“top 40 is less about music as a form of art, and more about music as a form of income” | Interview with Son Step

With a fast chaotic drum track, jazzy chords and crisp instrumentation, Son Step’s Hissing Sauna is a very honest and powerful work. Read our discussion with the artist below!

Describe your sound in three words

progressive cotton candy

Tell us a few things about Hissing Sauna. What is the main idea behind it?

I wrote it a bit after seeing Unknown Mortal Orchestra touring behind their great album, Multi-love. They have this addictive song called “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”. I think phone addiction is one of the most pervasive symptoms of modernity. There are some other works of art that also inspired the song. The film, The Social Dilemma talks about how tech companies intentionally try to get us addicted to our screens. Black Mirror usually shows a darker side of technology in our present or near future. And, I guess, that’s what inspired this song. Also, the name is kinda an allusion to an of Montreal record I like. I really admire their work.

Your music combines commercial quality but with jazzy elements and an experimental touch. Should music as a form of art always challenge the listener?

Yes. I think good art is always a little challenging. Son Step has always valued novelty and experimentation. When specialness is the goal, things aren’t always easy for the consumer. I think a lot of pop artists put their novelty into their visuals more than their sounds, and that’s why there is so much conformity and recycling in the music of the top 40 types, even if they’ve got face tattoos. But then again, maybe top 40 stuff is less about music as a form of art, and more about music as a form of income.

Which is your most personal and honest lyric?

“All that I can be is in this thing concealed. All that I can be will never be revealed. When the feeling of an image disappears, what does it mean to feel?”

Favorite album of the past year?

Just one? Probably Symbol by Susumu Yokota

If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?


What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

Nine Days really kept me thinking for a while after I saw it.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Keep wearing a mask, even after you’ve been vaccinated.

Thank you!

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