I was very excited to meet Andres Owens, also known as andreas owens. This multi-hyphenate is a man of beautiful words and well-constructed productions, crafting mixed-media pieces that offer small doses of magic in music form. You may also know this LA-based producer as the lead singer of The Millennial Club, an electronic-pop band with a vibe very fitting for the times.
Owens continues to experiment and evolve as a musician, and as a result, he develops new pieces and sides of himself to add to his artistry. Among the many collectives he is working on, there were songs he wrote more personally, and in the last year, he finally decided it was time to release a project all his own. In his debut 5-track EP, “almost everything i’ve ever wanted to say”, Owens gives us a formal (or perhaps informal) introduction to the inner workings of his mind. It’s an enchanting project that takes you through the highs and lows of vulnerability. Each song is so raw, regardless of whether it includes synths, vocals warps, or just straight demo recordings. In fact, the dynamics of the EP demonstrate his versatility and range. The R&B-pop infused project has already received high praise from notable outlets such as Banger Of The Day, Before The Data, DUMMY Mag, Fashionably Early, Substream Magazine, and We Found New Music; while also landing editorial placements on Spotify's Fresh Finds, Fresh Finds: Pop, and Study Break and TIDAL's Rising: Pop.
His music are the songs you play when you’re driving alone late at night or when you’re sitting on your living room couch alone in the darkness with a candle on. It's the time when deep thoughts cloud your mind, making memories foggy and emotions blurry. The tracks are a medley of disjointed lullabies that keep you company through those sleepless nights of sporadic thoughts and they’re the soundtracks of hopeless romantics.
“Maybe I should practice how I feel / Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel...” ~ "speaking with my chest"
When I first listened to the compilation, from start to finish, I felt like I had lifted a load off my chest and had finally acknowledged so many of the introspective episodes I went through in the past year. The EP is undeniably intimate, and not just through its lyricism, but also through its instrumentation. Like a sonic architect, you can hear the intricacies, the thoughtfulness, and the layers that went into the process of designing this.
Though a first impression of Owens may make you believe that he is more reserved and serious, especially because of the subject matter of his material, he truthfully holds a more carefree spirit that looks at life through a light-hearted lens. Life isn’t meant to be too serious for the artist and yet he finds a way of formulating these soundscapes that are dreamy, metallic illusions, taking form of the thoughts we thought we forgot. What I love most about the tracks is that I can tell he is truly speaking with all of his heart through these dark, lush R&B reverbs, sharing stories and moments with us, the listeners.
“I’m just making this too complicated / But it’s so hard to turn it off and lately / Some things I don’t need to see, God erase it / From my mind...” ~ "Falling & falling"
We jumped onto a call to chat about this project, which he released in the middle of this past week, and I am excited to be able to share his thoughts and the EP with you all.
Here is our interview:
[Neelu Mohaghegh]: I know that we're obviously talking about the project today, and I definitely have a few questions on that, but I want to get to know you a little bit more too. I'd love to just start off with an intro and how you got into music in the first place. I know you've got your entities, so I'd love to hear the story.
andreas owens [AO]: Sure. In short, music has always been a really big part of my life in terms of growing up, in the capacity of school, I was always in jazz band and marching band and doing things from from a young age even just at home, trying to write songs in a much more singer/songwriter type of way. Slowly over time, I kept investing in that and felt like it was just a fun thing to do. Then eventually I got into the realm, beyond just writing lyrics and playing on a guitar. Like “Okay, well, what if I wanted to actually arrange my own songs and actually produce something”, and I got Logic Pro and started making things on my computer. A little bit before college, or maybe like a year or two into college, I started actually doing that for real. Then little by little over time, TMC [The Millennial Club] basically came first and then eventually decided, because I'd been writing a lot of material that I felt maybe wasn't so much in the vein of TMC, but I still wanted to use, decided why not launch the solo stuff? Andrew [Owens’ manager] and I talked about it, and here we are now.
"Most of my favorite albums are ones that are so dynamic and so different and changing. It does feel like a journey. "
[NM]: That’s awesome. I think that's a really cool way to show development and growth and evolution as an artist. You get to kind of recycle and still use material that you were creating instead of scrapping and putting them away. So, I’d love to hear about this project now. I'd love to hear a little bit more from you: what this meant to you, why it was important for you to put it out with this kind of theme behind it, and maybe how you want others to experience this project?
[AO]: Well, I think that even though it's kind of a cliché, and I think it’s, at the end of the day, more of an internal thing than an external thing, there is a component to TMC that feels like it's a bit of a box, like of what people have come to expect for that. So then, talking about the solo stuff, or just the andreas solo project, in general it feels more open ended, in the sense that I really, truly feel like… it's not that I don't care, but in a sense, it's almost like I don't really care what I'm releasing under it, as long as I'm just loving it. I think that'll be also clear on the EP. It has a wide range of stuff. Truly, almost to the point where you might be listening and be like, “I don't really understand how these are all connected. But to some degree, it's because, they're kind of not, and that's intentional. I want it to almost feel like they are almost interjections of thought and things that I've compiled over the sort of seasons of life that I've gone through—Hopefully, in a way that will keep it more refreshing.
So, this way doesn't feel like to listeners “yeah, I really do like this but it all sounds the same”. Instead, it will be like, “I don't know if I love this one song but these other ones I do because…” As a work it is so different, so it is enjoyable in that way. I've always leaned heavier to artists that don't have records that all sound the same. Most of my favorite albums are ones that are so dynamic and so different and changing. It does feel like a journey. I do think that that's less common nowadays. I think a lot of times records I listened to will be really good, but they do kind of, most of the songs, sound very similar. So yeah, I guess it's my take on trying to just be authentic to myself, but at the same time not to care too much about what I think people are going to think about the music and instead just make something that I really enjoy.
[NM]: Absolutely—I get that. If you had to choose a track off the project, that if you had somebody came up to you for the first time, and asked you to give them a song of yours from the project to present personality, which song would you think would be the one you'd introduce to them?
[AO]: The one that's most authentic, the most like me, would definitely be “speaking with my chest”, which is the last song on the EP. Because it's the most honest, the most unfiltered. It was a one take song. I recorded the initial thing and just decided as soon as I recorded it that I'm not re-recording it. I'm not going to try and get better takes. I just decided this is it. And I wrote it in like a span maybe 15 minutes or something.
"So, trying to push through that and accept the humanity of the process, that it's not going to be perfect..."
[NM]: It’s funny that you mention that song as the one you’d introduce, because when I was going through the titles, that was the one that struck me the most—drew my attention. I'm excited for everyone to hear this project. How would you say you've grown as an artist, maybe what's the biggest defining factor that you've learned about yourself?
[AO]: Well, I would say that probably the actual biggest thing is there's an element to music, when you're an artist trying to do it all yourself, (not that I'm the only person doing it all myself), like as someone who wants to write the music, produce the music, arrange it, mix it, you know, do the whole kind of “go the whole nine yards”. I think there's always an element of wanting it to sound perfect, whether or not we mean to, and holding ourselves to a really high standard in that regard. There is this truth, that when we listen to our records, every song is littered with mistakes, and you know, little cuts and blips and things that are, you know, “wrong”, or that you would have redone yourself. But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. We don't care. So, that's the biggest thing that I've tried hard to get past is accepting those little things that I would accept myself if it wasn't my music. Does that make sense?
[NM]: Oh, absolutely!
[AO]: It's like, you listen to your favorite artists, and you hear those little things that are like, “Oh, yeah, that doesn't sound quite right, whatever”, but you do not care. It does not matter. But those are little things that when I'm going to do it, I still find myself kind of being like, “oh, man, I think I might need to redo this and that”. So, trying to push through that and accept the humanity of the process, that it's not going to be perfect, and really trying to lean into that because that's been a really big struggle for me is basically sitting and trying to listen and find every tiny mistake. So, I think I've gotten better about that with this project, and I'm trying to do that moving forward.
[NM]: For sure. I feel like that's something I also have been struggling with. I think we're our own worst critic—Always. It’s easier to give advice to other people, but harder to take your own. How do you think you would say is the way you approach songwriting? What comes first in the process and how do things develop from there?
[AO]: Well, I think that I am someone who doesn't have a super particular process. I know a lot of artists do—they have a very: “I need to have the hook first”, or “I need to have a beat first.” I tend to think I’m fairly open to that point that I think, oftentimes, the only consistent thing is that I will record something on my phone if I have an idea. I don't always have my laptop or I'm not always in a situation where I can just jump on and pound something out like at home, like with the piano or the guitar. So, having the ability to record my thoughts quickly, through my phone has been one of the most consistent things I'd say. But the process is usually the same in the sense that I record an initial idea quickly. I usually record every concept, vocally speaking, then I record every concept as a first pass just on this thing, just plugging it into my computer, seeing it, throwing it into the mix. And usually, it'll go quite a bit of time where it's just those takes. Then I'll jump in and record on an actual mic, but the process is fairly sporadic, and some songs will take a day, but I think that a lot of times, as artists, we have those moments where it's just a few hours, and for whatever reason, things just were clicking, and you're just creating in a really efficient way. But I've certainly also had the times where I'm trying for weeks on end to come up with something, and we just can't just can't do it.
[NM]: For sure. Now, a fun question: who are you most excited to see live now that concerts are back?
[AO]: I don't know that I will go and see him live, I haven't looked at shows coming nearby or anything, but I would really love to see Porter Robinson live, because I think his show is such an interesting blend. I feel like no one is doing something quite like he is where it's like an EDM experience, I suppose, but then it's not an EDM experience at all. There's so much digital artistry, that I think goes into his stuff. I would really be excited to see him live.
[NM]: That’s awesome. No, definitely, especially with the most recent project, I feel like there's a lot that I'm sure his mind is just envisioning for that visually. His shows are very cinematic and multi-sensory. Are there any personal or musical plans you have in mind before the end of the summer?
[AO]: I don't have any super concrete, set-in-stone plans. All I kind of want to do is hit a good stride and a good workflow between all of the different projects. I think right now that's been a bit of a struggle for me because I do the majority of everything for TMC, at least in the initial phases of all the music, so trying to balance that with the solo stuff, with just personal life and work and stuff, and then we have like a l-fi thing as well, that is not as intensive, but it is still moving. So, I guess just getting better, I’m sure that this is like everyone's default in their brain, but it's just getting better at time management and getting more efficient at life.
[NM]: No, 100% Yes, that's definitely a thing that's like, adulting life one on one problems. So for sure. But um, then for that case, kind of I know, in this past year, everyone's kind of been, you know, finding something new or something that kind of helps them get out of sometimes the work routine or something like that, you know, just get this head back in the right space. But would you say you have anything that you kind of like found outside of music that's become a hobby or something that maybe people don't really know about you that you've gotten really into lately?
[AO]: I run quite a bit. Probably most people who don't know me, but just know the music, would not know that. Yeah, just exercise and stuff. I love to cook, too. So, I'd say that. Cooking and running are two of the things I do the most every day.
[NM]: Do you have a favorite dish that you cook?
[AO]: Two of the things that I eat most consistently are an oatmeal thing, like apples and cinnamon and stuff, which I really like, and then just usually every day, either fish or something like that as well.
[NM]: For sure. Do you have a favorite spot that is your go-to spot when you need to just get away and have a good mental space for yourself?
[AO]: Where I'll go and run, it is residential, but not so much like the neighborhoods here. Where I live is kind of like at the base of this heights area. So, I'll go and run the heights and I’ll usually go and run quite a ways up there, and then kind of stop halfway through and just kind of be there because it's very secluded, and very, very private. It's just nature and birds. So, I'll usually hang out there for 5-10 minutes. I try to go every single day and re-center and then come back and then start up again.
[NM]: That’s really awesome and it sounds great. Do you have a new favorite artist that you’ve been obsessed with lately?
[AO]: I'd say right now I'm mostly listening to, for a variety of reasons, PinkPantheress.
"That's the side of my music, that it's not even really my music, but it’s a side of production that I've gotten to like explore with someone else's voice and just how to basically try and uplift someone else's music in that way. So, that's been a really cool adventure for me and really exciting."
[NM]: Yes! I love the new song— it is so good!
[AO]: It’s so strange, because all of her music I think is just some of the most inventive stuff I've heard in a long time, because it's all sampled things that have been out before that she's just using like the backdrop of something. It's so strange, because I think on one hand, it's this juxtaposition of wanting to take five years to perfect something, but then listening to something that sounds like it could have been made in two minutes, but thinking it's so perfect! Like, that's how I feel about her music. Her music sounds to me not a knock at all, but it sounds like it could have been made in five minutes, but it's so good, and it's so interesting!
I was having this discussion with one of my buddies, who is in the band with me, on her song, one of the first releases that she had, and it's a sample of a Michael Jackson song. It's just transposed or something, and then she just sings over it. But what I was getting at is that I think it's just hilarious to think that she heard that Michael Jackson song and was like singing some other melody in her head over this iconic song. It was just like, “what if we just like, you know, sing something else over?” That idea to me is, I think, it's genius, and it's just so cool. So, I've been really, really vibing on all these songs that she's been putting out.
[NM]: Definitely! It's multi-layering over things that existed already.
What are you most excited for that you want to share with people that maybe they should be on the lookout for? Aside from the project, which is obviously a BIG deal, but is there anything else down the line kind of for the rest of the year that you want to share?
[AO]: I guess the one thing I can draw off of, or draw on for the solo project in particular, is the solo project is the side of my music that I'm feeling is open to a lot more being collaborative, it's been more challenging to make the band more collaborative, you know, obviously, there's just more people involved in doing all of that with an extra three, four or five people. It's just more challenging. So, I will say, although I have no idea yet about release dates and exactly when everything will be finished, I have been writing or basically producing music for my girlfriend. So, we'll probably release some stuff soon-ish. Some original music that I sing on as well. So, that will be it…But it will be something where I'm like, featured on it or something. So, I'm pretty excited about that. That's the side of my music, that it's not even really my music, but it’s a side of production that I've gotten to like explore with someone else's voice and just how to basically try and uplift someone else's music in that way. So, that's been a really cool adventure for me and really exciting.
[NM]: That is really exciting! That's gonna be really great for the both of you!
[AO]: Yeah, we're really excited. It's very fun too because it's the side of music for her that she’s never really explored because she has…as much as I'm involved in music, her training for music is so far beyond mine. She did the elite, like college-level vocal training, and in so many more ways than I ever could have imagined even existed—she has all of that. But then, she's now kind of dropping into the modern, we'll just call it the “industry side” of things and how this sort of music actually works and all that goes into it and stuff. So, it's been a great learning experience for the both of us.
[NM]: Yeah, I was gonna say both of you have something to teach each other and share with each other, which is very cool. If you had to describe yourself in one word or phrase, what would it be?
[AO]: I would say one word or phrase. Whoa. I would say probably “not-too-serious”, with hyphens. I think that, honestly…this is a funny little note, but for a large part of my life growing up, I used to really think that I was a very serious person. Anyone who knows me, it's like, "you're not that serious of a person. You're always joking around, you're always just trying to have fun”, I guess. I really thought that I was a serious person and thought that that was who I was supposed to be. You know, cold…And it's so funny, now I think I've just grown a lot in awareness of myself over the last five years in my life, realizing I am not for one second the serious James Bond character that I thought I was supposed to be.
Thank you so much for this wonderful conversation, Andres. I am so happy everyone can hear this incredible project.