06 Jun CHICAGO NATIVE ARTIST COFRESI OPENS UP ABOUT THE NEW EP, AGENDA [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
COFRESI is a DJ to keep your eye on!
The Chicago-based artist released his newest EP, AGENDA, which pushes the boundaries of production and live performance and never ceases to impress. It features five original tracks that explore a wide range of music genres. His unique sound fuses traditional instrumentation with electronic production techniques making him a must-listen!
We had a chance to chat with COFRESI and ask him about his new EP, his inspiration, his sound, and more!
FIRSTLY, CAN YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND TELL OUR READERS A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
Hey guys, my name is Ben, aka COFRESI, and I’m an electronic producer from Chicago. My passion in life is making music for all of you guys, so thank you for continuing to support me!
HOW DID YOU GET INTO MUSIC?
Music was always in my life in one way or another, but the drums were really what caught my attention when I was a kid. I had a lot of energy growing up, so it was a good place to get that out in a positive way.
WHAT/WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR EARLY MUSICAL INFLUENCES?
Incubus, Lincoln Park, daft punk, Shpongle, and Bob Marley are some of my biggest early influences. I recently got to live out a childhood dream from one of those inspirations. As a kid, we would always play Bob Marley on our family vacations. I’m proud to say I just released an “Is This Love” remix ft Matisyahu, a rework of the classic tune. It’s crazy how, so many years later, those early influencers have stayed relevant to me.
YOU RECENTLY DROPPED YOUR NEW EP AGENDA. HOW DOES IT FEEL?
It feels great! This EP was born in the pandemic and got wrapped up this year as we finally started to roll into normal life again. It felt fresh to release it as a first release post-pandemic.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE EP? HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE NAME FOR THE EP?
During the pandemic, I was locked in Chicago, so I decided to embrace that and dive deeper into the house scene there. It’s such a huge part of Chicago’s history, so it felt right. I was especially inspired after seeing a few iconic performances and felt that I had to take a deeper dive.
YOU HAVE A ONE-OF-A-KIND SOUND THAT FUSES TRADITIONAL INSTRUMENTATION WITH ELECTRONIC PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES AND HAS INFLUENCES OF BASS, HOUSE, TRAP, AND ELECTRONICA MUSIC. WHAT ULTIMATELY LED YOU TO CREATE THIS SOUND? WHAT MADE YOU REALIZE YOU HAD FINALLY FOUND YOUR SIGNATURE SOUND?
I’d say my sound found me rather than I found my sound. I get inspired by so many musicians and genres. I chose to be bold about experimenting with different pallets to the point where I think now I have a pretty good diverse sound while remaining authentic to myself as well.
BEING A CHICAGO NATIVE, DID THIS HAVE ANY INFLUENCE ON YOUR SOUND? IF SO, HOW?
I always collaborated within my city, so that played a huge role in my sound. It wasn’t until this EP, however, that I took a deeper dive into my community; right when I needed it most, Chicago provided. That’s what it’s all about.
AGENDA IS YOUR FIRST DEEP DIVE INTO HOUSE MUSIC. ARE THERE ANY TRACKS ON THE PROJECT THAT YOU’RE PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?
“I’m Not”, “Make U”, and “Follow” are my proudest tracks. I love the whole EP, but those really make me proud of stepping outside my comfort zone and dialing this EP in.
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS WHEN YOU GET IN THE STUDIO?
It’s different every time. But I like to look at it like a live band and start with those foundational elements. From there on, I comb through, add sounds, and polish up where they sit until I have something I’m structurally and sonically happy with.
WHEN PRODUCING, WHICH COMES FIRST, THE BEAT OR THE STORY, AND HOW DO THE TWO WORK WITH ONE ANOTHER?
They go back and forth but rest assured, my mind is focused on the percussion from the get-go all the way to the end.
WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST WHILE CREATING YOUR AGENDA?
That I could do so much with so little. The minimalism of the EP really honed in on the concept of less is more. Also, every project has a different amount of love and time it needs until it’s where it has to be. I dropped deadlines out of the equation on this release.
YOU COLLABORATED WITH KEYBOARDIST, DJ, AND PRODUCER JASON LEECH ON THE SONG ‘MAKE U’. WHAT WAS THE COLLABORATION PROCESS LIKE?
Man, Jason is the best. I’ve always loved his sound and versatility on the piano. I just had to have him on this EP. We became friends through the process, and you can expect some more things from us in the future!
WHO ARE SOME OTHER ARTISTS YOU’D LOVE TO COLLABORATE WITH?
Sofi Tukker and Fred again are some of my top artists right now but also Clozee and Maddy O’Neal. I love the energy females have been bringing to music lately.
ON STAGE, YOU INTEGRATE LIVE MUSICAL ELEMENTS INTO A DIGITAL SOUNDSCAPE – CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?
My setup is very percussive-heavy. I used to have a lot of organic drums and cymbals with me, but this year I have created an option with all digital drums, some keys, and my Ableton controller, which I have been zoning into more this year. The goal has been to streamline all while not losing the diversity of sounds on stage.
YOU’VE DROPPED THREE MUSIC VIDEOS FOR THE AGENDA PROJECT – ONE FOR “MAKE U,” ONE FOR “I’M NOT,” AND ANOTHER FOR “FOLLOW” – WHICH ONE WAS THE MOST FUN TO MAKE?
“Follow” was a blast. We got to shoot it in Colorado over the course of a few days. Shout out to my manager Toma for helping with the vision, Lifetap Media’s Huck and Aj for shooting it, Sasha for providing the fire car, Meg for starring in it, and finally, brand1films for the post-production editing. The team really came together for this video, and I think we made something pretty cool.
YOU ARE PLAYING NORTH COAST MUSIC FESTIVAL THIS SEPTEMBER. I AM DEFINITELY LOOKING FORWARD TO IT! ARE THERE ANY OTHER TOURING/FESTIVAL OR MUSIC PLANS?
I’m doing some shows with Sum 41 drummer Frank Zummo and have a few more fests and show announcements coming up, including Summer End Smokeout in Michigan. I do have a few more things to drop, but I’ll wait until we officially announce them to spill the beans!