NEXT UP: 1000 Beasts
This week, we bring 1000 Beasts, Ireland-based music producer. 1000 Beasts brings a new artist within every track making them the "Beast". We discussed his recent EP, "On A Different Page", his creative process, and plenty more. Check out the interview on our IGTV / Youtube (above). Read all about him below and don't forget to listen to 1000 Beasts' new project!
What do you do? Where are you from?
I'm 1000 Beasts. My real name is Cian. And I'm a producer. I'm an artist/producer from Ireland here in my home music studio and in the middle of the night at 12 o'clock. I'm up at this time anyway in a city called Cork, which is the second city in Ireland. My story is I started off as a professional musician, as a session musician. I actually toured all across America. I've been in, I think, 46 states or something like that. I've been everywhere except Hawaii, Alaska, and I don't think I've been in Wyoming. But I've been pretty much over the US. Then the whole time I was doing that all I wanted to do was produce and I started producing for other people and I started writing songs for the people. And then I came up with this idea called 1000 Beasts, which is where I have my own project, and I collaborate with different people on every release. And they're the "beasts". That's the idea.
That is super interesting. Glad that you mentioned that because I saw that there's someone featured on every track.
There's only one song that's instrumental on so far. "Is This Love", the first off the new EP.
Great segway, let's talk about "Is This Love" because I saw you doing a remix contest with it. And not many producers do that so it's interesting. How's it working?
It's going really well. I've been tagged in some really cool stories. I'm actually really looking forward to seeing some of the responses because I think every artist and every musician has this but when I approach something, I have a way of doing it. I hear music in a specific way and then put those ideas out in a Dropbox folder and then have other people reinterpret them. It's really interesting, especially some people who I really respect and then there are some people who are doing it who I think is really good. And it's really interesting to hear snippets of what they're doing. I haven't gotten anything finished yet. We have a few. The deadline isn't until the 28th of August. And it's only the eighth. There are two and a half weeks. But it's interesting. I've never done it before. Being a producer is a weird lifestyle because you spend a lot of time on your own. But you could probably tell I'm a bit more chatty and interactive. I'm a very talkative person. It's good to interact with your project and make music with people. Even the whole concept of 1000 Beasts is about collaborating with different people and stuff so this competition felt like a really good idea so I'm excited.
So now let's talk about the creative process with "On A Different Page" because I realized that they're all different singles, but then you basically combine them in EP. So how is was the creative process?
Actually really interesting because I started off writing songs with different people. And what happened before that, I had released like a handful of things, probably five or six singles before this EP on their own, and they're all one-offs. My big challenge was before coming into this EP was that there was no consistent 1000 Beasts sound because I was working with individual artists. A lot of the time, it would be very much the sound of the person I was working with it was coming through in the song. So what I did around about, like a year ago, and I acknowledged this and was like, 'what can I do to fix this' because it's not a problem, but I want the project to have a clear identity. And I started making loads and loads of instrumental beats, like loads. So I have a folder full of instrumental beats, and then I started sending them out to people that I wanted to work with, or if there are any opportunities coming up. Some people I'd send them five beats, and they'd want to do all five. Some people would want to do stuff and they wouldn't like any of the beats and that's cool. I'd send some more stuff in a couple of months' time. And if there's anything that tickles their fancy sweet. Let's not do it unless we find something because that way I found that the people I'm collaborating with from the gecko are very involved in the track and invested. And they can add their magic to it. But it still has the 1000 Beasts sound. I do a lot of writing for other people too and producing for other people. That's a very different process because I might go into the room and we might have nothing and I'll sit down at the piano, or I'll sit down at the laptop, start making a beat, and that can go in any direction. Whereas, when I'm like sitting at home, and I'm making my 1000 Beasts beats and then sending the motion there, I know that I always ended up being kind of cohesiveness, if you know what I mean.
I love that. When I was listening to all your songs, "Because of April" really mind-boggled me, especially the beat change. It's an interesting song and I wanted to know more about how that process happened or was the inspiration behind it?
I have a degree in classical music like a proper music degree if you know what I mean. And I think a lot of my instincts are always to be orchestral or very high contrast. As time goes by, I'm doing less and less, I'm getting more and more minimal. When you come from a classical piano world, music is very, very dynamic. One minute it's way up here. And then it's way down here. And a lot of the music that's in the world at the moment, it's not a bad thing or a good thing. It's more just dynamic. It's much more static. And with that song, that was a little girl called Laura Elizabeth Hughes. And I had the really minimal thing, and I listened to loads of Tiesto ever since I was 14, and Dutch trance-house. And I wanted to have an explosion at the end of it basically. And I wanted to lead you into this really beautiful somber melancholic journey for three or four minutes and I hinted at halfway through. I get a little bit of a hint on it that it's coming but it doesn't come through until that moment and you have this lyric "the silence is beating down as I'm watching you go" and then boom, it explodes. And the whole song is mixed very quietly up until that point too so when it does come it's meant to kick you right in the eardrums. It's just like 'whoa, where did that come from?' I actually haven't listened to it and you caught me out because that song is really old.
Your recent singles, I also realized that the cover arts were cohesive and wanted to know more.
Again, going with collaboration, I have to give a big shout out to a guy called Ciaran Coulstock, who did all that for me. We wanted to work on something for ages. And he has quite a distinct style. And he's so talented. And I approached him before Christmas and was like, 'look, I want to do this EP, there's going to be a lot of singles on it'. And I want the single song of a consistent artwork. So we mapped out a few things. And I don't know if you noticed, they all have tears or pieces of paper on them. The idea is that it was going to be a sketchbook of ideas. That's why every single piece of artwork has a paper on them and you notice that the name of the EP is "On A Different Page", which is a lyric from one of the tracks as well. So there was that idea that each track would be each cover up with a different color first, and then a different color theme, and then they would each be part of the different page chapter. The idea was we take some photos and then he would edit them in a specific style and that would create a theme but the lockdown happened halfway through the entire thing so I had a photo for "Waistcoat" but then the rest of them I was basically walking in half of my house is hoping I can find something like taking selfies or getting my friend to take a photo and sending it to Ciaran but everything he made was so good!
Wow. I meant to actually ask this in the beginning but I got so pumped up. How has this quarantine or lockdown been for you?
Really creative. Yeah, absolutely fine. Seems like ages ago now. I've done so much. I have an album ready and another EP is pretty much ready to go straight after. I work pretty quickly. And I knew as we start to release "On a Different Page" that I would meet more people that I wanted to collaborate with and reach more people that would want to get involved. And that just means more great people that I want to work with or that I am working with. And those songs will be coming out. Yeah, I have 13 tracks probably ready to go so we'll probably split it into like two more apiece.
Love that. I was going to ask you what's next for you if there's anything that you would want to spill for the world!
I'm actually trying to figure it out at the moment. This is very honest, but I'm trying to figure it out because I have a remix of a really great track that I want to put out for other artists. And then I have some acoustic versions from the last EP that I definitely want to put out, like one at least, but then I also have this EP, and I'm trying to figure out what we'll do and which ones to put out next. And I really like the momentum of putting notes in every six to eight weeks. And I really feel like it connects and it feels like the tracks have a direction. As I keep releasing more and more people see that, I definitely don't want to stop. Music is so easy to make nowadays because of the internet and with the lockdown and everything, you have nothing else to do. So there are no distractions. Before lockdown, you're worried about doing this and that you have to be here and yada yada yada. And then after it happened, all I can do is really make music finish.
So glad to hear that. We sort of spoke about this, but what inspires you if there are any specific artists?
It depends. A lot. There's so much music that I listen to so much stuff. So it's very hard. I think most people do this, but I would go through a phase of listening to one artist for six weeks. And that's it. I'll listen to them. I might listen to one other person, but Man I Trust, when their album came out a couple of months ago, it was them for six weeks and then Khruangbin. They're so good. I've been listening to them for the past five or six weeks and to my ears, that's got a lot of West African influences. Before that, I was listening to a Dutch guy called Benny Sings and he's like a mixture of the BeeGees and Mac DeMarco. I don't know, it's how I listen to music. But when it comes to my own process, it depends. I get an idea, beat, or vibe. And then it doesn't take much to set me off. It takes two or three minutes, and I'm away. And I have something. It might be right. The thing is, I could turn out ideas. The real skill in the art, I think, and the thing that really impresses me about the best artists is: it's not hard to come up with the ideas. It's hard to pick the ideas that are right or to be selective about the ideas like, 'no, this is really good'. It's really cliche when people say "less is more", but I think a more accurate way of saying that is "just because I can, doesn't mean I should". The art of not doing it, even though you know how to, is almost more of an art and a skill and restraining yourself. I'm really impressed with people that can do that. And you know they could, but they choose not to. To me, that's actually more artistic.
What are you currently listening to?
Khruangbin. And someone called "Strong Boy", never heard them before and they come up on my YouTube. My YouTube algorithm is deadly. If a video comes up my YouTube recommendations, and not much music does, because a lot of the time its channels producing tutorials or something. But every now and then, it'll put up one song on my YouTube. And I click it and 9 times out of 10 I'll be like, 'okay, that's class. I love that'. It happened to me with boy pablo. I think he came up yesterday. He came up on my shelf and I was like, 'this was great'. And then I love Clairo. I went through a huge Clairo phase. I was thinking might have been listening to her earlier today. That album she has with Ezra from Vampire Weekend like he produced that album and there's a tune, "Bags" and the drums, all of it, and everything's just beautiful. That might have been the last thing I listened to, I go through phases anyway.
Don't forget to check out 1000 Beasts on Instagram!
Listen to his new EP "On A Different Page" here