KODIAK – Ferocious Bass Encounters A Mauling Movement [Artist Interview]

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[Interview: KODIAK]

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Q1: Thanks for joining us, we are elated to finally have you! Can you give us the origin story of the name and the idea behind the KODIAK name?

A1: Actually a very interesting and fun story! Back when I was just a wee lad my Grandfather and Dad had always called me Kodiak as a nickname, always yelling out loud, “KODIAK-AK-AK-AK-AK…” And it had always given me a good chuckle. Fast forward 15 years. When it came time to settle on a name for my project I wanted to choose a name that could work well with my own. I genuinely couldn’t muster one up for weeks until one day I was chatting with a friend about ideas and he says “What about like… a Kodiak bear ya know?” and all of the sudden everything just clicked together right away. I had remembered when that used to be a common nickname for me, it ties in perfectly with my actual name, and I also just like the nature of Kodiak bears in general.  knew the direction I wanted to head in when it came to branding and I was ready to push forward with it.

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Q2: For the unknowing readers, and soon-to-be fans, where are you from?

A2: Buffalo, NY! Cheektowaga to be specific, born and raised! 

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Q3: What lead you into the dance music world, and what ultimately kept you?

A3: I remember using YouTube  A LOT in my off-time when I was about 12 years old (2010) and one day the infamous ‘Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites‘ just popped up in my “suggestions” on the right-hand side of the screen and the artwork drew me in immediately. So of course, my curious mind had to look into this exciting yet ominous-looking record. The rest is history. I dove into Youtube EDM promotional channels such as “Monstercat” “The Dub Rebellion” “Darkstep Warrior” “UKF” etc… throughout the years. I even started my own little Youtube channel called “Phresh Dubstep” where I made my own graphics, and contacted underground artists that I liked through other promotional channels for permission to share their music whether it be released or unreleased on my channel! It didn’t gain much traction as I kind of got lazy with it and fell off the regular upload schedule, but nonetheless, it was a fun little thing I had going up until about 2012. I had started to focus my attention more closely on rock n’ roll and psychedelic music throughout my teen years, have been playing the drums since the age of 5. I had close friends that would get together with me in my basement and jam on an almost daily basis. I fell completely in love with the idea of being a part of a band and after a couple of years of jamming and fooling around, I and the boys did just that and focused 100% of our energy into it.

I would still occasionally listen to uploads brought to my attention through suggestions, but never found enough time or brain energy to really sit down and enjoy it. I also had no money to attend shows at the time, which would later become a huge influence on my decision to start producing. It wouldn’t be until mid-2016 that I would be reintroduced full-time to EDM. I had been working with a friend at a restaurant, and not having a car of my own, he would let me use his to sit in on the break.

One day we were sitting there together and he just starts playing this monster of a track that I can’t recall the name of off the top of my head. It immediately sent me back in time to all the EDM music I used to vibe with and we asked myself “Why did I ever stop listening to this?!” especially hearing these insane new age basses some of these artists were just starting to create at that time, absolutely unlike anything I had heard in the past.

Needless to say, I fell in love all over again and started attending show after show, and those shows ultimately led me to find myself listening to it more often than not in my personal time, always craving the next event. 

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Q4: What impact do you wish to have on the world, whether it’s music or being a role model for others? 

A4: I hope to show the world (or at least the ones who have heard of me) that many things can be achieved through hard work and dedication. When you’re starting out with something that you want to take seriously and have a future planned for, there’s really no easy workaround. You have to work your hardest every day to make significant progressions. Definitely don’t fry yourself. If your brain is telling you to take a break, listen to it. Mental health always comes first, but if you really want to make your visions a reality you have to set up a plan, an end goal, goals along the way, and be grinding it out as you would a full-time job every step of the way. BUT if you follow these steps it would be impossible for you to not see progression take place. Never settle for where you’re at. 

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Q5: If someone is dealing with writer’s-block or just cannot find the mental groove to get into to write music. Do you have any advice for them?

A5: I usually will just start a new song to get the juices flowing, but that’s honestly probably not very good advice, cause it leads to the problem of being overwhelmed with how many things need to be finished even though you’re really on your own schedule and not actually obligated to finish anything at any certain time unless it’s agreed upon by other parties. I would say
1.) Drink a lot of water, helps the brain focus a whole ton and not everyone knows that. Also amazing for curing a headache most of the time.
2.) Do a little sound design and see if you can make some new things to add to your arsenal, it doesn’t always have to be writing! Any form of practice is beneficial.
3.) If you simply can’t get into the groove of a certain track you’re stuck on, I wouldn’t force it, it could lead to negative thought processes and just overall bad ideas. Probably best to simply take some time away altogether and focus on something else, or hop over to another tune and try to make progress on that and see if that sparks some motivation.
4.) Take the weekends off to do personal stuff. I often find myself still working on a few things music-related but it’s because I get bored very easily and always like to stay working, but those 2 days of relaxing for a bit definitely helps the brain, at least for me
5.) Listen to other music! I find myself always listening to other people’s songs for inspiration and motivation. Plus, I’d consider searching for new music a production-related activity if you DJ regularly. Gotta keep on top of that unheard material!
6.) Study some material on production techniques! You can never know too much, If you can’t think of anything to write it never hurts to cram some more mixing/sound design/production information into your brain, just try to apply it as you go so you don’t forget about it! 

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Q7: What is life like in the shoes of Kodiak? Walk us through a Day-In-The-Life of you!

A7: Well this one is pretty basic and boring, to be honest: I usually begin my day around 6 AM, as I work a 7 – 3 day job. I honestly couldn’t for the life of me tell you an exact time that I wake up in the morning, my brain often doesn’t let me have a consistent night of sleep. I’ll wake up at like 2:30 AM and fall back asleep after a half-hour of scrolling through my phone, or I’ll just stay up until it’s time for work, in the lab working on music. Regularly scheduled programming of pounding down a cup of joe, showering, etc. then it’s off to work! I honestly enjoy my shift’s hours because it seems to fly by a lot faster than other shifts I’ve worked. The day cruises by, then I’m on my way home, presumably to work on something music-related for the night, some days I’ll hang out with some friends or spend the night with the misses, but mostly I’m locked in my office for the night, and they understand. I’ll fall asleep anywhere between 10 pm and 2 am (definitely getting the full 4 hours on these nights) and I do it all over again. 

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Q8: How did you earn the skull-form and title of the “Kodiak“?

A8: I’m pretty sure my nickname comes from a movie or it’s a quote from somewhere, I don’t remember exactly, I just remember it being yelled at me quite often as a child. You’ll have to ask my father or grandfather, they’re the ones who crowned me with the official name.

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Q9: Your new track “Wook In The Woods” with Scafetta just came out, what went into that creatively?

A9: That’s actually a good question! That one is our first collaboration together and it taught me a hell of a lot about what I was doing sound design-wise. I was honestly blown away that he had even contacted me to be on it because at the time I really didn’t know what I was doing. But I guess he saw through that and knew there was some potential to be had. He sent me the project and I just added my own flavors into it and he enjoyed what he heard! From there we kept working together on more tunes and now plan to release an EP in the near future, currently in the works.

As for the actual thought process behind it, he basically sent me the entire song finished so that was all on him but I went into it with the goal of just spicing it up with some high/mid-range basses throughout the track to make it a bit more interesting. I think it turned out pretty decent for my first released collab!

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Q10: What artists inspire you the most to make music? Are there any artists outside the dance realm that also inspire you?

A10: Honestly my producer colleagues inspire me the most. BASSFACE, Scafetta, Rauchle, Zillz, ION, ShwiLLy, Earthwokker, Psyoptic, Dub Vader, Canino, staiR, Emorfik, Mr. Fink, Joki, Squirrelly Bass, wooK, Nosium, Siklok, Cphlo, to name a few. I always see them being the best artist they can be and in turn, motivates and pushes me to do the same. Plus I’m able to chat and interact with them, share ideas, get feedback, etc. Having a tight-knit circle of people I can talk to that do the same thing I do is the biggest inspiration for me. as for bigger artists that got me into the noises I try to make in this current stage of my career, I’d say Liquid Stranger (had a hold on me since 2010) Blurrd Vzn, Shanghai Doom, CVPTVGON, Subtronics, Peekaboo, Xotix, Eater, Ruvlo, Sfam, Excision, Jonnie boi, Vibe Emissions, to name a couple.

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Q11: Where has been your favorite place to play music? 

A11: I’ve only left my hometown of Buffalo once (That’s gonna be changing this year/next) to play a show. It was in Rochester with Super Future and Wreckno, so I’m gonna have to go with that one because not only was it a blast and I got really drunk, I also got to stay in a warm cozy hotel room which I for whatever reason have a sweet spot for. Yeah… I’m still pretty new to playing live shows and haven’t had the opportunity to do so in a year so I don’t have too many crazy stories to tell on that subject, unfortunately.

Q12: What do you feel your home state does better than any other area (music and non-music related)?

A12: Break folding tables, for sure.

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Q13: Who do you believe deserves more spotlight and recognition in their music careers? Give them a carnivorous Kodiak shout-out!

A13: All the artists I mentioned above! I will add to that list, cause these boys have been working hard through this quarantine:

HEXED, Wye Nawt, TRON3X, Boo-SIr, Wizdumb, HUSKI, Sha, kboudy, Murlock Holmes, WYLIN, Kick, Thicc Boi, VLCN, Rauscous, L!GHT BVSS, Psyoctave, BCON, buutler, holderr, Big City, NRG, Make Wavs, MAR, AREA 51, PERP, Herbalistek, Scullion, isoxo, LAF, donny, msft, southgate., voltra, SAGZ, Eradikid, Stoutty, KRILLA, Noizon, Tripzy Leary, eugene, Dank Frank, anti., bd hbt, Secret Recipe, Josh Cassidy, Sunken Frequencies, Space Wizard, Wisdom, muncheez, BANkaJI, knock2, R00m, They’re Here, MeSo, NVADRZ, BEYOND REPAIR, only child, Reginald Simpson, Noise Pollution, Jvmpskare

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