There are many ways to describe bad tuner – imaginative, groove driven, creatively conscious. This Brooklyn based DJ has spent his career building, exploring, and showcasing worlds that reflect his inner perspective on the outer societal experiences taking place within the 21st century. Having a distinct progressively deep-house sound has made him stand out brightly in the electronic space. Although, what drives such artistry to create immersive universes and inject innovative narratives within one cohesive musical landscape? bad tuner takes a moment to shed some light on his creative genius, his artistic influences, “a true pandemic collaboration”, and more. Catch the latest release, “Back To Me” here.
Who is bad tuner and how did you come to life?
This project was born out of my bedroom in Brooklyn NY. I was spending my afternoons going through YouTube clips, ripping audio, layering prose and sung vocals over synth chords. I released my first songs in 2018.
Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest visual, social, and sonic influences?
I love the unexpected, the catchy yet unpredictable, the sonically deep, and drums with lots of groove. Some of my favorite artists that I look up to are the Chemical Brothers, Francois Kevorkian, Booka Shade, and Frankie Knuckles. The music they make is constantly evolving, and pushing the boundaries of what electronic music means as a genre. Visually I like things that feel DIY and innovative. I appreciate when artists take risks and create something I’ve never seen before. I’m a big fan of Braulio Amado (graphic work) and Anton Tammi (video).
What does your typical songwriting/production process look like? Is there a set formula or does it consistently evolve and shape-shift along with your ideas?
I typically start with drums, they really impact the mood of the song I’m going to create. They can be minimal, or lots going on – this will influence what comes next, a sparse bass line or something faster to fill the space. I’ll then add chords, a lead melody, and vocals. Rarely do I start with vocals first.
Was there a definitive turning point to your success? When did you realize the magnitude of your impact within the industry/community?
Haha, it’s an ongoing road – and a long one! Definitely have had some cool moments (touring with TOKiMONSTA, having a residency on Mambo Ibiza, and remixing some awesome artists) that have helped push the momentum of the project. It’s also super exciting when fans reach out to me and let me know how the music makes them feel, that’s the point of it all anyway!
The 2020 tour hiatus hit each artist differently in very unique ways, some struggling more than others. Enlighten us on your experience.
Like many other artists, I had a tour and festivals pending that got canceled. While I was looking forward to those dates I know when shows come back I’ll be on the road. This time has allowed me to focus on other aspects of the project like producing, songwriting and making visuals for the project.
You just released a new track, “Back To Me,” that features UK vocalist Marbl. Tell us about the inception of this idea and how you managed to collaborate during the pandemic.
Back To Me is a true pandemic internet collaboration. After being linked with Marie via Adam Tune from Keys N Krates we chatted about working on a song together. She sent over vocals for an instrumental I was working on. I dug it but it didn’t quite fit the energy of that track. Switching things up, I took the vocals and pitched them down over a new instrumental and it was rocking. We sent the track back and forth a few times, adding in a second verse and outro vocals. To take the collaboration a step further we wanted to create a fun visual for the song. She recorded herself singing, uploaded the video to youtube, and I then projected it on the wall behind me and played the keys and danced along. It put us in the same space if just for a moment!
What does this song represent to you?
We live in a world where nothing is enough, and being content is perceived as failure. ‘Back To Me’ reminds me of the beauty that nature brings to each of us, and if you let yourself be influenced by all of the shiny things dangled around you, then you risk missing out on the people and opportunities made just for you.
In what ways do you wish to inspire up and coming artists/producers that are aiming to get their chance in the spotlight?
I would say try to create in multiple ways, do things yourself, learn new skills. When you start out it’s so important to be able to create your own artwork, write your own bio, edit your video, mix your track, master it. It doesn’t need to be perfect – it just needs to have your soul in it.
What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give aspiring creatives that you either got from a mentor or that you wish you would’ve gotten?
- Usually the less you have going on in a track the bigger it will sound.
- Trust your gut and your ears
As we’re looking ahead, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, how are you planning to propel your career forward in 2021?
I can’t wait to play the songs I’ve been writing out and see how they connect with crowds in a live space. Creating at home and doing virtual streams is one thing but music is about a communal experience. It’s about sharing a moment and listening together – I hope to be able to tour and experience that side of the project again.
Is there anything on the horizon that you can share with us?
Some really fun collabs and videos en route.
Take a chance now and manifest something:
I will play my music in all of the continents!
Any last words for the SPIN-verse?
Get vaccinated, mask up, and let’s get shows happening ASAP!
Check out bad tuner’s breathtakingly groovy sunrise rooftop set and enjoy the NY views below. Want more SETS? Head over to SPIN TV to keep up with all the latest and greatest DJs breaking the electronic charts.