An Interview With: aiwake and Saen.

Producers aiwake and Saen. recently collaborated on an EP, #99000A. We spoke to them about the process of working together, and the songs that bring them joy.

I want to get an idea of those behind the curtain as it, so when it comes to music who is your guilty pleasure as it were?

Seth (Saen): Lil Uzi Vert or Jack Harlow. On some days some Billie Eilish also hits right.

Matt (Saen): Rick Ross.

aiwake: George Michael and Wham!

Your recent release “Faded Patterns” is a phenomenal piece. How long ago did the concept that would become “Faded Patterns” come into being and what was the process like up to completion?

Saen: “Faded Patterns” began on our end almost two years ago. It was created pretty casually without any real plans for it. Fast forward a bit and we began working with Dorian (aiwake) on some concepts for the song. Then fast forward again when the pandemic hit and I (Seth) found myself in the Toronto area. Linked up with Dorian in person and we were able to work at a better pace and come up with a strong conceptual project that both teams felt good about.

aiwake: We actually have 2 different versions of the song. The original one is more of a draft that helped start the entire collaboration. Saen sent me a demo of something they were working on—I added some synths textures, reworked some of the production, and recorded some vocals. We put the song aside for a bit, and got back at it a few months later. It all came together with the prospect of the collaborative EP.

Given everything going on in the world right now, has it affected you in terms of how you work?

Seth: It might be a bit weird and I don’t want to downplay the severity of the pandemic, but personally it gave me a lot of time to really focus on music and bigger concepts. Never had that time before and all of a sudden I found myself in lockdown with so much time haha. 

Matt: Since Seth and I have primarily worked from different locations, it hasn’t impacted the work process too much. That being said, with everything going on in the world, it brought up a bunch of new conversations and expectations for our music. The time spent at home was good to understand and breakdown the values of the music.

aiwake: A lot of people’s routines have been drastically affected. I don’t think a music producer’s job has changed much. I’ve been locked down in the studio for many years!

What feel good song always brings a smile to your face that you’d recommend to people now?

Seth: “Show Me How” by Men I Trust. I don’t know what it is but that song is perfection.

Matt: Sebastian Paul always brings a smile.

aiwake: “Cassius 1999 (Radio Edit)” by Cassius

Which piece of music are you the proudest to have been a part of its creation?

Seth: We scored a commercial for Expedia. That was pretty sweet.

Matt: An unreleased song Seth and I made after sampling a toaster from Tim Horton’s. The song in all its elements embodies freedom. Hope to play it in a live set soon!

aiwake: In parallel of aiwake, I’ve been working on a really exciting new project of mine called Luth Dean. I can’t say much about it just yet, but one of the songs in that project is definitely special to me.

What concert/performance do you wish you could have seen, or which artist/band do you wish you could have seen?

Seth: Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. Probably anything at Woodstock.

Matt: The debut of Stravinsky’s, “Rite of Spring.” Not only did it shatter the norm for music at that time, but the premiere also sparked a riot. 

aiwake: Coldplay live in Toronto in 2006. I’m a huge fan of their early albums. From Parachute, up to X&Y. That particular show is from that era. 

What influenced you to get into making music?

Seth: Always loved music growing up but what got me into production was going to my first festival (Ultra Music Festival in Miami). After that experience I told myself I have to play a festival like that one day. Don’t make edm anymore but will always have a soft spot in my heart lol.

Matt: I can’t pinpoint one influence but it was definitely a culmination of being obsessed with Hip-Hop sampling, movie scores, and the unique sounds of electronic music. 

aiwake: I’m lucky to be surrounded by people that care about art in general. I met really inspiring musicians early on in life. I guess I was quickly attracted to it. 

How did aiwake and Saen come into being?

Seth: Super casually actually. We found his music first and we’re fans of his sound and voice. After sometime we reached out and bam the rest is history.

Matt: What Seth said.

aiwake: They actually reached out to me about a year and a half ago. What was originally supposed to be a one song collaboration turned into a whole new project, #99000a. We got together a few times, and the EP took shape pretty organically. 

What challenges have you had to overcome, if any, in 2020 with everything that’s been going on?

Seth and Matt: One challenge has been navigating our media voice. It’d be great if we could hyperspam our feeds with music and stuff but with the amount of important information being shared (elections, pandemic news, etc) we don’t want to undermine its importance as they are topics we also care about.

aiwake: Seeking purpose in something that seems pretty light compared to what has been going on. I had to convince myself that keeping on creating would be a way to escape whatever weird reality we’re going through. It took a lot of introspection to be able to do so.  

Which song never fails to get you dancing badly (or really well) around your home when it starts playing?

Seth: “Move On Up” by Curtis Mayfield, haha.

Matt: ABBA‘s “Dancing Queen”.

aiwake: “Montreal” by Roosevelt.

Follow Saen. and aiwake on Spotify.

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