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Cameron Sunkel

SNBRN Talks Film, Forrest Gump, and Importance of Timing with Remixes [INTERVIEW]

As an artist with several career making songs, the spotlight has shone bright on SNBRN for the vast majority of his career.

As the only artist to ever be supplied an original Nate Dogg acapella from the rapper’s estate, to establishing himself as the indisputable king of old school remixes, SNBRN’s uplifting sound continues to resonate with fan bases of all types. We had the opportunity to sit down and chat with this versatile producer in the midst of his performance-filled Miami Music Week to learn more about his influences, philosophies, and the future of SNBRN


EDM.com: You’ve got a new track out with BLU J, “You Got Me” featuring Cara Frew. Tell me a little bit about how this track came together and what inspired it.


SNBRN: About a year ago, in Miami, I was playing Ultra and I’d found this “I Remember” remix by them. I remember finding it on this little blog and then dropping it (at Ultra). The next day, they hit me up and were like “dude thank you so much for playing it”, it was on the live stream and all that, and we kept talking for a year since. Then during my birthday in San Francisco we finally met, hung out, and decided to work on some music. I had started a track I thought would be perfect for them, it had that slow, sexy deep bass sound. I restarted the project over again in Ableton, but I’d never used Ableton since I’m in Logic. I gave myself two weeks to learn it so we could bounce the project back and forth on Splice because one of them is in San Francisco, and one of them is in Canada. Between all of us there was a lot moving around, so I figured if we were all on one DAW we could function much better. It took a couple months of back and forth, and once we finished it we sat on it for a minute. When we came back to it though, we fell in love with it all over again and felt we made some magic here.


You’ve popularized your own subgenre known as “Sunset House.” What are the influences that helped develop your sound?


A lot of it comes from California alternative rock music and reggae like Sublime, but it’s also influenced by piano house music. It’s house music with guitars and rock influences, that doesn’t get too tropical housey -- but at the same time it’s colorful, west coast house music.


As a previous student of film editing and cinematography in college, if you were to replace an existing soundtrack for any movie out there with only songs you’ve produced, what movie would you pick?


I’d like to see Forrest Gump with only SNBRN music, that would be epic.


I’ve also read you have a degree in audio engineering, what was the transition like having studied that and then ultimately deciding to become a music producer?


It was basically seamless, having moved from film to audio engineering to producing, the programs are all linear it was just changing from visual to sound. In audio engineering, you’re working on other people’s music, and that pissed me off because I wanted to work on my music. It got to the point where I decided I wanted to produce and record my own music, and not work on someone else’s records.


Throughout your career several of your individual tracks have had big moments, viral placements, and just generally caught massive hype. In today’s climate do you see a similar trajectory accessible for up and coming artists?


A lot of it is luck, but a lot of it is also hard work. If you’re making great content and continue to put it out there, things are going to happen. For me, it was never about a strategic plan. Sometimes good things just happen overnight, and they happen so quick you don’t even realize what’s happening. You know it’s beautiful that you can wake up one day and have your track playing in H&M or something without even having known it. It’s like magic


You’ve had some massive remixes creating a new spin on old songs as well current songs alike. Is there any creative difference in your approach to taking on an old song that everyone knows versus a newer song?


My whole belief is to be unique and do something that means something to you. Some of these remix compilations where there’s 35 fucking remixes, it’s just like no, I won’t touch that. For me, even with the Jax Jones “House Work” track no one had done a remix yet, so I have the opportunity to be as unique as possible and remix tracks I want to remix that haven’t been remixed before. That goes for a lot of my older remixes too, I was searching online and hadn’t found a remix out there, so I started searching for the acapellas of these tracks to do something I knew had hardly been done before.


This may have always been true to an extent, but I feel lately more than ever, producers are stumbling over each other to be the very first remix out…


Like the day the original is released. Some of these kids, like the day the BLU J collab came out people were hitting me up to check out their remix, and I’m like ‘What?!’ Let it breathe, bro (laughs).


Well that’s where I’m going with this, what do you think about that as a practice persay?


I mean, I like people remixing, but at the same time I don’t. If you’re going to do a remix, it’s got to be done well, but also the original track has got to have a life of its own first. When you immediately throw remixes out there, you’re not giving appreciation to the original song. At least give it four months or five months, before you start making it into something else because a remix should be like a rebirth. Once the original has had its time then you can think about throwing a twist on it. Otherwise, it’s as you said, just a contest of who can do the first remix.


At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if we started seeing remixes of certain tracks before the original was officially released.


That actually happened to Duck Sauce with their track “Barbra Streisand.” There was an edit that came out before the actual song did. They were so pissed because everyone was playing it and it was just some guy’s remix he recut the original from live radio and took it. Literally before the original even came out everyone was playing this version and it was horrible.


Over the years I’ve seen you in particular doing a lot of live B2B stuff with guys like Shaun Frank, Dr. Fresch among others. I imagine this keeps you on your toes a lot in a live setting, is that something that appeals to you?


It’s a great way to meet other artists. That whole collaboration between Dr. Fresch and Shaun Frank all stemmed just from having great chemistry performance wise. It’s a special thing, but as much as you can just easily throw a bunch of people up there all the time, sometimes it doesn’t work. But, when you’re vibing and there’s good chemistry that makes the performance all the more special and all the more fun. Everyone doing their thing on stage and doing it well makes it a special moment.



What can fans of SNBRN expect next from you?


The next big one has been almost a year in the making. I have a collaboration coming with Coyote Kisses coming out in April. It’s been an ID in my sets for awhile now, so I’m really excited to share this one.

Tags SNBRN
Cameron Sunkel Contributor

Born and raised in the home of house music. University of Illinois alum. Artist management & PR.

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