Probably not. But real Nashville is indeed becoming romantically entangled with electronic dance music. For this week's cover story on With Your Friends Fest at The Lawn, I spoke with a slew of folks — from EDM fans and EDM purveyors to a dude by the name of Road Hog. I spent an hour on the phone with electronic superstars Skrillex (Sonny Moore) and Pretty Lights (Derek Vincent Smith), and we spoke about the reasons behind the EDM explosion, why people love great big events like this, what the word "dubstep" actually means, the similarities between dudes like The Avett Brothers and dudes like 12th Planet, what's special about Nashville, and electronic songs in K-Mart commercials. Follow me after the jump to see what these guys have to say for themselves.
Notes: Moore had a bit of phone trouble and didn't hop into the conversation until about 10 minutes in, and Smith was under the impression that the stage would be atop a barge of some sort — I don't believe that's the case.
Derek Vincent Smith: I got a break on my tour. I got, like, a three-week break, so I’m chilling down here by myself trying to finish my record, put the finishing touches. I did a lot of the recording down here, so I figured this would be a good place to try and finish it off.
Nashville Cream: Are you doing it yourself down there? You know some folks in New Orleans you’re working with?
DVS: I spent a majority of the process recording with different bands and musicians in Brooklyn and New Orleans. And so a huge part of the process was in New Orleans, like in this real old-school studio in the Bywater. So I worked with, like, 20 different players and like five different singers from around here, from the local hoods. And now I’m just piecing it all together by myself.
NC: Whose idea was With Your Friends? How did it come up, and who had the idea first?
DVS: It’s kind of crazy — I’m not completely sure, actually. Our agents are both really good friends, and we’re all friends. Like, I’m friends with Sonny and his agent, and he’s friends with me and my agent. And my agent [Hunter Williams] is out in Nashville, so I think that he had been scoping this site for a long time and wanting to do something really cool there. And they started talking about it and brought it to Sonny, and he was into it, and they brought it to me, and I was into it. And so it was kind of — as far as the when and the where — that was sort of devised by our teams together.
When it was a spawning little baby of an idea, Sonny and I happened to be on tour together in Canada. And we had a meeting together to see if we thought it was actually creatively possible, and talked about what kind of artists we would want to have on the bill. And we just had a brainstorming session for the art and for the artists, and came up with a whole list of artists that we’d like to play with. I can’t say for sure, but I think that this whole two-artist-two-night thing has kind of been a new idea, but I did it with Bassnectar last year. And Sonny and I have been talking about doing it in multiple different places. My agent and his agent just happened to kind of put it together and figure it out in Nashville, and that’s where it really is working out for the first time.
Last year I did Nashville for Halloween, and that shit was huge. It was like 8,000 people on a Monday, or something like that. Skrillex has just blown up, like, massive over the last couple years. So we couldn’t imagine a situation where this wouldn’t be, like, a really cool thing. There’s just so many different types of music. Once it became a reality that we could do this, we both got really excited and started wanting to throw ideas about who we wanted on the bill. Like, I wanted Nas more than anything. I’d played with Nas once in Austin before, and I’d been chatting with him about doing some beats for him. And I knew he was playing shows out again, so that was, like, the artist that I was wanting to have on the festival super-bad. And Sonny was pushing for the Santigold thing. And we both had a bunch of different ideas, but luckily, one of our favorite artists each worked out. And then, we both have record labels as well, so we decided to put a couple dudes from each of our record labels on switching nights.
NC: You were talking about playing here last year … at Municipal. Did you have a good time? The crowd, was it more than you expected, or did it seem about right?
DVS: Oh dude, it was so much more than I expected. It was massive, man! I had no idea. I trust Hunter, ‘cause he’s got his ear to the ground and a good feel for that city. But 7,800 people or whatever it was — that made me really nervous [laughs]. I was pretty nervous about that, but the fact that it ended up selling out blew my mind, man. Different markets purchase tickets in different ways, and I’ve kind of been realizing that. But Nashville’s been showing mad love to me over the last couple years, so I like to do as much as I can to give back to especially the cities that are extremely supportive and loyal, and you can just tell that there’s a really blossoming scene. It seems like the electronic scene in Nashville is definitely blossoming, do you know what I mean?
[Sonny Moore dials in]
Sonny Moore: I’m in New York right now. … I’m at a studio I like to work at in Brooklyn, and my girl [Ellie Goulding] is actually in New York right now doing some shows and some press for about a week. So I just came out here to jump in the studio and hang out with her.
NC: I wanted to get your thoughts on what you think of Nashville as a music town.
SM: My experience with Nashville — and I’ve had a lot of experience with it, just because my tour manager and one of my best friends (he’s been one of my best friends for a long time) [Robert “Road Hog” Dyar] lives in Nashville and has a lot of friends in Nashville, and I’ve actually stayed in Nashville a lot in different parts and neighborhoods. And to me, at first glance, yeah, it’s like the big draw for country guys that write the hits and stuff. And I think there’s a lot of cool music going on that’s influenced by country — like folk and stuff — but also, I think a lot of punk-rock edge to it as well. Like, there’s a lot of house shows and independent record labels and people just writing songs. I think it’s very diverse in that sense, and also there’s an electronic scene that’s kind of influenced by all the surrounding areas, as well, in Tennessee. Even in places like Knoxville, there’s like a lot of these kids that just make beats and have these real trippy projects. So you have a lot of stuff coming from different scenarios, I think.
DVS: Ever since I started touring a few years ago, that part of the country has shown mad love to the electronic shows. It’s always been packed-out, and it’s always been hyped, like super-hyped. Some markets, some cities will sell out an electronic show, but it won’t be as energetic as another city or whatever. So I’ve always thought of Nashville as, like, this super-hyped-on-electronic-music — on the new North American movement — city.
When this event, With Your Friends, got announced, and the way Rolling Stone put it, it was kind of like, playing on the whole, “This is such a big surprise that Skrillex and Pretty Lights are doing this in Nashville — the country music capital of the world.” And I find that people outside of Nashville have a definite idea of it and don’t think of it as, like, an electronic place where creativity is really blossoming and there’s a scene developing and whatnot. But from my own experience — like, playing there and going back there repeatedly — I’ve seen the exact opposite. There’s a lot of cool artists coming out of that area. And so much love coming out of that spot for us, you know? So it’s really cool to come back there with not just — I don’t think either of us feel like we’re going into some strictly country-music, singer-songwriter area and trying to bring electronic music to them. They know what’s up, and they know what’s going down.
SM: People are taking the influence from punk and folk and really DIY stuff. Have you heard of a band Fly Golden Eagle? Those are the guys I’m talking about. Like, my friends, my homies at Blacktooth Records and those dudes that just hold it down for the local scene and just do real cool shit. You find a lot of hidden gems like that in Nashville, you know?
NC: The differences in day one and day two of this fest …
SM: We plan on flip-flopping the headliners, but also production as well. The day I open for Derek, I’ll do a different set, and I’ll just be doing a kind of more limited DJ set, and then he’ll have his live setup with his production. And the next day I’ll have my live production — my spaceship. And it’ll be vice versa just to kind of switch it up.
DVS: I think the whole thing is trying to get people to come out to the whole two-day event and experience the whole thing, you know what I mean?
SM: It’s about the whole weekend. Just, like, after-parties. And we have something so special for the VIP ticket. Derek, we’re not even really allowed to say, are we? Weren’t we told we couldn’t announce it?
DVS: I was trying to be like, “Sonny, shhh!” What’s so special about it to me is that it’s both of us, both days. We both make completely different kinds of music. But over the last several months and even the last year, Sonny and I have really realized how well our music works together in a live show. It’s so different, but it’s so complimentary. And we also both have the ability and love to play different kinds of sets. So the fact that we’re both playing two nights in a row but flip-flopping the actual position in the lineup, it really allows us, I think, to do more than we would do for a normal set. If we were just playing one night at a festival, as an artist you feel like you have to do what you typically do. But with this opportunity, we have the potential to really mix it up and show the versatility that we can do as artists.
Like me for example, I make so much chill, down-tempo hip-hop and shit like that that I don’t play as much in my live shows, because I like to keep it hype, but at the same time the hip-hop vibe. So being able to do the flip-flop in sets allows me to go more places with the music ...
SM: For the first night I’ll probably play — I have a lot of unreleased techno and stuff I’ve been working on. So my set is probably going to be a lot more tech-y — I’ve been making a lot of DJ tools, kinda techno and stuff. So I’ll probably have a lot of different-influenced stuff on the night I open. Just to experiment with different sounds and different things. That’s the thing too, there are two-day passes, so people will be expecting different shows. That gives us an opportunity, and it makes it OK for us to do whatever we want.
DVS: And with me, I’m working on this new record that’s kind of a left turn for me. It’s a lot darker and slower and more soulful, so the night that I open up will give me a chance to really debut a lot of that new material in the same way Sonny’s talking about, but on a whole ‘nother tip. It’s gonna be a lot of just dope, cutting-edge electronic music from every branch of the tree. And the fact that Nas and Santigold is on it, that’s just gonna make it such a party. I know that Nas holds it down like no other. And when I saw Santigold at The Gorge in Seattle — they played at whatever, like 6 o’clock in the afternoon or in the early evening and held it down so hard. It was, like, such a party. Even though it's harder for artists to make it like a live environment when it's earlier in the day. But she just rocked the spot. It was off the chain.
NC: I know production with you guys — and visual elements — it's a huge part of what you do. ... Less and less people are coming out to see live bands play their songs, because everyone can get all the music they want for free now. But people are still coming out to see these big [EDM] productions.
SM: You know, what I’ve noticed is that as long as the production seamlessly complements the music and vibe — like, Derek, you’ve been doing your production for a while, and I think it’s still one of the most tasteful and effective productions out there. It’s like, you don’t want to go too big, you still want it to be tangible, you know? At the end of the day, it’s about the environment and it’s about the party. Especially when you’re DJing, it’s not so much about, "Look at me," but it’s about how you can feel like you can take someone into a world, you know? Like an atmosphere.
DVS: Like an immersive experience. And I don’t think people are like, "Oh, I know this music, but I’m gonna go to see the production ‘cause it’s so crazy." I think that people wanna come because they know that a lot of electronic music artists are, especially right now, working their ass off to evolve the whole producer-as-performer aspect, and being able to really change the music on the fly during the live show. As well as just the vibe of everyone in the spot. It’s such a communal sort of thing. Even though Sonny’s show and my shows in certain places will be 10,000 people, it’s still got, like, a house-party vibe. It’s like a real fucking dance party, from the front to the back, everyone gettin’ down. It’s not like everyone’s just sitting there staring at the production, you know? People are raging. It’s about the good time.
SM: You have people that have a connection to the music, of course. And you have different sound-system culture, and what that is. People know exactly what they’re going to get with a DJ, and I love DJing. I have so much fun DJing — I would do it if I wasn’t making any money, did it when I wasn’t making money. You come to a good spot ‘cause you know the DJ’s gonna play great records, and they’ve got music you want to dance to, and you know the sound system’s gonna be good, and you know they’re gonna have some vibe — and that’s to me the main thing. Before we even knew [our productions] were even possible, really it was all about this location. We’re on the river, and we spent so much time working out the location and making that work and how we’re gonna tie in the different street artists and stuff. The whole thing has so much real event planning.
NC: Derek, I read that your first instrument was a bass guitar. And Sonny, of course you grew up in punk bands and everything. Is there anything you guys learned playing in bands that translates to how you have a party as an EDM artist?
SM: It’s hard to say, because I grew up the way I grew up, so I am the way I am because of how I grew up. I attribute who I am now to all my experiences. There is an energy of, like, getting everyone on the same level. When there’s an event or party or show or any type of thing and you walk in and, regardless of what type of music it is, when you see everyone on the same level, that’s the magic. That’s where you want to get to. And whatever that is, that runs through punk rock and electronic music and rock music and everything. As long as that synergy is there, that’s the real magic, I think.
You know when you’re watching a band and there’s a ton of people just watching the band. You’re like, "Yeah, this band is great," and people are watching a band. But it’s more of an observation, you know? It’s people watching something, whereas every single night when [Derek and I] played together on the [Full Flex Express] train, or at Red Rocks, the people are the show. It’s a party, that’s what it is, you know. People come not just to watch a DJ but to hang out, to make people want to dance with people.
DVS: Because people are on the same page and they know that — even though they don’t know the people in front of them, or to the right, the left or behind them — they know that they can hang out with them and fuckin’ get along with them ‘cause they’re on the same page. Just recently I played a festival called BayFest, which was down in Mobile, Ala., and it was the strangest thing. Journey and Willie Nelson were headlining other stages while I was headlining a third stage. And I went over to see the Journey concert, and it’s exactly what you’re saying, Sonny. Half the crowd was chilling in lawn chairs, and 20 percent of the crowd was on their cell phone, and the rest of the crowd was just standing there watching them. And that’s how it is, and that’s how it goes with a lot of music. Not that that’s a bad thing. People are paying attention and taking it in. But what really sets this apart is that people become part of it. Like Sonny was saying, people come and they reach this level, and everyone is connected and really getting into it. The music has so much power to really move the audience. And once everyone’s sort of on that wavelength, it creates a different kind of event. You’re not an observer, you’re part of it.
But back to your question, I think you bring up a really good point. Right now, if you look at a lot of big producers that are known right now, they came from DJing. It was DJing into production. I hadn’t really thought about this before, but something [Sonny and I] have in common is that we came from a different background. Which was, we were musicians first and played in bands first, and then got into the production, and then got into the DJing, seemingly. So that’s a pretty interesting similarity that the two of us have. I think that, [like Sonny says], you are who you are, and I feel the same way and we may not be able to pinpoint exactly [the effect] coming up that way has on us as producers and DJs and performers. I think that it does have an effect in one way or another, event though it might not be so easy to pinpoint. We realize that, and we realize — I don’t know what it is, but it’s all about the music, and we understand the power and the puzzle pieces and what it takes to put together something that really affects people and channels their emotions.
NC: Have you guys seen the space yet? The Riverfront area?
SM: I have.
DVS: It’s gonna be nuts, man! Because we both have massive stage shows and really integrated visual and audio experiences. For all of my shit and all of Sonny’s shit to be on the same stage — hopefully it doesn’t sink that barge and make it float away or some shit. There’s gonna be a lot of shit up there.
NC: It seems like modern electronic music has been embraced more and more by mainstream people. Like, you can hear a dubstep or a house song — or a version of one — any time you turn on the TV. Like, K-Mart commercials.
SM: Yeah, I saw that.
NC: What is it you think that has people from all walks ... more and more intrigued by it now?
SM: It’s so many different elements that come together and make something different, but each of the elements — if you isolate the elements — you find that they’re very familiar. If you want to talk about "dubstep" just as a genre — even though I’ve never considered myself a dubstep artist only. But if you refer to the songs that I make that are around 140 BPM in halftime, that rhythm is also one of the essences of hip-hop. That’s something that people are familiar with but don’t know.
Now you have engineers that are creating mid-range sounds as well as real low sub-frequencies, which takes a lot of engineering skills. Where the mid-range sound was gone before — it was all mostly about the sub — now you have mid-ranges and synthesizers that kind of represent guitars and other melodies that even if you don’t have a big sound system you can still sort of feel the emotion a bit more on a laptop speaker, you know?
There’s that, and there’s also the fact that it’s become so vocal, and sampling, people working with other vocalists. And you just kind of have these things that are just psycho-acoustically very pleasant to the human. And it has rock, too — it makes you want to rock a little, too. But I think it’s more than just dubstep. Electronic music in general, I think just because more people are doing it from different backgrounds — and more people have been doing it from different backgrounds for a long time — but because of the Internet, those people now … Like, for instance, Pretty Lights put out records, how many years ago, free online. Whereas he could have been some guy giving out free CDs, but because the Internet’s there now and everyone’s gotten all this attention and all this traffic, it gives an opportunity for the real new up-and-comers to just do it themselves. It’s also growing because people do see it as a market, so you’re going to have a lot of people just going for it, because it’s — in a sense — a market that’s just exploding. So you have people jumping in for all different types of reasons.
DVS: The evolution of technology and the fact that everyone has access to a laptop practically, and everyone has access to pirating software before they even buy it. I don’t think anyone has even bought a production program before they cracked in and got it for free on the Internet. It’s accessible. You don’t have to have five guys together with instruments to make a band and writing a song together. You can manifest a vision as an individual. And that creates so many more people trying to make music and trying to get into that and trying to express themselves like that. Which means that the people who are really gonna do it and really stand out need to step it up and make even better music. So the evolution of the technology, I feel like, pushes and challenges the evolution of the music. It has to stand out and be better, in a sense.
But there is almost a subliminal sense of familiarity in the music that really makes it pleasant to the human ear. With my music, you know, it ranges in tempo — it’s mostly hip-hop-tempo-based — but the fact that I’m using sounds and samples that range a whole century. People might not pick up on that tangibly, but in the back of their mind, it’s pleasing to them because it’s a folk guitar from the ‘70s that they loved, and a big-band jazz trumpet on the lead. And it’s all this stuff that separately they would get some enjoyment from, and it all comes together. And at the same time it’s channeling people’s emotion and even pushing them to experience feelings that they maybe haven’t felt before. I just think it’s evolution in action with music and technology, and them playing off of each other and people especially. It’s hard to say — maybe in five years or 10 years it’ll all make a lot more sense.
SM: [Electronic music] always has something exciting going on in the underground, and that’s always the real sign. When it’s actually happening because people want to be there. There’s no marketing magic or secret recipe for success. It comes to kids just wanting to get together and play records together and then make records they can play together, that’s the essence of it. And people want to hang out. It’s like up in Harlem when fuckin’ Queen Latifah and Tribe Called Quest would all hang out in the fuckin’ park and sample records and play them with an MC over the records they sampled and invite their friends and drink 40s and whatever. It’s about getting together.
DVS: Being part of something new, yeah.
NC: Well, that [brings to mind] all the new Americana artists and the folk boom that's happening, too. Maybe it's Avett Brothers or Mumford & Sons or whatever. ... Sonny, I know you have some connections with Road Hog to the Hogslop String Band. ... What is it that people are gravitating to about these two styles?
SM: I think the energy is similar. Just being together and having fun, maybe.
DVS: You mentioned The Avett Brothers. When I listen to an Avett Brothers album or a live recording, it moves me. The shit is powerful. I really feel like it ultimately goes back to the Internet. It’s so easy to share music and to find out about new things and to get a glimpse of something else. Whereas maybe 10 years ago, 15 years ago, you got into hip-hop, and that’s all you heard. You heard hip-hop because that was the scene you were in, and that’s what you listened to, and in order to buy something else you would’ve had to have purchased the CD. Or you would’ve had to hang out with somebody from some other clique and actually heard their music collection. Where now, it’s so accessible — it’s so possible to be exposed to different kinds of music.
Different genres and bands are successful because they’re good. And they’re good because the music is actually powerful, and it channels emotion. I keep going back to that. Whether it be a primal, get-loose, just-fucking-lose-yourself-in-the-music dancing, or moshing in a punk sense, or just fucking reflecting on your life and crying at a live show because the lyrics and the chord progressions are bringing that out of you. I think people are being exposed to these different things and realizing that it all goes back to the same thing — it all goes back to the fact that we’re humans, and we’re drawn to create, and we wanna make things that are beautiful that move ourselves and move other people. And it doesn’t have to be locked into one genre, you can experience so much more by opening yourself up to new genres and new artists and realizing that really, good music is good music. It’s not, "Dubstep is good music." It’s not, "Electronic is good music." It’s fuckin’, "Good music is good music." Years ago, people used to say, "What kind of music do you like?" "Well, I like everything but country and this and this and this."
SM: It was always country and electronic music! And now it’s the opposite, now those are the two …
DVS: Yeah. People are just now, I feel like there’s more of a mentality of, "A good song is a good song, regardless of what genre it is." And that’s why festivals that bring together such an eclectic lineup can work. Because people want that. They don’t want to listen to fuckin’ one genre all day and all night. You talked about dubstep coming into fuckin' K-Mart commercials and shit like that. It's become such a cliché term, no one wants to be associated with that. It’s all about the underground. It’s all about kids doing it because it’s new and wanting to come together and experience and create something new.
SM: I think when something is new and there’s so much focus on it, and after it becomes a cliché. People will call anything that sounds like noisy electronic music dubstep. It’s actually very specific, technical classifications of what makes dubstep. Even just from the tempo. But at the end of the day, people are making electronic music in so many different ways, even in bands. It’s coming through with bands like Disclosure or SBTRKT, who are coming from an electronic side and producing, but also bringing it live and making records to perform live. The platform is what’s so exciting about it. You can be so creative without having much. And I think that’s just going to continue to grow. I think the significance isn’t in dubstep. The word could’ve been "electro." That could have been the word of the year, you know? It’s really not the genre. It’s the platform and the creativity of the scene and the vibe. That’s what it really is.
DVS: It’s so funny. I feel like 95 percent of people at a dubstep show don’t know the roots of the word "dub." I performed with a group somewhere in the Midwest on my tour that opened up — they were called, like, "Sound Duo" or something like that. They were an electronic group, but they were basing it all on, like, roots dub music. Like Lee Perry and Scientist and fuckin’ King Tubby and stuff like that. I love that music, it had such an impact on me as a musician and a bass player, which eventually turned into an influence on my production. When I first heard the word "dubstep" I was like, "What the hell is that?" I’m imagining, like, this form of instrumental reggae with, I don’t know, a double-time kick drum or something. When you think about it and you know the roots you can really see the transformation and why dubstep took on that word "dub," because the organic sub-bass lines' influence became harder more aggressive bass lines, and it’s all at the same tempo. Sonny, when you’re rockin’ 140 on your sets, I hear you drop all types of reggae, roots type of stuff. But it’s funny to think about the fact that not a lot of people know that connection.
NC: You guys bringing this fest to Nashville ... do you consider yourselves, with this fest, ambassadors of a different type of music?
SM: I'd like to think so. Derek and I have been talking and working on this since forever. We’ve been working since before the train tour we did together, and even before that. Getting ideas together and trying to make something really special. And I think that’s totally the idea — not necessarily just for electronic music, but being ambassador for experiences that we like ourselves that we’ve experienced together. Being on a tour where everything’s different but everything complements each other. That’s fun to me, that’s exciting. We’re going to have a weekend hanging out with all our old friends, like Dillon and 12 and TOKi and Nas and Santigold and these great people. And not to mention everyone that’s doing it, we’ve all come together and done this together, this show. This is our project. Everyone was handpicked and everyone was on every call making it happen. After the song is created and after the idea is there, the whole band is there and the whole orchestration comes through this. Through the execution of creating an incredible time.
DVS: You said the word "ambassador." I don't know so much about that, but I feel like we do have something in common in that we’re trying to both expose the fans of our music to other music. [Sonny] completely curated that train tour and had Grimes and Hundred Waters on it — groups that aren’t so much your run-of-the-mill production or DJ act. When I played Red Rocks this year, I had the underground The Grouch and Eligh hip-hop act and Lee Fields and the Expressions, the Brooklyn soul band. It’s the approach of just trying to expose the young kids. Because as the music gets more popular, the crowd gets younger, and if the crowd gets younger, they’re not as exposed to different genres of music. So it’s like almost our responsibility to expose people to different genres and whatnot. Even online, young kids make such hard boundaries about what kind of music they like. I think both Sonny and I really break down those boarders. Sonny’s diehard fans might think my music sucks and might not take the time to really appreciate it and vice versa. Because younger kids who aren’t as exposed don’t open their minds as much. And I feel like we are trying to be ambassadors of that — opening your mind and just being like, "This is what good music is.”
SM: Nashville is a perfect example — you guys have Bonnaroo. In L.A., we have Coachella. I think Bonnaroo hasn’t been as electronic-heavy up until the last couple years, but other than that, we grew up going to these festivals. And I expect to see hip-hop and then electronic music and then rock in the same — but then like handpicked, the best of the best — I expect that to work in an atmosphere, because I grew up around that. If you create an atmosphere — especially for young kids — and they have that memory of being on the side of the river and like, "Michal Menert was there, TOKiMONSTA was there, and these really diverse things." You want to have a good effect on people, you want to educate. But not in like an educational way. It’s the experience and having a good time, too. But if you do something different and you go out of the way to do it, it’s kind of …
[Sonny's call is dropped]
NC: Is [With Your Friends Fest] something you guys think you may do somewhere else, or do here again, or just play it by ear?
DVS: I think we both agree that we’re gonna play it by ear, for sure. We’ve talked about these kind of shows so much, and they seem to work really well. I did this with Bassnectar last year in Atlanta, and it was fuckin’ incredible. And I’m doing the same thing with him …
[Sonny dials back in]
DVS: He's asking us if this is something we might consider doing again, and I was saying of course we would love to, but we'll play it by ear.
SM: Definitely. ... When you put a good name and a good vibe around it, you want it to continue of course. But for now, we’re just gonna have a fun time and just check it out right now and take it one step at a time.