Meet Kinekt Mentor Ekonovah
Written by Jason Euler | September 2, 2020
Meet Ekonovah, one of the newest members of the Kinekt roster of musical mentors. By blending a lifetime of theoretical perspectives with a confidant swagger, Ekonovah has dominated the tech-house genre in a time when many other producers have faltered.
We had a chance to catch up with Ekonovah to unpack a producer’s mind well-deserving of our Wednesday Spotlight feature.
1 – A year ago, what did you think you would be doing right now? What was on the books for the summer of 2020?
I like this question because it lets me fantasize for a little bit and think about a non-pandemic world. A year ago, things were looking brighter than ever for my music and my career! Like many of my peers, 2020, was filled with fantastic show and festival opportunities. In February, I spent half of the month traveling and got my first true taste of what touring feels like. Obviously, in March, the shutdown began – but summer 2020 was going to be amazing. The silver lining that is quarantine has allowed me to sharpen my focus with my music – my style has evolved. Looking back at all the music I’ve produced since the pandemic started gives me an incredible feeling of fulfillment.
2 – Some artists are thriving with solitary time, and others are crippled by it. Where do you fall on the spectrum?
I am about as introverted as they come, so the solitary lifestyle that everyone has adopted this year was nothing new for me. I feel lucky that it worked in my favor.
3 – Tech House vs House. How do you describe your sound?
All of the new music I’m sitting on has maintained the airy sounds you would expect from what I already have out, but during these times, I’ve shifted a bit to make the music feel a bit more major-key and euphoric.
4 – Your sound has come into its own over the past year. What about your music do you feel has changed during this evolution, and what has stayed the same? How do you look forward to evolving in the future?
The last 365 days have been more musically transformative than the previous eight or so years that I’ve been producing. From coming up with new production techniques to incorporating my own vocals recently, I think I’ve done an excellent job of taking something that works well for a dancefloor to making something a bit more multipurpose. I’ve genuinely never been so excited to release these new tracks! The lyrics are all personal and tell very important stories for me. For the future, who knows! This evolution in my music was unexpected for me – I wouldn’t have predicted this coming out of me a year ago, so I suppose it’s hard to expect how it’ll sound a year from now. Time will tell.
5 – How can producers stand out when making popular genres like tech-house?
Tech house is great not only because it’s so timeless, but the genre has so much flexibility. One can push the boundaries of the genre and create new styles. So I think that’s the key – whether it’s in the songwriting, or having a signature sound, it’s just a matter of taking the formula of tech house and putting a creative spin on it. Something new and exciting tends to work the best, I think. But this applies for all styles – all of the best artists out there have their signature flair. And besides, what’s the fun in making carbon copies of genre templates? The fun part is the frustration, trial and error, and epiphany feeling when you finally stumble upon something significant.
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6 – How do you know when a track is done?
As they say, the track is never really finished. No art is ever completed. It’s just abandoned at some point by its creator. Like, there’s always more work to be done – I can always EQ the kick a little more, or turn down the clap a little more, you know? So I have to remind myself sometimes that once it feels natural and organic when I play it back in its entirety, it’s ready to be released. At least, that’s how it is for me.
7 – Do you prefer releasing singles or EPs?
(use this to promote new music and even give tips on content strategy around music?)
Singles or EPs….that’s hard to say. EDM thrives off of singles, and in this genre, the shelf life of music can be so short that it makes more sense to release singles. But EPs are fun because you can paint a more detailed narrative, or you can show two sides of yourself and display some diversity in one package. For example, I can’t say much yet, but I have an EP coming out soon that shows both sides of my musical journey – the clubby side and the storytelling side. And you can’t quite do that as a single unless it’s a track with a lot of plot twists. For the most part, I think DJs get the best mileage out of their music as single releases. That being said, I can’t wait to release an album one day! I started writing about a year ago. So, all modes of release can work. I suppose releasing singles is the most comfortable way to do it as an EDM artist.
8 – What are some ways that an artist can invest in themselves?
Education is priceless. You can never know too much about music, production, distribution, everything that goes into the industry. In my opinion, the best investment is a time investment into learning about music theory, or which PRO to use, you know? I’ve been producing for just shy of 8 years, and I teach music production lessons, but I still watch videos daily on production techniques! The best general answer to your question, in my opinion though, is just efficient with your time.
9 – What is Kinekt? What is it to you?
Kinekt is a platform that connects me with producers/DJs who are curious about sharpening their skills. It’s enjoyable for me because I love teaching so much! And the artists that I’ve connected with through Kinekt have seriously blown me away with their talent. It makes me excited about the next generation of artists bound to emerge over the next couple of years. So I guess Kinekt is also a form of music discovery for me. It’s great.
10 – Share your two best networking tips for producers.
The biggest tip is not to network for personal gain. Find friends in your genre! Find friends who work at the clubs. If there’s a good connection there, make a genuine friendship with symbiotic benefits. And of course, if you two don’t get along for whatever reason, then don’t waste time trying to make the connection. No one person or contact is going to make or break it for you. So have fun while you are networking. And secondly, especially during these times, use social media to network, which is obvious, but as a shy, introverted person, I have to remind myself to do this. The community is filled with beautiful people, and all of my close friends are involved in music.
11 – What does a mentor mean in the music industry?
A mentor is an opportunity to navigate your music and your brand the best way in this industry. There are so many twists and turns you can take, and often one might take a production director or make a post that isn’t the best move for the music or brand. In my opinion, a mentor is similar to having the bumpers up at the bowling alley. It’s someone who is there to guide you, tell you why XYZ is a better move, and then you can learn from the decisions you almost made instead of the ones you did make.
12 – What unique perspectives do you bring to the table as a mentor and producer at Kinekt?
I’ve never had a mentor personally, so I know exactly what I wanted to start. I’m lucky enough that my parents enrolled me in piano lessons when I was two years old, so I have an extensive musical background that many producers don’t have. You don’t need music theory to make good music. I don’t know all of my scales, for example. But being able to feel the music is so crucial. When I listen to demos in my inbox, I often notice a few sounds that aren’t in the right key and stuff like that. So knowing what new artists need to know and teaching this element of musical intuition are my fortes.
13 – Final Question: Where is your favorite place in the world?
I think I have to go with San Francisco. The culture there is just so tangible. I’ve played shows out there a few times, most recently with Tony Romera at Space Yacht, and the people there are so unique, and the conversations that I had were so genuine. Not to mention the weather there is so much nicer than the 115 weather here in Phoenix. I hope I get booked there really soon. I think about it all the time.
Ekonovah is an undeniable producer with a lot to share with his community. Discover the secrets of his twisted and organic sounding percussions and his intricate touch of distorted synthesis through our Kinekt mentorship program.