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By: Christian Pena - March 2nd 2023
Name: Michael Gruden
Hometown: Tampa Bay, Florida
Genres: Dubstep, Experimental Bass
Micheal Gruden, also known by his stage name HEXED, continues to blur the lines between Hip-Hop and Dubstep through his blend of heavy sound design, timeless grooves and experimental arrangements. Whether it be his performances, production, or memorable artwork, music fans around the world are drawn to HEXED. Michael, originally from Tampa, Florida decided to take his music career to the next level by joining Icon Collective’s music production program in 2019. He furthered his careerunder the name of HEXED and has since earned label releases with Headbang Society, Wubaholics, MorFlo Records and more. He has gained support from artists such as Zeds Dead, TVBOO, DirtySnatcha, Zingara and Smoakland to name a few.
Connect with HEXED
In this interview we will be discussing the inspiration behind his new remix "Sweet Talk", his time at Icon Collective, all about Ableton and more.
Read the interview below
Christian: "First off I just want to say I absolutely love your remix of “Sweet Talk”, it’s so good, I enjoy listening to it!"
HEXED: "Thank you for listening to it! Thank you for the support on it!"
Christian: What made you want to remix “Sweet Talk"?
HEXED: "I was looking it up the other day, that song is 10 years old. That was the year I really started getting into electronic music. That song is very special to me, one of the first I really liked. I started off into Hip Hop music and got into electronic music like this one. It's a very meaningful song to me."
Christian: "Did you have any prior experience with any instruments or musical background before you got into EDM?"
HEXED: "Piano, I’ve been to school at Icon Collective where we focused a lot on piano. I have a Gibson guitar I’m trying to learn but I do not know how to use yet, I’ve messed with drums before but other than that just drum programming and producing beats."
Christian: "How long have you been producing for?"
HEXED: "I think I downloaded Ableton in 2015. For years I would make edits and stuff. I went to college and focused on DJIng when I was there. It was about 2019 when I was going to school that I started taking it very seriously and started releasing music."
Christian: "Tell me more about your experience with Icon Collective!"
HEXED: "It's a really cool school in Los Angeles. Before I went to college I heard of it and wanted to go there because guys like Jauz, NGHTMRE, and Slander all attended there. I started going there right before COVID and in the middle of my education, we all went online but I would say I was on campus for about 75% of my time there, I met some great people, classes with about 7-10 people. It was so cool man, the best experience of my life."
Christian: "That sounds awesome, would you recommend this to any up and coming musicians, songwriters, or who wants to get more involved in the music industry?"
HEXED: "I recommend it only if the timing is right. I did it when I had no other obligations, I saved up money from DJing and put it all into there, and I devoted my life at that time exclusively to Icon. For 18 months I made beats every single day. If you're not willing to do that, it's gonna be a waste of time and money. Don’t go unless you already have something going, I had my brand name and logo, I was releasing music while i was there, building my brand. Some people didn't have that and they didn't get off to a great start when they graduated."
Christian: "How long did it take you to make the “Sweet Talk” remix?"
HEXED: "I started this in early December. I mix and master all my songs and I focus on making sure it sounds great and that the track is also loud. I also like to take breaks working on the same song to avoid writer's block, during this time too I was working on a lot of other songs as well."
Christian: "You used Ableton to make this right?"
HEXED: "Yessir, Ableton 11, this was the first song that I used on Phase Plant. I normally use Serum but Phase Plant is a much more complex synthesizer that makes awesome sounds which I used for the drops and stuff."
Christian: "Any future songs or projects you're working on?"
HEXED: "Yes I am working on an EP called Energy, its got 4 songs on it. I have more unreleased music than I ever had, enough for a couple of EPs, but for this one, we are circulating it, trying to get it on a label. I have another remix in the cut that I'm thinking of releasing but this year I'm definitely trying to push to other labels. This year I'm super focused on more social media presence, growing the brand, and hitting the ground running hard.I’m moving to Denver, my management is out there, they have a booking agent ready for me over there. I would say about 25-30% of my sets are original but by the time I move to Denver I want an all original set. I also want to hit my goal of releasing 12 songs, 1 song a month. I did 10 last year and 11 the year before that so I'm all about putting out good music but I want to put out at least 12 songs, that's where my mind is at."
Christian: Thank you so much for your time!
Tags: HEXED, Dubstep, Experimental Bass
Categories: Music, Artist Interviews