Anyone who knows The Playground, knows that we have a soft spot for synthwave artists. DJ Ten, a champion of the genre in his own right, is one of the artists who we’ve been following closely. He has released his latest EP, We Dream Aloud which is a ‘80s infused retrowave revelation that features the works of Jessie Frye, By An Ion, Lost Nights and Immortal Girlfriend.
No stranger to the genre, DJ Ten runs the prominent Youtube channel, New Retro Wave which currently sits at nearly 1 million Youtube subscribers. With humble beginnings of an interest in 80’s music, UK Garage and Grime, the growth in his music tastes and understanding has been remarkable. However, it appears that he still has a soft spot for the “classics”.
Curious about what other growth, development and music we can expect from him in the future, we sat down for an exclusive interview with the Brooklyn-based retrowave producer. Check it out below.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
I am a music lover at heart. I grew up listening to many different genres of music from funk to UK Grime and House. I have a vast amount of textures that I love to listen to on a daily basis.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
There is never one direction when it comes to production. Many times the sound comes first, but at other times I have an idea in my mind that I want to construct a certain sound or feeling to.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Yes, my We Dream Aloud EP has many collabs on it which were very exciting to do. It was especially exciting collaborating with Jessie Frye as she is a powerhouse when it comes to the vocals and songwriting. Also loved collaborating with Trevor Something as many times as we did. He is a true genius when it comes to his craft. An amazing talent.
What’s on your current playlist?
A lot of RnB, UK Grime and Retrowave albums.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
Sampling, chopping and screwing and lots of palette mixture experiments.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
Very simple. I load up Logic X and start to play around with chords using random VST’s. The key thing entering the studio is that I will/ should already have a feeling I want my studio session to evoke.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
Specifically, when I released my first album and saw the positive feedback my compositions gave the public. It was an eye-opening and monumental moment for me to keep on with my music path.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
I am watching Lost Nights, Immortal Girlfriend, J Diggs and Preston Knight
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Definitely inspiration is key. One can find it anywhere in the most unlikely of places. I need to have a vision/ meaning behind my music most times before I even start composing.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
I work primarily with Logic X. I build my sound via all different types of retrosynth VST’s and some analog instruments.
Any side projects you’re working on?
No side projects right now.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
I pride my self on my innovation. I feel with each album/ project I push my creative mindset a bit further. It is really important as an artist to do so.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
I am working on a new album slated to release in Set 2020 with NRW Records. It will be my most ambitious project yet.
Follow DJ Ten:
Follow By An Ion
Follow Jessie Frye
Follow Immortal Girlfriend
Follow Lost Nights