Get to know the exciting, emerging West Aussie producer and his new single of deep, bassy, tech-house
Bubbling up through the W.A. electronic underground has been emerging producer Isaac Skarlatos AKA Solsta whose had a big couple of years, releasing a string of singles & debut EP, as well as headlining his own shows and supporting the likes of Choomba and Tina Says.
Keeping this momentum rolling, Solsta has just dropped his latest cut Mud - a bass heavy cut of irrepressible tech house goodness that sees the producer utilising a number of different hardware synths for that crunchy analogue sound.
To find out all about Solsta, including a bit more about Mud, we caught up with the man himself - have a listen and get to know below!
Tell us about yourself?
I'm Isaac and I produce electronic music under the artist name Solsta. I'm a 23-year-old based in Perth, originally from Geraldton in Western Australia's Midwest region. Music is my passion, and I also teach music production at Labsix in Perth but in my continuous exploration of sound I've fallen in love with hardware gear, more specifically a type of synthesiser system called eurorack. It's essentially a build your own synth system that you then have to patch with cables to generate sounds. It's incredibly deep and another rabbit hole where the more you learn, the more you need to learn! I'm also a die hard North Melbourne fan.
How did you first get into making music?
I used to spend a lot of time in high school in the music rooms with my mates. We’d spend music class, recess, lunch and any free period we got trying to figure out songs we wanted to play on guitar or as a band. During that time, I was introduced to the music software Logic Pro and was blown away by the ability to play every instrument in a composition. Rather than being part of a band where multiple opinions can influence the sound and direction, I discovered the freedom to explore my own creativity and produce the music that resonated with me the most. I dove into this rabbit hole and haven't looked back since. It's been quite beautiful that the deeper I go, the more I fall in love with music.
Tell us about your creative process?
Over the years I've found the best way for me to get inspired is through jamming. I set up all my gear and just hit record. Usually I'll run for an hour and then dig into what came in through. Sometimes the whole hour can generate 30 seconds of good stuff but it's usually gold and leads me to create a full track around that snippet. It's an incredibly inspiring way of writing. A lot of artists talk about writer's block being a really big issue for them but I find when all my gears set up I just embark on these sonic journeys of discovery that leaves me with an inspiring afterglow effect.
Tell us about your new single Mud?
Mud is a song heavily inspired by a couple of artists like Gesaffelstein and Golden Features. I remember seeing golden features live at falls festival in 2019 and just being entranced with those deep, driving bass lines from his album ‘sect’. This song is almost an homage to that moment. In being inspired by that type of industrial sound, it was bound to have an influence on my music and a lot of the early stuff I made was, to a degree, derivative of this. In time though, I began to realise that this is okay. Every artist starts off being a derivative of someone else, until they're not. It's just a natural process in the ever evolving discovery of your own sound. Mud is an embodiment of me accepting this fate and I guess also me wanting to show other musicians that in the early stages of your career, it's okay.
The sounds in Mud are mostly recorded from outboard gear. The main bassline is from a Moog grandmother (Probably the best monosynth in existence). A lot of the little ear candy lead sounds come from either my eurorack setup, or a synth called the moog subharmonicon (which I've sadly sold to buy more eurorack modules). Almost everything was ran through an electro-harmonix ‘big muff’ bass pedal which gives it that darker, industrial vibe.
You recently posted on Instagram about rejection in the music industry - could you tell us a bit about your experiences with this?
Rejection is such a common thing in the industry but I think there's a misconception. It's not “you're not good enough” but rather “you're not the right fit”. Back in early 2022 I submitted a bunch of demos to labels and in hearing back the common theme was that the music was derivative of a particular artist. In all honesty I let this get to me for a while. You put everything into your music, it's a reflection of you so to hear that type of feedback hurts a bit. But as you mature you realise that it’s okay and it's just part of your journey. What type of music would artists like Flume or Golden Features make if they had never heard music before? I wanted to share this to show other musicians that being rejected doesn't mean you’re not good enough. The song could be incredible even if it is derivative and there's no point holding back because your ashamed of this. If you flick through any artist's discography, their earlier stuff will always sound like someone else but you can always hear hints of the artist they are becoming. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
What's coming up for the rest of the year?
I've got an insane tune with Jewel Owusu dropping at the end of next month, 2 collaborations under releasing through TMRW with good friends Boy in nature and Jakka and an official crooked colours remix. I'm also starting season 2 of my Solsta sessions at the end of this month. It's a hardware jam series that showcases other Perth artists and is a great way to introduce my friends to writing outside the confines of a laptop.
How can fans best support your music?
In 2023 I'd say the best way to support my music, besides listening to it, is to go like and stream my artist playlists on spotify. 2023 is the age of the algorithm and nothing helps an artist grow more than listening to their artist playlists.
What have you been listening to lately?
Been absolutely frothing Jasper Tygners new EP ‘real time’. Pretty girl and Ovormono have been killing it lately as well. I've also had the opportunity to hear both Sydney producers Jakka and Barlows individual upcoming EPs and they are incredible and hearing some of Perth’s Tina says new stuff which is insane as well. Definitely watch out for them.