Wingtip Soars To New Heights In An iEDM Exclusive Interview
Wingtip's career is flying sky high.
His recent success shouldn't come as a surprise. The San Francisco-born and Brooklyn-based producer has been making serious noise since he was a kid.
"I've been doing music for as long as I remember," Wingtip told iEDM in an exclusive interview. "It's funny--I didn't come from a musical family at all."
The multi-instrumentalist explained, "Neither of my parents listened to much. You know, they were normal people. They had a couple of records around the house."
There was one record in particular that changed Wingtip's direction forever. "I used to be obsessed with The Beatles when I was around 3. I remember really vividly, 'A Hard Day's Night' and being obsessed with it as a really young kid. When I was about 5 or 6, I remembered asking my parents if they could get me guitar lessons."
Wingtip got his lessons...but they were a little bit different from what he originally expected. "My parents are Europhiles or whatever and signed me up for classical guitar," he laughed. The talented artist continued, "I was like, 'The Beatles!' and then went, 'Oh.' It was helpful though. I learned a lot of music theory. I also learned the work ethic when it comes to music and performing. Classical guitar is very different from anything else. I did Bach and Mozart stuff on guitar."
A person doesn't get to create a global smash hit without a proper support system. Before "Rewind" launched him to fame in 2016, Wingtip acknowledged, "Full credit goes to my parents, actually. I really liked music. I did not like playing music or performing it when growing up though. My parents identified that it was something that I was good at and made me keep up with it." He paused before continuing, "I just wanted to play video games mostly. Who didn't? I was 8 years old. I didn't want to practice and sit in my room to work on scales."
The young man is now red hot on the festival circuit. By putting down the video games and focusing on the music, his drive helped advance him to the next level. "Retrospectively, it's one of those things I'm really glad my parents pushed me to do. When I was 11 or 12, I wanted to perform and play music. I knew I was never going to be really good at classical music," Wingtip stated.
He elaborated, "I would always go to the recitals that featured the best kids. They were 2 years older than me and saw them shred it. I went, 'I'm not gonna be that. I don't even like this music that much.' I'm a big believer in knowing what you're good at."
Wingtip soon found what he was looking for. "I was around 12 and asked my parents for a guitar. I started playing in bands. I loved that," the producer explained.
What better way to ring in a new year of life than receiving the ultimate gift--music. "I think it was a birthday present. It was probably 95 dollars and it came with a terrible amp. It was a starting point. I was so excited," Wingtip exclaimed. "I would listen to Green Day, Sex Pistols and The Killers. I was really into it but I didn't know how to play any of it. So for the first six months, I would play classical pieces. Eventually, I kind of learned," he winked.
It was during his teenage years that Wingtip discovered another passion of his. "In high school, I started singing a little bit. That started to be the main thing I would really identify with. Then I started going to concerts and that changed my perspective yet again. I was like, 'This is really, really what I want to do.' I never felt confident telling anyone though," he told iEDM.
Wingtip's hesitation came from the fact that he did well with his academics. "It's not like my parents weren't supportive. I actually wasn't bad when it came to school. I think I was always like, 'That would be a waste.' You know? I think I had competing voices in my head," he stated. Wingtip quickly followed up, "It was just one of those things where it was something that I really wanted to do but I didn't know if I had the guts to really pursue it. I just knew that it was something that I was obsessed with."
His obsession for creating quality music lead him to being introduced to festivals. There was no looking back. "I started going to festivals when I was in high school. I was around 15 or 16 when the DJ stuff was really taking off around 2010," Wingtip explained.
It was his experience attending festivals where he discovered his true calling. "This was the live experience I've been wanting. I used to go to bands and it was really cool but I always went, 'Ehh! The energy isn't there.' Then I would see Bassnectar, Pretty Lights and old school Steve Aoki just killing it. Crowds were unbelievable," said the producer. He nodded, "It was unlike anything I have ever seen before. I became obsessed. We went to every festival that we possibly could."
There was one festival memory in particular that Wingtip fondly remembers. "My friends and I used to go to this festival called BFD that was in Mountain View, California. I remember seeing Wolfgang Gartner in 2011 and went, 'Holy shit!' I got to play the same stage at that festival this year in June and all of my friends from high school were in the crowd. It was totally surreal," he recalled.
Wingtip works hard because he doesn't have a choice. His mission is to create a strong impression that will please your eardrums for years to come. He said, "Electronic music is all about what you are willing to put into it. If you're willing to really work, you can make stuff sound really, really good. With a band, no matter how hard you are willing to work, you have other personalities to deal with. We were in high school. Everyone had their idea as to what they want to do."
Wingtip decided to fly solo. He made a purchase to further his career. "When I was around 17, I got Ableton and was just obsessed with that. I've taken a step back to really gain an appreciation for all of it," the DJ stated.
He continued, "When you start, you ask yourself, 'What do I need to do to play live?' You don't care about the art of DJing. You just want to get in front of a big crowd and do it. Then you spend some time and talk to people who have been doing it for a long time and you realize there is a certain level of craft."
Wingtip quickly learned to respect the industry where he would make a name for himself. EDM was taking off and he wanted in on the action. He said, "When EDM was really cool and hot, that's what I was really making. When people started making all kinds of different stuff, it was cool because the last couple of years have felt like I was returning to my past."
When asked how, Wingtip told iEDM, "I picked up a guitar again and I use it all of the time. Now, it's the first thing I go to and it feels like I'm going back to the stuff I grew up with. It's weird because when I think about it, it all feels very recent."
Wingtip is still getting used to the feeling of mainstream success. His breakout single, "Rewind," took off in a way that he never thought was possible. "We had an exact expectation, it's funny that you say that. I remember talking to my manager. Stuff had been bubbling for a little bit. I think the last song I put on Spotify before 'Rewind' had about 100,000 Spotify streams," he explained.
The "Rewind" star shrugged, "I went, 'Okay. Maybe. We will see what happens.' My manager put it out about a year ago now. He thought it would be awesome if we could get to a million streams before the end of the year. That was the expectation. And then it did a million in about 10 days. It surpassed my expectations completely. I wasn't used to anything like that."
The peppy and adventurous producer remained humble after hitting it big. He still has a lot to celebrate. "Rewind" was just him, after all. "The biggest thing for me, is that I wrote 'Rewind' on my own. I put out producer stuff. Occasionally, I did stuff with other people's lyrics on top of a beat I made. 'Rewind' was lyrics along with a melody that I wrote. When it was doing well on Spotify, it was doing well with pop music," Wingtip grinned. He then stated, "People were listening for the song. I went, 'Maybe I could write lyrics. Maybe going forward, I can take pride in songwriting.' These are songs that I actually had written. To this day, I have pushed myself in a lot of new ways to try things with writing."
Wingtip's focus is keeping him energized for new and exciting opportunities. "Now everything is written to guitar and piano exclusively. Then the track comes in. That was a huge leap for me. The thing I am focusing on now is the question, 'How do I get better as a songwriter?' I feel pretty comfortable as a producer. As a songwriter, there is a vast world of possibilities," he smiled.
Combining elements of pop, indie, electro, and even a little bit of disco, Wingtip is grateful to have a team that continues to push him and his vision forward. "It's been amazing. Having that song connect when it did and getting support from Republic Records, Casablanca and outlets like iEDM...We got extraordinarily lucky. We got to do amazing festivals this summer. We are closing out with Life is Beautiful in Las Vegas which is going to be amazing."
"I've never been to Vegas and it's going to be a nightmare," he laughed wildly. "It's going to be great but...oh man. I think it's the right way to go out. I'm going to do the whole weekend. I'm going to go with friends. It's going to be interesting."
After getting his party on in Vegas, Wingtip plans on treating his fans to something special over the next few months. He told iEDM, "I have a couple of singles coming out real soon. I'm going out on tour with Giraffage in late October. I'll be debuting a new live show. It's going to be different from the usual DJ setup. It will have live guitar. It will have some beat pads. A whole new visual thing as well. It will add a real cool layer to the songs."
Before departing, he hinted, "We are hoping to bring out some of the people who have been involved with the songs and do some cool live performances on the tour. The fall is going to be awesome!"
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