At the tender age of 18, Norwegian producer Alan Walker was thrust into musical stardom after his hit single 'Faded' became certified platinum in over 10 countries. What started out as just messing around and making tunes within the confines of his bedroom has transformed into constant touring and shows around the world as well as non-stop hard work in creating new tracks for this DJ/producer. A part of Heineken's Live Your Music campaign, we spoke to him to uncover more about his journey, music and defining image.
ESQUIRE: When you first worked on Fade, did you imagine your life to turn out like this?
Alan Walker: No way, I was just making music at home and when I compose 'Fade', it became my breakthrough single on the internet and then it just took off from there. I got in touch with a manager and then we reworked 'Fade' with some vocals to become 'Faded' and the rest was history.
ESQ: Most of the vocalists in your singles are females, is it a norm for you? Who would you want to work with next?
AW: I don’t know actually, it’s pretty hard to say, we always find a new vocalists when we have a writing session. There are so many options out there but if there’s one particular vocalist that I have in mind right now, it would be Zara Larsson.
ESQ: What about male vocalist or rappers?
AW: If I was going to make a rap song, the one and only would be Eminem. Maybe Robin Williams or Bruno Mars would be cool as well.
ESQ: No doubt starting so young wasn't easy, especially with school and stuff, how did your friends and family react to it?
AW: It was starting to get harder to focus on school because I was working on my music so much and it was hard to keep a balance between school and music. After awhile, I discussed with my parents, the school and my friends, and decided to leave school a few months before I finished. There's a risk in making these decisions because there's a 50/50 chance you might succeed or fail. But I've gotten to focus on my music and it's been an amazing journey so far.
ESQ: Do you find yourself working on music more on tour or off tour?
AW: I would say back home actually because that’s where I feel like I can just shut everything out and be in my own personal space. I have my own bedroom studio. I don’t want to travel for an hour just to come to a studio and spend a whole day there instead I'd rather be at home and having to wake up in the morning with my computer a metre away from me.
ESQ: What's the most challenging aspect of your life at the moment?
AW: I think the most challenging aspect of what i do now is maybe to stay strong and keep pushing forward, especially when I'm constantly on tour, it can be really tiring. For the past week we’ve been to six countries and I’ve done a show every day, sometimes even two shows a day. It's quite an experience; it's really fun and really cool to come to places like Asia to perform.
ESQ: Let's talk about your image, the whole hoodie and mask thing is no doubt to maintain an air of anonymity, why do you think that is important for you?
AW: People think its mysterious and it makes them curious. I think that’s one of the reasons why people love the whole Alan Walker brand. It’s a symbol. The hoodie and the mask. It makes it possible for people to join and do something similar.
ESQ: Do you think it’s important to have that sense of anonymity?
AW: I think its pretty cool to have an image or symbol like this. Like I said, it makes people curious and they want to find out more. People will be more willing to do more research. It’s also an enlightening thing for me to be able to walk down the streets without people noticing me.
ESQ: Working on anything special at the moment?
AW: For the time being and the rest of 2017, I'm just to looking to release singles. So far no albums or EPs are being planned. More touring. Definitely some remixes.
Alan Walker making his final stop at Zouk KL tonight playing in the Main Room for Heineken's Live Your Music Presents: The Takeover Tour. For more information, please visit here.