AIR APPARENT talks us through the Top 10 artists that inspired his infectious debut album Color Dreams.
San Francisco-based producer AIR APPARENT has a unique, youthful approach to electro-pop music. With catchy melodies, pulsating synth rhythms, and buoyant dance beats; his tracks are the perfect summertime anthems.
With influences of pop, future bass, R&B, and throwback 80s synthwave, his debut album Color Dreams is a kaleidoscopic collection of songs showing the progression throughout different stages of a relationship of dreamy sequences.
“My sound is inspired by the concept of dreams,” explains Neil on the concept of the album. “I love how dreams bounce between feeling surreal and completely unrealistic. I want my music to feel dream-like, existing in the space between reality and something entirely made up in your head, out of your control.”
Here are ten artists that influenced AIR APPARENT’s sound on his debut album:
Mitski’s music reaches deep into the recesses of my body and yanks out emotions I thought I’d buried long ago. Every time I was stuck writing something I’d listen to Mitski and her music would help remind me to start writing from the feeling that motivated the song in the first place.
To me, Medasin is one of the most inspiring producers out there right now. His music influences how I think about sound design, and in analyzing some of his music I started to appreciate a lot of the little things he does like subtly bit crushing synths. You might hear this influence on a few tracks like “Sorry.”
Half of Cassette Tapes is an awesome friend of mine, and we’ve definitely had sessions together. I’ve learned so much from him and listen to all of their stuff on repeat, so I’d be shocked if there aren’t things that they do that affect my sound (especially around adding groove to tracks, and successfully layering sound to feel focused).
Moses Sumney is a beautiful blend of James Blake and Radiohead-like musical composition with Frank Ocean-like croony vocals. When I think of evocative music, I can’t help but think of Moses Sumney. As I tried to figure out how to navigate how to perform a falsetto I felt good about, I listened to a lot of his stuff.
I discovered this band while working on the EP. I won’t lie – their use of arpeggiators and reverb redefined how I was thinking about both elements altogether. You’ll hear the influence pretty strongly on the newer tracks of the EP (particularly in the latter half of the song).
Japanese Breakfast is quintessential dream music. I think Soft Sounds from Another Planet is my most listened to album on streams and my most played vinyl by far. I can listen to this band in any mood, and I think I saw them play live twice in between putting this EP together. After both shows, I felt inspired and ended up staying up most of the night writing. I think the first version of Wide Awake was written around that time.
I’m an Indian-American producer, and I find listening to Punjabi music takes me home. Diljit is a newer Punjabi artist bringing a modern punch to a very popular dance genre from India worldwide. His stuff definitely influenced my sound on a few of the more upbeat songs like Asking You. Pay attention to the ad libs!
I find it interesting how different bands in different genres achieve ‘dreamy music’. Tame Impala’s ability to do so using layered reverb, crushed drums, and a synth bass undeniably succeeds in doing so. The end result is what feels like both a time capsule into a ’60s psychedelic rock universe mixed with modern indie rock. I take a lot of inspiration regarding vocal layering from this amazing project!
Okay, it’s mostly just Blue Monday. I listen to the song when I cook with my friend a lot. I love the groove, the somber lyrics, the use of vocoder, and the weird contrast between the vocal delivery/lyrics and the upbeat instrumental. Hearing songs like that has always fascinated me, and made me want to try to create unexpected tones over beats. As a result, I wind up often trying to make songs sound hopeful while only using minor scales. It’s a fun challenge, but I’ll let you be the judge on whether I succeeded or not!
CHVRCHES is probably the band I listened to the most before I started producing. It was fun to take inspiration from them in writing poppy hooks and combining it with synths. I knew I wanted the song Too Far Gone to evoke some of the same vibe, so I ended up grabbing a Prophet VST. It felt like an homage to a whole era just by tapping into an iconic band that shares the same set of influences.
Check out Color Dreams below: