A music producer working on a microphone in a recording studio, using a mixing mastering program.

SugarBeats (Luke Estes & Golden Toast)

1. Tell us about SugarBeats? How was it formed?

SugarBeats is a collaboration project between myself and Golden Toast, which has evolved from our roots collaborating on hip hop a few years back. We split ways when I moved to San Francisco to attend Pyramind, and came back together with new skill sets and fresh ideas. We’ve always had very different styles but work really well together, its the contrast between us that creates this unique style that comes from neither of us alone, its birthed in the space that divides us.

Where he drives more overt and explosive, I tend towards the subtle and ungraspable, and for that reason he creates the structure, base, and arrangement, while I tackle the hidden details that make a huge difference without one really noticing anything obvious happening behind the scenes. I imagine it may take most fresh listeners repeated plays to really grasp the complexities involved. The name came from my desire to create music that was before anything else fun, it’s like candy for your ears, its meant to catch you by surprise and delight you with a slightly off kilter charm, but contrasted with something hard you can get down to.

2. Do you have any releases?

We released our debut EP, Honey Jar, mid November 2012 with Street Ritual, a Bay Area glitch hop label. Our new album Cherry Bomb was just released on April 1st. We also have a couple remixes self released on our SoundCloud, as well as some we have yet to release soon. What’s great about the discography we’re building is that you can really hear our progress as we experiment with different styles and begin digging deeper into something neither of us could have expected, something unlike what we’ve heard before.

3. Where did the idea of funk, glitch, and bass heavy music come from and how do you blend it so seamlessly?

When I was first introduced to dubstep I didn’t much like it, or for that matter understand it, but as I found songs I really liked in that genre I realized there was a potential there to create something very exciting and stimulating for the body, mind and soul. Reconnecting to my passion for dancing, especially to funk and hip hop through EDM, my tastes led me to find artists that were blending all those genres into glitch hop, beats music, dubstep, ghetto funk, electro funk, and so on and so forth.

I saw how you can combine so many influences into a single song and synthesize something completely different in the process. My endeavor has been to provide people with the same feeling I get on the dance floor, and the music is just a reflection of everything I absorb and refract back out, the most prominent elements being those I find most attractive. I have a very deep passion for details, so I love to sit and craft meticulous glitch sequences and sound design elements that tie tracks together, allowing me to connect seemingly opposing styles cohesively. Those tiny subconscious transitional sounds often add a feeling of depth and character, give breath and life to a track, which is important to accentuate the pulse and encourages sinking deeper into the music.

4. How did Pyramind help you become the artist you are today?

What I learned at Pyramind provided a base for all the techniques I use, and allowed me to expand and explore past the limits of what education can give you. It introduced me to many new concepts through real applicable skills, which I in turn researched on my own time to gain deeper understanding and find new ways to use old tricks.

From learning about music theory (of which I knew none) to the history and up to contemporary styles and techniques, Pyramind provided a base knowledge which I used to springboard into other avenues of research. Having access to that community is of huge value to me as well, I’ve made friends there I will know forever. The music business classes are big for me now too, being able to read a contract full of legalspeak and understand all of it is hugely important!

5. How did you find Pyramind Training? What about us sparked an interest in you? Can you share any experience with us during your time here?

A good friend of mine told me about Pyramind after he had attended and highly recommended it to me. I had been taking guitar lessons for 6 years and had just stepped into the vast world of production, of which I knew nothing about. I just always had a very particular taste in music, I could understand the appeal of certain popular songs but they never stirred anything deep within me, like some of the songs I cherish and hold dear.

On top of that I began hearing songs in my imagination that didn’t exist, and I resolved to one day make those songs a reality. Most of those I have yet to realize. There are no singular moments that really stand out to memory, more the bulk of the whole experience, how fast the time flew by, how it felt sometimes I wasn’t even learning much till I stopped to look back at where I’d come from. Because ultimately going to school can be something that changes you in ways you don’t even notice, you find all that knowledge tucked away in your subconscious to draw upon naturally as the need arises.


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