Wriza Opens Up on Influences, Production & Working with Mersiv [Mix+Q&A]

Manifesting your dreams, for some, requires carving your own path into whatever it is you do. CO-based producer Wriza is doing just that with his unique style of modern bass music.

Wriza—real name Joseph Wylie—has become a well known name in his native state of Colorado. He’s a member of the well-known electronic collective, Sub.Mission, and has become a resident act with Mersiv’s MorFlo Records. He began studying music at Columbia College in Chicago, but later relocated to the bustling music city of Denver in 2016 to begin his career. Inspired by the interpersonal moments one experiences at a live show, Wriza hopes to help listeners step out of their comfort zone. His inspirations range from prolific hip-hop and electronic producers whose dynamic sounds are matched only by their high-energy on stage (Zeds Dead, Rza, G Jones). Wriza has performed alongside acts like TroyBoi and Mersiv, and played various festival stops including Okeechobee, Electric Forest, and Kosmic Kingdom.

Wriza has earned acclaim for self-released singles (“Minds in a Dark Place”), and recently made his debut on WAKAAN via a collaboration with Mersiv, “The Prologue.” Weaving his hip-hop influence seamlessly with an original catalogue of hard-hitting bass, he creates a rare vibe of his own.

While he’s yet to drop his first extended release as an artist, the producer caught up with MP3 to chat about what he has in store, and delivered a stellar 34-minute mix of unreleased ID’s and edits.

Listen to Wriza’s MP3 in the Mix and find our full Q&A below:

What’s the origin of the Wriza project? When did you decide to make this your career?

Deciding to make music as a career definitely came first. I was in college and I had some pretty amazing roommates who loved music and it’s safe to say they birthed my love for it as well. My current manager at Mind Warp, Cameron Inniss, was actually one of those roommates and a major catalyst in my career. The experiences I had in college at places like Electric Forest and The Intersection in Grand Rapids showed me how powerful music can be as an escape from day-to-day worries. When I was at a show, a lot of the anxieties I had would disappear for that brief moment of time and that feeling led me to pursue music for a living. Not too long after attending my first few events, I transferred to Columbia in Chicago [in 2014] to study music recording and I haven’t looked back since.

Now, the origin of the Wriza project came much later. Producing as Wylie, I was constantly trying to surround myself with like-minded people who were also working towards being successful in the music Industry. I think Wriza is a product of those people. More specifically, Taylor Reed—Manager and Co-Founder of Mind Warp. He was always adamant about the vision you were curating as an artist, and was constantly pushing me to look further and build something that inspired people. With his and Cam’s guidance and lots of scratched ideas, we created Wriza. There is still so much to be said about the project and I’m really excited to unfold that story over the next few years.

What prompted you to start making electronic music?

The largest factor was just being a fan myself. A few specific shows come to mind that really influenced my decision to make electronic music. Griz on his Power in Numbers Tour was a MAJOR factor in that decision. As was Spring Awakening in 2014. Both shows were some of my first introductions to the “scene” and some of the most memorable crowds I’ve ever been in. The energy of both were unforgettable. 

Was there a particular artist or song that inspired you?

I would say no, I’ve had so many inspirations when it comes to the music I make that to say it was one in particular would be a disservice. There are a couple artists whose productions I study and learn from, but I try to take bits and pieces from all my influences to create something new. Hip-hop as a whole is probably my biggest inspiration. I love everything about the genre and try to bring that energy into dance music. 

How would you describe your style of production?

Always evolving. The more I learn about songwriting and production the more my music is affected by it. I don’t see myself settling into one style. I think I would get bored of that. My main goal is to make people dance because that shit is fun. If there’s a name for that style, that’s how I’d describe my music.

How did the pandemic affect your creative process? Were you able to get a lot done this past year?

Honestly, not as much as I would have liked. I think to do something creative for a living you need to go out and live. The pandemic made that really hard. The electronic scene thrives off of live events and without them making dance music started to feel insignificant. Shows are starting to come back though and you can definitely feel the excitement building for this Summer.

You recently opened up for Mersiv in Fort Collins, CO. What’s it like getting back to live shows again?

Amazing, being able to get back on stage and let loose is one of the best feelings. For the last year I’ve been staring at a computer screen in anticipation of events coming back and it’s finally happening. I’ve also really missed the ability to test music out on large speaker systems, having that reference back is invaluable.

You just made your debut on Wakaan with your Mersiv collab, “The Prologue.” What can you tell us about the track and what it means to you to debut on such an esteemed label?

Working with Mersiv has been one of the best experiences I’ve had as an artist. His creativity is contagious and I think our very different takes on production blended really well with this track.

Being able to witness his work ethic and drive for perfection first hand was priceless. We’ve actually been refining ‘The Prologue’ for some time and now that it’s finally out it feels like the real story’s about to begin.

To have it debuted on Wakaan, there are no words. Starting out as a producer I created a list of labels I wanted to release on and Wakaan was right there at the top. At the time, creating the list was simply a motivation, a pipe dream. To know that all the hard work actually paid off just drives me to work that much harder to reach my next goals.

Now, let’s talk about this mix. This thing seems to be packed full of original tunes and edits. How would you describe your mixing style?

Fluid is the word that comes to mind. I try really hard to make it effortless for dancers to keep rhythm. It doesn’t take much to throw a dancer off beat so seamless transitions are really important to me.

Lots of stand out tracks. What’s your favorite moment/song?

Wheeeew that’s tough. This mix has a lot of moments I really enjoy. That being said, anytime I play Nipsey Hussle it always feels a bit more special. You can hear his verse from “Run A Lap” over a new track of mine a bit later on in the mix.

When can fans expect to see some of the these tunes released?

Hopefully this year, i’ve been in a major learning phase and a lot of these songs are the outcome of that. Polishing, and finalizing them, is the next step. I’m in no rush though. I want to be proud of the stuff I’m releasing and to do that I need to put everything I have into the music, which can take time.

What else is coming up for the Wriza project we should know about?

My entire focus has been on my debut EP recently. I’ve been recruiting some really amazing artists to be a part of it and I think it’ll set the tone for the Wriza project for some time. Hopefully you can expect that before the end of the year. I’ve also been building my website and drafting some merch ideas so keep an eye out for those as well. I don’t want to spoil too much, but we have some big plans for the next year so you’ll just have to come along for the ride.

FOLLOW WRIZA:

Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/wrizamusic

Facebook: facebook.com/wrizamusic

Instagram: instagram.com/wrizamusic

Twitter: twitter.com/wrizamusic

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Franz is Founder and Editor of MP3 MAG. A respected tastemaker and journalist, he writes content that incorporates various genres, formats and scope. He also writes for EDM.com, Creative Loafing Tampa, USA Today, CULTR and Marquee Magazine, and represents his own artist roster via the PR and Marketing platform, Franz.mp3.