[INTERVIEW] Saint Punk Breaks Down His New Single, 'On & On', And Bridging Music With AI
From the innovative mind of Trevor Vesneski, artist Saint Punk has been lighting up the bass house since emerging in 2019. This talented DJ and producer has crafted an intricate blend of rock and electronic music that embodies an electrifying aura. Saint Punk's signature sound has led to releases on Armada, Monstercat, Bite This!, Thrive, Atlantic, and more. Additionally, he has launched his own prominent imprint Graffiti Records, while being supported by the likes of Boombox Cartel, Ray Volpe, Matroda, and Öwnboss, to name a few.
Continuing his hot streak of mind-bending originals, Saint Punk has returned with his new single, “On & On”. The track utilizes AI images that he generated himself and a bassline guaranteed to put its audience in a trance. Excited to give an inside look to music fans, Saint Punk has linked up with us to talk about “On & On” and other elements of his project.
Check out iEDM's exclusive interview with Saint Punk below.
iEDM: How has your background in rock music influenced your style of bass house? Which one of your songs do you think best represents the blending of these genres, and why?
Saint Punk: My music style is constantly evolving, but I consistently strive to create a big sound. I often incorporate acoustic drum fills to achieve that. I tend to gravitate towards organic sounds rather than mechanical ones, as I find they add a unique character to my music. Those are a few aspects that stand out to me the most. An example of that is on my recent track “Could I Be,” which combines big bass house sounds with more organic vocals and music.
iEDM: From your perspective, what are some of the major ways that the bass house scene has progressed since you launched your project in 2019? How has your musical identity evolved during this timespan?
Saint Punk: Genres are definitely blending these days. An argument could be made for a more aggressive-sounding bass house and also a more chilled-out bass house. Elements of tech house are bleeding over, and vice versa. When I started the project, I was making a harder sound and sticking to that. Over the years, I’ve started to incorporate elements and inspiration from more sources and have focused on the art of songwriting a little more.
iEDM: What are some techniques or strategies you utilize when attempting to make a high-energy bootleg or remix, like your one of Öwnboss and Sevek’s “Move Your Body”?
Saint Punk: I like to let the music direct me when I’m writing. The idea I had, in the beginning, may not be the idea at the end. Still though, I like to go into a remix with an outline. I usually sit, listen, and think about which elements stand out most to me. I will focus on those and give them my own twist.
iEDM: Your new single “On & On” is an absolute heater! How did you discover or create the vocal chops throughout it?
Saint Punk: I wanted to make something that was really simple and focused on a cool vocal chop. I was just digging through my endless folders of samples I have gathered over the years and came across the phrase “on & on,” and it felt like, ya, that’s a dance song! It just makes sense to throw that on repeat over and over.
iEDM: How did you balance the vocals with the instrumental in “On & On” in a way where neither element was overshadowed by the other?
Saint Punk: I think it is really the contrast of elements. The vocal section kind of sucks all the oxygen out and makes you focus, then it opens up again with a call and answer. Just then when you think it is going back into the vocal, the larger bass drops. The interest keeps changing and evolving, but it progresses from small to large.
iEDM: Which soundscapes or effects did you weave into “On & On” to keep listeners on the edge of their seats and make the track more surprising?
Saint Punk: I utilized filters, delays, and reverb. There is a lot of automation on this one. Everything is evolving from dry to wet to dry, and with different textures and tones. Nothing feels too static for too long. The simplicity really calls for it.
LOOKING FOR YOUR NEXT RAVE ADVENTURE?
CLICK TO CHECK OUT OUR 2023 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE FEATURING LINEUPS, DATES, AND LOCATIONS FOR EVERY FESTIVAL ACROSS NORTH AMERICA THIS YEAR!
iEDM: Can you break down the process of using AI for the music video of “On & On”? What were keywords or phrases that you inputted to help create the characters in it?
Saint Punk: I spent about four straight days generating all the images. It started out as a test to see how I could make these images look animated. Once I figured out it was possible, it took a little while for the style to emerge. Then I was just on a roll. I do not want to give away too much but most of the images are “from the 1970s.”
iEDM: What inspired the increasingly chaotic backgrounds in the video? What does the fire symbolize to its audience?
Saint Punk: I wanted to play off of the phrase “On & On.” I wanted to show an evolution of young to old, a mix of races, a mix of animals, and a mix of celebrities, who were all coming together to make that phrase a reality and party before the end of the world. Just partying through the destruction.
iEDM: What was the toughest challenge you faced when constructing the AI for this bass house anthem? How were you able to overcome it?
Saint Punk: It is such a trial and error creating the images. Mostly with the animals. I found the trick was to choose animals that could potentially stand up straight. That usually had a better outcome. Otherwise, it would get really cartoonish.
iEDM: What advice would you give to upcoming producers who want to incorporate AI into their project but are struggling to match it up smoothly with the music?
Saint Punk: Wait a month, AI is only getting better haha. Really though, it is just about finding something that you can implement well in a creative way. Think about the concept first. Figure out what the song is calling for. Then decide which tools you can use to execute it.
iEDM: Five years from now, what do you envision the world of electronic music to look like in regard to its connection with AI and technology?
Saint Punk: Oh man, it’s been less than a year for a lot of this stuff. In five years, I imagine things like Ableton devices that incorporate AI midi programming, like some 3rd party plugins are starting to do. There are going to be custom vocalists that you can tell to sing. It is the wild west right now and things are progressing so fast that it is going to be pretty crazy to see. If you can keep yourself involved and try not to be ashamed of it, you will do well. I think the tools of the future will only allow for more creativity.
iEDM: What is one venue or festival that is on your bucket list to perform at and what draws you to it?
Saint Punk: I would love to play Coachella. I love the desert vibe. It is basically LA’s backyard. My friends and I have been going to Palm Springs and the surrounding cities for so many years, so it would feel very natural to play. Additionally, I definitely want to play Brooklyn Mirage again. I had the opportunity to play there in 2019 with Tchami and Malaa, and that place is epic!
iEDM: Can you hint at any upcoming projects or releases for your fans to get excited about? What objectives do you hope to accomplish by the end of 2023?
Saint Punk: More shows! I have some coming up, but I want to get out on the road more this year. That is one of the main goals. And of course, more music. I have a lot in the works in both areas.
Photos courtesy of Saint Punk