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warner case On What Makes A “Successful” Release, Studying Music At An Institution, the Key for Great Collabs, and Much More


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“WHAT – IS – THIS!?!” – that was my first impression the first time I was introduced to “doyouwannabemine”, my gateway into the works of New York based artist warner case. Shortly after I fell in love with “doyouwannabemine”, the strange thing is that his music gained entrance into my life in a variety of different ways.

DJ, producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, YouTuber, cat lover… Believe it or not, these are only a few of the titles warner case is associated with as he is a man who possesses many talents. Even though he served as a classically trained percussionist at Cornell University, when it comes to music production he spent many years teaching himself and fine-tuning his craft. To the point where he’s often compared to ZHU, collaborating with Kyle Watson, and sharing the stage with artists such as Disclosure, Virgil Abloh, and Gorgan City to name a few. Throughout this interview, we pick up on the fact that he takes his craft seriously, but all in all, he’s a lighthearted and playful dude who exudes positive energy. We dived into what makes a “successful” release, the making of his latest track “alone with you”, and a whole lot more.

What was your first memorable encounter with House music, and at which point did you realize that you wanted to pursue music as a career?

I’m sure I heard it without realizing it in Pop music here and there… But my most memorable “first” exposure to house was Daft Punk’s “Alive 2007” album, which I was given for Christmas. I’d grown up on tons of rock, classical, jazz, and reggae, but nothing electronic. So that opened my eyes to a whole world I somehow had no idea existed. I was a bit late to the game, but I made up for it with vigor.

Something that people tend to forget about you is that you’re a classically trained percussionist. I’m keen to hear your thoughts about going to an institution to study music vs being in a room for years and teaching yourself?

I think there’s definitely a benefit to some professional instruction on an instrument, especially piano, since learning musical fundamentals will help you for a looooong time to come. But I think going to college for music is a huge waste of time if you’re trying to be a musician, unless you’re studying to play in professional orchestras. I think your’e better off learning an instrument growing up in middle and high school, than just playing and writing a fuck ton with your friends and anyone else who’s down. As for learning how to produce, I taught myself, and there are millions of hours of great, free tutorials on YouTube, so I feel like going to most production schools is probably a waste of money. But some people learn best in those environments, so I can’t say for sure. I know a lot of people who are craaaaazy good pianists who studied at Berklee or something, but couldn’t write song to save their lives. So it depends on what you’re trying to do in music.

It’s such a pleasure jumping into your YouTube channel and not only finding your music but also podcasts and producer tips. At the time why did you feel it was important to create these kinds of videos?

Haha thanks, glad you enjoyed it! Honestly it came out of professional frustration. Why am I not bigger yet? Ooh, maybe some production vids on YouTube will get a bunch of exposure… so I try that for a few months and realize it’s a shit ton of work and is taking up time that I *should* be spending writing and working on music. It’s fun to do vids and stuff, don’t get me wrong, but it was never a focus. It was supposed to hopefully bring attention to my music from another angle. I’d love to be able to do all that but have other people shoot and edit it, because I do enjoy being part of movie shoots, photoshoots… anything creative and fun. https://www.youtube.com/embed/PwnngjKzMjM

In which ways would you say your sound and inspirations have evolved since you dropped your debut EP dance music for dancing, vol. 1?

Shit I have no idea. I just want to make awesome music, and I think most of my past music is garbage because I’ve listened to it a million too many times. But I’m glad people still like it haha (I don’t want to sound like an ass… I just think it’s hard to listen to my old music sometimes since I’m always trying to evolve, and my past stuff just takes me back in time to a place where I feel like I was less developed. So emotionally it’s a bit fraught.

Congrats on the latest single “alone with you” featuring Didi Han! I could imagine the track really setting the dancefloor on fire. What were some of the challenges that arose during the creation process of “alone with you”, and how did you overcome them?

Honesty, trust, open-mindedness, kindness, and risk-taking. You have to get along and be willing to try weird shit, and you have to not judge someone for trying weird shit. Sometimes that weird shit actually ends up being awesome shit. https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/1138533223&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=truewarner case · alone with you (feat. Didi Han)

I must say, my favorite track from you at the moment is definitely “feel it yah”! I love how it saunters between relaxing and dance-friendly. Can you tell us more about how that track came about?

Thanks! That one evolved slowly — I had the keys sample that I really liked, then I pitched it up and down a bit to create a simple chord structure, which worked. Then the bassline just kinda fell into place… it was easy to write because the keys set such a defined vibe. Then, like usual, I wrote lyrics that the instrumental inspired; in this case, being willing to be in the moment, drop pretenses and self-consciousness, and get weird. A backbeat (snare or clap on 2 and 4) felt too intense, so the clave pattern (that you hear a ton in reggaeton) seemed to groove better.

To you what constitutes a “successful release”?

Honestly streams *do* matter a certain amount, because no one’s gonna book you with 17 streams on all your tracks on Spotify… so as a person trying to have a career and pay my goddamn rent, I do want songs to get streamed a lot. That said, streams do not count for everything. The perfect balance, I feel, is a song that gets great industry support, lots of streams, and most importantly connects with the fans and makes them feel something powerful… happiness, energy, sadness, melancholy… whatever. There’s nothing more rewarding for me than getting messages from all you lovely people about what my music means to you, or what a song of mine helped you through… it’s forever humbling and invigorating. So keep the DMs coming 🙂

warner case | Stereofox Interview

Bad recommendations/advice which you commonly hear when it comes to music production?

“Find your sound”. Having “a sound” isn’t necessarily a bad thing; having some stylistic consistency is important so your fans aren’t confused why one release is hard techno and the next one is a country ballad. That said, “find your sound” is bad advice, I feel, because young producers hear that and then start trying to *create* a signature sound or a signature synth style or whatever… clicking through sample packs to literally “find their sound”. But that’s focusing on the wrong thing. It’s less catchy, but I’d change “find your sound” to “write a ton of music that speaks to you, no matter the style, and then listen back to all of it, have your friends listen back to it, and see if there’s a selection within those tracks that have an overall vibe that stands out as the most unique and the most prevalent. that’s ‘your sound'”. Only you can make music that’s like yours, so be honest with what you create, and “your sound” will emerge naturally.

What’s an area in your craft where you’re feeling unsure about and really looking to improve on currently?

Pretty much all of it. I don’t think I’ll ever feel fully confident in what I do because I’ll always hear new music that makes me think “FUCK that’s way cooler than my stuff”. But I think some self-doubt is helpful for me… it makes me want to improve to prove myself wrong.

If there is one thing you want to exit 2022 knowing you achieved, what would it be?

Staying alive and happy, surrounded by friends and family. Also 10 million dollars.

So… 1) An artist/band you would have a D.M.C (Deep Meaningful Conversation), 2) An artist/band you’d love to party with. 3) Artist would like to be your mentor? You’re welcome to pick from artists/bands who are retired/dead.

1- D’Angelo or Questlove

2- Trent Reznor – I get the feeling he’s in bed by 10 with some decaf tea and a book, and I dig that.

3- Calvin Harris – I’ve always respected his ability to do almost any genre of dance music with deft instincts. I’d love to have even 1/20th of his career success and breadth.

warner case | Stereofox Interview

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