Gettin’ Funky with Marvel Years

Guitarist and producer Cory Wythe (A.K.A. Marvel Years) gave us a glimpse behind the curtain in this interview. In July 2013, Wythe had his first live performance supporting Pretty Lights in Boston, MA. Later that year he supported GRiZ on his Rebel Era tour. In the Spring of 2014, Marvel Years began his first national tour–The Retro Electric Tour. Fast forward and he has played with amazing acts including: The Floozies, Exmag, Break Science and even Gramatik.

The Beginning

Wythe began playing guitar at eleven years old. “I played in a few bands for fun throughout middle school and high school,” he said, “I started messing around making beats in my senior year of high school just to pass the time and ended up posting it on my YouTube channel.” This snowballed into his first offer to play a show in college and taking a leave from college and playing shows as his career.

When asked about his growth, Wythe said, “I just try to make music that I enjoy creating and listening to. I feel like you have a better chance to stand out making music that is true to yourself.” Obviously, a major part of the Marvel Years sound stems from guitar. “I try and make that a focal point throughout my work.”

Behind the Curtain

Next we ask, they can’t all be bangers right? “I just recently started to accept this fact,” Wythe said laughing, “I spent so much time lighting myself up when every new track I was writing wasn’t my best track.” In some regards, this can push an artist to be better. “I have accepted the fact that not every track is going to be amazing and that is ok. It’s all a part of the process.” he tells us. Wythe gains inspiration from traveling and experiencing new places. Additionally, his musical friends push him to work harder and keep pumping out music.

Wythe has said each song takes a different amount of time to finish. “It really depends on my creative head space at the time. Some songs kind of just flow out of you where you know exactly what you want to make. Other times I start with a cool idea like a guitar or drum loop and then build on it over time.” No matter how long the song takes, Wythe is confident in his music.

“What makes a good song is definitely subjective and different for everybody, but for me it’s the emotional reaction I feel,” he said. This holds true with his song, Friends–released a few months ago. The song originally began as a beat challenge Marvel Years put on Instagram. He later began the song and added his friends to it. “It ended up turning into a monster collab with 9 artists in total and it’s something I’m really proud of.” Wythe says.

Marvel Years has performed with legends like Pretty Lights, GRiZ, and Gramatik. He shared that all of these artists are major inspirations in his life and music. “It’s obvious that they are putting 100% of themselves into their [music], but it’s also the amount of time and effort they put into the behind the scenes that makes them the best in the game.”

Quarantine and the Road Ahead

Quarantine has affected us all. Marvel Years has stayed busy by performing ten live streams and he even played a socially distanced halloween festival. Wythe regarded his New Year’s Eve stream as his favorite.

“I’ve really been using this time to make music and collect myself mentally.” I’ve spent the last couple years on the road so it’s been nice to have some downtime and time to create.” While Wythe has stayed busy, he has many plans for the upcoming year including: New music, merch, and there have even been rumors of vinyls. “We are in the process of choosing the songs and getting the mixed and mastered for wax,” Wythe tells us. We are looking forward to everything Marvel Years has in store for 2021. Click the links below to learn more about Marvel Years and stay up to date on all of his plans ahead!

Find Artist On:

Marvel Years Website

Instagram

Sound Cloud

DJ Craftmatic: A Jack of All Trades

In 2008, Jordan Craft started expanding his musical status as a DJ, beginning in the bar scene and growing into the larger Colorado music scene. While he still performs at bars every now and then, DJ Craftmatic has performed in a variety of settings including weddings, fashion shows, and art showcases.

Who is Craftmatic?

DJ Craftmatic began his musical journey as a rapper when he was young. “I was in a group with my eldest brother and cousins,” he said. The group even went on tour with Bone Thugs n’ Harmony Jordan tells us. “Things never panned out so I transitioned to being a DJ in 2010,” said Craft. While this is an amazing beginning, Craftmatic kept growing. During his growth, Craft has used his own life as inspiration.

“My family, my surroundings, my experiences, my blackness–It’s all an inspiration to me.” DJ Craftmatic draws upon and looks up to many artists in the industry from all genres. For example: Prince, Roy Ayers, Flume, D’Angelo, and Todd Terry just to name a few. “I want to take bits of pieces of every musician and artist that I love and incorporate them into my sound and create a new sound–they all influence me,” he said, “It shouldn’t be about a banger all the time. If that’s what you’re hunting for, then you’re going to be miserable.” Jordan believes it is not always about bass and drops, the love of the music keeps him going. “Some will like it and some won’t but as long as you’re happy with it, then that’s all that matters,” he tells us.

When creating his own work, DJ Craftmatic looks for crisp and unique sounds with intoxicating rhythms. Some of his favorite producers like Timbaland, EPROM, Chris Lake, Dillon Nathaniel, Mr.CARMACK, or The Kount use what DJ Craftmatic refers to as “texture.” He said, “[It] could be something as little as including the old vinyl record sound lowly in the background to inverting, filtering and layering a kick drum to give you a certain depth on that sound. It’s a science.” While Craft believes he is just beginning on his “sonic journey,” he has already developed a unique and amazing sound.

Depending on his flow, Craft can pump some of his music out in a few hours, while other tracks can take days or weeks. “I really try not to force myself to finish anything because it messes up my creative process,” Jordan says. DJ Craftmatic likes to begin with foundations and loops then build upon the track, changing and adding sounds such as samples, drums, and sound textures. Craftmatic believes that a good song makes you feel.

“Melodies, groove, and swing bring that,” he said, “I am a sucker for live instrumentation and incorporating analog sounds to give the track warmth.” Personally, I knew this guy was a winner when he named two of his favorite artists as FKJ and Tom Misch–my top two as well. The top albums being French Kiwi Juice and Geography, respectively. Craft said, “Emotion intertwined and infused into the very fabric of the music–I love that kind of music.”

Events on Events

Craftmatic has performed at a variety of events so we asked him about how each of those differ. After performing in Colorado venues such as The Church, The Pikes Peak Center, Ophelia’s, and Marquis Theater, Craftmatic is ready for anything.

“I perform the same no matter the size. There could be one person there or 10,000. You treat it exactly the same, as long as one person enjoyed my music and set I’ve made an impact.” Craft has even hosted his own events, including a sneaker event, Beats, Eats, and Sneaks.

“Doing the sneaker event was actually more in my element to be honest. Events are events and hosting can be tailored to any event, but I think because it was my event, it added that extra spark. You believe in it a little more.” Overall, Craftmatic believes 2020 was a slow year, he was happy with his growth though. Jordan was excited to mention the Silent Disco events and “Doses and Mimosas” brunches with COATI Uprise. While many of these were before quarantine or limited due to restrictions, Craftmatic is excited for life to return to some sense of normalcy and get back to planning and performing at events.

Looking Forward

Craftmatic has plans for 2021 to be all about the music. He plans to drop three EPs of hip-hop, house, and EDM trap genres. “I want to show the versatility of my sound and show the rest of the world what I have to offer musically. Especially in the house scene. As black artists have become marginalized in a genre created by black DJs.”

Coming soon in 2021 is Craftmatic’s first house single, I Feel Like I’m on Dope. Be on the lookout for that dropping soon, you will not want to miss it! In the meantime check out more about DJ Craftmatic below.

Find Artist On:

Instagram

Craftmatic Website

Peering into the Crystal Ball – Our interview with Mystic I

Max Arellano (A.K.A. Mystic I) is a hip-hop artist out of Denver, CO. Not only is he a fantastic rapper, but Mystic I also provides high-quality videography for himself and other artists around Denver. We had the opportunity to talk with him about his growing career as a musical artist and a videographer.

How did you get started in the music scene and in the photo/video scene?

Mystic I tells us, “I remember always singing along to songs on the radio and beatboxing random rhythms as a kid. In high school my homie started recording music and I thought that was super cool. So, with his help I started making my own music with my iPod. The music was not good at all, but I fell in love with making something out of nothing. I got good enough to headline some shows early in my career and people encouraged me to make more music.” Shortly after beginning his musical career, Arellano realized that he would need photo and video work done to compliment his sound. “I was actually taking my own photos and filming my own videos when I first started. I didn’t have enough money to afford a photography/videography and I don’t remember even considering hiring on in the first place. I knew what I wanted and I wanted to be the one to make my content.” Mystic I has been a self-made, hands-on artist since the beginning. We asked, “Do you prefer performance or production?” Arellano’s response was that he likes both. “I like performing because that’s how I started, but I also like production because I like all the technical aspects of the behind-the-scenes process,” he said.

Let’s Dig into Some Details

“What makes a good song to you?” We asked. Mystic’s process is that he comes into sessions already knowing what he wants. “It’s hard to change my mind when it comes to that. I know I made a good song right after I record the hook,” he said. While he does not produce his own beats, Mystic I works with many producers such as Samuri, J. Dot, and Lunar Horizon to create a unique sound in each track. While beats are important to stand out, Mystic I believes his vocals set him apart from other artists in the scene. “I do some weird things on the mic, but it adds different elements to the song that makes it unique,” he said.

We decided to dig even deeper. “They can’t all be bangers–how do you keep going?” Arellano started out by saying that we was unsure. “I have a lot of songs I started and never finished because I don’t like them. I create my own inspirations out of feelings I have and I want to capture that feeling in the music. I keep going because art is therapy to me. I really don’t care if people listen or not, I do it for me.” This really stood out because one can tell that Mystic I is in it for the passion of creating music, not for the fame. Mystic I has said it can take him 30 minutes to a couple of months to finish a track. Typically, he said, if everything is on track it can be completed in a few hours. Last, we asked him what his favorite track is. He said, “Probably this song I did a couple years ago with Samuri called OFF-WHITE. Samuri made the beat in like a second and I got it sent back to him in like 20 mins. It did super well and was one of those songs that I knew was going to be a banger when I first heard the beat. I like when the process is fluid like that.”

Tell us more about your videography

“My homie/colleague David DiGioia really got me in the Denver scene and taught me a lot about photography. Big ups to him for that because it’s one of my favorite things to do now.” Arellano said. If anyone has seen some of his work, he or she can tell that, like music, Mystic I finds a lot of passion in his photo and video work. Currently, he is finding a lot of satisfaction in film cameras. He recently purchased a quadroscopic 3D camera: The Nishika N8000, “for those retro 3D looks,” he said. “Also, I use my drone more than I should. I just love the way my drone footage looks after post.” With drone footage becoming more and more useful and accessible, look for more amazing shots from Mystic I. He is inspired by video director and editor Lonewolf (Zac Matias) who has worked on projects with Plu20 Nash, Warhol, and Yung Pinch to name a few.

What is very unique about Mystic’s music videos is that he shoots, edits, and directs them himself. As previously mentioned, Mystic I prefers to cut out the middleman and work on his own projects. “I do everything. I even make the animations for promoting my songs. I have some help from the homies, but I am mostly a one-man team when it comes to creating visuals for my music.” he said. He uses custom LUTs, which are custom-made presets for videos, that give him the edgy, cinematic looks in all of his videos.

Looking to the Future

Finally, we asked what Mystic I has planed for 2021. He is working on many different projects. “I’m working on three different tapes with different producers at the moment. I’m also starting to plan my own album for later this year,” he said. Mystic is working with many different artists to create video content both for himself and their own videos. It was amazing to sit down with Max and learn all about his past and present. He is amazing behind the mic and behind the camera. Click the links below to follow along with Mystic I and stay up to date on all of his projects.

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Instagram

Soundcloud/Spotify