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Recording Connection grad Dylan Atieh of Totowa, New Jersey says the inspiration behind his track “Lion” which appears on our recently released Student Mixtape, has less to do with some narrative and more to do with an array of different things percolating in his brain, as well as his girlfriend, who loves the track and appears on the cover.
Ever humble, Dylan has found his artistic voice through making samples and using existing ones in innovative ways. Speaking of “Lion” he says:
I like the progression of everything. The hook of the song is what really is the craziest part of the song for me with the bell and the vocals and then obviously the texting and the weird Foley sounds, the vocal synths that come out of it. I even have me drinking coffee [2:34]. I just try to get creative and put different experimental elements in my stuff.”
Speaking of the experience he had going through Recording Connection, training with renowned mastering engineer Mark B. Christensen (The Killers, 50 Cent, Trey Songz) and Engine Room Audio engineer Mike Bader, the aspiring producer tell us:
It was awesome. I got to walk past some famous people and sat next to Charlamagne at times. It’s hard because you can’t like ‘fan out’ so it was really a good experience, in like, you’ve got to act comfortable in an environment like this in front of high profile people. And then overall, just like during the sit-ins with Mark, sometimes you’ll ask a little question and you’ll learn something that’ll change your life.”
We next turned to Recording Connection student Jan-Darryl Bantug of Winnipeg, Canada to discover the inspiration behind his track. What followed was nothing short of revelatory.
Jan and his wife, Celedonne, have a duo sideproject of their own dubbed The Labrats. Generally speaking, Celedonne writes and sings most of the songs, with Jan at the helm recording, arranging, and producing the tracks.
But with “Holly” inspiration kicked-in unexpectedly—at the prenatal clinic. Jan explains:
We’re pregnant with our first child. She’s due this May… We had this ultrasound done during one of our prenatal (visits) and I recorded the fetal heart rate. The fetal heart rate is quite fast. For humans it’s 60-90 bpm. For babies it’s around 150-170 bpm. That’s actually the basis of the tempo of the song. So I got the rhythm of the heartbeat and built around that. You can hear it more clearly at the start and ending of the song.”
Intending to submit the track for the Student Music Mixtape (stream here) sometime near the holidays, Jan decided to work in a pseudo-festive theme. He found himself getting creative with various songwriting styles and soon settled on “Holly” as the perfect name for the track which has some fun at circumventing the usual song tropes.
It’s a love song. The listener might think at first that it’s a girl waiting for some boyfriend or partner at Christmas but then you realize the song is about this pregnancy and waiting for this kid to arrive… It’s still a love song but it’s a love song from two parents to their firstborn.”
In January, Jan and Celedonne discovered they’ll be having a girl. Call it a perfect case of art imitating life imitating art again—the excited parents already have her name picked out. You guessed it!