A few years back I was introduced to this young, passionate songwriter/producer by the name of Cameron Osteen. On a bright spring day we had one of the most interesting conversations about our mutual love for music. Fast forward a little bit he has now became a part of the mega successful J.U.S.T.I.C.E League production crew.
Cameron Osteen is now a part of the rich love affair Las Vegas has had with music from Sinatra’ Brat Pack to Ne-Yo’s neon fused soul music. The Entertainment Capitol of the World continues to keep its finger on the pulse of hot music.
When did you fall in love with music?
I fell in love with music when I was 11 years old. That’s when I realized how much fun it is to make music.
What was your first instrument? What was your first piece of gear?
The first instrument I learned was piano. I’m a self-taught pianist. But I got my start making music before I learned to play the piano. I got my start in music messing around with a program called Fruity loops on my mom’s old computer.
How did you link up with The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League?
I linked up with the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League through the internet actually. There’s a producer from Atlanta named Maestro who used to hold producer beat-listening sessions on Ustream back in 2009 I think. Basically, my production team and I would go to these streams and send in our beats for him to play for all the other Ustream viewers to listen to and give feedback. It was kind of like a cypher for producers. Our beats would always get really good reactions from the show’s viewers and one of those people was a songwriter who was working closely with the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League at the time, named Dion Primo. He ended up showing our material to Rook of the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, which led to him reaching out to us to hear more and that’s when we began to build that relationship.
What drives you in life? What won’t you do musically?
I’m not exactly sure what drives me in life. It seems to change from day to day. But what seems to remain constant is my desire to simply live and enjoy being alive. With that said, I like to enjoy the music I’m making also. So musically, I won’t do anything that doesn’t excite me or that I don’t enjoy doing.
Who are your top three favorite artists and/or producers?
Kanye West, The Neptunes, and Quincy Jones
I’ve always been a creative person in general. Before music, I was in love with art and writing. I would often draw and write stories for my own comic strips that I used to make. I remember when I was a little, just hearing or seeing the word “create” would excite me. I just loved to do it in any medium. I don’t really know exactly what inspires me to create, but I just know that it’s always exciting and fun to do. Just the joy of creating seems to be what inspires me.
I believe that creativity is the most important attribute for anyone to have. I believe that since we are all born out of creation by the Creator, the most god-like thing any person can do is create something. I feel that when a person is creating or being creative, they are essentially channeling a divine aspect of themselves from within and bringing it out into our reality. Not to get deep or anything, ha-ha. I just honestly feel that way about creativity. It seems like music became my chosen medium by pure chance. I remember not being very interested in it all as a young kid. It seemed to find its way to me, instead of the other way around. And when it did find me, it just felt right. I got lost in it. It’s sort of uncanny how naturally it came to me. It’s like I understood it right away. I learned it very fast. Much faster than art even, which was something that I was actually more interested in at one point. I’ve had so many epiphanies with music, where I would learn something new, and be like “hey, I already knew that. That makes so much sense” or something those lines. Since I discovered music, I’ve always been certain that it is the primary reason why I was put on this Earth in the first place. So that’s why I do it.
Can you score for visual pieces? Movies, plays etc…
I believe I can, and have messed around with it over the years since I started making music. I’ve done little things here and there which required that like a little commercial/viral-video thing that I did for Nike Sportswear on nike.com, and this jingle/background music I created for a video for this corporate company’s website. But I’ve always wanted to score more serious and artistic visual pieces. Before I got into music, I really wanted to be an animator. I had dreams of working at Pixar. Now I really want to score an animated feature. When I was a little kid, I absolutely loved the Disney movie, Fantasia. I must’ve watched it a million times as a kid. I’ve always wanted to create the music for a film like that. I’ve just been kind of waiting for the right time and to meet the right people in order to make something like that happen. But I want really get involved with a project like that and have some say on the actual film itself, whether it’s a 5-minute short, a mini-series, or whatever. I just really want to create a unique score for an animated feature.
Who do you trust to flesh through ideas and concepts?
I trust anyone whose work I respect, really. I enjoy collaborating with like-minded creative people who think outside the box like I do. I really like to bounce ideas off of people who have their own style. Musicians who march to the beat of their own drum, in a sense. People that aren’t afraid to turn off the TV or the radio or the internet and just let the ideas flow through, uncensored.
What is your unicorn piece of equipment? That one piece that you would love to have (either real or imagined)?
I’ve never been one of those producers who are big on gear and equipment. I actually couldn’t care less about gear unless its visually stimulating. However, an imaginary piece of gear that I would love to have would be a special set of speakers that creates a super high-definition, full-color, holographic, animated image to go with the music being played through them. And I want to be able to walk into the image so that it surrounds you. And not just simple wacky colors and geometry like they do in iTunes. I want it to totally immerse you in another world that corresponds to the music that’s being played through it. Like you’ve been sucked into a movie that’s scored by your favorite album or something.
What are you working on right now?
There are a few things I’m working on that I’d rather wait a little while to talk about, but one thing I can talk about is this new project I’m doing with Sean Rose called Smell the Roses. I’m really excited about that. There are other artists I’ve been working with and sending beats to lately, but I’d rather wait a little bit before I spill the beans ha-ha.
Do you have a favorite software instrument or plug-in?
Not really. I just kind of randomly choose whatever I feel like using at the time. However, I have been using this software emulation of the classic Korg M-1 from a bundle of VSTs called the Korg Legacy Collection. I love that plugin. I’ve been using it quite a bit lately.
Do you use a midi controller? Which one is your preferred controller?
Yes, I use two. I have a big one, the Axiom 61, and a smaller one called the Oxygen 25. Their numbers correspond to the number of keys they have.
What is your preferred DAW?
I sometimes use Reason, but Fruity loops is definitely my preferred weapon of choice.
What are your next releases with the Justice League?
Pretty much whatever record I produce or work on that ends up on an album available for purchase. I’ve been working on a lot of records lately, but you never really know until the album is out and available. Or the label or someone involved is called me about filling out paperwork. Until then, everything is “produced by Cam”.