TF Spotlight: Locknar’s Complex Rhythms

Following the release of Locknar’s first tune of the year, we had a chat about inspirations, his creative flows, his penchant for making music for games, and lots more.

Exploring a wide array of styles and channeling them into his complex brand of music, Devin Martin aka Locknar is an American producer who likes to bring the best of old school rave sounds, sci-fi and modern iterations of dubstep and electro into his music. Starting his studio adventures in 2014, the producers knack for playing with genres can be easily verified by taking a stroll through his dynamic catalog that feels more like a heroic adventure.

Along with his solo production exploits, Locknar is also known for the album soundtrack he produced for the top-selling game ‘Madness: Project Nexus,’ and he has now established himself as a unique multi-media creative, pairing stunning visuals with his genre-breaking music.

After a brief hiatus from making music, Locknar has embarked on a new chapter with a menacing drum & bass belter called ‘Bad Science.’ We took the opportunity to speak with the ingenious producer about his latest project, his inspirations, his plans for the future. Here is what he had to say:

Hey, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. How are you?

Locknar: I am doing well thank you!

A tune after a year and it’s a belter!! What are your thoughts?

Locknar: It is really exciting. A labor of love that’s been in the making for a long time. Glad to finally get it out there and have people enjoy it out in the wild.

What was the inspiration behind delving into drum & bass with ‘Bad Science’?

Locknar:  Drum and bass has always been a genre that I loved and respected over the years. Maybe even ‘feared’ in a way. Way back when I was starting at this music-making stuff I had made some attempts at the genre and failed miserably! It comes with a long history and can take a great deal of technical know-how to make it work musically, sonically , etcetera. For ‘Bad Science’ I sat down and just listened to all the stuff I really liked. Neuro, arena, and some dancefloor-style stuff, get me into the right mindset.

Then I went ahead and got to work, a ton of tinkering to figure out what works and what doesn’t. It sounds silly, but I did want it to be ‘authentic’ not just to me, but the genre as a whole.

You have explored a number of genres over the years. How do you manage to keep your creative flow going?

Locknar:  Its hard to stay away from the computer, I can take breaks for only so long and then I will hear something that sparks a series of ideas. Then I rush to the desktop and start playing with it. I think too dance music and EDM as a whole has so much variety, and while some things are timeless, there are always new people pushing the boundaries and that just motivates me to work on more stuff. Plus the really exciting stuff to me is the high energy, and that’s changed and evolved over the years across DnB, breaks, dubstep, house. That has kept me interested in all things tear out.

You have also been involved in making music for games. Can you tell us a little more about the experience?  

Locknar: From a music-making standpoint, it actually wasn’t all that different to what I do normally. The project I worked on lent itself well to high-energy music a lot of the time with the run-and-gun beat-em’-up style gameplay. The part that was very different was the sound design work.

While a lot of the skills I had carried over, I needed to learn different approaches to making creative sounds for things that don’t really exist. “Ok, I need to make a roar for a giant monster that shoots a big ol purple laser, what on earth does that sound like?” With all that being said though, it helped me explore things as a producer that I will keep in my toolkit forever.

Who were your biggest influences when you started making music?

Locknar: When I started tinkering with music software I was pretty young. At home, my family listened to a ton of rock and roll. All the stuff from the 70s through the 80s, and I’ve always loved that energy. For the electronic stuff, at that time, I really only heard music licensed for commercials. At some point, we went to a Sam Goodie FYE type of store and I heard ‘Name of the Game’ by the Crystal Method playing over the sound system. I was like, 12 years old and went up to the cashier, asking “WHO IS THIS I MUST KNOW,” and ended up picking up the album CD.

It was around that time my uncle found out I liked that band, and he gave me a copy of Acid Pro and some sample pack CDs. Made A LOT of weird angry breaks for awhile after that. From there it was on and on and on discovering more styles in my teens until I turned 18 and started going out to clubs and festivals in my town, and the world opened up from there. The Prodigy, Pendulum, Deadmau5. Yea, it was all the super big popular acts, but I was new to the whole scene.

We have also noticed a great balance of light and dark elements in your music. How do you go about infusing these elements into your tunes?

Locknar: It’s a balancing act to be sure, I think much of that comes with my love of the big moments. It’s hard to keep the pedal on the gas the entire time in composition. Pulling back some to let the audience breathe can build that tension back into a track for big drops.

The other thing too is that musicality (harmony, melody, compositional stuff) is really fun to listen to and those quieter moments in a song allow you to explore those ideas more. I guess I like having my cake and eating it too, so to speak.

How does Locknar plan to utilize his music arsenal in the near future?

Locknar: Honestly, MORE DRUM AND BASS. It’s been a genre that I have avoided for far too long, and now I have confidence in what I am making. I look forward to getting more music out there and bringing some heat to the dance floor.

5 tunes you are feeling at the moment?

Locknar: “Runaway Train” – State Of Mind, Smooth
“Breathe” – Rene LaVice Remix
“Lock Stock” – JunkMail
“Abyss” – Gancher & Ruin Remix
“Addicted to the Game” – Prolix, Biometrix

Listen to Locknar’s latest tune ‘Bad Science’ here:

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