Festival Fast Talk:
Austin Paul

We recently went to Bonnaroo and were inundated with new music. One of the coolest experiences this year was spending time in at the Red Bull Music Academy’s Basscamp.

Though Redbull is accustomed to a presence at festivals, this year’s Bonnaroo ramped up their involvement with the Basscamp, an onsite area where Redbull collected 20 regional producers, gave them studios stocked with great equipment, showered them with lectures from the likes of Thundercat and Mannie Fresh, and encouraged them to write music in between sessions of going out and seeing shows. I got the opportunity to sit down and talk to a few of the producers involved.

Austin Paul is an emerging singer and songwriter. Though his sound can go anywhere from James Blake minimalism to ’80s throwback R&B, he labels his music “Goth pop.” After checking it out, it’s clear why. His art and aesthetic is clean and slick, with lots of stark contrasting elements and color palettes usually involving dark imagery or Gothic symbolism. The visuals match the mood of his music, which is ruled by his voice and its strong sustains, soulful runs, and delicate portmanteau work between the words and throughout his phrasings. These vocals lay atop sexy or somber chord textures, producing a satiating and full sound.

How did you start making music?
I began with show choir when I was five years old. I started writing when I was about 10.

What equipment did you initially use?
GarageBand, a Shure 57, and a pair of M-Audio Monitors.

Has it changed over the years?
Essentially it’s the same, computer, monitors, and a mic, just a bit of an upgrade.

What are your main influences?
Gospel, Soul, and electronic music.

Could you walk through the production of the Disparia?
Nuri, Poshtronaut, and myself took a mini road trip to the Keys. We set up all of our gear in the kitchen and produced it from start to finish. It’s a look into your own consciousness.

How was your Bonnaroo?
Bonnaroo was amazing. I learned so much from the artists that I was fortunate enough to spend time with while I was out there, and I also was able to make a good amount of music.

Favorite act to see?
Jack White really made my experience at Bonnaroo. So much passion and wisdom in one performance.

What did you think of the RBMA compound?
It was honestly like a dream world. If I could live in that camping environment combined with making music all day, I would.

Did you make music at the RBMA?
I did, and it was a trip.

Did you collaborate with anyone?
I did, with Niko Javan, Charles and Dorian of the Outfit.

Looking forward to following up on that project?
I release after Disparia, Revival, the third installment of the EP trilogy I released over the past year.

Upcoming plans for your own music?
Many. Taking careful steps at a safe pace.

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