Four Over Four speaks with Pusher, currently on tour, before his 3-night run with Zeds Dead in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
What inspired you to start producing your own music?
I started about five years ago. I’d been playing piano for ten years before that, but I was studying jazz piano at school and I took a course on film scoring which is how I was introduced to Logic – the DAW (digital audio workstation) I use. I used it to compose for some short films, ads, and video games while making weird stuff on the side.
I moved away from scoring gradually as I realized I could just make my own stuff and post it on Soundcloud directly to listeners, that way I wouldn’t be dependent on a film or ad to reach people.
My success or failure would be on my own merit.
What’s funny is that I was messing around with producing in like 2007 – before the huge EDM explosion – before I went to university, but I basically dropped it when I went to school. I didn’t think there was really anything in the way of a career path in it. By the time I was done school, obviously, that had changed in pop culture. I grew up in such a tiny place before I moved to Toronto, I had no idea what was going on in the music industry.
Explain Pusher; what’s the story behind the name?
I just think it’s a solid name. I got the idea from an X-Files episode, but I think it carries a reminder to always push myself and my music. Also, it wasn’t taken yet.
Fair enough. Tell us a bit about the Toronto music scene and how it has shaped your career.
Toronto is the centre of Canada (sorry everybody else). If I lived in the middle of nowhere (still), it would have been nearly impossible for me to get connected with my management, get bookings, do shows, meet people. Toronto has so many cool people working so hard – especially in creative industries – it’s easy to get plugged into the larger worldwide scene once you have something cool going on.
If you could remix any track out there which would it be?
A lot of stuff is easy to just bootleg remix – especially famous stuff – since the acapellas are just floating around the internet, but there’s some great stuff that I haven’t been able to find.
I’d love to remix ‘Oh My God’ by St. Vincent because I love her voice and the vocals are so lovely. I’m waiting patiently to remix Alison Wonderland – when I do go for it I want to really cook up something special but her writing is so fresh always it’s great.
Name one thing that helps you creatively focus when writing music.
Sugar. I try to never eat candy or sugar but when I’ve got a flow going on in the studio, sugar is the right boost of energy it takes to get through the entire process before I have a chance to second guess myself.
What can your fans expect from Pusher in 2017?
Singles. I did an EP and I feel like the fact that it was an EP stopped some of the tracks from reaching as far as they could have potentially. I’m working hard and I’ve got a good thing going right now creatively where I’m just able to make lots of things quickly so they’re going to all start turning into finished songs soon and then they’re going to all start coming out.
The EP opened a lot of doors for me and 2016 was a big year for laying foundations and it’s got me excited for the future. That said, I have at least 2 more songs coming out this year, so, let’s not put the cart before the horse.
What else is going on with you, behind the scenes?
I’m trying to keep up a daily routine of meditation, studying German, and 10,000 steps.
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