Artist Spotlights, Festival Coverage

Sonic Bloom 2019 Series: um.. [INTERVIEW]

Sonic Bloom 2019 Series: um.. [INTERVIEW]

Interviewed by Fatima Hasan and Cory Callahan

Written by Fatima Hasan

Ben Bruce and Dylan Gold, otherwise known as um.., are Icon Collective graduates who met while still in music production school. Since 2014, the duo has created music together with the belief that there is a creative void in the electronic music space that they could fill. We had a chance to chat with the rising producers at Sonic Bloom this year, learning more about their background, progression as artists, and more. Be sure to check out their socials on Wednesday 8/14, they’re releasing a new track!

“We don’t want to follow an abused and over saturated path devoid of any creativity or evolution. We have found a direction that is new, fun and creatively unique, and have a strong collaborative workflow that comes naturally to us which we have found to be extremely rare. We have established a sound and brand that we believe is wholly representative of us as people and that can be understood and appreciated by anyone.” -um..

um.. is coming back to Chicago this Friday, 8/16! The duo will be joined by sumthin sumthin and Treepeoh. Get your tickets HERE.

We’re here with, um.. on the last day of Sonic Bloom! You guys are saying that you haven’t been here before. Have you heard anything about the festival prior to coming here?

Dylan:
My girlfriend really likes it — she was hoping we’d get booked here! I’ve heard good things.

Ben:
I heard it’s in Colorado! *laughs*

What are you most excited for with regards to tonight’s performance?

Ben:
It’s cool that we’re closing out the festival. We haven’t performed here yet, but hopefully people are like, “oh, let’s go to this set because there’s literally nothing else happening!”.

Dylan:
Yeah, that happens every once in a while — where you’re like the only stage that’s playing. They seem to be pretty good sets too because a lot of people show up and they give it their all.

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Photo Credit: um..’s Facebook Page

Would you mind telling us a little bit about your production process?

Ben:
I’m more on the composition side. Dylan is more on the engineering side — mixing and mastering, more of the sound design type of things. Yeah, that’s like the general overview, there’s some crossover too.

 

How did you guys start getting into production?

Dylan:
I started as a DJ and wanted to do it as much as I could. I felt like if I make music, that would open up more possibilities.

Ben:
I’ve been producing since high school, but we met at a production school in LA. We like sat next to each other and smoked cigarettes together.

Dylan:
Generally apathetic together. *laughs* Now we’re here.

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Photo Credit: um..’s Facebook page

Are you both originally from California?

Dylan:
He’s from Central/Northern, I’m from Southern. It’s best of both worlds.

 

Could you tell me about your progression as artists, from the beginning of this project until now?

Dylan:
Yeah, it’s been pretty weird! We were definitely messing around a lot in the beginning and just doing whatever came to our mind, ridiculous ideas. Then the more serious it’s gotten, the more we’ve had to think about everything. I feel like we’re still not like other artists, those who have everything super planned out. We make a bunch of music at once and then we just kind of like to put it out. There’s a bunch of strategy and a whole marketing side. Sometimes it seems like that’s like way more important than anything else. We’ve never been great at that.

Ben:
Yeah, it’s like, “oh, we have to do sh*t besides make music!”

Dylan:
Something that’s been reoccurring is a push to grow our Instagram following. So, we’re like alright, we’ll start posting on Instagram every day.

Ben:
We’re also definitely feeling pressure to make our music more accessible. It’s stressful. But, we have gotten more serious, it started pretty satirical. Before we were just like, look how silly EDM is, we made music out of a toilet type of thing! Our perspective has changed now. We’re putting more time into the music and it’s more personal now.

Dylan:
Putting more effort into relationships. It took us a while to meet our group of friends in the scene, but we’re just not the kind of people that are like gonna hit people up and be like, “Yo Bro, I love your music. Let’s link up!” When we’re booked at a show, we actually try to hang out at the show, and with friends. Whereas before, we would’ve rather just gone to bed, play our set and go sleep.

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Photo Credit: um..’s Facebook page

What sparked the decision to use um.. as your stage name?

Ben:
We’re just trying to be annoying!

Dylan:
We were with kids from our class, thinking of terrible names for DJs, and um.. was at the top of the list.

GMC:
I feel like it worked out!

Ben:
*laughs* Yeah! Honestly, I feel like our name got us farther than we would have been if we didn’t have it just because it’s like, a little token or something. I don’t know, honestly, it’s easier to remember too.

If you guys could tour with anyone, who would it be?

Dylan:
Maybe Mr. Carmack or G Jones, I don’t know!

Ben:
Maybe REZZ. It depends what angle we’re coming at it from.

Dylan:
Yeah, if you want to blow up, touring with REZZ would be great. We have done a show with her and played other festivals with her, she’s a really cool person, you know, she was very nice. I feel like she’d be easy to get along with for a long period of time. But also, so are most of the people we’ve ever toured with.

What are you currently working on?

Dylan:
We are working on a lot right now. We’re simultaneously working on like four EPs, a couple of which are geared toward well-known record labels. We can’t say too much yet, but we recently made ourselves focus on one to finish it up!

 

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