Tunnel Vision: A Conversation with ESTA

The Soulection producer opens up about his upcoming album and performance at Trillectro.

Music 
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When it comes to progressive producers and artists under the Soulection banner, Temecula-bred instrumentalist ESTA is certainly one of the main names that’s going to be on an deft Soulection and/or beat scene diehard. Over the past several years, he’s cultivated a sound that’s become synonymous with the new era of beats and popular underground (yet verging on mainstream) production. From Dilla-indebted cuts to club connoisseur’s choices and YouTube favorites, ESTA has proven he has the ability to do it all in an artful-yet-accessible way that’s as meticulous as a veteran carpenter’s approach to his field.

At present time, ESTA’s Soulection family are running things over at Apple’s Beats 1 radio. He’s hard at work trying to drop his debut studio album before year’s ends. His loosies end up racking up jaw-dropping listens on SoundCloud in a matter of days. The sets he performs are at festivals headlined by some of music’s biggest artists and he can sell out shows in almost any major market. The mindset behind all this is simple and direction. He just “does his own thing” allows for the “most organic music possible” to manifest itself in his hard drive.

To learn more about the man behind some of the internet’s most listened to productions and one of the future’s legendary producers, we linked up with ESTA to speak on his upcoming gig at this year’s Trillectro festival, his career thus far, fashion, his debut album and more.

Who are the girls featured on your song artwork? Are they random or people you know?

When I was first starting to do it, I’d approach homegirls but now that I’m in a relationship, I ask her to find them so she feels more comfortable about it. Or just use random Tumblr images if I randomly feel like uploading a track (laughs).

Do you have a plan to put out a debut album soon?

Yeah, ideally at the top of the year. I usually try to release something on my birthday, which is in November. However, getting features for this album is a lot tougher than initially expected.

You’ve mentioned before how you enjoy the introverted aspect of production more than playing shows. Has that changed in any way?

Hasn’t changed one bit. If anything, I’m at my all-time high of being an introvert (laughs). After doing all these shows, I just get frustrated I can’t be home to work on more music.

Production culture has evolved greatly over the last few years, how has that affected you and do you just do your own thing or do you try to keep up with what’s trending?

I don’t pay attention too much, man. Like new music or SoundCloud or any of that, I try not to pay attention and just do my own thing. I just want to make the most organic music possible without the thought of what’s going on and trending.

You’ve been pretty loyal with Soulection, whereas some other producers have come and left the label. What are the benefits of staying and what does Soulection offer that other labels don’t?

Soulection is my family. They put me on to my first shows and really pushed me to another level. I’m forever thankful and can’t just leave the ones I started with. I’d rather be with a label that’s tight-knit, passionate, and I can just hang out with outside of work and not even talk music.

Many artists are starting to get into fashion. Soulection is quite a fashion-conscious label. Any plans to delve further into fashion yourself?

I’m not sure. I’d like to but I respect it too much and wouldn’t want to disrespect designers that influence me or my friends that are designers. I’ll definitely have my merch but I don’t want to dive into it too deeply. Artist merch attempting to be clothing lines typically end up corny so I definitely don’t want that to happen to me haha

This year’s Trillectro lineup is huge. Who are some artists on it that you want to work with?

Of course Cudi but I’ve got a long way to go till I get on his level (laughs).

The fifth installment of Trillectro, DC’s critically acclaimed, all-day musical experience, takes place on Saturday, August 27 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. The lineup includes Esta, Kid Cudi, Rae Sremmurd, Lil Uzi Vert, and many more. Secure your tickets here.

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