LA-based music producer Tate Sedar recently dropped his new single ‘Find A Way’, a musical exploration of his own journey through music, his career and his battles – and triumphs – with mental health. Raver Mag quite naturally wanted to find out more…
Hi Tate, thanks so much for stopping by Raver Mag today. Can you give us an idea of where in the world you are right now and what you’re doing?
Great to be here! I’m in LA and pursuing production full-time.
Congratulations on your new song ‘Find A Way’. Is it fair to say the single is almost a biography of your journey through music so far? Why did you decide to do such a deeply personal song?
Yeah, definitely. I started it a while ago but reopened it during the pandemic. It felt kinda old, but I had these new skills and new inspiration with it. I kept sharing with colleagues & friends and they loved it. I felt like I should put it out and there was a story: how my experience with producing could relate to others.
You moved to London at just 11, which is a pretty formative age. In terms of exposure to dance music and shaping your own musical tastes, how influential was moving to the UK? And also what was the deal with the Apple Store trips? Did you just go to various Apple Stores in the US & play on GarageBand there?
It’s funny ‘cuz I got more into dance music in London, but it really started in Potomac, MD. My family moved around a lot and in Potomac, we’d go to the arcades where Dance Dance Revolution was the big thing. Around that time, I also went through some of my parent’s CDs and found this one compilation: This is Ultimate Dance. It was the first time I heard “One More Time” [by Daft Punk] and The Chemical Brothers. Moving to London felt like the world just weaving things together. I would go to Apple Stores while my family was shopping and I just played on GarageBand. A whole new world opened. I always wanted to be a singer (even trained at a young age), but I got older and my voice changed. I was in love with dance music and producing it felt like the obvious alternative.
How do you use music and composition to sonically represent different parts of your own journey in the song?
The structure of the song is parallel to the order of events & moments in my life so far. The intro is like childhood. A playground scene and wind chimes. Next is the juvenile hook – that’s the point where I found my passion at 10: producing music. The [first] build then resembles me developing, learning about production, and you can see that in the music video.
The first drop represents where things started to come together for me musically around 15. It’s a blend of all the things I loved when I started [production]: rock, breakbeat & pop. Breakbeat tracks were some of the first I actually spun on Technics. As the drop gets more complex, this is where things started to get heavy in life. I tried balancing production with school and there wasn’t a lot of online resources at the time for advanced production (2010). Not being able to sound like a pro really exploited my perfectionism. The abrupt breakdown – thats when I hit a wall as an early adult.
The wall lasted over many years. I went to college, but had to balance music with studies. I graduated, and then I had to work. I moved to LA in 2019, and then COVID happened. Personally, it felt like a moment for me to do things different. I’d given up on trying to learn advanced production. But I needed to learn again to sound professional, and there were so many resources out that I didn’t have growing up. This realization to master my skills is where the hook comes in the track – a sense of clarity & repose.
At the second build, you can see in the video that this is where I started to learn again. The second drop is a big culmination of everything before and really – a moment of acceptance & fulfillment. It represents when I accepted the past and moved forward with new methods – learning to master production again and to tackle perfectionism. Fulfillment can feel euphoric and that’s what I tried to express in this drop.
You have a lot of different genres represented in the song – which ones would you say are your natural ‘groove’?
Haha, you’re right! It’s a bit of a hodge-podge but, I’m definitely more rooted in four- to-the-floor, electro house. But when I DJ, I like to play one or two “offbeat” and breakbeat tracks – just to break for away for a bit from the routine and add some rhythm.
You deal quite openly with the subject of mental health and say that it was the deaths of Avicii and Pierce Fulton that really forced you to look at yourself. What did you discover personally about how you handled your mental health, and what changes did you make?
When Avicii & Fulton died, it reminded me of a struggle that I was, at the time, still dealing with. I felt like and still do that, as a producer, there’s a lot on the agenda: [music] theory, keyboard, composition, production, sound design, recording, mixing, engineering, mastering – and then turning all of that into a business. It’s a different plate than what I would’ve took if I just sang and didn’t write music. Everybody also wants novelty and the human voice: sot that’s where the expectation in production is to be different & relevant. It felt like a lot at 16 and still feels so now.
So when Tim (Avicii) and Pierce passed, my struggle felt more apparent. I have producer friends that all deal with mental health and what it means to be a producer. I started taking care of my mental health at 17, but being aware of it didn’t change anything. I started “Find a Way” right around then, in 2012, but still had to learn how to break habits and manage self-criticism. Change only happened when I upgraded my skills in 2020, stopped second-doubting everything in music and made years of progress in my own mental health journey to pick up the track gain. After it was done, I felt like – I’m not the only that’s gone through this. Let’s talk about it.
Now that you’ve had time to solidify your mental wellness practices, what tips can you give to other producers who may be having similar struggles?
A therapist of mine told me (and here, I’m paraphrasing): if there are things coming from you that are getting in the way of life, then take a look at – psychologically. It’s hard to open up about it, but imagine if it’s too late – not accomplishing what you want in life & feeling lost. A psychiatrist is the only one that can really diagnose a disorder, but a therapist is where you tackle that or the other mild situations & conditions. They study the mind and provide a service to others and help understand your dilemmas.
I used to be so proud and think therapy was “bullsh*t.” Same with meditation. What’s closing your eyes or talking to a shrink gonna do? But psychology – it’s health. And meditation – it’s just a way of starting the day over, a rest. The mind is muscle that needs a break, and who wouldn’t want like a sec to just start anew?
I understand everyone has budgets or doesn’t have [health] insurance. But like production, there are so more many resources out than ever, even online, that are affordable or free (of course, research is pertinent in finding credible services). Mental health is part of health as well as our experience as creatives.
What’s next for you?
I’m not gonna lie, I’d like to take a break! But I got more skills now than I did before and need to get more music out. I’m also ready to start getting things to labels. I’ve got the numbers & support now to open some doors.
Apple Music: apple.com/us/artist/tate-sedar/1280982350
Instagram (@tatesedarmusic): instagram.com/tatesedarmusic