Netsky talks cross-genre collaborations ahead of upcoming album ‘III’ [Interview]NetskyInterviewFeaturedImg

Netsky talks cross-genre collaborations ahead of upcoming album ‘III’ [Interview]

Belgian producer Netsky has a simple method for naming his albums. His debut was self-titled, second was II, and his third, to be released June 3, is III. His productions, however, have never been simple; they’ve long used the basic structure of drum ‘n’ bass and built lush compositions featuring disparate electronic and live-instrument sounds to create a sound uniquely his own. III sees Netsky take this trend to the next level, in some cases subverting that structure into a new form, and in others, completely abandoning it in favor of different tempos and genres. In another twist, the producer born Boris Naeden made a conscious effort to feature more vocalists and collaborators on his latest LP, with different singers appearing on seven out of the album’s eleven tracks — a marked increase from the feature-sparse II. Netsky recently took the time to speak with DA about his experience recording the album and the process of working with so many different artists to bring forth a cohesive vision for the record. While he does do some writing on the road, III was recorded at Naeden’s home studio in Antwerp with an “album mindset” from the beginning. The leadoff track, “Work It Out feat. Digital Farm Animals” was unique in that, unlike the rest of the vocalists, DFA’s contribution was recorded right in Netsky’s studio. Netsky wasn’t withholding in his excitement for this track, describing DFA as “one of my favorite writers and we just had a really nice vibe in the studio,” and going on to say the recording process was really fun. The track itself features an unbelievably catchy and optimistic hook — perfect for an album opener — playing over an energetic DnB production that should be familiar to Netsky’s longtime fans. “Work It Out” is somewhat of an outlier on III, however, as most of the other vocalists recorded in London, Los Angeles or, like Chromeo’s Dave 1, New York City. Their track “TNT” — a bit of an homage to Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover” — is a shining example not only of Netsky’s ability to produce in diverse genres (though also subtly maintaining elements of DnB, namely the shuffling high hats during the chorus) but also his ability to place utmost trust in his collaborators. The track in general, and intro in particular, is a production tour de force, an intricate weaving of busy drums and big piano chords — the strongest indication of Netsky’s familiarity with playing the drums and keyboards — and a wailing guitar lines. Perhaps more impressive, though, was Netsky’s understanding that Dave 1 prefers to work alone and trusting him to provide a fitting compliment to an aggressively ambitious track. That trust proved to be fruitful and well-placed, as “TNT” is one the album’s standout tracks. This fearlessness likely comes from Netsky’s history of performing live, debuting his band in 2012 but also with significantly larger ensembles. He relayed a story of performing the album’s leadoff single “Rio” with a Brazilian samba band featuring 20 percussionists and the particular difficulties and consequential joys that come with working with conducting such a large group into a singular entity that performs in harmony. “You have to be very confident and that’s something I really enjoyed learning,” said Netsky of his foray into guiding other musicians to recreate productions, “and I’m obviously still in the beginning of that and I definitely enjoy that role of, like, being the conductor of that situation.” He went on to say, with a laugh, that he was somewhat jealous of of producers who strictly DJ, from both a total control and logistical point of view, but also spoke very passionately of the extraordinary highs of nailing a live performance with other musicians on stage and expressed a desire to do more of that in the future. That’s not to say Netsky is eschewing producing in the box, which is most evident in his raucous collaboration with Jauz, “Higher.” After referring to Jauz as a really nice guy and enjoying his company, Netsky described “Higher” as, “the one track on my album that doesn’t really fit the picture that much and that’s almost what I wanted.” He’s not entirely wrong, as the track falls firmly within the confines of house but also is representative of a meeting-in-the-middle and blending of the two producers’ styles. Netsky also considers it a deeply important track on the album, especially for the American market, as it has a sound that is currently very popular and will grab fans’ attention and then lead them into the rest of the album — which they would be wise to do. With “Higher” established as the album’s black sheep track, Netsky went on to describe the album’s theme. He wanted to create an album of all the genres that he would want to burn to a CD — “back in 2005,” he said with a laugh — and take with him to a deserted island. Though the album, and his career, can be viewed through the lens of a DnB producer, “Higher” and “TNT” are the most obvious departures from the genre. Still, even those tracks that qualify as drum n’ bass also display clever signs of his disparate musical interests — the swung pattern of hi hats in the intro from “Leave It Alone feat. St. Raymond” and the kick drum during the drop of “High Alert feat. Sarah Hartman” — not surprisingly also two of the most musically interesting and powerful songs on III — both call back to the jazz records his father showed him growing up. In all, though, Netsky had a simpler goal. He wanted each one of his tracks to stand on its own both strictly as an instrumental or an acapella. That desire is indicative of the type of producer Netsky is: willing and able to collaborate, with an ear for strong hooks, while also holding himself to a demanding standard of professionalism and skill level. III benefits greatly from that desire, with every track contributing to the album’s expansive structure without falling into incoherence, all while maintaining Netsky’s identity and sound as he ambitiously pushes his career forward. Netsky’s album “III” will be released June 3. Read More: Ultra Korea rounds out lineup with deadmau5, Knife Party and more Netsky unveils release date and tracklisting of highly-anticipated third album ’3′ Jauz asks fans for acapellas on Facebook

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