With his recent release of 'Like You', the Nam Nation is back again showing pride for Eric Nam's vocal stylings on 'Like You'. However, he wasn't the only one who honed in on their talents to contribute to the track.
Andrew Okamura, is a producer, DJ, and collective-turned-record label founder, AOBeats. AOBeats blends pop, grime, electronic, hip hop, club and more into an undeniable present for the auditory senses and with Eric Nam on his list of collaborations, it seems these days it's just the beginning for him and his label.
His dynamic attitude and bold musical choice reflect the innovation of the collective he represents. We had the chance to chat with the mastermind behind the music about Soundcloud, working with Eric Nam and Sakima, going global, and more!
AKP: Tell us a little bit about yourself as an individual. How did you start music and get to where you are now?
AOBeats: I grew up playing instruments and was classically trained in violin and viola. I played in all the orchestras and bands in school growing up. I started producing in high school for fun but started to take it more seriously in college once I started posting music on SoundCloud and realized there was a community there where artists could support each other. I met Manila Killa and Robokid pretty early on and that led to meeting my manager Brett, and eventually the beginnings of Moving Castle.
AKP: You helped start Moving Castle, an online artist collective filled with talented artists like yourself, Manila Killa, Robokid, and others. Whose idea was it originally?
AOBeats: Moving Castle came about in around 2013. I had met Manila Killa through a mutual friend and Robokid had gone to the same college I went to, though we had not met while he was there. Ethan (Robokid), texted me one night and said, "You, me and Manila should start a collective", and that kind of started the idea. Shortly after, Chris (Manila Killa) met Hunt for the Breeze at a studio session in Maryland and they became friends and Faysal (Hunt for the Breeze) helped us start the collective and actually came up with the idea to use Moving Castle as a name.
AKP: How did the collective come to be and how has it helped you get to where you are?
AOBeats: I think it has definitely helped all of us elevate each other onto a bigger platform and allow us to support our fellow artists, as well as newcomers whose music we like. This past year has definitely been a big step for us in turning more into a label, beyond just being a collective. We are releasing not just with producers or specific genres, but singers, producers, and maybe even bands release on Moving Castle. I think we just want to put out good music we like and help people carry out their visions.
AKP: Let's talk collaboration! It was recently announced that you have a project with K-Pop singer, Eric Nam. How did that come to be?
AOBeats: The song with Eric Nam came about from a session Me and Sakima (a labelmate who co-wrote and co-produced the song) did with Eric. We just got along really well and did most of the song over the course of 2 sessions. We didn't really know what was going to happen with the song when we made it or who it would be for, but ended up being something that fit as an AObeats and Eric Nam collab. I've always loved K-pop and love when I see K-pop artists crossover into America, and I think we are starting to see more of that. Eric's been great to work with and I'm excited for everyone to enjoy the song!
AKP: We'd love to hear the production process for the track. Who hit up who for the collab?
AOBeats: Me, Eric, and Sakima doing a studio session together a couple months back. We just started from scratch, and ended up with most of the song written the first night. We went back in for another session and finished most of it up in the second one.
AKP: Was it a totally collaborative writing process? What do you think are each of your strengths that you bring to the table? Is there any message you want to convey when writing your music?
AOBeats: Yes, Eric was great to work with and me and Sakima both already work together a lot. We have another artist project called SWIMS that is all songs we've made together. I love collaborating and it's always great to have someone else to bounce ideas off of. Eric was super open to everything which made the process really easy-going. I've learned a lot in the past year about the process of collaboration and it has become very much a part of my style of production. I have been working on a lot of other artist's projects recently that I'm excited for the world to hear.
AKP: It seems like so many people are talking about Korean artists breaking into America, but are you how do you feel knowing your music is probably going to go hugely global too?
AOBeats: Yes I am definitely excited about breaking into other parts of the world. I had so many different musical influences growing up and I feel like we are at a point in music now where there are less rules for what mainstream pop music is, or what it is that people enjoy. I feel like every day there are new sounds and influences popping up from different parts of the world.
AKP: We gotta ask- Any K-Pop favorite tracks or artists?
AOBeats: ERIC NAM! ERIC NAM! ERIC NAM!
AKP: Anything coming up for you- Tour? Album? Special surprises?
AOBeats: Right now just working on a lot of new music. I have a bunch of new music for AObeats coming out this fall as well as for SWIMS. Also, I may or may not be working on a project with a bunch of special friends for next year, but I don't want to give away too much yet!