Interview | Different Sleep

Interview | Different Sleep + Abstract Science

by Joshua P. Ferguson

At the end of last month, Chicago by way of San Diego producer Different Sleep, a.k.a. Raf Alvarez, stopped by for an in-studio chat with Abstract Science and to play a short selection of songs that are inspirations for him at the moment. Though Alvarez puts his production style in the downtempo-bass realm, his track selection ran wide. In between cuts, we caught up on air to chat about how he got his start making music and how he hopes to continue the momentum he's gained from the release of his Conflict EP for Friends of Friends, which came out earlier this year. 

Download the full episode of Abstract Science here (and if you like it, subscribe to our podcast):

And here's a transcript of what he played and had to say.

Tell us about your latest EP for Friends of Friends. 
This EP is called Conflict. I made it last summer in a time when I was just in my apartment, living in the city, and kind of in a shell, spending a lot of time working on music. Definitely a more emotional time in my life, definitely some heartfelt songs on this release but I really feel it's some of the most original work that I’ve done in the sense that there’s a lot of original instrumentation—me playing piano, me on guitar, and me incorporating my own vocals for the first time. 

Selection One: Rochelle Jordan "Lowkey" — Prostar Entertainment

Since we're getting into your head a bit musically, tell us how you got into this and started making music. 
I started when I was 12 or 13. I started taking guitar lessons and wanted to record the songs I was coming up with on guitar so I started using basic software and eventually I would just start creating entire compositions using the software. Before I knew it I was leaving my guitar down and just producing. I did it all through high school, making albums and selling them at school. Upon coming to Chicago, I started throwing stuff up on SoundCloud. Some of them started to get picked up by local blogs. One, Flashlight Tag, was one of the first to post up one of my songs. After that it just started to pick up. It’s been a journey, but it’s great because I can make music and post it and get response from people.

Selection Two: Visionist "First Love" — Lit City Trax

The Internet is the great equalizer, and that’s how it should be. It’s either that or American Idol so we know where people should rather go. 
Everyone has their own way of going about making their way in the music world. I’ve just always believed in putting out good music and if you like it, hopefully other people will like it too. It’s been great being in Chicago because I’ve met a lot of people who have influenced me and shown me different types of music. Specifically being exposed to footwork and a lot of hip-hop, it’s really inspired me and pushed my sound in a different direction. 

SELECTION THREE: Kyle Woods and Dre Green "Cold Rain"

On the release front do you have anything in the wings, releases we can look forward to? 
I’m currently working on my first album. There’s no due date on it at the moment, but I’m really excited. It’s the first time I’ve put together a full album.

SELECTION FOUR: Clara La San "Let You Go"

Should we expect more of what we’ve heard on the Conflict EP or are you trying to spread out with that? 
It’s definitely in a similar vein, although at the same time I’m always trying to push myself in new directions. I would say the album might be more dance-music influenced, same as [Doss’ “Extended Mix”] has the jungle breaks, I’ve been working a lot with sounds like that, incorporating rhythms and breaks—but definitely still in that downtempo, electronic sound with R&B influence. That’s my core. I hope people will be able to hear that it’s still me.

SELECTION FIVE: Doss "Extended Mix" — Acephale Records

That’s the balance, you can still tell it’s Different Sleep but be excited that it’s new stuff and not just treading water. 
A lot of people, when they want to take their sound in a new direction they might just start a side project and make music under that. I believe in managing to push your sound but keeping it unique to how you make music. That’s something that I always strive to do with my music.


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