Sunday, 1 August 2010

[IFA] August - Magna

To kick off our new, steady, rhythm of ilictronix Featured Artists (once a month, I promise), I am pleased to announce our latest spectacle, Magna. At only 16 years old, Monsieur DeCoteau is capable of producing house music that makes yours truly question the universe (that's right, it's that good). But you know what? Why do I need to tell you? Hear from the man himself. COMMENCE INTERVIEW.

But first, how about some shiny press photos?

So, tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Jacob DeCoteau, I usually go by Jake, but that's beside the point. When I'm not being a full time high school senior from Pennsylvania, I'm a walking-talking electro/house machine. I've been producing since 2007, but only seriously as Magna for about a year now. Currently I'm part of the Mozzarella Records family, and I'm about to self-release my third Ep, aptly titled THREE, on August 14th, for pay-what-you-want. Other than music, I have a big passion for graphic design, and I plan on going to SVA in New York City for that profession. (I also plan to party with Silver Disco a lot.)

Give 2 words that best describe your music.

Epileptic Disco

Does your music reflect your personality?

I think that some of my music definitely relays how I'm feeling at a certain point in my life. If you look at one of the songs off of my Ep TWO, called Floating, it's really a chill, personal song. It conveys a lot of the emotion and creativity that I was feeling at the time. But then again, if you look at a song like New! Coke, it's just completely mindless awesome.

Both tracks included below.

What first got you interested in making music?

Let's see here, I was born on August 14th 1993, and from that point on I was always in love with interesting, original music. I can remember listening to Beck when I was about 5 or 6. Although, 2005 was really the first time I stumbled onto the electronic music scene. Do you remember that iPod commercial that had Technologic playing in the background? ( That commercial was really what got me into house and electro music. I downloaded Human After All the next day, and the rest, as they say, is history.

What's the story behind your name? There has to be one...

Funny you ask, as there is a pretty decent tale behind the name "Magna". Before I decided to start producing house music, I was in a rock band called "ConCarta". (We have a myspace around here somewhere.) After being in ConCarta for a while, I wanted to start an electro side project. I wanted the name to tie in to ConCarta a little bit as well. So while thinking of names, my mind wandered to the "Magna Carta". Seeing as we already had "Carta" used up in the rock band name, I went with "Magna" instead, and the name stuck.

We hear THREE's coming out pretty soon, what should we expect?

THREE is somewhat of a different sound for me, if you've ever heard my Ep, ONE (and I pray you haven't), there are a ton of electro synths, beats, and riffs. Whereas in my Ep, TWO, its much more based in sampling and house grooves. THREE really combines the best elements of ONE and TWO. Some tracks are very housey, some are more electro, but all have these combined elements to them, that give them a unique progression. The first track "Are You Ready?" starts off as a chopped, fast tempo, house track, (think TPR), but by the end it turns into a complete electro jam. But heck, why don't I let you guys listen for yourselves?


If you had to thank anyone in the world for your current progress in the industry, who would you thank?

There are a couple of people I'd like to thank actually, hope that's ok. One of them is Evil Stereo. He's listened to every track I've even considered putting out, good and bad (and there has been a LOT of bad). Same goes for Club Cavalry for putting up with me all the time. Silver Disco and Good Junk have always brought awesome ideas to the table when it comes to my tracks, so they deserve a big thank you. And, as of recently, the guys from LBCK have been awesome with doing that remix for me, and spreading around my name and tracks, so they've been awesome as well. And, without The Phantom's Revenge I don't think I'd be here right now, so I'd like to thank him for the inspiration :)

What are your limits? What are some things you simply cannot do as an artist? Is there anyone/anything to blame for this?

I've always wished I could, but I can't really seem to make an all synth track, something with flowing melodies, and harmonies I just can't seem to accomplish without becoming bored with the track. I need a dirty breakdown or heavy beats to make a track. I guess I blame my ADHD, The Phantom's Revenge, and Justice for that, but that's certainly not a bad thing. ;)

If you could go back in time (to any point in time) and still maintain the skills you have, what time period would you choose and why?

I'd love to go back to the 1980's, and use the production skills and techniques that we have now to redefine some of today's classics. I'd also like to travel back to that time period and try to make sampling less taboo among artists and copyright holders, as I think sampling can be pulled off quite creatively. Oh, and has anyone else noticed that every snare in the 80's has about a metric ton of reverb on it? I'd like to change that as well.

What are your thoughts on the future of house music? Do you think things have taken a positive turn recently?

You know, I think that as house music and electro-house makes a comeback, and gets put into mainstream media again, the market is going to be flooded with tons of crap, *cough* Sexy Bitch, California Girls, etc... *cough*, but I do still think that there will always be the dedicated core of people making amazing house music, and when that music breaks to the mainstream as well, it's really going to be great for the future of this genre.

Describe the process of making a track. How long does it usually take?

Well, first I try to find a sample to use, either a riff, lick, or chop that sounds pretty good by itself, and that I think that would work in a track. Then I try my hardest to find a 320 kbps of that track. If I can't find that or even a 192 kbps, I go back to step one. If I can find one, I drag it into Ableton and chop away until I find a winning riff, then I slap on a synth, find a beat, cymbal line, and other samples that go well with it, get the tempo just right, add a drop of liquid sex, and a Magna track is born. Usually I work on a track for a bout 2-3 weeks before its completely done, and I was just kidding about the liquid sex part, that shit is too expensive to use on my tracks.

What do you hope to achieve in the next year?

A couple things I'd like to attempt to do is to start playing some gigs around the Philadelphia area, and maybe even some in NYC if I'm lucky. I'd also like to refine my style, as it's been shifting a bit from Ep to Ep. I've got some tracks lined up to be released in the near future, and I'm working on some remixes for friends. I'll be looking forward to adding to my style, and keeping it interesting for my listeners!


Cool stuff, huh? Well, the fun's not over. Now it's time to listen to some music.

Magna - Floating [click to download]

Magna - Subtract (Evil Stereo Remix) [click to download]

Magna - Power Supply [click to download]

Magna - Power Supply (GMGN Remix) [click to download]

Magna - New! Coke [click to download]

And.....lastly! A mix. Because I love exclusive content, and I may-have-sorta-kinda held Magna captive until I got what I wanted :) So here it is.

Magna - Ilictronmix [click to download]

Tracklist is as follows:

Skrillex - Slats Slats Slats
Magna - New! Coke
Mr. Oizo. and Gaspard Auge - Rubber (Kamei Remix)
Magna - Diamond Part I
Skrillex - With You Friends.
Grum - Sound Reaction (The Phantom's Revenge Remix)
SebastiAn - Walkman (SebastiAn Edit)
Poka - 1987
Interpol - Evil
Danger - 14h54
Kavinsky - Testarossa Autodrive (SebastiAn Remix)
Franz Ferdinand - The Fallen (Justice Edit)
Pendulum - The Island Part II
Skrillex - With You Friends (Long Drive Remix)

Enjoy, and please give a warm welcome to our August Featured Artist, Magna. Be sure to check out the extra links in the sidebar.

Peace out,


Here said...

Magna ! yay !

Good interview prez :)

Colour said...

Been waiting for this interview for a long time! I'm a huge fan of Magna and I cannot wait until the release of THREE on the 14th Aug.

Really glad you posted 'Floating', it's one of my favourite tracks ever.

Expect an album review from me once THREE Ep is released.

Mr. Brown said...

Man I love you Manga! (oops did I just say that :p)

Mr. Brown said...

Oh and I love how "new! coke" samples the divine guitars of don't let me be misunderstood...

Kim said...

Holy crap these tracks are amazing. And 16 years old, wow. I'm 25 and this makes me feel like I've accomplished nothing in life.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, This kid doesn't know dick about dance music or House music for that matter. Classic case of cookie cutter french touch producers.

Anonymous said...

crazy shit. im a musician and i screw around with some of this software, but its not easy to make tracks that sound this good. as a fellow 16 year old im completely impressed. come to boston kid