If you haven’t heard of Leah Culver, then you might as well stay under the rock you’ve been under. In addition to a slew of high-caliber collaborations with Marshmello, Adventure Club, Virtual Riot, Mark The Beast and others, she’s also proven to be a badass artist behind the decks. Having shed her previous incarnation, MK Ultra, Leah Culver was born with an aim to inspire all with positive vibes. Her friendly energy and riot girl stage presence cannot be imitated. Be very aware, this lady is going places!
Atlanta born and LA made, Leah came from a musical family, so naturally she was drawn to the creative realm—and it shows with her output. Bassrush had an opportunity to have a candid conversation with Leah, who shared a little behind-the-scenes peek into the making of this very special Demons EP for 40oz Cult.
Congratulations on your recent success at Icon Collective Music Production School. Given your deep background in music prior to attending, what do you feel the school has done most for your growth?
I feel going to Icon Collective was the best decision I’ve ever made as far as making music goes. Students of all backgrounds with different levels of knowledge all seem to grow exponentially no matter where they came from with their music knowledge.
I think one of the things I struggled with the most before Icon was finishing tracks and getting a clean mix. The amount of support I got there was incredible and I think especially being a female in a scene that sometimes seems to doubt women, that amount of support is really what I personally needed to be more confident in my decision making as a producer.
“Fire Ants” is such a heavy tune, how did this track come together for you?
“Fire Ants” to me represents moving through anything as an army together. Essentially it’s about not taking in anybody else’s negativity and powering through whatever you face. Also, I feel that when people are intimidated by something or anything really it’s usually fear based.
What actually inspired the song was I was sitting on the ground at a skatepark in Atlanta with my friends and I had these holes in my pants and all the sudden it felt like my leg was on fire! I jumped up and started hitting my leg and then all the sudden my other leg felt like it was on fire! I had fire ants in my pants attacking me. The bites they left turned in to big bruises and I was just so astonished by the power a little ant had on me and how they all started attacking at once like they had been signaled! I wanted to make a song as vicious as the fire ants!
How about “Rabbit Hole”? We love your knack for fusing emotion into harder-edged tracks.
Thank you! “Rabbit Hole” is about two things. I originally wrote it with the vision in mind that when you follow certain things (love, alcohol, drugs) down the rabbit hole, you can have the best intentions and never come out the same. I certainly never do. This is often a beautiful thing because really every experience is just that, an experience that we should be grateful for.
I wrote “Rabbit Hole” when I was coming out of the worst depression I had ever experienced a few months ago. I was at my lowest place mentally and I had realized that I had to do everything I could to shift my mental state to what really felt like at the time to survive. I came back to Atlanta for three weeks and focused on self-care and surrounded myself with my truest friends and only did things I really wanted to do. I stopped listening to what everybody else wanted and I did what I want. Being true to yourself is so important. As an artist, it’s easy to have a lot of opinions in your ears. I think it’s most important to always be honest with knowing what you want. Surround yourself with the people that make you happy and do the things you like to do more than the things that make you unhappy. Sounds simple but can sometimes take some work and practice. We all deserve to be our happiest.
Being true to yourself is so important. As an artist, it’s easy to have a lot of opinions in your ears. I think it’s most important to always be honest with knowing what you want. Surround yourself with the people that make you happy.
Tell us about your relationship with 40oz Cult.
It all started back in maybe 2013 when I played a few shows as MK Ultra with Tanner (Dack Janiels). I later met his sister Taylor who goes by Wenzday! She quickly became one of my best friends out here in LA and now we live across the street from each other! It’s so beautiful and important to have a good support system in general and specifically in this industry and I found that in the 40oz Cult!
They strive for greatness and it’s amazing to feel supported on my first ever EP release! Taylor (Wenzday) and Tanner both inspire me a lot and we all helped push each other to get better!
Highlights of 2018 so far?
I released an EP with Virtual Riot last month called Preset Junkiesand a song with Marshmello called “Fly” that still remains on the Top 20 Billboard Charts! I graduated from Icon Collective and was nominated for Student of the Year. My music got a lot better and I experienced some of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced this year while also experiencing some of my biggest accomplishment yet.
Working with Virtual Riot really taught me so much about production and sound design. That boy is not only one of the most talented people I’ve ever met but he’s so kind and modest. Cheers to people like that! We work on other things on the side for other people as well and he’s a pleasure to work with.
I can tell you honestly that this week has been the hardest week of my life. I lost somebody that I really really truly loved. I’ve never had to experience any amount of pain that was this deep and this personal. I keep getting hit with these waves that break my bones but I know that I can get through anything.
My mom is another person who’s inspired me greatly! She always says that with the valleys come the peaks. What she means is every time I go through something really hard something good happens immediately that’s usually twice as good than the bad! As far as right now, I’m releasing a song called “Cold on New Noise” next month as well! And I’m writing a song with Rusko and another with Snails right now as well!
Working with Virtual Riot really taught me so much about production and sound design. That boy is not only one of the most talented people I’ve ever met but he’s so kind and modest.
Can you tell us about any exciting plans for 2019?
I’m so excited about 2019! I’m releasing a song called “Try Me” and we’re working on a tour around that. I’m writing for one of the biggest movie franchises in the world and I’m super excited about that as well. I have a whole other EP that I plan on releasing next year that I think I’m going to call Alpenglow.
I just finally hit a point where I’m not afraid to release anymore and I’m not holding back anymore. I’m sitting on years worth of music and my production is better than it’s ever been. I’m really excited and proud of myself for making it through this year and I know with everything in me that 2019 is going to be another great year full of even bigger accomplishments!