Five Minutes With Special Features "Go Hard or Go Home!"

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Five Minutes With Special Features

Initially breaking through as a favorite of the blogosphere with chart-topping remixes of tracks such as “Strobe” by Deadmau5 and Dada Life’s “Happy Violence,” London-based Special Features (aka Eden Anderson) made it clear early on that he was a powerful force to be reckoned with. After a brief hiatus, the Hype Machine favorite marked a transition from mega-remixer into more of a true producer’s role with his successful "Illusions" EP released on the esteemed Big Beat Records label in early April. You can pick it up via Beatport here. If you're not yet up on his emotive brand of intricate, melody-driven progressive house, it definitely falls into the unlike any other category. We predict Special Features will continue to move up the ranks of dance music’s elite…limitless potential ahead.

Five minutes with Special Features revealed quite a bit about the man; his experience with London’s underground scene, why he chose to pursue a career in music, his views on an environment being a creative springboard and much more.

One can only experience and measure the true value of music themselves…it can belong solely to one person and to the whole world at the same time.

Lets talk skills. Were you born with yours? Learn from others? Teach thyself?

I believe that the way I listen to music is quite uncommon. No matter what song I was listening to, I was always overlooking the vocals and focusing more on the instrumental behind it. Even today it takes me longer to register the vocal content of a song. In rap music for example, I am more likely to enjoy the sound of a rapper's voice than the lyrical content. From a young age I craved music which featured a directional, logical chord progression. Music that made sense in an emotional context, and flowed deliberately from one chord to another. This kind of music connected with me much more than any other kind. When I started producing music, I applied this directional approach myself and I think this is one feature that makes my tracks stand out as it is not a common feature in dance music. This sense of musicality is what I was born with and I am grateful for it, because it gives me a great advantage over people who don't have it. The rest of my skills have been acquired through learning the piano, guitar and drums throughout my childhood years as well as learning production methods in college and the Internet. Thousands of hours in front of a computer screen making beats on FL studio has also contributed quite a lot.

Lets back up a bit, can you walk us through your various musical phases? From early interest to actual creative output. How, if at all, did they tie into your waking life? Alter your taste in fashion, art, literature?

Making music allows you to see both ends of the spectrum and lets you embrace music on a whole new level. Attending music college opened my eyes and my mind to how music is used to actively stimulate peoples thoughts, actions and experiences. It is like a multi-function tool that can be used in any way that the user wishes. It can help a single person get to sleep at night just as it can be used to make thousands of people that don't know each other come together and dance. One can only experience and measure the true value of music themselves, and that's what I like about it the most; the fact that it is priceless, and can belong solely to one person and to the whole world at the same time. This is why I chose music to be such a dominant part of my life.


Five Minutes With Special Features "Go Hard or Go Home!"

I wish my life had its own soundtrack in the background to express and enhance the feelings and emotions I was experiencing.

Music and life...Talk about the last time you enjoyed one and the other.

Every aspect of life is improved with music, as it has the power to change one's emotions for the better, no matter what is happening. I don't know a single thing in this world that wouldn't be improved with music. I wish my life had its own soundtrack in the background to express and enhance the feelings and emotions I was experiencing.

Do you have a specific event or period in your life that is linked in your mind to a song/album.

"Escape" by Netsky and "Fuse" by Hudson Mohawke are two songs that sum up my experience in university. These were songs that have been background noise over the past two years and, resultantly, the events and feelings during my time at university are relived and reflected upon whenever I hear these songs!

I read in an interview that Rusko had attended Leeds College of Music and I decided that it was where I had to go to develop and improve my skills.

Is there a musician or an era that has influenced you more than others?

I started going to under 18 raves in London at the age of 16 and this is where I first started to experience underground electronic music. I would go and watch artists such as Skream and Benga perform and, as I had already been into music production for a while, I especially connected with the production skills of Rusko, who was up-and-coming at the time and making music that I'd never heard of before. He was one of the artists that really influenced me to head further into the world of dance music. I read in an interview that he had attended Leeds College of Music and I decided that it was where I had to go to develop and improve my skills. A few years on and now I'm in my final year of that same music college.

If you were starting out now, would you do anything differently?

Just before I upload a track to the Internet, I get the same feelings of nervousness, excitement and curiosity. Every time I put out a track it's like starting out "Special Features" all over again. You never know how people are going to respond to a track. I put so much work and attention to detail in every track I make and each release is an opportunity to bring something new to the table. It's easy to put out the same tracks again and again. I could have put out another 50 remixes in the style of my "Strobe" remix but my mindset is that I want to always be developing my sound and keeping people surprised. I strongly believe that quality over quantity wins in the long term.

Do you think there are any commonly held societal beliefs that are false?

Three years ago I was faced with the decision of what to study at university. One choice was mathematics which would no doubt be the sensible option and lead to a comfortable job in finance or business. The other option was music, which was a much higher risk and did not guarantee any success at the end of it. The reason I chose music was simple. It was a subject I was passionate about, enjoyed and would happily spend the rest of my life doing. Choosing mathematics would only lead to a job that I would do purely for financial gain. I believe that people my age are pressured into being "sensible," and choosing a career because of its financial potential rather than the enjoyment and satisfaction that it can offer. Making money a factor when someone is deciding how they should spend their lives can seriously stop them from pursuing the life they really want to live.

Go hard or go home! Doing things with all of your effort is much likely to spark success than doing something half-heartedly.

Any colorful/memorable incidents involving a fan you'd like to share?

I get a lot of incidents where friends tell me that they heard my music at a party and had to prove to people playing it that they know me personally. That's always cool. Someone tweeted me once with a t-shirt they had made with my logo on it and I was amazed!

Which do you prefer, a smoky, low-lit club or a big stage with bright lights and colored gels?

A huge festival set would be my ideal place to play. It's been a dream to play at a festival since I first saw a Tomorrowland aftermovie a few years ago. The atmosphere looks amazing and I prefer an open outdoor vibe to a more intimate indoor one.

What value do you place on environment as a creative springboard?

Living in England where it rains most of the time, I definitely can't rely on the weather to inspire me musically. I usually produce either in my room or in the studio. Working in the studio is much more effective as the working environment motivates me to do more. I also get most of my initial musical ideas while I'm in the shower.

No real tours under your belt, but do you have any cities or gigs that stand out to you?

My only memories are from my recent shows in the US this year. New York was a city that stood out to me a lot and connected with me a lot. A great moment was heading into a random building on a night out, getting into an elevator and coming out on a rooftop with a view that looked over the whole of the city. I was blown away and it allowed me to realize how far my music has taken me so far.

If you could send advice via a fortune cookie to up-and-comers, it would read:

Go hard or go home! Doing things with all of your effort is much likely to spark success than doing something half-heartedly.

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