Who are you and what’s your background?
My name is Iacoban Andrei. I am a 21 year old music producer (It’s Different & XO Sad) and manager (I manage my own projects and some other projects that are not public yet). I started producing and DJ-ing 7 years ago in Bucharest, Romania. I started with DNB, then Dubstep (I had an alias named Jakoban) and then got into Future Bass/Trap. During this time I got to work with R3hab on the official Migos – Bad & Boujee remix, do official remixes for Illenium/The Chainsmokers & even do a collab with my favorite artist: blackbear, featuring vocals from a very good friend of mine and a really talented New York based singer, MAX.
What made you initially want to get into the music industry? Where did it all start?
Well it all started around 7-8 years ago when I was going out with this girl that I liked. She had a boyfriend though and I really didn’t understand why she was with him, so I asked her and she told me that he’s a music producer and that she finds that amazing. I replied saying that I didn’t think that it was that hard and was gonna prove to her that it’s not. After giving it a few tries, I realised that it is indeed pretty hard, so I kinda rage-quitted. I still had FL Studio installed, so every now and then when I was bored I would open it and do stuff for fun. After some time, I started to understand how it worked and became a lot more interested in music . . . by that time I was already DJ-ing at some friends parties, then step by step I got into actual production. But if we’re talking about how I actually got into the music industry, well it was all social media. I am from Romania so there wasn’t anyone from the electronic music industry there. I was able to add influential people (YouTube channels, other bigger artists, managers etc) on Facebook/Skype and start talking with them. That’s what basically got me in the music industry.
What does your job consist of on a day-to-day basis?
Well my main job would be the one of a music producer, doing original songs & remixes for my projects, producing instrumentals for pop/hiphop artists and also doing ghost producing from time to time. 2 years ago I quit University (I was studying to become an economic engineer and got accepted with 10/10 at both math exams – yes I’m kinda bragging right now). And well, since music is my fulltime job right now and I live by myself, I have plenty of free time so I can also manage my own projects. Every time I pitch my songs to labels / promo channels / blogs and do SoundCloud promotion I use the network that I built (big shoutout to Dominik from Taptone for helping me with that, I couldn’t have done it without him)! I am also searching for opportunities at all times. Always grinding – in my opinion the key to success is being persistent and determined. Always scouting for new talent, I love helping people get to the next level if I’m able to.
What do you enjoy most about it?
Well I am a really sociable & friendly guy so I really enjoy meeting new people that share the same interests as me, building new connections, helping people if I’m able to, working with talented people and trying to influence as many people as possible in my journey on this planet. “Money is cool but I’d rather go get the world” is one of the lyrics from my song with blackbear, MAX and No Hands, and a big inspiration for me!
What do you do when you’re not working (for downtime?)
I go to the gym almost daily and I really enjoy doing graphic design in my free time (I used to do all the artworks for my songs for a while). I really, really love driving … I am a proud owner of a Mercedes-Benz CLK that I got 2 years ago from my first big music paycheck and it became a part of me, haha! I also love shoes, so I always try to have my ‘shoe game’ on. Also, I’m a pretty big anime/movies/TV fan and I love to watch good movies to relax .Sometimes I play some games on PC (League of legends, GTA V, Mafia 2 – probably my favourite offline game).
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Well this is easy . . . getting to work with my favourite artist, ‘blackbear,’ is my biggest achievement to date. Also getting to work with artists like Snoop Dogg, Wu-tang Clan, The Game, DMX, Royce da 5’9″, E-40, Lupe Fiasco, Forever MC, Mod Sun, Hopsin and Lil Wayne. I never expected to do anything like that so early. My next big achievement will be to move to LA and start a new chapter of my life! Also a pretty big achievement for me was when I produced a record for a local Hip Hop/Trap group and it became viral. Everywhere I went in the city I used to hear it. That was a pretty cool experience.
Are there any tips or tricks that you wish you had known when you started?
Yes, try to make music for your yourself rather than for others. Everyone is different and that’s what makes you special! So implement some of that in your music and you will see that the organic reach will keep growing since people will feel “you” in your songs. Also work more on your brand, branding is really important and a lot of people don’t pay attention to that. Develop a sound and keep it going rather than just making trendy stuff. About the marketing/promo part . . . well just try to help as many people as possible however you can, it will eventually get back to you!
What advice would you have for the readers looking to pursue a career in your field?
I know that it’s a lot harder right now that it was 7 years ago when I started but it’s not impossible! Just try to always make quality, not quantity and you will eventually get noticed. One thing that never changed is that people (even the biggest music channels) are always looking for underrated talent. I know that for a fact. So don’t lose hope! If needed, take a break from everything and try to develop your skills as much as possible then come back stronger than ever.
What do you do on the days where you have no motivation and how do you overcome that problem?
I always remind myself that nobody ever supported me or my music and I still kinda made it. That always makes me feel better. I like to travel a lot so sometimes I also do that in order to get some motivation/inspiration. Mainly I am a really thoughtful person and I think about everything way too much, so every time I need to get motivation I just start building a new game plan in my head and usually it works out. We all have our good and bad days but eventually if you’re working hard enough, it will happen.
Do you have any personal tips or actionable advice for success (either in music or life in general)?
I’m going to leave my favorite quote here:
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge
Who are your favourite artists at the moment?
Non-EDM: Blackbear, nothing,nowhere., Travis Scott, kanye West, XXXTENTACION, Gorillaz, Jaden Smith, Lil Peep, Oliver Tree, Post Malone, Nirvana, Jeremy Zucker, EDEN, Stephen, The Weeknd
EDM: Skrillex, Nitti Gritti, Louis The Child, Whethan, Kasbo, Droeloe, Joyryde, Virtual Riot, Tisoki, Rickyxsan, Eliminate, Elow hours
Are there any announcements for recent and/or upcoming things you would like to announce?
Well I am producing 2 Pop/RNB/Hip Hop artists that I will release on my label this year. We have a new series called “Our Different Vision” that we’re doing under ‘it’s different,’ where we release a cover every 2 weeks of either a classic or modern song that we pick, plus we have a lot of new projects featuring some big names. I can’t say details yet but you won’t be disappointed!