Today’s wave of young musicians is arguably more creative and incisive than ever. EDM has seen a long string of prodigal, pioneering producers, which includes the 24-year-old Martin Garrix and the duo Louis The Child, among many others.
The latest in this cohort’s legacy is Ethan Snoreck, a Chicago suburb-born artist who produces under the moniker Whethan. Since cannonballing into the scene with 2016’s “Savage” featuring Flux Pavilion and MAX—which still stands as his most played song on Spotify—Snoreck has exploded in popularity, dominating listeners in and around his age group with infectiously happy, future bass-inspired originals. Standouts include “Every Step That I Take” with Portugal. The Man and “High” with Dua Lipa, which was featured on the soundtrack for cult film Fifty Shades Freed.
Having turned 21 today, Snoreck is now on the brink of the release of his debut album, FANTASY, which will follow 2018’s experimental and introspective Life of a Wallflower Vol. 1 EP. Leaked throughout his secret ROOM SERVICE Music Festival set, the album includes collaborations with K.Flay, Oliver Tree, STRFKR and Grouplove and packs in a solid summertime feeling with upbeat bass, future house synths and indie rock influences. Unreleased favorites of Snoreck’s include “Sunshine” and “Wave,” he told EDM.com.
“‘Sunshine’ speaks for itself. It’s just a beautiful song that makes me want to go dancing and party,” Snoreck said. “Then the outro, which is called ‘Wave,’ is like a departure from this world. It’s getting in a spaceship and leaving Earth off this electronic rainbow.”
With such an important career milestone on the horizon, Snoreck has come a long way from the shy, “wallflower” of a DJ he started out as, evidenced by early recordings of his shows exhibiting his discomfort on stage. Now more comfortable with being both a celebrity personality and renowned producer, he’s known for his enigmatic yet outgoing social media presence and went viral after bringing out Mason Ramsey, aka “yodeling boy,” for his 2018 Coachella set. Just this month, the rainbow Burberry jacket featured all over his Instagram appeared on a billboard for Tekashi 6ix9ine’s latest music video.
“I thought that was so funny,” Snoreck said. “My manager sent it to me like, ‘Yo, Tekashi’s wearing your jacket on Times Square.’ I was like, well, he’s got rainbow hair, so if there’s anyone who can take the jacket from me, it’s Tekashi 6ix9ine."
Reinforcing his newfound confidence is Snoreck’s recent catalogue of music, an unapologetically original collection ranging from moody instrumentals to dance anthems blending pop, disco, and funk. The recently released “So Good” featuring bülow serves as the whimsical middle ground of his sonic spectrum, as does last year’s spirited and sexy “Let Me Take You” featuring Jeremih.
It all stems from his deep-seated love for hard-hitting future bass, with his fan favorite 2016 remixes of “City of the Rose” by TYuS and “Falling” by Opia serving as his earliest breakout examples. Being quarantined alone in his Los Angeles house has unexpectedly brought him back to those roots, Snoreck said, both when he’s producing and when he’s exploring new artists.
“I’m being inspired by these future-sounding things again, by the people I was listening to when I was making ‘City of the Rose,’” Snoreck said. “I took a break from that to focus on songs, wanting to make real songs, but I’ve found myself recently going back. All the stuff I’m working on right now is ‘City of the Rose’ times 1000 in the future.”
After the release of FANTASY, then, fans can certainly expect a new change in sound. Snoreck already has enough new material for a second album, he said, and is constantly experimenting with new techniques while redeveloping those from his past.
This kind of creativity is exactly what the electronic industry looks for when pinpointing its next big star, from David Guetta to Calvin Harris to Skrillex, who has been a huge supporter of Snoreck in the past. All signs point toward him eventually taking on a monster role within the industry, as does his ambition to make music under his own name with the Whethan project set aside.
Snoreck is growing up as a person and as a producer, coming into himself and his imagination in the spotlight. Only time will tell where he'll be after another eight years of producing under his belt.
“That’s crazy to say. I’ve never said that out loud, eight years of producing,” Snoreck said. ‘I was like 12-years-old when making beats was my favorite thing I’d ever come across. There was no stopping from there.”