Imanbek Interview: Roses, Rita Ora EP, Fetty Wap Collab & More

Imanbek is a true illustration of virality. From a small time Kasahk artist to the number one streamed artist in the region, Imanbek is now an internationally recognised act. Imanbek has been into music for most of his life, starting guitar aged 8 but it wasn’t until his remix of Saint Jhn’s ‘Roses’ that Imanbek really drew some attention. The chart topping remix recently crossed over 1 billion streams on Spotify and has collated hundreds of millions of plays across YouTube. Imanbek has followed on from the monumental remix with collaborations with the likes of Marshmello and Usher, Afrojack, Don Diablo and Tory Lanez.

We chatted with Imanbek about his recent success and what lead to it, we delve into his inspirations and dream collaborators as well as what is happening with him in the future!

How did your interest in music begin?

I was born in raised by family that loves music and has serious musical knowledge. My grandad was a musician, so I was kind of following my roots besides being a complete music fan. Music means a lot to me and it is part of my lifestyle.

How did the track with Afrojack & Gia Koka come about?

This track came out after we were connected by our management teams and finally, we followed each other in Insta so it happened pretty organically. I’m very happy to be collaborating with Afrojack, he has a great story as a producer and DJ.

When producing the remix for ‘Roses’, did you have any thoughts on how big it would be? 

I think it is the most popular question that I receive. You’ll be surprised maybe but I didn’t think that it would blow up the industry at all. I had no expectations – it was just a proper music experiment and a bit of fun (which I always have when I produce).

Who were your biggest influences in music growing up?

Well, I’d say Marshmello, DJ Snake, Diplo, Tiesto; they are cool, and they have their style as producers and artists.

You were supposed to tour this year, what have you been focused on doing instead?

I am actually very happy that I can focus on producing new music which I’m excited about. Due to these times I have had a chance to collaborate with great international artists. Also, I’m getting to spend a lot of time with my family which is priority for me. Touring is great and it is important, but it is not the only thing that artists should be thinking of. Music comes first. Music drives touring.

What would be your dream collaboration in the future? 

It is really hard to say as I’m now collaborating with very popular artists and new material by end of 2020 and then in 2021 which will probably already be a surprise for the music industry and audience with the level of collaborators. I think it would be Drake or Eminem if you want to hear the names.

You mentioned that Tiësto has messaged you, could we see a potential collaboration between you two?

I would be extremely happy to collab with Tiësto as he is kind of legend and real rock’n’roller of DJ world so yes it is possible, just we need to find right idea and it is in process. I know that my management already reached out to Tiesto with ideas so let’s see where it goes to.

What has been your favourite production you’ve done so far?

Well – Roses. It is my fingerprint. Can’t say more as I love all my other tracks, but Roses is magic.

You teased that you’re working on an EP with Rita Ora, could you tell us more about that?

Yes, as you may know we are planning to release it very soon and are just finishing some productions, setting the right collaborations and features for the EP. We have planned 5-6 tracks in the EP which would each be different but be conceptually united cool tracks that we mutually love. It is an exciting collaboration and it is a serious project, so we are working on it carefully and we’ll try to surprise our fans with our sound and ideas. We’ve planned it for the beginning of 2021, but we might come up with a teaser record before that to treat fans well.

How has it been to go from a bedroom producer to the #1 Kazakh artist? Are you still working with your original studio set up?

Yes, I still work from home and that is totally fine for me. It is 2020 – come on, I don’t have to have all that gear and all that futurists design which isn’t cost-effective and is unnecessary. The rules have changed. Now you need a good ear, good ideas, a smart approach and taste. Idea comes first and then if needed mixing and mastering can be done wherever you want.

Could you let us know of any upcoming projects or music?

We have an interesting collaboration coming with Goodboys in December. Also, I have a track with Fetty Wap and colleague producer KDDK coming in 2021. Besides that, we might have some surprise singles with top acts that you all know but I’d love to keep in as secret for now and should be revealed before Christmas.

Listen to Imanbek’s team up with Afrojack and Gia Koka below!