Box of Wolves Interview: Instrumental Music That Speaks to the Masses

Music is strong and very emotional. Sometimes in life you will come across a creative being that is truly blessed. Box of Wolves is a talented graphic designer, UIX designer and musician that resides in Canada. This productive beatsmith yearns to create music that encompasses his mood. The transferable magic that he creates resonates with his growing audience. Check out the interview with the prolific genius below.

First and foremost, where did your name, Box of Wolves, come from?

Actually, it was username/moniker I went with when I first created by Soundcloud account back in 2011. It was meant to to an alias for uploading monthly mixes for my music blog ( Soon after I started uploading my original work and decided to stick with the moniker.

So doing my research I notice that your music is classified as Chillwave, Synthwave, Nu Disco. Would you mind sharing your influences with the masses?

Well first and foremost, I really love music and I'm into everything except country. When I listen to a song or an artist and I really like what I hear, that's all that matters to me. Listening to music in a more critical perspective is how I determine this. Songwriting, style, elements used, rhythm, you know, all that stuff. But when I work on my own music I like to give off a feel good/nostalgic vibe most of the time. I'm a 90s kid and I've always had a weakness for summer beachside or poolside music (DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - "Summertime", or even Queen Latifah - "Weekend Love"). Now while that nostalgic feel is what I visualize, but in terms of style I'm very influenced by artists like Washed Out, Goldroom.

I really like the Goldroom - "Till Sunrise" premix that you did. What inspired you to remix the track?

Thanks! Goldroom released the vocal stems of the track 2 weeks before the actual song was released to see what people can come up with without hearing the original hence the "Premix". I really loved the vocals and I thought I could definitely do something with it as if it were my own track and based on the lyrics I knew the song was meant to have a summer sunset vibe. So that is what I did. I constructed my elements around the vocals like I normally do with my own songs so it doesn't feel like just another remix, but a song of it's own. There's no rule that says a remix has to be dance or super altered to be different from the original.

You are a creative being that also excels at graphic design. I notice that you use Fiverr as well. Describe the joy associated with creating artwork for customers?

It's quite amazing really. Doing that gig thought a lot of thing about myself. The way I view myself creatively and managing my time between working full-time as a software designer, doing music, fiverr and my personal life. I didn't think I'd be able to handle it all without being stressed or running out of ideas or creative juice, but I did. As of yesterday, I have completed 801 covers on fiverr. I think that's quite an achievement for something only meant to be a hobby. I get more experienced with every cover I design, both in skill or creativity. It's also given me the opportunity to work with some really great up and comers.

Music is a powerful medium that has a huge impact on one's mood. A lot of your work is instrumental and void of vocals. How do you speak through your music?

And that's what I'm trying to achieve. Being able to put the listener in that nostalgic state with my music. Sometimes you can achieve that with the composition of your sound. It does not have to be complex or over produced. I'm more visual with my music. That being said, my 2 most recent official single have vocals but that's because they work with what I have composed, not because I have to in order to get a complete track out. To me, mood and visuals and vibe is everything.

5 Tips for Marketing an Instrumental Hip-Hop Release

Recently I had the opportunity to interview UK beatmaker Cypria. Cypria talks about his latest release Broken Dream Boulevard, being a record label owner and shares 5 tips for marketing an instrumental hip hop release. Check out the interview below and follow Cypria on Twitter.

Recently you released Broken Dream Boulevard. How does this project differ from your previous projects?

Broken Dream Boulevard is definitely a little darker than my previous stuff. I mean, my stuff has always been really soulful and upbeat but for this one I wanted to show people the diversity in my beats. I can make the uplifting soulful stuff, I can take a darker sample and flip it and I can also sample jazz and make that sound dope.

During the process of putting the EP together I was listening to less hip-hop and playing stuff like Marvin Gaye, Sly & The Family Stone, D'Angelo ect, and I think that meant I wasn't tangled up in what other producers were doing and that's why the project sounds so different.

The process of releasing music is very stressful. Some artists judge success by sales, while some artists judge success by fans acquired or reach. How does Cypria judge success?

I don't really care too much about sales at the moment I just want to reach people. To me, the best way of judging success is by listening to what people are saying about your stuff. The Sunday Soul Sessions was by far my most successful project so far in terms of how many downloads/plays it got, but it was the things people were saying about it that really gave me a feeling of accomplishment. With Broken Dream Boulevard the comments I've got off people so far have been amazing, which is great because to me it's my best material yet.

The instrumental market is saturated with beatmakers. How do you remain sane given the amount of healthy competition?

Honestly I don't really worry too much about the competition. I mean in the last couple of years I've noticed it's harder to get music recognized because of how many people are doing it now, but I think the main advantage that I have is my originality. That's 100% the most important thing to me, in the past I've been compared to people like Apollo Brown or 9th Wonder on occasion, but I honestly believe that there's nobody else out there that sounds like me. I'm self taught and I've spent a lot of time working on my sound and that's why I think people hear my music and can recognize that I made it.

Some may not be aware but you are the founder of Lunatick Records. How do you balance the artist and record owner dynamic?

That's right, it is actually very difficult to balance the two at the moment. I recently graduated university, I DJ a few nights a week in local clubs and I'm working on trying to build a career in journalism. So between all that I barely have time to make music or run the record label.

I think the most important thing I've learnt is not to overwhelm myself. It's OK to kick back and watch a movie every now and again instead of worrying about my music or the next release the label has. You've got to find balance if you want to do a lot, and time management is absolutely key.

Would you mind sharing 5 tips for marketing an instrumental hip-hop release?

1. Have a signature sound.
2. Find a great team to help you out.
3. Think about what makes you stand out, it's not just your music.
4. Write a plan. Without a plan you plan to fail.
5. Be relentless. You better be prepared to work hard if you're going to be a success as an independent artist.

FREE Download: WonderFlow - Ethereal

It is nice to listen to jazzy hip-hop every now and then. Duo, WonderFlow, serve up their latest jazzy delight called Ethereal.

WonderFlow consists of hip-hop Renaissance man Hazey82 and his partner in rhyme Keen. I love the progression that the duo has made since their 2012 release Cookbook.

Ethereal features production from Hazey82 himself, Glad2Mecha and Elyon. Listen to the stream below.

You can download Ethereal by clicking the Download Now button below or support the duo by Buying the Project.

Premiere: Devize ft. Praverb, Aral & Sauze - The Fray

I haven't released material in 2 years and to be honest I have felt empty. Writing music is a therapeutic process for me and releasing my feelings to the masses serves as stress relief.

I missed the feeling of releasing music. In an effort to prep for new material, I decided to share a track that I have been sitting on for awhile. The song was premiered on Hip-Hop Kings earlier today.

Honestly, I wrestled with releasing this track. "The Fray" is an international track that features Germany singer Devize and Belgian hip-hop duo Aral & Sauze.

Devize and I have been working on material for years. Recently we connected on the 2012 song "Temporary Home". Devize is one of the most talented artists that I have worked with. His voice is gold!

I sat on this song for a few months and I decided to contact Aral & Sauze after listening to singles from their latest album Connection. I noticed that they had tracks with Dj Revolution, Evidence, Royce Da 5'9", Dwele and countless others. This piqued my interest even though I did not understand a word they were saying. I employed that "First local, then Global" mindset.

Check out the track below and Download it for FREE.

Top Hip-Hop Blogs for Artists Without an Online Presence

UPDATE [May 2016]: We are working on updating this list. We're adding new blogs daily; and we'll be removing dead sites soon.

You spend the day scanning the bigger blogs dreaming about being posted there. You envision record deals waiting in your inbox. You visualize having Kanye West open for you. You have truly made it!

You hear a buzzing sound in the distance that catches your attention. Stumbling over a constructed tower of CDs, you clumsily approach your phone. The irritating sound that you heard is your alarm clock, your inbox is empty. You were having a dream!

Promoting music online is difficult especially if you are unknown. You are competing with a ton of artists online. You are fighting for attention.

A lot of artists focus on bigger blogs without building their name recognition or web presence. Take a seat right quick, I have something to share with you. The bigger blogs that you visit on a daily basis operate on traffic. These blogs have to "pump out content" to bring traffic to their site. As an artist without a "name" you do not have the traffic generating potential or TGP to get posted on these bigger sites.

Your music may be undeniable dope but it might get buried in the inbox of your favorite blogger. This is not your fault. Maybe you do not know the right people. Maybe your email pitch is all over the place. Of course you can hire a PR team or pay insane amounts of dinero for a feature but you do not have any money.

Look I am not saying that dope music will always get overlooked, sheesh look at the mysterious rise of Your Old Droog. I am just saying that a lot of factors play a role in blog coverage.

This post was inspired by The Ultimate Hip-Hop Blog post, in fact most of the blogs are pulled for the directory. I just wanted to give up and comers a starting point.

7th Boro

Act Live
The Anti-Society
Ashes and Drinks

The Brown Kid Blog

CLP Nation
Cocaine Phre$h
Day & A Dream
Death Chamberz Music
Definition of Fresh
Discover Good Music
Dj Booth
The Double Truth

The Essence of Rap & Hip-Hop

Fresh Prince ATX
Future Dance Music

Gettin Up
Get Your Buzz Up
Ginger Slim's

Hip Hop Authority
Hip Hop Has Soul
Hip-Hop Life And Times
HipHop LT
Hip Hop Redux
HipHop Ruckus

Intrigued Music Blog

JoeHova's Mindframe


Le 16 Bar
Lunch 'N' Leftovers
Lyrically Fit

Mad Liberators Magazine Rap Swiss
Mighty Burners
Mimesi Society
Music Imperium
Muzic Junkies


Plantao Hip Hop

Rap Reviews

Shook One
Sizzle Nation
Solo Vibes Music
Street Hop Magazine
You Better Believe It
Vintage Media Group
Zona Suburbana

Take the time to build relationships. Being posted on blogs is not as difficult as you think.

Please SHARE this information if you find it helpful. Leave a comment below and let me know what blogs gave your music a chance.

[Image provided by Know Life.]



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