Interview: Get ready for the summer with Treasure Fingers

Back in the days of the internet when people turned to Myspace and DIY blogs like the now defunct RCRDLBL were the premier places for the hottest music, I stumbled upon an up-and-coming artist named Treasure Fingers. At the time I didn’t personally know a lot about the music industry, underground culture, or really anything. I had just gotten to the point where radio music wasn’t doing anything for me, I had exhausted my parent’s music collection (as fantastic as those were), limewire was starting to fall apart, and I needed a new place to satisfy my musical needs. Treasure Fingers was making something refreshingly new at the time (and still is), and he managed to bring an assortment of influences over a decidedly funky dance beat.

His early music proved that his talents would outlast the blogosphere era, and with a backcatalog that includes Young Thug and Louisahhh (and a hell of a lot of other people in-between), the music producer is showcasing that there’s a way to be serious about having fun. We chatted with the talented artist about his previous work, music philosophy, and his record label, plus more.

Hi Treasure Fingers, thanks for chatting with us! I want to first ask about Psycho Disco!, your record label. It’s about 8-9 months in since you dropped the first track for the label, what lessons have you learned since starting, and if you could go back to last year, are there any lessons you wish you knew beforehand? What about on the flip side? What have been your personal highs since starting the label?

Hi! Thanks for having me. As far as Psycho Disco!, I actually had some previous experience with running a label with my Evol Intent buds, but a lot had changed since then. It’s gotten a lot easier and more stream-lined since the industry has gone digital. BUT, the negative aspect to that is that there are SO many labels & releases around now. The saturation is insane. You can no longer just put out great music because no matter what you do, you’re still reduced to a small percentage in someones feed or timeline. If a release isn’t 100% on point, music-wise, branding-wise, etc, then there’s a good chance it got skipped over. Personal highs so far have been landing label nights at some awesome clubs (like Sound (LA), Bang Bang (SD), Audio (SF), Music Room (ATL)), getting DJ support from a lot of incredible DJs & receiving fan mail from the heads who are fucking with us so early on. I’ve been truly thankful to see all this transpire in such a short time.

Watching the video for ‘Kool-Aid’ and hearing a lot of the tracks released through PD!, it’s easy to begin to notice that you’re looking to have fun with your music. It can feel silly to say that out loud, but being in the music industry for so long, sometimes it can really feel like the ‘fun’ component is missing at times. In your thump interview, you’ve mentioned that with age, you’ve decided to focus on the fun aspect a lot more. The landscape has changed a lot since the days of Myspace/ when music blogs ruled the world, but how do you manage to keep this element of fun into your music even as things musically seem to be on a more serious tone and style?

Yes, totally! Ain’t no one trying to be that serious in the club. This type of house & techno is straight up party music. I honestly listen to more serious music day-to-day, but if I’m at the club, then I’d strongly prefer smiles and butts bouncing over chin-stroking & crossed arms.

Since I live in California, I usually see your name on CRSSD Festival and Splash House lineups, but are there any particular festivals or events that are on your yearly to-do list? On the flip side, are there still some events you are dying to play at?

CRSSD & Splash House are both awesome, I love this new trend of deeper-music-based festivals. I used to do a lot of the big ravey fests when I started the Treasure Fingers project and felt so out of place, so it’s cool to see line-ups that aren’t your stereotypical MELT-YOUR-FACE-PEAK-HOUR-BANGERS festival bookings. It blew my mind the first time I saw Kygo top billed over the usual festy big names, but it works in the current musical climate, thank god. I feel like I’ve done nearly all the US dance festivals out there, but I’ve still never played a Hard event & Holy Ship always looks so wild. I get a lot of #SHIPFAM love at my shows & they’re always the best people, so I know the vibes have got to be incredible sailing the high sea.

To go along with the previous question, you’ve been in the game for a while now. How do you keep yourself motivated and refreshed when playing so many shows day in and day out?

It’s tricky, and “creative rut” is a very real thing. Playing shows is awesome but leaves little time for production and creativity. I started writing myself notes and actually sending myself voice memos of random track ideas. Once I get settled into the studio I usually have a decent sized check list of stuff I want to try out. Those days when nothing seems to work, I usually switch gears & write non-dance music. It’s a good change of pace & I come back to house music with different inspiration than before.

You’ve worked with, and remixed, a wide variety of different artists. My first memories of your music were the Bigg Gipp remix of ‘Hot’ and the Señor Stereo and Louisahhh track ‘I am the Beat,’ among others. Combined with the fact that last year you worked with Bosco, you’re all over the place in the best way. How do you decide on which tracks to remix? Who have been some of your favorite people to work with?

Speaking of, I finally met Big Gipp for the first time earlier this year haha. He popped into my club night with a friend of mine, I was in the middle of a mix & was like “YO I REMIXED YOU FOR YOUR SCION RELEASE IN ’09, DOPE TO MEET YOU!”, then had to go straight back to mixing, haha. For remixes I usually just get offers from labels or managers, if it’s a good song & the money is right, I’ll remix the fuck out of it. I’ve made the mistake of remixing songs that were not good at all but the money was great. I don’t do that anymore. I’ve gotten very picky as of the past several years. I always prefer writing original music over remixing, so I don’t really seek out songs to remix.

For collabs, I love working with Bosco, she’s killing it right now on tour so I hope to get some more stuff going with her once she’s back. We’re just on the same page all the time, “Names” started with her writing to a beat that I had already made, & she absolutely slayed it. I actually went back in and reworked my beat to make it better to stand up to her vocals. While with “MYNE”, we started completely from scratch, I started making a beat and she started writing and singing some ideas, then a few hours later we had the song in place.

A lot of interviews call your ‘Treasure Fingers’ project a child of the internet, but in terms of your music production, are you more of a soft synths v hard synths guy? What are your absolute essentials in the studio?

I’ve traditionally been hardware guy since starting the Treasure Fingers project, so much so that I refused to write music on my laptop for years. I’ve slowly come around to using soft synths, not that I didn’t use them before, but now I’m comfortable writing a track that’s 100% software if need be. It’s still hard for me to work in a hotel room with only a laptop & headphones. I recently downsized my studio and stored a lot of my gear, but I made extra room for my Rhodes mk-V & Moog Voyager. I figured everything else could be substituted with a plugin & careful processing.

You’ve been in the music game for a while, whats the one recommendation you would give to someone who’s interested in producing and DJ-ing?

First step is to learn as much about production & mixing as possible. I’ve been doing this a long time & I still dedicate a few hours a week to checking out new techniques, software, tutorials, etc. The next step is the most important, write truly unique music. Write music that YOU want to hear that doesn’t exist yet. Copying a beatport #1 might get you some bookings and DJ support for a short time, but to really stand out in this over-saturated scene and have a sustained career, you’ve got to build your own sound & identity (& it needs to be of highest production quality – see step 1). Lastly, you need to have insane work ethic. The day you decided to take it easy and chill, is the same day that 5,000 other upcoming producers are hustling their ass off & grabbing the opportunities you left on the table. If that sounds like too much trouble, then find an investor, hire a ghost producer, buy social media numbers, con some promoters into booking you and hope no one finds out 🙂

Finally, what else can we expect from you in 2016?

For the rest of 2016, I’ve got a couple EPs coming out, another tour later in the year, and mainly pushing the label as hard as possible. I also have another side project coming out soon, called The Treasury. It started by writing a bunch of music that didn’t fit anywhere else so I titled a folder ‘the treasury’ and just dropped ideas in there. That folder has now gotten pretty big and much more cohesive. I did a remix for Rush Midnight under that alias last year, and did a track with Young Thug on Slime Season 2. I have a remix for Crywolf coming out in June, then following that up with an original EP or album, not 100% sure yet. It’s gonna be a busy year either way!

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