Matt FX Feldman

Matt FX Feldman is the impossibly cool music supervision wunderkind behind eccentric and sometimes, controversial television phenomenons, such as Broad City, Detroiters, Difficult People, Skins U.S., Idiotsitter, Man Seeking Woman, and many more. New York born and bred, he is an in-demand record producer and nightlife DJ, best known for his genre bending work under the collective moniker, Scooter Island. If that wasn't enough, Matt has also served as the host of one of Spotify's first original podcasts, SXSW: Unpacked and most recently, as a guest judge on Food Network's Beat Bobby Flay. In our thoughtful discussion, Matt reflects on his incredible winding road of accomplishments and gives us a glimpse into his non-stop lifestyle.

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You're a New York native. What influence did your environment have on your upbringing and your creative life path? 

They say New York is a city that is always changing and evolving. I’d say that growing up in New York is similarly unlimited. Being here is such a constant explosion of exposure. I feel like I'm consistently pushed to think outside the box and come up with new, interesting perspectives and ways of doing things. I always say there's no one right way to make it. I think New York is a perfect representation of that.

In other cities like Los Angeles, there are very traditional ways to break into the music industry and movie business. I think for every classic path to success taken elsewhere, there is a weirder, more abstract back door path in New York. That is very reflective of who I am. 

You attended LaGuardia High School, which is known for a long tradition of artistic development. During those formative years, what was your primary focus?

To be completely honest, my primary focus was undoing a lot of the choral training that I had had prior to LaGuardia, as well as playing catch up culturally with my peers. I had lived a very sheltered life up to that point. 

Before LaGuardia, I was a professional choir boy, a soprano at a boarding school called Saint Thomas Choir School. My father is a conductor and an artistic director, who is responsible for starting a well-known orchestra called Saint Luke’s, which accompanies the Saint Thomas choir for their quarterly concerts. The church would significantly subsidize the tuition for students who participated in choir. We were afforded a full private school education plus room and board for a mere couple thousand dollars annually. To my parents, it was a no-brainer.

As a choir, we performed Episcopalian church music, ranging from Gregorian chant and 16th century Latin plainsong all the way up to 20th century contemporary classical and romantic French and German and Italian. We were performing six times a week professionally over the course of five years. I sang 'The Messiah' live 16 times and I performed at the Sistine Chapel when I was 10 years old. It was a very, very rigorous and hardcore experience. No girls, no TV, no internet, and no free time. It was very Dickensian. God bless. I am happier having gone through it and I believe it made me strong. However, at the time, it felt like a prison.

By the time I started high school, I was the moodiest Holden Caulfield facsimile you could meet with nothing but a bunch of choral music in his head. LaGuardia became a safe haven for me. I knew I was finally in a place where people were doing whatever they wanted to. 

Did you have any mentors or cultivate specific friendships that have been meaningful to your career? 

In terms of mentors, the head of the music department, Ms. Fleischer and my English teacher, Garrett Sokoloff were both very encouraging of my pursuit of creative expression. In terms of strong friendships, there was a girl I met on the first day of my freshman year of high school named Synead Nichols. She is now my biggest priority as a record producer. I'm very proud to creatively direct her music career. 

It’s interesting because I myself dropped out of college very soon after arriving there. I know that many of my friends didn’t complete their education either. However, most of us from LaGuardia still hang out in the same way that college friends do. We refer to a lot of our high school memories as most would about their formative college experiences. Part of growing up in New York City is the radical exposure you get to realities of life as a teenager. Most people definitely don’t go through these things until later in life. 

The US adaptation of Skins was your entrée into the world of music supervision. I read that you were originally brought into the fold for a focus group by a friend and ultimately, ended up pitching a playlist to the creator, Bryan Elsley, which landed you the gig. What were your initial instincts about the musical direction for the series and how influenced were you by the dynamic soundtrack of the original UK version? 

The original Skins UK soundtrack is one of the most inspiring grips of music supervision I’ve had the pleasure of watching. For me, that and Kill Bill Volume 1 qualify as my top two formative supervision experiences. Both of them scratched an itch in the back of my head and made me think “someone out there is doing this”. At the time, I didn’t think I would become that person, but I thought to myself that someone had to be matching that iconic Nancy Sinatra song to the gory opening scene where Uma Thurman is getting shot in the head. 

Having a chance to throw my hat in the ring for American Skins, I thought to present global perspectives musically, paying homage with the uses of British artists, but emphasizing an American sound in the bigger scenes and statements on the show. At the time, dubstep was just starting to get huge. Very early on, the genre split in half. On one hand, dubstep was categorized as an old school UK dub sound, which was a very spacious style of music that was nuanced, groovy, and minimal. You feel the melodies in your chest and the subwoofers articulate the dynamics. On the other hand, there is the sound that Americans know as dubstep, which is abrasive and crass. It takes sound design to the point where it sounds like Transformers having sex. 

I remember thinking to myself, especially knowing that Bryan is British, that I would have an outlet to balance out all that noise with some of the more ambient, melodic sub bass driven tracks. It was important to me to find some things that would be reverent of what was originally intended for the genre. 

Your role as a music supervisor extends beyond simply clearing songs or executing someone else's clearly defined vision. You are regarded as someone who is an arbiter of taste and consistently ahead of the curve. What are your most obscure methods for music discovery and what criteria does a song need to meet to get your stamp of approval?

I wish I could drop a bomb of magic secrets, but honestly, I don't think I have a particularly inspired method for finding music. In many ways, I think it's similar to anyone else’s. In my case, I'm grateful for the network that I've built over the past few years of friends, colleagues, and collaborators in New York and across the world. At this point, the people I know sustain my introduction to new artists before anyone else does. I also rely on social media, word of mouth, and the occasional blog. I've said this before, but I find most of my music on Facebook and Twitter. You can learn a lot from being online and paying attention to what people are excited about.

I rarely turn to algorithmic playlists, which are starting to get more and more popular for the casual listener. I can’t even say the number of people I know who rely on Spotify. Bless it, most people don't have the time or the wherewithal to look themselves, especially when they can get a manicured playlist in their inbox on a weekly basis. I’m personally not ready to trust a robot yet. 

I’m always looking for music that says something new or does a very, very admirable job at saying something we’ve already heard before. I’ve always said that a song has to transcend its genre to qualify as the best of the best. I would say a great song has to have body and soul. The soul of a song needs to be able to translate even when broken down and played with minimal instrumentation, but now that we’re about 30 years into digital pop music production, the track has got to be fire. The beat has to sound great from a production angle and be nuanced. 

I was recently re-listening to N*SYNC'S 'No Strings Attached,' which was a very, very early CD for me. It was probably the one CD I owned when I got to boarding school as an eight year old. It’s amazing how sublime some of the productions are. Even though a lot of the record is technically out of date and out of style, the stuff that isn't is right up there. These days, you have to have a unique flavor and that beautiful and classic songwriting soul. 

Broad City is both over the top hilarious and utterly relatable to its dedicated audience. How would you personally define the sound and feel of the show? Can you pinpoint a few musical moments that have been emblematic of the series?

The sound and feel of Broad City are undeniably New York, scrappy and deeply rooted in 2010. These girls are figuring themselves and their lives out. In many ways, the show is about that era of a young person’s life when all the important questions are very much unanswered and every day is a journey and a different hustle. The musical standpoint has changed in some ways, but it’s still very much true to where we were at the start of the series. 

Thinking back to that time, first of all, I didn't think I was ever going to musically supervise a show ever again. This had been three to four years since I had worked on Skins. I thought I was completely out of the game. Stepping back into that role, I remember that we were only a few weeks away from the show going on air. Nine out of ten of the episodes were left to complete. Only the pilot had been finished and the budget was less than half of what I had been given for Skins.

I hit up all the DJs and producers that I had been working with over the past couple of years, throwing parties. I told them to send me all of the beats they had, especially anything they could rep themselves. I needed to source material that wasn’t attached to a label or publisher because money was a huge issue. So many of the tracks in the first season are unfinished demos that are less than a minute long. I found that the best place for those demos and ideas to live was in the transitions, where it’s just four seconds of B roll in between scenes. It’s funny because a lot of the demo beats were later turned into fully formed songs by the artists and have gone on to rack up hundreds of thousands of plays. Those tracks and essentially, that style is in many ways the backbone of the show. 

We can be literal with some of the musical moments. If it’s a bar scene, there’s still going to be some rock music playing in the background quietly. If we're on the Upper East Side, it's still going to feature classical strings because that's the sound of the Upper East Side. Otherwise, we champion this electronic and multicultural flavor, showcasing a range of rappers, LGBT, Spanish speaking. We have always had some pretty bombastic montage scenes featuring the girls. ’Started From The Bottom' by Drake and Lady Gaga’s 'Edge Of Glory’ stand out to me. These big moments are a huge part of the show and have become a calling card for each season. 

In the first season, there is this montage which follows Ilana. The story goes that she lost the remote to her cable box and even though she had discontinued the service for over a year, she discovers she's been charged every month for this lost remote. Eventually, after she's exhausted all her options, she realizes that she needs to get as stoned as she was when she was watching cable to remember where it was. There’s a trippy scene of her smoking weed with the camera constantly zooming in and out and she starts recalling stuff. In this moment, I was able to use such a strange, broken beat, kind of Flying Lotus inspired meets graveyard hip-hop groove. It was all VHS tape hissy and made on an old MPC. Looking back, no other show would've ever given me an opportunity to use a song like that because no other show would ever choose to do a montage like that. You know what I mean?

This season, there is an entire episode where the girls take mushrooms. 10 minutes of the episode is fully animated. I picked two producers, Photay and Bruce Smear to score the segment. Photay has this woodsy, mountain man, ethereal, strange sort of Giles Peterson quality to him and Bruce Smear has a super metallic, cranky, Aphex Twin, urban city feel. I thought to myself that these were the perfect two guys to sit down and collaborate. It worked and we made such interesting, inspiring stuff.

In many ways, this was the most labor-intensive episode the show ever embarked on in all four seasons. Luckily, we have animation in our recurring opening sequence and that same animator, Mike Perry was the one who took on the reins for this project. I think he brought on four or five extra members of his team to work on this over a six month period, but they did it. Being able to work with him this season was a complete honor.

You're on your fourth season of Broad City. How has your collaboration with Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer evolved over time? Do you have any personal anecdotes from your time on the show that you'd like to share?

When we first started the show, nothing was composed. Moving onwards, season two featured one or two customized things. For season three and four, my colleague, Tony Quattro, who is a dance music producer in his own right, joined the team to serve as a resident composer. He's worked on countless cues for the show and played a big part in bringing in the aforementioned Photay and Bruce Smear, as well as other producers to fulfill specific tasks.

As for personal anecdotes from working with Abbi and Ilana, I think back to when we were trying to figure out the very first song of the first episode of season three. I knew that we needed to start strong and wow our audience. We tried a bunch of things, everything from rock to polka to hip hop. Things worked, but nothing seemed like a perfect fit. 

We start cutting the show after the first half of the show is shot, not before the whole thing's finished. For the first few weeks, Abbi and Ilana are actually on set shooting, so that was one of the episodes we already had a rough cut on when they came in to edit. I remember taking them through my thought process. They totally were with me on it and they agreed. So I said, "Well Abbi and Ilana, why don't you guys give me a list of artists you're interested in for this season? I will take a look at all these songs.” They told me Sleater-Kinney, they told me Lizzo, they told me The Satisfaction, and a couple other artists. I leave the room and go on Lizzo’s SoundCloud. Immediately, the very first song I clicked, I listen to all of three seconds, turn it off, and ran right back into the room. Abbi looks at me and she goes, "You found it," and I go, "I did find it.” It was a song called 'Let 'Em Say’. They heard it and immediately went "Yes, this is it.  Good, let's go. Let's move on." Over time, we’ve really collaborated and developed trust. 

For example, moving into this most recent season, they decided not to shoot new commercials. Instead, they wanted to do a super cut of previous seasons, as well as teasers for the new season. They asked me to figure out a song for it. I had been DJing 'Get Right' by Jennifer Lopez for this past year, which has been a killer throwback. Every time I play it, people go nuts. Watching the cut, I immediately knew it would be perfect, especially with that amazing saxophone loop. I remember telling them that day. I was like, "Have you guys heard 'Get Right' by Jennifer Lopez anytime recently?" And they were like, "I don't think so”. 

Two or three weeks go by, and they're like, "Matt, we really want to figure out what song is best for the super cut. Can you send 20 or 30 songs? Really wrack your brain for the greatest stuff.” I did a search and after 20 songs, they weren’t necessarily set on anything. I was like, “So, I really think you guys should check out this Jennifer Lopez song again. I know you said it wasn’t right, but really listen to it and let me know." 

They're like, "Can you just play it?" and then Ilana admits that she didn’t remember Googling it. They’re both in the room, so I just play it on my laptop and they immediately both jump up and start dancing. I’m like, "I told you, this was the one! I knew from the get-go!” They immediately agreed and within a week, we had it locked and loaded for TV.

Let's talk about Difficult People. The narrative revolves around the bitter and amusing friendship of two failed comedians and features an angsty, punk soundtrack. Because the show is such a dialogue dominant vehicle, what was the impetus underpinning your track selection for the first two seasons?

Difficult People is a really compelling show. The creator, Julie Klausner has such a unique and brilliant perspective. The show is seething with it and musically, she's written full on books on the subject of indie rock, turn of the century, the late 90s. She is a historian of that guitar sound. Moving into this project, I was immediately very respectful of the fact that she knew exactly what she wanted her show to sound like. 

As with many other shows I've worked on, the budgets weren't going to allow for that entirely. We would never be able to afford all the songs. In my late high school years, I was going to so many DIY rock shows in Brooklyn before I ever discovered electronic music. When I started working on the show, I knew it would be an opportunity to hit up all the guitar playing dudes who were in those bands, who I’ve stayed Facebook friends with. A lot of the music we used on Difficult People was sourced from these friends of mine. On the other hand, I also had a chance to sync a couple bands that I never in a million years thought I would be able to place like a two-piece with a drummer named Brian Chippendale and Japanther.

Ultimately, I’ve been able to offer a lot of people a platform and hopefully, a sounding board. It’s not always a good payday. I always remind people that commercials generate the most money. Big networks like ABC, CBS, etc. and then AMC, Netflix, and HBO, that's where the real money is going to come from. Unfortunately, Viacom is at the bottom of the list. It’s interesting. My manager keeps a list of songs that I put in Broad City that have wound up in commercials within a year later. You’d be surprised by how many songs are on that list.

Detroiters will be returning for a second season next year. When embarking on the curation process for season one, what type of research did you conduct to enter the ethos of Motown and vintage motor city soul music?

Detroiters is a unique project because the creators of the show, Joe and Zach, as well as Tim and Sam, who star in the show, are all from Detroit. They are incredibly passionate about making sure that every ounce of the show is true to Detroit. Musically, they wanted to express the importance of Motown and make it a predominant sound of the show. 

When I came onto the project, it was kind of similar to Broad City in that I wasn’t their first choice, but I was hired halfway through to offer assistance and see through the end of the post-production process of the first season. Initially, they were having doubts about going with the Motown direction because they were worried that Comedy Central would want just want rap music. I remember telling them we should double down on the concept and explore older stuff like MC5 and Detroit rock. The flip side was that we knew that we weren’t going to be able to afford a ton of classics because the Motown catalog is locked into major publishers. You have to consider all those terrible Chitlin Circuit deals that were done back in the day. The vast majority of that material is inaccessible. 

Luckily, I have quite a few resources as a music supervisor. I have relationships with independent music licensers, who work with smaller publishing companies that might've received small, small catalogs of Detroit soul and then there's also classic soul from other cities and occasionally other countries. We’ve done a lot of searches. The Detroiters Facebook page has shared that we’re looking for music from Detroit, Michigan. I’m working on season two as we speak, probably two-thirds of the way through. It’s been a really cool experience to learn about some of the forgotten and lesser-known artists from that era and see what we can get. 

To date, what has been your most difficult song to license?

There's a fantastic Dominican artist named Jarina De Marco, who I originally met back in New York. We've used a bunch of her music in the show, but 'Tigre' was a special case. It has an interpolation of an old Colombian folk song. In addition to that, she had co-writers, who I believe were published by Kobalt at the time. She was getting out of a deal with a different publisher.

Generally, I abhor working with music publishers on low budget shows because they have a bottom line and are the hardest to convince to lower their rates. More often than not, it completely throws a wrench in that entire episode's budget to do a single song with one of these guys. Going into this, I knew it was going to be very difficult to get both of these producers to play nice, and then there was still a significant chunk of the song that referenced the folk song. We had no idea whether or not it was public domain. In the past, I'd run into problems with sampling and interpolations. Due to time constraints, we’ve had to find a suitable replacement.

This was one of those moments, where I really didn't want to bend because I thought the song was perfect. It was my manager who said, "No, we've got to fire on all cylinders and see if we can find this guy”. He helped me track down the representative of the last percentage. The song wound up being one of the two exclusives on the Broad City soundtrack. It is also one of those aforementioned songs that's now in a French commercial. It's great that we did the work because the song has seen a whole life. Jarina's now signed to Pulse, she just put out a song with Mad Decent. It makes me happy in many ways to know that one of the most difficult songs to clear has gone on to have one of the biggest impacts afterward.

You additionally lead a career as a global DJ and producer. What gear, plug-ins, and instrumentation do you continually implement? What have been your most memorable shows of this past year?

I've had some really amazing opportunities as a DJ over the past couple years. This year has been particularly astonishing. I recently played at the Metropolitan Museum of Art at their annual event called The Apollo Circle Benefit. It’s a 900 person black tie event held in their Egyptian temple of Dendur, which was a gift from Egypt. I played for four hours and it was just one of the most fun times I've ever had as a DJ, getting that group of people to get down and dirty. Oh man, what an honor it was to play at the Met.

Similarly, Abbi and Ilana figured out a way to do a Broad City float at the gay pride parade this year with Comedy Central. They asked me to DJ on the float. Going down 5th Avenue and turning onto Christopher Street in the West Village where I grew up… The whole experience was such an honor. I was actually tearing up by the end of it.

To think of a couple more, I played at South by Southwest during my friend's Brandon Wardell’s party. He’s a comedian and he throws these parties called Teen Party in L.A., and other places too, where most of the guys are comedians essentially DJing off of their aux cord on Spotify. He's convinced people like John Maher and Blake Anderson to guest DJ. He’ll play 'Mr. Brightside' by The Killers into 'Party In The U.S.A' by Miley Cyrus and then segue into Santana. He's played parts of the 'Big Little Lies' theme song, he's played parts of podcasts as songs…It’s very ironic, you know? You'd be surprised by how crazy the crowds get at these parties. For me, who performs as a traditional DJ, I use this as an opportunity to blend pop songs with crazy mashups and remixes. You just take the piss as a DJ, but still have fun doing it. Playing things like 'Space Jam' and mixing into Migos, then into an 80’s remix of a pop song. 

I’m also thinking of a gig I played in Chinatown to 80 people in an after hours room. Sometimes, you just connect with your audience and it genuinely doesn't matter how prestigious or elite the venue is, it's just about that particular experience.

In terms of gear, I use a lot of Ableton, which feels the most creative and is the most flexible software. I use Kontakt a lot because I really like working with independent sound developers and implementing weirder programs. I don't necessarily love using the big corporation sounds. I’ve recently started using a lot of Output's products, which are really great. Specifically, Exhale and Substance. I travel pretty light. For the most part, I’m pretty in the box, but I do have a fun little arsenal of instruments here at home. I love Danelectro for guitar, I love old synths as much as the next person.

What are the most significant innovations and glaring clichés you see in popular music today? 

Oh man, I'm excited to answer this question! I think the biggest glaring cliché in pop music right now is the fact that the majors are so desperate to recreate anomaly hits. Take ‘Lean On' by Major Lazer. As soon as Diplo did that vocal thing in 'Lean On,' we were bombarded with at least 25 more pop songs that had that. Look at Flume's influence into The Chainsmokers and those wavy drops. As soon as The Chainsmokers and Flume saw success once with that wave drop, we got 80 more pop songs with wave drops. Major labels just need to realize that it’s not that specific effect that made the song, it’s the fact that it was different. If they took more chances and risks with different sorts of drops in pop music, I think we would have a much more diverse and dynamic soundscape in the field of pop. Unfortunately, lyrics still suck in a lot of pop songs, but that is pretty subjective. 

In terms of significant innovations, I love this return to minimalism. Charlie Puth's 'Attention' is one of my favorite songs on the radio right now. I think it is perfect in its simplicity. I think you can make some really great things when you distill down to your barest elements.

If we look at the state of rap music, what some people call “mumble rap” I believe to be a return to melody that we haven't seen in so long on any side. Some of these rap melodies inspire me to think of classical or country, even emo melodies, which are so brilliant and beautiful. I think a lot of veteran rap heads have an issue with the fact that bars and rhymes are not necessarily what's popular anymore. If you accept this paradigm shift, you will be opening yourself up to how nuanced and interesting this music can be. I love the majority of the new rap stuff because a lot of it is such uncharted territory.

I’m going to throw out some older examples, but Fetty Wap’s 'Trap Queen' is an emo melody. XO Tour Lif3 by Lil' Uzi Vert is very emo. If you think about it, there's a song by ILoveMakonnen called 'I Don't Sell Molly No More’, which is probably four or five years old. I recall that it sounded like a two-part Bach chord structure. It took me back to all these chords that I used to play. I hear these references all the time in modern rap. 

Young Thug is another one. His rapping style is almost indecipherable at times, which drew a lot of ire at the very beginning of his career. On his second to last record, there is a song called ‘Harambe’. I think it was overlooked because it came out at the tail end of the Harambe hype. The chorus of the song is just a dead ringer for classic Louis Armstrong. Young Thug is screaming all these crazy sounds, but in the context of rap music and it’s so hard. It’s like nothing I've ever heard before and that’s so awesome. In some ways, it’s this collective unconscious. Maybe they were influenced by going to church or listening to old records. It’s funny because the producer came up with these chords that comprise this referential choral melody. These days, trap producers are taking melodies from such interesting places, then flipping them, repurposing them with auto-tune and adding grit. It’s just amazing.

You had the opportunity to co-host Unpacked: SXSW, a Spotify Original podcast with Michele Santucci, which took listeners on a journey behind the scenes of the passionately eclectic Austin festival. You spoke with musicians, filmmakers, artists, and even chefs. What were some of your personal highlights from the experience?

My personal highlights came from examining the unique perspectives of people who wouldn’t traditionally be highlighted on a festival podcast. Spotify was kind enough to let me do my thing. I got to talk to a band called Diamond Thug, who are here all the way from South Africa. They traveled for over a day just to play at the festival and shared their struggle to make it over here. I spoke to people who own food trucks and a pedicab driver who moved to Austin 10 years ago. It was interesting to learn about South by Southwest before it became what it is now, which in many ways, a corporate wonderland.

In your professional opinion as an up and coming food personality, where should we be eating on our next trip to New York?

I can recommend three restaurants. One is Coppelia, which is a 24 hour pan-Latin diner on 14th Street. You can get all the traditional diner classics, as well as all the Latin classics. Everything is amazing and very affordable. you can get it at any hour of the day. Their signature burger is called the Frita Cubana. It’s got pulled pork, cheese, and Cuban pickles on top of the beef patty. It's incredible.

If you're in Brooklyn, there's a place in Bushwick called Strange Flavor Burger Shack. They make classics like burgers and fries or fried chicken sandwiches but with a Chinese twist. I've met the chef before and seen how they work. It’s very, very reverent of classic Szechuan techniques. Their bread and butter pickles are made out of bitter melon. They have all these little tricks to make it as ethnically Chinese as it is kind of classically American.

For a fine dining experience, this will be no surprise to anyone who is in that world, but Blue Hill is a beautiful beautiful restaurant in the West Village. Dan Barber is the chef. He's a legend. If you can't get a reservation, come and try to sit at the bar. I know for a fact that you can get a seat at the bar on Tuesday night at 10:00 PM without having made a reservation from six weeks out. It’s really fantastic food. You can get a six-course meal for around $100, which isn’t always possible with fine dining.

You appear to favor dapper, cutting-edge apparel and have an affinity for remarkable sneakers. What is your relationship to the fashion world? 

I love clothes. I’ve joked around that I'd love to become a plus size male model. I continue to buy wacky things and just express myself that way. Growing up as a chubby, overweight kid, I never really thought fashion was for me. I always felt interested but felt like an outsider. One day, I came to realize that fashion and style are two entirely different things. In high school, I became familiar with the start of street wear culture, from what was once brands like Supreme and Stussy and designers sneakers, then morphed into cut and sew. What street wear and cut and sew has done for men's fashion is invaluable. You’ve seen that especially with pro athletes in basketball, baseball, and football. They’ve gotten so stylish over the past 10, 15 years.

In the arts and culture sphere, who do you regard as "ones to watch" in 2018?

I'm going to use this opportunity to plug all the artists I really believe in. There is Synead, whom I mentioned before. We've got a couple more songs coming out soon. Currently, we’re working her second track called 'Lost in the Wild.' I'm really excited about it because we're finally getting some nods from some of the bigger looks out there. Moving forward, I think we're going to start seeing more support on that level.

My roommate, Jachary, is an unbelievable, unbelievable producer, artist, and songwriter. His first EP came out recently. “There's a Virus Going On” is one of my favorites. Another friend of mine, Bohan Phoenix is a Chinese rapper. He’s a very, very interesting and unique artist who’s making waves, playing to thousands of people. Right now, I’m actually subletting his room while he lives in China. 

Another friend of mine, Jonah Reider is a chef who garnered a lot of acclaim very early on. He was running a four-seat fine dining restaurant out of his dorm room at Columbia. He's already been on the Stephen Colbert show, Ruth Reichl has reviewed his food, The New York Times has covered his food, but I know he's got some amazing things up his sleeve for next year.

In terms of the ultimate one to watch, I’d have to say Taika Waititi, the director who recently came out with Thor: Ragnarok. There is no one I’d rather collaborate with right now. I hope he notices me one day because I would be so honored to work as a music supervisor on a project of his. Before boarding school, I actually lived in New Zealand for a couple years. Being half Jewish and having lived in New Zealand, I just know we'd get along. I'm convinced that we would be able to see eye to eye creatively, so I can't wait to potentially have that opportunity one day.