After collaborating with some of New Zealand’s brightest talents September has plans of his own to take over the world. We caught up with him to discuss how he approaches making music, collaborations in the New Zealand scene, turning music into more than a passion and his plans on moving overseas.
With a wide range of recent collaborations in the New Zealand music scene, producer September has had a very busy year. Tackling a variety of styles and moods featuring banging 808’s and beautifully integrated samples, the young producer has started to carve out an identity as one of New Zealand’s top up and coming producers.
With a natural approach to song making, September likes to take each beat one at a time, finding inspiration in the unknown. “When I make a beat it’s really about what I stumble across first. Whether it’s an 808 sample, just like a one shot hit. If there’s a melody that just catches you, or a synthesizer you find in one of your sound banks and you’re just pressing something as simple as a C note. It can influence you just like that.”
Not wanting his music to feel forced, having a flexible approach to song making becomes key in creating something new. With the producer learning from his mistakes to uncover the best way to approach his music.
“I don’t plan a single thing. Nothing at all. I just let everything kind of flow all cohesively. I feel like you shouldn’t have to force art, that’s when you start to get unnatural sounding outcomes and problems start to occur. You can start to get flustered when you’re trying to get a mix right, or you’re trying to get a beat pattern to sound how you heard it in another song that you really liked. It becomes very frustrating and un-motivating in a way, you just kind of learn to not rely on it. It’s art bro, it’s in the name itself you just have to let it happen.”
When it comes to collaborating with other artists, trust plays a vital part in the creative process. Whether it’s working with a new artist, or a long-time collaborator, the young producer takes every session one at a time.
“There’s nothing really forced happening. I mean there’s no other party that’s next to you saying that they want something exactly like this. If it was like Somber or Rahul it would just be natural. They wouldn’t say a single thing, or if they said something they wouldn’t be giving you a back handed compliment about it. It’s more like a brother connection that you have when you’re making music. It’s cool for any artist out there that has started with somebody that was their friend, it makes it so much more enjoyable.”
Surrounding himself with artists and friends that have the confidence to critique his work and suggest new ideas has allowed for September’s music to flourish.
“I suggest that people who are making beats surround themselves with honest people. It’s the most important thing to have, because when you meet new people sometimes they may not have the confidence to be honest. But when you are with someone who is super honest, and someone who you really comfortable around, you’re always going to get the best outcome if you’re collaborating.”
September has been a part of a group of musicians beginning to get some worldwide attention, crediting a tight knit relationship with artists such as Somber and Rahul for his continued success. With the world beginning to open their ears to New Zealand music, the artist believes there is a huge amount of emerging talent starting to appear.
“It’s so dope that everyone’s starting to open their ears, and discovering each other. People are starting to surface and it’s getting really cool. I feel like New Zealand’s biggest problem is we separate ourselves too much. We act like we’re a big country, but in reality we’re so small. We need to be closer together and we need to be moving together to create this big aura of New Zealand energy. I feel like the scene here is really dope. I really really like the scene here. Honestly, most of what I listen to on my Soundcloud playlist, is made up of like 80 percent of New Zealand artists because they’re just so cool. I love the sound, I’m digging it.”
With the continued success of New Zealand music, more is still needed to be done to get to the next level. With most artists making songs for fun, the step into business can be a daunting task. Having to create press releases, message blogs and promote your music, an industry meant to be focused on the music, is turning into so much more.
“That’s what I’m trying to wrap my head around lately, because I’m starting to make it into a business. It’s really difficult bringing your passion into a business. Because you don’t know how much a piece of your heart is, equivalent for money. It’s really hard to value that. That’s what I just learnt last year, promotions for Instagram is insane. It’s paying to get your art work reposted all around and then Instagram shout outs. Everything revolves around money. But then a lot of people think it’s just from the music. Your music really does count but the promotion is 80 percent of it. It’s so sad since it’s about who you know, not about what you know. I hate to admit that and it sucks so much bro, it’s like fuck it should be about the music come on. Over time I just kind of had to come to terms with it.”
For artists wanting to take this next step it can be an intimidating task, with a lot riding on factors that are out of your control. “People don’t realise that they need to take risks and sacrifice a lot. If you’re going to be putting your eggs in one basket, you need to be putting literally all your eggs in one basket.”
Motivated by the global success of New Zealand producers such as Montell and LMC, September is looking to create a movement of his own. Eyeing up a move to Canada with long-time friend and collaborator Somber.
“I’m just so excited for Canada, like I wouldn’t want to be blabbing on for hours about it because I’m just too excited man. We have a specific kind of sound, and I feel like in Toronto we could really make some noise. We want to let them know what we have, where we’re from, and what we can bring to the table. Especially the New Zealand scene – we’re too dope to not get recognised. There’s some really cool stuff out there that just doesn’t have the attention.”
While searching to create some global attention, the move was also brought on by some frustration with the New Zealand music industry, with mainstream radio stations and media sites not doing enough to support local artists.
“Do they always want to be playing something that sounds like American music? They need to keep digging because there’s heaps of stuff that’s surfacing now. I know there’s a lot of artists starting to imitate the American accent as well. And it’s like come on, we already have American music so just play that.”
“I feel like that’s where they stop – they don’t dig any further, which is really sad to see because there’s a lot of cool stuff out there in New Zealand. That could be easily presented on radio, the artists all have producers that mix and master for them and the final result is fit for commercial radio. I don’t know whose fault it is, are artists not sending their tracks to radio, or they’re not pushing it enough, or stations just aren’t looking hard enough. there are some radio stations that support the underground New Zealand music scene, but more mainstream support would be dope.”
With the move overseas comes the opportunity for growth, whether it be personal or with music. Escaping your comfort zone and taking in new experiences is vital when developing as an artist. Looking to try and create some new experiences of his own September is looking forward the challenges Canada will bring.
“You have to step out of your comfort zone to grow, and it’s something you have to learn. If you compare yourself five years apart you would be so shocked with the person you’ve become. Just because you didn’t think you would be comfortable with what you’re doing now. For me, I’m a very anxious person. Now I’m doing shows that I couldn’t imagine myself doing before. Like being on a stage I’d get stage fright, I’d get so nervous. Five years ago if I saw myself today it would be really weird. I’m only doing small steps in New Zealand, when I’m go to Canada it’s going to be way bigger.”
With more music planned before the move overseas, September is looking to leave his mark on the New Zealand music scene before exploring international opportunities. Check out his Soundcloud below.