When it comes to the world of bass music, Blanke first popped up on people’s radars back in 2016 and has since blossomed into one of the most prominent producers in the scene. Never losing an ounce of momentum, he continues to hone his craft every step of the way.
A true bass enthusiast and being as versatile as they come when it comes to production, the Australian has always been one to keep electronic dance music fans on their toes with his releases because you never really know what you’re going to get. He’s always managed to keep things fresh while playing by his own rules and that is why he remains one of the hottest names in the game.
Still buzzing off the release of his melodic bass beauty coming in the form of his Land Of The Wayfarer EP in addition to unleashing his fury as ÆON, his drum’n’bass project, we took the time to chat with Blanke to discuss what he’s been up to lately and what he has planned for the future. Plus, we even take a quick trip down memory lane touching on his love for bass music while also picking his brain a bit when it comes to production.
Check out our interview with Blanke below and enjoy!
DJ Life Mag: You’ve released plenty of tracks over the years, but your Land Of The Wayfarer EP is in a league of its own. What was the process like putting this seven-track EP together?
Thank you! This was an exciting one for me because it allowed me to explore new sounds that I’ve been eager to put a lot of work into. Working with lots of amazing vocalists for the melodic records, and delving deeper into a heavier sound that I really feel good about too. The two heavier records, Echo Chamber and Arc, are songs that I’m really proud of. They capture sounds, energy and emotions that I really connect with.
DJ Life Mag: What would you say is your favorite track of the EP?
Blanke: Probably ‘Echo Chamber’ if I HAD to pick one. It’s such a fun, experimental, and powerful track. It was so interesting to create and gave me so much joy. Arc and Lights Out are very close behind for similar reasons. They’re interesting, encapsulating and journey centric. I love how epic they all feel.
DJ Life Mag: When it comes to melodic bass, Seven Lions is pretty much a household name these days; how does it feel to have your largest project released on Ophelia Records and you becoming a label fan-favorite along the way?
Blanke: Feels great honestly it’s definitely a label I’ve wanted to be part of for a long while and they’ve been really supportive of the work I’ve given them and the fans have been really receptive and I’m so grateful.
DJ Life Mag: Every bass music fan seems to have a place in the heart for the melodic stuff; what do you think makes that genre so special?
Blanke: The fact that it has emotion built into it! Melody, vocals, chord progressions, all emotive elements that people can latch onto. People love to feel when they listen to music, whatever the emotion, but melodic bass has a very uniquely grandiose yet emotive expression that, I for one, have always thoroughly enjoyed.
DJ Life Mag: You have plenty of vocal-driven tracks in your discography (and on your new EP); tell us a little about your production process when working with a vocalist.
Blanke: It’s always a different process. It can start from a song they’ve written that I fall in love with and want to produce around, or it could be a musical bed I’ve produced with no vocal and I send to a writer that I really like. OR It can be a get together in the studio and we write everything from scratch. I don’t have a preferred way necessarily but I find it really enjoyable working with an existing vocal and creating a song around it. It’s always exciting taking something someone has written and adding your own flavor to it and vice versa.
DJ Life Mag: What made you fall in love with bass music as a whole?
Blanke: Coming from a metal/rock background, bass music has a similar energy. I loved the intricacies of the sounds too. I think that’s a common narrative with a lot of bass fans. It’s a fun genre and I think we all have a sense of ownership of it because people who don’t listen to it can’t really connect with it straight away, you know? So we create an identity around it in a way. In turn we feel a stronger connection.
DJ Life Mag: When it comes to production, where do you find inspiration?
Blanke: I like to draw inspiration from as many avenues as possible. Pulling from genres and styles or even mediums separate from your own is a really healthy thing to do in my opinion. I look for inspo in my prog metal background, or from visual art. But also directly from artists influencing me in the scene at the time. I try to lean into whatever I’m obsessing over at the time.
DJ Life Mag: Speaking of producing, what gear and programs are you using these days?
Blanke: I’m in Ableton, and exclusively in the box, meaning I don’t have any external gear… yet haha. Like hardware synths n outboard gear but I’m absolutely looking to get more into soon. I use Serum, Sylenth, Dune 3 mainly for my soft synths, and a lot of Ableton stock stuff. The Soundtoys and FabFilter stuff is great too. Definitely staples for me.
DJ Life Mag: When you have a rough week or hit a wall creatively, how do you get yourself back on track?
Blanke: I’m all about balance so that I can avoid those. Instead of driving myself into a wall by overworking myself, I make sure I keep a good work/life balance and look for rest and inspiration often so that I can continue to write without having debilitating, week long mind farts. I know where I get inspiration from and I know how to streamline my creative process so that I can get ideas down fairly quickly. The difficult times come when I don’t know where I want my music to go/when I’m not excited about what I’m doing. So those times require a different approach or a deeper dive into new areas of inspo.
DJ Life Mag: How would you say your sound has evolved since popping onto the scene back in 2016?
Blanke: Oh a whollllee lot. I’ve got through phases which has been great as I’ve always aimed to be a diverse artist who is able to move through waves and create my own “sound”. And I think I’m getting better and better at that over time too. Like right now I feel confident in anything that I do and I owe that to years of skill-building and experimenting with different sounds and genres.
DJ Life Mag: Being a producer is a whole different ballgame since those days; what advice do you have for bedroom producers out there who may be overwhelmed or feel pressured to do things a certain way?
Blanke: Hard to really comfort them because the playing field has definitely changed a bit over the years and our roles as artists have widened dramatically. We need to produce more, release more, promote more and post more to stay relevant and to be noticed in the first place. BUT in saying that, the cream will always rise to the top. If the music it good, it will stand out. The second “but” is that’s only half the battle these days. There is always a hustle behind the success. From artists and from managers. A good manager can change your life. My advise though is to learn how to promote yourself well. Learn how to network well (just talk, be friendly and communicate genuinely with as many people as possible. Be a sponge. Make mistakes. Take as much control of your business (because it is a business as much as we’d like not to believe that) as you can by learning about the industry and the business side as well (there’s a great book on this called “All You Need To Know About The Music Business”)
DJ Life Mag: With your Land Of The Wayfarer EP still in heavy rotation, what else does Blanke have planned for the remainder of 2022 and beyond?
Blanke: Next up is going to be a bunch of music from my Drum ‘n’ Bass project called ÆON. Mid-year will see a lot of this sound from me, a full EP and a couple of Blanke Presents ÆON:MODE shows in the US too. There’s a lot of support for me on this in Australia and New Zealand and I’m hoping to continue to introduce America to this side of my sound as well through this outlet. From the reaction I’ve gotten from previous DnB tracks of mine like ‘Alchemy,’ ‘Mystery’ and ‘Breathe,’ it’s really promising and I can feel a buzz in the States!
Blanke: Other than that I’ve got a couple of exciting remixes lined up plus a whole bunch of collabs, ranging from the heavier stuff to melodic & D&B, Plus another EP later in the year, my third and final installment of Change & Decay. There’s a LOT coming this year.
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