The productions on his first debut album “It’s Artificial,” which dropped on the Anjunabeats label last year, is stuff true musicians can perhaps dream of — a total genre-breaker. Everything from melodic trance, classical jigs, grindy glitch-hop, stucky dubstep to trippy techno — it’s all there, composed in a hauntingly layered thematic narrative. And the man behind it all: Andrew Bayer, a true-blue electronic music composer from Washington, DC.
Arab News met him backstage before he played his eclectic set at Above and Beyond’s final Trance Around the World (TATW) 450 radio show.
Andrew, you’ve been associated with Above and Beyond’s record label for a year now. What are your sentiments on playing at the last TATW 450 with them?
I’m really excited about it, because I’ve been guest-mixing a lot on TATW. I think I’ve done about three or four guest mixes, so I’ve been a part of Trance Around the World for years. It’s kind of nice that I get to be here to close out this final show, so I’m really excited.
You released your debut album last year. DJ Mag called it an “outright winner”. Did the album sort of place a precedent for your future album sounds? Are you going to continue experimenting or have you found the niche “Bayer” essence yet?
I think I’ve not found it, and that’s going to be the goal of my career: to keep on pushing to find whatever sound I’m going to be making next. But yes, you’re exactly right. The album was definitely a turning point in my career, in which I started experimenting with different styles and textures that I wouldn’t normally use in dance music. The album platform was so much more open. A wide palette of sounds that musicians all over the world could enjoy to use, you know. I’m going to be releasing another full-length album that is all experimental. So yes, It’s Artificial paved the way, to say in the very least.
The sound on the album with its elements of glitch-hop and dubstep was entirely unique to be on the label itself. What do you think appealed to them sonically?
The thing that they’ve told me is that the musicality of my work kind of sticks through whatever style I work on. I could do a dubstep tune, or I could do a full on trance record and it still has kind of … I would say … the soul of an Andrew Bayer music production. I try to really make all of my stuff musical and cohesive from each genre, to tie them all together even though they are very different.
What kind of music were you inspired by while growing up?
I loved Michael Jackson. That’s probably one of the main reasons I got into dance music.
Yeah, we all did, didn’t we?
Yeah, everyone did (laughs). I was a Michael Jackson nut. And then I got into alternative rock while I was growing up. I was really into radio in the early ‘90s. I would just come home from school and play the radio literally until I went to bed.
Who were your favorite rock musicians?
Oh, I loved Nirvana. They were a huge favorite. And Smashing Pumpkins, I loved all their stuff. And then I got into Nine Inch Nails later, which kind of bridged the gap into the whole electronic world. Nowadays, I find myself listening to … Electronic music is probably the least popular music that I listen to. I listen to a lot of classical and indie rock stuff.
You’re heading back into the studio for a new album. Can you tell us what we can expect from it and when?
Hopefully, it’s going to be released sometime in the first quarter. I’m not too sure of the exact dates yet, as we’re still finalizing everything. The album is a little longer and will be split up into many different tracks, because It’s Artificial had only eight tracks but was very long. So, it’s a different approach to songwriting, and I’m pretty excited about it. It’s experimental, but also something that your mom can listen to, you know what I mean. It’s very universal.
Have you thought about the title of the album yet?
‘If it were you, we’d never leave.’ It’s a long title.
Any three tracks that you’re looking forward to remix?
Let’s see … I would love to do remixes of some of the indie bands. That would be great, because it would bridge my interest in indie music and dance music. If I were to do that, it would probably be Solange. She’s been doing some great work lately. I’ve been really into Hyne — it’s a new band produced by Ariel Reichstadt. He’s just amazing, a great producer. And then, let’s see … I would probably have to say someone like Sieger Ross would be incredible, just because I’d be able to merge the epicness of the Icelandic musical style with mine, and I think that would be a nice combination.
Any destinations you want to play at in the future that you haven’t yet?
You know what, I’m going to change the question slightly and say I would love to go back to Hawaii, because I’ve been there before already, but honestly the hospitality and the people … It was so much fun. And I was with these guys here [referring to Norin and Rad], so we had a blast.
Any musicians you’re digging at the moment?
At the moment, I’m obsessed with Icelandic contemporary classical. So probably one of my favorites is Jóhan Jóhannson. He does these really long epic pieces that are very thematic, gorgeous, and very deep. So I love him. I’m also a big fan of this record label called Erased Tapes records, and they do contemporary classical with an electronic twist. I really like both of them.
Any plans to play in the Middle East soon?
You know what … I don’t have any plans as of now, but I would love to.
Would you be looking at any city in particular though?
I’m open to suggestions. I grew up with a family from the Middle East that I’m very close with, so I have a lot of Middle Eastern friends. I would love to go over there and finally see where they came from and go party, you know.
The first track from his new album “If it were you, we’d never leave” was released on the Anjunabeats record label on Dec. 17.
You can track the artist on: www.facebook.com/bayermusic