Celebrate Whethan's Debut EP With This Exclusive Photo Diary
Chi-town has #blessed us with an abundance of amazing artists, ranging from mastermind lyricist Chance The Rapper to exciting DJ-producer duo Louis the Child and R&B queen Jennifer Hudson, just to name a few. Added to the extensive list of pure talent hailing from that Midwest city is 19-year-old producer Ethan Snoreck, better known as Whethan. He’s collaborated with big name artists of the likes of Charli XCX, Dua Lipa, Flux Pavilion & MAX, plus worked with Tom Morello (featuring Portugal. The Man). The latter partnership was brought to life on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last month. As an added bonus to the aforementioned home runs this year, Whethan headlined Lollapalooza and completely dominated his set at Coachella.
The LA transplant recently released his debut EP, Life of a Wallflower Vol. 1 (out now on Big Beat Records). The release is a beautiful, cohesive body of work that serves as the perfect intro into the wonderful world of Whethan—one that is marked by mesmerizing melodies and equally alluring hooks.
Peep Whethan’s exclusive photo diary and interview with Milk below.
How does it feel to complete your debut EP?
It’s quite an amazing feeling. A little bit of a relief. I spent a lot of time making sure all the songs were perfect and flow seamlessly through. I feel really good about it. It really wrapped up an era of songs that I was working on over the past year or two. It just all made sense together.
You kind of touched on it, but what particularly makes you happy about the outcome of the release?
One being all of the features I was able to get on it—a lot of people that I’m a big fan of their music like HONNE and Oh Wonder. I was such big fans of their music before working on songs with them. So, it was really nice to work with amazing artists who added a lot to the songs.
Another thing was being able to put out more songs than one at a time—like being able to put out a project that had some songs on there like the intro, “Wallflower”, that are little bit less vocal-based, but more electronic, like stuff for shows too. A lot of songs on there will be able to be played out live.
Cool! What would you say was the biggest challenge in putting this together?
The biggest challenge was deciding what songs were going to be on it. I had so many ideas I wanted to slide into this project. It was definitely hard to figure out what exactly to put on there. Also, I figured out from working in the business that it’s a little bit harder when you’re working with a lot of different artists and features. Everyone has to agree and like the song as well. That was another hard part about putting this whole project together instead of one song, but it worked out. It was a pretty nice, seamless experience.
Rewinding back in time – everything all started with GarageBand on your iPad. At what point did you decide you wanted to pursue producing full-time?
When I was just starting on GarageBand on my iPad, I was just kind of messing around. I wasn’t fully like, ‘I’m going to do this,’ yet. Once I transitioned, got a computer and Ableton Live, I started to feel like the stuff I was making was unique to me and it was actually music. When I first started, it was random noises on an iPad. It was hilarious.
It was a moment when I had put out “XE3” on SoundCloud. I had never had any other reactions to my songs before. No one was listening to them. No plays. Nothing. Then, this song just kind of changed that. I went from having no one talking about my songs to some of my favorite DJs play that in their set or kind of supporting it in a cool way. I think that was kind of the moment like, ‘I think I want to do this full-time.’ I was so addicted to it. I didn’t’ want to do anything else at that point.
You’ve been very fortunate. You brought out the SoundCloud connection of course and how you were able to gain all of these followers from one track. It makes me think of your Coachella performance, you’ve collaborated with Charli XCX and so forth. What would you say is your personal recipe for success? How would you define it?
One thing I would definitely say is, I always try to stay true to myself and just to work on the music that I think I like and that I think is pushing the sound forward a little bit. I feel like it’s really easy to get lost in the mix of making songs that sound like something you’ve heard before or doing what everyone is doing right now. I think trying to keep the envelope moving forward and not really getting stuck trying to do the same thing. I think that’s what’s always worked for me – not getting stuck doing one sound and always keep expanding.
What helps you to expand your tastes and experience new sounds?
I definitely think it’s just life experience. I feel like I keep changing and growing and loving more styles of music. Not listening to certain styles of music that I used to and combining all of my inspirations and putting them altogether in a cool way. It feels natural. Sometimes I don’t even really understand why I’m moving in a certain direction, but I feel like it’s what something’s telling me to do.
Got it. At this point in your career, what do you value most about where you’re headed creatively?
Definitely features moving forward. I really want to work with all of the artists that I’m trying to work with; do some different, weird collaborations that people might not expect. I definitely want to work with different artists that don’t necessarily work in electronic music that much. Collaboration is definitely something I hold really high moving forward.
I also think quality. That’s something I hold really high. I’m much more of a fan of releasing a few songs that are really solid than a whole 20-song album with just a bunch of okay-sounding stuff. I want to keep outdoing myself.
At the end of the day, it’s the quality that’s going to keep you around. So, keep that mindset!
So, how have your overall experiences – both past and present—shaped you into Whethan?
Definitely being lucky enough to be able to travel and play shows all around the world. I’ve gotten to go the Europe and South America and tour all around the United States. It’s definitely made me more mature and helped me to see the world in a lot of different perspectives. We’ve all come from different places. We all kind of share this world together. Being able to travel and connect with my fans, that was a whole new experience that I’ve never gotten to do.
Images courtesy of Tak Kamihagi
Stay tuned to Milk for more photo diaries.