Two weeks ago I sat down with Trevor Christensen aka Said The Sky at 515 Alive Music Festival. I have been a huge fan of his ever since I discovered Illenium. They released a track “Drop Our Hearts Ft. SIRMA” in 2014 and it changed my perception about melodic dubstep. We had many chillstep and some future bass artists before these two released this song, however I think Trevor and Nick have paved a way for a new breed of melodic dubstep and future bass artists. After they released that song, Said The Sky came out with his first EP Faith. This is where we really heard Said The Sky’s true love for creating fluffy, light, and airy piano melodies.
In this interview we talk a bit about how he started playing piano when he was in second grade, how he graduated to percussion, but quickly fell back in love with piano in high school, his influences for “Darling,” and his newest, out of the ordinary trap inspired song “Pray For Me.” We covered some ground on a previous job that gave him a boost to achieve his goals of being a musician full-time, and we hear some inspiration from Said The Sky about how he learned from the artists that are already killing it in the game. I hope you guys enjoy this interview with Said The Sky as much as I did!
Hey guys this is Scott from Trapstyle.com and I’m here with Said The Sky. So tell us a little bit about your musical background and how you got started with production.
I guess it really started when I was in second grade. I was forced to take piano lessons… actually my mom made me take them. And I liked them for a little bit and then I hated practicing. But needing to practice and being forced to practice so eventually I stopped. But then at that point, I was in band class in school and everything, I just kind of stuck with it and I started doing percussion. Then eventually I got to the point where I realized that I couldn’t walk by a piano without really wanting to play it. I was like OK maybe I should get back in lessons, and just do this at my own pace. Then at that point is when I really started going all in the music you know? It’s like OK, music is what I want to do. I don’t know. How exactly that’s going to look? Whether it’s going to… you know like if it’s just going to be piano music, or if it’s going to be actually making music. Digital audio production was offered in high school, and so I took a little production class and then from that point on I knew pretty much exactly what I wanted to do.
Was that in Denver? Of course, Denver has the audio music music production classes. My high school didn’t have any of that cool stuff.
It was so great I got to leave class for like half a day every day at school. I went to a different campus and just studied production from there. Everyday.
Did you ever do anything in college at all or did you just go straight into making music?
I went to Berkeley College of Music for like two semesters, and then that was way too expensive. I don’t know. I just didn’t feel like I was getting enough information from that school that I couldn’t get elsewhere for how much I was paying. So I just kind of bounced, and then took to YouTube ,and yeah meeting other people around Denver.
So you just released. “Pray For Me” like this week last week. It’s a fire track. I think it sounds a little bit dirtier than most of your work. What are your feelings with the single and what was your inspiration? Normally it’s not like that like grimy and dirty.
Totally yeah. So it actually started with the vocal. My buddy who’s on it he goes by Origami. Amazing music. Amazing musician. He sent me that top line and I kind of started building things around it. I had to build in the chords and then I kind of felt like the vocal lends itself to be a little more trappy, and you know a little groovier so I tried going groovy with the first drop. Then I liked that, but I wanted to totally change it up, and kind of incorporate my own like euphoric sound that I try to go for with my other music into it and try and fit it. So yeah the second drop I just changed it up entirely and a little more future bassy.
I love that song it’s so awesome. This is your first release on seeking blue right? Second release?
I’m pretty excited that you know he came through with his own label, Mr. Suicidesheep. How did you link up with them? And like were you a fan of his channel? and on Soundcloud and all that stuff?
Totally. Since I first started making music I was all about this dude. So everything that he posts on this channel is it’s amazing, but it’s also so it’s very melodic, and it feels good to listen to you know just the stuff that I like. I like pretty music you know? I feel like that’s what that whole channel, and label is about. It’s just good pretty music. So the fact that I’m releasing music with them now is like really a dream come true.
You’ve been on his YouTube and stuff before the label started and everything, right?
I don’t know it was before the label started. It may have been when I first released, but I’m not too sure when that label was actually started.
It was like super secret kind of.
I know it’s been around for awhile.
Some people know about and some don’t. I don’t think the public really knows. Like really “knew” about it. I don’t know. I love that. How did you how did you like link up with them?
It started when they first started posting my songs on channels. I met a guy over there his name is Lucas. Literally the coolest guy on the planet. The nicest guy. It’s just… it’s very cool to come across people in this scene today that genuinely care about the artist, and their intention of seeing what they are going for, and want to nurture that as opposed to just finding these people who were enjoyed by a lot of people, just to see a big paycheck out of them so they start supporting you know? I feel like the way Lucas operates is he sees music that he likes and he wants to work with groups or artists because he enjoys their music, and he enjoys helping people, and it’s so cool.
That’s awesome. You started your live show this year right? What do you think it is about more electronic music now that it has so many producers going back and playing live instruments on stage?
I mean I don’t know for sure. I just feel it might have something to do with the fact that just deejaying might be getting a little boring for some people now. You know there’s so many deejays out there that are so musically and instrumentally talented that now that there’s people out there that are doing the live stuff it’s like, “oh yo I can do this too and I want to do this why not just do this.” You know what I mean? So, for me it’s so much fun. I’m so much more comfortable when I walk up on stage and there’s a piano next to me. Rather than I just have to sit at some CDJ’s. I mean, It’s fun. But it’s not as fun as actually “playing” music for people.
I think the fans obviously like it. You’re up there just jamming out, and out there with the drum machine and everything. Yeah it’s awesome. But then you brought drums on stage too. Is that new this year too?
Yeah. Yes. So the first show that I had was at the Bluebird in Denver the first headlining show of the tour and it was amazing. It was the first time I ever performed with live marching snares. I used to do marching band in high school. I marched snare like one year that I was there and I marched with my buddy David who’s been coming to a lot of these shows since that show. I knew that I wanted to have that or some version of that at every show. So we looked into getting a couple of snare drums, and I’ve just been bringing my buddy David around on this whole tour which has been amazing. It’s been so cool because we’ve known each other since middle school you know, and it’s like we’ve dreamed and talked about this. You know like growing up and doing music together has been really cool.
Yeah that’s awesome. Ali Mooney, a writer at Trapstyle, wanted to know what was your inspiration from the song “Darling?”
Oh man, oh weird, actually. So back then when I started darling I was listening to this song. I think it’s called “Fall In Love.” This remix that Moody Good did. And it’s so… the synths in the drop are so… it’s just done very well you listen to it, and it’s huge and full and I feel like those synths are breathing almost you know? I mean there’s so much movement like clarity and everything that’s going on. But also like distortion kind of. It is such a cool song, and I was just kind of fucking around making those synths.I mean, I was trying to make my version of those synths. That doesn’t sound right. And then somehow it went from this Moody Good song that I was trying to like vibe off of which is like much darker and more like heavy sounding into “Darling” what is now a very happy future bass song. Yeah yeah, it is very strange. And so I was sitting on the instrumental for a while and then it wasn’t too long after that but I found Missio. I found his music on Hype Machine and I hit him up and I was like, “Dude your voice is amazing. I would love to work with you. I have this song that’s been lying around. If you want to try something…” and he wrote that top line to what is now “Darling” you know what I mean? He crushed it. So yeah that’s pretty much how I came out.
Another homie from Trapstyle, Andrei Kovenick, is one of our Spotify Curators and he does A&R for our record label Trapstyle Prime. He wanted to know when did you start getting really heavy into music production and what really kept you going at the beginning when you first started out?
I think it all has to start with motive. Like why are you doing it? You know so for me I was doing it because I LOVE to do it. You know I like making music I like. Of course I wanted to become successful doing it, but that wasn’t ever… it’s not like when I first started producing I was like, “OK I want to be I want to be Skrillex!” you know? It was never really that. It was mostly just me loving music, and being like I want to make music that I want to make. I was making music, it was super fun and I’m blessed to have found a career doing that. How I can travel, and live my life making music, performing it for people. It’s very cool.
So I have a weird question to ask you. Before you started producing full time did you have like a favorite or possibly shitty part time job you had before you started producing as Said The Sky?
Yeah, I was with this company FSW for a long time. They’re just like a restaurant supply company. But, when I started working there they were amazing. I was when I started there in the warehouse… actually, so we would get orders, and I would see a big piece of paper that had a bunch of items on it, and we were in a warehouse so there were just like racks, and racks of all these items, and it would be like go F-16 said you can have to find row ‘F’. I’d have to walk down 16 rows and see how high it was, and then climb up get the item, put in my little bin and run that back to the front to drop it off. Then sometimes I’d have to pack all that shit up in a box of like padding and stuff put labels on and ship it out. And then I was doing very well. That job wasn’t dumb. It was just tedious, and I was like I was trying to work hard because I didn’t want to be lazy. I just I like working hard. I have a job you know it’s nice to just like to do as well as I possibly can. So they were like, “you know you’re doing pretty well. You want a job at the office?” I was like yeah that sounds amazing. It sounds great. They were like, “hey there’s a job opening up in development operations.”
Which at the time I had no idea what that meant.
How old were you when you’re doing this?
That was probably… 20 I think.
So you had literally no idea.
NO CLUE, what any of this was. Well, They wanted me to do like scripting in sequel and stuff like I had no idea… that I had, I didn’t even know what the job entailed. It was like I went in for the interview and he was like, “yeah just development operations you’ll be doing like blah blah blah blah blah blah.” I didn’t he realized what he said just went right over my head. I said, “I don’t really know what this is.” He was like, “No that’s OK,” and I was like, “Nooo, I don’t think you understood. I have NO, clue, what you’re talking about…” He was like, “I know it’s fine. We’re planning on training you up. You know what I mean?” So that’s what they did for like six months. I just sat and shadowed one guy who was doing the job, and then had that job for like three years and it was great. I loved it. The whole company was really supportive of what I had to do. I was like, “I will come here full time, and I’ll be here from this time to this time, but once I’m done I don’t want to be working overtime I got to get home and try and write some music.” They were very supportive of that and like helped out with all that stuff and it was really awesome.
So you’ve been successful in this business for many years now. Can you give our team and our readers back at Trapstyle some advice on how you continue to be successful?
I mean it’s hard. It’s… I don’t even know if there’s like really an actual answer to this. It’s just persistence and like looking at other people and seeing how they got to the point that they’re at. You know I mean? So like you look at an artist like Odesza or something like that you know they blow up so fast, and like you look at their tour routing and everything, and you see how and when they first started they were playing these shows here. Then next they were small enough to where they could sell them out which looks great. You play small shows them all out come back play some bigger shows sell that out you know the next year come back play two and this venue’s show that you can pull this capacity, come back the next year headline red rocks, you know stuff like that. Where it’s you’re looking at the specifics of everything of what they’re doing their career, when they’re releasing their music, when they’re doing singles versus an album. It gets really tedious. Honestly that’s all the stuff that stresses me out. You know I’m very lucky to have a manager at this point. So I look at her and be like, “hey please like can you do all this?” You know? She’s great, she crushes it.
And how long did you go without a manager?
It actually wasn’t too long really. My first red rock show is the first time that I’ve met the company that ended up managing me. I met my manager through that. Pretty shortly after I started the whole Said The Sky project. I’ve gotten lucky to have stayed with that company for this long, it’s awesome.
A big shout out to Said The Sky for taking the time for this interview. If you wish to know more or listen to all of his tunes head to his home page. Check out the blog mid-September as we will be bringing back our older Artist Spotlight series called Big Break, where we pick one artist from around the globe to feature their work and talk to them about their production and their lives outside of music. If you are featured you could win some undetermined prizes for being a baller.