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While most kids play video games, get bored and move on to something else, Audien turned his affinity for the activity into a burgeoning career in dance music

“Some people, when they hear music, they just to listen to it. I’m more of a hands on type of guy,” Nate Rathbun, aka Audien says. The 22-year-old Connecticut native stays humble about his budding career as a progressive house producer, and while his remix of Bastille’s “Pompeii” may be the unofficial anthem of Coachella this past year, the new found attention hasn’t affected his down-to-earth demeanor.

Audien has a jam-packed summer ahead of him full of festivals and club shows. With new remixes, tracks and a spot in a national ad campaign, it looks like the only direction for this driven producer is up.

What’s your musical background?
“I never played any instruments. I discovered electronic music through video games. I used to play a lot of video games when I was a kid, like 'Dance Dance Revolution,' which I loved as a kid. I did it every weekend and had friends who also played, and I got fascinated with the music. So I decided to try to make it.”

So you were playing DDR and one day you just got on your computer to try it out yourself?
“Yeah, pretty much. Of course, it was a gradual thing. I guess it was pretty simple, the way it came about. I spent six years years doing it, and now I’m here.”

Where is your favorite place to play?
“Every place is unique and cool in its own way, not only because of the show, but what there is to do in the area. But I would have to say probably New York. I consider New York to be my hometown. It’s close to where I live and all my management is there, as well as a lot of people I know. I love LA though, and I love Seattle and other places, but I just feel at home in New York.”

Do you prefer smaller venues or festival settings?
“I don’t have a preference. With festivals, I like how it’s a short period of time with a lot of people, so they don’t really get bored of you, and I absolutely love the huge crowd feeling. With clubs I like being able to experiment with music and meet fans. At festivals it’s hard to meet fans.”

Your remix of Bastille’s “Pompeii” is quite popular among DJs and producers.
“Yeah! I guess almost every DJ played it there, like Zedd, Carnage, TJR and a bunch of other guys, so I pretty much was there at Coachella even though I didn’t play. It was really cool. I’m really glad it’s getting that airplay. When I did that song, I did some different stuff that I didn’t think would work, but I guess it did.”

What’s so different about it?
“When I did the melody and the chord progression, I did certain things to it that made it sound dissident and weird, especially in the drop and the main part. With the synth in that track I did certain things that are not 'musically correct' but they sounded cool. With the chord that could have been a normal straight chord, I pitched it up in certain parts and did weird shit with it. I didn’t know if it was going to work, but it did. I think it may be one of my biggest tracks yet, and it’s a remix.”

Could you tell us about your newest track “Serotonin”?
“It’s a single I did with Matthew Koma; he’s a great singer and a cool guy. I did the instrumental before I even had Matthew on it. I finished a track and then Matthew really liked it when I sent it to him. I was flirting with the idea of putting a top line on and I wanted to work with him because I really like his voice. So he came up with this great top line, and it’s really catchy. I’ve been playing the track for the past year, and it hasn’t even come out. I’m really looking forward to finally releasing it.”

Also this summer, you have a TV spot for the Las Vegas Tourism Board, what’s that all about?
“I did this track called 'Hex' and its for a company called 808 Audio, a headphone company that I’m working with right now. I’ve been playing the track in my sets for the past six months. I wanted to get it out there a bit more. So we found a nice Vegas TV spot. People will hear it and be able to Shazaam it, and that will lead to my page and they’ll be able to download it. It’s a good way to get it out there. It’s not really like a typical 'release on a label' type thing. It’s good to do that every once and a while.”

words: Shannon Marie