Exclusive Interview: Five Minutes With…Frythm

Texas-based musician and producer, Frythm will be releasing his new single ‘Breakthrough ft. Rome Fortune’ on May 19th via SoulfulxNature.

As a child, Matthew Pena aka Frythm hated piano lessons. However, he later found inspiration in the form of a MIDI keyboard and a DAW, which lead to the production of his unique blend of ambient electronic and warped hypnotizing beats. He has since earned credit as a live performer, sharing stages with Rome Fortune, Troy Boi, Empress Of, Abra, The Range, Natasha Kmeto and Beacon, and has performed at Neon Desert Music Festival.

We caught up with him to chat about songwriting inspiration and his favorite pieces of equipment.

Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?

Hi guys, just waking up for the day. Brewing some coffee while loading up some projects on Ableton. My standard morning routine.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

Hmm that’s a tough one. I would say very ambient and airy with a touch of hip-hop and R&B influence.

What are the 5 albums that have influenced you the most?

Let’s see, in no specific order here
Pharrell – In my mind
Shlohmo – Bad Vibes
Flume – Self Titled album
Cashmere Cat – Wedding Bells
Lapalux – Nostalchic
All of these albums had some amazing experimentation with sound during their time. Those are just a few that really stuck with me. I still listen too all of those records to this very day.

Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?

There’s actually a lot at the moment! A couple off the top of my head that I’ve played in DJ sets or just jam to in the car are Mr Carmack, Kaytranada, Aaron Brockovich, ninjoi, Flume, Thundercat, Fakear, Mvnners. I can go on all day with this but I’ll leave you guys with those.

Are there any key pieces of equipment that you are using to define your sound?

There are two pieces of equipment I use everyday that help define my sound, the Ableton Push and an Oxygen 49 keyboard. They are both midi-controllers so all the synth work is done through VST’s in Ableton, my favorite VST at the moment being Serum and Lounge Lizard.

What would you say some of the challenges artists face today in the music industry?

I’d say the main challenge is just getting your music heard, there’s so many people around the world now that can just upload to any free streaming platform, which causes some oversaturation. I’ve found so many producers/singers on SoundCloud that have 20 followers that are absolutely amazing artists.

Where do you gather songwriting inspiration?

Song inspiration varies heavily for me. Most of it depends on how my day is going or what mood I’m in. If I’m happy, I’m going to write happy chord progressions and uptempo music. Same thing if I’m sad or angry. I’ve made it a habit to write from my heart rather than feed into what’s in demand musically at the moment. I feel that in doing this the music is more organic and sentimental. Sometimes taking short trips out of town gives me huge inspiration as well.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting your music together?

Normally I like to lay down a chord progression first then write everything else around that. But it can vary. Sometimes I start with the drums or a certain vocal chop and write around those. It all varies depending on how I feel at that moment.

What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?

Mmmmm tough one. I would say opening up for Slushii, there was so many people! That’s been my biggest crowd ever probably around 300 people in the venue. It was mad!

And the worst?

The worst was probably my first show, but I mean it can be considered my most memorable. I played at a tiny smoothie shop in front of about 20 people, mostly friends and family. Some of my tracks kept lagging and I really had no idea how to play live. I just jumped out there and tried to get my music heard.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

I would probably be a computer scientist or a teacher.

Do you have any particular gigs or festivals that you dream about playing?

I’ve always wanted to play at Snow Globe. Seeing videos and the whole concept of playing a festival in freezing temperatures seemed so unique to me.

If you could perform alongside any other band or artist, living or dead, who would it be?

It would definitely be Flume, he’s been my biggest Inspiration up to this point. Playing a show with him would be life changing.

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

Got a couple things in the works. I will be releasing a new single in June, and I also have a full length album in the works that should be finished by about August or September. I’ll also be playing Neon Desert Festival on May 27th.

Listen to ‘Breakthrough ft. Rome Fortune’ below:

Catch Frythm on 27th – 28th May at Neon Desert Music Festival.

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