New on the scene, Revolvr came to be after Touvan Sughiarto (that’s Revolvr) watched the sun come up at Burning Man. It was like a slap in the face that caused him to walk away from the corporate world and follow his passion. Whatever the impetus was, we’re glad he made the move and we’re sure he is too. Not long after his awakening, he and Donald Glaude got together and remixed Scooter and LaVelle's “Beats Inside My Head,” which charted well across Beatport and when Tiësto added the track to his podcast and played it out during his Club Life tour, well, lets just say that that was a game changer.
Stay up on Revolvr’s music via Soundcloud, there always seems to be new remixes posted up as a free download. And be on the look out for his upcoming EP called “Machine” this summer via Dim Mak records.
Lets talk about skills. How did you go about acquiring yours? Learning from others? Teaching the self?
Woah. Let me say right off the bat that these are probably the most ridiculous interview questions I have ever seen, but I appreciate the mental challenge! I would say that I was born with 50% of my skills, and by that I mean the musically creative side. Half of the other battle is learning how to transfer the things that are trapped into my mind into the world in front of me.
I attended a few music production classes in college, but for the most part, I thought myself. I had no one to learn from. Most of my friends weren’t into EDM, and I was their gateway into it. I spent a majority of my time absorbing every aspect of music that I connected with and understanding how and why I did, then taking that and spending hundreds of hours learning how to do what they did in my own way.
Any particular moment in life that changed your course or defined your sound?
My mother is from Poland and my father is from Indonesia, and they both immigrated to the US and went through a lot of struggle to raise me, so growing up I always had the idea of the cookie cutter way of “American life,” which is generally going to school, graduating, getting a career, making money, etc. It was an important goal to become successful to make my parents proud so I had the idea that was the right path. I followed this path, and it consumed my life, all while I had this passion for music, and I didn’t realize how miserable I actually was.
I attended a festival called “burning man” a couple years ago, and what it did for me was completely extract me from the world I was consumed in, which created a lot of self reflection. And one morning as I watched the sunrise, something inside just hit me, almost like a voice within, that spoke “You have this incredible passion for music and your are not on that path, you need to do something about it.” It was a calling. After that moment, I made the decision to take the leap of faith and walk away from it all to answer the call. And here I am.
Any particular musicians or an era of music that has influenced you?
It was when I first heard the album The Fat Of The Land by The Prodigy. I remember I first heard this played at a friend’s house and it instantly caught my attention. I connected with it on so many different levels. It was so different than anything else I had heard. It took me on a journey with every song without the need to use many words. It made me use my brain and think about things. It motivated me at times when I needed it. It was electronic music.
Speak about the hierarchy of skill (craftsmanship), style (your unique aesthetic) and emotive content in your work—and/or in the work of those you admire.
First there’s musical creativity. If you don’t contain the power of creation then you have no where to start. Then there’s musical knowledge. If you have no education of music theory, then it’s going to be kind of difficult to compose a track the technically proper way. Then there’s the technical side, understanding the technology and tools that are behind the creation (i.e. music production software, mixing down, sound design, composition, etc). I mean, I guess you could potentially hire someone to do that for you but then they don’t envision what you do, plus it would just suck.
My work usually contains a certain level of moving energy, and I mean moving from within. It doesn’t have to be “bangin’,” even though a lot of it is. For instance, my remix of Florence & The Machine’s “You’ve Got The Love” is one of the chillest tracks I’ve done; yet it unleashed so much emotional energy.
How would you describe your sound to a deaf person?
Instead of writing words, I would just take them on a rollercoaster, then right when we’re dropping, slap them in the face…with a pillow.
What’s the secret to your success? We will accept any secret if you have not yet found the former.
Believe in yourself. Represent yourself. Be yourself. The moment you lose grasp of that and just try to mirror someone else entirely based on their success, you’ve already failed.
Have you ever had a brush with the paranormal or supernatural?
A recent one actually. I was experiencing a dream that worked it’s way into a nightmare. And just before I thought I was going to wake up, I couldn’t. My mind was awake, but I couldn’t open my eyes or move my body, and it felt as if something was sitting on my chest. Then I used every ounce of my will to break away and I finally woke up. But man was it some freaky shit. Scientifically, it’s called Sleep Paralysis. It was not pleasant.
The movement from CD to MP3 is seen as a big paradigm shift in the music business. Look ahead for us, into the future. What will be/cause the next big shake up? How are you going to come out ahead?
I think that what’s next is the marriage of the audio and visual experience. Experiencing music can already be amazing, but combining it with a visual experience, with both senses, is another level. I believe that there will be a new form of a product that will provide both experiences in one, sort of like an MP4 file per say, but more than just a movie. I’ve recently teamed up with a good friend who is a pro VJ and created a project that combines a recent mix of mine with visuals that go along with it. And it’s already happening in live performance, which is definitely part of my plan as well.
What is the most colorful incident you have involving a fan?
I think it was when I went to go high five everyone in the front row after my set, and one girl decided to rip off my shirt. She seemed to have really wanted it, so I said to heck with it and gave it to her.
How and why did you get your start? Any interesting anecdotes, anyone you owe “big time?”
I feel like I’m responsible for getting myself off the ground initially, but I would say the first key people that had a pretty positive impact on really propelling my career is Donald Glaude & Tiesto. Donald helped introduce me to the world through his audience pretty quickly, and Tiesto ended up playing my music through out one of his tours last year. I’d say I’m pretty thankful for that. Other than that, my management & my agent play a huge role in my life. If it weren’t for them, I would definitely not be where I am now.
What life activities are made better when listening to music? Talk about the last time you enjoyed one and the other.
I think that music is the soundtrack to life, and everything could be made better with music… ok maybe not surgery, or would it? I practically am listening to some form of music for everything I’m doing. Recently, I went on an epic hike in the forest with my portable speakers and was listening to an artist called “Phuture Primitive.” It set the perfect mood.
If you visualize music as your listen, what generally do you imagine?
I’m actually quite a visual person and I constantly have different visions in my head when visualizing my music, but I think it generally comes back to a vision of being at a show and envisioning the crowd’s reaction to every piece of the tune I’m creating. It sounds a little cheesy but I think it really helps!
Which do you prefer, a smoky, low-lit club or a big stage with bright lights and colored gels?
Big stage with bright lights and the whole nine yards. I believe that I want to provide an entire experience with my performance, and to do that, visual, emotional, and audio senses need to be stimulated. Not to say that playing a low lit club is boring at all, but the latter is so much more intense!