Leuthero is a rising star in the melodic bass world that you’ve got to have your eye on in 2023. The up-and-coming production phenom caught wind with some massive releases […]
Leuthero is a rising star in the melodic bass world that you’ve got to have your eye on in 2023. The up-and-coming production phenom caught wind with some massive releases on Flux Pavilion‘s Circus Electric label throughout the calendar year. He’s been on a massive tear lately and we had the chance to catch up with him at Elements Festival in the Poconos where he performed at the Wub Hub stage.
Check out what Leuthero had to say about his inspirations, his time at Elements, insights on his studio, and advice he had for up-and-coming producers. We hope you enjoy our interview with Leuthero as much as we did conducting it!
HIHF: How was your travel to the festival?
Leuthero: It was a trip and was solid. It was about a fourteen-and-a-half-hour travel day.
HIHF: And you were at the festival last night, did you get to see anyone’s sets?
Leuthero: We caught the tail end of Far Out – he’s super dope. And then he went on after Gem & Tauri. We checked out a bit of the festival, and then we caught Seven Lions. I was able to say, what’s up for a bit – it was a great time.
HIHF: That Seven Lions sound kind of inspires you a bit, no?
Leuthero: It does now, it definitely does. Seven Lions was definitely like one of the OGs in terms of when I started to get into melodic bass stuff that was one of the bigger inspirations for me, it was really cool to see him play.
HIHF: [Seven Lions] set-building style, the way he crescendos into emotional arcs, does that affect how you build your sets as well?
Leuthero: Yes. Honestly, yeah. Really…like a lot. I love starting off heavy. You get people super hyped up and then like mellow and then chill out. I love those ebbs and flows to sets of intense, hard stuff and then back it off.
HIHF: When you come to a festival like Elements, what’s the first thing you do when you start building a set for it?
Leuthero: I first think of the vibe of the festival because every festival is a little different. This is my first big, big festival that I’m playing in. So, I was like, all right, I must figure out the vibe of the festival. What’s going to be the demographic that I’m working with? What’s going to appeal? What’s going to be kind of the most appealing everything but for Elements? I knew there would be a handful of melodic bass guys and especially on the stage that I’m playing, the Wub Hub, a lot of bass-oriented artists. I might go a little heavier, like try out some harder stuff that I don’t normally play.
HIHF: How have things been in the studio recently? I’ve been catching your live sessions here and there on Instagram. What’s the feeling when you get in there?
Leuthero: So, after my EP. After the release, I’d say I guess it’s like a little bit of a break. I enjoy that. Listening to those songs after my EP came out, I kind of went into set-building mode. So, I built a whole new set. I made a whole new intro on new edits to kind of showcase that EP. This is like my mini-EP tour, you know? I’m really getting back in the groove of things. I have a bunch of cool collabs in the works. I’m really excited about that. Then I have a bunch of originals that I’m also wrapping up and that we’ll start kind of throwing around figuring out some release dates.
HIHF: Have you been starting to incorporate those live instruments into what you’re building in the studio back home a little bit more?
Leuthero: That’s something that I’ll probably really start to flesh out a little further down the road when I have like eight more songs come out or something after I really develop my core discography under the Leuthero project. I think we’ve talked about it before; I really want to start to incorporate live guitar or live drums into my sets someday.
HIHF: As an artist, how far down the road do you constantly have to be looking?
Leuthero: You must be ten steps ahead all the time because when you’re not, you’re immediately behind, you know? And that’s kind of something that I realized, especially after releasing this last EP. It’s like, all right, I just put out a project but the next is just over the horizon. in terms of like listeners and like listener engagement and attention span, it’s really exciting for like two weeks and then it’s like you, you have to, you know, be offering new content, and one of the ways I’ve been dealing with that is like making remixes or bootlegs that all pitch in and if a release doesn’t get a bite, then I’ll make it into an original, you know.
HIHF: How important is that back-end work that an artist manager does that helps you get going?
Leuthero: Absolutely lifesaving. It is absolutely lifesaving. I have so much appreciation for the work they do. It really is because being able to relax and get in a creative mindset to just ‘make music,’ focus on building my sets or making edits to my sets or only being able focus on the creative aspects of a project I think is really important. When you get stressed out about stuff, it’s hard to like get in the studio to chill and come up with a new idea. Having my manager, Maribel, help out on like a lot of the back-end things of coordinating and helping with label releases and shows means the world to me. She is going above and beyond right now with bookings, releases, and everything. It’s huge. That’s the thing, we both put in a lot of work and we’re really fast-tracking, you know? The Leuthero project has been alive for a little over a year, and the growth has been exponential, not just because of the music it’s just because we really work hard. Being really dialed in and focused and hard working – that’s really important. That’s really important.
HIHF: That’s cool to hear. It’s always nice to hear about how much is going on to bring the art to life because it’s really not just plug and play. There’s a lot of work and a lot of time planning. There are a lot of people behind the scenes. Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in starting to make music? Maybe they do make music already and they want to take the next step. How do they find that team and find the right person to help them excel?
Leuthero: A lot of that comes with time, and naturally maturing as an artist. There are definitely things that you can do because as an artist, it’s your business. I come from a very business-like background, and ultimately I love making music. That’s my passion. It isn’t hard for me to fuse those two aspects of myself together. If you really want to bring your career to the next level, you have to treat it as a business. You have to put those hours in, you have to stay consistent. When it comes to making music even if you’re not feeling inspired you have to practice other stuff. Work on content and jot down notes about marketing for your next release. There’s always stuff that you can be doing.
HIHF: How do you tackle the animal that is social media? One of the biggest barriers for anyone who’s trying to grow is dealing with this algorithm. You do a really great job interacting with people, how do you deal with social media?
Leuthero: I actually feel like I’m kind of in a lull, but I think one thing that I’ve learned is that you have to show who you are as a person. Even if you don’t have music stuff to post, like new songs or shows, do not take it so seriously to have it only be music. Make it more about your lifestyle. For me, that idea has made it a little more attainable to get on with the mindset that I’m just going to say, ‘What’s up?’ And that’s easier said than done for some people than others. But yeah, not overthinking it is important, you don’t always have to make a viral piece of content if you just showcase who you are as a person and like as an artist, that goes a long way. I feel like that goes a long way.
HIHF: Tell me a little bit about your studio at home! One of the things that I like the most about your content is that you have a great-looking studio. You obviously put a lot of work into making something that looks good that you can present on.
Leuthero: When I moved into my new place, I had like my bedroom and I had this kind of spare room and I had this super janky desk that I disassembled and brought with me. It’s like four 2x4s and then like a big sheet of wood. I owe it all to one of my roommates, Adrian, who is a phenomenal carpenter. He made supports for it and like made it super sturdy. We painted it black and with a glossy finish and we added extra lights. I have lights all around it and put a couch in there with a little coffee table so people can come and chill and everything like that. For me, having like a super dope creative space is so important. I can go in there, shut the door, and chill. It’s a total vibe that I just get like making music and dancing around. I don’t know. I think, like the area that you’re in is, is really important for creating.
HIHF: Yeah, I definitely think so too. Not only the people you surround yourself with but also the spaces you put yourself in as an artist are so important. It affects how you make music and how often you make it.
Leuthero: I would sing about this like you have got to be stoked to go to that space. If you really want to make music, but don’t want to sit in a hard wooden chair for 7 hours or even if it’s a small space, a few things, like a lava lamp or a cushion can improve your lab. I think it’s really important to get in the zone physically, if that makes sense, you know? Getting your own zone physically helps you mentally get there. Kind of like going into the office for work, it’s ‘all right, I’m here to work.’ When you go to the studio, make it your own. You’re there to work, so why not make it enjoyable?
HIHF: What sort of things do you do outside of the studio, outside of music, to take care of yourself so that when you come to music, you’re ready to go?
Leuthero: That’s huge, I think that’s really important. Like all the best artists, I think have very interesting lives outside of music, like traveling. Whether going back to my hometown or traveling somewhere else is huge. My roommates and I get outside a whole lot. We’re always at the park. I’m a big skier in the winter. I grew up playing sports my whole life, so I love to throw a football around or whatever we can do outside like ride right around town on scooters. Anything that gets us out of the house and gets us active. I think I think that’s really important because when you go back to making music, you’re feeling good. You feel refreshed, ready to sit down and dial in as if you could always be in your studio, but if you’re in there 24/7 It’s you’re totally gonna burn yourself out. It’s a constant balancing act.
HIHF: Speaking of being burnt out, when a new artist starts making music, they start experimenting with those programs and trying to figure out what they do. What was your experience when you really put two and two together? What was that learning curve like?
Leuthero: I started to really take things seriously over COVID. I guess right before COVID started, there was kind of a perfect storm. People just went hard that year. I went hard. I would spend as much time making music in the studio as I could. Maybe it wasn’t the healthiest thing to do, right? Because it was COVID, we were all stuck inside and the pandemic was really tough for a lot of people, but it was it was kind of like smoke and mirrors for me at least. I really got into music production and learned as much as I possibly could. I often made terrible music, terrible sounds, and stuff. I loved it. I’ve always loved experimenting with new stuff. I was in the studio/bedroom at the time with a pair of small speakers, Xbox headphones, you know, that’s like what I had. And I would watch YouTube videos, learn about something, and then go try it and then go back and watch YouTube videos and then go try it. I tried to soak in as much knowledge as I possibly could and helped me level off and get a good understanding. Then I did a bunch of mentoring sessions with Blanke who I really got into the next level. Seeing how someone else does things helped me overcome some of the obstacles I was facing in the studio and helped me make a sound of my own.
HIHF: How did you register that you were ready for that kind of extreme? Because if you go and you’ve never done it before, it might not really get what you want out of it. How did you know ‘I’m going to go to this and it’s going to make me improve?’
Leuthero: Feedback from friends was important. When you start getting feedback from people and you can tell when they’re being honest, that’s a good thing. I realized I have that fire in me. I decided to keep going and to keep getting better. I asked myself, what’s the best way for me to learn? And then Blanke, JP, like and I corresponded a few times over Instagram. I set them up randomly. I reached out and asked if he ever like be open to lessons before he even had them available. I know he kind of advertises now or he has in the past. I just shot my shot and he was like, ‘Yeah, sure.’ So we did a ton of sessions and I learned so much.
HIHF: Since you started releasing Music More, you got your EP out now. How has your network grown and how do you go about growing it?
Leuthero: I really didn’t do anything when I started. And then about a year later, I really saw the importance of going out and trying to network and it just kind of happens naturally. My manager Maribel helped and I connected with a bunch of other artists and producers. The first big artist I connected with was Blanke. I started talking to as many people as I could. Getting out of my comfort zone and introducing myself. I found that to be important because if I was to run into that person again, we would already have that initial connection. It’s hard to meet a ton of people, but once you do you can meet new people through those people and so on and so forth. And it just, it just kind of like builds upon itself.
HIHF: It sounds like you have a good set of feet on the ground moving in a good direction. You’re surrounding yourself with good people and you’re building yourself up and the best way you know you can.
Leuthero: Yeah, of course. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. I was looking forward to this. And I also have to say, that I hugely appreciate Heard It Here First, all the support over the years from my previous project Matt Ryan all the way up until this point. It means a lot to me.
A huge thank you to Leuthero for joining us to discuss his career and life at the Elements Festival. We so enjoy getting to know artists through their releases and cherish the opportunities we have to speak with them in person. We hope anyone reading this may take a nugget of information and help grow their own skills. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be interviewing you next. Thank you again to Leuthero, be sure to show him some love online!