23 Feb Whethan Discusses His Album Fantasy and Producing During COVID-19
Whethan Discusses His Album Fantasy and Producing During COVID-19
By Danielle Ilag
*This interview is older and was in our Issue 63 magazine.
Chicago-born Ethan Snoreck is better known by his stage name Whethan. The stage name started as a kid in high school when his class would say, “Hey, Whethan’s here.” The rest was history as they say.
As a younger boy, Ethan took up skateboarding. He would watch skateboarding videos all the time and soon became very interested in the songs he would hear playing in the background. These funky electronic beats snatched his attention, and he later learned the music penetrating his eat drums was produced by Skrillex and Daft Punk.
Ethan was inspired by their sound, plus as a youngster, his dad listened to a lot of hip-hop in turn blossoming his love for beats. Ultimately he found his path as a music producer on SoundCloud.
Originally, he began releasing house music under his real name while simultaneously releasing trap remixes and edits under an alternative account. Today, Whethan has racked up over 800 million streams and shows, and there is no sign of slowing down.
In October 2020, Whethan released his debut album Fantasy. After three years in the making, the highly anticipated album features explosive 80s energy both audibly and aesthetically. Fantasy is the perfect representative of what makes Whethan great.
Whethan is making a name for himself in the music industry. You must check him out!
How would you describe your sound without using any genres?
My music is futuristic, energetic, and uplifting.
Who was one of the first artists to give you the head nod of appreciation and how did they impact your career?
Zeds Dead was the first big nod I got when they played my song at a festival. Skrillex also really gave me confidence when he showed me some love for my music.
Your first-ever full-length album, Fantasy, has been described as the perfect representative of what makes you great. How would you describe what this album means to you?
It’s been a long time coming putting this project together. It’s essentially the last two years of my life in musical form; traveling the world, meeting new people, and collaborating with artists I’ve always dreamed of working with. I’m proud to be able to put out an album that I can enjoy.
“Outta Here” features one of your favorite artists RL Grime, whom you always wanted to work with. What was your inspiration for it and what was the collaboration like for this track?
I was able to connect with RL Grime in the studio. We wanted to make something that would absolutely bang at a show, make the speakers rattle, and have it sound true to both of our styles while still trying to inspire the future wave. Ultimately though, we just sat down in the studio and got to music production.
What has been your most enjoyable song to write and why?
I would say “Clouds” was my most enjoyable song to write. I didn’t get to record in the studio with The Wombats, but once I got sent the parts I went to town on trying to figure out the best possible drop for the song. This was right around the start of quarantine so I had plenty of time to come up with a bunch of different versions until I found the perfect one.
How do you get yourself into the vibe to produce music?
I’m usually producing music 24/7 but it ultimately depends on what else is going on in the day. It’s a given I’ll be working on music every day so it just depends on what’s going on around me and influencing my music that particular day.
What habits have you formed that have either directly or indirectly helped you become a better producer?
I’d say my work ethic is definitely what helps me most with making music as well as always staying in a session until the song is done. Mainly just maintaining my ‘workaholic’ mentality.
How has COVID-19 affected your life as a producer?
There have been a lot fewer sessions with various artists and writers. COVID-19 has forced me to mainly work with only a close group of collaborators. Also, I haven’t been able to tour or travel. I’m still able to make a lot of new music, but the process has definitely changed.
What is your day-to-day schedule like? What hobbies do you enjoy?
My day-to-day schedule varies a lot depending on the day. On a usual day, I’ll spend the daytime working with my team and going over more business-related things. Then I’ll be working on music late into the night. Then do it all over the next day. My main hobby is truly producing music.
What is your most important tool as an artist you can’t live without in the studio?
For me, it’s just my laptop. It’s fun to have other tools to make music, but ultimately all I need to make music is my laptop. That’s my main instrument.
If you weren’t producing music, what do you think you would be doing?
If I wasn’t producing music, I’d probably be doing something else in the creative field. I’d most likely be doing something in music, fashion, or film. The creative space is really the only field I see myself working in.
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
The main thing I’d change is to refocus on the music itself as opposed to the money and businesses behind it. I’d also like to make the industry more profitable for artists, especially those who are lesser-known and are struggling to make money off their art.
Who are two artists you would love to collaborate with in the future and why?
My top two artists I would love to collaborate with are Tame Impala and Travis Scott. They are both such amazing artists and at the top of their fields currently. Having the opportunity to get in the room with them and make some music would be unreal.
As longtime friends and frequent collaborators with Louis The Child, how did your friendship begin? Did you meet them in Illinois?
Yes, we met when we were all still living in Chicago, Illinois. We shared a studio space so we’d be hanging out and working on music daily. We’ve been close friends ever since.
What are your top five songs right now?
- Jim-E Stack ft. Kacy Hill – Can We
- Rico Nasty – STFU
- JID, IDK, Kenny Mason & DJ Scheme – Cereal
- bloody white – I’m busy
- Myd ft Mac DeMarco – Moving Men
How has producing changed the way you listen to music now?
It makes me pay attention to every single detail of the song and think about why the artist might’ve made certain decisions about the track. I’m very rarely listening to music passively.
How do you define success in what you do?
For me, success is when people are rocking out to my music and enjoying it. Making people dance with my music is one of the best feelings out there.
Now that your debut album is released, what is the next big goal you’ve set your sights on to accomplish?
To be honest, that’s currently what I’m trying to figure out. I’m really just taking my time making more music and seeing where it leads me.
What advice would you give to a bedroom producer who is looking for the next step?
My main piece of advice would be to just keep practicing. Make as much music as you can and keep trying to learn more every day. That’s the only formula to becoming a successful producer, putting in the time.
What is one message you’d like to give your fans?
First of all, thank you for listening! There’s a lot more in store with what I want to do with music and art. I can’t wait for all of this to be over so I can go back on tour and meet as many of my fans as possible.