Audien and Echosmith break down their most recent release and tell us what their favorite sound is.
With a growing collaboration roster including Lady Antebellum, MAX, ARTY and Deb’s Daughters, Grammy-nominated DJ and producer Nate Rathbun, broadly called Audien, can now add the multi-platinum alt-pop sibling trio Echosmith to his list.
Their most recent release,”Favorite Sound,” combines the mesmerizing vocals of lead singer Sydney Sierota and Rathbun’s signature Audien seem to create a magical and uplifting anthem with a positive message that transcends time.
EDM.com had the chance to learn what exactly makes this terrific collaboration so relatable and special to not just everybody, but to Rathbun and Sierota too. Keep reading to see what they told us.
EDM.com: With a track titled,”Favorite Sound,” I just have to ask, what is your favorite sound?
Audien: Synth chords which are cut off. It’s kind of manufacturer speak, but only really warm synth fat chords. That’s what I’m known for.
Sydney: Mine is when there’s a three-part stability because nothing seems better than when there is a three-part. It has some sentimental value to it as well because I grew up doing that with my loved ones and brothers. However, it sounds so hot and it’s always the same. I’d listen to it all day.
Just how’d you guys meet and work on this collaboration?
Sydney: It began as a demo from us with vocals, drums, a little bit of keyboard and some of the basics like bass and guitar. It was cool because Nate got to use some of our actual instruments and blend that with his sound and the electronic vibes.
Audien: . . .And we met today for the first time. I’d say the world wide web is actually collaborative. You could make the whole song before meeting and talking. I mean, I was able to get her vocals and all of the parts just through email. And I love how I was able to take it and do my thing with it in my time. There was no pressure and it came together quite honestly.
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When you get a demo like this, how do you know what to include?
Audien: I listen to the vocal tone and range. Then I kind of figure out what tools will fit with that. 90% of the time it’s usually going to be some of my heart and key sounds that work with everything, but I try to sprinkle in some cool stuff that I haven’t used. In this case it was real guitars and stuff.
What’s your favorite part of the track, or the part you had the most fun making?
Audien: My favorite’s the very end. I totally love that part. It kind of breaks down and, instead of going into the normal traditional third drop which everybody always does, it kind of fades out. I think that speaks to the nature of the tune and I hope people will listen to it over and over.
Sydney: My favorite part is the drop as it just has so many awesome melodies going on. There is so much that happens throughout the song I find myself singing along to things I’m not supposed to be singing along to.
With making, I would say the harmonies were really enjoyable. I was layering a bunch of vocals and occasionally you get too carried away, but this song was really enjoyable.
How do you guys know when you’re finally done with a song – like”This is it, this is what people are going to be listening to for eternity?”
Sydney: Honestly, it’s kind of hard to decide when you’re done with a song and when the lyrics or music is proper. I feel like the music is so much more complex than the lyrics. Sometimes you have to go too far and have a bizarre version so as to realize,”oh my gosh, the demo is actually the best” or”the demo vocal is the best one.”
It is kind of interesting to go through the procedure, but I think it’s important to do it so as to discover what’s the best version. It is trial and error, but it’s also only instinct.
Audien: Yeah, it is quite simple to overproduce and overwork tunes or ideas. It is usually the one which you started with that you return to because that is when you had the best momentum with the tune. I do that every time, pretty much.
I’ve had over 100 and at that point I’m just like,”my fingers can’t even type anymore, alright it’s done. I give up.” However, this song was not like that. This tune there were only a couple of versions and they were both really great.
What is”Favorite Sound” about?
Sydney: It’s about how it’s your choice in what you’re going to listen to and what you’re gonna believe and then learning how to sift through that. I don’t think I’ve mastered it yet, but it is a really beautiful thing when you start to learn to do that. So it’s super personal for me and I think it’s very relatable to lots of people.
What do you usually do to get out of those negative ideas?
Sydney: I love to work out and it makes me feel better every time. And like going in a sauna and literally sweating it out and taking time to actually just breathe. It is different for everyone, but for me, if I’m physically doing something, then I’m bound to feel better regardless of what is going on.
Talking to people helps also. For me, I think if you need to go to treatment, go to treatment. It’s amazing. Or talk to your friends or someone you can trust. It actually makes a difference.
Audien: I suppose for me an escape could be redirecting and staying busy, staying away from the things that disturb me. You know, going for a walk helps me a lot also. Gets my mind off stuff. I always fall into the trap that a great deal of other folks do, but I guess I’m pretty good at handling it. I’ve had my episodes from previous years and now I’m just kind of coasting, frightening.
What prompted you to write a relatable song with such an empowering message?
Sydney: Honestly, I don’t recall the specific reason why we started writing this song, but it is something which I feel like I’ve dealt with for a really long time, ever since getting my own person and growing into maturity. All these ideas just spin around and there is obviously some negative voices in there that are saying,”you’re not good enough” or”you’re not pretty enough.” It’s really hard to battle them occasionally.
I kind of relate to this song more so today than ever because I’m still going through that process of trying to filter out all of the negative ideas and really try to listen to the great ones and believe those about myself. So it actually came from a private place I hope it could be empowering for other people who go through it.
It also actually felt so vulnerable, which is hard to do frankly, especially when you’re writing a song with people you’ve never met before. With this song I met another two co-writers for the first time that day. It is kind of funny to think,”oh I talked to them about things that I hadn’t even talked to my best friend about yet.”
As an artist you’re vulnerable to a lot when you put out music, what made you decide to just do it?
Sydney: I was not afraid the whole time because I have a very supportive family that is all for music. Our dad is a musician, so we grew up together with him always writing songs and producing for others and playing music. It felt very natural and it did not even feel as much as a leap of faith necessarily, despite the fact that there were times we had to take a leap of faith. It was just a natural,”what else should I be doing” kind of sense.
So frankly, it just felt so in me already at such a young age that it did not feel too big of a deal to keep doing it because there was nothing else I could see myself doing regardless. So this is plan A and plan B, there was never another strategy B for me.
Audien: If music decides to die on me, I’m just gonna play on the street and be a street DJ. I’m an only music kind of guy. I don’t have other skills. I just love music and I’ve immersed myself in it because I was young. I dropped out of college because I hated everything but music. I went right for it, took some risks and here I am. So I can’t see myself doing anything else either.
Is there any advice you’d give aspiring artists who may want that motivation to take a leap of faith?
Audien: Definitely take a risk. If something’s taking up most of your time, put it behind you and concentrate solely on music and see what happens. You don’t know if you don’t try. There’s definitely a risk and kind of sacrifice that has to be taken.
Sydney: And work hard because it is going to surely pay off. Whether you end up getting a #1 song or not, you’re always gonna learn something out of just putting all of your best efforts in – and enjoy Nate said, getting rid of the distractions and just going for it 100%. You can’t really have a plan B as your strategy B is gonna hold you back.
So you wanna be sensible and survive as well, but it is extremely important to just be all in because even mentally that makes a huge difference if you’re telling yourself that you’re 100% going for it.
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So what is next for you guys?
Audien: We’re both working on records separately. I’m psyched to listen to the new Echosmith record, but I’m also working on an album myself. We are just album peeps over here, in record mode, doing the record thing.
Sydney: And a tour consistently follows the record. So planning a tour and finishing an album. I think we’re both on the same track. Pretty exciting.
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