PROBLEMS has released the new video for the track titled ‘Black Hole in the Ocean’ featuring Deaths Dynamic Sound. Human existence is an enduring series of problems to solve. You wake up and your first problem begins: Getting out of bed – an insurmountable problem already for some.

Your day is then filled with all sorts of varied problems both monumental and miniscule until you collapse into bed to attempt to solve your final problem for the day: Falling asleep. Sometimes though, with focus and perhaps a little luck, your problems can become your best solutions. Getting lost in one’s difficulties can help attune your focus where it counts the most. Better yet, sharing your problems with others lessens the burden and collectively enhances everyone’s empathy and enlightenment. Thus, I am here to share the new PROBLEMS single, “Black Hole in the Ocean”.

Darren Keen, currently dba PROBLEMS, has been steadily honing his craft for over a decade now, performing around the country and constantly refining his style of house and techno music. With this newest release, Keen has found a deft way to combine his electronic finesse with elements of funky electro synth-pop and experimental percussive new wave beats. Joining him on vocals for this single is a very special guest, Tech Honors from the group Death’s Dynamic Shroud, a project that has been steadily gaining traction in the underground vaporwave and art-pop scene. The two cohesively fuse their prowesses together here: PROBLEMS with his knack for programming rhythms, and Tech with their airy delivery.

“Black Hole in the Ocean” begins with a deceptive time signature, tugging our ear to try to swim along to what’s happening before revealing the totally grooving glitchy dance number it really is. Copious layers of chopped and pitched vocals meander around Tech’s tenor while PROBLEMS begins to sculpt a driving synth bass line to further lead us along. We swiftly approach the darkness once the intro polyrhythms are reintroduced, this time with the root rhythms of the evolving bass line and base percussion enhancing the experience.

We’re left to float unattended for just a moment longer before cascading waves of percussion suddenly completely envelop us, battering us over and over while Tech uncaringly croons on. This moment was derived from a brilliant technique PROBLEMS has developed where he “program[s] a complex polyphonic drum pattern and load[s] it into a bank with 128 samples in it, spreading all the hits across all the samples before slicing it into audio and printing loops out of the most exciting parts.” We’ve truly sunk into the depths now with no hope of floating back now. A haunting marimba passage leads us once more into the rhythmic undertow, pulling all of the previous elements together for one final tsunami of percussive chaos before the silence takes over.

With this first taste of an upcoming full length LP, PROBLEMS has made a huge leap. This is an artist who has been meticulously trimming the branches of his sound – much like the hairs on his face – over many years of experience and has obviously found a winning formula (or perhaps solution?) On that note, like was mentioned earlier, getting lost in one’s problems can actually help instead of hurt. Between the heavy vibe of the track and Tech’s mantra, “This is not my problem,” I feel like I’m closer to a solution than before. Though, I now have a new problem: I didn’t know of PROBLEMS sooner.


How did the name PROBLEMS come about? What does it speak to you and your music?

It’s just a word that I see and hear a lot. I’ve overcome and survived some kinda dark shit and I see lots of people who let their PROBLEMS define their whole lives and personality. This is me taking that power back for myself.

You have an inspiring way of crafting drum sounds and rhythms. What gear and/or life experiences led you to discovering your methods?

I was always fascinated by the strange rhythmic grooves that you would hear when audio looped or was cut up and glitched out on a digital timeline. Starting with hip hop drums, moving to things like “Odelay” by Beck and then ofc tracker program IDM like Venetian snares. I think most people are blissfully ignorant to the swarm of sounds that sustain causes. Duration is my enemy. I love short punchy sounds that make as much of an impact in their release and cutoff as they do with their attack.

You have a very quickly approaching midwest and eastern tour lined up – congrats! What are some of your tour rituals or guidelines for having both a fun and safe experience?

Well, that’s changed for me a lot since getting sober. Now I enjoy spending time with my mom before and after tours, when I drop my dog off with her and pick my dog back up. I usually see lots of movies before I leave because I love movies and don’t get to go to the theatre much on tour. I also load up my iPad with a bunch of marvel comics stuff to read because I am a fucking dork.

If you had to start over from scratch with all of your hardware (minus a computer), what would you buy first?

A microphone.