As I continue to discover new artists and producers, I felt like it would be cool to get one from a genre that I have continue to grow more fond of each day. I am of course speaking of EDM and the electro world, which has really become a large scene in the United States. A producer that caught our eye a few weeks back is Atlanta's Armond Arabshahi or as he goes by, Unlike Pluto. Since I have not had an EDM interview yet, I thought he would be a great start.
I really dig your tunes, but I also like your moniker Unlike Pluto. Where did you come up with that and what does it mean to you?
As a kid, I was obsessed with space and the solar system. I always had a soft spot for Pluto. I felt like it was the outcast, loner planet - kinda similar to how I felt as a kid. When the International Astronomical Union declared that Pluto was no longer a planet, it blew my mind! All throughout grade school we were told that there were 9 planets - a fact that we had to memorize over and over again. For me, the "death" of Pluto was the first time I realized how transient our lives really are. In an instant, something that I took as fact completely transformed. I was working on a song when the name came to me. Every time I put on my headphones to start a track, I feel alive - Unlike Pluto, I exist. You can decide if that's poetic or complete bullshit, it's up to you.
When did you start producing your own music?
I started producing my own music when I was about 15 years old. At the time, I was really into the whole hardcore scene. I recorded a bunch of hardcore and punk songs with different bands that I was in. We were just a bunch of high school kids, hanging out and recording songs in our basements. When I started college, it was impossible to get band members together to record and I didn't like having to depend on other people to be able to create music. I was addicted and needed to find a way to be able to record and produce more often. When I discovered EDM, it was the perfect fit. I was able to create music independently… all the time! The more I created, the more I learned and I am still learning. Eventually, I started releasing tracks as Unlike Pluto.
It seems you mix in more than just the standard electronic elements to your music, what influences it and what kind of sound do you ultimately go for?
I started out playing guitar, piano and drums for different bands. I went through stages where I was obsessed with a different genre of music every other month. Nothing seemed to stick with me. When I finally discovered EDM, it was the first time I felt that the music I created truly reflected me as an artist. Like I mentioned before, EDM allowed me the opportunity to create music independently. I still use the instruments I love to play but take those sounds to a whole new level with the hyper, fresh twist that electronic elements provide.
I read you were born and raised in Atlanta, whats the EDM scene like in that area? Usually you hear more about the hip hop/trap music from there.
You're definitely right. Trap and Hip Hop do dominate most of the Atlanta music scene. But there is also a fairly decent Dubstep and Heavy Bass culture here. I think EDM will keep growing and eventually have a bigger presence in the city.
For all those upcoming producers or people looking to create electronic music, what programs/software would you recommend them to use?
There are a lot of amazing resources out there. It really ends up being your preferences that help guide you to the best one. Some that I've used are Logic, Cubase, Ableton and Protools. Again, it all depends on what you're most comfortable with. I've been using Ableton Live for about 5 years, so I tend to stick to that. As far as plugins go, there are so many options out there. A few of my favorites are FM8, Gladiator, Sylenth and Rob Papen synths.
When you sit down to come up with a song, how do you generate ideas? Take us through your process a bit.
Most of the time, I start with my piano or guitar and come up with the chord progression or lead. After having the foundation of the track, I lay down a few drum patterns and then dive into the gritty details! I am pretty ADD, so I usually start about 8 songs before I finally choose one to work on.
You've released some new free tracks lately, do you have any new projects in the works?
It is a little difficult right now because I am finishing up my last semester of college, but I always like to have a few tracks in the oven. Right now I'm actually collaborating with a few local artists in Atlanta. I love the way the tracks are coming along and can't wait to release them! Aside from that, I've been working on producing my first music video.
Electronic music is sort of taking the states by storm, what do you think about it's popularity? Is it getting too big too fast for its own good?
EDM definitely has grown over the past few years! I don't agree with people who think that EDM is a fad that will disappear as quickly as it has risen. The technology behind creating EDM music has opened new doors for the music industry. You don't have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a Solid State Logic console to make a professional track; now, all you need is a laptop.
Do you play any live sets and if so, any coming up soon?
I play in various clubs around Atlanta but I am hoping to start touring and playing in more venues soon.
What are you hoping for in the future with your music?
I am equally passionate about performing and producing. I have no idea where my music will take me, but as long as I get to do one of those things… I will be a pretty happy planet.
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