanted to hear. I just kept at it, working on music in my spare time. In Spring 2018 my brother said my music was getting to the level where I should really think about pursuing it as a career. That same week I saw an ad for ill.Gates free course The Workflow. I took it and found out he had a school called the Class of 808. I immediately signed up and what followed was hard work and lots of fun.
Where are you from originally? Can you describe your life using only song titles?
I’m originally from suburbs of Minneapolis. Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie specifically. I moved to Colorado and spent high school and junior high in a small mountain town called Evergreen. I moved to LA 17 years ago, and I call it home.
My life in song titles: Underdog, Woo Boost, Blow up the Spot, Tested, Let’s Go Crazy, Lucky Charm, Go Getter, Covered in Lobsters, with A Little Romance
What made you want to become a music producer? What do you do when you are not producing music?
After hearing ill.Gates and Vibesquad in 2009 I was hooked on bass music. It seemed to combine all the elements of different genres that I like but with tons of long bass notes which feel great. Ultimately I just love the West Coast Bass Culture so much it became part of my life. I read an article in the Harvard Business review in 2012. It’s an article about input versus output. To find happiness in life, it’s crucial you have a balance of input versus output. I realized I was doing a lot more input, so I wanted to do more output. I downloaded photoshop, ableton, and some other programs to start a hobby. Ableton stuck.
I have a lot of interests. I’ve spent the last 10 years teaching people how to increase their efficiency and output for for indoor and outdoor crops and cannabis specifically. I have my own garden with very exotic strains of strawberries, mulberries, tangerines, and much much more. You can often find
me taking a stroll at the Huntington Library to gain inspiration.
I’m a natural salesman, and I have studied salesmanship and marketing my whole life. Entrepreneurship is a huge part of my mindset and how I approach my goals. This is a huge part of who I am as a person.
Me and my wife also cherish fine art. I like to consistently broaden my horizons by traveling and trying new things. I keep things fun and exciting.
Tell us about what it’s like working for the World of Dance and how has the opportunity changed your approach to music production?
Working with World of Dance is amazing! I work with people who are passionate about exposing artists to an international platform. It’s a nest of all ages, ethnicities, languages, music, and dance styles.
From a writing perspective, I think it’s easy to get caught in stagnant beats and melodies that don’t move a lot. Working closely with dancers has really brought out more variety and playfulness into my music.
What are your plans (both near term and long term goals)?
Right now I’m working on my first 2 EPs that are currently being fine tuned and will be out soon. Long term I want to grow and evolve as an artist to hopefully do the same thing ill.Gates has done for me. Inspire creativity.
If you could go back 10 years ago and advise your younger self of just 1 thing, what would that advice be?
Be yourself and trust that “I am enough.” I moved to LA to be an actor and I spent a lot of time trying to be somebody everybody else was telling me to be. When I really started to let go and be the Vaedynn I wanted to be, I was more confident and many more opportunities came my way. I’ve also spent a lot of my life trying to prove myself and trusting that I am enough has been really hard to grasp. I missed some opportunities because I was afraid I wasn’t ready. For example: I was once invited to sing karaoke with Trey Parker co creator of South Park. I was too chicken to meet him. If you’re reading this Trey, I’d love to sing karaoke with you sometime.
Do you ever experience writer’s block in the studio? How do you overcome it? How often do you make music?
No. I don’t have time for writer’s block. I just keep working. I schedule my time when I’ll be working on music and once it’s time to, I go. ill.Gates brought this up in one of his videos. You can’t wait for inspiration to hit you. I try to focus on having the circumstances ready for creativity. I need plenty of food and drinks to keep me moving. I like a nice cappuccino and some aromatherapy. Once the stage is set with these must haves, I’m good to go. My challenge mostly comes from not knowing what to do in the final stages of making a track. I’m still training my ear to hear all the details my mentors hear. These guys are amazing.
I make music in most of my free time. Weekends are usually spent making two new beats. The rest of the week I spend watching weekly downloads, and fixing and tweaking older tracks. Because of my day job, I’ve had to learn a process of picking up old projects and being able to improve them quickly. I’d like to finish one track at a time in the future, but right now, it’s just not an option.
What are your favorite genres of music at the moment and who are your top 5 favorite artists right now?
I can get down to almost any genre except country. Just not a fan. I seem to be drawn to broken rhythm bass music whether it’s experimental, hip-hop, glitch-hop, trap, or even dubstep.
Top 5 artists (besides ill.Gates because duhhhhh….)
Dirt Monkey – His music is playful and heavy. It speaks to me and my personality. I love it. I would do anything to collab with him.
Liquid Stranger – Liquid Stranger is forging the future of sound with Wakaan. Not only that, he’s an amazing person. He’s a black belt in multiple forms of martial arts. I have a black belt in karate as well, and I understand the discipline it takes to accomplish an achievement like Liquid Stranger has.
Yheti – His music is so interesting and fresh. His Trifinity project is a sight to behold.
Ganja White Night – these guys with their wobbles. No screeching noises, just nice clean wubs. Soooo great.
Tipper – My first Tipper set was life changing. His music is so clean and wonky. His track Usul just brings out the best in me.
Notable mentions Eprom, Opiuo, Esseks, and Koan Sound.
What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned so far as a member of the Class of 808?
Quantity. Just keeping making tons of music. As long as I follow the process, my music naturally gets better.
If you were having lunch with a music producer that was on the fence about joining the Class of 808 what would you tell them?
I would first ask “Why?” What on earth would be holding you back from making the best decision you could ever make towards your music production? The value of the Class of 808 is immeasurable. The trainers have helped me immensely with their feedback. Just the one on one training alone is worth the price. Plus all the unlimited track feedback and all the extras too: the cookbook, the racks and the sounds are just icing on the cake. If you want to get serious about your music, joining the Class of 808 is a must.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
I would like to thank not just ill.Gates, but also all the other students as well. The community has shared so much information… I wouldn’t be here without everyone’s positive attitudes and support. I love you guys…