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Friday, April 3, 2020

Finding a flow

Time management is a concept every college student is familiar with. Most students devote their free time to their hobbies, as is the case with junior Alex Olson.

The only difference is that Olson’s hobby, an electronic music project called Fluencie, has caught the attention of hundreds of thousands of people.

On SoundCloud alone, Olson said his music has accumulated over 270,000 plays. He has also opened for acts such as KYLE and Joey Bada$$.

“I take a lot of influences from dubstep and pop music,” Olson said. “They use every element at their disposal to really create a feeling, and that’s what I try to do.”

Olson said he does his best to stay away from genre labels, but admits Fluencie’s sound fits in with the “future bass” genre. Although Olson listed off electronic DJ’s like Dirtyphonics, Virtual Riot and Noisia as being some of his biggest influences, he said his live performances are an experience unique to Fluencie.

“Part of my vision is to really take the hype to the crowd and be a performer as opposed to a DJ,” Olson said. “It’s so much more fun to do. You don’t have to be amazing to bring good energy.”

Olson said part of keeping up that energy is creating the music you enjoy and not getting wrapped up in promotion or monetary aspects of the music-making industry.

“My philosophy is just make it so good that people want to listen to it,” Olson said. “Some of the harshest critiques I’ve gotten are, ‘Oh you sound so generic like The Chainsmokers, blah blah.’ Just because I happen to be doing what I love and right now it matches what’s going on, doesn’t mean that I’m [copying someone else’s style].”

“Part of my vision is to really take the hype to the crowd and be a performer as opposed to a DJ. It’s so much more fun to do. You don’t have to be amazing to bring good energy.”

Alex Olson

Olson said he began working on his electronic production skills in 2013, inspired by his long-standing appreciation of rapper, Mac Miller.

“I was like, 16 or 17 and I wanted to be a rapper,” Olson said. “I loved Mac Miller and I was like, ‘He’s white, I can do it too!’ I did a YouTube search for ‘Mac Miller type beat’ and couldn’t find anything I liked, so I said, ‘You know what, I’ll just make it myself.’ But from there, I didn’t do any rapping and just only made beats.”

One of Fluencie’s songs, “Take Me High,” features vocals from another local artist, 21-year-old singer Natalia Aristides, a junior at Washington State University. Aristides, who has been singing and playing guitar since third grade, said she spent an entire summer working with Olson on music.

“When I first met Alex, we hit it off right off the bat,”Aristides said. “We just really connected through music.”

Having recently moved into The Mind Palace, a house-show venue and residence to musicians, Olson is constantly surrounded by a wide variety of input from other local artists.    

“It’s such an incubator for the whole music scene here,” Olson said. “[My housemates] practice 2-3 hours a day every day.”

Junior Ben Waight is Olson’s roommate and lead singer of The Dawn Bombs.

“I met Olson my freshman year, but didn’t really hang out with him much until the next year,” Waight said. “Alex has turned me onto so much exclusive hip-hop and electronic production. He’s really opened my eyes a lot to the electronic world.”

Fluencie will be playing with fellow electronic musicians Parisalexa, metsä and LUNA GOD on Friday, May 19 at The Mind Palace.

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