Dylan Baumgartner: A Man of Many Mediums

JM: As usual Dylan, let the people know the basics about ya before we dive in!

DB: My name is Dylan Baumgartner. I’m based out of Temecula, California. I am a writer, director, producer, editor, and musician. I make short films, music videos, books, comic books, and music.

JM: I remember going to one of your film premieres at the Temeku in Temecula, pretty sure it was Dynamica that was being released. How did you go about getting your films independently published?

DB: Yeah that was back in 2017 when theaters were still alive and well. I do remember seeing you there at the Dynamica premiere with Michael and if I’m not mistaken, Jake was there too. Thanks again for coming out! That was a fun premiere. It was also an expensive one for me. The budget for Dynamica ended up being around $3,000 out of pocket plus an overpriced theater rental while I was working a minimum wage job at Subway. But after premiering Nightwatchers at Temeku in 2018, I haven’t done a theater rental from them since and I probably won’t again anytime soon. The last short film I directed was premiered at the 2019 Elev8 Film Festival in Temecula at the Edwards Cinema.

JM: I totally feel you on paying out of pocket to make your dreams work. It’s discouraging when it doesn’t go your way, but we haven’t given up and that’s what matters! What is the hardest part about being a director/producer? I figure there’s a lot of sleepless nights and early mornings.

DB: In my opinion, there are a lot of challenging obstacles for an amateur filmmaker at my level. But the hardest thing that I’ve noticed for my self and my other filmmaker friends is finding people who are willing to help just for the sake of helping out. Not in it for a paycheck or some kind of glory. Just helping out someone who has a vision and willing to go broke for it. I think the art industry was built on people doing favors for one another. Like right now I’m helping out my friend Bailey Schoelen with his short film, CPU Messenger and he’s helping me with my short film, Me & You. Or like how I edited the Toxic Box video for you and now we are doing this interview.

JM: You know, it’s taken me some time to understand we do this creative shit in order to maintain our minds. Recognition and money are something that MIGHT come along. It’s especially hard trying to just find people who want to help for the sake of helping out your cause. I run into that a lot as well. So, with that being said, creating involves struggles, but what would you say is your biggest strength during the creative process of your content.

DB: I don’t like bragging about myself so I’ll keep this brief. I think it’s beneficial that I write, direct and edit most of my projects. It helps with maintaining the story and characters while also being able to reshape it as I go from the inception of the idea to the final product. 

JM: That’s how I feel with my music and with Unify Collective. I need to be fully involved in it, even if I don’t have the skillset to edit a video or graphic design I still am involved 100% of the entire project to make sure my vision comes to life. How would you classify your genre of cinematography? It looks like you deal with a lot of variety which is great!

DB: Thank you but I can’t take all the credit for the cinematography. I usually like to work with a cinematographer if I’m directing. At this level, I’m wearing multiple hats on set and it’s incredibly helpful to have a cinematographer handle the camera and lights. Plus, I get a different perspective on the script. There have been plenty of times where what the cinematographer comes up with on set is way better than what I had in my head or drawn in my storyboards.

JM: Multiple hats! That’s a good description. I often feel like the editor, producer, art direction, designer, etc. But I always let the creatives I work with have their freedom because they often come up with ideas that were completely different and end up better than what I originally had in mind. What is it about your style that sets you apart from the rest of the crowd?

DB: I think that when you start out as an artist you first need to find your voice. I’m still working on it and the way I’m going about it is tackling different platforms and genres of storytelling. My first project was a cerebral supernatural short film followed up with a train heist action drama. Just recently I published a western novella and I’m currently working on a comedy comic book, a multi-genre collaborative album, a murder mystery book, and a dark comedy breakup short film.
So for me it’s about seeing how I go about telling those stories and then being able to look back, find the common threads and then hone in on what works and strengthen what doesn’t.
JM: I feel like I’m still trying to find my voice. I do feel more comfortable with my art than ever before so maybe that means I’m getting closer and closer to what it is I’m trying to become. Yet, being an artist we’re always evolving and trying to create something different than before. You have a big catalogue of self-directed and produced cinema under your belt. What’s your favorite one, if any?
The Creatives: Dylan
DB: For a long time my favorite was Nightwatchers because it was just so fun make. But I would say my last directed short film, Who, is my new favorite. The end product is something that everyone involved and myself are very proud of but the personal connection I had to the project was a very weird and wild experience that I won’t forget anytime soon.

JM: Was it hard to create or did you find it an easy process since you felt connected to it?

Artwork: Alicia Mutlu

DB: I think it’s really important to have a personal connection to what you are working on. For me, art is a form of therapy. 

JM: That’s what Unify Collective and my music are, therapy. So I completely understand where you’re coming from. Speaking of my music, what inspired you behind the “Toxic Box” promotional videos that you helped me out with? They came out so clean!

Artwork: Barep Bachtiar 

DB: Thank you and thanks for approaching me with the project. For the “Toxic Box” video, I was just trying to service the song and the artwork you gave me. I felt like there should be a sense of chaos. 

JM: And you did exactly that with these videos good sir so thank you! Well, with that being said, tell the people what’s coming up, what’s new, and where to reach you if they want some camerawork and/or promo stuff made!
DB: Right now I have a few new releases. I put out a music video for “The Message” by West of 33 and Pac_Man 29.
DB: I have a new western adventure book out titled Bone Orchard.

Artwork: Ian Wilkins

DB: Followed up by another book, Copy Cats in October.

DB: I’m also releasing a second issue of Fernello on Thanksgiving this year.

The Creatives: Dylan

DB: My music side project Slingshot is coming out with a 14 track album titled “Trapped in Oblivion” in November.

Artwork: Brandon Watkins

DB: And currently I am working on a new short film called “Me & You”.

The Creatives: Dylan
DB: I’m also finishing up a quick short for the My Rode Reel competition called Juggernaut. I wrote, directed, edited, and composed the music for it.
The Creatives: Dylan
DB: You can find all of this stuff on my Instagram @the_reel_dyl or @kalmiastuff
Thanks again for interviewing me and giving me a chance to talk about my projects.  

Michael Wolfe: The Man Behind the Prime Tunes

JM: Mikey! My boy! Before we dive in, give the readers some background information about you. Tell the people whats up!

MW: Whats up, I’m Michael Wolfe! I’m a 28 year old producer/mix engineer hailing from North Country San Diego! Besides helping my homies craft some prime tunes, I’m also really into motion pictures, attempting to write some screenplays, mind bending science, and cannabis.

JM: Ah, a man of many interests! I’m interested to know about your musical background as an artist. I remember talking to you once and you said you were in a metal band at one point in your life?

MW: Yeah, so I actually got my start playing metal back in the day, picked up the guitar when I was around 13, then joined my first serious local band when I was 16. Couple years after that, myself and my best friends formed our own metalcore band To Each His Own, which went on to tour the US for about 3 years consecutively, played SXSW all three years and made a bunch of friends and fans across the states. It was some of the best times, different city every day with your best friends, making music, causing a ruckus. But sadly after a good stint the metal scene started to die off and things had to come to and end. Luckily I was working on my production skills throughout those years and had gained a solid skill to embark on a new musical journey.

JM: Woah! That sounds like quite the journey there, Michael. You’ve experienced so much and you know what they say, “experience is the father of learning”. With that being said, tell us about your new label WolfeDen Productions and what it means to you.

MW: WolfeDen Productions aka WDP as we call it, is a collective vision started by myself and my producing partner/long time bestie, Caden of California, after TEHO disbanded. We were originally producing some short films and needed an easy moniker for the credits, thus WDP was born. It turned into a musical idea with the addition of a collaborator of ours Andrew Dyer and we released a Mixtape “Party at the WolfeDen”. We’ve all continued our musical journeys in different directions but the WDP ethos is still there to instill the passion of retaining artistic integrity in all of our lives endeavors. 

JM: WDP represent!!! It’s interesting how everything takes its course with this music shit man. What instruments do you play? What technology do you use to engineer and produce?

MW: I can play guitar and bass pretty decently, and I know my way around a piano, but I always like to say I know how to play the computer as well! I mainly work in Ableton for all of my production needs but then when it comes time for a vocal mix Im more than likely going to switch into Logic. I’ve just become more accustomed to working in it, and developing my workflow there. Some of my favorite VST’s are Xfer records SERUM, I love all of the Spitfire Audio orchestral suites, and pretty much everything Native Instruments makes.

The Creatives: Wolfe

JM: Well, with that all being said Mikey, what about producing and engineering other people’s tracks brings you the most joy? What about it brings you the most complications?

MW: For producing I really enjoy the aspect of getting a hollow guideline and then filling in the blanks with my personal taste while integrating the artists vision and passion into the final product.

For mix engineering I love trimming the fat of a song (EQ wise) and finding subtle ways to sneak in some effect ear candy, while really just making sure the song is driving sonically and taking the listeners along for the ride. Nothing better than that first listen through and having all those ideas pop into your head.

JM: Producing/Mixing is definitely a process so that’s cool it doesn’t drive you mad after a while! What’s one of the most difficult factors of mixing and producing for you? How do you over come the obstacles?

MW: Some of the difficult factors in my producing life is that I love crafting the music and the melodies but keeping up with what plugins sound good or outdated sometimes escapes me especially with all these genres mixing together. I’m a sucker for some old school sounding synths, but a lot of the time they are not working for a mainstream pop or hip hop track. To overcome this obstacle I’ve found its all about experimentation and just testing out any and all ideas.

Theres many different variables in the mixing process that could be determined difficult but its all apart of the job. Most common fixes though are just cleaning up recordings that may not have been recorded on the best mic or have a lot of room noise, sometimes it gets rough working with a beat I don’t have stems for because I can envision the beat knocking harder or having more space, but then that also inspires me to get creative and solve the problem with the tools I do have available.

JM: Speaking of the mixing and engineering aspects of your music, how did you approach mixing down my track “Toxic Box” in particular?

MW: “Toxic Box” was an immensely fun track to mix due to the sheer energy that you brought on the vocal and performance. After first listen I started to think almost in terms of a metal song, that snarling vocal needed to be in your face, the drums and bass need to be monstrous underneath that, and then sprinkle in some cool reverses and delays to get some atmosphere going on. It was definitely a super collaborative process and you’re there every step of the way with precise notes that really, really help the process move and come together smoothly.

JM: You’re too kind good sir. You definitely have just as much talent for bringing my musician visions to life. Is there anything juicy you’re currently working on outside of Unify Collective music?

MW: As of right now I’m super excited to be working with you on the rest of your EP crafting some really cool genre bending songs, getting back to my metal roots, and as well as doing some freelance mixing and mastering while always keeping up work on my instrumentalism.

JM: Wrapping up this great interview my brother, tell the people where they can reach out to you for a mix, a riff, or a WolfeDen Production.

MW: Cruise through and say whats up on my instagram @_Mwolfe and if you wanna get super official check out my website wolfedenmusic.com

Thank you so much to the Unify Collective crew for always providing the best vibes and inspiration, even during these craziest of times I can always count on you guys to be pushing the boundary of creativity and really utilizing all of your passion. Excited to see what the future has in store.

Inzzla: Doing What Isn’t Being Done in Neo-Expressionism

JM: First things first, tell the people about yourself and where you’re from.

I: I’m Inzzla. I’m a 19 year old non-binary artist/musician from Madison, Wisconsin.

JM: Always good to put a face behind the name. What’s the story behind your art movement, Inzzla? And what’s its correlation to your art form? 

I: I started making art this way when I had an awakening of sorts around 5 years ago. I had this overwhelming feeling to create my own imagery. This was all also very connected to learning about the occult and becoming obsessed with alchemy. In turn, the art I started developing was very dark and vague, latent with my own subtle meanings.

JM: Art with vague and subtle meanings tends to convey a stronger message in my opinion so I totally understand. What would you classify your unique medium of art under, if any?

I: In the beginning I never really studied artists or movements, but learning about these now, I think I fit in slightly with neo-expressionism. Otherwise I just call it illustration, for lack of a better word.

JM: That’s cool and unique that you took a different approach to your art and just did what you felt needed to be done rather than studying all of the greats. What do you think is something about your art that sets you aside from the rest of the crowd?

I: I’m not entirely sure. When I look at other “dark artists” on the internet, I find that the best ones add a sense of humanity and emotion to their works. This is what I try to do.

JM: Well you definitely do a great job of conveying humanity and their complex emotions. How does your creative process work? Do you look toward inspirations of people, places, or things? Or is it mainly just off you initial inside feeling to create that drives your creative process?

I: My creative process is kind of chaotic. I mostly draw inspiration from my own intuition and twitches, but I also go outside of that. I like to study people and poses.

JM: Chaos often births the best creations and following your intuition is key to creation. How did you create the “COVID-28” artwork? What inspired you to draw it as you have and what does message behind it represent to you?

I: My art for “COVID-28” was made with standard pens and markers. I drew what I thought could look like the cover art of a single, and I started with the idea of exhaling a dragon, from how COVID is a respiratory disease. Other than that, that’s just the vibe I got from the song.

JM: And you did a great job at conveying that. I appreciate your time to answer these questions. Now let everyone know where they can reach you if they’re interested in getting some art from you!

I: I am the most present on my instagram, @inzzla. Right now I’m open to commissions as well as inquiries on buying existing artwork. I plan to start selling prints and such before the end of the year.