LYNY: Tapping into Intuition, Creating Sounds from Scratch and a ‘Thank You’ Note to Skrillex
Middle school may have been filled with awkward bus rides and terrible fashion choices, but it’s also when many of us first recognized the immeasurable power of music. That’s a discovery that Alec Leinhauser, also known as LYNY, the electronic music phenom behind the massive banger, “Noxious,” will never forget. It was the moment his creative journey began. And it’s all thanks to Skrillex.
“I was playing basketball in my neighbor’s garage one day, and Skrillex started playing on the speakers,” Leinhauser said in an exclusive interview with MP3 MAG. “I was blown away. I’d never heard anything like that. All I could think about was, ‘how does he make those sounds?’ I had to know.”
You can still find some of Leinhauser’s first tracks on Soundcloud, which date back seven years. His production chops have come a long way since then, but even his earliest tracks like “no bad dreams” have solid ideas rooted in trap-style beats that defy the traditional expectations of a fourteen-year-old kid. Even back then, people were taking notice. He actually scored his first major placement on a Netflix series at 15. Despite this, his parents were a little tougher to convince — but, when LYNY released “Jump Bros” his senior year of high school, they started to understand.
“When ‘Jump Bros’ happened, my parents started to get it,” Leinhauser said. “We sat down one night and they said ‘if you believe in yourself, and you really want to do this music thing, we know you can do it.’ I think I needed that. That moment was so important to me.”
On paper, mashing Destiny’s Child vocals with the melody from the Super Smash Bros Brawl theme song doesn’t seem like the recipe for an underground smash hit. But the moment “Jump Bros” hit Soundcloud, it became abundantly clear that LYNY had achieved something truly special. Like many of music’s most iconic tracks, “Jump Bros” came together by accident.
“I made ‘Jump Bros’ in two hours,” Leinhauser said. “I accidentally wrote the Super Smash Bros melody, and somehow it went so hard.” When Leinhauser first played the finished track to his friends on Discord, he saw that happy accident as nothing more than a friendly fluke and goofy experiment. He actually wanted to move away from that iconic video game melody, but his friends insisted that he leave it in. Thankfully, he listened. “At first, I didn’t think ‘Jump Bros’ would go very far. But that track changed my entire life.”
These days, it’s almost impossible to go to a rave without hearing at least one of LYNY’s tracks — “Noxious” must have been played 50 times at the WAKAAN Festival last year alone. Known for its distinct “quacking” sound, “Noxious” is just the latest favorite in LYNY’s catalog of definitive bangers. But there’s so much more to explore.
For new fans, it’s easy to associate LYNY’s sound exclusively with the quacking bass in “Noxious” and “Laundry Money” with Jon Casey. If you’ve been to a Peekaboo set recently, you’ve probably heard this sound in their unreleased collab, too. Don’t get too used to that, though. “I don’t want fans to only know me for that quack-y sound,” Leinhauser said. “I want to keep fans on their toes. I don’t want people to know what’s coming next. That’s the key.”
Even at a quick glance, LYNY’s catalog features dozens of sounds you can’t find anywhere else. That’s because Leinhauser makes 100% of his music from scratch. Aside from the occasional vocal sample, like in his recent flip of Billie Eilish’s “Therefore I Am” — which caught the attention of Victoria Justice (yes, the ex-Disney star), who posted a video dancing to the track somewhere in the Hollywood Hills — LYNY constructs his crayon box of colorful distortions and eerie ambiance from their genesis. This is the ethos beyond LYNY’s entire project: to make music that can’t be replicated.
“I don’t use loops and barely use samples. I’ve spent years learning about sound design, and I’m finally confident enough that if I hear a sound in my head, I can build it.”
Leinhauser reassured MP3 MAG that he has no qualms with other producers utilizing loops and pre-made sounds in their own music. If it sounds good, who cares how it’s created? But, in the modern age of sample packs and services like Splice — which has millions of pre-made sounds ready to download with a quick click and a few bucks — the modern dance music scene has no shortage of cheap knockoffs and unoriginality.
With millions of tracks uploaded on a daily basis, artists need to find unique ways to stand out from the competition. “If you pump out music that sounds like everybody else, you can still blow up,” Leinhauser said. “But it won’t last long. People will lose interest fast.”
So how does Leinhauser know when a track is ready to be released? For someone that injects so much purpose into his sound and brand, you’d think there was some sort of elaborate, scientific process that determines which songs belong to the world. But that’s not really the case. Instead, Leinhauser lets intuition guide the way.
“Intuition is like a spidey sense,” Leinhauser said. “I think everyone has it — especially creatives — but sometimes it’s hard to tap into.” That’s what separates the good from the great, the trend-followers from the trend-setters: intuition. For young producers like Leinhauser, it’s a superpower that keeps on giving. But recognizing intuition doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of exposure and experience — essential cornerstones of longevity that Leinhauser, despite his youthful disposition (he’s only 22 years old), has plenty of.
With nearly a decade of production experience under his belt, Leinhauser has learned to trust his gut. Well, he hasn’t been wrong yet. LYNY is the one who doesn’t miss. And he doesn’t plan to anytime soon.
Catch LYNY alongside Alex Perez, Zen Selekta, N3ptune and more at Sonic Bloom, which will take place June 15-18 this year. Buy your festival passes HERE.