longstoryshort reclaims his power with ‘redemption’ EP [Q&A]IMG 6790

longstoryshort reclaims his power with ‘redemption’ EP [Q&A]

For several years, longstoryshort‘s world went largely silent. For two to three years, the producer who, at the apex of his previous project, was “headlining clubs and playing dream-come-true festivals,” let Ableton go dormant. Fettered by bad deals and “one of those contracts you read about when you open up the ‘idiots guide to music industry’ as a ‘what not to do,'” he took a decisive step away from music, leaning into “a regular job” and the currents of culture shock.

Dismounting the peak came with perspective—the type that allows one to hit the reset button in the process. And like a phoenix rising from the ashes—lessons learned the hard way in a notoriously ironfisted industry—he dusted off Ableton and laid the early foundation of the longstoryshort project.

The New York native anonymously activated the alias in 2019 with “Back to the Start.” In the three years replete with singles and EPs that have followed, longstoryshort has ascended again. And this time, he sees the forest for the trees. redemption, released May 20 via JustUs Recs., is the sonic embodiment of the strife that permeated the then and the not-so-distant past. It doubles as a primer in longstoryshort sound, he says. “When you find this and you’re new to me, this is that seven-track thing you can put on and really dive into my world,” he told Dancing Astronaut, adding that redemption has provided the platform for him to “finally feel like [he is] freed of [his] creative battles.”

In an exclusive Q&A with Dancing Astronaut, longstoryshort discussed the EP’s conceptualization, its lows and highs, and the creative angles behind the visual accompaniments that render redemption an audiovisual experience. Read the interview below ahead of his July 31 performance at HARD Summer Music Festival‘s Corona Stage.

The redemption EP is your most expansive project to date. How did the making of this EP differ from that of your others, such as Chapter 1 (Warfare)?

longstoryshort: “This took WAY longer for starters; it was more focused on songwriting and vibe than the previous EPs, where I think I was still trying to fully discover my sound on the production side. I think I’m at a point now where I have developed my own sonic style and this time around, I focused on pure vibe and just the overall flow, the storytelling side of things. I really wanted to create a product that felt cohesive from front to back and was less about club playability and more about just bringing people into my world to see the journey I went through since I started this project.”

Conceptually, what is the story behind redemption?

longstoryshort: “I went through a pretty rough period of life before starting the longstoryshort project. I had quit music, felt pretty defeated after my previous project, and was trying to figure out how to do life without making music, so I did the normal job thing and it just was so out of my comfort zone. Life went from festivals, touring, and non-stop excitement to straight mundane routine. I couldn’t even bring myself to open Ableton and at one point, I tried helping a friend with a song and it felt like I completely forgot it all. The power of the mind is so crazy—I learned that if you really believe you’re never gonna win, you really start losing.  

I started seeing the side of making good consistent money, which was nice, finally started having a ‘normal’ life and put things back together, but it just wasn’t making me any happier, so I found myself really digging deep and I realized, ‘is this really how I want to go out? Is this really the legacy I’m gonna leave, just make a few records that buzz, play some of the earlier slots at festivals and just keel over and quit—go work a normal job and just write off this whole run as done for?  

So I started making music again. redemption is about coming back to redeem myself—I’m not really at war with anyone but myself, but it’s a fight I gotta win. I gotta redeem myself and prove to myself I can do this shit again for real.”

What does redemption reflect about the longstoryshort sound?

longstoryshort: “Some of the tunes I make like ‘On The Low’ are just straight club bangers, but for me, this EP is the foundation. When you find this and you’re new to me, this is that seven-track thing you can put on and really dive into my world. I wanted to give people something to listen to that’ll put them in my world and really them you kind of escape their reality and enter mine for a bit. I hope that translates for the listeners.”

Can you take listeners into the thought process behind the EP’s visual supporting elements?

longstoryshort: “So I dropped a video every week and they’re pretty to the point. I think nowadays, it’s a little crazy to have five-minute videos on any platform, so I tried to keep it quick and exciting. The trailer for ‘Gone’ was about my journey through my past project and the sense of relief when I left it, but also the world around me changing. I wasn’t sure it was a good move to even start getting back into music again, but I figured I’d just start dropping stuff online, new name, new project, never really share it on my old socials and just start fresh. It was brutally challenging— starting at zero followers is NO joke! I told maybe less than 10 people I was making music again, partially because I didn’t want any preconceived notions of the music since it was a pretty big sonic change for me.

‘Ready to Die’ was the opposite vibe. We all know how 2020 and 2021 went, and like I said earlier, I knew I couldn’t go out quitting like I had before, so I really grinded out a long period of time making tunes and just trying to get my reps in to get my skill back up to where it was and where it needed to be to really break all the noise out there and focus up. Eventually, some shows came after a hell of a lot of sacrifice socially and time-wise, and that’s something I kinda wanted to show people— just the grind of sitting there every day for two to three years. The phone call at the end was because most of my friends know, when I’m quiet, I’m working…and they started figuring out the deal!

The last video was simple and a bit more open to interpretation.  We actually snuck onto this rooftop in the projects in the city, and filmed it at like 1:00 a.m., just me hanging off a 50-something story building. To be honest, I just wanted to make something striking visually, something you see and are like, ‘damn, what is he doing?!’ It’s also the first time I show my face in three years of this project and to be honest, I finally feel like I’m freed of my creative battles. This project is something that means a lot to me; it’s pretty much unapologetically me and what I’m on. I know there’s trendier things and faster ways to ‘break’ into the industry, but this is me. I’m doing me 100%, and I’m not really stressing any of the outside bullshit…I stressed that stuff for so long that it ruined my love for the craft. Now, it’s just about being in love with the craft of making tunes and putting that energy out there.”

Featured image: @youraurelia/Instagram

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