Interview: Tristen Wang, AKA TRSTN Talks Singles and Collabs

In the ever-competitive professional music landscape, Tristen Wang, who releases music under the name TRSTN, has proven his skills, not only as a recording artist but also as an audio engineer, producer, and DJ.  

For over ten years now, Wang has been creating Electronic Dance Music infused with a Western sensibility. 

Early on, Wang collaborated with legendary producer Jonathan Yen, and they went on to work together for a number of years. 

From there, Wang expanded into engineering and production, which led to even more collaborations with other highly skilled artists and producers. 

Wang has produced and engineered projects for artists like RAFA, Lullaboy, RUBY Z, Curley G, and SHAW. More recently, he has also joined up with the artist/producer SHUZ to create a mixing and mastering platform called Purgatory Sound, but more on that later. 

Wang continues to work with all kinds of talented artists and industry pros, and in our interview, which you'll find below, we asked about his many different projects to get a sense for how Wang stays versatile, creative, and successful in the dog-eat-dog music industry.  

Thanks for joining us. First up, what have you been working on lately? 

Wang: Hello, and thanks for having me! I have been working on the next phase of my artist project, TRSTN. It's been a while since I released any music on my own, but I've been writing new musical ideas and I'm proud to say that they're some of my best work to date. These tracks include several collaborations with some amazing artists, and I'm eager to put them out late this year or in the next. 

I'm also currently working on building and improving my music visuals using my vintage oscilloscope, which I've used for some of my previous releases. It's still a little shaky, but I love the idea, and I want to integrate it to create the best audio-visual experience I can offer to my listeners. 

As for current projects that I am doing production for, I'm not sure I have the liberty to disclose any information right now, but I can assure you that they're definitely exciting!

What can you tell us about your debut single, "Burn"? 

Wang: "Burn" was my first-ever release under my artist name TRSTN, and it was the song that defined my state of mind and music in 2019. I've been making music since around 2012, but have been spending most of that time trying to sculpt a sound that ultimately defined me artistically, which was quite the struggle. 

I did a lot of experimenting with different styles of electronic music, and eventually through "Burn", I landed on this abrasive and in-your-face kind of sound to reflect my love for hard-hitting dance music. It was a defining moment for me, and it inspired the song name since it felt like all the troubles from my self-discovery burned away, and out of the fire emerged a brand-new version of myself. 

I honestly didn't know what to expect when I released this song, but fortunately, I was amazed to see the attention and support it got. I saw that some of my idols like Jauz and Slushii added it to their Spotify playlists and that had me going crazy! Even to this day, it's still going pretty strong and it always reassures me that I'm doing great.

What was it like working on RAFA's debut record "Tell Me"?

Wang: "Tell Me" is one of my favorite records I've ever worked on. It was especially mind-blowing because neither of us had the intention for the song to get as big as it did. It all started when Raf made a short demo, and it was used in xFSN Saber's streams and videos. 

Saber is a very popular gaming streamer and that gave the music quite a lot of attention. Because of it, Raf wanted to finish the full song, so he reached out to me to produce it, and we had the help of Bernard [lullaboy] to write and sing the amazing vocals. I loved working together with those two because they're such positive people to work with and we just had a great time. 

The genre was right up my alley, too, so I could put my all into it. By the time it was released, Saber officially adopted the song as his outro music. But we were very surprised to see how much attention the song itself was getting. Several listeners even made fan videos using the song. Just a few weeks ago, "Tell Me" hit one million streams on Spotify and it felt incredibly unreal. I'm super grateful for everyone who's supported the song.

You've also collaborated with Jonathan Yen. What was that like? 

Wang: It's always a lot of fun working together with Jon. I consider him to be a mentor figure, and it's inspiring, especially when he has had a strong career in music and worked with some of Asia's most prominent figures in music prior to his work in record production. 

When I was 15, I used to hang out at his studio in Beijing every weekend, and it was like hanging out with a rockstar. He's absolutely amazing. I'm super grateful that he has so much faith and trust in what I do since he has always put me on lots of opportunities to work with great musicians around the world, as well as on large-scale projects. 

Even when I'm the youngest one in the group, I always end up having a great time with everyone. Through Jon, I've learned a lot about the industry, and I owe him a lot for what I have achieved in my career!

You've been engineering SHAW's music for a long time now. What has it been like to see the project take off? 

Wang: It is always amazing to see my friends succeeding, especially with Sam [SHAW]. We've been friends ever since we met in Taipei back in 2018, and I know Sam to be an incredibly hard-working and determined individual, especially in making dance music. 

I was honored when he asked me to help engineer his music since it was right at the time when he launched his full-time artist project SHAW. Neither of us knew what to expect at the start, but we've both been incredibly pleased with the results. 

Can you tell us more about Purgatory Sound? 

Wang: Purgatory Sound is a passion project that I started with my incredibly talented producer friend Jason Shu, who goes by the name of SHUZ. We had the idea of joining our skills for audio mixing and mastering to create a platform for the music community. 

For any young music artist starting out, it's really difficult to nail the engineering aspect of music creation because it's almost an entirely different world of knowledge to learn, aside from the already extensive world of music production itself. Luckily for us, we both have experience and education in these fields, and we aspire to lend a helping hand to those who need it.

What was it like touring with Purity Factory in 2019? 

Wang: It's a moment that I will never forget. I've always loved DJ-ing, and touring literally brought all of my dreams to life. I got to travel around China and play alongside some of my good friends as well as my idols like Snails and Black Tiger Sex Machine. 

I hadn't been to Guangzhou or Shenzhen before, so it was pretty crazy that I got to go for the first time to perform. I played back-to-back shows together with SHUZ and we attracted some of the biggest crowds and the greatest energy we have ever seen in our DJ careers. Electronic Dance Music in China is still a developing scene, and genres that we play, such as trap music, aren't all that big there. But the crowds embraced it and absolutely loved what we played. 

Aside from performing, I got to do quite a lot of tourism around the cities since we had quite a lot of time between each show. So overall, I had a blast and would one hundred percent do it again, hopefully when the pandemic situation improves! 

Are there any other projects you'd like to mention here? 

Wang: I've got a side project with my partner Lunar Chen called "Sigrid Rosier". Lunar created it and I joined in after two of her solo releases. Just two months ago, we released our first single together called "Gidora". It combines both our musical styles together, and we plan on building a world together which will include elements of film and visuals. We're ambitious to expand our project beyond music and cannot wait to share more of what we're working on soon!

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