photography + fashion. Torian Lewin
issue 2 – welcome to the new
He has been making music for over 16 years, despite many people assuming he’s only been in the industry for half that time. He describes his creative process as intimate, and he’s become more selective about who he works with. “I can’t create in a room with people I don’t really know, unless we’ve already had an exchange of words and it’s already off to a good start,” he explained. The uniqueness of each collaboration stems from different approaches and how everyone receives energy differently. When it comes to finding collaborators, Ape Drums reveals that it’s a mix of both spontaneous connections and conscious decisions. Sometimes, labels suggest potential partners, while at other times, he discovers artists himself and reaches out to them. More often than not, these connections are genuine and result in exciting collaborations.
In today’s digital age, Ape Drums often connects with fellow musicians from around the globe, whether it’s through WhatsApp or social media. While he loves meeting collaborators in person, when possible, many of his recent projects have involved artists from different countries. “This past month, I have started 3 or 4 ideas with artists from Africa because I want to go to this route where this music stems from,” he shared. He is clearly passionate about exploring different genres and cultures in his music, believing that “the best music in the world comes from Africa.” His desire to immerse himself in new sounds and work with artists who are genuinely connected to their roots showcases his dedication to creating unique and powerful music.
The Miami-based artist opened up about his favourite places to perform and where they are greatly appreciated by their fans. “As a group, it’s crazy in certain parts of Africa. It’s insane. It’s wild. Kenya is amazing. In Brazil, Brazil’s insane. We do like Mexico, too,” he shared. Ape Drums also reminisced about an unforgettable performance in Tulum, and his appreciation for the fans in Mexico City.
Ape Drums has experienced immense success with hits like “23,” which he created in collaboration with Randy Jolly. Reflecting on the creative process, he said, “I grew up listening to Reggaeton. I’ve always loved it. Being that it stems from dancehall and people know me as a Caribbean dancehall-sound artist” Their joint venture resulted in a viral TikTok sensation, introducing their music to an even wider audience.
Growing up in a family of musicians, Ape Drums was surrounded by the sounds of guitars, metal, and rock. It was his early exposure to a wide range of music that allowed him to develop an innate ability to dissect songs and
understand their intricacies. As he puts it, “I was just exposed to a lot of different music. And at an early age, I remember listening to music and picking apart what’s in the song.”
His extraordinary talent goes beyond his musical prowess. He possesses a unique form of synaesthesia, which allows him to see music in colours and visualize the structure of a song. This gift has shaped his approach to music creation, as he explains, “I kind of see them in colours. I picture it in my head as a visual skeleton of the song, if that makes sense.” This ability to “see” music has led to some fascinating moments in the studio. Ape Drums notices distinct differences in how he approaches music. While some are more experimental and limitless, he prefers an organized and structured approach, likening himself to an architect. “There’s a foundation, and then you build upon it,” he explains.
Ape Drums revealed that he began his musical journey by naturally gravitating towards remixing. He would listen to songs and envision how they could sound better by making specific changes. Without access to studio files or individual components, he would dissect an MP3, strip out some parts, and recreate others to suit his vision. This process of remixing served as his foundation for music production. Ape Drums likens his creative process to taking a chair, cutting the legs off, and attaching new ones – giving the piece a fresh perspective and making it uniquely his own. He thrives on inspiration from other music, finding it easiest to create when he has a reference to work from. In fact, Ape Drums claims that if he is given a vocal track, he can quickly recreate the music around it, transforming the original piece into something entirely new. This ability to remix and reimagine songs has become a cornerstone of his career.
He believes that originality in music is about making the best music you can, fitting it around your unique gift. He suggests finding ways to add original elements to existing genres, such as by introducing a new instrument or sound to the traditional formula. When working with vocalists, he seeks out those who can bring something different to the table, much like he does with his music production.
Ape Drums is passionate about the art of producing, despite it being relatively unknown and underappreciated. As a producer, he sees himself as a painter of sound, using his creativity to bring ideas to life. He believes that if people understood the complexity of music production, they would be more open to the vast potential of the creative process. He acknowledges that the role of producers as artists is still evolving, he sees this growth as an opportunity for greater appreciation of the work that goes into creating music.
When asked about his happy place, Ape Drums didn’t hesitate to share his love for the comforts of home. After traveling extensively and performing in loud, bustling venues, he finds solace in the peace and quiet that home provides. It’s a place where he feels comfortable, safe, and relaxed – a sanctuary that balances the chaos of life on the road.
From his early beginnings in a musically rich environment to his unique synesthetic gift, Ape Drums has developed a distinctive style that encompasses remixing, collaboration, and a dedication to exploring the roots of the music that inspires him. With a keen eye for originality, he has built a strong foundation for his career by skilfully navigating the ever-evolving landscape of music production. As a celebrated DJ and producer, Ape Drums continues to break boundaries and forge genuine connections with collaborators, drawing strength from the solace of his sanctuary at home. Through his passion and commitment to his craft, Ape Drums stands as a testament to the limitless potential of the creative spirit.
photography + fashion. Torian Lewin
talent. Ape Drums
grooming. Miwako Urasugi@ B&A Rep usingOribe
fashion assistant. EdlynCastro
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