One of the most unique aspects of Elements Lakewood Music & Art Festival was their incredible roster of young, emerging talent waiting to be discovered and explored. Luckily for us, we came across an up-and-coming artist at the silent disco on Friday night, who’s music left us in a hypnotic trance. Meet DJ and producer Rj Pasin: a down to earth, New York native, who’s incredible skills in sound design led him to master the genre of psychedelic trap. With very few years under his belt, he’s already curated an impressive roster of original tracks and remixes that have recently caught the attention of big name producers in the industry. The morning after Rj Pasin’s set, we had a chance to sit down with him to learn more about the man behind the mesmerizing music in our headphones just a few short hours before. Here’s what he had to share with us:
What was it like playing the silent disco on Friday night (or really Friday AM), and what did you do to prepare for it?
Rj Pasin: It’s been a really great feeling. Once everything was up and running, it was great to play in an intimate environment, where you could literally see everyone’s lit-up headphones and the faces of all the individuals who stayed over the course of my 2-hour set. It was cool to see all of the different people interested in my music and their reactions. I only play original music and I normally only play around an hour-long sets. When I realized I had a 2-hour time slot, I had to make sure that I had all of the completed tracks I’ve made over the past 2 years so that I had enough material to work with.
You’ve produced an impressive roster of music over the past two years. Can you tell us a little about your sound and what exactly psychedelic trap is?
Rj Pasin: My music is influenced by a lot of different things like jazz, hardcore, and various EDM artists from electro to dubstep to trap. The reason I call my music psychedelic trap is because trap music has this foundation of sub bass that’s emulating an 808 kick and snare, and then you’ve got the high hates etc. Given that foundation, I like to do a lot of sound design over that so I’ll incorporate anything from synthesizers to orchestral music to other various instrumentals, and then manipulate the audio so that it feels like it’s breathing in and out, and pumping, so you really get that psychedelic sound and moving feeling. I do what I can to really try to evolve the foundation to make it feel alive.
How did you get started and branch out into the current genre of music you’re producing?
Rj Pasin: I started playing classical piano against my own will at age 5, then around age 11 I started taking jazz piano lessons which completely opened up my mind of learning how to improvise and put my own spin on things. Somewhere along the line I picked up guitar because I started to get into heavier music like hardcore and metal. Eventually, I started playing in a post-hardcore band, Murder She Wrote, where I played a synthesizer and guitar at the same time. This is when I really started getting into sound design and experimenting with different techniques for our music. I soon realized the sounds I was making on my microcord didn’t even touch what I could be making on my computer, and that’s when I really got into electronic music and branched off on my own to pursue it.
You’ve got a big collaboration coming out soon with Beatnik & K-Salaam ft. Taleb Kweli and Blue. How did this come about?
Rj Pasin: There’s this teacher that I had from the I went to the Institute of Audio Research and this teacher that I had for a make-up class ended up being this producer for all of these incredible artists like Naz, Lil Wayne, Most Def, etc. One day after class, I walked up to him, gave him my card with my Soundcloud info and asked him to check out my music. The next class he came up to me and said he checked out my music and that he was going to call me that night. So, he calls me and was like “I have a track I’m working on with Beatnik & K-Salaam ft. Taleb Kweli and Blue, and would really like to try your music with it. He sent me the track and I immediately started bust my ass working on it, making up a few different ones for him to choose from. From there, we worked together to achieve the exact sound design he was looking for, and the end cut was awesome.
Rj Pasin: It will be out towards the end of 2017 and I’m very much looking forward to it because it’s definitely the biggest collab project I’ve done to date. I’ve also got an instrumental EP coming out this summer of some of the better work I’ve done over the past two years, and I’m helping to produce a very heavy, post-hardcore EP with a friend of mine’s band (the drummer from my old band) from North Carolina called Auxilia, who will be playing a couple of shows with Born of Osiris and For The Fallen Dreams.
Who’s inspired you the most in the electronic scene?
Rj Pasin: One of the biggest producers who’s influenced me is definitely Skrillex, but more specifically his My Name Is Skrillex EP. I just remember sitting in the car one day with my sister, and hearing these crazy sounds coming out of her headphones, I was just like WHAT IS THAT? She told me it was this guy named Skrillex who used to be the singer From First to Last. I listened to it and it completely changed my life and thought process. I thank my sister a lot for exposing me to different kinds of music. Another guy is Big Chocolate—he used to have this Youtube channel where he would upload a video every single day that was mostly made up of tutorials on how to produce dubstep and sound design tips. I love him as a producer and his music, but he seriously taught me so much on that Youtube channel. I went to audio school already knowing the majority of the material they were teaching because of him.
Where can we hunt you down next?
Local Legends in August. It’s a smaller, more intimate festival, but should be really cool. Looking forward to it.