How To Make It Big Internationally: 10 Minutes With Mad Decent's Myrne

Things have been shining brightly for Singaporean chillwave producer Myrne (pronounced mur-ne). Ever since being signed to EDM honcho Diplo’s Mad Decent label, the stoic 21-year-old has pulled off a string of successes, ranging from the release of his highly-received Softsins EP to even an unannounced project with Avicii’s record label PRMD music.

Things have been busy for him. Ahead of his new Fundamentals EP dropping this Friday, and headlining the Moonbeats Warehouse Party alongside electronic acts like Ryan Hemsworth and Slow Magic this Saturday – the burgeoning producer took time off to talk to Popspoken about working with Singaporean and international artists, the acts that have influenced his sound, and how to make it big internationally.

Photo by Jared Rezel from Colossal Photos

Hi Myrne! Let’s talk genres. People have been calling your music chillwave, but there have been terms like Future Bass, Wonky, and Down Tempo thrown into the mix as well. How would you best categorize your music?

I think right now there are a lot of genre names being thrown around. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself, but based on my influences I would classify myself as a mix of Future R&B, hip-hop instrumentals, with a dash of pop and electronica. It’s still pretty broad-based and I still have a lot of freedom to do what I want.

Your new single, Pretty Things (from upcoming Fundamentals EP) is quite departure from your chilled-out sound in Softsins. What can we expect to hear on your new EP?

It’s still within the range of my own influences. I get excited about a lot of kinds of electronic music, and one of these is trap music. When I was starting out, I was influenced by the early works of Baauer and Erol Alkan. The chillwave genre is actually derived from trap. It’s basically trap instrumentals  the beats and percussion  but with more synths on top. I guess trap is the main skeleton of this whole genre that I don’t mind going back to.

What are some of the acts that have influenced your sound?

I was influenced by a lot of pop acts. The more underground names that influenced me were Rustie, Flume, and weirdly, a lot of Ariana Grande. She works with a lot of producers from the electronic scene, like Lido, Cashmere Cat. Her instrumentals are usually very soul, R&B, gospel and blues, and that has really rubbed off me. It’s also because my girlfriend likes to blast it in the studio (laughs).

There’s this complex piano bit in the remix of 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” which you did recently. Did you play that yourself?

Of course. I had a lot of fun with that one. When I listened to 50’s album, Get Rich Or Die Trying, 13 years ago, it really shaped my views on hip-hop. I tried to tie in my influences, which is a lot of ragtime, jazz, and piano music into that remake to give it more funk. With my remixes, I try to flip the song entirely  almost like as if I had to produce the song instead.

You’ve been working with other producers like StéLouse, Sober Rob and Gill Chang. How did that process go?

Most of them are based in the US, so basically we use a lot of programs like Splice, and DropBox to send over ideas. You can just hit up a random producer based in the US one day and the next day you can create a hit through file-sharing. How most of my collaborations start is that I usually have a piano line in my hard drive, and I just shoot it over to them. I send them the stems and after a few back and forths, we have a track, that’s it. There’s no need for two people in the studio at one time, because times have changed.

We’ve seen local singers such as Linying, Naomi Huth and JJ on your tracks. How do you choose the singers to perform on your tracks? 

They don’t have a lot of input on the instrumentals itself. I try to make it so that the producer is at the forefront of the track. For every song, there’s a different vibe. For example, the song I did with Linying was more indie and alternative.

JJ is my girlfriend, and she just likes to sing over my demos and works-in-progress. What I look for in a singer is the songwriting, how they sound  and if their vibe fits, I just go with it.

And are there any plans to have a male singer featured on your songs?

Yeah definitely.

In most chillwave genre acts, producers like Flume, Hudson Mohawke and Ryan Hemsworth have gone down the hip-hop/rap i.e. Cloud Rap route. Is there any chance of you going down that route?

I’ve had plenty of people hit me up for hip-hop instrumentals, but I’ve just been too busy to get to them. But I’m always open to further my sound through that. Hip-hop beats are more stripped down, and it gives a lot more space for a vocalist or an artist to get on.

You’ve been on studio lockdown 24/7 working on your Fundamentals EP. Any nuggets of information to offer us before it drops on April 15th ?

I’m actually dropping five songs this week. The EP has four songs, but I have plenty of collaborations with really amazing artists over this month. I’m working with acts like JPB, Yung Fusion, Airwave, and StéLouse, and a lot of remixes actually. I managed to lock down a few remixes for Gramatik, Hood Boy and one for Avicii’s label PRMD music – which I can’t talk about at the moment.

Any tips for aspiring producers?

I would just say stick to what you stand for. Don’t ever be in a rush to put anything out. One of my main regrets was being too impulsive in uploading every piece that I have, so that creates a really ugly backdrop that you wouldn’t want to look at in like 5, 10 years down the road. Some people can look back and say “Oh I’ve grown so much”, but sometimes there can be tracks that are embarrassing.

The most important tip is to find a group of producers and friends that will be willing to support you and your music. That’s how people get off from there.

Thanks for the time, Myrne! 

Myrne’s follow up to Mad Decent’s  Softsins, Fundamentals Ep drops on Friday, 15th April. You can hear more of his music here.

Read more about the Moonbeats Warehouse Party here. Myrne will be headlining the Moonbeats Warehouse Party alongside Ryan Hemsworth and Slow Magic on Saturday, 16th April. Tickets can be purchased here.

Event Details: 
Where: Studio Point, 158 Kallang Way, Singapore 349245
When: 16 April 2016, Saturday
Time: 9pm-late
Ticket Pricing: $70 for standard ticket, $240 for a group package of 4 tickets
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