Interview With Musician & Producer Zeljko Vasiljevic a.k.a. W.M.K.T.
HEY ZELJKO VASILJEVIC! THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHAT WITH US! HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY?
W.M.K.T: Hi there. First of all, thank you for giving me the opportunity of sharing the few words with the rest of the world about myself as a musician. Second of all, I find music being a synonym to the creativity, so I don’t find it suitable being separated into genres.
In order not to give you the incomplete answer to your question, I had to do time traveling, sorry. During my growing up, the music taste had been taken credits for by a variety of genres. My dad took credits for introducing the music world to me. The reason of falling in love with the music was by having a listen of the beat playing at that moment, but the reason of making a decision of trying to make some kind of a sound on my own was the bigger picture I saw that day. It was a combination of an expression of your feelings, of an attitude about fighting for your beliefs, and last but not the least, of what type of a message you want to share with anyone else throughout the song. It was the picture, which I have been keeping on my mind since then, so basically, anytime I want to do something as a musician, either writing a song, or making the beat, or trying to combine a plenty of genres into one, I’ve got it stuck into my head. If I want to change something about that, now it’s too late. I can’t help it!
Speaking of entertainment industry, literally it has been the part of my life since always. Since the moment I started writing songs, during primary school, I was noticed by the teacher of Music education, who brought a local band and me together. The result of that action was a successful collaboration. We managed to play at local gigs in our hometown, after which we managed to put our name on the map, which was followed by the increased number of booked shows. Unfortunately, at the moment the band frontman was forced to go live abroad, none of the other members found it useful being in the business with making music. Then there was a time I used to be a breakdancer, so I made a lot of connections to people from the music world. Soon enough, I started working as a deejay at the local club. At that time, my way of mixing music was noticeable, from r’n’r to euro dance of the 90’s, from hip hop to soul, from dubstep to swing, so the result was getting in touch with two radio stations, which made a proposal to me about playing music in their radio shows. I said yes instantly.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO MUSIC AND FOR HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRODUCING FOR?
W.M.K.T: I started listening to rock ‘n’ roll music, via vinyls, then my music taste was redirected to hip hop music. There was a couple of the bad moments in the past, which I managed to deal with by listening to hip hop. “Constantly refusing to back down, regardless the extent of difficulty you have to go through, in order to achieve your goal” was the way how I felt about it during listening to it. Territorially speaking, considering my residence, or to be more exact, region in the Central Europe, a various genres left its marks in that space. For example, back in the 90’s, the main genre people used to listen to was Euro Dance, which was the combination of rapping and singing, over the clubbing rhytm, which contained the elements of house, techno, and 80’s disco music. That’s how I fell for electronic music.
I paid attention to Euro Dance genre, which made me do my research, which lead me to other alluring genres and subgenres, such as dubstep, drumstep, progressive house, hard dance, bass house, indie dance and glitch hop. Due to my prior music taste, Euro Music genre was the perfect example of the possibility of putting multiple genres together. I was like:”Hey, I want to do something like that !”. By the way, what I want to achieve during creating process is a background story, standing for sharing a social message or anything alike, but in the first place, to make sense, in the way of letting people know about how much time and effort were put into creating process. The achievement I always want to make is a quality, or to be more precise, putting things that seems to be incompatible together ! I want to inspire people throughout my music that anything is possible, if you keep working during tough times, if you do not lose your will!
I have been producing since the age of 18. Yeah, I made the first complete song (from the beat to production details) on my own at the age of 18. In a month, it’s going to be a decade since making my first song. 10th anniversary, you know ? When I recall of that, I get myself caught up laughing, due to comparing my recent production with the back then production, I put a smile on my face. It was hilarious back then, but let me tell you this, if there’s a one thing I’m proud of myself is I’ve never been a quitter. I was aware I was far away from being a great producer, but I could not have let myself give up. I was chasing that goal, I was working hard, improving my skills & upgrading my experience by exchanging thoughts within other producers, turning mistakes into lessons, so I could be great in producing.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU AND WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO KEEP PRODUCING MUSIC?
W.M.K.T: I find the environment being such a great inspiration. Time by time, I bump into musicians who keep having complains about the lack of the inspiration, and a minor amount of things, which should make them inspired. With all due respect, I see no reason for that. Everything you need is in your environment, whether it’s live, facing it in person, or via the social media, which is way better, if you ask me. There is a saying by my good friend:” The larger space of the glory to dumb people you provide, the much longer they will make a fun of themselves.” In some cases that doesn’t sound as something by which you should be driven, but mainly, it’s a good thing to make creators be more inspirative ! I find the second option being in usage for getting into a creative mindset.
To me, being creative means turning it into something acceptable to you, into the easier way of dealing with it. None of us is able to change people’s behaviours, so we have two choices, to fit in, or to keep going our way, making everything in front of us less annoyable. As the result of that action, you can make people laugh, you can leave people under impression, or you can even help them get through the cause of their suspicions. Social media life has a massive influence.
If everyone does it, I am supposed to do it too! So, if you’re not a member of that kind of the group, you feel rejected, so turning the mean opinions or people’s habbits into something creative, for example, as your shield of that, may help the people who have different goals in life but being exposed and having 5 minutes of glory not to back down and make the suspicions about their worth go away. Yes, in socials everything is available 24/7, any data, so my attemption is to express my opinions about specific subject or specific happening, my attitude about it, if it is right or wrong choice doing it, within contentions for both sides, and of course, letting minor group know about not being alone, that they should never give up of their principles. That;s what makes me want to keep producing!
ARE THERE ANY ARTISTS THAT YOU DRAW INSPIRATION FROM – IF SO WHO AND WHAT SORT OF MUSIC?
W.M.K.T: I have no role models, but I can name a few musicians, who left the deep impression on me. That would be Macklemore, The Prodigy, Dr. Alban, Chance the Rapper, Skrillex.
Life did not go easy on each one of the named ones, so after everything they’ve been put through, they managed to rise above any obstacles. But the reason of still having the respect to their music is the creativity they have been putting into their songs, from the point of view as the producer, including every single other aspects, from writing a song, to studio performance. Every single step taken into making a song contains their emotions, their hearts and souls they put into it. They are the musicians/producers who are the best proof of being a hardworking type will have you rewarded. I guess it’s an unexpected roster of the musicians, but to ones who feel that way, I suggest to check my tunes out, which can make them understand why this roster is my choice, simultaneously make my Spotify listeners count grow (haha, kidding), which can simultaneously let them know about what I aim for in making music.
The sort of music which has influenced me as an artist is euro-dance, new wave of hip hop, dubstep, brostep, drumstep, halftime, tropical house, breakbeat and all the bass music.
PEOPLE STARTING OUT IN MUSIC MAY BE QUESTIONING WHAT THEY NEED TO GET STARTED.
W.M.K.T: I believe that the most important thing in music is the idea! If your idea is a creative type, it can turn to something big! When an idea comes up to my mind, I have to put it on the paper, after which I start writing the lyrics, as the way of elaborating the subject of a song, and making the melody, which is supposed to fit in with the lyrics. I always accept anything that comes my way. I have the picture in my head in which direction creating process of a song should be going, but the ways of making it possible I’m still in searching for. Everything matters, so I’m like having myself well-informed about that and pulling out the best parts of the things in the way, by which I mean keeping what sounds perspectively to me. Then I decide what parts should be used, depending on the concept of the song, and the points I want to make. They surely want to know about what type of the equipment is the best solution, how much money they need, how often to go to the studio, what type of the studio to pick up, but I already gave them what & how. 1. Idea; 2. Being a hardworking type; 3. You can make a song from your living room (believe me or not, “Marshmello” was made that way, which was released under Bentley Records).
WHAT ARE A FEW KEY LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED ABOUT PRODUCING THAT OTHER ASPIRING MUSICIANS AND PRODUCERS COULD TAKE ADVICE FROM?
W.M.K.T: In order to keep listeners interested in your music, you have to make songs that have a profound meaning to you as an artist. Your music can’t be meaningful to the fans if it doesn’t first have meaning to you as its creator. When it comes to my way of putting songs together, I like being spontaneous in my arrangements. I adore switching between the two vocal styles (rapping and singing), making people understand what my music goal is throughout the bass line, or within the relaxing melody at the rapping parts (where is expected to keep an ear on the aggressive rhytm), either within a faster tempo/heavy nightlife style of the beat at singing parts, just to make the example of making a sound by combining diverse genres could make a higher audience pay attention to you and your work. Music is the synonym to the innovation!
WHAT SORTS OF PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON LATELY?
W.M.K.T: I have the intention of releasing a new song soon enough, which is related to a social media life. I would not talk too much about that at the moment, but seeing people doing everything opposite of allowed by ethics can be really useful to the inspiration. To me, being creative means dealing with the reality in your own way. Not avoiding what is in front of us, not keeping your head down, not trying covering your eyes when someone’s happening, but dealing with it. Everyone has a possibility of choosing the way to do it, so mine is accepting it and turning it into something creative. At least, in the process of doing it, you can make people have a good time.
I truly believe this one might get viral, so in case it be, I see you again to share the feedbacks with you. (laughing) It could be a great marketable product, so if everything goes according to my plan, the next time we meet, I will name that as my greatest achievement.
DO ARTISTS BENEFIT FROM NETWORKING?
W.M.K.T: I’m still not the right person to give the advices about that, because on the top of my priorities list is to leave my own mark on the music scene, so it can be recognizable by something, for example, as the result of making experiments, the combination of various genres, etc. But I am in touch with some musicians from Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, USA as well, so after bringing my first EP to its end (which took me more time than I expected), I will get into a deeper conversation about the possibilities of doing a collaboration with them. My personal opinion is YES! I think artists can benefit, plus, it works both ways. In other words, I think there’s a mutual benefit, especially in the way of expanding your fanbase, you can leave your mark on USA marketplace, so their audience might like your music, and in return, he/she can leave his/hers on Europe’s marketplace, and that’s how artists can make their fanbases grow.