Premiere: WOLFE x Emma Sameth x DNTST – Higher
Coming together are three of Spinnin’ Records hottest talents on its roster. Fusing their skill sets, musical tastes and composition standards, WOLFE, Emma Sameth and DNTST have formed one of Spinnin’ Premium‘s most promising records for the start of 2017.
Starting its direction into a musical career at 12 years of age, WOLFE took a tangent after graduating college, working at a Fortune 500 tech company. Returning to his true passion, his songwriting history has firmly influenced his Future Bass remixes and tracks.
Covering Top 40 hit’s at just 17 years old, Emma Sameth has been a prominent rising vocal talent from Los Angeles. Frequently embedding her work within electronic dance music, her ability to wrap words within an electronic composition has fuelled an interest in exploring ever-more sub-genres and sounds.
Rounding out the trio is DNTST. A fellow Los Angeles native, his act is influenced by his continued education as a dental student. Utilising his talent on the piano with WOLFE’s guitar background and frequent collaborator Sameth’s lyrical quality, his ascendance onto Spinnin’s radar’s is no mistake.
Laying out a more slow tempo Future Bass foundation, the rolling synths intertwine with grinding distortion to form a steady, pulsating energy. Topped with Emma’s soft tones, “Higher” is deserving of its attention from the worlds biggest label. Featuring plucky melodic elements and a mastered polish, the track comes as a complete product.
Taking the opportunity to learn more about the workings and thoughts of the three artists, we got the trio to answer three questions each when we caught up with them earlier this month:
“Higher” marks your first release on Spinnin Records. What do you expect from this particular track?
Getting a release on Spinnin’ Records has been such an amazingly encouraging milestone for me. I quit my job to put my all into music and things finally seem like they are starting to come together. When people hear this track, I expect them to notice more range in my production skills, influences, and tastes; future bass and electronic music in general is only a relatively recent exploration in my life. I actually spent most of my life studying guitar, singing, and listening to all types of music, so hopefully with this and each song in the future, people will hear these different aspects of myself as an artist.
You have worked with Emma Sameth on previous tracks such as “Under The Covers” and “Say Please”. In what way does “Higher” differ itself from your previous collaborative efforts?
With “Say Please” and “Under The Covers”, I actually co-wrote those songs with Emma as well as recorded them in my studio. With “Higher”, though, the vocals were completely written and recorded by Emma. We were actually just hanging out at my house when she showed me the skeleton of the track that she had made with DNTST, and I immediately knew how I could take it to the next level.
Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?
In terms of all the socials and numbers etc., I obviously hope to be much bigger than I am today. In regards to the music, however, I hope to have a much clearer idea of what a WOLFE song means and sounds like to me. I’m also planning on singing and playing guitar on more of my tracks as well as exploring more genres and “feels” than what I’ve done thus far. Don’t worry though, I still have songs in the works with the amazingly talented Emma Sameth as well as some other incredible singers including Ashe and Loren North. I also hope to be playing live shows and to have management to help me navigate the industry.
It used to be that featured vocalists on electronic music tracks got overlooked a lot in the industry. Do you think there have been more opportunities for vocalists lately?
I do think there’s some truth to them being overlooked. But I also think that with every collaboration, regardless of the technical credit term, other creative opportunities arise. Even if I’m a feature on a track, I’m still creating connections with other artists and getting my name out there. When I first started doing electronic tracks, it didn’t matter at all to me if I was a featured artist. I was simply happy to be getting heard by the massive amounts of followers that those channels had. Especially now with open messaging on soundcloud and facebook, you can virtually reach anyone, and any one can reach you. That creates a whole other dimension of opportunities for vocalists and producers alike. Of course being credited as an artist rather than a feature is more “official” and what I would prefer on my future tracks. It’s been a delicate balance having to make sure the creativity doesn’t get compromised by worrying about what credit I get on the song. With that said, both aspects are especially crucial to keep in mind.
How does an optimal music -making process look like for you? Do you write your lyrics over an existing instrumental or do you prefer it the other way around?
The most fairytale-like session would be hearing a very simple track with a beat that makes me close my eyes and bob my head (in that songwriter/producer way, you know what I’m talking about). It doesn’t matter if I’m in the studio or not. A catchy, irresistible beat itself makes my job of writing lyrics a breeze. It just so happens that “Higher” was one of those situations. DNTST showed me the first version of the track at his house (before WOLFE added his flare) and I immediately went home that night and wrote the lyrics. This is a rarity for me, though, for I often go through countless different versions of lyrics and melodies. In general though, I write to tracks that have already been produced. The way I write is so dependent on the rhythmic elements in production, the possibilities are almost too endless if I would try to write without an instrumental path. Side note: I credit alot of my melodic/lyrical breakthroughs to spending countless hours stuck in LA traffic and recording voice memos on my phone. I can blast the instrumental as loud as I want and I don’t have any other tasks distracting me (besides driving safely of course…).
What are the biggest differences between the dance music market and the pop/mainstream market for upcoming vocalists/singers? Is it an easier way to get ones name out in the dance market?
I’m still relatively new to both the dance and pop music market so in terms of an exposure trajectory I’m still studying the trends. I will say though that the dance music online following is one of the most positive, supportive ones I’ve seen. Because some of these dance music channels I’ve been a part of are deeply invested in getting new, unexposed artists out there, accessibility and relatability to these artists is still very much possible. Going into the scene, I was definitely nervous at first at the high level of exposure I would be getting. Especially as a new artist, you never know how people will receive you. I felt that way regardless of how confident I was in the actual track. I can say though that the online community was enthusiastic and supportive. Of course people are always going to have positive and negative opinions, but there was still a sense of inclusiveness and realness on these channels that I think gets lost in the heightened levels pop/mainstream markets.
You’ve collaborated with Emma Sameth as well many times before “Higher”. How did the collaboration with Wolfe happen?
It’s always a pleasure working with Emma! As for WOLFE, my brother introduced me to his awesome music a few years back (back when he was killin’ it with acoustic music!). Then last year, I found out he’d transitioned into the future bass/ EDM realm, and was blown away by the juxtaposition, and how talented he was in something so drastically different. I casually sent him a message asking if he’d like to jam or collaborate on a track, suggested a few potential vocalists, and it turned out Emma was a perfect fit for a couple of his projects!
Soon after, Emma and I were working on the track “Higher”, WOLFE loved it as much as we did, and asked if he could contribute. When he sent back his version, we loved its vibe and decided to keep it as the final version!
Where do you think the dance music market is heading right now?
This is an interesting question, and as a dental student I’m probably not the right person to ask about this, but I’ll share a few thoughts. I believe that the popularity of EDM is continuing to increase due to social media, streaming, the constant addition of new festivals etc. However, I also believe that things may change, in the not so distant future, in regards to its infrastructure.
Publishing and licensing companies like ASCAP, SESAC, and BMI are established to collect royalties and distribute them to songwriters and artists, but at the same time, websites like Tunecore and DistroKid are beginning to automate aspects of the process. Additionally, record labels are often vital to an artist’s success as they provide means of a wide audience via resources and connections to radios, blogs, and other public relations. At the same time, a new generation of, what I like to call, pseudo-labels (Youtube and Soundcloud channels) are beginning to establish massive fan bases that can reach magnificently large audiences. However, these pseudo-labels lack connection to other lucrative resources like radio and film, and are stuck with the, much less monetarily valuable, “stream”. To me, it seems a bit absurd that a song can garner several million plays on a youtube video, and the revenue collected be so much smaller than that of it’s older brother, the radio.
I’m working on my dental degree and can thus enjoy my passion of music without the worry of sustaining a living, but I still have hope for the future in which artist’s will have an easier means to collect off of their hard work and passion.
“Higher” is your first release on a major label like Spinnin. What does the track mean to you and what did you try to tell through the song?
I’m quite grateful to Spinnin’, and to WOLFE for providing this crazy opportunity! Initially, I was feeling inspired by some past feelings and essentially tried to emulate them. With the progression of the track, I was attempting to almost… pause the emotion with its sound and bass. Emma’s vox & lyrics really fit a vibe I was going for, and then when WOLFE took over, he solidified it. (I’d like to emphasize that WOLFE really transformed this piece into the awesome track you hear now!)
Exclusively premiered by We Rave You, check out the full version of “HIgher” below: