🎧 Songs of the Week #25: Push the pedal to the floor.
📅 March 4-10, 2023: Featuring After Wes, i_o & Lights, Homebodi & Kenya Grace, Lena Leon (jackLNDN Remix), and Elley Duhé & Whethan
Welcome to week #25 of the Steel Orca Songs of the Week.
I’m one week away from the six-month anniversary of this newsletter. I haven’t stuck with an individual hobby for six months for the last 20+ years. Not only that but a hobby with a weekly deadline! If you’re enjoying what you’ve seen thus far, subscribe to stick with us so we’re together at the one-year mark!
It continued to snow this week in our corner of Western Canada, which, honestly, to me at this point is a bit surprising but welcome. I’ve actually managed to sneak out of work to go snowboarding with my daughter the Friday this comes out, so I’m glad the slopes got a new dusting this week, and it’s also been cold enough for them to make some snow (to the extent they’re still doing that). I’m sure I’m having (had?) a fantastic time.
What else is new in the world with everyone? Same old, same old from me this week, I’d say. I continue to dive into the artificial intelligence world for this newsletter (helping me with research on the artists, in particular) and my day-to-day job. In both instances, I’d say ChatGPT and the various other AI tools I’ve used have increased my productivity by about 30% at this point, and that number could probably increase if I spent more time on it.
To that end, ChatGPT released its API recently, which I am trying to play with (in all my free time). The use case I’m interested in is the following:
Take all of these newsletter posts (after I complete them) in their entirety and feed them into ChatGPT as prompts to pick up style, tonality, theme (whatever else it can pick up, even though it doesn’t explicitly have “memory”)
Having informed the model of what I’m producing, I start engaging with it (i.e. feeding it subsequent prompts) as a co-copy writer to produce better output.
At that point, man and machine start melding together, and the incubation stage of the Steel Orca Interoperability Protocol (steelorca.io) as a digital AI entity (ideally with its own “personality”) truly begins.
I started working on this last night, but it turns out (not surprisingly) that it’s more complicated than I thought. The first hurdle is that you can’t feed in something this long as a prompt - it’s too many characters. In the absence of that, you need to prep ChatGPT that you’re going to send x/x (i.e. 10/10) messages as prompts (dividing the input into digestible chunks), each of which is individual parts of a greater whole, etc. etc. I haven’t worked out all the details. It’s probably easier for me to subscribe to jasper.ai, realistically - I’ll likely try that this week.
All that said, I’ve been spending a lot more of my time coding lately, which was one of my goals for 2023. In my job, it’s easy to avoid putting your fingers on the keyboard for a long time, and I’ve been guilty of that. So in light of a potential pending recession (and all of the tech layoffs), I’ve been sharpening my development skillset. It’s been gratifying.
One thing I want to mention upfront with all this AI talk is that I want to be clear that I am using ChatGPT and other AI tools (Bing as well, but it hasn’t been as helpful) to research the artists I include in the list below. I was reticent to do it at first, given all the potential SEO penalties around “AI-generated content.” Still, the fact is that these posts are of higher quality, with denser information, when I use these tools than when I don’t. I consider that a worthwhile benefit assuming I’m providing links and attributions to the source material, which I am to the greatest extent possible, given time constraints. Remember, I am writing all this in approximately 36 hours after taking another day and a half to pick the songs and structure the post. This takes a while. Anything to up my productivity and efficiency is helpful.
One step at a time through the fourth industrial revolution.
Exclusive offer for Steel Orca readers: Earn $25 when you get a Neo card.
Here are the songs for the week of March 10, 2023 🕉️.
▶️ Youtube Music: Songs of the Week #25
This week was the Hindu festival Holi, otherwise known as the “Festival of Colors.” To everyone celebrating, Happy Holi!
After Wes - in paris, the windows are always open
Release Date: November 10, 2022
Spotify Plays: 39,359
Plays Per Day: 336
Label: After Wes
Origin: Brooklyn, NY 🇺🇸
After Wes is a music producer based in Brooklyn, New York, and honestly, that’s all I could find out about him. His Spotify artist profile indicates he is a “producer making dance music that isn’t reserved for the club.” He doesn’t have a Twitter account (which seems to be a trend among the younger generation) and instead has a TikTok. As far as I can tell, that’s the best place to get to know him. I might have to get an account.
This song is a catchy little house song, in the new Fred Again.. style of having a random girl talking as the lyrics everyone seems to be going for. My favourite part is the first 30 seconds; it seems like that would be a great bit to open a DJ set.
If After Wes plays live anywhere, you’d probably have to be in NYC to see him. Your best bet is to follow him on Instagram or TikTok.
i_o & Lights - SuperMelt
Release Date: November 23, 2022
Spotify Plays: 476,660
Plays Per Day: 4,583
Label: Armada Music B.V.
Genre: Dance / Electro Pop
Origin: Richmond, VA 🇺🇸 | Timmons, ON 🇨🇦
Instagram: @i_oofficial | @lights
Twitter: @i_oofficial | @lights
Ok, well, this is a great song but a sad story.
i_o (Garrett Falls Lockhart) was a DJ and producer from Richmond, Virginia, who, sadly, passed away on November 23, 2020, from a “sudden and fatal arrhythmia" brought along by late-stage Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Despite what ended up being a short career, Lockhart's unique blend of techno and progressive house continues to be relevant and influential in the genre. To that point, the song this album is from, Warehouse Summer, was released posthumously on November 23, 2022, as an in memoriam to i_o to mark the second anniversary of his death.
Following a string of well-received EP releases, in 2019, i_o collaborated with Grimes to compose and perform the song Violence. Despite being a side project for Grimes, she liked the song so much that she included it in her album Miss Anthropocene and made it the first single released. By his death, Violence was i_o’s most successful record in chart performance, spending ten weeks on the Billboard “Electronic Dance Music” chart.
Lights (Valerie Anne Poxleitner-Bokan) is a Canadian musician, singer and songwriter known for her electropop and synth-pop style. Born in Timmins, Ontario, she has released six studio albums and won two Juno Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys: more donuts and maple syrup, less Satanic imagery).
Not only is Lights the vocalist on this track, but she also co-wrote all 14 tracks on Warehouse Summer, so while the album release was focused on i_o (and for good reason), Lights deserves as much credit for this album as the late Mr. Lockhart.
Aside from her music career, Lights is also a skilled comic book artist, and she created her own comic book series, "Skin & Earth," which accompanied her album of the same name. She has also worked with other notable artists in the music industry, including Owl City, Felix Cartal, and deadmau5.
According to her website, you can next see Lights at the Revelree Music Festival on July 21 in Sarnia, Ontario. Buy tickets here.
Lena Leon - Spiral (jackLNDN Remix)
Release Date: December 2, 2022
Spotify Plays: 125,829
Plays Per Day: 1,325
Label: Liftoff Recordings
Genre: Organic House / Downtempo
Origin: New York 🇺🇸 | Boulder, CO 🇺🇸
Instagram: @itslenaleon (@jacklndn)
Twitter: @itslenaleon (@jackLNDN)
Lena Leon is a singer, songwriter, audio engineer, and producer from Los Angeles, California, who has made a name for herself in the dance and pop music scenes with her catchy hooks and upbeat rhythms. 2023 is proving to be a big year for Lena as she was nominated for two Electronic Dance Music Awards from EDM.com - Best New Artist and Best Dance/Electro Pop song for Spiral.
In addition to her acclaimed work as a performer, Lena is also a platinum-selling songwriter and session vocalist. Her songs have been featured in various media, including TV shows, movies, and commercials.
jackLNDN (Jack Aisher) is a British-born, Colorado-based producer and DJ who has made a name for himself with his unique blend of deep house, disco, and chillout music. Born in London, he initially started as a guitarist in various rock and blues bands before focusing on electronic music production, where he’s drawn on multiple influences, including jazz, funk, and classical music.
Since his debut EP, Summer Never Ends, he has released several critically acclaimed albums and singles, including the full-length album Thoughts. He has also toured throughout Europe and North America, playing at music festivals and clubs with some of the biggest names in EDM today (including Chris Lake, Bob Moses, and Pete Tong).
Neither Lena Leon nor JackLNDN has any upcoming dates listed at the time of writing.
Homebodi & Kenya Grace - Venus
Release Date: April 11, 2022
Spotify Plays: 59,380
Plays Per Day: 180
Genre: Dance / Electro Pop
Origin: London 🇬🇧 | South Africa 🇿🇦
Instagram: @itshomebodi | @kenyagrace
Similar to After Wes above, Homebodi is a producer duo from London that, beyond that fact, I couldn’t find any information about online. Their Instagram seems to be the best source of information (such as it is).
Kenya Grace is a South Africa-born, London-based vocalist who graduated from the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, England, in 2019. She describes her music as “sultry, smooth, delicate, dreamy, electronic, [and] empowering.”
This is a great song and criminally under-listened to on Spotify. This was almost the Song of the Week until I switched things up last minute. I’m not going to lie - a big part of why I switched it up is because neither Homebodi nor Kenya Grace has a Twitter account. If I tag the Song of the Week to no one - that’s not a great look. Thus, the importance of social media. I’ve given in to the machine (help me, Elon, you’re my only hope).
Song of the Week 🙌
Elley Duhé & Whethan - MONEY ON THE DASH
Release Date: January 20, 2023
Spotify Plays: 7,237,398
Plays Per Day: 157,335
Label: Not Fit For Society, Inc. / Good Luck Have Fun Records
Genre: Dance / Electro Pop
Origin: Mobile, AL 🇺🇸 | Chicago, IL 🇺🇸
Instagram: @elleyduhe | @whethan
Twitter: @elleyduhe | @whethanmusic
As I said above, it was between this song and the previous one which would end up as Song of the Week. Ultimately, this song is too damn catchy for me to pick anything else. However, I wanted to play this for people so much this week I started looking up DJ equipment. It’s so good that I wanted to look up if it’s charting on Billboard, but because we live in a capitalist society, I’m not allowed to read the Billboard chart without a subscription, which I’m not going to pay for. However, it turns out that if I scan it before it loads the blocker, I can find out - this song is currently #45 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs (trust me).
Alabama-born Elley Duhé is an American singer and songwriter who first gained widespread attention with her single Immortal, which was featured in the trailer for the Netflix manga movie adaptation Death Note. Duhé’s breakout moment came in 2018 when she sang the vocals on Zedd’s Happy Now. More recently, her 2020 single Middle of the Night went viral on TikTok.
Whethan (Ethan Snoreck) is a Chicago, Illinois, producer, musician, and DJ. He is known for his dynamic, high-energy tracks that blend electronic and indie-pop elements (of which this song is a great example). He first gained attention in 2016 with his debut single Can't Hide, which quickly went viral and earned him a record deal with Atlantic Records. Since then, Whethan has released several successful singles and EPs, including Savage featuring Flux Pavilion and MAX, and Life of a Wallflower Vol. 1. He has collaborated with various notable artists, including Charli XCX, Oliver Tree, and The Knocks.
The real story with Whethan is that he is only 23, looks like Michael Cera’s character from Superbad, and has an equally interesting high school story- in 2017, he bailed on the last several months of his senior year to tour with the Chainsmokers, then came back and played his unreleased record for his classmates at his graduation. Crazy. Someone buy the film rights to that.
Elley Duhé is not currently on tour, but you can catch Whethan tonight (March 10) at Supernova Nightclub in Seattle, Washington. I’d recommend it. It will probably be excellent.
That’s it for this week from all of us here at the Steel Orca.✔️👋
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supermelt is such a gem off that album