Photos and story by: Michael Beas
Swedish-born electronic artist Martin Stääf a.k.a. Liquid Stranger has been stomping through the countryside on his Rise of Wakaan Tour. Early on, the tour made its way into the Neighborhood Theater in Charlotte, NC. It was a launchpad for Liquid Stranger’s new Wakaan label, as the night progressed with the tour’s all-star assortment. The night’s menagerie included tour mates Space Jesus and Au5 along with special guest Psymbionic, who spun trippy, twisted, underground bass for the sold out house of subsonic junkies. B2B sets with Stääf, Austin Collins, and Jasha Tull drove the energy above and beyond what Charlotte event goers expected.
The Untz had an opportunity to get up close and personal with Liquid Stranger right before his set. This is what he shared up with us.
You named your tour “Rise of Wakaan,” what does Wakaan mean, and more so what does it mean for you as an individual?
Wakaan is a Mayan word that means Great Mystery. For me the tour is about creating that active conceptive energy that I hope can be conveyed through my music and though the artists that are part of the tour. There are over 11 of us who are working with me and that are part of the team. While the tour is taking off in a positive light, all of us are focused and driven on creating the perfect experience for everyone for our fans. We hope that the vibe we create is one of individuality that we hope our fans can take away from our music. We have one goal in mind always and that goal is ‘how can we make things better for everyone week after week.’
As your career progressed, was it hard to turn down the mainstream labels that, I am sure, were presenting high dollar offers to you? And now that the Wakaan label has taken off, in retrospect did you make the right decision?
At first, when I was making a name for myself it was hard to turn down the offers, but I took a look at the whole scene in the music world and I didn’t want to have others be in control of my music or the direction that I wanted my music to go. I had to make a decision and this was the path that I choose to take. Has it always been easy? No. In fact I had to build this with my own two hands, with the approach of never giving up or giving in. I always have to go bigger, to go harder and to leave nothing behind when I am on stage. Now that things are taking off, my next goal is to help other artists and to give back. Everything I do now is always focused on that goal, to give back. It’s not about me anymore but rather to help talented artists like Space Jesus and Au5 grow. I do this for them and for the fans that come out to watch us play.
Staying healthy while on tour can be challenging at times. Whats your secret to staying fit and keeping things fresh week after week?
Most people don’t know this, but I am a student of martial arts. I used to kickbox and cage fight, so staying healthy for me is always number one. Apart from working out, I don’t drink, and I try my best to eat right. Producing music is a passion of mine, so usually, when I am off stage, I produce new beats and new tracks. I am not addicted to anything really. My drive is always focused on giving back to others and it starts with your individual core that has to have strong footing on who you are as a person. If not, especially in this industry, it is easy to get side stepped in the wrong direction. I never judge and always respect others decisions, in their own lives but for me personally this is how I get through it and stay fit week after week.
Good question… Everyone calls me the Idea Man, I am always finding ways to try and stay ahead of the game. Like we talked about before, it is all about staying ahead of the game. I used to ghost produce for other artists. So I thought, “what name can I use for myself?”
The “Liquid” part comes into effect because people that come to see me will never know what I am going to drop next. It is different every time they come out to see me perform. For instance, I can drop a dubstep track or jazz or bass or reggae no one will know what I am going to do next and I always play what my heart tells me to play, and not some preset track that a label is wanting me to play. My music is always Liquid to the beat of the night.
As for the “Stanger” that’s where the whole concept of the hood came about. I wanted people to start asking “who is this producer that is doing what he wants to do on stage?” I wanted the buzz around being different then the rest and breaking out of the misconceptions of having to stay in one genre versus crossing over into different elements. The hood gave me that different factor of being different. So there you have it. Liquid Stranger came into existence.
In closing, Martin Stääf aka Liquid Stranger is truly a profound artist who is taking the musical world to another level with genre-shattering tracks the are as groundbreaking almost as much as they are revolutionary. As a person he is as real as real can get. Never one to shy away from meeting fans after a show, or helping up and coming artists achieve a high level of success. He personally responds sincerely to those who reach out to him on socials knowing that his success is driven by the personal touch of those who support him. The Rise of Wakaan Tour is in the midwest this week, before it heads out west; we promise it will not disappoint. Make sure to also snag the Tales of Wakaan compilation, which just dropped, and features acts like Desert Dwellers, An-ten-nae, Dalton Richmond, Perkulat0r, and more!