Toronto-based DJ and music producer Pusher keeps altering the EDM category with his diverse and prismatic sound. After releasing his ‘Paperman‘ EP in December, among other projects released in 2018 – Pusher walks into 2019 with over 5,000,000 Spotify streams and counting – and with the New Year finally here, we can only expect his electrifying style to continue dominating and expanding in 2019.
Pusher’s most recent project, ‘Paperman’ was released last month on December 11th, which includes 6 electro-pop tracks, each with a unique set of vocals, featuring artists such as Caroline Kole, Sophie Simmons and Soren Bryce. With Pusher’s colorful touch, each track is paired and refined beautifully.
Listen to ‘BTDT’ by Pusher featuring Caroline Kole, from his ‘Paperman’ EP:
XMPL got the chance to interview Pusher on his latest project, “Paperman” EP, what’s to come in 2019 and much more. Listen to the “Paperman EP” and read the full exclusive interview with Pusher below:
XMPL: It is no question that your love of music is beyond measure. What made you start producing music and how did you begin the journey?
Pusher: I was trying to become a jazz pianist and I was getting a degree in that, but then I got more interested in electronic music so I did a 180 and started spending all my time on that. This was in about 2012. At first I was scoring short films and ads and games, but decided to go it alone and succeed or fail based on my own merit, rather than the success of a film or game or ad.
Listening to your new EP ‘Paperman’, I was quick to notice there was a lot of
uplifting vibes behind the music. What was your goal behind this project? Did
you feel it came out the way you liked?
Maybe that’s the Beatles influence. It just kind of comes out that way. My job is to make it as MUCH like that as I can. Whatever direction the song feels like it goes in naturally, it’s my job to push it as far in that direction as it can go – usually shiny, colourful, clean, melodic. Ever since Clear with Mothica I’ve been noticing that melancholy lyrics pair well with this sound. I’m happy with how the EP came out, but as usual I’m just looking at what’s coming next.
Your song ‘Closer’ really stood out because of the saxophone melody embedded in
the track. Can you talk to us about the meaning and inspirations behind that
I wrote that song in a session with Cyn who is incredible. We’re both in long-term relationships and it was written about fighting with a person with whom you know you’ll stay with, and even though you may be angry at the time, making up at the end of it just brings you closer together. I know lots of great musicians around Toronto from my university jazz days and I was looking for any excuse to hire them, so we went in a bit of an 80s direction and I got my friend Julian Nali to rip a bunch of sax solos and I put it together. I had a synth playing the melody that recurs throughout the song, but wanted to sax to be more woven into the song from the start so I replaced it with sax.
All 6 tracks on the EP offer a unique set of vocals. As a producer what type of
adversities did you have to overcome in order to complete these tracks and keep
them well balanced?
Like an athlete you just gotta take it one game at a time. Each song has it’s own challenges and opportunities and you just have to recognize those and try to maximize the strengths and avoid the weaknesses. Some are musical challenges – making sure everything fits and draws attention in the right way. Some are collaborative – keeping everybody happy with arrangements and mixes. Some are conceptual – making sure the music supports the message of the song in the right way. Some are personal – making sure it’s on brand but also explorative and interesting.
In your personal opinion, which track really stood out to you on this EP?
For a Second. Sort of like Shake Down or Tell You on the New Laces EP it’s an outlier. It’s unconventional but I think it was realized in its own way very fully and offers something interesting, different, and special.
With music production being very intimidating to learn on your own, what advice
would you give to a novice trying to take this path?
Do it all the time. It’s like anything – drawing, dancing, language, exercise. Nobody does something every day and doesn’t get better at it. Think of yourself as another person – if you had a friend and they started working on making music every single day you’d expect that eventually they’d be really good at it right?
You have started a music journey for people interested in music on your YouTube
channel, Can you tell us about why you started these tutorials and give us an
overview of what to expect from these videos?
I’ve been doing breakdown videos on YouTube where I deconstruct songs and in about 15 minutes talk about everything that went into its construction and why I think it works and what’s special about it. I’ve already done breakdowns of Bill Wurtz, Michael Jackson, Mura Masa, Sigrid, Childish Gambino, and Powerline. I also did a bunch of one-minute theory lessons but I don’t think I’ll keep making those. I’m going to focus on making one-minute jam videos in 2019 for Instagram where I make a short track every day.
Where can your fans expect to see you perform live in the near future?
I’m going to focus on online presence for the first bit of 2019 and building up some buzz there to promote the music and the live show before taking my live show around more but I expect to be at SXSW in Austin in March to showcase my live show.
You have released an amazing EP in 2018, what can we expect from you in 2019?
I have enough demos started now for another EP so that’ll be ready in the next few months. EPs take FOREVER to finish and release though so I’m going to focus on daily jam videos for Instagram so I can feel the rush of regularly releasing music again in a low pressure way. Also Instagram is king right now so buzz there will help promote all other aspects of my creative universe.
Listen to the ‘Paperman’ EP by Pusher: