Rising Portland, Oregon-based musician Splash Downey is one to watch. Splash, who is currently based in Los Angeles, California, is able to create music that falls under a variety of genres thanks to his versatility in terms of singing, rapping, songwriting, and storytelling. Splash keeps up with the beat in all genres, including EDM, Rap, Pop, and even Indie Folk.
Pressure is the lead track on Splash’s most recent EP, an experimental pop-rap project titled “A Cloud Away,”. Check out the exclusive interview and the music video below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started?
I was originally born in the Bay Area, specifically the Walnut Creek/ Alameda area. I moved to Portland, OR around 7 years old and spent the majority of my life there. Music had been an interest since a young age, loading songs onto my Ipod shuffle that could only hold 30 songs. I was constantly asking someone to load new ones on. I started taking music seriously towards the end of high school, and haven’t looked back.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
I’m mainly self taught. I never really learned how to play an instrument well, so I started with production. Being a producer was short lived, when I realized how hard it was, and how good I was at writing. From there, vocals took the spotlight.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘SPLASH DOWNEY’?
Dominic Fike and Mac Miller are probably my main musical influences. Versatility has always been an important component of music as both a creator and an audience member, and at an early age Mac gripped my attention like no other. His vulnerability, and fearlessness to attack new shit he’d never tried before, has never ceased to inspire me as an artist.
Splash Downey came as a result of my overly obsession with water. Downey is my real last name. Although Splash just kind of came naturally. I got the nickname from some homies all the way back in 6th grade, when we were playing some ball at recess. Shit stuck ever since. Water is just an incredible entity, for all we know this is the only place we know it exists. Water is patient. Water is vicious. Water is tranquill. Water encompasses versatility without even trying. I could go on forever but you get the idea.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
My sound has a fun, airy, carefree aura to it. Whether I’m rapping or singing, I’m having a blast doing it. My last EP, A Cloud Away, provided a floaty and joyride type of feel throughout the four records. Like my music influences, I convey versatility. Blending elements of bedroom pop, rap, and indie, I can do it all, and I’m continuously getting better with each release. I started taking music seriously because of the medium’s ability to invoke emotion. I just want my audience to feel something when they listen to Splash.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
I think it depends. Music is an artistic form that should be used in any way one desires. I’m all for music utilized as social vehicles. It has the potential to spread like wildfire, so why not use it to spread the right things. I might inject a couple subjects or cultural events into my songwriting here and there. I’m not fully on one side or the other. It’s just whatever comes to my brain when the beats on.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it, or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
In the end, I want to provide for the ones I love through music. I’m a ways from that, but I’ve got no plans of slowing down. My intrinsic fulfillment from music is always there. I love music. I want to put in all the work to make it sound exactly how it does in my brain. The attainment I receive when we get to a final mix is unlike any feeling I get in my daily life. The feeling of writing something that makes me vulnerable or open but being okay with what others might think is incomparable.
In the future, I’m gonna be a much bigger artist. I want arenas. I want to inspire people to chase after what they want. I want people to relate to what I’ve felt, and feel comfortable in knowing someone out there feels like how you do right now. And shit, I want people to have some fun. If I can offer 20 minutes of fun when you hit play on Splash, I’ve done my job.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
My creative process is kind of all over the place. A song can start from anywhere. I’d say most common is having a beat, or some production to start writing to. Although I’ll randomly have lyrics pop into my head, that I then write in my notes, and create a song from scratch. I collaborate with others often, especially because the beats I write to, come from so many different talents. I normally finish writing the record the same night I start, but there’s been a plethora of times where the lyrics or melodies marinate for much longer. I’ve had songs take me a month to finish writing, just depends on the groove I’m in.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
Thoughts of self doubt. I think creatives in general share this common theme of battling self doubt. There’s times where I ask myself why I even do this if the success I crave hasn’t occurred thus far. But every single time, there’s this little piece of me that carries the weight of mountains, and it tells me, “It’s all going to work out”. I just have to keep pushing, eventually people will join the wave.
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
My first mixtape I dropped did around 30 thousand streams through all platforms. My second mixtape did around 180 thousand streams. I’m an independent artist with no backing from distribution companies or labels. I just want to continue to grow with my music, and grow with my fans as I evolve as an artist, a creative, and a person. People listen to my music every single day. I mean shits mind blowing. I’m beyond grateful for it. But I want to build the numbers and become the biggest artist I can possibly be.
Photo credits: Cassius Pettit