Sure, we premiere tunes all the time because we really believe in the music and we're constantly on our hustle to bring you the latest and greatest FIRST. And sometimes, something truly special and decadent lands in our laps that instantly makes our jaws hit the floor in awe. This new one from D.C. resident Rex Riot is just such a track for me. Featuring the brilliant vocal guest spot from Misun, another star definitely on the rise, "Birds and Bees" is an emotional gem that is full of movements and developments that should serve as a bit of a wake up call to other artists on what's truly possible with this EDM thing. Released today on the newly founded CUFF Records, I reached out to get some further insight on what's making this Rex Riot dude currently tick and what to expect in the near future.
You may be a new name to some reading this piece and I've personally noticed a lot of interesting developments in your sound as a producer over the last six months or so. Tell us a bit about your current take on your music and who some of your immediate influences are, past and/or present.
Well I've been making electronic music for something like 12 years now, but there has definitely been a "Rex Riot mkII" in the past few. MkII started with dubstep for me, and quickly made it's way through all kinds of house, moombahton, trap, and just about everything else. This more recent journey, up until recently, has really been focused on my sound design, mixing, mastering, etc…all the nerdy stuff that makes a track sound "professional." I will be the first to admit, though, that I did get a little lost along the way. My music quickly became about how hard the bass hit or how epic the drop was, and the "music" part of music started to fall by the wayside.
Recently I've really been bringing it back to songwriting though, and focusing on finding that healthy middle ground… I know it's out there! I love playing piano, I love going to the symphony, and I've really been reckoning that side of my self with my inner punk rock/indie/drum & bass kid. So far I'm pretty excited with what's been coming out as a result, and I have a lot of unreleased material that explores even further down that rabbit hole.
This new single with Misun is fantastic! How did this project come all come together? Are you guys stoked about how things turned out? What was it like working with Misun?
Well, I had written the instrumental almost a year ago. Not in its finished form, but pretty close. I knew the track had great potential, and I knew it needed vocals... but I didn't really do much with it for a while. Misun, and the guys in her band, are D.C. homies, and we'd bounced music ideas back and forth in the past, so I guess it was just a matter of time before we put two and two together. I sent the track to Misun, she sent back some lyric and vocal melody ideas, and then we just got together and saw what clicked. I'm really happy with the way it turned out, looking back now, the track would just sound wrong any other way.
You've been venturing out in your productions in recent months by working with more original vocals, whether guest vocals or your own. Is that something that's come fairly natural for you? Do you anticipate using more original vocals on future projects?
Well, musically it definitely feels natural. I really think the human brain is set up to pick out voice and language, and that can be a very powerful tool to leverage in music…not to mention that it's fun to go back to my old rock band days and play lyricist for a while. It's definitely a dimension that's hard to add to your music WITHOUT using vocals.
I will say though, it's been a bit of a personal struggle using my own voice more and more. I do really like my tone, but for some reason I can never hit the damn notes… which is strange since my ear is pretty good in most other other regards. Anyway, with a bit of dedication, and the miracle of 21st century recording technology, I'm finding a place for my voice in EDM, and really enjoying it. You will definitely hear much more vocal-driven music from me in the near future.
D.C. seems to be a really interesting place for music these days. Tell us a little bit about that scene and what's it's like to play a roll in it. Do you anticipate staying in D.C. long term?
Pretty cool, huh? I think moombahton is really what did it for us, in the EDM world anyway. When it first popped up there was such a cool energy about it in the city. It was really something we could get behind and be proud of, and I think it showed a lot of aspiring musicians that it was possible to make your mark AND be from the District.
Aside from that, I'm not sure I would exactly call D.C. a music hub, but we've definitely had our niches through history. Duke Ellington and the jazz movement, Chuck Brown and go-go, Gil Scott Heron is in there somewhere between. Post rock, and all the political garage rock stuff, which sort of morphed into the hardcore…coincidentally, I used to go see Dave Nada's old rock band "Medic" in those days all the time, without a clue of what the future held for him, moombahton, and D.C. alike…foreshadowing I guess!
For me now, I can only hope to play that roll to others in the area. I'm far from the top, but even so there are producers that look up to me. And whether or not they are from D.C., it really makes me happy that I can be a source of inspiration to others. D.C. is my home, and right now I have no plans of leaving.
Since it's the end of 2013 and the new year is right around the corner...What are some of your goals for Rex Riot and your music in 2014?
Bigger, better, more right? That's the gist of it anyway. I am definitely on a quest to refine myself as a musician though, and really carve out my own niche. I guess I alluded to it a bit earlier, but I do have an EP in the works that I think will really be something cool. Trying to put the "music" back in my music, without loosing the edge.