We are beyond thrilled to announce brand-new releases on Async Music, featuring five incredibly talented and wonderfully diverse musicians from around the world — not to mention, three of the five are women! Next time someone asks, “Where are all the women in NFTs?” this would be a great place to start.
All are exceptionally unique in creative process, technical execution, and accompanying visual art — some of whom created their own; others collaborated with visual artists to create their covers.
In no particular order, we’d like to introduce this powerhouse group of creators, beginning with Los Angeles based Vérité, a one-woman production that deeply values the technology of NFTs to connect with her fans in unique, novel, and innovative ways.
Her Async piece, Warm Season, is an audio-visual experience that came to fruition in collaboration with visual artist Jana Stỳblova. Having pursued music for as long as she can remember, and started the project that is now Warm Season in 2014.
In the latter half of 2020, she learned what NFTs were, and immediately began to seek information in order to connect more deeply with her fans in a customizable and individualized experience. She believes wholeheartedly that “NFTs are the future of where music is headed, allowing artists to tangibly build sustainable careers,” especially apart from algorithmic destruction (for some) and favoritism (for others). As she watched the global pandemic significantly transform the music industry nearly overnight, creating for many artists a lack of access to their audience, she saw the alternative, and it wasn’t good: working through platforms that don’t value the very creators that provide value to those platforms.
The utility of NFTs, she explains, is “anything you can imagine — an empty box...Historically, everything feels one-sided (that’s where dependency on platforms like Spotify lies), but NFTs bring autonomy back to the ecosystem.” She speaks to the beauty of programmable art, too, which made Async a no-brainer for this project. It “unlocks a whole artistic world...audio-visual collaborations, generative art, etc.” Ultimately, fans get to choose their own adventures due to the unique and customizable experience that Async Music allows.
Warm Season illustrates this tangibly — the idea that fans and artists collaborate to create a work unique and ever-changing. It’s a song she had been sitting on for over a year — “it never felt like a proper song” — until this opportunity with Async, allowing her to do more with the song to reach her audience in exciting and novel ways.
Warm Season’s cover art was created in collaboration with visual artist Jana Stýblová; Vérité sent out an open call tweet to find 2D artists, and immediately gravitated towards Jana. Though, conceptually, the creation of the audio and the visual experience was very different, Vérité says their common ground was in a semi-regimented but free creative process.
Listen to Warm Season, available for bidding now.
PLS&TY, the electronic music producer and DJ hailing from Florida, will be recognized by many in crypto and otherwise: His music has hundreds of millions of streams across platforms, chart-topping singles on iTunes, and has composed work for nationally-airing commercials, some of which have garnered billions of views worldwide. He tours nationally and has DJ-ed at festivals such as Shaky Beats, Breakaway, Electric Forest, EDC Vegas, etc. Needless to say...he’s a major addition to the Async Music family of creators.
Though the artist is well-known today for his electronic dance music, he grew up playing piano, having started at 4 years old, and is classically trained. It was around high school that he resisted classical training and started consuming dance music (his early favorites consisted of Skrilla, Netsky, and Porter Robinson). As he moved further away from making music, he moved closer toward another category of art: photography and film-making.
Passionate about both worlds — film/photography and dance/electronic music — PLS&TY began to shoot music artists in his world of interest, eventually working his way to shoot at Ultra. (At that time, he questioned whether he had already reached the pinnacle of his career, which prompted a pivot toward creating the music that he loved, which, of course, leads us to today.)
In the middle of 2020, PLS&TY was introduced to cryptoart by way of his brother, who would send him articles about the crypto space. In July, he dove in and was instantly “hooked about the possibilities and potentials” of blockchain technology.
His Async Music release, Ride or Die, featuring vocalist Bobby Saint, is a “summertime feel-good single,” and plays on the theme of summertime love. In creating, he imagined himself in a tropical paradise with a loved one or partner, and wants to pull that sense of emotional elation out of his listeners. This piece is important; it “encompasses the PLS&TY brand as a whole with “good vibes.”
He’d had the instrumentals when Bobby Saint reached out on Instagram: “Do you have any instrumentals to share?” It was then that PLS&TY sent the instrumental track over for Ride or Die and Bobby laid the vocals in true two-man show fashion.
PLS&TY is excited about the holistic utility of NFTs for musical artists, as they allow for innovation from every angle: “I’m really excited about the potential for NFTs and the music industry as a whole. I think of what we could do for sample packs; I think of use cases where a creator can implement a cap on the resale price of tickets; we could use NFTs for tickets, backstage passes, meet and greets. The possibility seems endless.”
NFTs allow for innovation in the creative process, and in the experience from the consumers’ side. For PLS&TY, and his fans worldwide, this technology is a win-win.
Listen to Ride or Die, available for bidding now.
Follow PLS&TY for updates on his auction, only triggered when min reserves are met.
Our third artist, and second female artist, is none other than Terra Naomi, an indie singer reviving an old work and re-releasing for her Async Music debut. This time, though, she has full rights to her work, and is involving her fans. Terra is one of the first YouTube stars from 2006 and leveraged Patreon to connect with her community early on. She’s a very good example of direct-to-fan creatorship, and knows the value of having open communication with the people that love her work.
NFTs have been a significant contributor to Terra’s artistic career in more ways than one. Aside from allowing direct-to-fan distribution and communication, she explains the beauty of crypto on a grander scale for artists — especially underrepresented and undervalued:
“I think especially as artists and as women, it’s like this intersection of groups that aren’t really encouraged to understand financial literacy. And so crypto has really helped me understand or begin to educate ourselves about finance...it’s sort of like, if you're an artist, you shouldn't care about money and that's actually not true at all. And it's not only money — it's about taking ownership and taking responsibility for [our] own futures.”
Her Async Music debut, Say It’s Possible, comprises of Stem Layers with different keyboard, drum, guitar, and vocal deliveries, reworked from the 15-year-old original piece to create a work fresh, exciting, and sincere to her artistry today. It allows for 480 unique combinations, each utilizing different sonic textures with their engagement of different instrumentals.
In her creative process, Terra explains: “I tend to write more when things are upsetting...whether it's personally to me or whether it's something bigger like, Say It’s Possible. [It came about after] seeing Al Gore's film, Inconvenient Truth, and being really affected and terrified by climate change and not knowing how to reach people.”
Utilizing Async and NFTs with utility allows Terra to do just that — reach people in a more personal and engaging fashion.
Listen to Say It’s Possible, available for bidding now.
Follow Terra Naomi for updates on her auction, only triggered when min reserves are met.
DJ: Maëlstrom brings a unique angle to the Async Music round-up. Inspired by the music scene in Paris, his piece Warehouse speaks to the community’s underground roots, finding industrial, empty warehouses as the perfect location for raves.
“I started this journey in the underground and slightly-not-legal rave scene in the late 90s, breaking into warehouses and throwing raves and free parties under bridges. So that really left a mark on my sound. I also come from Nantes, which was at the time a post-industrial port city with hundreds of square meters of abandoned factories. Obviously this all means that the music from Detroit and the sounds from Sheffield and the English techno scene instantly resonated with. So in a sense, and I guess it’s the same for most artists, I’ve kept talking about this atmosphere in my work: the smell of dust in a warehouse after a rave, the way sounds resonate on empty concrete walls, but also the sonic memories of these places (metallic bangs and workers protests, boats being assembled and launched in the river).”
Being a creative locked in for a year and a half due to COVID-19 prompted a new way of thinking and creating — a point almost all of these artists made in discussing their Async releases.
Maëlstrom began researching NFTs at the end of 2020 after reading tweets about protocols and how “web3 had the potential to open a new chapter in the way music is distributed and monetized.” The musician is especially interested in the expanse of possibility for NFTs. “There are still so many things to explore — I’d love to be able to credit collaborators on-chain for instance: sample makers, patch designers, mastering engineer, people creating synths presets…I’d also love to be able to mint individual samples and let people built the tracks on chain from software sequencers. There’s so much we could do and I think this is just the beginning.”
When prompted to discuss the conception of “Warehouse,” Maëlstrom explains that he’d been thinking about a way to do this already: get music into the hands of fans for an individualized experience. “Techno and electronic music really are about layers — especially when it’s played live: You have all these different channels and your function as a performer is to decide which parts work best at a certain time, for a certain context. So the idea was that I wanted to share this experience with others, and put my works in the hands of the audience.”
He asked: “How would it feel if a collective was able to make these decisions? Because that’s also something that made me fall in love with raves in the late 90s: Everything was a collective process, there was no superstar DJ because nobody knew their names. The ‘star’ was the collective putting the events together, but the audience was generally part of this process as well.”
His cover art collaboration with Async visual artist Hussam Eissa is unexpected, but right. “Even though raves are somehow very far from his own experience and background, I think we found a place where it doesn’t matter, because the artwork has this unique quality of summoning something universal about space, loneliness, and community.”
Listen to Warehouse, available for bidding now.
Last, and certainly not least, we’re honored to highlight Cristina Spinei, a Nashville-based composer and performer. She’s classically trained as a composer and pianist — her work and musical comprehension speak for itself.
First introduced to blockchain technology in 2016 by her husband, she was intrigued by a new way to collaborate — both with other artists (visual and audio) and between creator and collector. NFTs allow for a “better way for musicians to get paid. There’s not a lot of importance put on royalties for musicians — especially those who play sessions. [So this system] is more equitable for musicians to be paid what they’re worth.”
For Cristina, and her counterparts, NFTs have opened up a lot of possibilities outside of classical composer career trajectories. “No one has a stake unless I want them to have it; the freedom is incomprehensible. Any project is possible.” For her line of work, specifically, the standard is to apply for grants — and to find your way into the favoritsim of the gatekeepers. This is why the NFT space has seen resistance from some, because it tears down those very barriers that prevent creators from creating — and to do so sustainably.
Whirl, her Async piece, was inspired by Betty’s Notebook, a release from our Async Music debut. She had reached out to Sam Brukhman on Twitter, who encouraged her to do the same. (“I was so intrigued by the project, I wrote it in 10 days.”) During those 10 days, it was the start of spring in Nashville — which means exceptional weather like floods and tornado warnings — and Cristina felt compelled to craft a piece that spoke to the motion, the swirling, and the chaos of what was happening outside her window. Whirl, then, was born, firstly by acoustic composition and then electronic additions.
When asked about the creative process — the execution of this work’s programmability — she explains that she was “more conscious of how each line was going to sound, because all of them, in a sense, are a solo piece, as opposed to the standard quartet, in which layers are stacked (and can’t be turned on or off my a collector). She composed each “solo” to work in any combination: duets, trios, etc. Not to mention, “everything was recorded remotely — it was decentralized recording!”
As a composer, Cristina is passionate about collaboration, and was excited about Async visual artist’s James Fox’ macro photography to create her cover art. “He takes something ordinary (color, texture…) and makes it special.” The visuals appear to be in motion; they feel like a visual “whirl.”
This project, she says, is the most exciting she’s ever worked on. “Being a composer is a pretty solitary profession, so if I can work with other people, that’s what I love to do, and especially multi-media collaborations. I love the variety of this drop. Every genre is represented.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. And that’s the beauty of the blockchain — and of the brilliant creators that give it life.
Listen to Whirl, available for bidding now.
There you have it folks, that is our latest Async Music release. We’ll be hosting various virtual events, Twitter spaces, exclusive interviews with the musicians as the week goes on. Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Discord, and subscribe to our email newsletter to get the latest!