Saturday Night Session 043: Imanbek reveals an EP with Rita Ora is on the way and discusses his surprise career in musicImanbek Press Photo

Saturday Night Session 043: Imanbek reveals an EP with Rita Ora is on the way and discusses his surprise career in music

If there were to be a case study done on how social media can impact a musical career, Kazakh producer Imanbek would be the perfect subject matter. The 20-year-old has released collaborations with Usher, Afrojack, and Don Diablo in the past six months. A year and a half ago, he was working in a train station in Aksu, Kazakhstan.

It all started when Imanbek, whose full name is Imanbek Zeikenov, heard SAINt JHN’s “Roses.” The song had already been commercially available for three years, but he felt the song could use a few electronic additions. Like any bedroom music producer, he remixed it and uploaded his illegal remix to Russian social media. The upload hit the internet and everything changed for Zeikenov. The remix spread like wildfire, resulting in Imanbek signing to Russian label Effective Records. The label worked with SAINt JHN‘s management to re-release the remix in an official capacity, and the track is now only a few streams away from the one billion streams mark.

When asked how life has changed since the remix went viral, he shares, “Life changed a lot and mainly brought me confidence in taking decisions. I realized that music can be real part of my real life professionally. So, I treat music and music production very seriously. I still have a lot of fun in doing what I want and enjoy but I clearly understand that I’m doing it on top level, and I have to focus on it.”

Zeikenov is quickly proving that just because his stardom was born from social media and one hit, his artistry isn’t something to be questioned. His first remixes and releases fell sonically in line with his “Roses” remix, with a similarly popular remix for Rasster’s “Sad” gracing radio waves. His most recent single with Don Diablo titled “Kill Me Better” featuring Trevor Daniel is a complete diversion from the expected for both producers, drawing on punk rock influences that then culminate in a contrastingly euphoric and lighthearted electronic melody. His Usher featured release with Marshmello, “Too Much,” is a Top 40 hit to its core with a catchy vocal line that serves as the focus of the single versus the production elements.

In the year and a half since his “Roses” remix, the producer has put out over 15 remixes and original releases. Zeikenov shares that fans can expect a similar output from him over the next year and a half, promising he has a lot in the pipeline including a full EP with Rita Ora. He shares, “Well, I have extremely big plans for end of 2020 and whole 2021. I have a few unusual remixes for indie artists which I found very interesting, I’m working on collab with Goodboys. I’m also doing an EP with Rita Ora and a few collaborations with my favourite hip hop acts. I’ll keep my fans happy I’m sure, more then 10 records are in pipeline which are different but still unique to my taste.”

Zeikenov gives fans a taste of what they may be able to expect from his live performances with his hour long Saturday Night Session. The producer draws inspiration from both US pop hits, but also music from the East, with a diverse collection of remixes and originals weaved in and out of an hour long diverse set. When asked what kind of a Saturday Night his Saturday Night Session will get fans ready for, he says, “I try to bring positive vibes always as it’s my style, so it must be something light and colorful in music, up-tempo and something that you’d love to listen after a hard day. Not too deep and dark but opposite – simple and nice. The world is full of bad news and hard times, so I guess we all need to have little nice escape on Saturday.”

Dancing Astronaut Mixes · Saturday Night Session 043: Imanbek (DA Exclusive)

h/t New York Times

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Did you grow up a dance music fan? What inspired you to start producing music?

Since I was a child, I always loved music and I love it more and more every day. and I love to discover new cool tracks and new artists. I guess this passion made me start experimenting with remixes as I always had some ideas how to change my favorite track, and to play with them in some way. It started as bootlegs and unofficial remixes and turned into a major part of my life.

Are the artists you are now collaborating with people you looked up to, or does this continue to all be new after the success of your remix of “Roses” catapulted you onto a global stage?

After the Roses Remix of mine became a massive global hit, I started to collaborate with new and very established artists, and I made only a few remixes for my friends and colleagues that I knew from before. It does not mean that I completely changed my circle of friends in music to say, it just took so much time to get involved with a new page in my career and of course I have to prioritise.

What is the one biggest way your life has changed since releasing the “Roses” remix?

Life changed a lot and mainly brought me confidence in taking decisions. I realized that music can be real part of my real life professionally. So, I treat music and music production very seriously. I still have a lot of fun in doing what I want and enjoy but I clearly understand that I’m doing it on top level, and I have to focus on it.

What musical output can we expect from you in the future?

Well, I have extremely big plans for end of 2020 and whole 2021. I have a few unusual remixes for indie artists which I found very interesting, I’m working on collab with Goodboys. I’m also doing an EP with Rita Ora and a few collaborations with my favourite hip hop acts. I’ll keep my fans happy I’m sure, more then 10 records are in pipeline which are different but still unique to my taste.

What is one thing your fans don’t know about you?

I prefer to keep my private life, private and my comfort zone protected as I love my family and my lifestyle so there are lot of things which people don’t know about me, but it just means that I’m not desperate to show all that to broader audience. The world knows that I’m real and I’m a very simple person from Kazakhstan and my story of success is very pure and true, so I’m not the guy who uses it to tell some extra stories and try impress people with edgy details. Luck loves silent ones, you know.

When live music resumes, can we expect live performances or a tour from you?

Absolutely yes, ready for this. I’ve already received lots of requests from the biggest festivals and clubs, so me and my management will tour the world once borders are opened. I created my own DJ project which worked super well even before the virus times so now it is just a matter of time.

What is an ideal Saturday night look like for you?

Dinner, friends, drive around, hookah. Great vibes and quality time.

What kind of a Saturday night will your Saturday Night Session get listener’s ready for?

I try to bring positive vibes always as it’s my style, so it must be something light and colorful in music, up-tempo and something that you’d love to listen after a hard day. Not too deep and dark but opposite – simple and nice. The world is full of bad news and hard times, so I guess we all need to have little nice escape on Saturday.

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