Interviewing KNIVES AT SEA: Energizing the Music Scene

KNIVES AT SEA, a composer, producer, and artist, is one such trailblazer who defies categorization and breaks the boundaries of genre. Hailing from a background deeply rooted in the rock music scene, KNIVES AT SEA has embarked on a remarkable journey that led to a career encompassing various genres and musical expressions.

His journey is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and an unquenchable thirst for musical energy. Join us as we delve into the life, influences, and creative process of KNIVES AT SEA, an artist who refuses to be confined by labels and genres, constantly seeking new ways to captivate audiences and make his profound mark on the music industry.

HipHopEargasmCan you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in the music industry?

KNIVES AT SEA: I'm a composer, producer, and artist. I write music with other artists and labels/publishers, often with the goal of getting those songs into sync, such as in film, TV, trailers, commercials, and games. On the latter, I compose music for games with my writing partner under the artist name Midas Twin. I started out in the industry in London as the lead singer and guitarist of a hard rock band in the UK.


HipHopEargasmWhat inspired you to pursue a music career?

KNIVES AT SEA: I started learning guitar at 11, and my dad, who was a drummer, had a huge and diverse record collection we would listen to and get into. We would jam together through my adolescence, and by 16, I knew I never wanted to do anything besides write and perform music. I've been recording in professional studios since I was 13 (a benefit of growing up in Dubai!), and it gave me a chance to experience the creative and recording process with a live band. I was hooked.

HipHopEargasmHow would you describe your musical style and the genre you primarily identify with?

KNIVES AT SEA: I honestly couldn't say I identify with any particular genre (even though when I was younger, I might have said classic rock, blues, etc.), but what I can say is that I identify with energy. I gravitate towards all music that moves you—that has groove, feel, punch, and a raw, unrelenting pulse, so I guess that casts a wide net! It probably also explains why I love writing in so many different genres, but as long as it has energy, I'm in.

HipHopEargasmHow did your journey in the music industry begin? Can you share a brief overview of your musical background?

KNIVES AT SEA: As a teenager, I was in bands at school, and by 17, the band I was in opened for Megadeth, 3 Doors Down, and Reel Big Fish at the local music festival in Dubai. I then moved to London when I was 18 to study music and was the lead singer/guitarist in a hard rock band that was eventually signed to an indie label in London. We toured the UK for about 8–10 years, which was tough going in the 2010s as rock and metal were not the music of the moment, and we eventually folded the band.

However, towards the end, I was already eyeing a move into composing for film, TV, and games. Eventually, after cold-calling different companies around the UK for about a year and a half, I finally got a gig, pitching music for an ad. The email came in at 9 p.m., and I had 3 hours to turn something in, so I went for it. Even though we didn't win the pitch, they were impressed with my speedy delivery and the quality I sent over, so it really helped me get a foot in the door.

HipHopEargasmWhat or who inspired you to become an artist, and when did you decide to pursue music seriously?

KNIVES AT SEA: I recognize we were so damn lucky and privileged as kids to have access to the venues and audiences my childhood band played to. It sounds made up, but my first live show ever was to 2000 people in a tennis stadium in Dubai! I think those early experiences gave me the confidence to say, I think I can do this, and certainly, my dad's belief in my playing gave me another boost. In a way, I'd always taken pursuing music seriously because, in some ways, I thought it was the only thing I was good at. The reality of dealing with the modern music industry once I left home was a whole other kettle of fish, though.


HipHopEargasmCan you describe some of the challenges you've faced as an up-and-coming artist in the music industry?

KNIVES AT SEA: Timing: sometimes you can have a great product, band, or song but be performing at a time when audiences in your area aren't interested in your vibe; tastes change, and quality is not always a guarantee of success. Surrounding yourself with the right collaborators and like minds can make or break; they can be the wind in your sails or the boulder in your way. It's tough, but having honest intentions and conversations with those around you sets the path forward as clearly as possible.


HipHopEargasmWhat has been your most significant achievement or milestone in your music career so far?

KNIVES AT SEA: I'm not sure about my achievements, but I've had some surreal moments, like writing music with Snoop Dogg for a trailer. Hearing your music on trailers in the cinema or on TV? Hopefully, the best is yet to come!

HipHopEargasm: How would you describe your musical style or genre, and what sets you apart from other artists in the same category?

KNIVES AT SEA: Edgy, hard-hitting, big-energy vibes! I've got a super wide background in tons of different genres.

HipHopEargasmHow do you navigate the ever-changing landscape of the music industry, especially as an up-and-coming artist?

KNIVES AT SEA: In the beginning, I would say be decisive—be the artist people think of when they think of a specific vibe. Once established, things open up, and you can branch out, but there's something really powerful about being a frontrunner in a certain vibe—it gets your name out in a big way. I can't say too much in the way of managing socials; I don't pay a huge amount of attention to it, but I love responding to fans and anyone who's into the vibe. It's humbling and wonderful to have people connect with what you do.


HipHopEargasmWhat role has technology played in shaping your music and career?

KNIVES AT SEA: It's been everything. I don't mind saying pretty much everything I learned at the beginning about producing (and specifically mixing music) I learned from YouTube, including how to build a studio. But there's a big caveat: be well-read and don't trust one source. You'll quickly find there's a lot of "noise" in the education space online, so trawling through to find the real gems is worth the dig.

HipHopEargasmHow do you measure success as an artist, and what goals are you currently working toward?

KNIVES AT SEA: I'd say continuous self-improvement is the only goal worth pursuing throughout your life. That's all I'm interested in. Can I write something better, produce or mix something better, and create more interesting sounds than I did this time last year? If the answer is yes, I'm heading in the right direction.

HipHopEargasmWhat advice would you give to aspiring musicians who are just starting their journey in the industry?

KNIVES AT SEA: Focus on great work first and always. Be mindful of people who promise the world—people who can actually deliver this usually don't boast about it. Think like a business and consider your leverage; if it doesn't make commercial sense for you, it's only for their benefit.


HipHopEargasmHow do you decide which songs make it onto an album or EP, and what are your criteria for selecting tracks?

KNIVES AT SEA: I pretty much have only one criterion: I try to imagine if I heard the song I'm working on coming in from someone else; if I'm impressed, then I know to keep going. If not, work to fix it, but never be afraid to "kill your babies" and cut things out that you thought were central to the song—it's brutal, but it's a tried and tested way too great work. It might not be the song you thought it would be, but it's still a great song! Always have someone or another pair of ears come in to listen to what you've done; you'll quickly find out if that chorus is hitting as hard as you think it does because you'll be listening through their ears!

HipHopEargasmOutside of music, do you have any other passions or hobbies that influence your work?

KNIVES AT SEA: I love food (who doesn't), and I love family time with my wife and two-year-old. I think being creative in any field is like being a sponge; you can't get more juice out if you are squeezing all the time. You have to let go and allow things to recharge before you can come back full force. Give yourself permission to take a break to live life guilt-free; you'll be a better artist for it!

Connect with KNIVES AT SEA on Instagram.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post