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Neon Orange In A Sea Of Black: 128 BPM With Audien (Interview)

audien interview beyond wonderland

We meet Audien, whose real name is Nate Rathbun, in the backstage area for the Beyond Wonderland music festival.  His orange sneakers pop against his otherwise black clothing.  The stereotype is that most djs wear all black all the time; Audien’s shoes shed light about his enthusiasm for EDM the way Kaskade’s sandals explain that he’s also a surfer.  Rathbun may not attend shows much anymore, but he credits his interest in electronic music from his days spent listening and producing happy hardcore with his friends, and downloading the newest podcasts.  Gradually, he found himself wanting to produce music at 128 BPM and ultimately landed on his own unique melodic sound.

As a young DJ, he says he’s had to mature quickly and the constant travel, though fun, is also challenging.  His biggest frustration about traveling is that he can’t have a dog because it would die. Still, he’s not one for the “boring life” and acknowledges that the rewards are much greater than the sacrifices.  Recently,  Audien made the DJ Mag Top 100 list — he ranked in at #88.

Audien can thank his success in part due to his remixes, including his most recent Michael Jackson remix of Slave to the Rhythm.    When he dropped Pompeii during his set at Beyond Wonderland, the crowd went wild.

I think pop music has a bad rap and I think pop just means popular music.  It’s popular for a reason, you know?  These tracks are really good musically, they have great messages, and they’re very widely appreciated and known.  That’s why I like to play my Pompeii remix and and Zedd’s new Rude remix which I think kind of goes hand in hand with the Pompeii remix.

What can you expect from Audien in the near future?  There will be some bootlegs.  “I’m not holding back,” he says.  He teases us with details about a remix of a well-known classic rock song.  No, it’s not Pink Floyd (a guess we made after hearing that he’s a fan of the band) but he promises it is a favorite anthem by many that’s he’s reworked with a melodic sound of today.  There’s also talk about an EP that will span genres, and offer more versatile tempos and sounds, “definitely probably in the next four months.”  Um, ok? So maybe at the top of 2015 we’ll see an Audien EP.

I’d like to do some melodic trap.  Like take my melodic sound and put it in a trap sound.  Maybe not trap, but downtempo hip-hop.  Maybe some downtempo.  It’s always gonna be melodic.

We’re not sure what we’ve uncovered here, but it all sounds good.

Though Audien recently played at Paradiso, and has made quite a few other stops to Seattle this past year, he does not have any upcoming tour dates to the area.  “No plans yet, but we are planning some stuff soon,” Rathbun assures us.  We can only hope it’s really soon.  In the meantime, you can listen to Audien’s full Beyond Wonderland set through his SoundCloud below.

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First gig in the music industry was as a low power FM broadcast radio DJ in 1996. First concert was Blink 182 with Bush and Filter in 1999. First electronic show was Benny Bennasi in June 2011. We've come a long way, baby.

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