Wuki: “Being Artistic Is Pointless Unless You’re Trying To Push New Boundaries”
Kris Barnam is Wuki, the Denver, Colorado based producer who came into many people’s radar after his Framework EP dropped on Skrillex’s imprint The Nest in Janurary. Since then, the Wuk has signed to the Miami-based management company Super Music Group (home to the likes of Amtrac, DJ Craze and others) and released more jams.
Protip: Check his Soundcloud for a bunch of free downloads as part of his “Wukileaks” series.
This past weekend he opened for Mat Zo and Kill The Noise in the Miami stop of their “Kill The Zo” tour. After a wild set that was full of broken beats and sounds the crowd had no idea how to respond to than to just go nuts, I got a chance to chat with Wuki and poke his crazy brain.
GPS: What originally pushed you to make the sound that came out of Framework?
Wuki: Honestly the two biggest groups that got me into electronic music are The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers. When I was a young teenager, they totally turned me onto it. They both kind of have broken beats. At the root of everything they are always my biggest influences.
So to me, with the Framework EP, its where I was in my life and where I was listening to music, as well as a combination of that and my influences. Its kind of just what came out. It wasn’t really pre-conceived, I just started making a couple of tracks and that’s where it went.
Nowadays, everyone has evolving and changing styles. What recently has been a change in style for you as opposed to where you were with Framework months ago?
Well I don’t want to be known as a just breaks guy because I come from all different types of electronic music. I love house music. I never considered myself a breaks dude. I see myself collabing with different artists and being more of a multi-genre artist with a very distinct, sonic sound. I think the Wuki sound is very distinct. I like to explore all genres and try to push my own envelope where it could go. I think being artistic is pointless unless you’re trying to push some new boundaries.
How would you describe an artist pushing new boundaries?
Take these producers like Mat Zo and Kill The Noise for example, they’re always trying to evolve and figure out where they can go to keep this fun. Because at the end of the day, it always needs to stay fun. To me, if I’m doing the same thing over and over again, its just not going to be fun.
How do you feel about the general electronic music scene in general right now, especially considering you’ve been in the game since its blown up here in the states?
Electronic music is definitely in a weird spot right now just because its blowing up so much. But at the of the day I don’t think its going anywhere. I think, if anything, people are going to get smarter with it. Somebody who likes electronic music might get introduced by someone like Skrillex or Kill The Noise or Mat Zo. But then they get into it and they see how deep this goes, and that (the root of it) influences all these guys. Everything is always influenced from the root of it.
I think electronic music is like fashion, its always evolving and never done. Some people are like “oh dubstep happened, now its done.” No, there’s still a thousand really great producers that are making new dubstep that are just upping each other and upping each other, and its all these different pockets of genres.
The pendulum always swings. Like around 2007 and 2008 there was all that Justice and Ed Banger tunes. Then after that deadmau5 got really big and then a couple of years later Skrillex came along and blew everyone’s faces off with the hard dubstep. Now deep house and techno and the like are getting really big. I think in a couple of years we’re going to see another dude make the heaviest shit ever and swing the pendulum back.
What artists or musical styles have really caught your attention within the past year?
I feel like this “booty tech” scene has been coming up a little bit. Those are the dudes I really, really pay attention to. People like Eyes Everywhere, Ballast, Tony Quattro, Doctor Jeep, Jesse Slayter (who I just did a collab with) and Sluggers. I feel like we’re all on the same page and trying to make this new booty tech, groovy fuckin’ techno. I mean, nobody likes genres, but a lot of people are calling it booty tech right now. I also really like Wave Racer and Trippy Turtle.
Related Reading: Eyes Everywhere Interview
Are there any that have particularly inspired you in the studio?
Yeah definitely. Taiki & Nulight and AC Slater, and a lot of that night bass stuff at Party Like Us Records. I think their sound design is so dope, like that grimy UK bass stuff. That inspires me with synth sounds. I always want to try and up my game up with learning my own synths and trying to make my own sounds because, with those guys, everything they make is from scratch. So it inspires me to not just go to some preset and try to design a sound from scratch.
I think there’s something to be said about trying to turn it (a synth) into your own thing, and I think other producers can hear it too, like when a producer at least tries to twist it or control it in a different way instead of just put a preset and dirty kick with it.
There’s no rules in this shit, there’s no right way to do anything. I just think that you can never go wrong with being genuine from the get go. It might seem like a slower grind, but just being genuine and actually learning a synth inside and out and actually learning the things that you need to learn to produce and not taking shortcuts, there’s definitely something to be said about that. You will succeed more by actually learning the roots of all of this.
Obviously everything takes practice. I mean you’re not going to be the best soccer player in the world by practicing for a week, you practice for two years straight and you’ll be amazing at anything. Hard work and good timing I think are what its really all about. There’s obviously some things you can control and there’s some things you can’t. But you have to be honest and humble, and you have to have a genuine love for it. I think people that get into this for the girls and the money never have it end up working for them. People that are in it for the love of the music, I think, will always be the root and most valuable thing.
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