On Sept. 1, 2019, Tim Mensa, a fourth-year studying communication, released his first single in almost a year, titled Eugena. Mensa sat down with Technician to discuss his creative process, his plan for the future and his position as a student and a musician.
Can you describe your sound?
I guess, just using blanket terms, I would say indie pop. It’s definitely pop-based, I would say, because I get a lot of inspiration and my ear tends to gravitate to pop as a whole, but on the indie side of things, so indie pop is what I would use as a blanket term. I love dance music and I like to dance, so I think the direction that I want to go is kind of based in that sound.
Who are your inspirations?
I think it changes all of the time. I guess some of my inspirations as of right now would be Tame Impala for sure; this beat producer named Knxwledge; Still Woozy has a cool sound, and I kind of connect with where my stuff’s at with his music. Those would just be three random ones for right now, but there’s so many.
What was the process behind creating Eugena?
I’ve always wanted to do music production, but I never really got into it until I came to State. I took a music production course here, and that’s kind of how I got my start. I was producing songs all of my freshman year, but then I got kind of burnt out sophomore year. I took a kind of long break from it, and this is the first song that I’ve released in about a year. The process was a little different than usual. It started over the summer. I was here in Raleigh; I have my own home recording studio, and that’s where I make my songs. It started as a loop, like most of my songs do, and instead of forcing myself to finish it right then and there, I would work on it and take a step back and come back to it in a couple days or so.
That process continued for three or so weeks until I had the full instrumental that I was happy with. Lyrics took some extra time because I always struggle writing lyrics, but I let myself be free and say whatever came to my mind. The lyrics were another week or so. After I had the full demo completed, I sent it off to this guy in New York. I’d never met him; I had no idea who he was. I got in contact with him, and we went back and forth giving feedback to each other. I was on his calendar for that, but I would say that process went from late June to early August, and by mid-August, I would say I got the final track that I was happy with.
What is your plan for the future?
I can’t promise anything by the end of this year, but I do have other tracks that I’m working on. It just depends on the timeline and who I decide to work with. I would definitely work with Aaron, the guy who mixed it, again. I’m also open to working with other audio engineers and just finding what works well for me, and I think that’s the key. I think it’s important to approach it in a way that feels healthy and organic, and I’m not beating myself over the head trying to put out something. So hopefully there will be something soon, but I’m not stressed if it’s not soon.
You’re in an interesting position of being a student and also being a musician, so can you talk about how those two play off of each other or conflict with each other?
I definitely see that there’s such a huge music community through NC State, and I’ve met so many people who are in similar trajectories as I am but also balance that, and I think that’s a really cool thing to acknowledge not just here but all across the country and the world, who are pursuing a higher education but also doing things based in the arts or music. For me personally, I definitely credit my knowledge of music and music production to my experiences being a student here. It’s never felt like I’ve compromised either one for the other. It’s always kind of been a hand-in-hand thing; the more I’ve grown as a musician and a person and the experiences that I have always play into where I want the sound and the direction and message and theme of my work to end up next. For me, it’s not something like, 'Being a student is getting in the way.' There is obviously the time constraints, and I guess if I had to pinpoint some sort of conflict it would be finding my own timeline and what works while still under the schedule of classes and schoolwork.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
So many people. I feel like the number one answer for that is always Frank Ocean, just because he’s such an amazing and interesting songwriter. Dev Hynes from Blood Orange would be really interesting to collab with. Tyler, the Creator, I fantasize about hanging out with all of the time. That would just be to name a few.
*Editor's Note: Tim Mensa briefly worked as a correspondent for Technician in 2017.