WORKING TO STAY INSPIRED: A SHORT INTERVIEW WITH WES WAX
Published on UIC Radio
I recently spoke to a friend who, because of the lockdown, gives himself ample time for his music. Instead, he’s managed to work to a point where he just reached a creative block. I would have thought that maybe this would be the perfect time for him to enhance his craft. Probably listen to a few records you haven’t heard or maybe pick up an instrument you haven’t played in a while.
I showed him some Bossanova and Jazz records I liked. The process of showing him some recommendations reminded me of the many of the musicians who would’ve done the same thing. Wes Wax is one of them.
Wes Wax is a Los Angeles producer for a handful of years released work that infuses jovial snare and drum patterns with light chords. Each of his tracks gives off a different feeling form one another, perhaps because of the samples he works with. He’ll work off an Erykah Badu vocal sample from ‘Mama’s Gun,’ or he’ll figure out a way to remix a Thundercat tune while adding Captain Murphy’s vocals in there.
I reached out to him recently for a hand in a creative project and he was more than willing to help. Wex Wax understands the creative pursuit and will support others in their journeys as he’s trudging through his own. I asked him a few questions to understand his musical inspirations and history, as he replied with sincerity and a positive outlook.
What/who inspired you to make the music that you make?
Wes Wax: Man, there’s so much inspiration out there! Recently I’ve been inspired by my peers who are constantly putting stuff out. I’m just like “damn I need to push myself to put out more.” But musically, I’ve recently been inspired a lot by Bibio, Dilla, Benny Sings, Cool Maritime, Vinyl Williams, 10.4 Rog, and a lot more.
What does your music-making process look like?
WW: Depends on the day. If I’m making beats I’ll just start messing around on the guitar/keys/pedals and have fun ‘till something inspires me. Then I will start to play some drums by hand around the chords and melodies. Then build everything on top, but then again sometimes I’ll just start with chopping some drums or records. I honestly don’t have a set workflow which I’m trying to work on (haha) which will probably save me a lot of time but I also try not to get too formulaic (even though my left brain loves the idea).
If I’m creating songs I’ll usually try to get the whole song written before I even sit down to record it. When a song is mostly written & structured beforehand I can just focus all my energy on molding the sounds and recording techniques afterward. Recently though, my main objective has just been to finish my music pieces. (I know I’m not the only one with that problem).
What type of sound or aesthetic are you trying to emit from your music?
WW: The album I’m working on now has a lot of different aesthetics but my ideal/cliche sound is a super high-and-tight snare accompanied by ethereal chords and a melodic bouncy bassline. I always try to have a good enough melody that could hold it’s own on an acoustic guitar or something. And don’t forget the signature drum bop — the swing that lives in my heart.
What inspires you to keep going?
WW: Sometimes it’s hard, to be honest, I see all these super dope artists killing it on social media, paying all of their bills with music and it’s frustrating cause I’m over here poor and relatively unknown haha. But the music always reminds why I should keep going (and the reason why I started):
Because it’s fun and I love it. It’s easy to get lost in the hype of “making it big” but honestly as long as I can physically keep making music I’ll be fundamentally happy. Everything else is a bonus to me. A good pep talk always helps too! Recently my best friend and frequent collaborator, JUICEBOX, gave me a kick in the ass to start releasing more music, which I needed to hear. Big thank you to him for that.
What do you feel is the future of the music or Hip-Hop scene? Is there anything you’d like to change or to see happen differently in the future?
WW: Hmm, I feel like virtual concerts are the next logical step, private front row seats to your favorite artist in your headset. I’ve always wanted to make music with secret targeting frequencies that will make you trip out or something (haha) like just hide them in the mix and boom! the walls are instantly melting. This whole Spotify revolution is crazy though. I have no idea where it will go next. It’s dope that all us bedroom producers now have access to millions of people through streaming and playlisting and make some money too. It’s anyone’s game now.
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Be on the lookout for a bunch of new music I am releasing this year with JUICEBOX, Faiz Lone, 10.4 Rog, Pink Siifu, Dylan Kidd, Myeye, Jay Cass, Asi Kemera, Hio, and many more. Do yourself a favor and get hip to these names if you aren’t already!
I was happy to see him working with the likes of so many artists, especially Pink Siifu, who’s 2018 album ensley is probably one of my most listened albums ever. Although he admitted having gone through some points of musical doldrums, he’s managed to work with so many other talents. Talents who admire his style and push him to keep going forward, despite all that’s going on.
Listen to his latest album, “Late Bloom” while waiting for his new work. Support him in any way you can: