Before The Music Interview Series – Thrillogy
How did you get the name of your project, Thrillogy?
I spent a lot of time thinking of a name and couldn’t settle on anything I liked. I’ve always been fascinated by the rule of thirds. It’s a pretty cool concept because it applies to photography, cinematography and even religion. It’s basically a very prominent number throughout history. I kind of wanted something go go along those lines. I was talking to my brother, so I kind of have to credit him. I said “Man I wish I could find something cool that goes along the lines of the rule of thirds.” He said “What about Thrillogy?” I thought it was dope. That’s how I got my name.
How do you implement the rule of thirds into your project?
With music you basically have three parts of a song. A, the verse. B, the chorus. C is usually a bridge and then you go back to the chorus. The rule of thirds even applies to my artwork.
Do you have a specific designer you work with for your artwork?
I would love to get one at some point, but I’ve done it all myself so far. I was kind of tired of relying on other people so I dove in and learned about photography and graphic design. My logo and everything you see is designed by me.
What is the Thrillogy Collective?
It’s a group online where people can join and follow the latest stuff that Thrillogy is doing. It’s also a Spotify playlist too. I try to put all the music that’s inspiring me in there, new and old. I make sure to update it periodically so people can find new music.
Is it limited to EDM?
No not at all. The majority of it is EDM, but not limited to that.
Who influences you in EDM and outside of EDM?
Number one inside EDM is Seven Lions for sure. Outside of EDM there are so many. I grew up on 90s Grunge, Rock, and Rap. Linkin Park is one of my all time favorite bands, Breaking Benjamin as well. There is this kind of underground band I like a lot called Birthday Massacre. They are kind of like Goth Rock mixed with 80s synth vibes. They are one of my favorite bands of all time.
What got you into music?
My parents. I grew up in Alaska out in the boonies. We lived on top of a hill surrounded by trees. There wasn’t much to do, typical country lifestyle. My nearest friend was like five miles away. We had a piano in our house and my parents have always pushed being artistic. They never invested in typical toys for kids. I always wanted what my friends had, cool RC cars and stuff. They mainly invested in artistic stuff and for me it was music. My parents put me in piano lessons when I was 4. Initially I hated it, I thought it was boring, but then it sparked something. So I started with piano and from there I picked up drums, guitar, and singing.
Your were trained as a classical pianist, correct?
Yeah basically I started with basic piano lessons, but it wasn’t until high school. I got this crazy band teacher who was super eccentric, but a genius when it came to music theory. His name was Mr. Freeman Toole. He knew a lot about music theory and did a ton of shaping my musical tastes. He started teaching me Jazz piano and drums which made me listen to Jazz music. Same with more complex genres that rely a lot on rhythm. That helped a ton. I feel like I have a better understanding of music and how it works.
You were also the drummer for Addison Escape Device?
Yeah that was the first band I joined when I moved to Utah. I wanted to start my own rock band along the lines of Breaking Benjamin. When I moved here I joined Addison Escape Device as their drummer. We played quite a bit all over Utah. We weren’t too bad either, pretty good actually. Our lead singer moved to Idaho and the band didn’t quite work out. From there I tried starting my own bands. It’s super hard trying to find people to be in a band who share the same taste in music, dynamics, and politics. At that time I was super into Electronic music and was listing to Seven Lions a ton. I wanted to know how to make Electronic music so I downloaded FL Studio on my computer and dived in. I decided to go solo and learned how to produce.
How has being a drummer in a band affected your current music?
It’s helped. I know rhythm really well. I feel like I can incorporate a lot of really complex rhythm breakdowns and stuff into my music. I feel like it helps a lot with drum processing too. I know how a real drum set feels and plays so I can implement that into music. I can make it sound how I want without playing and recording real drums. So yeah I’d say it has helped a lot.
What’s the ultimate goal you’re trying to achieve with Thrillogy?
The long run is obvious. Everyone says they want to be big and make lots of money, but honestly, I would be happy if I was making a living doing what I love. Producing music and playing it to make a decent living would make me happy.
Is there a message you are trying to push with your project?
I listen to music because it makes me feel a certain type of emotion. Making people feel something is what I want to accomplish. When I listen to Seven Lions, Porter Robison and artists like that, it makes me feel an emotion. I love listening to really beautiful melodic songs that make you feel sad or happy. I can go from that to listening to crazy Metal or Dubstep that makes you feel pumped.
Do you still use FL Studio?
Yeah. I have Ableton and Logic as well, but the piano roll in FL has kept me there, I can’t live without it.
I imagine being a pianist makes that pretty important to you.
Totally, FL is super intuitive that way. They make it super simple and easy to just dive straight in and throw stuff down. I do see the advantages of Ableton, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to leave FL.
What are some of your favorite plugins?
My favorite go to plug in in Sylinth. It’s basically a digital version of your typical analog synthesizer. It operates in the exact same was so it’s really easy to understand. It’s great for coming up with melodic plucks, pads, saws, leads, and stuff like that. I use Serum and Massive a lot, even Harmor a bit. Those are my main go to’s.
Do you master all of your own music?
Yeah I do, which is the worst by the way. It is definitely the hardest part of music production. I finally feel like I’m getting to the point where I have a decent hold on it, but I’m definitely not great. Thus far I’ve mastered all of my own tracks.
Do you think you will ever give lessons on mastering?
At some point for sure. It would be cool to share knowledge. I love teaching, it’s super fun to me. I really like sharing knowledge and learning from other people and their experiences.
What advice would you give to an aspiring producer?
Make sure you are in it for the right reasons. I think understanding the music industry and how it works is important. When I initially started production and was trying to break into the scene I went about it the complete wrong way. I had no idea what I was doing, which I’m sure is how most people start. I thought I would learn how to produce, put a song online, and it goes viral, but it’s not like that. I spent probably three or four years doing it that way. I put music online and wondered why nobody was listening before I dove into the business and marketing side. You’re basically running a business where you’re the product. You have to sell yourself.
How has Novalotus helped with the business side?
Novalotus has been awesome, Ian is awesome and super cool to work with. He loves my music and we share a lot of the same music taste. He’s pushed me a ton to finish songs and has booked me for big shows I would have never been able to play without him. Novalotus has helped a lot with my music career.
I saw a recent Facebook post saying you tend to write whatever you’re feeling in the moment and always get pulled in different directions. Can you expand on that for us?
There is definitely a specific sound I want to be known for, which is the melodic Dubstep genre. That’s what first pulled me into EDM and is what I’m known for, that and Future Bass. That post was specifically in reference to a couple songs I just finished. I’ve always had this idea for incorporating Rock into EDM in a way that nobody has done before. More goth style guitars with melodic synth to create a big powerful sound. I tend to write what I’m feeling in the moment. It’s hard for me to sit down and write with a structure or idea. If I’m feeling happy at the moment, I’ll write a happy song. If I’m angry, I’ll write an angry song. I feel like it’s a good and bad thing. It’s hard to rely on your emotions for inspiration, especially if you are making a business out of it.
When do you hope to have these tracks you just finished released?
I’m working with the guy right now. There isn’t a set date, but hopefully it’s out in the next few months.
Who’s the guy?
It’s a remix for an artist. I probably shouldn’t say who yet. He reached out to me on Facebook and wanted me to do a remix. He’s a pretty big name artist so I said “Hell yeah.”
It looks like your last release was “On My Mind” about six months ago. With these new tracks do you have plans in the future for an EP?
I’m actually sitting on a six track EP right now. I met with Ian about it and we’re trying to determine the direction we want to take. I’m pretty excited about it; it’s gonna be cool.
In your Soundcloud bio it mentions you aren’t limited to EDM. What other stuff are you making?
I like to incorporate all sorts of genres into my music, like with the remix we were just talking about. That incorporates a ton of Metal. It’s kind of a mixture of Metal, Psytrance, and Dubstep. It’s kind of trippy.
So when you say not limited to EDM you’re more in reference to elements you bring into your songs?
Yeah, I’d say yeah. I want to incorporate a lot of organic sounds and sounds found in other genres.
How did you first discover EDM?
I always listened to it way back in the day. I’d always listen to a Techno remix of D.H.T. – Listen To Your Heart. My brother listened to EDM too and usually had some playing. I always thought it was cool, but didn’t become fascinated by it until Dubstep came around. I remember one of the first Dubstep songs I listened to was a poory made remix of a Linkin Park song back in like 2009. I thought it was sick. It wasn’t until I discovered Seven Lions that I dove in and started to produce.
When did you start producing EDM?
About 2012 when I found Seven Lions. Man it was so bad. I’ve always wanted to do a comparison of my early music compared to my current stuff.
I think that would be super cool. You will probably inspire newer producers who feel discouraged about their sound and doubt their abilities.
It’s a long process for sure. I’ve always had a dream to be a musician since a kid. My parents are very practical people, older generation from the 50s and very by the book. They cautioned me when going into music to have a good back up plan incase it doesn’t pan out. I liked working on cars and went to school to be an auto mechanic. it’s a good job that won’t go away so it made for a good fall back plan. I realized after four years of nothing happening in music that if I really wanted to make it happen I had to commit. I quit going to school and invested everything into music. Statistically less than 1% of people make it in the music industry and most people quit after 2 years. Its been shown it takes 5-10 years to become successful. If you don’t give up and work hard, you will become successful.
You released some merch a couple months ago. Is it still available?
Right now I’m still working on my website and trying to get it running. People can hit me up directly if they want some merch.
So what’s up with all the deep fake videos online?
Yeah man that shits crazy. Wait, did I post one?
No you didn’t post one, but you mentioned one somewhere. I dig deep on people before I interview them.
I said something about them? Woah. Well yeah they’re nuts. It’s scary to me, but cool at the same time because of the technology. You could post a video of someone doing something they didn’t actually do and destroy someone’s career with it. It’s almost impossible to determine whether it’s that person or not. Man they are so cool, but so scary at the same time. It actually uses a real time AI to map out someones face in real time.
If you could give one message to your fans, what would it be?I really appreciate what my fans have done for me. Even though im still at a lower level and still climbing the ladder, nothing makes me happier than meeting fans after shows who dig my shit. The fans I have, have been amazing. I guess my overall message is thanks for being amazing.
If we ended this interview and you found a winning lottery ticket for 500 million, what would you spend the money on?Invest in music for sure. Probably build a super nice studio, do what I love, and quit my day job.
Is there anything else you want to let the people know?
I’ve always wanted to be an artist people don’t feel hard to approach, even for aspiring producers. Feel free to hit me up, I love critiquing music and giving feedback. If anyone has questions feel free to ask. I want to grow together with everyone.
Follow Thrillogy: Facebook x Soundcloud x Instagram
Ethan Freeman – V2 Presents Intern