May 10, 2012
interview
KOAN Sound

Jim & Will of KOAN Sound have a style that could be likened to a bass music jam band. It’s worked well for them–their last EP released on the prestigious OWSLA label. During Miami Music Week, we spoke with the duo about their unique sound & the pros & cons of free releases.

KOAN Sound - Meanwhile, In The Future (Original Mix) [OWSLA]
LessThan3: What’s your perception of Miami Music Week relative to other big EDM events?
Will: It’s difficult to say, really. We landed last night and went to a party at a club called Eve. It was a Ram Records drum’n’bass party with Andy C playing. Aside from that, we haven’t experienced much yet—this is our first year here. It’s clearly a massive party, though.
LessThan3: How’s the UKF tour going?
Will: It’s been great. We’ve been on quite a hectic schedule doing close to a show a night, but most of the shows have been very good. There have been a few stand out ones like Chicago, Atlanta, and Toronto. We feel really privileged to be able to tour America and see people that know our music.
LessThan3: There’s a lot of talk these days about how the modern dubstep producer needs have their own distinct sound, but still remain cohesive. Do you agree?
Will: It’s important to have your own signature sound, but you should also have enough diversity in your music that it’s interesting. Not so much diversity that it’s all over the place, though. It’s a bit of a balancing act.
LessThan3: Do you think you’re balancing that well?
Jim: It comes naturally for us. We have more fun making different kinds of music, especially the 100bpm glitch hop we’ve been doing.
LessThan3: Who are some other artists you listen to for inspiration?
Jim: We both have different inspirations, but for me it’s been the neurofunk drum’n’bass like Noisia, Spor, Phace, and bands like Incubus.
Will: Drum’n’bass was a big influence for me 5-6 years ago. Hudson Mohawke, Rage Against The Machine, Zeppelin, and The Prodigy have also been big influences.
LessThan3: There’s a lot of talk about ’90s grunge rock finding its way back through EDM. Do you think that is going to happen?
Jim: It’s very possible. People always go back to earlier genres and revamp them. There’s been a good amount of ’80s stuff going around, and I think that overall trend is going to continue—going back and getting music from earlier times.
Will: No music is 100% original; it always borrows ideas from things that have come before it.
LessThan3: Is there anything you are working on in the studio that you want to let your fanbase know about?
Jim: We’re doing another EP right now that we are hoping will come out in May. It’s going to be released on OWSLA. It’ll be a bit bigger than the last one with a bit more variation and a stronger lean toward ambient sounds.
Will: We’ll be releasing some more free music in the next few months, too.
LessThan3: There’s been a big shift on the Internet with artists releasing their stuff for free just to get exposure. Do you think that is necessary for artists to do these days?
Jim: It’s not necessary, but it definitely helps. It’s a great way to connect with fans. They really appreciate it when you give away something for free that you’re proud of.
Will: At the same time, though, if you’re a new artist and you’re trying to get exposure, it can sometimes be a bad move to release your music for free because you could be sending out the message that you don’t think people will pay for your music.
LessThan3: What’s your perception of working with OWSLA so far?
Jim: Working with OWSLA has been amazing. They have a very open attitude to any ideas you have. Anything we make they are proud to release–even the weird, experimental stuff. It’s good for your creativity to have those sort of people behind you because you don’t feel pressured to come up with a specific sound.
Will: OWSLA is definitely on the same wavelength as us. They’re lucky to have that platform to release whatever they want and have people still be interested in it.
LessThan3: Any new up-and-comers you have your eye on?
Will: Teknian, an 18 year-old from Sweden who is dabbling in a lot of different styles. He’s made a fair amount of 100bpm style tunes recently with funk and ’80s influences. I think he’s got a big future ahead of him.
LessThan3: What do you think is the best way for these young talents to gain exposure?
Will: It comes down to consistency with a bit of luck. Dedicate as much time as you can to what you’re doing, and make sure every tune on the Internet is as good as possible. Once you put something on the Internet, it’s there permanently.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Jim: Animals by Bonobo.
Will: Please Don’t Go by Stevie Wonder.
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Will & Jim: Funky, Techy.
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