It’s day two of Made In America Festival in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was beyond excited to sit down for a quick chat with Medasin, a personal favorite of mine in the world of up-and-coming artists. Midway through the interview – after an impromptu outfit change by Medasin – which took place on a couch behind the festival’s Freedom Stage, a voice yells a question across the lawn, “Hey Grant, want to watch Yung Lean after my set?” This voice was the voice of none other than the man, the myth, the legend himself, Getter. The discussion which ensued was by far the best interview I’ve ever had the fortune of being a part of.
How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard your music before?
Medasin: Oh god. That’s hard. It’s always hard because I try to make a lot of different kinds of music, you know? “The Zoo,” for example, and my Portugal. The Man Remix are total opposites to me. I’d say playful, electronic music – usually pretty happy as far as the chord progressions go, but I also made some hard stuff like “The Zoo.” That’s the kind of stuff that’s fun to make, but I’m not most proud of it if that makes sense. It’s not my most original stuff, compared to something like the “California Heaven” Remix. But to answer your question, I guess chill, happy, and well, yeah.
In my opinion, your music is in your own lane, if that makes sense. With that being said, who do you listen to for inspiration?
Medasin: Oh dude, I’ve said this a couple of times, but my number one is Galimatias. I loved the ‘Urban Flora’ EP with Alina Baraz. Even before then, before he was working with Alina, he was the guy whose music I found that was so different from anything that I ever heard, which really inspired me to go harder on detail, mixing, and everything.
I really love what Louis The Child is doing, Flying Lotus too … I don’t know. I mean, I can get inspired by something, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to make music like that. I also really like Arca. Do you know Arca? It’s super out there, weird shit, but I love it.
You were saying that a lot of your releases are total opposites, but you still have your own signature sound. I think that for a lot of people, that’s a hard thing to do.
Medasin: You know, I do livestreams on Twitch, where I get this question a lot. I mean, I don’t really know, and that’s my best answer. I’m very honest; I’m not going to try to sell you something that I don’t even believe in.
Straight up, I think you just have to not care. You have to, like, try your best to clear yourself from any exterior influence. It takes time, and you have to make a lot of music before you get to a point at which you’ve made enough that you have the knowledge you need to make your own sound. Earlier I mentioned Galimatias, and honestly when I first started I sounded pretty similar to him. I was using a lot of his techniques, and I think most people start off that way. At a certain point, though, you have to develop the knowledge to be able to go off on a limb, try some weird shit, mold it, craft it, and perfect it until you have something that people enjoy that’s original. You can go off and make some super wacky shit that’s original, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that people would like it.
In summary, make like 5,000 songs. Maybe not actually 5,000, maybe 1,000 songs. By that point, you should have the knowledge you need to branch out and try your own shit.
The Pink Polo EP was one of my most listened-to releases of 2016. How did that relationship between yourself and Masego come about?
Medasin: It was a very 2016, Internet type thing. I literally…
Do you mind if I get changed?
*Medasin begins to take off Puma ‘soccer dad’ attire*
So anyway, Masego. I listened to Masego’s music, and his whole thing with the saxophone was very unique…
Can I get this thing off?
*Prior outfit is fully removed to unveil a more warm weather-friendly outfit beneath.*
Medasin: Anyway, Masego has a whole “trap house jazz” thing going on, and I felt like that was very similar to what I was doing at the time. I love happy, uplifting chord progressions, but I was also making some more hard, trap-style beats. I literally just sent him a couple of beats, built with him on the Internet, and got friendly with him.
The first song we made was “Girls That Dance.” I sent him the beat, and I didn’t think too much of it. I basically said “see what you can do with this,” and he sent me back a demo in like, 30 minutes. I was like, “Wow, that was fast,” and as soon as I heard it, I thought it could be a hit. I sent it to my friends and they thought the same thing. We kept going back and forth online, and I’m really not kidding when I say that he’s fast. It was always 30 minutes to an hour. Whenever I sent him a beat, he’d already be in the studio and hit me back with a demo right away. We had a good flow going on, and it was all completely over the internet. Still, to this day, I haven’t been in the studio with Masego. It just happened very organically.
You’ve worked a lot with Splice. Do you have any sort of process or workflow in terms of sample creation?
Medasin: So, uh, yes. I mean, I have like, a thousand, million projects in Fruity Loops that I don’t finish or release or anything. A lot of the time, I’ll skim through those and if I find a cool snare I made I’ll go “Cool, I’ll render that out.” Same with kicks, melody loops, stuff that I’m not gonna be using, but stuff that’s still cool. I don’t like to give away super rare shit that I’m going to be using because that would pretty much spoil whatever I put out.
Shout-out to Splice. They’ve had such a big past two years, and they’re really changing the game big time. They have a monopoly on the sample pack game right now, and it’s really cool. Shoutout to Brett, I have this thing with him right now called Overdose, it’s like a series of drum hits where basically I’ll feature an artist that I like. I pretty much do A&R for Splice, right? For example, I just did one with Montell2099, where I reached out to him and was like “Hey, let’s make a sample pack together.” Major, major shoutout to Splice.
Did you have a specific moment when you realized that your music could turn into a career?
Medasin: Honestly, I don’t know. Like, I worked one real job. It was at Subway, and I hated it so much. I was so grateful even to just sell a beat to some random kid for like, 50 bucks. I think the sample pack thing was definitely a moment where I was like “Damn, I can make sustainable money doing this,” you know? I used to make sample packs on my own before I was working with Splice, but that was probably the biggest moment. Remixes pay well too. It’s a lot of things, there wasn’t really one aha moment, it kind of grows naturally.
So your “Wild Thoughts” remix is blowing up, and it got officially released. Has DJ Khaled, Rihanna, or Bryson Tiller reached out to you about it?
Medasin: Bro, I wish! I don’t know if they’ve heard it, I’m assuming they have since it’s an official remix, but I don’t know. Remixes are usually pretty political, as in they have a single signed to x record label, the label will A&R for people to do official remixes of it, and I was one of those people. I could hope and assume that at least one of them have heard it, but I really have no idea. Rihanna, Bryson Tiller, Khaled, call my phone. My number is 21… *laughs* nah, I’m not gonna say that here.
What should we be expected from you in the near future?
Medasin: I’m working on a lot of original stuff. I’ve been doing a lot of remixes for a minute now, and those are good, but it’s a part of playing the game. It’s a game of give and take, you know? You’ve got to play the game to get where you want to get. I think I’m getting to the point where I can finally get the proper features and proper writers for everything, where I can finally do what I want. I have to be happy with it, I have to be satisfied with the end result. I can’t just give a song to a random vocalist just for the sake of having them.
I have around an EP worth of original stuff that I’ll try to polish off across the next five or six months, and that’s the biggest thing. Other than that, I’ll probably do a couple of remixes but I’m mainly just excited about original, meaningful shit.
You said that it’s a game of give and take. That’s definitely very interesting.
Medasin: It’s how every industry works. It just depends on what you want to do. There are people, like I said earlier, like Arca, who didn’t really give a f**k, never really gave, he’s just one of those guys who does exactly what he wants to do, doesn’t care about how big he gets, how much money he makes, he just does what he wants to do. I play the game a little bit, as I’m part of the world of electronic dance music, but…
Getter: Hey Grant, when are you leaving?
Medasin: When am I leaving? I’m going to be here ‘til like, 10 p.m.
Getter: You want to watch Yung Lean after my set?
Medasin: F**k yeah. Ayy wait, come here real quick!
Getter: What are we doing over here?
Medasin: Do you feel like in the music industry you have to give and take?
Getter: Yeah, I’m trying to think of a good metaphor. But like, you kind of just have to do what everyone says until you get to the point where you can say “I can call the shots now.”
Medasin: I feel like you [Getter] definitely did that a lot.
We were talking about Splice before. You [Getter] have worked with Splice many times. Do you have any kind of process as far as sample production goes?
Getter: The only time I ever use samples is if it’s resampled from my own stuff. Headsplitter, for example, had the bass stems for another song I did called “Bonesaw” with Trampa. Dude, your [Medasin] sample packs are the best. I swear to god, you have the best drums and I remember after the first day you met me, you sent me a sample pack. I was going through it and I found a sample called wood… something, and it was a weird glitchy thing. That’s the intro for Inhalant Abuse. I didn’t change it or anything, I just put it in there and I was like “This is sick.”
I think it’s like, what you make is the ice cream, but there’s always the sprinkles and whipped cream that you could put on top, and that’s what samples are.
Medasin [to Getter]: I was saying earlier, I’ll usually just go through my old projects and stuff.
Getter: Yeah, any time I make a sample pack, I’ll go to all of my old projects and take like one kick. I’ll process the exported one, and then you’ve got a total new one. Splice isn’t paying me to say this, but it’s refreshing because I used to be tight with Cymatics, but they f**k everybody. I know dudes who have worked for Cymatics that come to me since I’ve had problems with them and they’d be like “Just so you know, I quit because they offered me $200 to make a few songs so they could sell the project.” They definitely made over six figures off of my shit, which is cool, you know (sarcasm). At the end of the day everybody’s gotta eat, but… f**k. They’re just raping what should be a cool thing.
Medasin: What song was it?
Getter: It was like four of them, f**k them. But Splice pays well, they’re fair, and they’re always to your terms. And the fact that you can buy one sample at a time is amazing. You go on Splice, say you want a vocal in F sharp that says “Ooo,” and 20,000 of them show up.
*Loud feedback sound plays from speaker in distance, shifts conversation*
Medasin: There was this one time that I was playing a festival in Orange County. I’m a super anxious person by the way, and this was like, peak josh pan era. They had a f**king drone up in the sky…
Getter: Was it a UFO?
Medasin: …Bro, I’m not even kidding, my depth perception couldn’t even tell if it was huge and far away, or small and close. I straight up thought that it was a UFO. The whole crowd was looking at me so they couldn’t see it, but here I was looking at this f**king thing.
Getter: “Does anybody see that UFO?” “No that’s a drone.”
Medasin: I ran offstage to my manager and I was like “We have to get the f**k out of here. There’s a UFO, it’s happening right now!”
Getter: Yeah, I saw a UFO a couple of years ago at my old place. I have this superstitious friend named Joey, and I was sitting in bed. All of the lights were off and this one window was open and my whole room started vibrating. That sound that just happened, it was like that, but it kept getting gnarlier like something was landing and then it just stopped. I go outside and I’m like “Okay, what the f**k else could it be other than a helicopter?” I looked up, and there was a little triangle half a mile away from my house, in the sky, just chilling, with red lights on each corner.
That’s when it gets weird, when there’s specific lights.
Getter: Yeah! So there were lights on each corner and a circle thing in the middle that I saw for like three seconds. I wasn’t f**ked up, I was about to go to sleep. I called Joey up and I was like “Dude, I just saw a UFO.” Now I get why people don’t take pictures when they see stuff because my mind was so blown that the last thing on my mind would be to take pictures.
Medasin: Mathematically, there’s like, no way that aliens aren’t real.
Getter: Yeah so anyway, Splice is pretty sick. *laughs*
Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
Getter: Women are better than men. Respect them. Politics suck. Medasin is the best producer ever. F**k you, Cymatics.
Medasin: F**k you, Cymatics.