N3ptune & Rusty Steve Tackle Duality, Spirituality & Social Issues Ahead of Sonic Bloom 2023
Denver-based artists N3ptune and Rusty Steve have mastered the art of duality. As creative partners since 2015, they blend their unique differences to create a powerful balance between yin and yang. The electronic music scene will experience their synergy for the first time at Sonic Bloom 2023, which is hosted in the Spanish Peaks Country, CO in June.
N3ptune and Rusty Steve handle everything in-house, from laying down verses and deciding structures to mixing and mastering. Their music defies categorization and breaks down binary barriers that once confined them. Drawing comparisons to Nine Inch Nails and Beyoncé, their music promotes the power of self through evocative sound, style, and one-of-a-kind performances.
Sonic Bloom attendees can expect something extraordinary from the duo. Heavily influenced by electronic music producers such as Aphex Twin, SHADES, Daft Punk, Honey Dijon, and Infected Mushroom, N3ptune and Rusty Steve are currently curating never-before-heard tunes.
“We’re taking electronic music and blending it with a lot of things that shouldn’t necessarily blend together,” N3ptune reveals exclusively to MP3 MAG.
Their music celebrates genres ranging from electronic, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll to heavy rap and mainstream pop, all while maintaining an underground edge. They released their debut album, RENAISSANCE, in 2021, featuring the EDM track, “ABSENT (BODY)”. The Average Jonny Remix of the song appeared on RENAISSANCE (THE REVIVAL), hinting at further electronic influences in their genre-bending work.
Rusty Steve, known off-stage as Alex Restivo, attributes the growth and inspiration behind RENAISSANCE (THE REVIVAL) to their 2022 tour with Sleigh Bells. He explains, “We grew a lot during that in-between time period. We went on our first tour, and I think after so many nights of playing those songs live and improvising, we were figuring out what we could do to accentuate the songs at the moment.”
N3ptune and Rusty Steve are true artists, drawing inspiration from their experiences, musical influences, and personal backgrounds. For N3ptune, growing up in the Baptist church led him to reject his birth name and adopt the moniker N3ptune in 2013 after hearing Lady Gaga’s song “Venus.”
He recalls, “… I was listening and losing my mind, and then she got to the bridge of the song. The first planet she called out was Neptune, and it was like something out of a movie. […] My palms were sweating because it was like hearing my name for the first time.”
Now a spiritual artist, N3ptune channels messages from the collective consciousness and his ancestors through his music. He cites Nipsey Hussle as an influence, stating, “Music is such a spiritual thing. […] You’re pulling that energy down from a nonphysical place and putting it into the physical world.”
The spiritual world’s connection to the physical realm is a recurring theme in their music. RENAISSANCE represents black, white, and the gray areas in between, while RENAISSANCE (THE REVIVAL) is a burst of color. Their vision is about exploring these elements to find balance within oneself.
However, N3ptune and Rusty Steve also address the shifting balance caused by political forces beyond their control. N3ptune highlights societal injustices that prevent students from realizing their full potential, noting the lack of funding for reform and the overemphasis on policing in schools.
“These kids do not feel safe, there’s no money being put into actual reform. There’s more money being put into SROs (student resource officers) and into policing than there is into the actual investment and enrichment and empowerment of these kids,” N3ptune discloses.
He also points out that many black and brown students in these heavily policed schools are failed by an education system that selectively excludes parts of their history.
“I was not taught about Mansa Musa, who was the richest man to ever live,” N3ptune explains. “I wasn’t taught about the black soldiers who came from the Mali empire. We were taught about Cleopatra but we weren’t taught about the Zulu nation.”
N3ptune and Rusty Steve recognize the disparities in education and strive to unify minority groups who feel excluded from binary ideologies promoted by American colonialism.
“A lot of times I wonder if people actually like the shows because I always look so angry on my face. But I do realize as a black androgynous man in America that’s like the only place I’m allowed to be angry without getting arrested,” N3ptune explains.
N3ptune and Rusty Steve channel their rage and passion into powerful performances, providing a safe space for those who feel voiceless to experience cathartic release. Rusty Steve says, “It gives me hope for the next generation. […] Kids want to see change.”
Their performances serve as a healing experience for the audience and their younger selves, inspiring those who feel disconnected from traditional expectations. N3ptune reflects, “I am the drawings I used to draw as a kid. I used to draw fashion designs that I wear now.”
Intentional in everything they do, N3ptune and Rusty Steve are educating, unifying, and inspiring current and future generations. As they celebrate darkness through dance music at Sonic Bloom and beyond, they continue to make history.
Experience N3ptune and Rusty Steve at Sonic Bloom 2023. Purchase festival passes HERE.