Sean Layton aka “Illustrated” is a DJ/producer who is really starting to hit his stride as an artist. He’s producing banger after banger and with placements in video games, such as “Saints Row 4”, and TV shows like Fox Sports, MTV, Nat Geo, is truly seeing the fruits of his labor.
KW: When I listen to your catalog, I notice so many different styles of music, obviously EDM, but there’s also some punk rock, pop, and hip-hop influences and songs. Who would you say were some of your biggest musical influences growing up?
SL: Haha, that’s a great example of someone who’s been trying to find his sound over the years. Growing up I never listened to electronic music. The idea of producing or being a DJ never crossed my mind. It was all about playing in bands. I was heavily influenced by punk, rock, metal, and pop. Those influences naturally surface every now and then because it’s just who I am at the core. At the end of the day I’m just a fan of great songs. I don’t care what genre it is.
KW: You’ve worked with a lot of great artists, how do you choose who you want to collaborate with?
SL: Sometimes they happen naturally and other times I will reach out. For example, I am finishing up a remix for a band here in LA. I heard them on Spotify and was like, “I wanna remix these guys. They are on to something.” So I reached out and they were in.
KW: Speaking of collaborations, I read that you have written some with Tony Fagenson from Eve 6, how did this take place?
SL: I met Tony on a video shoot for their song, “Victoria”. Within the first 2-3 weeks of moving to LA I saw on a blog that they needed extras for a video. I moved here alone and I didn’t really know anyone so I just kinda went for the hell of it as I was a fan of the band growing up. I ended up bullshitting with them during the shoot and gave him a flash drive of my music, which kept us in touch. Later on down the road I needed help writing a hook for another artist so I hit him up. We ended up writing a few things and one of those turned into, “Traitors”.
KW: I’ve gotta say, I’ve had your song, “Tidal Wave” on repeat for the last couple of weeks, what was your process like in making that song?
SL: That’s dope man. “Tidal Wave” was written at a very vulnerable time in my life. I remember it vividly. It was my second year out here in LA, and I was starting to have some thoughts of quitting music all together. I had completely forgot why I was even doing music, and just needed a restart on everything. I wrote that on guitar and couldn’t think of any more to it so I just recorded what I had. Funny thing is I almost didn’t put that song out. I thought everyone would think it was lame. It’s turned out to be the one everyone remembers me by.
KW: What was it like winning The Discovery Project?
SL: That was an exciting win. I remember forgetting I had even submitted and then one day I got an email saying I won. I definitely did a double take.
KW: You’ve been licensed in video games and television, what is the feeling like to see your music out there in the mainstream?
SL: It’s awesome. The whole licensing world I credit to my friend, Jason Donnelly. When I moved out here he introduced me to this neck of the industry and showed me the ropes about royalty free content. We’ve gone on to do a lot of licensing stuff with his royalty free loops/sample company, “Sountrack Loops”.
KW:Do you feel like you’ve found a recipe to getting your music licensed. Do you feel Songtradr has helped in that regard?
SL: The only recipe I have found is to crank out music on a consistent basis. Find your niche and focus on becoming the best you can be in that area. Start building a library so you will always be ready to submit when an opportunity comes, or find an exclusive one that likes your stuff and continue adding music to their catalog. I was introduced to Songtradr by one of your staff members. The submission/upload feature has been seamless. I really dig being able to name my own sync price.
KW: In an ideal world where would you like to see your music licensed?
SL: Anywhere really. I think more video games would be tight, or if I can land a theme song for a show that would be ideal. It’s always exciting when each quarter comes in and you see where your music landed. If there’s anything I really want it’s just to continue writing songs that hopefully people connect with. If you can figure out how to write a song that is enjoyable to listen to, placements, streaming, etc. will always follow.
KW: What was the craziest moment you’ve ever experienced on the road?
SL: There is a lot, but a quick story would be this one time I was tour with my old band. We had just played this random bar show and we met some girl who was house sitting for someone. I can’t remember how, but we talked her into letting us stay there instead of sleeping in our van. Here we are, 5 band guys who haven’t showered in days with some chick we just met who’s housesitting for someone we don’t even know and let’s us crash. I remember she woke us up at 5AM the next morning and was like, “Alright you guys gotta get out of here, they are coming home soon!” We were out of there real fast.
KW: You are doing very well on Spotify, what’s next for Illustrated?
SL: I just released an official remix for “BVRNOUT”. I have another official remix and some singles I am working on that I am really excited about. Plenty of music from me on the way.
Listen to Illustrated here.