For bass music fans out there, Psymbionic is a pretty familiar name for you already. Besides being a talented artist and DJ, he's also the label manager for Gravitas Recordings, where artists ill.Gates, Machinedrum, Minnesota, Richie Hawtin, and Nicolas Jaas, among others, have dropped releases in the past.
He's gearing up for a performance at the always eclectic Lightning in a Bottle Festival, and to see what he's got in store, we sat down with the extraordinary talent to learn more about what it means to juggle artistry, day-to-day business, and what the festival means to him.
We also managed to snag a special playlist from him as well. Check out the playlist and interview below!
Hi Psymbionic, thanks for taking the time to talk to us! You're getting ready for a massive performance at LIB. For those going to the festival, what can people expect?
I love smashing expectations in my sets. That said, I also love to keep a flow of music throughout a lineup -- I'll often let the beginning and ending of my set be dictated somewhat by who is on before and after me. For attendees, you're likely to hear a lot of the new music I've been working on mixed with unreleased tracks from producer friends -- sometimes funky, sometimes heavy, sometimes psychedelic, but always aimed to get the feet moving.
You're label manager at Gravitas Recordings, an incredible source for bass music. What are the major challenges you face in handling a label day-to-day?
It feels like one of my biggest challenges personally is a balancing act of perfect quality and steady momentum when it comes to content. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, and I don't mind if a project takes a while to complete if the quality reflects that effort. However, there's a lot to be said for keeping momentum going as a brand and making sure the morale of your team stays high as their efforts are rewarded. Luckily, I feel that my business partner Jesse Brede and I tend to even each other out on matters like this -- we're definitely stronger as a team than either of us are solo.
For those looking to start their own label, or jumpstart their career, what advice would you give to them?
I think for any career that begins as a creative endeavor, the best advice I can give is to show up every day ready to work. Rain or shine. If you're striking out on your own as an artist or starting your own label, then you're the only one in the driver's seat. No one is going to lecture you if you don't show up for work. All of the most successful people I know treat their creative endeavors like it was any other job -- they put in 40 hours a week at the very least and have the motivation and drive to keep doing that until they reach their goals. Even if you have another day job, making time to pursue these other endeavors is probably the number one best thing you can do in order to succeed. Some people think being in the music industry means partying all day, but in reality it's not like that - it's probably even a lot more taxing than many other career paths.
As a label manager, you probably hear a wide variety of music from a wide variety of artists. Who are some artists that excite you today?
From the Gravitas roster, one standout would be Zebbler Encanti Experience -- they're on a national tour right now and make some of the most interesting music and accompanying visuals of anyone I know. The new albums from Cloudchord, Psy Fi, and Love & Light are also exceptionally great. Outside of our team, I really love the new material from FKJ, Subsquabi, and Bonobo for everyday listening.
Finally, what can people expect from you and Gravitas for the rest of 2017?
For Psymbionic, I'm currently working on finishing up an EP of new originals for release in the Fall, plus a few remixes in the works for folks like Opiuo and CloZee. For Gravitas, one of the biggest projects we have launched this year is a sub-brand called Gravitas Create which focuses on producer education, sample packs, tutorials, and content of that nature. We're also working on new releases from Au5, CloZee, Zebbler Encanti Experience, Edamame, and a number of others.
For more information on Lightning in a Bottle, or for tickets, check out their homepage here.