Tell us who you are and what you do?
I go by the moniker of 'You Haven't Heard of Him.' It's a bit of a play on that whole silly hipster thing, which is annoying. It's also a true statement, normally, as I'm not known to most people. I do a lot of things: I breathe, I eat, I kiss my wife, I go to work, I walk (and sometimes run), I play with my son, I read, I write, and I also produce music in my spare time. I could go on and on, but the list would be pretty boring.
How did you come up with your name?
My name is a play on the fact that people will sometimes say, when asked what music it is they are listening to, "Oh, you haven't heard of him." It's often delivered in that condescending tone. I always want to say, "No kidding, dumbass. That's why I'm asking you who the hell it is." So it's a bit of a tongue-in-cheek reference to that, and plus, most people haven't heard of me, so it seemed appropriate. I like the anonymous feel to it as well.
Tell us about your studio set-up/space
Studio? What studio? Hah...I use a computer that's a few years old, on a crappy 15" monitor that dies randomly, with a old mouse with sticky buttons plugged into a broken USB plug that disconnects whenever my cat walks by. The only decent piece of equipment is my nice Sony studio monitor headphones, but even those are jacked up, with about ten layers of tape on it holding one part together that's missing the wire sheathing. I'm a living example of being able to make at least decent stuff with terrible tools. I don't even have a keyboard, but use my WASD keyboard as a piano. I use Ableton, and a number of VSTs. My go-to synth would be Native Instrument's Razor, and I use Operator from Ableton quite often. I've used Massive and Cyclop in the past. Unfortunately, I don't own Cyclop, and so used the demo a bit, but don't own it. That's the next synthesizer I'd like to get...that one-eyed monster is freaking fat as hell. On a track or two, I've used Sonic Charge's Microtonic for percussion, but I use my own customized drum rack in Ableton for the main drums in almost all of my own songs, and avoid using loops. I can't say I never have, but when I do, I will slice it apart and twist it. I'd say 85% of the percussion you hear is me drumming a beat out on my computer's keyboard. So anyways, long-story-short is I have a crappy set up, but work with what I have.
How did you become a music producer?
Well, I've always been into music of all types. My mom has a tape somewhere of me singing an Adam Ant song when I was four or five or something. Music's always been one of the most important things to me. My parents listened to quite a bit of Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Police, and always let music be present in my life as I was growing up. I was in a punk band in high school, in which I did vocals (this was about 1994-1997), and then I DJ'd at raves from 1996-2006 or so. I got an MC-303 Groovebox in 1996 and messed with that a bit, and so that was probably the first electronic music I wrote. I started messing with Rebirth, Reason, and Acid Pro around 1999 or so, and used Reason almost exclusively until about 2008. I did an industrial/noise/electronic/ambient project called 3:38 between 2005 and 2007, and started messing with Ableton first in 2008, and then really got into it in the last year or so. As far as hip-hop/glitch has gone, I've been doing stuff in that genre since maybe 2006 or so.
Who are your biggest influences?
Okay, I'm glad you said, "Who," and didn't leave it open to, "what," as I'd have gone on forever. From all fields, I'd say my father's been a big influence as far as driving me towards my love of music, and not in the way you'd probably think. Specifically limiting myself to musicians/artists that have been a big influence on my 'electronic' music creation, I'd say that Richie Hawtin (Plastikman), Josh Wink, Keoki, Kalya Scintilla, Aphex Twin, Trent Reznor, Bassbin Twins, Kanye West, Trackmasters, ill.gates, and illektrolab are the first bunch that pops up in my mind. When it comes down to it, I just love sound. I listen to all genres of music, and I'm not one of those people who says that, and then when you ask them what death metal bands they like, they say they don't like that. I listen to everything from classical (favorite is Tchaikovsky), to death metal (favorite is probably Cannibal Corpse or Cryptopsy), and everything in between. I even like pop music. There's a time for bubble gum, and there's a time for well-prepared five-course meals, right? That would be The Mars Volta, which is my favorite group of musicians. I also love just simple noise and every day sounds, as you may be able to tell from my music. No matter how simple, I can never resist twisting some vocal part of sound in the song until it's almost just noise. This is especially noticeable in my 3:38 stuff.
What encourages you to carry on with music?
Have you read Bukowski's poem, 'So You Want to be a Writer?' It's on poets.org if you aren't familiar. As far back as I can remember, I've always had the urge to be creative, and my two main outlets are sound and words. I also write, and have written a couple novellas and short poetry collections, and that poem of Bukowski's hits the nail on the head, so to speak. I don't write because I want to, and I don't make music because I want to. I do these things because (if I might be a bit melodramatic) I have to. I don't know where it comes from, but I've often wondered about that. In any case, it does build up inside, and has to come out somehow, and so I write and do music. If I might quote Mr. Rollins spoken-word bit from 'Bottom,' a song by Tool, "...there's no other choice."
What do you think about the music industry and independent hip hop at the moment? Where do you think things are going in the next few years?
I'm not involved in the music industry really at all, and I guess that offers its own advantages. I think that music is cyclical, in a way. Every decade or so, it seems there is one artist who comes out of nowhere, redefines music, and is gone (i.e.:Nirvana). Music clambers along in their absence, until plastic rip-offs fill the void (i.e.: Better Than Ezra). Then, people realize finally how terrible it's all become, and pop music comes back and takes over (i.e.:Brittney Spears). Those three artists I just mentioned are roughly 1992, then 1995, then 1999. Pop will rule five or ten years or so, and then it starts again. It's the same cycle almost every decade. Look back, and you'll see Elvis in the 1950s, The Beatles in the 1960s, the 70s got Hendrix and Morrison, Sex Pistols in the late 1970s leading into the New Wave stuff that took over the 1980s, and then Kurt in the 1990s. I'm not sure who I'd say we have this last decade...time will tell, as it's not totally apparent to me at this point. I'd say probably Kanye West, as he's been the most creative and visible musician probably over the last ten years almost now. Recently, Skrillex and Deadmau5 have really stormed to peoples' attention, and it really seems to be changing the current state of music. As far as independent hip-hop goes, I'd say it's great right now, and a good time to be involved. There are a lot of sub-genres evolving, and that's awesome, because I think we all know that quite a bit of MTV-Hop is all almost entirely the same. Yes, I'm looking at you Lil' Drake Pain, and all your clones. It seems so hard these days to turn on a hip-hop radio station and hear a rapper that doesn't sound exactly like the previous one, and that sucks. I hope that, a few years from now, that has changed. I'm hoping for someone to come along and do that, and soon.
What have you been listening to recently?
I've been listening to...well, never mind...cos you haven't heard of him. Hah, but in all honesty, I do listen to my own stuff quite a bit. I guess some people think that's weird. I once saw a Kanye West interview or something where a person was talking about how they went to his house and he had his own music blasting, and was rocking out to it. I don't think that's strange at all. I mean, if I don't think my music is some of the best I've heard, then what are the chances someone else, who hasn't poured their heart and soul into it, is going to even like it at all? I have also been listening to mostly Misfits, Mr. Bungle, Ah-Ha, Jay-Z, MGMT, ill.gates, Kansas, Toto, The Mars Volta, Hopsin, and Burning the Masses these last couple of weeks.
Biggest personal music achievement?
I don't know what my biggest musical achievement has been, really. I'm pretty proud of the two albums I did under my 3:38 project; they had a huge amount of emotion invested in them, and while the production is pretty raw as I was just teaching myself the ropes as I went, they still mean a ton to me. I'm really proud lately of the work I've done with DarkoTheSuper. He's a really talented rapper that I met online, and you've also done an interview with him. That kid's got a ton of talent, and he always comes with his A-Game to the tracks I give him.
What is your next big project, any big plans coming up?
Well, lately I've been working with DarkoTheSuper, as I mentioned. We're working on an E.P. that will be out most likely before year's end, I'd like to think. We've got about five or six tracks done, and most will probably end up on the E.P. It's a mix of glitchy/atmospheric stuff and more straight-forward hip-hop. The song here is an example of what we're doing together. I'm also looking for more rappers to do one-shots with. If something goes well, I'm always open to doing bigger projects, like the one Darko and I are working on.
Any last words?
I have to thank my wife, Holly, for all the support. It's been a rough year or so for us with some stuff that's gone on around us, and we've made it this far, so I can't see anything we couldn't handle in the future. She's put up with a ton of all-nighters with me on the computer doing my thing, and if it wasn't for her being that way, I wouldn't be doing this interview. She also provides vocals for a track here and there. Also, thanks to my son, Ethan, who is nine years old and does vocal stuff for me, too. DarkoTheSuper is a great rapper and producer, and your readers should definitely check him out. I appreciate you taking the time to do this with me, and make sure to send those rappers with more than a sprig of mad-crazy spittin' skillz my way! My music often has bits that leave you wondering, 'Why'd he leave that mistake/error/distortion in the song?' I can guarantee that any 'mistakes' you may hear are all intentional and actually probably took hours to get just 'right.'