Based in Denver CO, Meace is a growing producer who focuses on blending the classical training he received at various music schools throughout his youth with the modern influences of LoFi, hip hop, and chill music of all sorts. Heavily favoring live piano playing and acoustic instruments over samples, he aims to bring melodic and rhythmic depth to a genre filled with stock standard drum beats and repetitive one off loops, whilst still maintaining the broad appeal and nuance that these relaxing genres are known for.
Mixing genres and styles that would not seem to go together at first glance has created some of the most interesting music. This freedom to break free of the standard allows artists to fully explore the sounds growing in their minds. Our recent find Meace has done just that and is warping our minds in the process.
The Denver, Colorado based producer has taken the classical musical training that he grew up with and paired it with an array of modern genres such as LoFi, hip hop, and chill. Meace makes it a point though to lean on live piano and acoustic instruments as opposed to the all too common use of samples in today’s music.
His new album Dictators Die features 11 tracks that take us on a full journey through an assortment of styles. A standout is the innovative single “Patterns”. Sounds from all over the map are meshed together into a package that grabs attention. The sonic sweeps and melodies form an epic soundscape that fills every inch of the speakers.
We had a chance to catch up with Meace for a dive into how music comes to him and his newest record Dictators Die. Enjoy the interview:
First off, tell us about the name Meace?
The name “Meace” is pronounced like my last name “Meese”, but also is a play on words, “Me Ace”, since I am asexual. Honestly I was racking my brain forever trying to come up with a name and as soon as I found this one that was both relatable to me and easy to remember, I hopped on it without a second thought.
What first drew you to creating music?
I’ve been playing music since I was only five years old, and back then the motivation was purely that I enjoyed doing it. I can get lost in front of a piano for hours on end, and that level of escapism can be hard to find. That being said, more recently, the main inspiration I have for writing music is the knowledge of how much impact the right song can have on an individual. That’s what I want to do with my music, create songs that speak to very particular aspects of life, and get those songs to the people who need to hear them. I enjoy the whole process, and in that sense I am doing this for myself, but the deeper inspiration that I draw from to keep moving forwards is the knowledge that I can affect profound reactions in my listeners with my art.
How would you describe your sound?
Ha, this is a tricky one. A lot of people put me somewhere in the “chill” category and I think that definitely fits well, but my sound is a bit more natural/acoustic than most stuff you’ll find in that genre. I had a lot of classical music training growing up so one of my main goals is to incorporate live recordings of real instruments into a genre that typically relies very heavily on sampling and electronic drum sounds. As a result, you’ll hear a lot of piano, strings, choir, and other things like that going on, as well as strange time signatures and rhythmic patterns which can be traced back to my drumline days. I use these instruments and then follow more contemporary writing techniques and song structures, all in an attempt to build a bridge of sorts between two entirely different musical philosophies.
Which artists have had the biggest influence on you?
One of my favorite artists of all time is Tennyson, they’re a duo of some of the most impressive producers I’ve ever heard, somehow finding a way to utilize their extensive jazz training in a way that produces electronic music unlike anything else I’ve ever heard. The level of detail and effort they put into each of their songs astounds me, and hearing their music really opened my eyes to what I could do with electronic music production. What’s even more impressive is that they has mastered every aspect of Ableton Live and are able to perform their outrageously complex orchestrations in a live environment, which is truly something to behold.
Where did the idea come from to blend such an interesting assortment of genres?
This idea came about very naturally for me, as I always set out to first create a song that I enjoy listening to. I am definitely a fan of the broad umbrella that is “chill”, be that lofi stuff, laid back hip hop, more electronic stuff like Boards Of Canada, or more contemporary stuff like Tycho. I definitely enjoy music that relaxes me and slows down the mind. From there, I then had to consider what musical skills I actually have and how I can utilize them to produce something uniquely my own, which lead to me drawing on my training as a concert and jazz musician over many years. In drawing on all of that, I found that I could bring a new depth of musiciality and nuance to already established genres by simply writing and playing all the parts myself, instead of relying purely on samples and midi tracks to get things done for me. That being said, I am in no way against sampling or anything like that, and I use techniques like that regularly – the key here is how well I can play off the expectations of the listener, and how well I can work both within and around genre tropes to surprise the listener with something fresh but still recognizable.
How does a song come together for you? Tell us about your songwriting process?
My creative process is something I’m always working on and trying to refine, but in the current state, it is largely based on messing about on my piano when inspiration strikes. Most of my song ideas come to me when listening to music and hearing a certain chord, rhythm, instrument sound, or anything else that happens to inspire me. I’ll instantly sit down at my piano and play around with that nugget of inspiration until I have modified it and built a whole new song around it. Sometimes this results in a killer song, sometimes it results in an Ableton project relegated to the “ongoing singles” folder (aka the folder of dead projects :P), but it always results in some new piece of information I can take forwards into the next project. I’m doing my best to balance a consistent songwriting technique with these spontaneous bursts of creativity so that I can push stuff out regularly without feeling the pressure if I just don’t have any solid ideas for a while.
Share some advice for other artists doing something different and unique?
I kind of hit on this a bit earlier, but I think one of the best ways to make something different/unique without scaring off the listener is to learn to play with their expectations. This will require you to identify the type of person you think would like your music, and immerse yourself in the music that they are currently listening to – make note of any patterns you notice, any overarching themes that seem applicable to a variety of songs, any consistencies in general that you can then draw from for inspiration, and then modify them just enough to be distinctly your own whilst still fulfilling the listener’s expectations in new ways that they haven’t heard before. This can be done through different types of instrument sounds, different rhythms that aren’t typically found in your target genre, and a multitude of other ways – that’s really where you get to let your creativity shine and show people what makes your music your own.
What does the future hold for Meace?
My future plans are extremely bright. Getting this music out there has gotten me pumped on the whole process, and given me a creative burst that I’m using to create my next works. I want to continue working to find my audience because I’m certain that there are people out there who will love my work, so it’s going to be a long term effort of refining my approach and my sound, while seeking out and connecting with those who appreciate what I’m doing.
Keep up with more from Meace HERE.