I first started following Cake Eater a couple months ago when he showed up on the Do Androids Dance 50 More Under 5000 list of up-n-coming artists. A week ago he released Jello, a collaboration with Inflect, and we had to hit him up for an interview.
Hailing from Lincoln, Nebraska we asked Cake Eater about his influences, the Tropical genre, and cakes shaped like asses. Check out our interview below!
JNTM: Who was the first electronic artist that you listened to that made you want to start producing/DJing? What acts do you think are killing it right now?
Cake Eater: The first electronic music to really click with me when I was younger was stuff from The Prodigy and Nine Inch Nails, I still consider those two to be major influences.
Proxy is someone I consider to be a huge influence to the way I write stuff, I have so much respect for him as far as sound design goes and that’s always been something I try and focus a lot of my effort on. I can’t say that I make a lot of stuff that sounds like him, maybe I do, I don’t know, but what I hear in his work that I try to achieve is creating an eponymous sound, one that people connect with and when they hear it they think , “Oh, that’s a Cake Eater track.”
But, while discovering stuff like Proxy, I was in my early college years and going to a lot of shows and went to Lollapalooza one summer, that’s where I saw MSTRKRFT and The Bloody Beetroots and I think that’s where I really began to find my influences that have shaped what I’m doing today. To name a few: Crookers, Tittsworth, Boys Noize, Congorock, The Faint, Bart B More, Harvard Bass….there’s honestly probably hundreds more.
Acts Killing it at the moment, or my favorite acts:
Astronomar, Bot & all of Main Course Records
The Al Gore Rhythm Method
Treovr (Seattle, WA)
DFM (Omaha, NE)
Buzz Junior (Omaha, NE)
& Mr. Carmack….just to name a few, there is an endless amount of crazy talent out their right now.
JNTM: Give us some background on yourself and your history working in music.
CE: I got my first start messing around on some low level software when I was about 18 or 19, I was devastated by a break up (haha) and was looking for a creative outlet. I really wanted to produce indie hip-hop stuff at first, I was really into Definitive Jux and guys like EL-P and Aesop rock so I started messing around with making hip-hop loops.
In that same time discovered dance music through stuff like Soulwax and Justice, so at some point I started to cross over while I was getting familiar with other music software. I was djing small club gigs around my hometown at the time and at some point made the transition to focusing on dance music.
CE: My early stuff had good ideas, but when I go back now I can really hear the inexperience in my productions, I think I was just trying to do as much as I could with what I knew at the time.
Early on I was making a lot of aggressive heavy stuff, “Bangers” I guess. I was surrounded by local Dubstep shows every weekend so I just wanted to make something heavy but that was an answer to that scene at the time.
Over time I started to understand what I liked and didn’t like about dance music and started to close the gap of making those things possible in my creative process. Over time I was just building an arsenal of material to throw into live sets I would play.
It wasn’t until Bad Shoes Records discovered me online and I signed on with that label that I began to really explore elements of every genre and start to incorporate them into my project. I cut my teeth on that label by doing some remixes early on but I was always sending demos to the boss, Esteban Tascon (Baan), as well as Hank Kalleen (Earjerker) and I was really ambitious and it got to the point where I had all this material that the guys really strongly believed in and thought were great products.
It was after that, that I went to work on my first album “Jangala”. I spent the better part of a year creating tracks for that album and through that process is where I feel I grew the most as an artist. Unlike making a single, I spent a lot of time creating stuff that fit the environment that I had created for the music that became “Jangala”, it was like writing a soundtrack to a movie, more or less.
Now days I’m creating a lot of stuff to fit my live sets and focusing most on trying to stand out in the saturated dance music market that all of us artists are in right now, so I can hopefully gain some interest on a global level. I think back in 2011 that seemed light years away, and now, sometimes… those goals don’t seem so out of reach.
JNTM: Describe the Tropical genre. How did you get into producing this genre of music and where do you think it’s going?
CE: That influence came from being apart of the Bad Shoes Records roster, it spans the globe and is full of artist from all different walks on very unique creative paths. I learned a lot working with my label mates, Fuzzy Fotch in particular. Producing tropical influenced stuff came as a result of what Baan wanted on his label and over time It just became something I was passionate about creating.
Tropical Bass is just another label to categorize music, it means everything and nothing, and just like every genre, every day, brilliant young talented people are creating and sharing their own interpretation of what these genres. With that being said, I think the growth in this genre and all genres is limitless looking forward.
JNTM: Most people we interview hail from Los Angeles, New York, Australia etc. What’s it like producing/djing in Lincoln, Nebraska? The area has always been associated with folksy singer-songwriters, is there a growing scene?
CE: I’ve played in Kansas City, Chicago and San Francisco before and it’s no way similar to any of those places. Lincoln is a quiet, humble little college town but people here are really passionate about music. Surprisingly enough the crowds here go mental, it’s a great time and I’ve had the opportunity from some really great promoters to provide opening support to a lot of great major acts in the last couple years.
Truthfully though, I spend more of my time In Omaha, Nebraska which is the bigger of the two cities, it’s a little more culturally diverse than Lincoln, but it’s still humble pie, Middle America. The difference between a major city and Omaha or Lincoln for me, are that both cities offer less distraction and I think that’s why I’ve based my self here. (for now)
The area might have a reputation for being associated with folk and country from the outsiders perspective but I think it would really surprise people to know that Omaha and Lincoln are home to some really great undiscovered talents in the dance music (or EDM) community. I’m pretty passionate to helping people to find that out as well and recently I’ve helped with Defy Music, along side, Buzz Junior (Andy Garlock) spend almost all of our free time working with young, brilliant, hand-picked local talents creating and sharing music we believe everyone should hear. So, I would definitely say there is a growing scene here.
JNTM: If you could move to one of the big hubs (LA, San Francisco,Chicago, New York ) What would be your first choice and why.
CE: Based on my traveling experience, I love both Chicago and San Francisco. I would probably chose San Francisco of those two because I love the diversity of that city and my Chicago friends party too hard for me to handle on a regular basis (haha).
I’ve never been to New York, but that would be dope too. LA would be great to be among some of the industries best talents right now. I guess I’ll have to make some visits….
Honestly though, it’s hard to say. I don’t feel like where I live defines anything I do creatively, I truly believe I’m going to do whatever it is I do regardless of where I reside.
JNTM:Your lastest track ”Jello” is a bit of a departure from your sound. What was it like working with Inflect? Do you have any more collabs in the works?
CE: I met Brett (Inflect), a few years ago in the local scene, He’s originally from a small central Nebraska town, North Platte, and lived in Lincoln for quite some time but became a transplant to LA in the last year or so. He was in a 4 piece electronic band, Somasphere, and I would run into those guys playing shows and kick with them. Brett and I hit it off pretty quickly, we have a similar sense of humor and like a lot of the same music.
Work with him is a really easy, comfortable process, we just send each other ideas on a regular basis but last winter we decided we wanted to take it seriously and try to release some Dirty Bird, club friendly sounding stuff. When we created “Jello” I had put the vocals on a drum track that I designed, and original I wrote the lead with a softsynth and it was more of a party hard kind of track. Brett switched it up and created that lead, which I was blown away by when I first heard it, and the rest is what you hear now.
Inflect is one of my favorite people to work with and lucky for me he’ll be back in the area this summer, we have a few more ideas we’ve been working on but nothing is final at the moment. I don’t know when it will be, but I can assure you there is more to come from us.
I have a few more collaborations in the works too, I’ll wait until they materialize before I let the cat out of the bag on them though.
JNTM:Tell me a little about Defy Music and how was your experience working with them?
CE: Defy Music is a local label based out of Omaha, NE. It began as a joint operation between: Make Believe Studios ran by Rick Carson and Company, Keith Rodger, who works for Make Believe Records, Defy Gravity, a local production company that throws big events ran by Bobby Barajas and James Fonda and Andy Garlock, a local producer who produces as Buzz Junior.
Andy Garlock is one of my best friends as well as my studio partner and the other half of our side project, Buckhunter. Andy and I were already laying down the foundation of trying to create an independent label on our own when the Defy Gravity guys proposed this opportunity to him. From there, Andy asked me to be apart of this label as both an artist and worth with him on day to day operations. I’m essentially his right hand man at the moment for Defy Music and do a lot of the legwork with him, so my experience is pretty interesting this go-around.
Like I was saying before, we hand pick the talent on our roster and spend a lot of time helping them with every stage of the process as well as give them a platform to put their music out. The roster is small but growing, I hope to expand it nationally in the near future but in the mean time I encourage all to check them out.
JNTM: What are your plans for 2014? Are we going to see Cake Eater on the road?
CE: As far as Cake Eater goes, I’m going to be finishing the material I’ve been working on since the start of the new year. I work on stuff all the time, but I’d like find a platform to release my stuff and maximize the exposure it can get. But, with a lot of the attention I’ve received on the web I feel like I want to give a lot of this stuff out for free and do that soon.
In May, I’ll be on the road to both Denver and Kansas City, but, those are my only travel plans at the moment.
I’m ready and eager to get on the road, live shows are the real reason I work as hard as I do on this stuff. So, to any city that wants me: I am more than down to come play for you.
JNTM:If you could work with any producer right now who would be?
CE: Proxy or Astronomar or Valentino Khan or fuck…..so many that I want to work with!
I’ll say Proxy.
and if not a producer but an Artist,
JNTM: Favorite kind of cake?
CE: Cakes that are shaped like a Booty