Alan Walker began producing in his bedroom at the age of 16. Two years later, he released his first official song. Another two years on from that, and he's closing in on a million facebook fans - most of whom appear to be devoted to the young artist, despite him hiding his face when performing and in all photographs. We caught up with the young DJ and producer ahead of his show at Heaven in London on the 15th November.
How did the transition occur from programmer and graphic designer to producer?
I have always been interested in trying out new and challenging stuff throughout my childhood and youth. And the transition from programming and coding, via graphical design and into music production field felt really natural, and was neither planned or forced in any way. Later on, having some knowledge and understanding of all these areas has undoubtedly been a good help for me as an artist.
How did you learn your production skills? Did it come naturally to you?
I dont have any musical background, and basically learned how to make music from tutorials on YouTube. From that I evolved and developed my production skills independently and through communicating with other producers around the world who where doing the same.
What would you say your ‘lightbulb’ moment was when you decided that you wanted to produce and have a career in the music industry?
To be honest I haven ́t had time to experience a lightbulb moment. Everything kinda happen real fast from the moment I made Fade until the day it topped charts across the map. I am very humble and happy to have gotten this amazing opportunity, and now I will certainly do everything I can to make it last. Aiming for a ten year lightbulb moment!
Your first track ‘Faded’ was a huge success within the gaming world, are you a gamer yourself? If so, what are your favourite games?
Yes, I’m definitely a gamer myself. The games I play the most nowadays is probably Call of duty Black Ops 3 and Overwatch.
The online world has played a huge part in your success so far yet you are very guarded on social media, how do you find the perfect balance when connecting with your fans?
It's very hard to find the perfect balance when it comes to connecting to my fans and followers. For a long time I tried to answer everyone that wrote to me or interacted and responded to my music in some way, but after a while I realized that it would be impossible to keep it up. Still I try to be responsive and communicate directly to my fans as much as possible.
What would you say are 5 defining tracks that have shaped your sound and why?
I would say K-391’s music has had a big influence on my music and has helped me a lot when it comes to shaping my sound. Some of his tracks that are my favorites are This Is Felicitas and Journey. Another inspiration for me has been Ahrix who was a major influence with his track Nova, which in many ways inspired me to put together Fade. I am also a big fan of film score music. Steve Jablonsky ́s "Arrival to earth" and Hans Zimmer ́s «Time» are both personal favorites. I have a strong affection for melancholic melodies.
Other than music, what other factors have contributed to shaping your sound?
Other than musical inspirations, I would say my feelings and my creativity.
You’re still quite young and made the decision to leave school earlier this year. How has your success shaped your life and has it got in the way of you living a ‘normal’ teenage life?
By making the decision to step out of school and into the music industry, I discovered the importance of remembering where you first came from. But with all this success my life has definitely been changed upside down. I feel like I ́m living the dream of every bedroom producer out there. Surreal is the only describing word. Just to have the opportunity to focus or look at music production as a full time job is amazıng.
What is your process when writing and producing a track?
The melody is where I start. And often where I end as well. Melodies are everything.
Do you ever hit a wall in your creative process like writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
I would think that writer’s block is something every person goes through now and then. I can’t recall getting it so often but I have been at points a while ago where I felt that I couldn’t manage to produce anything and felt like giving up. What I usually do when trying to overcome it is that I often just go through older projects and try to mess around with them to see if I end up with something that could be cool.
Where would you like to see yourself and your music in 5 years time?
I would say in the same place as I am now. I want to keep on producing tracks for my fans and followers, and continuously reach out to a bigger audience.