October 29, 2020

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Whethan went from recording in his bedroom to becoming one of the most sought-after names in dance music. At only 21 years old, real name Ethan Snoreck is an electronic prodigy from Chicago who spans endless all-star collaborations and remixes, while perfecting his own solo artistry.

Getting his start producing at the age of 12 through messing around with GarageBand on one of his parents’ iPads, he instantly became addicted to music. Initially wanting to be a rapper at first, he quickly realized he didn’t have the beats — which lead to constructing his own beats and the art of creating music altogether. In 2016, he made history as the youngest ever artist on Australia’s well-respected Future Classics label, garnering a solid fanbase including a co-sign from Skrillex.

Following his debut EP, LIFE OF A WALLFLOWER VOL. 1, released in 2018, Whethan describes his forthcoming, long-awaited debut album FANTASY, as his best work to date. Enthralled with excitement, the genre-bending project is spearheaded by lead single, “Freefall” featuring Oliver Tree.

Flaunt caught up with Whethan via Zoom to discuss his upbringing in Chicago, his viral moment, friendship with Oliver Tree, his definition of FANTASY, missing live shows, and more!


You’re from Chicago, what were you seeing growing up?

My mom and dad had me at a pretty young age, when they were 20. I have very young parents, they love music. My dad listened to a lot of hip-hop, my mom’s the alternative music person. She listened to a lot of rock and pop. Neither of them really played instruments per say. My uncle played the drums in a band, also started a merch company which was something I was always interested in as a kid. If it wasn’t music, I was either skateboarding or playing hockey. Skateboarding led me to clothes and fashion. It all ended up linking together.

Making music in Chicago at first for me, was very personal. I was in my bedroom. I didn’t really have a lot of friends who made music, to be honest. Around the time I put out that remix, I became friends with Louis the Child, also from Chicago. Those are my boys, we got a studio and shared it in downtown Chicago. Fort Knox is what it was called. Made a ton of music, levelled each other up, learned so much from each other, had an amazing time. Ended up making the move out to LA together.

How would you describe your sound?

It’s hard. I’ve never really stuck with one thing. I always get bored and have to always challenge myself to get into other genres and different styles, trying to collab with artists who might not seem like they’d make sense. It comes to this future psychedelic world. With this album I’m putting out, it’s channeling a futuristic realm but also maintaining a real songwriting form at the end of the day. Having a real alternative music roots to it. I really want to be able to make music I can play at a show, making really energetic music that I can bump on loud speakers and have a great time to.

At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?

It was that first track I put out. I’d hadn’t been to that many concerts in my life at that point. I’d only been to one or 2, they weren’t electronic music-based. More rock, an Aerosmith concert and something at Warped Tour. That’s the furthest I’d gone. I saw a video on Twitter that someone posted of my song being played by this DJ group, Zeds Dead, who’s awesome. They were playing my song on the main stage at a huge festival. I’d never even been to a show that looked like that. It blew my mind because I made it in my bedroom. I didn’t know what I was doing, didn’t even think this could be played on a speaker system that loud. Flames going off, that’s the moment I thought “maybe I can do this!”

Did you expect your remix of “XE3” to do what it did?

I didn’t, I had no idea. I only put out a few songs before that, none of them gained any numbers at all. Nothing was picking up, I wasn’t expecting this song would be any different. I thought the song was really awesome, but didn’t think it’d be huge. It took quite a lot of time actually, for it to pick up traction. It took a year for people to even find it because I was so underground.

Was there a moment that helped it take off?

That app Vine was really popular at that time. I’d go on the app to the sports section, every other video I saw would be a remix of that song. It got really popular in that type of space, a lot of sports live-action clips. A really energetic song to put really crazy videos to, that took it off. 2 people are my sole influences in music: Skrillex and Daft Punk. Skrillex had put that song in one of his playlists on SoundCloud. That’s my idol, the reason I do it. I had no idea that any of that was going to happen with the song.

You just released “Freefall,” what were you going through creating this record?

Oliver Tree is one of my favorite collaborators, one of my best friends. We actually just moved into a new place together, we’re all setting up a studio right now. That song was written probably almost a full year ago now, almost a little bit more than a year. He wrote that song originally with the Chainsmokers at their house. They had no real intention doing anything with it. I was finishing up my album, really looking for a song with Oliver. I’m always working on songs for his album, not a lot of times are we working on songs for my album. I heard that song and wanted to try something out with it immediately. Everyone was super down. I’m really good friends with the Chainsmokers as well, so everyone’s like “go ahead, take your shot.” I was in Malibu finishing up my album, remixed it all and put it together. When that song was there, I had an album in front of me.

How close are you and Oliver Tree? 

We have the same manager. We’ve been making music since the first time I ever came to LA. This was right after the remix, I only had remixes out on the internet. Really trying to work on original music. My manager reached out, he found Oliver Tree on Soundcloud. He only had a few things out. They became really good friends and clicked immediately. We became really good friends, started making tons of music. He was still in college, I was still in high school. I’d take little trips to LA and stay at his dorm room, we’d make a bunch of music.

Our song “When I’m Down” was the first thing we really ever did together, aside from this one that we almost got in a fight about. [laughs] It’s a funny story, he sent me vocals over this beat I did. I took all the scratch takes that he didn’t like and put them in the song, I didn’t know they were scratch takes, we got into a fight. It’s funny because now we live together and make music all the time.

Have you gone skydiving?

I haven’t gone skydiving yet, but I really want to. That was unfortunately not fully real. I don’t think Oliver has, but we should do it. That’s something I talked about doing, that’d definitely go up. It’s going to be epic.

What’re you most excited for with FANTASY dropping?

This is really a full-length project. I’m really excited to put out a body of work and have my fans be able to jump in and listen from front to end, experience what I put together. The album’s titled FANTASY, it really is quite a fantasy in a way. Every single turn, there’s always something new. Every song is super different. I’m excited to see what people like more than others. So many different styles. I even have a song that got added to the album last week. It’s still fun things poppin’ in. I’m excited for people to finally be able to hear it, be out in the world.

Was it really 3 years in the making?

It was basically 2 years fully working on it, a couple of the songs were written 3 years ago. They date back really long. “Hurting on Purpose” with K.Flay is a 3-year-old song. The one with RL Grime is not 3 years old, but it’s an oldie for sure. I like using time as a gauge on music too because it tells me over time if I’m still vibing to the music or not. If I still have that same love for the track like when I made it the first day. It’s cool with all this time passing, still loving every song.

What is fantasy to you?

I’m a very visual person, especially listening to music. I know it’s not visual, but I love being able to listen to music and be taken to a place. I love being transported to a whole different dimension and feeling like you’re in this new world, not here. Fantasy’s a word I’ve always connected with. Subliminally, a lot of my favorite music and a lot of things that’ve happened in my life are centered around this word ‘fantasy’. Every song’s so different that each person can interpret their own fantasy off it. It’s a surreal feeling of not here, otherworldly.

Are you into psychedelics? 

A little mushrooms from time to time for sure, but that’s as far as I’d go. I love mushrooms. [laughs]

“Stay Forever” is a bop too, bring us back to when you created this record.

I’m a huge fan of STRFKR. I’ve been listening to them since I was really getting into music. I always loved their production, their freeform style. One of my friends who helped me finish the album, Tim, is really tight with STRFKR. I don’t think they do a lot of collaborations, so let’s see what happens. The main singer Josh ended up being a really cool dude. He sent me a couple demos, one of them was “Stay Forever.” I had to work on this track.

A lot of my tracks I do start as dialogue first, we can talk over the Internet a lot of times. Especially nowadays because everyone’s all over the place, it’s nice to send some ideas. I love being able to listen to a rough idea and being able to hear it as this huge picture, that’s what happened in this case. Something he’d worked on and had no idea what he’s going to do with,  I’m like “this is amazing.” The rest is history.

What do you miss most with performing?

I miss performing so much. Whenever I was so wrapped up in it, all I wanted to do sometimes is go back home and work on music. Now that it’s happening, all I want to do is go out and perform. It’s so crazy. The most inspiring thing because I’d get to hear all the other performers and shows, get inspired by music and other people’s energy. Connect with people at the shows, I miss that so much. Being able to go out and see all these new things, meet fans and meet new people. It’s amazing, live shows are incredible. When we come back, it’ll be better than ever.


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