INTERVIEW: Audien (2013)
Barely 21 years old, producer/DJ Audien is already a force to be reckoned with on the EDM scene. His first track “Rise and Shine” was picked up Ferry Corsten for release on his label. Support from Tiesto, Above & Beyond, Armin Van Buuren, and Hardwell quickly followed. As one of the top 13 Freshman artists chosen by Elektro Magazine, he rocked their event at WMC this year and his touring schedule is quickly filling up. With solid productions and remixes, Audien definitely has a long and successful career ahead of him.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: Where did the name Audien come from?
Audien: My friend came up with it; it is just a random word that stuck. I decided that I wanted to use it as an alias because I am not huge on my own name.
RS: Rise and Shine was your first record that blew up, how did you get it to Ferry Corsten?
Audien: I sent it to the label and they saw something in it and picked it up and that was the very beginning.
RS: What did it mean to you to have Ferry Corsten play and endorse the record?
Audien: He is such an inspiration and it was a really big moment for me. He has always been an idol of mine and playing it was really big for me.
RS: Who are some other DJs that inspire you?
Audien: There are so many because I don’t limit myself and like many different kinds of music. I like Armin, Axwell, Eric Prydz, and even Daft Punk.
RS: What kind of software are you using?
Audien: I produce on a laptop and use Logic. I mess around with a few outboard synths and some Dave Smith stuff, but it’s very minimal.
RS: Are you trained in music or did you just pick it up and start playing?
Audien: I just picked it up and play by ear.
RS: I read a quote about you that you “create fresh tracks on autopilot” how does that happen?
Audien: I guess they come out pretty quickly when I work on them, but I wait for the idea. When I do get the idea it is a pretty quick process and I just tweak it and tweak it. I would say that is it autopilot because it has become such a natural thing now.
RS: You are pretty young so I am guessing that most of your friends are still in college right?
RS: How do they react to your success and what you are doing?
Audien: A lot of people love it and they like to come to my shows when I play locally.
RS: What do you think is more important, the production or the DJing?
Audien: Definitely production, because I take so much pride in my productions. Without production, DJing wouldn’t make sense; with productions you have a personality as DJ and it makes your sound. I also think that DJing is just as important in the sense that there is so much room for growth just as with production, they are just two completely different things.
RS: When you are producing are you thinking about how it is going to sound in the club?
Audien: That’s first, I always like to make something that sounds good in the club but I also like to spend a lot of time on melodies and make sure that they have a really good feeling. I can’t finish a track that has a melody that I don’t like. If I don’t like the melody it won’t work for me so I spend more time on melody side of things.
RS: On your DJ sets what percentage of the tracks that you are playing are your own?
Audien: Usually around 30%. I play all of the staple tracks of my own from last year and this year. If it was a 15-20 track set I would probably play about 8 of my own tracks. I have to play other people’s tracks because I love other music and I have to make it fun for myself as well.
RS: When you spin live are you on CD or laptop?
Audien: I use flash drives, I find that they are the easiest. I used to use one but now I use two flash drives so I can eliminate any connection issues that there could be.
RS: “Sup” is a really hot track, have you thought about doing a topline on it?
Audien: That is a really good question, I haven’t thought about it but I think that it is more of a club track and not so much an emotional track that could use a topline. I think it’s right as it is. I definitely want to do more vocal stuff in the future though.
RS: Speaking about vocals, when you wrote “Leaving You” did you write the track with the intent to put a topline to it? How did the collaboration happen with the vocalist?
Audien: It was interesting because I had already drafted the instrumental and I met up with Michael S. and got a great vocal demo from him and it worked flawlessly. We took a good month after that and shaped it into what it is now. It came naturally and was a nice process.
RS: Armin really championed that track, how did that feel?
Audien: I think that the best part about it was that it was on the radio. I wanted something that could sync well with radio and sound good, but also appeal to everyone else. It has a lot of my natural sound in it and I didn’t think that my natural sound could be so widely accepted.
RS: There’s a big difference between the club version and the radio version, though.
Audien: The club version is way different, it has a lot more of an underground mixing style and it is a lot more drawn out and progresses slower. The radio edit is more piano-esque and I kind of prefer the radio edit.
RS: Speaking about commercial, how did you approach remixing a record like Christina Aguilera?
Audien: It was interesting because it is such a pop record, so taking and bringing it into such an underground setting was tough. We did it and made something really electro and even added some piano uplifting, pumping type stuff to it.
RS: You said “we” is there someone else that you work with?
Audien: No it is just me, I work completely alone.
RS: What is in the pipeline right now, what are you working on?
Audien: I am working on an instrumental single, kind of along the lines of “Wayfarer” that I did with Anjunabeats. I have another clubby song kind of like “Sup” coming out but it hasn’t been signed yet.
RS: If you could have any DJ in the world play your record who would it be?
Audien: That is tough but I would say Daft Punk although I don’t think they tour too much.
RS: What was it like when you were touring and you weren’t old enough to get into the clubs, did you have any problems with that?
Audien: Yeah, absolutely. There were shows that I played at and had to leave right after my set. It is totally understandable though, with all the policies.
RS: Now that you are 21 do you love to drink?
RS: How did you celebrate your 21st birthday?
Audien: There were two shows one night in New York at the Highland Ballroom and at the Santos Party House. It was really awesome and they did some customized things, it was very memorable.
RS: With being one of the Top 13 Freshman artists, are you feeling more pressure on you?
Audien: No, it just feels good to be recognized.
RS: Do you feel that other DJs treat you any differently because you are so young?
Audien: Not really, thankfully. People always ask me how old I am though because I don’t even look 21, so it is always the first thing that people ask.
RS: Do they check your ID?
Audien: No, not really unless I am buying a drink- which is rare.
RS: Has touring/travelling affected you at all?
Audien: First of all, when I started playing I had a mild fear of traveling that kept me inside the house. Ever since I’ve started playing I have traveled all over here and there. It has totally changed now because when I am sitting at home I feel like I should be traveling. It is the total opposite now and it has completely changed my view of the world and opened up my mind, it is no longer just the four walls of the house that I grew up in.
RS: So in other words music has set you free.
Audien: Yes it has.
RS: If people want to contact you, is Twitter or Facebook better?
Audien: I use both of them actually, so either or.
RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Audien: Thanks for listening and supporting my music, I am definitely going to keep going with it so keep listening! Thanks a lot.
Interview conducted during WMC 2013.