Co-founder of the Los Angeles event series and radio show Made to Move, Akumen has cut his teeth in the local scene curating parties featuring DJs from Southern California and abroad. Having self-released most of his previous work, he now drops the high octane, four-track techno EP ‘Validity Effect’ on emerging London imprint La Bonne Musique. His EP draws inspiration from the psychological concept of the same name, “The validity effect is the increase in perceived validity of repeated statements.” It explores repeated instrumentation, drums, and 303 sequencings switched up across all four tracks to deliver a varied, club-ready release. In this interview, the budding artist shares more about his latest project, creative flow, and why a sense of community is important for growth.
Hi Akumen, it’s great to have you with us. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What kind of headspace are you in when you’re creating your music?
Hi! Great to be here. Little about myself, I have been making music all my life and producing electronic music for about 10 years. I DJ and occasionally do live sets and am hoping to do more. I run a party in LA called Made to Move with my wife, Andy Orozco, and a long-time friend, Jasmine Casillas. I love dance music and the community here in LA. I work full time in HR but if I could just make music every day I would.
When I make music I have a chance to create something that connects people with the same feelings. I keep that in mind when I make music. Can I elicit those same feelings through what is coming out of the speakers?
Akumen gains emotional intropection from creating music.
Music is a way for me to process emotions. It is very reflective for me. I also usually have a lot of energy when I make music. My headspace varies depending on what is going on in my life. I could be going through frustration and anxiety or I could be experiencing elated happiness. Everyone experiences these emotions, When I make music I have a chance to create something that connects people with the same feelings. I keep that in mind when I make music. Can I elicit those same feelings through what is coming out of the speakers?
There’s no doubt that inspiration is the bread and butter for creating music; where do you find your inspiration What kind of inspiration do you want your music to produce for your audience?
I actually find a lot of inspiration in daily activities and events. Life is really weird when you think about it. We have so many rules, rituals, and customs that have made life so much more complex than basic needs. If you take a look at some of my track titles you can see some of that come through. I also draw inspiration from scenarios and concepts. Right now I am working on a project of opening music, I’m thinking of calling it “Aperitif” and naming the tracks after my favorite aperitifs. I want my tracks to intrigue my audience. I want them to be curious, to be ok with what they are feeling, and to feel free to express themselves.
I want my tracks to intrigue my audience. I want them to be curious, to be ok with what they are feeling, and to feel free to express themselves.
Akumen views music as an element that can release emotional blockages.
Your track, “Bounce in My Mind,” is your latest music piece. Can you share what that process was like?
I started this track with a distorted bell sample and I drew upon instruments and drum patterns I had been working with on other projects. I have been a musician all my life and usually, my music starts with a free form of playing sounds and expressions to match my mood. I was going through a frustrating time, as I was working in healthcare which was pretty chaotic in early 2021. I channeled what I was going through and started working at higher BPMs and more intense sounds on another song and I thought “maybe I should incorporate these into the track” and about an hour later I had “Bounce in My Mind.”
Do you have any go-to DJ tools when you create your music?
DJ tools not so much, however, I keep in mind how my tracks will play out on CDJs and what transitions will sound like when my music is mixed in. Although I do have some go-to instruments. My TR-8s and JD-XI are my go-to’s when creating music. I like them for their playability. Even if they do not have the exact sounds I want for a project I can at least write something down with them pretty quickly and build off of it on my SE02, Soft Synths, or DeepMind.
Narrowing down what type of timbre and sound design I want takes me the most time. There are endless amounts of soft synths, samples, and effects that I could possibly use. Finding the right sound is a gut feeling, similar to free-hand centering a picture. Also, the 303 is one of my go-to tools. As my friend, KingBlackBolt, once told me, “It’s like hot sauce for dance music.”
If you could name one thing, what’s something you’re particularly proud of since starting this journey?
I am proud of the friends and community I have made since starting. I have so many great people around me now that I didn’t have when I first started. It is really fulfilling to have your music played by your friends, play your friends music, and have your other friends dance to it.
One last question before we wrap up; since we’re currently in 2022, the year of new beginnings, what’s the 2022 goal that you have for your projects?
Getting my projects released and playing outside of California. I have a few releases scheduled for this year and have more to pitch. The pandemic has given me plenty of time to produce and now I want to take it out to the dancefloor.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes. I love to build community and get to know people. If you ever see me at a party or come to a Made to Move please say hi. You can also feel free to DM me.