From San Francisco, The Indiigo Child, has made an impact on the dance music industry. His sound consists of a mix of electronic synths and strong beats. The Indiigo Child joins me to speak about his latest track “Come Back To Me” and his journey in music.
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The Indiigo Child Latest Track: “Come Back To Me” – Start: 14:19 to 17:35
Mason Vera Paine & The Indiigo Child Interview Transcription
[00:00:00] Announcer: Mason Vera Paine,
[00:00:02] Mason Paine: San Francisco based DJ And producers at Indigo Child, brings a unique style to dance music with electronic, synths and powerful beats. He joins me to discuss his latest track, Come Back to Me, and his journey in music. Thanks for joining me, Indigo.
[00:00:15] The Indiigo Child: Good afternoon, Mason. How are you doing?
[00:00:17] Mason Paine: I’m doing pretty good, man. Thanks for coming on. I appreciate you taking time out from your day for doing this. I want to start out with, like, what what got you into being a DJ?
[00:00:27] The Indiigo Child: Let me clarify all the DJs out there because there’s some amazing DJs. That’s what they do. I’m more so I kind of DJ my own music. It’s kind of a cheat code. But yeah, obviously in electronic music, we DJ our own music and stuff like that. But, yeah, I’ve been into it since, like, the 90s. Some of the classes that came out during that time that inspired me, I really got into it. Gigi diagosinois to yours. Are you familiar with that song?
[00:01:02] Mason Paine: No, I’m not.
[00:01:03] The Indiigo Child: Yeah, they actually feature that song in a movie called Uncut Gems for Adam Sandler. It’s at the very end. It’s the last track that plays in the credits. That was like my first dance song. That was like, oh, I liked it. I think I want to make this. You should definitely check it out. I’m sure you’re familiar with song already. And then stardust dad punk. So all those artists as I was growing up in the was like, oh, that was like inspiration for me to really get into dance music and gabba a little bit in DJing. I had to get more into it later on in life because obviously, dance music, you got to be able to play everything. You got to learn how to do all the technical stuff. But, yeah, I try to think of myself more than just DJ.
[00:01:55] Mason Paine: Yeah, that’s interesting too, because I read that you worked with a lot of hip hop and rap artists. How did that come about?
[00:02:01] The Indiigo Child: I started my life in Jersey City, Newark, New Jersey, and those areas in the tristate area. And surprisingly, when I was coming up, obviously, New York, New Jersey, tristate is very hip hop oriented. That’s the biggest culture out there. And I was very fortunate. I grew up in a place called Summit Plaza in Jersey City, and one of my neighbors was AKON, and they lived in my plaza, so they were a lot older than me. But I got a chance to go to their studio and see some of AKON producers. And I got to meet AKON probably twice. I was around those folks and a lot of rappers. So that’s how I got into hip hop. That was my first start into producing, making tracks. I started posting videos online of me making hip hop tracks. I was really inspired by a lot of the producers that were making tracks online. The MPC sampling. It’s kind of how that way it was the beginning of me getting serious with music.
[00:03:18] Mason Paine: Now, I know for many producers that I know personally, when they do tracks for hip hop or rap artists, there’s a lot of sampling from disco, maybe like 70s or 80s pop, even some funk in there. Has that spilled over into how you do music now?
[00:03:38] The Indiigo Child: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, right now, like my latest track Come Back to Me, it has a sample from a group called First Choice from the era. And yeah, I mean, all these influences translate into my music now. It just sounds different, but it’s definitely been a huge influence on how I create music, how I hear music. A lot of times in most of my tracks. Sometimes I will play synths and sample the synths and then resample play it as a sample within the track. So it’s an original track, which I sample sound and then I’ll bring it into my MPC and my music production center. It’s like a drum machine. And then I’ll resample those parts and it just sounds different. And all those techniques, it comes from my hip hop background, my humble beginnings.
[00:04:37] Mason Paine: Now, were there any difficulties transitioning from producer to like, a DJ? I know when you’re working by yourself, I think it’s a little bit easier, but it’s harder too, because you’re your own worst critic versus when you’re working with people, you have to really take into account what their style is. Is it any type of transitional period where you got kind of messed up through it?
[00:05:01] The Indiigo Child: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Listen, when you’re just producing right, or a beat maker, most of us start up as beat makers and then eventually we have to become producers. The more we get into it and the more serious we get about it in order to succeed, I really do feel like you have to become a producer mindset. And when I was just making tracks for like, rappers and stuff like that, it was easy to just be like, okay, I got my melody, I got my kick drum and you’re done. Everything is the format. And you kind of just hand it off right where when I started making my own, I’m going to be the artist now. I’m the electronic artist now. The pressure is on you to really make that track whole. And it’s still the same thing actually, now because when I work with singers, I have to mold those visions together and I have to guide it and they guide me and we have to still work together. So I’m still very much working with artists. But when you’re making the tracks that are just no vocals, those tracks are actually difficult to carry to keep people interested because there’s nothing there.
[00:06:14] The Indiigo Child: There’s no vocals to save you. Right. You have to make the track constantly interesting so it is challenged. And it was a challenge when I went from hip hop to dance music, because I think hip hop music is definitely evolving the beat. But when I was coming up, the tracks were very simple. They were effective, but they were simple. Where in electronic music, I don’t think it always gets enough credit. There is so much production that has to go into the different transitions. You have your beginning, your end, but it just has to change so much to keep the listener interested. Especially when there’s no vocal, because if not, it just becomes boring and kind of like elude.
[00:06:59] Mason Paine: I never thought of it like that. Where the collaboration becomes a little bit more difficult when there’s no vocals. That’s so true, because you can change music during a vocal set versus if there’s no vocals. You have to slowly integrate it without it being disturbing. That is kind of messed up. How do you do that when you collaborate with another artist who’s EDM? How would you mix together something that sounds so cohesive that it’s a brand new sound, different from both of you, but something together? It sounds cohesive, yeah.
[00:07:35] The Indiigo Child: I think the most important thing for an artist when you’re trying to work with somebody and this is what I look for, I use the term texture, vocal texture. You have to work with people who have the right vocal texture for your track. There’s been times where I’ve met artists that are just amazing, but I know their vocal textures are not going to work with my sound palette. And so we kind of never end up working because it just doesn’t work nowadays. I try to identify, does this singer have the right vocal texture for my kind of strap right now? If it’s for me, then I know what I’m looking for and I know what texture I’m looking for when I used to produce. And that’s the thing when you’re a bean maker, you’re just making, like, tracks, right? And then you’re just hoping that somebody fits with the song. And sometimes, and a lot of times they don’t, their vocal doesn’t fit with it. It’s just not right because you didn’t make it for them. So when I meet artists or meet singers that I want to collaborate, collaborate with, I’m usually looking for their vocal texture.
[00:08:45] The Indiigo Child: And I can identify pretty quickly. Nowadays, even if they’re not the best singer, their vocal texture is going to work with what I’m trying to do. And that’s kind of my key code in making that work for me. That makes the process a little bit easier.
[00:09:01] Mason Paine: Oh, that must be nice to be able to just do it by ear. You’re speaking to someone and you’re like, yeah, that automatically clicks. How long does that take you to get that skill?
[00:09:11] The Indiigo Child: It’s hard to really pinpoint that. But I want to say at some point, like around 2016, I really started developing that skill set, that natural skill set, to hear someone saying, even if it’s a completely different kind of track and be like, oh, I think I can make that work with this. That’s in my mind, because all my tracks are in my mind already. A lot of times I wake up in the morning and there’s a melody already, and then what I’ll do is I’ll jump on the keyboard, track the melody, or sometimes I’ll hum it out and save it on my phone and then I’ll come back to it. So I already have these melodies in my head, and when I hear a person, even if I hear somebody talk, I can almost tell, like, oh, that texture. Let me hear you saying, oh, that works. But yeah, 2016, I want to say it’s a time that I really started to hone in on that skill when I worked with Valdina. She’s on my track love tonight. I think that was the first time where I really got it right because I heard her on like an R and B track with this artist named Young Elle.
[00:10:24] The Indiigo Child: I think he was a part of this group from the Bay called The Pack, and she was on a track with him, and it was a completely different track. And I heard her voice and I had the melody for Love Tonight in my head, and I heard it and I was like, that’s going to work. And when I played her for some of my friends, they were like, I don’t know. And I was like, It’s going to work. And that was the first time I got it right. And since then, I’ve been pretty spot on.
[00:10:48] Mason Paine: Now, have you found it to be easier to find talent now that you’re in San Francisco versus when you were in the Jersey New York City scene?
[00:10:56] The Indiigo Child: It is a lot easier right now. I think the culture is different in San Francisco, so it’s like a big city, right? It’s a big city. It’s a big, small city, and it’s very walkable. And, you know, New York is very walkable, but it’s a bigger, bigger city. Plus the culture is so different. Everybody’s like, in a rat race and everybody’s like, go, go, go. So a lot of times you won’t organically meet people the same way you’ll meet people in San Francisco. It’s a little bit slower, but it’s still a city. It’s still a big city and it’s very walkable. So you’ll run into people at the coffee shop or people wear their style on them, and not that they don’t in New York, but a lot of times you won’t have the opportunity to even connect because everybody’s so go, go. And that’s one of the things I love about San Francisco and the Bay Area in general, is I think people are just more chill and you’re more prone to meet artists just like on the go. So I like that. I just love the organic feel. And yeah, it has been a lot easier, actually.
[00:12:06] The Indiigo Child: I’ve been meeting artists as I’m walking down the street and it’s been so cool.
[00:12:12] Mason Paine: Yeah, that does sound like fun. Turn the corner, there’s another artist. It’s like, hey, let’s do a collab.
[00:12:18] The Indiigo Child: But there isn’t a lot of artists, though. I don’t feel like I meet a lot of artists, but the artist I do meet, it’s easier to meet people, but the ratio of artists is a lot lower. There’s a lot of people in tech here, and so you’ll meet a lot of techies, but when you do meet an artist, it’s like they’re doing it. They’re trying to break in hardcore, and they’re serious about it and they’re ready to work, and there’s no BS. It’s like okay. You’re ready? Let’s go. And it’s like, let’s go. So that’s what I like about it. The energy has been great.
[00:12:56] Mason Paine: So tell me about your latest track. Come back to me. What was the process behind that one?
[00:13:01] The Indiigo Child: I got some of the vocals I want to say in December, and it started with just the vocals and me just trying to envision in my head how these pieces go together. The original group is first choice. You need to look them up. And the track, I think, is called let Him Go. The original and it’s very different than what I did. And I just tried to envision certain parts, like how I would want them to sound. And I put together the vocals first in the order that I kind of wanted to hear them. So the way you hear them in the song, originally, all you had was a click track, and then you had the vocal with nothing else and trying to make that vocal flow with a click track like no sound. And once I got that, then I was able to add like, a drum pattern and then some sounds. And now you got what you got. Eventually, I probably simplify the process a lot more, but a lot went into the track. But that was kind of the initial process. I just got inspired by it as soon as I heard it. I wanted to do something with it and then getting the sample cleared and all that good stuff.
[00:17:34] Mason Paine: I’m a little curious about the equipment that you use, and I think a lot of times it helps with a person understanding the process of making a track. What equipment do you use? Is it like just a piano? Do you just use your laptop? What kind of software do you use in general?
[00:17:53] The Indiigo Child: So I use Logic Pro X. I used to use Pro Tools, but I just got into Logic Pro X and I use a lot of the internal plugins in the Logic Pro. I use the EQ, the standard EQ on all my tracks. I used to have all these fancy plugins. I just use the Logic EQ. Now I can visually see things, and it’s very subtle. I use the Wave SSL compressor. The G compressor? No. The bus compressor. I use that. And those are really the only plugins I really use. I have a reverb a lot of times. I use a lot of the stock stuff, to be honest with you. I moved away from all the fancy stuff. And then my overall set of hardware wise, I have an Apollo AP, I have my MPCA, I have the Chi Live, and then I have a Moog, like a mini Moog Minotaur. It doesn’t have any patches. Every time you turn it on, you have to create your own patch. So that’s interesting. It’s a fat mono base, so it fits well in mixes. And then I have a Virus Ti and a Midi controller. And I have these little mini speakers that I use.
[00:19:13] The Indiigo Child: Now I don’t even use big speakers anymore because these ones translate very well into the real world. And I found that my process is just set up using these little tiny speakers that I have and a Mac, and that’s really it real simple but effective process.
[00:19:30] Mason Paine: Yeah, it is. You streamlined a lot, man. I have to ask, though, is there any piece of equipment or even an instrument that you wish to incorporate one day into your setup?
[00:19:42] The Indiigo Child: I mean, I want everything. There’s so many things. I don’t like to go to the music store no more, because every time I walk in there, I want to walk out. What happens? I have a rule. Like, I don’t go to the music store unless I absolutely need to because I want to walk out with a sick. I want another move. I want a move. I want one another. A drum machine. I want a Dave Smith drum machine. I want a lindrum. Man, there’s a lot. Yeah, there’s a whole list of things that I want, but I’ve realized that streamlining things is better also for sound, like, I used to have. If you look at my old YouTube videos of me making peace, I was, like, surrounded by gear, like keyboards. I had a Yamaha motif. I had a rolling phantom I had multiple drum machines. I was just like the room was hot. It was just, like, crazy in my grandma’s house, literally disturbing the peace. Thank God for those neighbors, because I don’t know how they put up with me. I was, like, making music all hours. And when I look back at them, like, man, I’m surprised these people did not call the police on me. Thank God for those people.
[00:21:01] Mason Paine: You must be making great music. And they’re like, Just keep going, kid. Practice all you want.
[00:21:06] The Indiigo Child: Maybe that was it. Having a community that supports you is so important.
[00:21:12] Mason Paine: Before I let you go, are there anything that you’re doing currently that you want to talk about? Any other upcoming EPS?
[00:21:19] The Indiigo Child: I’m working on a six track EP. It’s a techno project, but it’s universal so that most people, even if they’re not into techno, they’ll like it or there’s a place for them within this project. And I just want to touch on real quick about that project. It’s about my life, it’s what I’m experiencing and those come back to me. These are like experiences that I’m having as I’ve been living here in the Bay and I’m just trying to bring everything to life. And so, yeah, it’s a fixed track techno EP. I’m excited to get it out. I’m touching on some areas Sonically, that I have never touched on, and then after I drop that EP, I’m going to drop another single, which is going to be kind of like, how that’s it for now. I have other things working, but those are the immediate ones. Within the next two months, you’ll be hearing from me.
[00:22:13] Mason Paine: Well, thank you so much for being with me. I really appreciate you being here. And for those listening, where can they find more information about you and your music?
[00:22:20] The Indiigo Child: Yeah, you can follow me at the Indigo Child. That’s on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and then TikTok. I’m also same handle, and I will definitely be posting more about my daily life on TikTok Tune. I’m still wrapping my head around that app, but it’s definitely something I want to do. I definitely want to show more about the day to day, but those are the places where you can find me, mostly in Spotify, of course, apple Music, all the DSPs. So, yeah, thank you for supporting.
[00:22:54] Announcer: This has been the Mason Vera Pain Show. Thanks for listening.
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