Get Familiar: Tek.Lun

Get Familiar: Tek.Lun

Get Familiar: Tek.Lun

Allow us to introduce Tek.Lun, a 21-year-old musician based in Los Angeles, originally from Baltimore. He began his musical journey at a young age and drew inspiration from Baltimore's rich music scene. Tek.Lun's music blends various genres, including house, soul, funk, folk, bass, and drums, resulting in a unique and engaging style. At just 17 years old, he started sharing his beats on SoundCloud, quickly gaining recognition from labels like HW&W and Soulection, where he joined the ranks of respected artists.

One of Tek.Lun's distinguishing features is his versatility. He operates under the alias "Varth Dader," seamlessly switching between roles as a beatmaker and a rapper, offering listeners a diverse musical experience. Collaboration has played a significant role in Tek.Lun's musical journey, alongside fellow producers like LAKIM, Kaytranada, and Kaelin Ellis. His commitment to his craft and his willingness to explore new musical territories have solidified his position as a rising talent in both beatmaking and rap.

In his recent release, "Deserve It," he explores themes such as racism and manipulation, collaborating with April and Vista. Currently, Tek.Lun is working on a project titled "No Hard Feeling," promising more intriguing music from this talented artist. Keep an eye out for Tek.Lun as he continues to evolve in the world of music.

How did growing up in Baltimore influence your unique musical style?

Growing up in Baltimore, I was constantly exposed to its distinct style of "house music" known as "Baltimore Club". It didn't occur to me until later on in my career that I implemented a lot of its elements in my uptempo music subconsciously.

You started sharing your beats on SoundCloud at 17. What inspired that move and how did it impact your career?

Funny story, before soundcloud there was youtube which is where I met a bunch of other producers from all over the world where we'd have beat battles and collaborate. There was this other website called and fairtillizer (rest in peace) but they started making people pay to upload, so since we were kids with no jobs, the only place at the time that allowed us to upload music was the very premature soundcloud. No reposts, no DM's, just vibes. I think it goes without saying that Soundcloud became the mecca for artists to showcase and collaborate with others and that's where my career really started.

How did it feel to gain recognition from labels like HWW and Soulection?

It felt surreal. The "LA Beat Scene" predated SoundCloud and the artists from that era were my heroes. So, when Soulection and HW&W came into prominence and acknowledged me, it was not just recognition but also an invitation to be part of the culture that inspired my entire career.

What is a valuable lesson or memorable experience from collaborating with artists like LAKIM, Kaytranada, and Kaelin Ellis?

Wow, I'll give you one thing each of them has taught me personally:

LAKIM: He taught me how to use this grid feature in FL Studio (my estranged weapon of choice for creating music) which allows you to create "swing" without doing a lot of work. He also hooked me up with a drum kit more than 10 years ago that I still use to this day.

Kaytranada: One day on Facebook years and years ago, I sent him a beat and he replied with something along the lines of  "The bassline needs to be funkier." I felt a way, I'm not gonna lie, but I definitely started focusing on making my basslines funkier that same day lol

Kaelin Ellis: Kaelin really showed me how to layer samples and how to get them to sound cohesive. Mind you, he was probably 12 when he taught me this. 

Can you explain how you switch between beatmaking and rapping as *Varth Dader* and how it affects your creative process?

I started out as a rapper, using my aunt's radio mic on audacity, sneaking on my moms computer to record terrible verses, but very soon after I would start making beats. It wasn't until I met my homie Bito in college who brought me into the NASA8, a deep rap crew, where we would all make beats, freestyle and create together. I'd much rather produce these days and it's pretty difficult for me to rap over my own instrumentals so it doesn't really affect my creative process too much now.

What inspired your song Deserve It with themes of racism and manipulation?

April wrote the track (shoutout to her), so I can't really answer that personally, but I will say that as a black creative, these themes  are pretty constant in our lives and although subtle, it ruminates in the background of our experience daily. You never really forget it's there until you become a millionaire or something and even then, you'll still probably experience some form of covert prejudice. Hard to say though because after the George Floyd era, these things have become less taboo to speak on. Before we dropped it, I asked if we should incorporate themes into the visuals and we both agreed that leaving it open to interpretation would be cool.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your upcoming project, No Hard Feelings?

What I can say about No Hard Feelings is that it's an entirely new world for me. Trying out more live instrumentation and less electronic sounds while keeping my core elements intact. I'm eager, albeit a little anxious, to see how it's received given how different it is from my previous works.

How do you blend various genres in your music, like house, soul, funk, folk, bass, and drums, to create a unique sound?

Though I've never read "Steal Like An Artist," I think my approach aligns with its principles. I always say that being a crate digger early in my career shaped my ear and gave me a wide variety of reference points for music I can pull from outside of my own personal taste.

I'm about to get nerdy so bare with me. My process is this: If I want to blend House and Soul for example, what I do in my head is think about the distinctive qualities for each genre that stand out to me. House usually has the 4 on the floor kick, with a percussion loop of some sort and synths here and there. Whereas for soul,  I like to use an ensemble of instruments they'd be using paired with harmonic characteristics used in that 60's-70's era amongst other things like mixing styles and tracking methods. So I'd just fuse the two in whatever way works at that point in time.

What advice do you have for aspiring beatmakers and rappers?

 The best advice I can give that may sound kind of harsh is to get good! Put in those reps! Some people are unaware of how there music sounds and in that case I recommend copying artists you like and if you do that long enough, your heart and spirit will peek through and give you a distinctive sound that comes with those reps and as long as your soul is in whatever you do, there will be a community of people waiting for you and I truly believe that.

Last tip for producers, a quick hack to never get writer's block is to rack up on as many sounds as your harddrive can hold from ALL genres. You'll always find something to ignite that dormant creative rut.

Share a career highlight that made you feel accomplished as an artist.

Touring internationally, by far. Never in a million years would I think that I would get to play in Asia and Europe on multiple occasions AND have an amazing time each time. It still blows my mind. 

How has being based in LA influenced your music and creativity?

The beautiful thing about a major city in general is the access to creatives everywhere. There's always someone not too far from me I'm a fan of and have the potential to reach out too which I think is a blessing. But what's unique to LA and myself is knowing that I'm a stone's throw away from my idols. 

Can you tell us about a challenging moment in your career and how you overcame it?

I honestly can say that my career itself hasn't really been too crazy, I do things that don't leave much room for trouble. I release my instrumentals and keep it moving. However, this leads into a challenge that I'm overcoming now which is stepping outside of my bubble and interacting with my peers. I've always been a homebody and that hasn't been the best for me in terms of networking so I'll say that this is my challenge. I've grown a lot in the past few years and still growing, but I'm finding that it's vital for me to continue to nurture the relationships I have while building new and genuine friendships.

Any exciting projects or collaborations on the horizon for Tek.Lun? 

I have a really cool idea I want to start once this new album drops, I won't speak on it too much right now because it can change, but it'll showcase my range and catalog more than anything else I've done in the past for sure.