[Interview] Wooli and Tape B Discuss Their New Single ‘Dopamine,’ Future Goals, + More

Wooli and Tape B
| October 10, 2023

Established artists collaborating with up-and-coming talent is an important part of the music industry's 'circle of life.' These partnerships provide budding performers with the platform to grow their fan bases, advance their careers, and introduce fresh sounds to the landscape.

Adam Puleo, better known as Wooli, has been a widely-beloved figure in the dubstep scene since the late 2010s. He recently combined with a gifted producer on the rise named Berk Alkanat, AKA Tape B, to create a song of the year candidate called “Dopamine”.

This anthem combines the iconic vocal sample from Etta James' 1962 song “Something's Got A Hold On Me” – 'Ohhhh sometimes, I get a good feeling, yeah' – with euphoric dubstep production showcasing some of the best sound design these artists have to offer.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Wooli and Tape B about their year to date, the public reaction to their new song, future plans, and more. 

Check out iEDM's exclusive interview with Wooli and Tape B below.

Wooli, Tape BiEDM: 2023 has been a big year for both of you, releasing music and playing some amazing festivals. What are your thoughts on this year so far, leading up to the release of your new track?

Tape B: ​​It's been eye-opening because this is the first time I've been touring consistently every weekend, so there has been a lot of learning lessons and obviously a lot of fun. It did get overwhelming for a bit, but I'm in the groove of things now. I'm doing my first headlining tour right now too, so I couldn't be happier with everything.

Wooli: This year was definitely a strong year. We started doing our own curated shows. So that's a new thing where we're in charge – which is both cool and scary – because there's a lot more pressure on you and the team to perform and make sure everything goes smoothly.

At Mammoth Mountain 2, we decided to throw a show 12,000 feet up in a ski resort. We had to deal with things that I'm not used to dealing with, like bringing vendors, dealing with weather, and bringing all the stage and the equipment that we need. It's been a very educational year and I feel like I've made this leap from one level to another where I’m not just showing up and playing because I’m told to by my agent.

iEDM: Do any recent sets stick out to either of you, either for how well you felt you performed, or the connection you felt with the crowd?

Tape B: Each one's memorable in its own way. Lost Lands and WAKAAN Fest really stuck out to me because they're totally different vibes and they're both so much fun. Electric Forest was a great time and Deadrocks right after… it was very eye-opening to be able to play those stages. For festivals like that, I like to plan the sets out a lot more and make sure they have an impact on the people who are watching them.

Wooli: The standout one for any ‘dubstepper’ would be Lost Lands. It's like the dubstep conference. It feels like how Ultra Miami used to be for the more mainstage-y, progressive acts where it’s your first big festival of the year and you showcase all the new stuff you're working on.

The whole month leading up to Lost Lands was no sleep – always having my Discord open, talking to my VJ [video jockey – curates the visuals] and making as many edits, flips, VIPs, and new songs as possible. You always want to be the one that [the fans] talk about after, because there are so many insane artists and musicians there.

 iEDM: Your new track “Dopamine” has taken the industry by storm since its release last week. How has the reaction been from fans and fellow artists?

Tape B: The song has never felt real because I never thought we were going to be able to clear those vocals. So it was always like, ‘We got this really sick idea, but what's going to happen? Is it just going to be an ID for two years until we can turn it into something else?’ It was very exciting because it happened so fast. Playing it out has been the highlight of sets for the whole year for me.

Wooli: If you look back, [Dopamine] has gone through a lot of different versions. I'm always a big fan of continuing to work at it until you both get that feeling, and I think we both got that feeling. One thing that was interesting to me – if you go look through some comments, they'll be like ‘whoa, they kind of remixed “Levels”.’ And I’m like ‘well, it goes deeper than that.’

Obviously we’re now amongst some royalty that has sampled the classic Etta James vocal. There's “Levels” by Avicii, and “Finally Moving” by Pretty Lights. It's interesting to see – you can kind of tell how old you are based on how you perceive this song. It's been really fun and the song is getting crazy support live. At Lost Lands, Excision and Liquid Stranger played it in their B2B which was cool. It always goes off on our sets and I just sent it to GRiZ today because he asked for it.

iEDM: How do dubstep producers convince the team of a 1960s R&B/soul artist to let you use their vocal?

Wooli: I'm pretty sure we have to pay a certain amount of money. And we're not going to make as much money on the song in the end compared to if we just used a regular vocal. So there's a trade-off with it – but to me, it was worth it. This will do more for our overall careers than collecting a check.

Wooli

iEDM: How does “Dopamine” represent each of your styles as producers?

Tape B: I feel like it is very half and half. This one really represented both of our sounds mixed in very well together. When you hear it, you can definitely tell he worked on it. You can definitely tell I worked on it. You just know when you hear it if you have been listening to either of us.

Tape B

Photo courtesy of Insomniac

Wooli: I thought it did a really good job of portraying both of our styles. I used to have this very narrow tunnel vision for my music: dubstep, headbanger, anthem-type stuff that would work like crazy live at Lost Lands or something like that. You can only do that for so long, so I'm realizing there's this whole other world of music that will still be loved by the people in this narrow circle, but there's so much more out there.

I have been influenced by guys making stuff on the ‘old dubstep’ side, which is what Tape B is doing so well right now. Just adding more melodies, adding more old vibes – that's something I'm really into right now. That was another reason why decided I need to make a song with Tape B.

iEDM: Wooli - you said that you’ve been a fan of Tape B for a long time, so it was only a matter of time before you worked together. How did you first discover Tape B? What was it about his work that you found compelling?

Wooli: I think it was his “Collapse” remix. I was playing that one out for a while before it was even released. I was always playing “Collapse” here and there in my sets. It was one of my favorite old-school dubstep songs. And then I heard [Tape B’s “Collapse” Remix] and I was like, whoa, hold on. I played it and it would always get a crazy response. Then I checked out the SoundCloud and saw that beautiful smile. I was just like, I have to work with this guy.

Tape B: That was the day it all changed for me. The day I remixed that song, everything just felt so connected. And I was like, ‘Yep, this is exactly the style I wanna make’ – it felt so ‘me.’ So that was what inspired me after that to keep going and do stuff like that.

 

iEDM: Wooli - given your tendency to turn many of your biggest songs into VIP mixes (in which an artist creates a remix of their own song, optimized for live production), is a “Dopamine” VIP possible at some point, or is it too early to ask?

Wooli: It's never too early. It's not on my to-do list right now. It would be something that I want to work on with Tape B, if he's got an idea or something.

Tape B: I had an idea that I was going to text you about.

Wooli: That second drop has so many different doors that can open because there are so many melody riffs before it goes back into the drop. There's like a million possibilities with that one. 

Wooli

iEDM: Tape B - with this release signaling your most high-profile collaboration to date, you’re bound to get an influx of new fan interest. For people who aren’t familiar with you, how would you describe the Tape B brand?

Tape B: My true self is on SoundCloud with all my remixes, because that's where I take my favorite songs and put my touch on them in a fun way. My goal for next year is to bring over everything I've been doing from SoundCloud to all platforms. 

Wooli: You do a really good job with the [rap song] flips. I always see Tape B posted on Twitter, some old-school hip-hop song that you turned into a dubstep thing, and the internet always freaks out over it instantly.

iEDM: Are there certain characteristics of a song that give you the vision to flip it?

Tape B: The lyrics have to be fun to sing along to, and it has to be able to hit live. It has to have the right amount of energy and be like a song I genuinely like.

 

iEDM: This is an exciting time to be a dubstep fan. Artists from across the genre are experimenting with different sounds in their sets. What direction do you feel the dubstep scene is moving in?

Tape B: We are going into something very exciting because I feel like everything kind of got stale for a bit. Now people are broadening their tastes. I believe dubstep in the future is going to be a lot of blends of stuff going back to the roots with the deep stuff and blending it all together in a fun way.

Wooli: Currently, the meta has been bringing a really solid visual live show to everything. I think it will scale back. We've seen some success when there is zero production, like 360 sets where Skrillex is in a fucking lampshade and people are losing their minds. But somehow, dubstep is still going up and forward. I think this year was the biggest best Lost Lands yet. The sky is the limit. 

iEDM: More artists have begun speaking out recently on the mental toll that this lifestyle can take. What do each of you like to do to decompress and keep yourself sane when you aren’t performing or in the studio?

Tape B: The second I get back home, it's Berk time. I'm usually just sitting at home smoking weed and making music because making music is relaxing to me. At night, I play League of Legends or hop on Xbox and play some Apex. For outdoor stuff, I like going on walks around my neighborhood and running or biking, going to the beach and snorkeling. That's a good way to get sunlight. I have felt very happy lately so I think it's been working.

Wooli: I have some really cool friends who have already gone through the trials and stages of their music careers that I'm in right now. And they were offering some really good advice. Today, I had a long talk with GRiZ about mental health. It's also  important to have friends and family who are outside of the music industry because it reminds you that there is another world outside this little bubble of dubstep. 

iEDM: What are your career goals over the next few years?

Tape B: I want to work with rappers like Juicy J, A$AP Rocky, and Flatbush Zombies one day and be able to put on shows in a new, unique way. I am also working on an album. I don't want to say what it is about because I don't want anyone to take the idea.

I'm still going to be dropping mixtapes every two months, as well as remixes. I don't know if I'm thinking about it too early, but maybe a label – not next year, but the year after that. Oh and another goal – I want to bring block parties back, like the ones Mad Decent used to host. I feel like concert venues are starting to get really boring. So I’d like to throw a show anywhere other than a concert venue.

Wooli: My goal is to do my own bus tour. I've been on five bus tours now as support. I feel like it would be a disservice not to do a debut album one day as well. I also really like doing shows that are a little bit more unconventional and in spots that people haven't been to yet. Musically, there are a couple of bucket list people who I want to work with. Maybe there's hope for me to get an Ellie Goulding collab one day.

iEDM: You both have a ton of unreleased heat. Can you tease any more releases that we might be getting in the near future?

Tape B: I really don't have a release schedule. I kind of just drop as I go. I will probably drop the next mixtape in November. I also want to put out another mix like CarTunes 3, either in December or January and then see what happens from there.

Wooli: I'm usually like that as well. But for some reason I found myself where I have this release schedule for the next year. I guess the next one would be Illenium and Excision three-way collab that we worked on over the summer. I think it comes out at the end of this month. There's also the remix I did for Slander with Trivecta – "Walk On Water." That one's coming out and the second collab I did with Kill The Noise called "Make It Wobble" should come out this year as well.

iEDM: Finally, who are some up-and-coming artists that your fans should keep an eye out for?

Tape B: A couple artists off the top my head – I'm so sorry if I leave some out. Everyone on my tour I'm a really big fan of like Gunpoint, DÊTRE, STVSH, and Flozone. I think they all make amazing music, which is why I also brought them on tour with me. I've been really into Blurrd Vzn. Same with XaeboR – I think he makes some of the best dubstep there is and not enough people appreciate it.

Wooli: I've been really f*cking with everything that Cyclops has been making lately. He's been making heaters that you're randomly finding in Subtronics sets and some of my sets. I try to put my homie Notixx on.

There are these guys called Eyes Everywhere – they make tech house. We actually have a good collab with Stumpi. Grabbitz is a huge name now but he's like one of my day-one homies who actually taught me how to produce.

I always plug Trivecta because I think he's making some of the best melodic dubstep. A lot of the guys from Ophelia are crushing it right now. If you see a lineup that I have the option to curate, I try to put a lot of people that you definitely need to see on those kinds of lineups as well.

 

Photos courtesy of Wooli, Tape B, and @blazejzalewski

 

FOLLOW WOOLI: SPOTIFY | INSTAGRAM | SOUNDCLOUD

FOLLOW TAPE B: SPOTIFY | INSTAGRAM | SOUNDCLOUD

 

Read more iEDM Exclusive Interviews HERE!

 

Shop til' you drop with iEDM's 2023 Festival Collection HERE! 

Harrison Goldstein

HARRISON GOLDSTEIN

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Born in New Jersey and living in NYC, Harrison loves two things more than anything else: telling stories and dancing to electronic music with his friends. He became fully immersed in the world of EDM after experiencing the magical atmosphere of live shows and festivals for the first time.

Harrison hopes that his passion inspires his readers to check out new artists and introduce new people to our beautiful little sub-culture. When he isn’t dancing, Harrison loves to ski and golf, on top of being an avid soccer and MMA fan.

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