You know him as Audien. But to friends and family, it’s simply, Nate. Nathan Rathbun, 22 and hailing from Connecticut, has been on a meteoric rise over the past few years and shows no conceivable signs of slowing down. If you have listened to any festival set within the past few months, chances are you've heard his work. Ever heard or witnessed a live Above & Beyond set? If yes, then you have definitely heard his work. His track ‘Wayfarer' was even selected by A&B to be the opening song on the very first ‘Group Therapy' episode.
Nate came to Miami this past weekend to play the Saturday night headline set at Mansion. He allowed EDM Sauce the chance at an exclusive interview before his set. A number of moments throughout his career have attributed to the major success he has seen. However, there is one defining moment that stands out from the rest.
“So far weirdly enough it's probably gonna be the ‘Pompeii' remix. The reason is because of how many people have played it. It's clearly my biggest track. EDC, Tomorrowland, and Ultra are really defining moments and whatever is played there I feel like is the most resonating stuff.”
Things are going pretty well when your song is the most played at EDC Las Vegas. Within two years, Nate has produced numerous hits that have elevated his career to the next level. To say his life has changed would be an understatement…
“The thing that's changed the most is the amount of touring and traveling. It's gone up exponentially and it's become a lot harder to consistently make music… Even in a hotel room I'm ok, ya know? Because I do everything on a laptop anyway… I use my mouse, I'm a point-and-click guy for sure.”
Nate has had the privilege to work with several talented vocalists over the past few years. Michael S. poured his heart out on ‘Leaving You' and Ruby Prophet put her talented voice on full display with ‘These Are The Days' and his latest smash hit ‘Circles'. Recently, Nate was granted the opportunity to work with the current king of EDM vocals, Matthew Koma.
“I sent him the instrumental of ‘Seretonin' a long time ago and he really liked it, so he vibed out and wrote a top line. It turned out good, so we ended up releasing it.”
His rise in popularity resulted in an immense amount of exposure. Happen to mindlessly stumble upon a WNBA commercial? I did while watching the latest round of NBA Playoffs. Normally I just mess around on my iPad until the commercials end. However, when I heard Audien's radio smash ‘Circles' as the music for the commercial, I looked up in disbelief and amazement
“For that one it was very organic. They contacted Armada which is where ‘Circles' was released, they said they wanted to use it for this commercial, whoever does the commercials there, maybe he's just an EDM fan, heard my song and wanted it. I think what perpetuated that was all the [Sirius Xm] BPM and Electric Area airplay, because I feel like that reaches ears that aren't so attuned to EDM as well. I think it's kind of like the mainstream EDM radio in the US.”
With Las Vegas being the current EDM capital of the US, it doesn't surprise me that they would use EDM in their marketing campaigns. I see the pairing of Audien and Vegas to be a perfect match. The ad displays notorious features of “Vegas Season” like Showgirls and Wayne Newton, while harnessing the high energy of Nate's production style.
“That was something in-house. My management is Primary Wave Management. They have many resources including a full service branding agency that pitches music for brands called Brand Synergy Group. So, we tried ‘HEX' which is a track I did for 808 Audio, and it just really worked. The Vegas team loved it and they used it.”
I personally was curious about the sound structure of an original Audien track, and what makes it feel so original and refreshing in a genre where sounds are becoming apparently redundant.
“For the trancier stuff I will have one main climax and one long breakdown rather than two short climaxes and two short breakdowns but sometimes for more radio-ee kind of stuff I'll do, like, I have a new track that's done that I designed to be a radio track that goes intro hook climax middle hook climax outro so it's a little bit different this time. I'm really just trying to switch it up as much as I can. But. I think it's good to keep it interesting throughout rather then just repeating. For my remixes it's more like intro breakdown climax breakdown hook outro, very standard procedure…”
It's hard to believe how far Nate has come since his first track ‘Rise and Shine' was released in 2009. Since then, he has gone on to amounting an impressive collection of originals and remixes.
“I really just want to keep putting out good music… There's nothing like feeling a really big hype on a new track. It's like a feeling you have something really special you want to show everyone.
In terms of consistency, it seems that Nate has kept himself pretty levelheaded. That is compared to other producers who skyrocket to fame with one big track.
“[I've had] a fast consistency, not a Martin Garrix. I don't want that…. That's not the kind of pressure I strive to have, you know I like life as well! It's really about two different kinds of music. His music is more hype driven music… where my music is more melodic and has more of a story and emotion and thats kind of more targeting a wider range of listeners. I'm always going to make the melodic stuff because that's just who I am, that's all I know how to make! I don't know how to make the “fun clubby stuff” which I find is not very lasting to me.”
While Nate has found his footing in the ever popular progressive-house scene, he has also dabbled with with trance and originally began producing happy hardcore. Given the diverse range of genres under his belt, there is no question he will explore other sounds in the future.
“I like deep house, but I don't see the point for me. It would have to be melodic, and deep house to me isn't my kind of melodic. When I do an album one day, I will probably do drum n base, I love drum n base… I'll probably do some downtempo stuff. Like I'll really try to switch it up for the album.”
No more than a year ago, Nate brushed off the idea of an album. Given the major success he has achieved this year, it seems he has reconsidered.
“The album is a very big possibility and I'm working on it right now actually. It would be all new stuff, I might trickle one or two of my bigger tracks in there, but it's all going to be new stuff. I don't want an album that has tracks that have already been out. People don't want that. It's kind of a cheat. They want new stuff!”
In a last ditch effort to dig into the life of Audien, I was curious about how he spent his time on the road and what he does to keep himself entertained.
“I watch only about 3 TV shows. My favorite tv show of all time is Curb Your Enthusiasm. I love Larry David. He's the one person I would be star struck to meet. I watch Entourage, I've watched every episode of that. I really love Louie… When I watch TV on the plane, it's gotta be lighthearted and funny. Anything that's on HBO is usually good.”
While he seems like your average American kid at first, Nate has proven himself to be one of the most talented producers in this growing scene. Having shared the stage with the likes of Armin van Burren and Above & Beyond, he commands an immense amount of respect from artists that have inspired him the be the producer he has become. It's not a matter of “if”, but “when” Audien will release his freshman album. If his current collection of work stands as any indication for what we can expect in the future, I think we are in for one hell of a ride.
“I really just want to have a consistent career. Not one that just jumps up and jumps down. I want to have a slow story, a consistent story.”
I want to thank Nate for taking the time out of his extremely busy schedule to sit down with me for this interview. With such a hectic touring schedule, it goes to show the level of appreciation he has for his fans, for which I am one of his biggest. I can't wait to see how this story unfolds.