For Whethan, evolution happens in real-time. He doesn’t wait around or look back. Instead, he forges ahead, making the most of not only each song, show, and album, but of every second, minute, hour, and day. The gold-selling Chicago-based artist, producer, and remixer consistently canvases new creative territory from a place of pure curiosity. Committed to constant perpetual motion, he never stops searching for peaks to summit and barriers to break.
Once again, he confidently pushes forward on a series of singles and his 2021 second full-length album for Atlantic Records.
“I’ve been in the electronic music community for a while, but I’m really exploring now because I’m more comfortable with who I am,” he reveals. “I’m growing up and experimenting at the same time. The music is exciting and real because of it. I want to keep evolving and reaching people who haven’t heard me.”
At this point, an awful lot of people have heard Whethan…
Since 2015, he has quietly emerged as an influential and inescapable force in not only the electronic genre, but popular music at large. Beyond tallying over 1 billion global streams and counting, he notably became “the young artist ever on Australia’s Future Classics.” He earned a gold single with “Good Nights” [feat. Mascolo] from 2018’s Life of a Wallflower, Vol. 1 and notably collaborated with everyone from Dua Lipa, Charli XCX, and K.FLAY to Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, Portugal. The Man, Jeremih, The Knocks, and Wafia. During 2020, he reached another high watermark with his debut album, FANTASY. It incited tastemaker applause courtesy of Billboard, SPIN, Earmilk, Flaunt, American Songwriter, OnestoWatch, Dancing Astronaut, EDM.com, ThisSongIsSick, and more. Along the way, he graced bills of marquee festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, and Electric Daisy Carnival in addition to selling out a co-headliner at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre and topping the lineup of MTV’s Snowglobe Music Festival.
As he continued to create throughout the Global Pandemic, advice from one of his heroes, Skrillex, echoed in the back of his mind.
“Skrillex told me you should make music for your inner child,” he recalls. “That always stuck with me. It was a revelation. I want to always be excited about what I’m doing.”
After touring heavily for the last few years, he maximized his time off the road. He produced five tracks on Oliver Tree’s critically acclaimed debut album, Ugly Is Beautiful. Combing Soundcloud for music, he immersed himself in the burgeoning hyperpop movement at the same time.
“After putting out FANTASY, I took a break from my solo material,” he elaborates. “I wanted to go outside of the box and work on all types of music. I knew doing that would lead me back to music as an artist.”
His instincts proved correct. He reached out to rising hyperpop star Glaive and genre-bending ericdoa and cooked up the 2021 single “Think You Right.” On the track, synths shift like tectonic plates underneath hypnotic vocal interplay. Meanwhile, strings underscore a hook teeming with uncontainable energy.
“I was able to work with Glaive and ericdoa very naturally,” he states. “I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing my sound or integrity. These guys were all about getting crazy with the production. They wanted me to be as Whethan as I could be. There was a ton of freedom, so it’s a very special song to me. It’s a big moment. It’s pretty much what I want the next project to sound like. It absolutely set the tone.”
Working with the likes of Matt Ox, midwxst, Yeat, Reocragun, Slump6s, and many more on tracks, he continues to widen the scope of his sound.
“I hate doing the same thing twice,” he affirms. “I love surprising people and keeping them on the edge of their seats. I want to make music that can be played for everyone on the biggest scale possible. I love synths, crazy video game sounds, and hard bass. Everything is a part of the next chapter.”
In the end, this evolution services a higher calling for Whethan.
“When people hear my music, I want them to party and dance,” he leaves off. “I just hope they have a good time.”