Thursday night (June 6), New York’s EDM enthusiasts had to chance to enjoy a free concert at Pacha NYC featuring the genre’s wunderkind Walden. Featured in our ‘Top 25 DJs Under 25’, the Australian producer rocks a hot set at the age 19, keeping us on our toes to see (and hear) what he may put out next.
VIBE gets into the mind of this young prodigy to see what lies beyond this young DJ’s horizon, including new tracks and possible collaborations.
VIBE: Starting your career at such a young age, do you find it hard to establish a signature sound of your own? What has the process been like?
Walden: Absolutely. I think it’s getting there slowly. It comes down to a lot of experience – trying out new sounds, new ideas, and it’s a process of elimination. For instance, I’ll try some electro, and maybe that’s not for me, but the melodies will always be there for me - it’s just the way I try to portray it. I’m right in the beginning, and I’m not in any rush.
Growing up in Australia, what sort of music genres and artists would you listen to that you’d say inspires your music today?
A lot of different stuff…certainly 90’s punk, and the stuff that was playing in cartoons. My mom used to play me classical music when I was a baby. Later on, I started getting more into hard trance when I was about 12 and my siblings were listening to that. Then we went to some kind of music Powerhouse museum in Sydney, which it introduced us to this music making program and it just all started from there.
What was it about that moment that influenced you to take the leap and experiment with electronic dance music?
I think it was the creative aspect of being able to put sounds together, and you could make something. I always like creating stuff – I played with Lego a lot and liked to build stuff. I also liked drawing and writing stories, even though I wasn’t very good at it.
How have your parents coped with your newfound career and all your travels?
They’re really good about it actually. At first when I was taking an interest in it, they were like ‘Mm, okay. It’s cool but it’s not going to make any money.’ But I guess after I blew up in America, everything just sort of changed. Eventually Atlantic Records came along, and that ‘s when we knew there could be something in this.
What career path did they originally hope you would pursue?
They were more like ‘do what you’re happy with, what you’re passion is, but make sure it’s practical as well.’
You have quite a few North American tour stops you’re hitting this summer - any city in particular you’re looking forward to seeing?
Always New York. Also Avalon in L.A.; I’ve only played there once but I’m definitely looking forward to going back this month, as well as the future if they still want me. I actually really like Canada as well. I’m a big fan of Toronto and Montreal - they’re really receptive.
Will you be introducing any new material in your set tonight?
A lot of new material. I’ve got my next single called ‘First Day’; it’s a vocal track, and I’m going to play that tonight. Hopefully it goes down well. In general, there’s a lot of tracks I’m sort of finishing now, which can be the hardest part in production to know when a track’s finished. I’ll definitely be testing out a lot of new material.
What is your creative process like when producing a new track, for instance your last EP Machine Land. Where does the music stem from?
I guess it comes from maybe what mood I’m in; even pictures can inspire me. Sometimes I don’t even think about it – I just get on a computer and try to make something. A good idea will come along and I try to arrange it properly.
The actual track ‘Machine Land’ was made right after a show at Webster Hall. Surkin had just played, and he dropped the most unusual, coolest tracks – it was very fresh to me at the time. So as I soon as I got to the hotel the next day, Machine Land became born. Then I just started making tracks to fit in with ‘Machine Land’, and that’s how the EP came about.
For collaborations, are there any hip-hop artists or rappers you would want to work with now?
I’m not really into the R&B thing to be honest. I wouldn’t mind doing it if it’s a good song that I’m feeling, but I think in general it’s not really the direction that I want to go in at the moment.
What about mainstream EDM producers?
Fedde Le Grande I really like a lot, as well as his record label, Flamingo Records. It’s really strong, really groovy. I think it’s sort of unique as well, the way he’s played and produced. Axwell has always been one for me as well – his original music has such a great feel to it. I feel like now he’s trying to take it back to the roots of house, but with a new feel. Also, Anjunabeats – there’s a lot of trance stuff I’m getting into. It’s a little bit of everything.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years?
I think in 10 years I hope to be a good producer making good music. As long as the music’s good I’m happy. Obviously, I would like to get to the level where I’d be a large name – that’s the aspiration of every artist.