Soki Teams Up with Zeds Dead on Altered States Imprint

Since the pandemic has died down, many industries have not only become fully operative again but have seen a massive resurgence as well. One of the recreational sectors that has skyrocketed recently is live entertainment, which goes hand-in-hand with EDM. Along with the immense level of success that electronic music has achieved over the last year is a tidal wave of up-and-coming artists. A wave that is overflowing with producers who are pushing the limits of sound and traditional genres.

Press photo of Soki.
Photo Courtesy of Max Dashevsky.

At the forefront of this movement is rising artist Soki, who has teamed up with Zeds Dead to represent the veteran bass duo’s brand-new imprint, Altered States. Sharing his journey with MP3 MAG, Soki explains that his passion for music was ignited by going to concerts at a young age, leading him to take on guitar lessons.

Like the majority of EDM acts, Soki faced numerous struggles when initially diving into production. “I think it’s natural for producers to want to mimic artists they look up to; I definitely started doing that. However, when you’re constantly trying to make hit records and mimicking other hits, it’s an endless cycle that doesn’t allow for too much self-discovery,” Soki illustrates. “I overcame that cycle by taking a step back from the music scene I was in, allowing myself to listen to new genres and explore new sounds. By putting blinders on and completely ignoring the current hype and trends, I stopped questioning whether or not the song I was making would be a poppin’ dance floor track. Additionally, I stopped thinking about making songs for certain labels.”

When Soki blocked out these outside influences, he was able to forge his own identity and become comfortable with the fact that his sound might head in different directions. It did not take long for him to get recognized by Zeds Dead after being set on this path. Also revered for their one-of-a-kind sound design, the opportunity to work with Zeds Dead really hit home for Soki. They performed at a lot of the shows that Soki attended when he began raving at 15. Highlighting what he has learned from them, Soki puts emphasis on longevity. “They [Zeds Dead] have been a staple in the scene for a long time and have done so with poise and class”, Soki says.

If you still find yourself questioning why Soki would be a solid prospect for such an innovative duo like Zeds Dead, then you clearly haven’t listened to his debut single on Altered States, “Into The Ether”. This remarkable single previews the sheer potential that Soki has, as he delivers unprecedented soundscapes in a mesmerizing fusion of genre. Breaking down “Into The Ether”, Soki states that he opens with natural sounds to “instill imagery in the listener’s head”. He mentions how electronic music can be extremely robotic at times and it is nice to change the auditory landscape, hence the chirping birds in “Into The Ether”.

Although the exotic anthem kicks off organically, Soki makes sure to include a fair share of electrifying drum & bass. “I liked the contrast between the fast choppy amen breaks and the slower, more smooth-sounding synths. The breaks keep the energy up but the melodic synths help the song progress.” Soki then proceeds to articulate why he transitions back and forth from the chilling vocal cuts and the DnB bassline. He reveals that “like the birds, the vocal chop with delay bouncing around gave me a certain nostalgic feeling.” This alternating pattern radiates a hypnotic aura, which merges with uplifting percussion and the rest of Soki’s production throughout “Into The Ether”.

Something that truly sticks out from Soki’s inaugural single is his raw presence as an artist. It is easy to notice that “Into The Ether” and Altered States are similar because they are, “not trying to be anything but themselves. They both have a genuine feeling and care about the music first and foremost,” Soki points out. These qualities can be seen in Soki’s live performances too. Admitting that he is “a fairly straightforward mixer”, who implements reverb and filter cuts to heighten effects, Soki would rather focus on staying in sync with the crowd’s energy. He makes it known that he will play a softer tune if he’s been delivering harder tracks to give the audience a chance to breathe. Crowd awareness is imperative to Soki and he is always carefully observing how they react to what’s being played.

Press photo of Soki.
Photo Courtesy of Max Dashevsky.

A recent example of incorporating his strategy is Soki’s set at Electric Forest. Shedding light on his experience and highlights from the festival, Soki says, “it was an honor to play the Grand Artique stage at Electric Forest. It was my third year playing and the biggest stage I’ve played at that festival thus far. As for the visual and art side, Electric Forest goes above and beyond. Every square inch of that festival is covered with interactive art and lights. You can wander into the forest and stumble upon something new each day. It really is a very special place.” The flagship event matches up agreeably with Soki’s entire identity. On top of music, he is very passionate about art and fashion, tending to melt vintage elements into his outfits. However, it really just depends on his mood. “Sometimes I’ll wear bright colors and sometimes I’ll feel more like neutral monotones,” Soki expresses. 

In today’s realm of EDM, Soki has definitely established himself as a DJ-producer hybrid who is not afraid to show his true colors. And while the space he’s in will continue to flourish, so will Soki. Hinting at his goals for 2023, the young artist describes his love for analog synths and desire to grow his skills in that area. “I also plan to build a set of all original music and work with a visual artist to create a cohesive experience and story. I want to push the creative limits as much as possible,” Soki eagerly announces. In terms of releases, Soki foreshadows an exciting road ahead and possibly launching his own record label. This imaginative artist should be on every music fan’s radar this year.
Catch more artists like Soki at the Altered States label party at The Ground for Miami Music Week on March 25. Purchase tickets here.