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Interview

Alan Walker On Influences, Music Video Inspirations, and Being a DJ

By  August 15, 2017

Despite emerging into the music scene at a young age, Norwegian DJ and producer Alan Walker proves that nothing’s impossible with ardent passion and persistent grit.

Having supported acts the likes of Rihanna and Justin Bieber, Walker initially started producing music only in his bedroom for the record label NoCopyrightSounds. This then led to the roaring success of his single, Faded, and a series of follow-up singles currently dominating the EDM scene.

 

We spoke to Walker about the symbolism in his music videos, his views on being a DJ, and a whole lot more in the interview below.

 

1. What kind of music did you listen to growing up and how did it influence your music now?

Techno music was my music of preference. That was also part of the reason for me wanting to pursue music production. After watching movies, I also gained an interest for film scores, so that has definitely influenced my music as well. Especially when it comes to melodies.

 

2. How do you choose vocalists for your songs? Is there a main criteria that you follow?

It varies from song to song. For Tired, I was actually presented with the demo vocals from Gavin James to begin with. And for Faded, we ended up going with Iselin Solheim’s vocals, even though she was initially intended for demo only. It was just so great, and went well with the song.

 

3. Prior to your success in the EDM scene, you were interested in computer programming and graphic design. How much did your interests in such areas impact your career in music?

It had a lot to say in developing my visual identity as an artist, and is something that you can find traces from in my artwork, logos, videos, and more.

 

4. The music videos for Alone and Faded start with characters with masks on, which they later take off at the end of the video. Can you explain the symbolism behind that recurring concept?

The mask is not about me wanting to hide my identity. Actually, I wear the mask to symbolize that people are all the same and all equal. For me, anyone could be the person behind the mask, and anyone can achieve amazing things.

 

5. How do you keep track of ideas you randomly get when you're touring?

That’s a good question. I’ll have to record or write them down somewhere, or share the idea with someone else in order to not forget it.

 

6. Can you share with us one song that you adore and wish you could've produced yourself?

My all-time favorite is ‘Time’ by Hans Zimmer.

 

7. Do you prefer to be a member of an audience or playing for a crowd? Why?

I enjoy both, actually. There’s nothing better than being on stage. But I also like to attend a show as a regular fan, especially with some of the artists I like.

 

8. Many EDM producers are drawing the lines between being a DJ and an artist. They think being an artist is more than just about the "drops" in their songs. What element in your music do you think sets you apart from the usual stereotypical impressions of being a DJ?

First of all, it’s important to note that you can still be either a DJ or an artist, without being both. And there’s obviously a lot of artists who don’t DJ, and vice versa. Also, I agree that being an artist is more than just creating drops. The music that is released by the most successful artists today is clearly a testament to that, because they are often complete tracks and not just driven by drops. You can see that on the charts as well, as EDM music has been a part of the top charts in recent time.

 

9. Which festival that you've played at is the most memorable for you and why?

Probably Main Stage at Tomorrowland this year. It was amazing!

 

10. Name 3 musicians that you can't stop listening to right now.

It varies from time to time. But at the moment: Hans Zimmer, Kygo and Armin Van Buuren

 

 

Photo Credit: Rikkard Häggbom


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