Q: “Oasis Sous Les Étoiles” truly transports listeners to a futuristic desert oasis party. Walk us through the making of this track. Did it come out exactly how you envisioned it?
DJINN & TONIC: I like to visualize a setting and time and place when I write music. I’m very influenced by classic Film Scores and Video Game Soundtracks, and I’ve always felt magnetic towards melodic music that can put you in an environment without even seeing anything visual. It’s also a good practice in songwriting. With this track I asked my coworker to give me a setting as a challenge. She told me to think of a desert Oasis party. Dusty, Fun, sexy, hot, etc etc. And I think it came out pretty much better than I could hope for. I’m pretty new at writing this kind of music so I’m always excited if I can finish a song that isn’t boring to listen to or embarrassing to show my friends.
Q: How do you approach starting a new song? Do you usually wait until you’re feeling inspired or do you just sit down and see what comes out?
DJINN & TONIC: Because of the Pandemic I work from home now. Which means I have my musical instruments next to me at all times, so whenever I feel inspired I grab a guitar and quickly record my idea with my cell phone and upload it to an ideas folder. I have tons of them. So if I want to write a song I can go through all my ideas and see what grabs me. Other approaches I do is I just search for a ton of samples, tones, weird synth sounds, one shots, and odd noises and collect them in a project and see what happens when I start playing around with them. My other favorite way to start a song is to just ask a friend to give me a visual setting, words or photos and I will try to write a song based on that. I’m currently writing a song with a friend who is a singer, and she told me she wants the song to invision “Golden Cages with half naked dancers, Jungle, Heat, Parrots, Nighttime” and sent me a photo of a girl pretty much naked in the jungle with a parrot. So I set up a drum loop with some percussion, grabbed my bass, and stared at it and I came up with a bass riff that I felt made the photo come to life.
Q: Describe the music you create in 3 words.
DJINN & TONIC: Melodic Electro-Exotica
Q: What is the key to your sound and how do you make your music stand out?
DJINN & TONIC: The Key to my sound I find are fat, catchy, melodic bass lines and ever changing melodies and building layers and layers of moving pieces and parts and instruments. I play in a lot of video game cover bands, Punk/Ska, bands and listen to a ton of modern Electronica. I really want to and am trying to find a way to blend all those aspects to a point where people from all those scenes can enjoy this music.
Q: You’ve said that Djinn & Tonic is inspired by French Electro-Pop, 60s-Exotica, Golden Era Hollywood movie scores, classic video game scores, and otherworldly scenescapes. What is it about these influences that inspire your music?
DJINN & TONIC: The melodies. I feel a lot of modern music lacks super catchy melodies, jazzy chords and complicated riffs and harmonies. That’s why I have been super drawn to the french side of Electro-Pop and with Japanese Synth-Pop and J-Fusion. They are always so evolved and smart and well thought out without being overly pretentious. It’s a pretty tough balance to write a Melody to impress a snobby trained musician and also not bore someone who just wants a fun song to listen and dance to. I feel some of my favorite bands like Yellow Magic Orchestra, Polo & Pan and Casiopia are able to do that and hopefully one day I can write a song half as good as them.
Q: You’ve also played drums in the geek-pop band, Kirby’s Dream Band. What was that experience like and what have you learned from it? Are you still in the band? If so, how do you balance these two identities?
DJINN & TONIC: I used to play in a lot of Punk and ska bands but those scenes kind of died out. One thing that will probably never die out are people listening to Video Game Music and covers. In a super weird way, they are kind of the Millenial and Gen-Z versions of our parent’s Jazz Standard. So Kirby’s Dream Band will go on tour and we will get fans who never heard of us, or even heard one of our single recordings but will know a song and get super stoked when we play something from Final Fantasy or Undertale or even with some crazy deep cut. Playing in video game cover bands are actually what helped me get into writing for Djinn & Tonic. Arranging for KDB and breaking down song structures taught me how Harmonies and melodies work and how to think outside of the box when coming up with beats.
Q: What’s coming up next for you?
DJINN & TONIC: Oh my god. So much more music. I’ve already written an album’s worth of music with this project and am collabing with as many oddball instruments and musicians I can find. From tuba to harp to bass clarinet.
Interviewed by Sarah Scott
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