Guitar Major and EPD Grad Team Up to Take on NYC's Electronic Dance Music Scene
Every Wednesday around 6:00 p.m., as his liberal arts class lets out, guitar performance student Alex Waldin makes a beeline to the train that will take him back to his Bushwick, Brooklyn, apartment and the burgeoning career he and his creative partner, Zak Leever B.M. ‘16, are developing in New York City’s voltaic EDM (electronic dance music) scene.
The strategy—and long weekly commute back to Boston on Monday for class—is paying off. Since signing with Manhattan-based artist management outfit Moodswing Management, Leever and Waldin have made inroads as DJs, performers, remixers, and producers.
On April 8, they will guest host the BBC Radio 1Xtra show Diplo and Friends, a music show regularly hosted by EDM pioneer Diplo, a member of Major Lazer, and a collaborator with Skrillex. And recently, Waldin and Leever finished remixes for electronic dance artists Grandtheft and Delaney Jane, as well as Crystal Fighters, and have worked with Mia Martina, A-Trak, and Phantogram.
Meanwhile, their band, called STFU, is working on an upcoming album that Leever says will have a “huge pop edge,” be singable, and mix genres. The four songs they've released so far on Spotify are climbing toward half a million listens.
Like their music, Leever's and Waldin's careers aren’t easily defined. Leever, who majored in electronic production and design, started doing remixes and YouTube synthesizer tutorials in the Bay Area while he was still in high school. At the same age, Waldin was balancing schoolwork, a job at a Toronto studio, and another gig at a club. The two met in a liberal arts class at Berklee.
“We’ve had so many awesome remix opportunities for seven/eight years that we’re able to have a presence in the industry and have an identity as producers, creators, writers, and, often, performers,” Leever says.
The days are over, they say, in which artists can afford to be very specific about what they want to do. Now they need to be ready to wear many hats, and the two wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I think we want to be all of it, we want to take any opportunity that really comes our way. And that’s one of the exciting things about the way music happens nowadays, is there’s so many opportunities, there’s so many ways to get involved, there’s so many things to do. It feels like there’s a lot of new stuff happening,” Waldin says.