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SAAND: Exploring the lighter side of electronic music

Carlifornia-based DJ and producer SAAND is behind the drop of his latest studio album, ‘Mantric Moods,’ which is now available via the artist’s own label, Tierra Sounds. This enchanting voyage includes ten tracks and has been carefully curated to deliver a calming and relaxed ambiance. ‘Mantric Moods’ effortlessly merges various genres, surpassing conventional musical boundaries, while expressing SAAND’s boundless creativity.

Photo Credit: SAAND – Facebook

 EG caught up with SAAND to learn more about the release of ‘Mantric Moods’, his Tierra Sounds imprint, inspirations, and much more.

EG: Hi, Michael! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? What have you been up to?

SAAND: Greetings! Thank you so much for having me on your wonderful blog. I have always been a fan of what you have been doing all these years and it’s a pleasure for you to have me on. Everything has been great, it seemed like a long winter this year and I’m certainly looking forward to spring with longer and warmer days, I just love to be outside. Lately, I have been mostly focusing on finishing more music, playing gigs, getting my label all wrapped up for the year, and last but certainly not least my health, physical and mental.

EG: Thank you for your kind words! By the way, congratulations on the release of your new studio LP, ‘Mantric Moods’! You must be thrilled. What has the initial reception been like so far? What are some of your initial feelings?

SAAND: Thank you so much, I am so happy to release my second studio album. This collection of music has been a labor of love for me. Putting out a work of art you are not known for can be a little intimidating, but I really love and believe in the music, and I am thrilled to see it hit #1 on the Beatport charts and be supported by so many artists and friends. When you release music, you really never know how it will be received, no matter how much you like it yourself, but now I’m feeling even more confident that I made the right decision to put it out rather than just keep it to myself.

EG: Musically speaking, what can your fans expect to find on ‘Mantric Moods’?

SAAND: What you can expect from ‘Mantric Moods’ is 10 tracks telling a story and taking you on a journey of sounds to relax, meditate, or just vibe to. This is not a party album, but rather an album to chill out to. I wanted to give people the opportunity to listen to electronic music to calm themselves down rather than hype them up and hopefully, that is exactly what it will do.

EG: Is there a thread or concept interconnecting these 10 tracks? What was the creative process for ‘Mantric Moods’ like?

SAAND: The concept of this album is a 10-track story that will keep you relaxed from start to finish and take you on a sonic journey of sounds. My creative process is always different every day, I make music related to my moods, and each day is a different day for me. This album took me about 3 years to make and finish because I never went into saying I was going to make this all in one go. I wanted to create music over a longer period of time, and then put together what I thought was cohesively best. I never wanted to force an album, but rather have it organically all come together when it was the right time to release.

“I wanted to give people the opportunity to listen to electronic music to calm themselves down rather than hype them up and hopefully, that is exactly what it will do”

EG: And this record sees you returning to your own Tierra Sounds imprint. Why did you decide to go with Tierra Sounds for this particular release? What can we expect from the label in 2024?

SAAND: I definitely had some other labels on my radar pertaining to this release, especially since this album has a Buddha Bar-feel and would have been great for that label. Ultimately I decided to release on Tierra Sounds because I wanted to have full control of the music and own it all. I feel many of these songs have the ability to go very far and I wanted to bring attention back to the label rather than just to myself as an artist, especially for 2024. I knew this album would get new fans to the label and I wanted to help future releases and artists out. Right now I am sitting on 4 new incredible EPs that will be coming out around every 6 weeks featuring some really big tunes from amazing producers. In addition, I signed some new artists who will be debuting on the label and I am very excited about what they will be doing this year.

EG: What would be the perfect setting to listen to ‘Mantric Moods’? What would you like listeners to take away from the experience?

SAAND: I think the perfect setting for this album to listen to is while you are in a relaxing setting, watching the sunset or sunrise, or just laying on your back and stretching or doing some breathwork. I chose the name ‘Mantric Moods’ because each tune in its own way is a mantra and perfect to get yourself centered or in a relaxing mood. Not all music has to be for the dance floor, music can be for many occasions and settings, and I wanted to take it to new places.

EG: Now, let’s step outside of the studio for a bit… What are your thoughts on the current state of the music scene? Are these gigantic LED screens taking too much away from the music? What’s your take on the use of AI?

SAAND: My thoughts on the current state of the music scene differ from scene to scene. Well first of all there are so many different scenes falling under the umbrella of dance music. I feel the main trends are starting to get a little played out, you go out and hear everyone playing the same songs. If I hear another edit of ‘Mwaki’ I’m going to freak out, lol. Full transparency I made a version of it too, but it’s been used so many times already that the vocal now has been burned, but I doubt that will stop people from still using it. I wouldn’t blame the DJs/producers though, because they are just trying to follow the trends, read the room, and play to the vibe of the crowd. When this is your job and you have a gig, you have to give the crowd/promoter what they want or the club/event won’t have you back. Having ultimate freedom to play what you want is not the trend right now in many scenes and you have to fit the mold they want you to.

But that being said, there are smaller scenes doing the opposite and playing completely different music. Microhouse and the Romanians have been doing this for a little while now, and you see this style of music starting to grow more and more and I see it becoming a major trend in the next few years. Certainly, main stage production for the popular genres has taken the world by storm, I certainly think it takes away from the music and the crowd. Everyone is too busy looking forward at the DJ and the lights, pulling out their phones and not focusing on the dance floor and the community around them. Back in the day, people would be on the dance floor and everyone would be facing each other and dancing together and connecting because that is what it was all about, the music, not the production. I do appreciate people who build stages and do lights because that is an art in itself. I think there can be ways people can do it that will keep people more engaged with each other. For example, if people did 360 lighting and screens instead of just behind the DJ that would get people to look all around and actually see 360 degrees rather than just looking forward. Imagine how much more connected the audience would be with each other if they looked all around.

EG: And what’s your take on the use of AI in music? Has any form of AI been used on ‘Mantric Moods’?

SAAND: My take on AI. It’s still pretty fresh and new, but it is growing at a rapid rate. I certainly see it putting a lot of people out of work, but at the same time, you will see others push ahead because they don’t know how to do the work from scratch and AI will be doing it for them. It’s kind of a double-edged sword and either it will help or hurt others, it just depends on the situation. Ultimately people invest in other people, so that will be the ultimate tell-all. For ‘Mantric Moods’ there was a little AI involved. I had my friends do the album cover for me and he told me that he used AI to generate it and it only took him 5 minutes to make, which was mind-blowing. I see many others using AI in label and flyer art and this will continue to be the trend because of how easy it is. While I have never used AI to write music for me, I do use Izotope’s Neutron and Ozone, and both these plug-ins have mixing and mastering AI. I’m a big fan of Neutron’s AI mixing assistant. While I don’t use its mix exactly, it is a great tool to use as a base to get an idea of how to get the sound right, then you just go back and tweak it a bit to get it sounding more to your taste and not completely relying on the AI solely. So use it as a base tool rather than an end-all.

“When this is your job and you have a gig, you have to give the crowd/promoter what they want or the club/event won’t have you back. Having ultimate freedom to play what you want is not the trend right now in many scenes and you have to fit the mold they want you to”

EG: Finally, can you provide some insights into what’s next for SAAND? What can we expect from you in the coming months?

SAAND: What’s next for me is just finishing more music, I’m sitting on so much that needs to be done. I would like to start blending more genres together, push boundaries in sound as well, and start to create new trends in music. In 2024 I want to travel more and get back to playing outside of California and the US on a more regular basis. Last but not least, I really want to push Tierra Sounds and continue to bring big and new artists to the label. I have created a platform and would love to help others get noticed on what I have built and keep spreading music to the masses.

EG: Thank you so much for your time, Michael! We wish you all the best for the future. See you on the dancefloor!

SAAND: Thank you so much again for having me, it’s always a pleasure to work with you, and can’t wait to see you on a dance floor, beach, forest, desert, or some awesome location soon. Cheers!

SAAND’s ‘Mantric Moods’ is out now via Tierra Sounds. Purchase your copy here.

Follow SAAND: SoundCloud | Spotify | Facebook | Instagram

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