This summer we had an incredible opportunity to sit down with one of the most ear and eye-catching artists of the year, SoDown. We covered a lot of ground in our interview ranging from his experiences on stage to how the SoDown project picked up steam and even hit on his new album which was released at the beginning of this month.

His Worlds Beyond LP boasted eleven masterful tracks and is a testament to SoDown’s innate genre-blending and banger-crafting abilities. With features from AHEE, Bailey Flores, DNMO, ero808, and other talented collaborators, SoDown turns it up to eleven for the insane new project.

The brilliant saxophone-wielding artist recorded the entirety of Worlds Beyond in his Denver studio and it is equally both a jubilating rollercoaster and a meditative, soothing experience of an album.

To cap off his tour of the same name, SoDown is traveling around the country with some fellow heavy hitters like Marvel Years, Maddy O’Neal, Jaenga, Evalution, and more talented producers. The tour only has a couple stops left, including Denver, Baltimore, and Virginia, so be sure to grab tickets here.

Peep the conversation and the album below. If you enjoy this interview and want more, check out our Good Listeners podcast for more inside scoops from your favorite artists and convos with all sorts of other industry professionals.

HIHF: Have you been enjoying Elements festival?

SoDown: I have! It’s super dope – we just saw the Fire Stage.

And you just played on the Earth Stage tonight?

Yep, very grounding!

I have to ask you about the saxophone. I myself am a huge saxophone fan, I played the tenor sax back in the day – used to tear it up! It’s always the best thing to see a saxophone in person, so what have you done to bring the sax on stage and give it some light?

Oh man, I love the instrument so much. I play several different instruments, but the saxophone is definitely my main one. It just kinda naturally happened, I started playing and it just felt so good to play live.

Well, the people clearly love it. You have such a diverse range when it comes to your sound, how do you balance deciding when it’s time to play feelsy tracks versus high-energy hits?

To me, music is a reflection of life…I like to take people on a journey [with my sets]. I like to come in strong and I like to end strong.  Everything in the middle is ‘who knows where we’re gonna go.’

Is there a particular festival or set in the past year that stands out as a huge step for your career or stands out as a huge moment?

So many…we just did a doubleheader at the Mishawaka in Colorado…Red Rocks obviously is insane – I hadn’t been there since 2017 for a show with Pretty Lights and [after that] we were really holding out for a direct support slot and then we got the direct support slot with Boogie T, Brock, I love you. We sold it out and it was insane and I had an absolute blast. The Gorge with Illenium was incredible, Shambhala was insane, and I could keep going haha!

At Red Rocks the artist gets an incredible view up into the crowd, could you tell me about that experience?

Yeah, looking out and looking up at people is a totally different experience than when you’re looking down at people on stage. Red Rocks just has my heart till the end, I grew up going to shows there and I feel super, super blessed to be in the position where I am and to be able to play Red Rocks…I’m super grateful for all that.

What was the first show that got you on the road to playing Red Rocks and living out your dreams?

I don’t know if there was a ‘first show’ necessarily. It was more of a grind. I couldn’t get a headline date when was starting out. I couldn’t get a headline show, and then someone canceled at Cervantes’ Other Side – we had three weeks before the show. My manager gave me a call and said “Hey, a show canceled. Do you want the date?” and I was like oh my god, this is what we’ve been waiting for but its [only] three weeks away…like its so scary it is so fast it is so soon!

I don’t think people realize how meticulously artists need to plan their sets

So much planning, selling tickets, and so many other [factors]. So went on my socials and said, “I have consignment tickets, I’ll sell you five for the price of four.” People would Venmo me the money and I’d write them a handwritten note, sign it, and mail it out. I was mailing out tickets every day, putting stamps on ‘em, lickin’ them envelopes. I was eating costs selling five for the price of four…my whole career has been based on my community and the personal relationship that I have with them. I think it all started there;  Cervantes’ Other Side, writing everybody hand-written notes to say thank you, and I’ll see you there!

That’s a great story to look back at because you were working every part of the process, ya gotta make it worth everyone’s time and taking the initiative to do it all, saying “I’m ready for this and I‘m gonna do it” is really admirable.

I want to give back too. For instance, at the Mishawaka shows we went on a rafting trip with all the fans, and we did a pop-up in Denver…we [did] a barbecue and I’m playing a free show, buying everybody food, and getting everybody together to hang out!

I love cooking for other people too, it’s my favorite way to cook!

What brings people together more than anything else? Food and music! And that’s the most important thing: community.

We’re getting to the end of our time in a few minutes, do you have anything else you’d like to talk about?

Yeah! I’m putting out my debut album soon.

I love albums! The art of the album is so perfect.

Let’s go, dude! I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time and now is the time. It’s a concept album that I really believe in. We’re doing a tour in the fall, Worlds Beyond, and the whole concept in Memento Mori – which means [roughly] to remember your death, and how that can benefit you in life – the stress that gets relieved from your existence if you just reflect on your own mortality. That’s something I want to share with the world.

Could you tell me what the production process for the album was like?

Every time I make a track, I swear…there’s like one hundred and nine minutes of music on the right side of Ableton that doesn’t get used, like seven other songs., but that’s just my process.

How do you get past that point of deciding whether it’s all too much or too little?

I search for the nuggets. Writing music is a very exploratory process for me, I’ll try some stuff then, try some stuff, then try some stuff and once you find that nugget you can build everything around that.

If you could put that [moment] into a few words, what would they be?

Flow State. Flow State is when the muse is coming right through you… it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

How does your process for a new song start?

I’ll be singing into my phone, singing a saxophone line like…right before I go to sleep, and sometimes I’ll base it off that. Sometimes I’ll just sit down and work on drums then make chord progressions, it’s always different. You need to show up even when you’re not inspired, you can find it – it can come. Sometimes, you just sit there and make a bunch of bad music!

Do you consider those times to be failures?

I don’t know if I view it as a failure as much as an attempt. When you put pressure on yourself [you inhibit] your creativity. Sitting down thinking you need to make the coolest thing in the world RIGHT NOW – it’s never gonna happen like that.

You have multiple collaborations with Bailey Flores, who you’ve collaborated with in the past, on the album. What’s working with her like?

Working with Bailey is the BEST!!! She has such a diverse voice and she really helped me express the album’s message, perfectly complementing the instrumentals with her thoughtfulness and lyrical skillset. For example, in “All Go Wrong,”  Bailey and I reflected on some times in the past when we felt we had lost ourselves. We set out to create a song that encompassed the sorrow of facing a potentially meaningless existence and subsequently finding solace in the chaos. Her lyrics are incredibly poignant. And what we couldn’t say in words, we conveyed musically, from somber instrumentation, live piano, saxophone, synths, and electric bass guitar, to key chords and sound design.

The single, “Gas Down”, with AHEE and Born I, was one of our absolute favorites and had us running up the wall. What was the process of that collaboration like?

AHEE and I wrote this tune together virtually, really wanting to fine-tune it so that it could achieve its fullest impact. We sent the project back and forth over the course of probably eight months before sending it over to Born I for the final touch of the vocals. I love how this tune came together! It’s so hype – one of the biggest bangers on the album.

Your “Get Up” EP from earlier this year got a monstrous remix package from some serious heavy hitters. Which of those remixes are your favorites to play out during your live performances?

I really love all of them and like to switch between which ones I play depending on the show. Ruvlo, ill.gates, and Buku all absolutely smashed their remixes. The Ruvlo one is especially mind-melting – those laser synths are insane.

On that note, what can fans expect from your tour?

AAHHHHH!!!!! There’s so much new stuff for fans to get excited about.  In addition to playing out the album, there are also plenty of new flips and crazy visuals!

As an album, what do you want fans to know about Worlds Beyond?

Worlds Beyond is my deepest work thus far. I really wanted to explore the human experience and the universal truth of mortality that we all face. During the writing process, I came upon the concept of that Memento Mori and the benefits that can have in everyday life. It’s so easy to get swept up in a goal or a destination, and never get ‘there.’ It’s important to face mortality, joy, adventure, and pain. Worlds Beyond is a reminder to live for the now and to accept what is. Here, now and beyond. It is not the destination, but the journey in which we truly live. Like music, for example – it isn’t experienced by getting to the end of the show, it’s the moments throughout that make us dance. It’s important to cherish those moments!

Thanks so much for chatting with us! We can’t wait for the album.

We learned about SoDown’s desire to form a community of good people and to do so through music and positive interactions. He has a long way to go before he can bring the whole world together through music, but he’s going to take it one step at a time, with a smile and a song, until he does.

Huge shoutout to SoDown and his team for coordinating! Be sure to show him some love on social media below and let us know your favorite tunes off the album in the comments.

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