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A Sit Down With DJ Derrick May

17.01.2018


Of the Belleville Three, the cadre of early Detroit producers who tested the limits of spirit within electronic dance music and changed the integrity of the form forever, Derrick May's reputation as an originator remained intact despite more than a decade of recording inactivity. While Juan Atkins is rightly looked at as the godfather of techno, with a recording career beginning in the electro scene of the early '80s and encompassing some of the most inspired tracks in the history of dance music; and Kevin Saunderson is the Detroit producer with the biggest mainstream success through his work with vocalist Paris Grey as Inner City, May's position as an auteur eroded slightly during the 1990s due to a largely inexplicable lack of activity.

The classic Derrick May sound is a clever balance between streamlined percussion-heavy cascades of sound with string samples and a warmth gained from time spent in Chicago, enraptured by the grooves of essential DJs like Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles.

 

"You lose a certain definition to your hearing while you’re playing, which causes you to turn the music up louder and louder and louder. The audience gets ear fatigue, and that makes people want to fuck off."



 

Where do you come from ?

I was born and my family comes from Detroit. I stayed there all my life, even though I traveled all over the world afterwards. I traveled little, with my family, for the holidays: Jamaica, California, Washington ... It was only with my mother, because my mother raised me alone. My father was not there. I lived there all my life. But at 27 or 28, with Juan Akins and Kevin Saunderson, we did some magic. We did something that no one had done before.

What kind of records were you playing at the high school parties?


We were playing anything from the Thompson Twins “In the Name of Love” and Answering Machine’s “Call Me Mr. Telephone,” to “Capricorn” by Capricorn. We played that and more Italian music, things like "Feel the Drive".


It’s very impressive that when you listen back to your original tracks like Strings of Life, to what you are doing now you are still bang on trend. You seem to be headed in a direction similar to guys like Diplo and Major Lazer who are mixing techno with reggae and Caribbean sounds. Where do you find your influences?

You know, I’ve never been one to look from left to right for any particular influences. I’ve never really been one to be a big fan of anything. I’m actually kind of an anti-fan. I’m kind of like this super hardcore, left-wing guy. If I was to get the call, I would go out and kick somebody’s ass on the conservative party in a minute. I’m that guy. So everything I do is always sort of just putting everything into it, just going for it just living it and not thinking about it – action.

What was the pull of instrumental music in particular? Why didn’t you like the tracks with vocals as much?


We were just anti-vocal. Well, not so much anti-vocal as anti what the vocals said. We just thought the vocals were stupid. Talking about love and getting some pussy and you broke my heart [lets out a sigh of boredom] – oh, this is ridiculous! Nothing political, nothing conscious. We were really conscious. I still am. Juan is not as conscious as I am about these things any more. I turn my friends off, because I’m still very much an analytical fucker. I still can’t go see a movie without looking for the undertones. I sense when I see a film that the producer has had a real fucked up influence on the movie. That’s me – I’m that guy. Don’t go anywhere with me. I might look at two people and say, “She’s not happy.” I can tell she’s not happy because he looks like he’s pissed off about something but he doesn’t want to show it.


And at that time you were listening to Clinton, etc. ?

I had done it, already. At this point in my life, when I started making music, I decided not to listen to anything anymore. I'll tell you something: you can not make music and listen to music. You can not make music and be a DJ, or work in something related to music. You just have to make music. You go to a room, you stay there and you make music. If you have to paint, it's from something you've left. It's not going to museums, galleries and then going back to paint, they're bullshit. You must completely abandon yourself.

Is there anyone out there at the moment that you think is doing really remarkable stuff?

There’s a whole lot of them that I think are really playing well, but I would probably give a big nod to Ricardo Villalobos (when he’s not wasted). I think he could possibly be considered one of the best in the world and it comes from the fact that Ricardo, as a DJ, has a very simple approach to music. He is not afraid to play anything and I think that’s where you get your sort of fantasy, your challenge and the romance; when you just love a track and you just want to play it and don’t care about what anyone else thinks. That’s the real romantic aspect of music. When you’re calculating the audience, when you’re thinking about how long you’re going to play, when you’re looking at your records, when you’re paying attention to that laptop – you’re all locked into that and you forget about your audience or maybe why you’re there or don’t even know why you were there to begin with – people feel that. It doesn’t have to be the best record, it just has to be romantic and passionate and if those elements don’t exist, people know.

Do you empty your head completely, and then what do you build on?


When I had started to really get serious about being a professional DJ, I hated everything. I did. I didn’t like any records. I had a hard time adjusting to the fact that I was buying people’s music. I didn’t like anything. I thought it all was shit. What was I doing? Comparing it to myself! You have to dig up your own asshole if you want to smell good shit. Otherwise you’re gonna smell somebody else’s, and you’re gonna fuck up and make a record that sounds like somebody else’s shit. It’s for real. If you’re writing your book you lock in on it a certain way. You get it done. You maybe dedicate so many hours to it a night, but those distractions are fucked up if they come right at the moment when you’re on a roll. So you know, same thing, you might need music and little things to inspire you, I need just... I just don’t need that to inspire me. I don’t want to hear Philip Glass, I don’t want to hear fucking Kraftwerk. I don’t wanna hear nobody.


What is your opinion on electronic music in Europe?

It's business in Europe. When you go to Ibiza, it's business. Ibiza is pretty, but the guys are 35-40000 € per night, 100000 €, each night! For a night. And that's for the DJ, what about the club leader? It is half a million euros every night, charging 30, 40, 50 € tickets presales. Online! People buy these tickets 6 months in advance! As if they were going to see Diana Ross, or Barbara Streisand! It's incredible ! It's a man's party! But at the same time the least kid in his room is techno with three times nothing. There is a technological revolution at the moment yes, what will be tomorrow I do not know.

Is it hard to separate the party life style that seems to come with the job?

Not at all, not at all I mean I could tell you that Kevin hasn’t either; I think really honestly, a couple of glasses of champagne (is enough). I’ve never tried drugs in my entire life, I’ve never wanted to. To me it’s just not interesting. I’m not anti-drugs, I just don’t feel it and I know Kevin is virtually 99% the same way. We don’t need all the extracurricular shi*. We’re complete. We love what we do and we’re going to continue to enjoy it.

What is the advice you would give to a young artist?

I would say: Hold on, it's hard, it's not as easy as it sounds. If it were, everyone could do it. It should not be, it's not supposed to be, it must be difficult. It is very difficult to wait, it is very difficult to have a chance, to accept the bankruptcy of his situation, the defeat. Which can sometimes be destructive. You also need to know how to listen, learn and make sincere decisions. Dance music now is zero: they are the same people who live on this planet, but for some unknown reason, they do not listen to music anymore. People do not buy music anymore, there are not even any record stores anymore! The problem is that we try to solve this situation where we spend so much time on music and that everyone does not care. We want people to really listen to music. But it's difficult because people take pleasure but they do not buy music. But the artist needs that we buy his music to make it live and that he can continue to make it. And it's very serious, because all artists now, keep their "real" job, they have no choice.

https://soundcloud.com/derrick-may/derrickmay-in-japan-1-2011

A Sit Down With DJ Miguel Migs

16.01.2018


As an artist who is perpetually stimulated by every element of life, Miguel Migs credits inspiration for being open to embrace them. Keeping an open mind, upholding an appreciation for different tastes is also an enormous part of his success in music and as a person. Migs is a firm believer that, there is a place for everything. The fact that he personally prefers a certain style of music barely signifies there isn’t a place for it. He hopes that people can make their own decisions and be their own person, rather than following the sheep and digest what they are fed. To each its own.

 

"At the end of the day, I’m not making music to please everybody. I’m doing it because I enjoy it."



 

You started out your musical career in a band before progressing to studio work… do you ever think about returning to perform in a more ‘live’ setting?


I love performing live in bands and writing music with a group of musicians. I wish I could do it all, but there are only 24 hours in the day and it’s hard to make it all happen. I actually started another live band project a few years ago called Petalpusher. We toured all over the states, but it takes a lot of time, energy and hard work to make it all happen. Being too busy can be very stressful and I don’t want to spread myself too thin, so I had to put that on hold and take a break. But who knows, I might dive back into it at some point.


You have produced over 100 remixes, including remixes for artists such as Britney Spears, Macy Gray and Lionel Richie. Could you point out some of them that you are especially happy about?


I try to remain open minded to different projects and push myself creatively. Remixes are fun to do and sometimes a challenge, but these days I try and concentrate and focus more on my own original material.

What are your thoughts on the deep/soulful scene. Certainly in the UK this is something that has either very much gone underground, or is closer to a big room vocal belter genre. How’s it for you?

It may have gone a bit more ‘underground’ again, but things are busy as ever, even though the deep/soulful dance music scene is not as outright popular as it once was. There are still so many people that love the more soulful side of music all over the world. It’s a new generation and people will explore, experiment and find what resonates with themselves, there is room for it all, hopefully the younger generation can appreciate and enjoy all different styles of ‘dance/electronic’ music including the deeper/soulful side of things.

You travel a lot. What are the essential things you need to have with you at all times and what are the things you miss when you are on tour?


My laptop of course!... I'm pretty easy going so I don’t need much while I`m on the road. Its nice to leave your routine behind and adventure a bit outside of your comfort zone.

You are the man behind the hugely successful Salted Music Label, tell us little bit about that?

I started salted just for fun and as a creative outlet to release new music, as artists are always sending and giving me demos and new music to check out, and Salted is a vehicle to be able to release new material as well as some of my own music also… our plan was never to be a large record label, just a little music boutique. We have tons of new music on the horizon and lots of great new releases coming up. 

What is the one machine, program, sound, drum machine, technique that characterizes the signature Miguel Migs sound?

I have a couple different sides to me as far as how I approach music production… when I work on album based material or write songs with full vocals, the process is a bit different than if I’m just doing some tracks more for a DJ set and the dance floor in mind. I enjoy the whole process of creating, messing around with various synths I have and experimenting with new sounds. I have always used logic and a lot of outboard synths which i run through my dual millenia origins for extra warmth. I’m always striving for dimension, texture and space with my music, adding hints of inspiration ranging from all different styles of music since I love and listen to all most everything.

What was the best and the worst gig you ever played and what was the funniest thing ever occurred during any of your performances?


It`s really hard to just choose one of each as there have been so many experiences through the years… some of the best have been spread out all over the globe… like some of the festivals I have played, and some of the outdoor sunrise gigs on the beach for instance… some amazing gigs in Spain, Australia, Europe, the States, ETC… There aren’t too many “worst” gigs fortunately, as I`m pretty picky about what gigs I choose to take and usually they are pretty good… a couple weird ones might be in Turkey years ago we played an outdoor event on the beach and were shut down at gun point by the army because of apparent permit issues for the event…

How has being recognized by the Independent Music Awards affected things for you. Do you think it’s made any difference in how you’ve been able to approach making the album? 

It’s always nice to be recognized for your work, but I’m always striving to do something new. Every song and every project is something fresh and on this new album i simply dove into writing a bunch of new songs, and Outside The Skyline is the result this time around.

How influential do you think living in San Francisco has been on the music you make?


Well, it’s a very laidback city so I guess that shows in the music I create. My parents were hippies and I grew up in California listening to a lot of classic rock, blues and reggae, so I’m sure that plays a part in who I am and the music I create.


EDM is a genre that divides a lot of opinion on the dance music scene but is also very popular both in Indonesia and America, where you hail from obviously. What are your thoughts on it, and the effects it has had, the quality of the music and whether it will have longevity?

Well, music in general is a personal opinion, to some degree… but the “trend/sheep” aspect in EDM has been very obvious… in general people follow pop culture and trends like sheep, rather than go a little deeper and make up their own minds, so in that way its not surprising that EDM music is the popular music of today since pop artists and radio have pushed these sounds relentlessly to the youth, and then everyone jumps on board for the $. Of course the artistic integrity gets a bit lost… So, it is a bit uninspiring to me in general and very separated from why I felt connected to “dance” music in the first place... I can be inspired by and love all kinds of music, but im not able to enjoy listening to the commercial EDM sounds, its just never been my thing and does not resonate within me in any artistic way… lets make this clear though - Im not here to judge anyone for doing what they enjoy and feel, people do what they want to do and that’s fine, we all have different tastes… although, it is unfortunate that the deeper more soulful sounds sort of got pushed to the side in a way, but there is still an audience that appreciates the music, and hopefully some of the younger generation will grow out of the soulless EDM sounds and explore some of the deeper quality “dance” music that is out there… 

Any advice for your fans on how to make it in today`s fast paced game?

Be a good person, there is enough negativity in this world. Do what you feel and do your own thing, don’t just follow the sheep and trends, the passion will shine through and show in what you do. You cannot please everybody and trends come and go but quality stands the tests of time.

https://soundcloud.com/miguelmigs1/miguel-migs-breaking-blues-slow-salty-mixpreview

 

A Sit Down With DJ Chus and Ceballos

17.01.2018


For over fifteen years now, the Spanish duo known as Chus & Ceballos have been spearheading their self-described Tribal House style known as the Iberican sound. They've established their distinct sound by playing marathon sets all over the world including some residencies they are most famous for such as Stereo in Montreal and Space in Miami. In addition they've been churning out quality music by themselves and others as well through their long running record label, Stereo Productions.

 

"The most challenging part is to find a person you are compatible with, which isn’t easy, and there are some days when we’re not seeing eye to eye and the chemistry isn’t working, but in our case thank God."


 

How did you two meet?  Was it love at first sight?

We both grow up in Madrid sharing our love and passion for music, and as we just mentioned Chus was the resident DJ at one of the very first House Clubs in the capital of Spain and Ceballos was trying to make himself a name for himself in music production. Pablo used to bring me his electronic demo tapes to the club, so after a few years back and forth, we decided to try working together and from the very first track the magic was there! That track was called The Groove Foundation "That Feeling".

What advantages do you think a DJ duo has over a DJ who is on their own?

There is a few for sure, two minds thinking, four hands instead two, and of course never traveling alone :) If you are in sync with one another as you should be as a duo, you are able to reach goals that you couldn't by yourself. We are completely different so we are forced to get out of our comfort zone and discover new ways to amaze each other. It is a constant learning process, and a very dynamic one too. We often layer what the other is doing using tools, loops, accapellas... This definitely for us makes it more fun. Music for us is all about sharing and DJ'ing with someone you are close to is something very special and that much more enjoyable.  

You’re well known for your marathon DJ sets, is it hard to keep a constant flow of energy, keep the crowd connected to the music, etc?

We have to be physically and mentally prepared for a long running and do it only in places where we are specially connected to the crowd with proper sound system conditions, lights and a comfortable DJ Booth. A marathon set is something that should happen naturally, not forced. The most difficult part is to don’t lose the flow, when the inspiration keeps going and going for hours, you have the chance to play those special tracks that are more difficult to play in a 2 hours set where you have to go straight to the point, those tracks creates special moments, the ones that your audience kept in their minds, that journey is the reason why we love extended sets.

How did you each discover the house music sound while living in Madrid at a time when house was not very popular?

Chus had the chance to travel to Portugal in the early 90’s where House music was already huge there. He became the resident DJ at the legendary club Kadoc in Algarve which held massive raves during the 90s. There he had the chance to play along DJs like DJ Vibe, David Morales, Erick Morillo, Roger Sanchez, Deep Dish and Carl Cox among others.  He brought that sound to Madrid playing at the first House clubs in Madrid, Teatro Kapital. Pablo’s background was a bit different, he was more influenced by the European techno and British Pop artists, but Chus helped introduced him to the American underground sound and we both were immediately very influenced by the sounds of Danny Tenaglia, our mentor. Quality and proper underground house music.

Do you guys have a favorite venue to play?

Over the years we have had the chance of playing in so many venues, so Yes, we have a long list, all of them are different with great vibes and amazing audiences. Special mention to legendary Clubs like Stereo in Montreal, Cielo NYC, Space in Miami, Space Ibiza and Ageha in Tokyo and other new ones where we have now residencies like Output in Brooklyn NY, SpaceNY and Sound or Exchange in Los Angeles. And of course some of those intimate venues, like Flash in DC, Audio in San Francisco, Habitat in Calgary..

What has changed in the past 17 years in terms of the house and techno scene, and were do you seen it heading in the future?

The main thing is that when we started, the electronic music scene was underground. Especially in North America and Asia, in Europe it was always a bit more popular. And then there was the explosion of EDM and the mainstream that brought electronic music to everybody and the DJ became a very important figure, even more important than pop-stars. Back in the day it wasn’t like that, the DJ was just somebody playing music in the corner lost in the back of the club. He wasn’t even an important person, now DJs are pop stars. After that big rise of EDM and the mainstream, and the underground scene was a bit lost, I think that the mainstream has begun to lose a bit of steam. And I think the underground isn’t going to be as popular as the mainstream, obviously, but I think it’s slowly taking the place [that the mainstream] had in the past. The good thing is that I see right now that there’s going to be many options and that’s a great thing actually. I think that the explosion and popularity of EDM has been a good thing because exposed electronic music to so many people who had never listened to electronic music before. So I think it was something positive, absolutely positive.

What is the best part of life as a DJ? And Worst?

The best is to share the music we love with our fans and the worst is with no doubt the traveling and the endless hours between airports and hotels, too many time away from home.

Your label, Stereo Productions, has had a lot of showcases in the past at BPM and in Miami and has really helped to define the Spanish sound in the tech-house - What has been the journey for Stereo Productions so far?

It has been a long journey. We started the label in 2000 so it's been nearly 17 years so we're close to the 20-year mark of Chus & Ceballos and the label. We've got a lot of percussions that's very good for the dance floor. We always support Spanish artists, but not only Spanish, international artists that are close to our sound. As the label was becoming popular, it kind of became one thing, our artists, and the label, and the showcases all encompass the same vibe, and so it became a family. So we're working very closely with the artists and the showcases and put a lot of effort and love into them.

Finally, you managed to collaborate with several artists including Gigi, The Fog and Cevin Fisher. If there was any one artist, past or present, who you didn’t collaborate with on the album but had the opportunity to work with on it if given the chance, who would it be and why?

We will love to collaborate in a near future with such a talented artists like Disclosure, London Grammar, M83, The XX, Gauzz, Bonobo or Rayko. All of them made album master pieces bringing electronic music to a different level, combining vocals, beautiful melodies and complex music landscapes in outstanding productions.

How do you spend your down time when your decompressing from studio work or gigs?

I really love spending time in nature. I like to swim, I like to bike, go for a run, love to get some fresh air. What I like the most whenever I have free time, I go escape to nature. Love getting lost in the moment. That’s what I like the most.

What has been the longest time you’ve spent in the studio?

When in the studio, the rule number one is that there is not rules, and when you are inspired the best is don’t stop and go with the flow, the time doesn’t exist, I remember to have sessions of 20 hours and sometimes realise that we didn’t eat in the last 10 hours.

https://soundcloud.com/chusceballos/sets/2018-productions-remixes

A Sit Down With DJ Jes

11.01.2018


There are few female DJ’s who can dominate and be successful in a male predominate DJ world. However JES is a tremendous songwriter, singer and DJ who’s talents and gifts speak for itself as she continues to blossom in the EDM world while having an exceptional voice and style. Believing in her vision and setting challenging goals, JES has topped Billboard charts and continues to receive widespread radio play, not only in the U.S. but internationally as well. She also has a radio show called “Unleash The Beat” that’s syndicated on over 60 stations worldwide.

JES’ extraordinary voice, passionate songwriting and legendary collaborations have cemented her as one of the most recognized names in dance music, with recent features in MTV Buzzworthy, Jungle Magazine, Cliché Magazine, Marie Claire and a place in Vibe Magazine’s "Top 10 Females in EDM 2013".

 

 "I think working through a number of different styles and genres helps you find your own voice. You have to stop imitating and start creating."


 

What influenced you to take the step to work with music?

Well my dad is a businessman, but my mom is very musical. Growing up in my house, the radio was always on and we had a piano and a guitar. I grew up going to plays and recitals, and I was humming, singing, and making up songs from a really early age. I can remember being as young as 5 years old and making songs. I went to a performing arts school and was part of the choir and always going out for auditions. I never really wanted to do anything else. I feel kind of lucky that way because I was always surrounded by music and knew what I wanted to do. It’s not easy you know, but I kind of went into it sort of naive. I was working at studios, working for anything that can get me around music.

What was your interest or inspiration behind wanting to become involved with music?

Well, it was with me since I was so little. I was lucky enough to have my mother with me who was into music, into theater and into the arts and she made sure we had lots of instruments around. It was something that was so natural. When I was fourteen I got to record my first song. When that happened it was kind of like a dream come true. I never looked back from there. I kind of knew I wanted to pursue it at a young age.

How easy was it to change to today? Do you remember your first ever trance track? 

I do not think any genre of the music business is easy to break into. It can be fun at times, but it's definitely hard work. I grew into the Trance of the World in an organic way and it was not really a decision on my part at that time. I always like to say that Trance found me. At the time that I started writing with the band, I was working in the rock genre. I was also working as an assistant engineer at a recording studio in Hollywood, and one of the engineers was a Trance producer. We started working on songs. One of the first tracks we made was picked up by Paul van Dyk for his 'Politics Of Dancing' mix compilation and that really kick started my career in Trance. I think it's easier in some ways now with the advances in social media. In that respect I do not think things have changed too much.

You’re originally from New York City. Which part did you grow up in?

I grew up on 10th Street between University and 5th. Then when I was around 12 years old, my family and I moved uptown to the East Side, but I still have an apartment in the East Village.

Who are some of your favorite female EDM artists/DJs?

Kate Bush, Bjork, Little Boots, Roisin Murphy, Miss Nine, Annie Mac, Miss Kitten, Peaches, Dinka.

You have had the opportunity to work with the best in the industry, you have achieved what most could only dream of what`s next for Jes?

That’s a tough question! For me a great producer or collaborator is someone who brings out the best in me. I love to be inspired and find something new inside myself with collaborators. There’s also long list of people I would love to work with even outside of EDM as well but some are including Nigel Godrich (Radiohead), Dangermouse, Stuart Price as well as Dillon Francis, Calvin Harris and Axwell!

When making the original track with Tiesto, what was your approach?

I wrote it while I was on tour in Europe. Tiesto was looking for a new song for “In Search Of Sunrise 6,” and I didn’t have much time. I was working on it in hotels and recorded the vocals in a bathroom. I intended to re-record the vocal in a studio before the project was finished, but Tiesto loved the raw first takes and kept that vocal in the final version. It started off as a moody alt rock ballad with just an acoustic guitar. It was very innocent, direct, and emotional, and I knew Tiesto would take that and mold it into something different and inspired.

Do you think your style of music / singing has changed over the years? Would you still call yourself the queen of Rocktronica?

I thought that I was still in the habit of working on that project and that I had to call myself the queen of rocktronica. It's very refreshing to get back to the things that first sparked your passion for a genre. I think it has changed a lot over the years and my voice too! I would still call myself the queen of Rocktronika and I love that title. I think I may have strayed a bit, but with "As We Collide" I think that brought me back to my roots. I've been recording more of the newer material by getting back to my roots. I think that's what people liked in me in the first place!

Where do you think trance music will go in the future?

I think that Trance music is really a feeling. It’s the emotion that brings people in, and as long as we make sure that the emotion doesn’t get lost, it will continue. It has been incorporated into so many other genres, and EDM had become more of a melting pot for a while, but I think the genres are more clearly separated at the moment. I’m not sure that Trance will break into the mainstream, or even if anyone involved in it would want that. Its identity is a little left of center, and that’s what makes it so special to the trance family and fans. All music forms grow and change over time. As long as trance continues to reach people emotionally, it will continue to grow.

As a female songwriter, singer and DJ, what are some of the challenges that you face or have faced on the regular in a male predominate industry?

Well, you know. I don’t really think of it so much that way. I think it just makes you have the need to be really at the top of your game, to really be confident, and to also know all aspects of it. I’m first and foremost a singer and a songwriter. And I kind of find myself in the DJ world. I also produce and play the piano and guitar. I try to do my best. It also made me learn about the business more. 

What are some of the most memorable moments from your career?

That's a tough question to answer. I have been so lucky to work with so many amazing people, so it's hard to narrow down the short list. Singing at the Beijing Olympics was an amazing moment. I had to learn Mandarin for the event, so I was more nervous than usual. It was absolutely amazing to be at the Olympics and to get to perform; it was like a dream. I also performed "As The Rush Comes" on the legendary UK chart show "Top Of The Pops." Beyonce was on the me, and Maroon 5 was on the same show, so that was pretty much an amazing day. My first performance with Tiesto was another unforgettable moment. We played at the Heineken Hall in Amsterdam during the promotion for "In Search Of Sunrise 4."

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not writing or producing?

I don’t get as much spare time as I would like, but it was always my dream to be involved in music so I would never complain about being busy. I love to stay healthy and love to cook. I also work out regularly which includes a little gym work and also hot yoga. Yoga has really calmed me down so much and given me the space to think! I love a great trip to the spa and I’ve been working on a cook book! I enjoy to be out in the country and I love the beaches around East Hampton so I try to spend as much time there as I can. I am a keen equestrian and love horseback riding; I also enjoy reading and painting.

What advice would you give to the "new generation" of singers?

I think the first and most important thing is to remember. You need to locate yourself in the community (not necessarily physically) and get involved with that. Learn how to listen to your instincts and your heart. Everyone will have an opinion about you and your music. It's going to be a difficult path to be prepared for rejections and some struggles. Build a team around you of the collaborators and supporters that compliment your natural talents and make sure that every day you are doing something to further your career. Work hard but be humble. Hone your craft and focus on being the best "you". Lastly, never give up, ever ...

https://soundcloud.com/dj-jes/sets/fr-30-lurob-ivan-reko-and-sami

A Sit Down With DJ Andy Duguid

28.12.2017


Andy Duguid's career took off in September 2006 when his production "Hypocrisy" was picked up by the mighty Tiesto. The support of the grand elite of DJ's followed soon after that when Hypocrisy gained heavy support during sets of Paul van Dyk and Armin van Burren, after being added to Tiesto's playlist for many consecutive weeks. Being signed to Black Hole after the bidding war that followed, Hypocrisy landed on the 5th spot of the Dutch Dance Charts and simultaneously landed the career of Andy Duguid, instantly establishing a name for him in the almost impregnable forest of producers in the scene as we know it today.

 

 "Without music I don't think I would have much of a life at all."


 

What is your career?

Well, I was so lucky to start my career with the Indah Artist Management team which is collaborating with Jaren as a songwriter for all my 3 vocal tracks and releasing them on Flashover and Armada Music. The Sebastian Brandt remix of my second song Blinded selected as a Tune Of The Week by Armin Van Buuren and got Number 1 tune on Ferry Corsten's radio show in may 2010 which were a huge success for this one.

What piece of instrument do you find the most crucial for your tracks?

A midi keyboard. I couldn’t function If I couldn’t play. Keys over Buttons any day.

The best collaboration from the beginning of your career was with ….

Julie Thompson. She is amazing to work with.

Nowadays many producers are changing their styles – please don’t tell us it’s also on your mind!

I have had many conversations about this and my view is that music shouldn't have to much pre-meditated thought put into it. You should sit down, be inspired and let the music flow naturally.

In which part of the world the best, refreshing and moving Trance music in your opinion is produced?

I think Russia is coming on really strong. They are staying true to Trance and there is lots of up coming talent bursting on to the scene everyday.

How do you feel about the current state of the music industry?

I think it’s pretty crap to be honest. Kids are learning fast these days. I know countless amounts of young guys who have started there own record label just to put stuff out there. Most of this music is pure shit and then they sign more shit. Meaning on a weekly basis on beatport alone, you have to troll through endless amounts of bad music to find the good ones. This is making DJ’s like me search for only the producers I like because I just don’t have the time. But with this comes lots of good music being missed. I miss the good old days of CD singles tho so maybe I’m just a bitter old man now. 

What's your future plans for productions, remixes or DJ career?

Releasing the next signle featuring Nicole McKenna which is written by Jaren again and after that focusing on the other quality releases plus remixes and working more and more on my own radio show "The Caspian Sessions"

Is there something you would like to say to young producers who just getting started?

I always say not to rush things. There is so much crap being released these days on crappy little labels from artists who made their first ever track on fruity loops. These tracks hang around and you don't want to look back in 5 years time and have your early tracks ruin your chances of being taken seriously as a producer.

The hardest part in being a DJ / Producer is ...?

The constant inner battle with writers block. If it gets you, you need a strong will to get out of it! 

Where do you see yourself in a year, two years, five years?

I hope I am known as a live show performer rather than a DJ. I think my music lends itself more to the live concert than a DJ set. This is something we are putting in place now and hopefully by the next album this will be my outlet for it.

https://soundcloud.com/andyduguidofficial/andy-duguid-chic-exclusive-teaser

A Sit Down With DJ Digitalism

16.01.2018


Comprised of Jence and Isi, German duo Digitalism formed when two Hamburg natives bonded over their mutual love of vinyl over a decade ago. While indulging fans around the globe with both live and DJ sets over the years, Digitalism has also managed to release two defining albums (Idealism & I Love You Dude), with another EP fresh off the press. The pair has remixed esteemed artists such as Depeche Mode, The Presets, and Cut Copy, released on labels such as OWSLA and Toolroom Records, and even arranged their own compilation for the famed DJ Kicks series last year.

 

"The more music you make, the more your sound crystallises. If you’re not sure where you want to go, just wait a few songs, and you can tell where you want to go."


 

Can you describe Digitalism’s very first live set? How has it evolved over the years?


Our first live set was a lot of fun. We took the train down to Strasbourg in France to play a festival. We’d rehearsed for weeks but still didn’t really have a clue of what to do. We brought a friend with us to play guitar, and had some samplers, a tambourine and a synth with us. It was rather embarrassing, but we felt like super grown up after we finished the show. We were almost dying before we went on stage, and killed a whole jumbo-sized fridge full of booze.


You’ve been performing as a band for your latest album – do you enjoy playing as band more than a tag-team DJ duo?




We love both, and we get bored so easily that we keep on switching back and forth between playing live and DJing. The live show has developed and become pretty big over the last six years, and last year we did 90 shows in 6 months with a live drummer on board. It was fun, but this year we changed the whole thing again and been touring it a lot. There’ll be a lot of DJ-gigs in 2012 too, though, and that’s usually the perfect opportunity to test new stuff out. When you play live, people sometimes don’t get it when you play something that they’ve not heard before. We’ve done that too, though.





You guys are known for your energetic performances. Do you have any pre-gig rituals?


We call it our daily workout. We sit on tour buses and planes a lot, so once we get on stage it’s our time to go wild. There’s a lot of energy that we have to get rid of. Before the show we might have a cheeky glass of straight liquor, but that’s all. One time when we played in Osaka and we had to kill 3 hours in the backstage before the show, we started shooting action movies on our phones with added special FX and all the crew. It got a bit out of hand.





Have you ever thought about creating a soundtrack? If you could compose a soundtrack for any film that you would choose?

Of course it sounds like something we would be predestined for, right? One day we hung out with Trevor Horn in his house, and we started talking about soundtracks. He said: “Don’t do it. It’s too much work.” If you’re to score an industry film, it’s probably too much editing and micro details you have to fight with. But we reckon if you can do it the Morricone/Leone way — where they made the music first and would then film the scenes with the music running in the background, giving the composer total freedom, it might be a nice thing. So far we like scoring our own lives.




How would you say your music has evolved over the years?





It’s grown up a lot since we started. The reason why we formed Digitalism was to supply ourselves with music for our DJ sets, but after a while we ended up being producers and songwriters, basically album artists, which was something that we hadn’t planned. We also learned everything in a DIY way and we just finished school, so we had no money and no clue how to do all these things. Now after a few (actually, quite a lot) years we are more certain about our sound and what we want to express than ever before. Sounds might have evolved you know, but the very essence of “Digitalism” is in everything that we write and release – more than ever — there’s some kind of signature thing in all of this that crystallized over the last decade.

While you are creating music, you think about songs will come across live?

We tried to keep that in mind when we made the second album, but we forgot… So basically, no. But if we listen to new material and we get up in the studio and heads start banging or feet tapping, then at least we know we really want to perform that stuff live.

Did you have an overall goal in mind when creating your debut album “Idealism”? Is there any message, meaning or theme behind the project?

We thought about “Idealism” as about a book or a movie with a story from the beginning to the end, with a homogenic content that’s got a “Digitalism signature”, split into different chapters (the songs). So, it was never supposed to be just a compilation of tracks. Also, we didn’t want to produce an album around the singles that we’ve released so far. We’ve been listening to lots of soundtracks over the years, and very often we think in movies or have scenes and images on our minds when we compose our music. We love traveling and discovering new worlds. F.i. there are stops in Cairo (Digitalism In Cairo), parties on a cast-away spot of the earth (Pogo) or adventures on Jupiter (Jupiter Room). It’s all about those things we experience everyday, but that requires you to be open-minded. We want to stimulate emotions with our music, let people dream, let them dance to it as well as listen to it on the radio or on the road. We’d like to encourage people to head towards their aims and ideals. Staying average or in routines keeps you from seeing the “Big Picture”. We want to euphorize. People should have big visions.







From where do you primarily derive your inspiration? Other musicians? Movies? Books?Mostly from our lives and our surroundings. Being from Hamburg, a city that calls itself “The Gate To the World” because of its huge seaport, what’s most inspiring for us is travels, faraway things and all those backdrops for your own personal movie. We see our music mainly as soundtracks to all these aspects of our lives.





Speaking of your studio, I've heard a lot about it and I know it's an actual WWII bunker with no windows. How does this setting affect your creativity and do you think you'll still hold it in the future?

For us it’s the birthplace of our music. A bit like an underground club with concrete walls and no natural light, in our bunker studio we can do whatever we want, and whenever. It could be any time of the day or an season outside. When you switch off the lights, it’s pitch black. That void then is very inspiring. It’s more fun to create stuff when it’s not too busy around you already. The funny thing is — even in London we ended up in an underground studio space. Who knows what kind of music we would make if we had a cabin in the woods… Bunkers and basements are the way to go for us. You get tired from it after 15 years, but it’s something to keep for sure.

Do your DJ and live performance sets influence each other? If you use your DJ sets to test out new original music, are there any particular tracks that you'd cite?

Our live sets are not directly influenced by our DJ sets, but from DJ sets in general. We always try to create a certain narrative with it that includes peaks and troughs, to grab people and take them on a journey. When you feel comfortable with one bit, it might flip entirely the next minute into something else. It’s something we learned from our roots as DJs. There’s been some influences from our live sets on our second album. While ‘Idealism’ was mostly based around 130 BPM, we found out that when we play live, some of the stuff could do with a little speed boost. Some tracks on our second album were much faster (or slower), we opened that spectrum.

How has touring affected your lives?  Do you find it harder to create new material with such a heavy schedule?

Usually when we're on tour we don't really produce, which is still a bit old-school probably. We love making music in our studio and not with headphones at an airport gate, but with our touring schedule we had to adapt of course. Some of our last remixes were done on tour (we did one for Stimming for instance, and it was recorded with our live setup during a soundcheck in Washington), and many of the new tracks for the DJ-Kicks that's gonna be out this summer were made in California this year. Touring is very inspiring for us, we just need a quiet minute to sit down and channel it into music. It can be tough sometimes, but all the fun and excitement that you encounter just wipe out any exhaustion usually.

https://soundcloud.com/digitalism_official/spektrum-radio-edit

A Sit Down With DJ Omnia

15.01.2018


Without a doubt, young Ukrainian DJ/producer Omnia is one of the most exciting and fast-rising names to emerge from the progressive & trance scenes this past 18 months

Omnia’s overall  sound has a truly distinctive edge and a style that sets him a part from the rest: Sounds ranging from trance to progressive house, all of his tracks differ from one another and have very distinctive melodies. Having had multiple successful tracks and a nod from the 2013 DJ Mag Poll ranking him #48, Omnia has set him self a part from the rest. Most notably, his breakthrough track The Fusion came out in 2012 and although he had been producing music for some time at this point, this song most definitely kick-started his road to stardom.

 

"You never know, sometimes when I’m trying to do a new track I try to do something special but it’s all about the inspiration."


 

So how did you come up with the moniker Omnia?

Well, honestly, I’ve been producing for a while without an artist name. However, once the first track had been signed by a record label I had to make a quick decision with my project name. So I tried to find something really easy to pronounce and memorize, but at the same time it had to be conformable with the music I was producing.

Do you prefer DJing or producing music?

Definitely producing. When you are DJing a lot it means that studio time is always the ‘gold-time’. But I still want to continue DJing because it gives me a lot of inspiration with all these journeys and meetings with my fans around the world. It’s something that keeps me moving on every day! But anyway, I think It’s really necessary to find the perfect balance between DJing and producing!

Which DJs have inspired your music? Whom did you listen to a lot while you were creating your own sound?

Omnia – First names who brought me into the electronic music were The Chemical Brothers & The Prodigy in late 90’s. Then I’ve realised that i want to create my own music. But if we talk about names in trance music it was Andy Moor, Markus Schulz, Gareth Emery, Ferry Corsten, Paul van Dyk.

Can you share with us about your thought process when you are working on your new projects?

I think it’s really cool to keep this signature sound each track but I’m always trying to bring something new into it. ‘Hold Me’ is one of these tracks with recognizable Omnia sound but at the same time with absolutely unexpected vibes from the late 80’s. Electronic music today is all about mixing different genres and various periods of sound. And ‘Hold Me’ is the perfect example here. And this is how I’m usually working on my new tracks. Sometimes it’s not enough to have good melody but also great to do something unexpected and bold!

What has been your most memorable performance to date?

I can’t highlight any specific performances because I have had so many shows. For example, all of my performances at ASOT have been unforgettable for me. Or let me say The Gallery at Ministry of Sound in London. This is the best if we are talking about club events!

Spending so much time in the studio must be an isolating experience. Is your only chance to seek inspiration outside of the studio on tour or is your imagination sparked by the solitude of recording?

I’m listening to different music all the time and this is my main source of inspiration. Sometimes performances at big events like ASOT or Godskitchen give huge inspiration. But usually I’m just catching melodies or some ideas in my head, and tracks start from there.

You have released many original tracks over the years. Have you pondered over releasing an artist album in the near future?

Honestly, I can’t see too much difference if artist releasing, for example, 10 tracks in a year or the same 10 tracks as one album-release. Probably, the album could tell the whole story and gives much more opportunities for experimenting… However, I still feel good with single releases! But probably some day I’ll change my point on this, who knows. 

How important do you think it is for an artist to innovate and grow over time, to constantly keep doing something outside their comfort zone?

Omnia – Yeah it’s very important. Innovations are very important in music today as we can see that a lot of big artists making tracks with the same samples, rhytms, sounds. But actually people want to hear something new everytime. And for young artists today it’s only one way. If you want to express yourself you have to show people something unique and bright!

Who would you consider your biggest inspiration in terms of music so far?

I have really long background of music I’ve been listening to in different times of my life. When I was teenager, I’ve been listening to the bands like Oasis, Nirvana. Then I discovered electronic music with the names like The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, UNKLE, Fatboy Slim etc… Later I also discovered house & trance music and such big names as Tiesto, Armin, Paul van Dyk, Ferry Corsten, Axwell. So it’s quite difficult to highlight only one or even a few names as my biggest inspiration.

What is the Trance scene like in the Ukraine?

It is not that big anymore compared to 3-4 years ago because of the new generation and new music. But maybe we just should do more big events here in the Ukraine. I mean nothing happens by itself. Music must be shared with people and someone needs to push trance here more.

https://soundcloud.com/omnia/sets/tracks-by-omnia

A Sit Down With DJ Tujamo

15.01.2018


Tujamo is a German-born Producer and DJ, ranked on the #78 spot of the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs list. He is best known for his remixes of artists such as Bob Sinclar, Dubvision, Major Lazer, Laidback Luke, Deadmau5, Showtek, Martin Solveig and David Guetta, collaborations such as "Delirious" (with Steve Aoki & Chris Lake), "Cream" (with Danny Avila), as well as his tracks "Drop That Low", "One On One", and "Booty Bounce".

 

 "I draw inspiration from all different genres and artists, and I always try to keep my finger on the pulse by being innovative, but true to my trademark style."


 

You are a German-born producer and DJ, ranked on the #78 spot of the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs list. How did you get in touch with electronic dance music in the first place and how did you get into DJing and music production?




I started DJing as a hobby when I was in my early teens. Back then I’d always been massively influenced by artists like Laidback Luke, who made me excited about dance music. But it was my girlfriend that took the leap of faith for me when she entered me into a DJing competition. I was really reluctant at first, but in the end I went... and I ended up bagging first place! That was actually a really huge moment for me, it made me realise that I wanted to take DJing from a hobby and turn it into a professional venture, so I started honing my skills creatively and producing my own music.  




How did you decide to use the moniker "Tujamo"?


Well, back then I was creating the project with a friend. ‚Tujamo’ were both our names mixed together, so that it got a nice ring to it. We didn’t continue together but he was cool with me using the name.



How would you describe your sound to someone whose never heard you before?


You know, I’m not actually sure. It can be hard to try and describe something like this when you are so close to it. I just know that I spend a lot of studio time trying to make my music sound like Tujamo, and not like someone else. In music that can be one of the hardest aspects, but it’s something that you really need to try to do as a producer.


Favourite track you`ve made?

All of them mean something to me. I spend so much time making them.

Congratulations on your "One On One featuring Sorana" release. Can you tell us more about it?


Thank you! The track has been getting an amazing response, we put the video up on YouTube and it hit 1,000,000 views in 24 hours! About the record, I wanted to take my signature sound and push myself to create more of a song rather than just a club track. I really loved the process and I am planning to do this more in the future. There will be plenty of new music from me soon…



What do you think about the digitalising era of music? 


It helped the smaller DJs a lot I think but it also generated an impossible to work through load of music, without any chance to proof quality. I mean, I do support young producers but there should always be something like a quality control. Since that has completely fallen away in the last years, it’s sometimes super hard to find the real gems out there.

If you could work with any artist on a track, who would you choose and why?

I would want Michael Jackson to write something with me. Every time I hear his music it just overwhelms me how good it sounds, even his first albums. If I listen to my stuff from when I started, even with the technology involved and then think about how they made music back in the days, how tedious the process of recording and arranging was. I have the biggest respect for the music that was born back then and the quality it had, even 30-40 years later.

Is there a particular person you share your tracks with before you send out the finished product?

The first person that gets a new track or even rough snippets is my manager. I prefer to get real objective feedback. We work really closely together, so he knows exactly what’s good for me. I also like to send it to my friends, but nice as they are, they always tell me, "Damn, bro, it's huuuuuuge!" As much as this flatters me, it's not really helping me.

As a German DJ, do you find that there is any rivalry between German DJs and Dutch DJs?

No, we are neighbors so we are more like a team. We always support each other and it’s not a big competition, it’s more like team work.

What are you currently working and focusing on? What’s on your agenda for the near future?




I’ve just released a remix of David Guetta and Justin Bieber’s ‘2U’. I remember hearing the track on the radio when I was on the road between shows and it stuck with me, I loved the vocal! As soon as I got into the studio I put pen to paper and started reworking it. I love being in the studio and I’m always starting something fresh, so I have a super busy schedule lined up for the coming months.




Is there a hobby or skill you’d like to master?

If I had the time, I’d go back to my hobby of skateboarding, which I used to do about 10 years ago. That was a great time.

If you weren`t a DJ, what would you be doing?

Working with disabled people. I did that for 9 months in Germany. You have to choose between something social or going into army. I worked in villages with disabled people. I fell in love with this job, so I would do something social.

Advice for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Find something of your own, don’t copy someone else. There’s already a Hardwell, an Armin, a Diplo. Everyone makes the same sh*t that made them famous. Take risks, do whatever you want, make it unique. It’s hard to do, since there’s so much out there, but that’s the most important thing. Keep focusing on producing music, and not on playing a lot. One song can change your whole life.

https://soundcloud.com/tujamo/sets/tujamo-remixes

A Sit Down With DJ Michael Calfan

12.01.2018


Michael Calfan is a French House music DJ and Producer, best known for his hit records "Treasured Soul" and "Nobody Does It Better". His sound is referred to as Soul House – dance music with a sensitive quality.

He quickly evolved from rising star in the global dance scene to protagonist of a fresh new sound. Talk about ‘soul house', dance music with a sensitive quality, not only made to get bodies moving but also touch the audience's hearts. He is bridging the gap between EDM and the underground, with hit after hit. It's all there in his distinctive, international hit Treasured Soul, as well as other productions the French DJ has delivered these last years.

 

 "I don’t care about the name people give it, I care about their feeling when they hear it."

 

Can you tell us something about yourself, how did you start working as a DJ and producer? 

With music I started at 15 and I have not stopped. At first I enjoyed my mother's computer and then I fell in love with the production. A few years ago, around 16/17, I tried to be a DJ and I loved it. For about 3 years I worked as a DJ and producer, then I did my first "Resurrection" piece and it all started going faster.

How would you describe your music in a few words, what is distinct about it?


Honestly, people give the name of Soulhouse to my music, and it was pretty cool as I am putting all my heart into the music I’m producing. My goal is to give feeling to people when they are listening to my music, for me feelings are the most important thing (whatever the genre). When I’m in the studio, I never think about what I have to do, or which kind of sound I have to make to make sure that people recognize my style. I’m just doing what I like, from a happy feeling to a darker one, depending on my spirit at that moment.

You've already collaborated with a slew of producers, name a DJ/producer that you would like to collaborate with that you haven't before and why?


There are a lot of artist I would like to collaborate, singers like La Roux or artists like Disclosure or Martin Solveig.


What is your style and what inspires you most today?

As I have always said, it inspires me a bit of everything, from movies, to landscapes, to meetings, the faces of people on the street, colors, photography. I feel like in a movie. You know, often when you listen to your favorite music, pictures of seeing the video in your mind, for me it's almost the same thing but the music comes after the pictures.

What inspired you to make Treasured Soul?


There are a lot of things that are inspiring for me. For Treasured Soul it was thanks to my tour, my travels and people I met during these tours (In South Africa, in Asia…)


How do you consider the European dance environment in the sector compared to the so-called "Old School", also with reference to the EDM explosion? What do you think will be the new musical trend?

The funny thing is that a year or two ago I thought that Europe was spreading many dance trends in the world, but the game is changing. I think that now America is producing so much good music (especially in electronics) so much so that it begins to mark the path for new trends. You know, I'm a big fan of real house music and not so much EDM. I need sensations in music and I'm more than happy when I play in clubs and people do not look at me (because the new trend is to look at the artist) but think about having fun together; it means that my music is giving them something. So EDM was just a trend, and change is needed. The world is hard enough to play heavy music in clubs. We will do something quieter, I hope. However, we never know where music will take us.

What were the best and the worst gig you ever played, and what were the funniest things that occurred during any of your performances?


I have a lot of good and weird moments, I can’t remember a really bad show because there is always a weird or funny thing. The best was maybe a show in Hawai I made few years ago in front of the sea during the sunset. The weirdest was in Germany when the owner of the club came into the club on his Harley Davidson.

What do you think you would be doing right now if you weren’t a DJ?

I’ve wanted to do this since I was fifteen- almost ten years. This is the best job, I’ve never wanted anything else.

What is on your agenda for the near future and what are you currently working and focusing on?


My schedule is crazy, I have a lot of shows in April. I have approx. 15 shows and then I have a lot of studio session working on an E.P. I'm really focusing on that, as I want to show you another side of my music.

When you are old and wrinkly, what do you want to be remembered for?

Nothing. No actually, I will be happy if they remember me for something, but I do this for myself first. If people are happy, I am happy. If people are happy while listening and playing my music, it’s wonderful.

https://soundcloud.com/michaelcalfan/sets/michael-calfan-treasured

A Sit Down With DJ Hallucinogen

11.01.2018


Simon Posford, better known by his stage name Hallucinogen is an English electronic musician, specializing in psychedelic trance music. His first studio album, Twisted, released in 1995, is considered one of the most influential albums in the genre. He has toured India several times.

He is also the founder of the label Twisted Records and works in the electronic duos Younger Brother and Shpongle. Younger Brother initially began as a side project of Posford and Benji Vaughan and represented a transition away from previous projects which emphasized a more synthesized style.

 

 "It is always nice to have dynamics.. doing more work for games/movies is something i am definitely interested in...something i think i would be very good at... but it is a hard business to break into if u don't have the contacts."


 

What is your musical background and how did you end up writing electronic music? Why electronic?

I started out playing drums when I was 13. My dad bought me a drum kit and I terrorised our neighbourhood with it for a year or so. I used to play along to The Specials and The Sex Pistols on my headphones.I’d always been into electronic music because my mum was and is a big electronic music fan. I grew up listening to Walter (Wendy) Carlos and Kraftwerk and the sound of synths always captivated me. As a child, my mum used to play me Autobahn by Kraftwerk to get me off to sleep. One day, when i was about 14, my mum made me a deal I couldn’t refuse. She said if I sold my drum kit, she’d give me some extra money to go and buy a synth – and so on a rainy Tuesday in 1983 I went to Guildford and bought a Roland SH-101 for £250 - and never left my bedroom ever again.

Your favourite psyhedelic Groups & Albums?

Pink Floyd - Wish you were here, the wall, dark side of the moon, Ozric Tentacles - Erpland, Pungent Effulgent, Jimi Hendrix - are u experienced? I suppose those albums have lasted the longest for me..from childhood, thru my teenage years, and even now i listen to them sometimes. As for trance stuff, my taste changes everyday..I have always loved X-Dream, sometimes Juno Reactor, Dado...um..some of the infected Mushroom stuff is really great, sometimes GMS...and of course the stuff we release on twisted - Tristan, Dado... I really look forward to Benji`s album.

How did the remixing for Hallucinogen come about? Was it more a collaboration or something you see as your own work?


Good question! The original idea came to me in a flash one night, to take a load of Si’s tunes and mince em up… so I mentioned it to Si and he was up for it. I took his hard-drive [after much persuading] and spent the next few months holed up in my studio nailing it all together. So, really, it is a collaboration, cos its made of lots of people’s work.


Where does your inspiration come from when building a Track?

I always find this a weird question...I guess my life experiences and people around me inspire me...

You've been working with Alan Parsons on a track, Return To Tunguska, for his new album called A Valid Path. How did that come about and what was it like working with him?

That came about because a mutual friend played him some shpongle, and then Alan telephoned me out of the blue.... i didn`t really know his music so much, but i was a big fan of his engineering and production on albums such as pink floyd and al Stewart. I did some pre-production at my studio at home, before flying to his house in Santa Barbara and spending a week working with him there.... it was great fun..he was a fabulous host, and a super-nice guy, so it was a very relaxed session.

Tell us your recipe to make a good Hallucinogen Track?

Well, always try to use the freshest ingredients...Start with a nice juicy Kik Drum (stay away from all that Organic crap...I prefer mine Genetically Modified to the Max, and hopefully Chemically Enhanced.) Meanwhile start the bassline cooking on a high heat...Beat together and whisk the crowd into a frenzy. Mix in all the Fresh Herb you can find. Sprinkle a touch of Flour Power, and Snare Roll into a 4D shape. Hopefully your Filster sweeps will rise nicely. Baste in Love, and add lots of Sauce!!

 I heard you use a lot of plugins and such, and like messing about with software…?

Yeah. I love to trawl the net looking for mad boffins making their own stuff, lots of Freware Plugins.

You’ve been around in the scene for a long time now. How do you feel about the scene and its development? Are things moving towards something that could be “better” for the scene and the members who constitutes it, or are the good days over?

I don’t really recognise anything I’d call a ”scene” to be honest. I’m not particularly interested in ”scenes” in general – I find the whole concept a bit redundant.

Where do you see yourself in the future? Will you continue bending the rules of psytrance or do you see yourself moving to other types of music?

Hmm... i would like to say "relaxing on a beach, somewhere hot"... but the reality is more likely to be huddled in the studio, tweaking away on some new bit of software.... as to the style of music... whatever turns me on at the time, i guess!

https://soundcloud.com/dj-576/dj-hallucinogen-warp-brothers

A Sit Down With DJ Ben Sims

10.01.2018


Ben Sims is known for his driven techno sets, three deck wizardry and fast paced interchange whilst Billy Nasty carved a niche through his storytelling capabilities and record label management which has seen him release music by the likes of The Advent, Mark Broom, Paul Mac and more.

Sims has been among the most reliable forces in UK techno for over a decade, releasing waves of 12-inches through his own Hardgroove, Ingoma and Theory labels, while pushing his sound at some of the biggest techno events on the planet. But, as he admitted when we spoke in his east London studio last month, it's only recently that he's begun to come away from an unwavering commitment to the servicing the dance floor through his long awaited (and much pondered upon) debut album, Smoke & Mirrors. By extension, he doesn't mind labelling himself as predominantly a DJ. Much of his music down the years has simply been derived out of a need for a particular type of track for his sets. It just so happens that countless others have found a place for his productions as well.

 

"I’ve just always really wanted to do a radio show that solely showcases new music, like the kinda shows I grew up listening to."


 

What first drew you to electronic music?

The break-dance/hip hop explosion of the early 80s. All the kids were dancing to up-tempo disco breaks or electro and I kinda got hooked on both. For me there's still a clear link to what I do now from those early naïve days of discovering such exciting, intense and passionate music.

How do you typically construct your drum tracks?

Recently I'm going back to taking hits off old drum machines and just classic 606, 909, 808 and constructing rhythms out of that. But I have also added sample hits of old disco records…I construct it in Ableton. 

How many times have you played at FM and what is that you think makes it such a special festival?

This'll be my 4th (3rd as a resident) and it's truly one of the highlights of the year for me. The crew that run the fest are great and have made us (me and my wife) feel very much part of the family from the get go, we even celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary there last year! It's just such a wicked party and always feels more like a big BBQ with mates and quality music than some generic huge ‘event'. It's just very chilled, welcoming and friendly so we tend to stay all weekend, have fun and get our groove on after the 'work' bit is over. Obviously the fact I get to do my usual techno thing AND an alternative set is ace too as it's a very rare I get to do that or play parties where it would even make sense but FM is diverse musically and you hear everything from Disco to Dub, Rave to House and Techno to Electro over the weekend, it's all embraced with open minds and open, often raised, arms.

You’ve been playing in North America a bit more often lately. Do you think that the general clubbing population here is more accepting of your style of techno than they once were?

It’s been interesting to see how the scene’s kind of changed. Like when I recently played Stereo in Montreal; there were a lot of heads down, with people getting really into it. There was almost a Berghain, four o’clock Sunday afternoon kind of vibe. And I just played Output in New York, which is a great space with a great sound. I’ve been coming to New York for a long time, and in the past there never were clubs like that where techno was appreciated, which says something. There’s a lot more interest.

Obviously you are well known and respected world wide for your Techno sets, which often incorporate house and disco. How many reggae dub sets have you played now & how have your fans love of yours?

This will only be my 4th public Roots/ Dub set (twice before at FM and the aforementioned b2b with DJ Pete in Berlin last month) so I'm still pretty new to it. With some of the early 'Essex Rascals' sessions at venues like 'The Key' and Corsica' we definitely had Reggae or Dub sections too but we were going through various genres in a night and just playing whatever we fancied. Generally, the response has been positive and people can see I'm just having fun playing a style of music I love. Obviously it's not for everyone and some people can't even deal with me doing my 'Ron Bacardi' House or Disco sets as they only want Techno but there are plenty of heads that dig it and one of my roots podcasts remains one of the most listened to and downloaded on my Soundcloud page, so that's a good sign.

For me it's really important to not just be a one dimensional techno dj - I grew up loving various of genres of black dance music and still buy records of all styles most days. Techno became the thing most people know me for which is great but I love the chance to flex the rest of my record collection too.

Do you have a lot of material specifically for your sets that's unreleased?

I'd say probably 25% of my set is re-edits or re-tweaks of other peoples' tracks, or special versions of the tracks that I've done just because maybe the one that went out just didn't work as well as I thought it would, so I went back and changed it. But I couldn't justify putting it out again because most people wouldn't notice what the changes were.

Speaking of records - are you planning on doing any record shopping in London and where? Where do you usually pick up most of your music?

Usually I go online and use Juno.co.uk (and Decks) as my main navigation since they stock pretty much all new releases in my fields, so if I actually visit a record shop these days, it’s mostly 2nd hand record shops where I look for '90s house & techno stuff.  But otherwise I have Clone Records Rotterdam in my backyard which I pay a visit once in a while, or the good ol’ visit to Hardwax / Rush Hour or Space Hall, but honestly most of my record shopping goes online these days.

You`ve been on the circuit for many years, do you have a favourite period or era?

I guess as you get older you reflect more on the past? It was really exciting to get involved with this amazing new scene and working at Zoom Records 89-94. It was a great place to be at the time. Things were really exciting as the whole house/techno scene was new & fresh. Clubs were opening in every major town/city all over the world at an incredible rate. But saying that now's pretty exciting. I'm interested in all musical genres and the beauty of Techno & Electro is that it does keep keeps changing & evolving. I  still loving DJ'ing and playing my part in the wonderful scene that we live and work in. 

Is it true that you largely produce in order to have music for your own DJ sets?

Yeah, I’m not a musician at all. I’m a D.J And most of the time, that really is what I’m aiming for. I’ll go to the studio during the week and try and make tracks that I can play on the weekend. There are plenty of people who produce, and then built a DJ career after that; I’m completely the other way around. If I stopped deejaying, I don’t think I would have the need to make new music at all. Deejaying is my overriding passion, and I make music because of that.

https://soundcloud.com/ben-sims/ben-sims-run-it-red-035-nov-2017-nts-radio

A Sit Down With DJ Beat Service

10.01.2018


It was as recently as 2011 that producer Madis Sillamo, aka Beat Service, fully burst onto the international Trance and Progressive scene. Since then he’s been serving a succession of aces on the production front with a string of unstoppable tracks and remixes which have effortlessly transcended both the underground and mainstream ends of the spectrum and transformed Beat Service into a worldwide DJ / producer phenomenon.

 

 "I was always producing late at nights after my day job, and somehow it just took its own way, and here I am – there’s no formula, I just do what I love."


 

When did you first ever started Djing and how did you grow up your love for trance music? 


I started DJing back in the early 2000's, productions came in later around 2005.  I have always loved the melodic vibes of Trance music, so by the time I started I was already "infected" with the Trance disease. I was probably most influenced by 90s German Trance and later on by the Dutch sound.


What do you think about Australia’s trance scene?

Australia is one of my favourite countries to visit, Australians respond to my music very well every time I come over. There are other countries in the world where you have to be a bit more particular with what you play, but Australians are always open and I always get a great response to my tracks.

What do you like best in your incredible country?

I would love to say the weather, but not at this time of year. I love the weather here in summer, it’s awesome. Australia is unique, and again there’s only a few countries in the world where I get a great response…you do have competition in Canada, but I’m not sure which one wins.

You are highly recognizable for your captivating  remixes of some of the biggest Trance hits. What do you think is the biggest challenge when remixing a huge hit by the likes of Armin Van Buuren?

Doesn’t really matter who the original artist is for me, if I’m gonna take a remix I’m gonna kill the original mix. Whatever it takes I’m gonna make it as big as possible and make the  people forget the original mix.

What are your influences in trance music?

I started out as a mainstream DJ back in 1999 and I did it for about 5 or 6 years. I was listening to German trance like Kai Tracid and VooDoo & Serrano. I think that Paul van Dyk and Gouryella (who actually included Ferry Corsten) were my first influences. But back then I was listening to this music but I couldn’t play it out because the crowd demanded commercial stuff, so I was a commercial DJ. I was actually true to trance already, but it took me a while. So yeah influences, absolutely Ferry Corsten, Gouryella, System F, everything from Ferry’s earlier days are my absolute favorites. And Armin.

You are usually the one doing the remixing let’s flip the table, which producer would you most prefer to remix one of your tracks & which track would you choose?

The thing is that whenever I produce an original track I always want to make it as big as possible I never think about possible remixes. So if you actually look at my releases I don’t have any remixes because I always [produce] strong originals. If I would like to see a remix. I’m not sure maybe one of the big guys Armin, Markus, Ferry.

Tell us about your sound.

I would describe my sound as melodic, big room and energetic! I do have an album coming out, I have tracks no one would ever expect from me. I like to cover things from one edge to another, I do very uplifting stuff, big room stuff – but most important is the melody.

So a lot of your original tracks are all trance related but are there any different genres that inspire you to produce tracks?

Yeah I do listen to all the genres from pop to chill-out. So as for producing I always try to stick with trance mixed with different elements of progressive house or Electro house, mostly house mixed with trance but that’s it.

Since then what have been your favourite gigs?


Favourite gigs so far, oh man there are so many of them! Bal En Blanc in Canada for twenty thousand people, Avalon in Singapore - nightclub on the water with amazing people, Sydney Australia, ASOT 600 in Den Bosch and one of the most recent gigs in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Such an amazing crowd!


With your very busy schedule, how do you find time to prepare to your sets and to produce/remix?


Well, I prepare my sets on the road, which is quite normal I guess. Gigs does take a lot of time from precious studio sessions, but then again I collect so much inspiration on the road, that coming back in to the studio for a few days is always a bless and while there, you forget the world and just focus on producing.


https://soundcloud.com/beat-service-official/beat-service-fortuna-original

A Sit Down With DJ Gorgon City

09.01.2018


Gordon City have already reached great heights relatively early on in their career, yet it seems as though they are still just getting started. Shortly after Foamo (Kye Gibbon) and RackNRuin (Matt Robson-Scott) began gaining a little local traction in their native London, their combined effort swiftly propelled them to the top of the global dance scene. Now doubling as revered performers and chart-topping tastemakers, the British duo has big plans for the future.

 

"When we first started, we all kind of went through the same process together. Our live shows are kind of similar, in the way that it’s electronic music, but it’s very much like a proper live band."


 

How did Gorgon City form?

We met because we both had the same DJ agent and ended up playing at the same nights together. One night we had the idea of getting in the studio and making a tune just for fun. Many dance music producers do that – collaborate just for a laugh and put it out as an EP. That was the original plan, there was no thought into making it into an actual thing. But it worked really well and we finished tracks every time we’d meet. The sound was pretty different to our solo stuff so we decided to give it a real go.

Who are some of your influences?

We were influenced by a lot of underground house music, obviously underground UK dance music over the years, things like drum and bass and jungle. I think just influenced by everything, like growing up, like what my parents played at home, what my brother was into. Just everything from reggae to trip hop.

When you first met, was there ever a ‘did we just become best friends?!’ moment? Any songs or artists in particularly you both bonded over?

Not really sure, but after we did a live PA with Yasmin for the first time and everyone knew the words to “Real”, I think there was that kind of moment! After working with people like Basement Jaxx & The Klaxons it’s often a pinch-yourself moment.

What are your favorite cities and venues to play, and are there any specific places you’re excited to return to?

We always have an amazing time in San Diego; we’ve got an amazing following there. I don’t really know why, we just feel very welcome there and our shows sell out really fast every time. I think it might have something to do with CRSSD Festival, we’ve always had an in with those guys, and we did a great headline show a couple years ago there, maybe that helps. Also, we love playing in all the major cities, like New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago. And also we loving coming to Austin, Texas. We love touring in America, and I can speak for Kye as well, I know he’s really looking forward to this tour. He can’t wait to get back out to America, so we’re really looking forward to it. It’s gonna be a big one.

How did you get into dance music?

I grew up in the UK surrounded by my brother’s crew of friends and listening to their rave tape packs. I became really intrigued by jungle and hardcore, bought some rubbish decks when I was 14, started buying records and making my own music soon after. I was always into other music through my parents but after hearing jungle and garage, that UK London underground kind of sound, it got me really into dance music. I started working on my parent’s rubbish laptop with fruity loops and Logic and went from there.

How did you get hooked up with Black Butter and how’s it been working with them so far?

I have been working with Black Butter since it’s beginning doing my solo stuff, alongside Henry Village who managed the project. Kye then got involved when we started collaborating. It’s been a great home for the development of Gorgon City and Greg, Henry, Ollie & Joe are wicked people to work with.

What are your thoughts on the current state of dance music?

There’s a lot of amazing music being made at the moment and some people are jumping on the band wagon and doing a similar thing. That happens with all types of music, particularly dance music, but I think the real solid producers and artists – their tracks stand the test of time because they sound original. In America, EDM doesn’t feel very European or British. It’s a very different vibe. We went to the club and didn’t want to see the DJ, just hear the DJ. We don’t care what they look like, we just wanted to dance and listen to the music. So EDM doesn’t feel very relevant to what we’re about. But then again, if they’re gonna embrace our sound, then great. Watching Disclosure at Coachella this year felt like theirs was the most important set. 50,000 American kids dancing to garage like they were in a garage club in London but they were actually in Palm Springs. It’s quite weird but amazing to see it.

Speaking of your music in general, your quality songwriting has led to popular success that many electronic artists do not reach. However, your mentality for your music and shows seems very club oriented. So, when you’re kind of straddling that line, where do you guys see yourself in the scene?

We love being able to do both sides of it. We love to be able to do a track that gets on the charts and the radio and the BBC playlist, but also we love playing at Amnesia every Tuesday and playing techno and house to thousands of people. We don’t really see ourselves in the commercial scene or the underground scene, we just see us as Gorgon City, like the act in itself. But we love being in the house music kind of family of DJs that we’re friends with. People we see in Ibiza every week, people like MK, Duke Dumont, and Solardo and people like that. We’re part of the same scene, we play together all the time. We might have a bit more commercial aspect to our brand but we’re still in that scene, in the UK house music world and we definitely feel part of it.

 I would love to talk about your album Sirens– congratulations! What was it like working with Jimmy Napes on Unmissable?

Yeah, that was crazy. He tends to work in different ways than a lot of writers and that was interesting to work with. It’s hard to explain, but it’s just the way he comes up with the melodies – it was great to work with him because we learned so much. We also recorded a choir on that track – it was our first time but Jimmy taught us a lot. So it was a great experience.

Having spent a decent amount of time touring the states, what are some of your favorite things about the US? 

The crowds in the US are great as they know how far you’ve come to play the shows etc. The energy is very high in the parties. Some of the clubs and scenes are amazing and have their own unique vibe, like a warehouse party in Brooklyn, is completely different to club in downtown Chicago.

Advice for young DJs / producers? 


It's pretty simple. You need a lot of passion and a lot of work. Be honest with yourself, and produce original music. Do not follow a fashion, produce music that you like. 


https://soundcloud.com/gorgon-city/sets/realm

A Sit Down With DJ Olivier Giacomotto

08.01.2018


Olivier Giacomotto is a French producer, born and raised in the South West of the country, and now living in Paris. He bought his first studio kit at 18 years of age and has since branched out into several areas of music production. He has become something of an online techno star and in the last decade, has constantly been at the top of the Beatport charts with his own brands of techno, house, electro and tech-house. He has worked with artists like John Acquaviva, Umek, and Popof, and had releases on loads of labels including Suara, Get Physical, Noir Music, Definitive Recordings, Toolroom Records, and Trapez. More recently, he has moved from his own releases to producing music for video games and film soundtracks.

His unwavering determination to push the boundaries of him. Between the hits, Olivier composed several songs for the mainstream artists and publishers of the Rockstar Games. Midnight Club Los Angeles. Terry Lynn and Tom Frager. Olivier also produced for pop and reggae. One of his productions for Terry Lynn titled "Stone" was hit with "Date Night" with Steve Carell, Tina Fey, and Mark Wahlberg, and "Give Me That Love", coproduced with Tom Frager on the major global music company Universal, have been charted during 2 weeks in the French. Always a step ahead, Olivier has recently revealed his whole ability to create an entire movie soundtrack for the US film The Red Man.

 

"Hard work is essential and working harder than all the others is the key to success. So no PlayStation, no sofa, only studio and creativity."


 

When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences?

I've always loved music. I started with piano when I was 8, then guitar when I was 14, then I bought my first synthesizer when I was 18. Then I started to produce electronic music with my first PC in 1999. Back in those days I simply wanted to record and sequence what I had in mind, which was a wide range of non-electronic and electronic music. My main influences at that time were bands from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s like Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Steel Pulse, Funkadelic, Maceo Parker and Kesiah Jones, but also Portishead, Dead Can Dance, Freak Power, Tricky, Howie B and many more.

How much of an impact did Paris have you as an artist at the start of your career?

?I?’m basically from Bordeaux and have only lived in Paris for 3 years now, but life here is boiling, always moving artistically, so I?’m proud being part of this.

How did you come about making music for video games and movies?

I didn’t write for video games, the company Rockstar Games was looking for new music for a new game they were developing, so they contacted Definitive Recordings and we licensed a few tracks.

What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?

The first goal is to get enough quality to be signed, technically and creatively. The challenge is the same over time, only the quality and creativity level change. Step by step I acquired more knowledge to be able to increase my skills and techniques, this way the ideas in my mind are translated with more accuracy on my hard drive.

You can play various styles of progressive music including techno, house, electro, tech-house and deep house. What is your favourite style of music to play and why?

I played different styles at different times of my career, starting with techno, then electro, and then tech-house. But a style is part of an evolution, so right now I like to produce and play sounds that are released under the tech-house genre on Beatport. I like to say that I play for the girls, so that is the right combination of groove, funk, sexiness, sometimes deeper, sometimes darker, sometimes dirtier, sometimes more melodic, depends on the crowd and the venue.

How often do you produce, and can you tell us a bit about your studio set up? 

Well, I spend less time in the studio nowadays, it depends on my touring schedule, but it’s a minimum of 30 hours per week, it can go up to 50 hours a week, it depends on my touring schedule, and my family commitment. with more than 10 years of experience i work quite fast, i know how to translate my ideas into music way faster than before. In the studio I like to keep things simple, a laptop, a soundcard, a pair of good monitors, and a small room with a great acoustic treatment. everything i produce is made by plug-ins, even the mastering, there is no hardware involved at all. that let me the possibility to work in a hotel room, in a plane, in a train, etc.

You were nominated as best electro producer for the Beatport Music Awards 2008, which also tell us you have been in the scene for quite some time. Can you tell us a little about the nomination and your work?

I had my first record released in 2004, after all this time I can tell that nominations, awards, TOP10s, are the things that make you feel good, but are also the things I don’t think of when I produce. Recognition is not and will never be a motivation, I always keep in mind that I make music, and not marketing.

You compose across a lot of genres – what inspires each?

Inspiration depends on my mood. I can have a concept idea in the bath, driving my car or after a gig. It can be a lead synth first, or just a beat arrangement, a vocal, there is no rule. Then a song can be made in a day or in a month, or in three months – it’s a matter of satisfaction. Sometimes, ideas come in two hours – sometimes, it’s like a childbirth, it can be painful and long!

So tell us a little about your studio – it seems small but perfectly formed.

I’ve been trained on all kinds of high-end gear, but my studio is just a MacBook Pro with Logic Pro installed, an RME Fireface 800 soundcard, a pair of Event Opals, a small MIDI keyboard, and a SubPac. I only use plug-ins, like Native Instruments, Waves, Sonnox, Arturia, Soundtoys, and so on. As I said, I keep things simple. I travel a lot, so when ideas come, I need to have at least my laptop and my plug-ins to write them, then I make them perfect in the studio. Acoustic treatment of the room is also as important as the monitors.

What's your vision on being a musician, besides making people dance? 

I'm first of all a musician, and I'm not a proper deejay… while producing my first tracks , I was thinking about what could be the best way to play my music? A liveset with machines or DeeJaying? Visually speaking, DeeJaying looks like more active than a Live Act… and when I discovered Final Scratch in 2001, I directly decided to buy it, being able to play at night, on vinyl's, the track that you made in the morning seduced me.

https://soundcloud.com/oliviergiacomotto/sets/mixes

A Sit Down With DJ Capital Cities

08.01.2018


Capital Cities is an American indie pop duo from Los Angeles, California, formed in 2010 by Ryan Merchant (vocals, keyboard, guitar) and Sebu Simonian (vocals, keyboard). Their debut EP was released on June 7, 2011, with lead single "Safe and Sound" which became their first top ten hit single.

The dynamic duo were part of an important movement in electronic music in the early 2010s, helping spur a global acceptance of house music into popular culture alongside acts like Duke Dumont, Disclosure, and Route 94. While America may have taken an extra moment to come around to this new sound, the movement has become intercontinental, with a ubiquitous presence in clubs and at festivals. Singles like “Ready For Your Love” and “All Four Walls” have definite mass appeal, though ultimately it would be unfair to pigeonhole the artists into their approachable sound.

 

"We might have a bit more commercial aspect to our brand but we’re still in that scene, in the UK house music world and we definitely feel part of it."


 

Where did the name Capital Cities come from?

That was just a random brainstorming session between myself and Ryan. We were chatting online trying to come up with a band name. Ryan suggested Capital of Maine. I thought it was silly, but then it prompted me to suggest, "How about simply Capital Cities?" And it stuck.

You're a relatively new group so you missed the heyday of the traditional music industry system decades ago. Are you satisfied with how music is delivered, especially with streaming services like Spotify and Pandora?


As a user I love it. I use Spotify all the time and it's amazing to have everything I could possibly want at my fingertips at anytime. So, I think it is the way forward as far as how music is disseminated and how people consume music. I just think the model hasn't figured out how to compensate musicians fairly for that yet. But at the same time, to be honest, most bands make most their money from live shows. So really, it's just about getting your music into as many ears as possible through any means possible. And that's what then allows you to make an income playing shows. Spreading music far and wide whether it's free or not I think is a good thing for bands.


What are your favorite cities and venues to play, and are there any specific places you’re excited to return to?

We always have an amazing time in San Diego; we’ve got an amazing following there. I don’t really know why, we just feel very welcome there and our shows sell out really fast every time. I think it might have something to do with CRSSD Festival, we’ve always had an in with those guys, and we did a great headline show a couple years ago there, maybe that helps. Also, we love playing in all the major cities, like New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago. And also we loving coming to Austin, Texas. We love touring in America, and I can speak for Kye as well, I know he’s really looking forward to this tour. He can’t wait to get back out to America, so we’re really looking forward to it. It’s gonna be a big one.

What is the biggest influence or inspiration for Capital Cities and your sound?

Music itself. I'm a huge fan of music, and we love all kinds of music from every decade really. I think our main interest is good songwriting with good melodies and interesting lyrics. Some of our favorite acts, from the Beatles to the Bee Gees to modern electronica, if you follow the common thread, you will hear timeless songwriting.

You guys seem to be a tech savvy group. What do you think of U2`s new album ending up on millions of people's iTunes account without their permission?


I think it was a marketing stunt because they claimed this was the largest distribution of an album in history at one time. Even though it was given away for free, it was actually received by users who didn't necessarily request it. I saw it in my library but I haven't had a chance to listen to the album.


You guys have released a huge amount of official remixes of your stuff, and you guys remix a bunch of stuff on your own. Do you ever play out remixes of your own work?

We definitely do, we’ve been playing the Solardo remix of “Real Life” a lot this summer, we always play the Weiss remix of “Imagination” in our DJ sets. There are certain tracks that we really love. The reason that we choose these artists to remix our tracks is because we’re big fans of them. When they deliver a banging remix we support it and play it a lot. It’s amazing to get our favorite acts to remix us; we’re really lucky.

How's it been traveling and touring all of this time?

It's been good. We've been really busy. We play pretty much everyday, nonstop. We're on a bus at the moment, but sometimes we'll have to get on a plane and do a random show in a different part of the country. The traveling and logistical part of it is definitely grinding, but when you end up on a stage in front of fun-loving, loyal music fans, it's totally worth it and very rewarding.

Speaking of your music in general, your quality songwriting has led to popular success that many electronic artists do not reach. However, your mentality for your music and shows seems very club oriented. So, when you’re kind of straddling that line, where do you guys see yourself in the scene?

We love being able to do both sides of it. We love to be able to do a track that gets on the charts and the radio and the BBC playlist, but also we love playing at Amnesia every Tuesday and playing techno and house to thousands of people. We don’t really see ourselves in the commercial scene or the underground scene, we just see us as Gorgon City, like the act in itself. But we love being in the house music kind of family of DJs that we’re friends with. People we see in Ibiza every week, people like MK, Duke Dumont, and Solardo and people like that. We’re part of the same scene, we play together all the time. We might have a bit more commercial aspect to our brand but we’re still in that scene, in the UK house music world and we definitely feel part of it.

Is it hard to create a melody for a company that sounds contemporary but at the same time not ripping anyone off?


To be honest, in that world right there, a lot of times they ask the composers to create songs that are kind of inspired by very popular songs because they can't afford to license those songs. It happens all the time but there are rules to what makes something a complete rip that you can sue people over. And I'm sure right now there are commercial jingle houses that are using 'Safe and Sound' as an inspiration for songs for commercials. It happens all the time but it's not that big of a deal at the end of the day.


https://soundcloud.com/capital-cities/sets/swimming-pool-summer-ep

A Sit Down With DJ Agoria

28.12.2017


As both a DJ and producer, Agoria has traversed several generations, while still managing to remain completely fresh in his approach to electronica and dance music. Starting out in Lyon, his first experiences of playing were at his parents’ parties and at illegal raves with his friends. Now playing in front of audiences of up to 25,000 he’s come along way, but not lost sight of his original love for the dance music and its true message.

 

"We have to play the game sometimes, but you must never forget your roots of the music and where you are coming from."


 

Where does the name ‘Agoria’ come from?

The name Agoria comes from a party we organized when I was 18 years old. We were organizing a really small party in about a 200 people club, something like that… I was not really DJ’ing at that time. Then one day, friends who are throwing the party with me, they write Agoria on the flyer. I asked them who is Agoria? They said, he is a good DJ, you have heard him before, and that’s all. … and then one hour before the DJ Agoria set, my friends say hey this is you – Agoria… you have to go back to your house and pick up your records and play. So in fact, I really didn’t choose that name… it came from that party that day.

Are you more like a DJ set or live? 

I am rather a DJ set ?? By cons, we must stop talking about "live" electronic music. Most people who say they live and use Ableton "Live" actually use music sources that they mix together, it's Djing. There are maybe 15 people who make real lives in France. 

What came first for you, DJing or producing?

I started with DJing. I think I started when I was pretty young at my parents’ parties actually when I was 10 or around that age. They would give me the records to play with. But then you start playing at friends’ parties when you’re 14 or 16 and you really perform yourself. I was lazy in a way, because I tried to play the piano or the drums, but I’ve never been really into trying to make them work correctly. The point at which I bought my first turntables was a pivotal moment for me. I guess I started to make music when I was 25. A friend of mine said that I should give it a go because of my background. I must say that I was not really into computers, but I started learning and my first record was out a couple of years later. It was truly bad. I’m still in touch with the people from these old days and I was speaking to the guy who released my first record and I think he still has about 400 copies of the 500 or so pressings he made in his garage, just waiting for me to get really famous so that he can sell them for a lot of money. It’s hilarious, but we all have to start somewhere I guess.

Who have been your influences? 

We listened to all kinds of music at home – on Sunday afternoon my dad would play records like could be pop songs, music from Africa, classical music… really I listened all kinds of music… quite eclectic music. I have been surrounded by all kinds of music from my childhood … but on to Detroit music – it was artists like Kevin Saunderson, Inner City, Carl Craig, Derrick May – all these people from that city when I was young really all my music came from that town. All these things from the United States, really the legends on my records. The first record I bought – it was Inner City‘s Good Life. it was a big, big, major hit in my country at the end of the 80’s. it’d be on five times a day on the radio… so it was the first record I bought when I was 12/13 years old. I think at that time it was $2 and I went all around the neighborhood to collect money to buy this record. And then when Kevin (Saunderson) asked me to remix Inner City, and it being my first record … it was like a present from god… something like that.

What is your favourite thing about what you do? Is it the production side or DJing?

I honestly love both. And I miss both of them when I am doing just one of them. When you’re on tour, like a crazy tour for weeks, where you have just enough time to shower, then you miss the studio a lot. When you’re not in the studio you get many ideas. A lot of the time when I’m sitting in planes, I don’t know why but I write a lot of things and have many ideas. The fact that you’re leaving everything behind you sometimes helps. It means that when you get back to the studio you work through really fast. It’s the same when you are in the studio for a long period, you turn full circle and want to be touring again. I think both serve each other, it’s just a question of balance.

How do you work on an album like this? 

The best music is the one we do when we are either "down", depressed, deep in the abyss or when we are in a super positive phase, happy. That's why I leave my studio on 24h / 24h: I can not enter for 2 weeks and the opposite, as was the case for this album, do not leave, or rarely. But the monotony between these two states worries me.

People always talk of taking a journey through music and I read that your mother was an opera singer. Do you think that this has influenced you at all through your career?

The fact that she was a singer was maybe not what influenced me itself; let’s say that it’s more the fact that my family was always open minded in what kind of music they listened to. Surrounded by music from the age of about eight, my parents were always doing parties with many friends. They would spin records from bands like Magma to Vangelis or even classical stuff like Satie, Chopin and J.S. Bach. So it wasn’t really the fact that she was a singer, it was more that they both loved all kinds of music, no matter what it is.

How do you go about the process of selecting and making tracks?

It’s a bit like cinema… this mix  is quite cinematic and I pick all the tracks like actors. The concept for this mix started with a synopsis. Once you have a good synopsis it’s easy to put all the actors together. I really first get all the selections in the concept first. I wanted to work on a new kind of mix cd… not just a global mix cd or a mental mix cd.. anyone can know how to put a good mix together.. we have great mix CD’s with 12 tracks or 15 tracks, interesting beat because they are all matching together. I am not excited to do this. I really wanted something technically not incredible, but something that excites me… To take things that are not supposed to match together and make them match together… that’s something I like doing when I am playing records. I first get a flow between all the tracks and then I rearrange the flow, step by step, making all the links with my CD Player, turntable, and other things to get it as perfect as possible. The transfer of the selection of the mix is very important. While technically I think of the sequence in the computer, everything is transcribed using a Xone 92 mixer. I record every mix and then find the best one to include.

You are one of the rare French DJs to regularly mix abroad: how is the French scene perceived on the international scene? 

Most of the time, people ask me "How do you do to "support" the french touch ?! "This whole scene of which I am part with The Hacker, Miss Kittin, etc. we have been relegated in 4-5 years to an important media anonymity We continue to play regularly, no problem but just here, we are less present in the media.I must recognize that they have been very strong on that side with the highlighting of their image ?? This does not prevent me to like all the prod Das Glow example that is according to . me one of the most interesting artists of the label Institubes.

https://soundcloud.com/agoria/boomerang

A Sit Down With DJ Robbie Rivera

27.12.2017


Robbie Rivera is an artist that has led a very strong career in electronic music. From the mega hits that he has produced to his energetic live DJ sets he has proven himself as a top tier artist. Beyond his own artistic influence, he has founded Juicy Records, that has released tracks and supported the careers of many of electronic music\’s biggest names. Prior to his performance at Studio Paris we sat down to discuss his views on the music and look back at his successful career.

 

 "If you can rock a crowd and have some originality to you set then go for it – not just opening your set in Ableton and pressing play and throwing your hands in the air, which is a bit pathetic."


 

You grew up in Puerto Rico. Was there a house music culture when you were learning to spin and make beats, or were you dabbling in other music such as hip-hop?

No, I was definitely into dance music from the start. On the radio, jocks would play a lot of European house tunes and British electronic music, like Depeche Mode. Other stations would play Latin freestyle music from New York City. It was a mixture. There was a lot of dance music over there. Put it this way: If you listened to dance music, you were cool. If you listened to Latin or meringue or salsa, you were not cool.

Your intro to electronic music and the DJ culture came at a young age when you were still living in Puerto Rico. What was the culture like in Puerto Rico like at the time and what kind of an impact do you think it had on you as an artist?

Man in Puerto Rico back in the day when I started was very different. A lot of the music was coming from Europe so there was a lot of Euro vibe kind of music mixed in with all of the freestyle from Miami, New York and Chicago, so it was a mixture of everything, along with the Latin music too. I think it really was that whole mixture that had influenced me a lot when I produce music. There is always a little Latin vibe in there.

What does house music mean to you?

It’s all about the groove and the beats mixed in with the uplifting vibe that it creates. People dance and smile to house music.

Looking at electronic music as a whole, Do you think the music has gone in a positive direction?

Right now we are in a great moment. There is a lot of great music coming out – especially in House, Techno, Tech House, and Deep House. All of those genres of music have been fantastic. Over the last few years all of the Electro and progressive house just got saturated, you know, I do like that style of music, but everything has started to sound the same so I just stopped paying attention to it, and I think a lot of people did. That is why so many people are looking for new tracks and people are loving house music again, which is great.

What inspired you to to begin your journey with DJing and the electronic dance music world? 

I was very young!  My first DJ gig was in 6th grade in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The first time I mixed two tracks together on beat I was hooked and I started to think a lot about music production. Then in 2001, performing my music to fans and seeing the reaction with my early releases really inspired me to make this a full time career.

Aside from dance music, what other styles of music or artists do you enjoy listening to? 

I listen to a lot of 90’s track and late 80’s mixed with today’s . A mix of latin, pop, electronic and alternative.  Examples: Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, Disclosure, New Order, Netsky, Metric, Imagine Dragons, The Killers, Walk the Moon, Robin Schulz,  Coldplay, Gorgon City.

You have traveled all over the world playing dance music for screaming fans for many years. In all of your travels, what are some of your favorite places to visit?

I would say Spain is on the top of my list. Ibiza and Barcelona are always huge for me, but also so many cities in the U.S. It is hard to choose. I love rocking Miami!
What has been your most memorable Juicy Beach experience throughout all of your events?


The feeling when I take the stage on Juicy Beach Miami and NY is overwhelming sometimes. I don’t throw champagne or cake at anybody, so for the new generation a real DJ might be odd, but I always get the best feedback and loads of new fans. I have had people asking me on Twitter after Juicy Beach “Robbie were you really mixing live?” I mix live, I screw up sometimes–it’s all part of a live show. I feed off the energy during the party; nothing is pre-programmed except for the intro and first 2 tracks.

You’ve produced a vast amount of music over the years, can you recall one of your earliest tracks that is really special to you? 

Yes the track is called “feel this”. I was inspired by Danny Tenaglia’s dark tribal grooves so after laying down the grooves and finishing the track I knew I had something special. It’s a track that is still played this day specially with the techno DJs.  I remember speaking to Danny about this track after is was released on Strictly Rhythm. It was a great chat.

Who are your role models in the music industry?


When I started producing music I was influenced by artists like Armand Van Helden, DJ Sneak, Daft Punk. In the current industry I don’t have any role models cause this biz has become a crazy nasty one!


What advice would you give to someone new to this genre, who hasn't heard your music before? How would you ‘sell it'?

Well I don't want to sell myself here. I would say just listen to the music, maybe check out the scene at a live event, and decide what speaks to you.

https://soundcloud.com/djrobbierivera/addictive-preview

A Sit Down With DJ Basement Jaxx

27.12.2017


Basement Jaxx are a British electronic music duo who have had a long and exciting career in the music industry. The two men behind songs like ‘Where’s Your Head At?’, ‘Romeo’, ‘Raindrops’ and so many more, they’ve been in the game for over a decade, and have wowed crowds all over the world with their thrilling live shows and jam-packed DJ sets.

The band have rarely let up on the pace ever since they first came to prominence via their infamous Brixton DJ nights in the nineties. In the supposed down time between these latest records they worked on a soundtrack for Brit flick Attack the Blockthe Basement Jaxx vs. Metropole Orkest orchestral record as well as their new full length material.

 

"We’re saying yes to more interesting gigs, because you see bands who get fed up and tired of doing the same gigs, and it’s like ‘you don’t have to do it, so shut up – you’re lucky to be doing this, and we don’t want to see you moan."


 

Why did you call yourselves Basement Jaxx?

When we started, our first name was ‘Underground Oasis’ that was the name we were thinking of naming ourselves. But there was a friend of mine who was involved in the music scene and he said that there was this rock band called ‘Oasis’ and he reckoned they might get big so it might be a bit dodgy, people might get confused. He was right! So that’s how we became Basement Jaxx.


You have had a long career with many hits under your belt, how do you choose what goes into your DJ sets?


Well, it’s an element of pleasing yourself and an element of giving people what they want and to take them on a journey. Being artistic about it without being cheesy; making it work without going to the lowest common denominator. Hopefully giving people something moving in the mental, spiritual and artistic sense.


When you write music, do you often just hear something in your head so that a helmet like that would be perfect for you, or do you more often sit down and tinker with melodies until you have something?

Both, really. Sometimes you’re just playing around, something comes along and you just persist with it. Other times you have a very clear idea of what you think it should be, and it might be a bass line or a melody or a beat or rhythm, and you start with that.

How did you get involved in the London Without Limits project?

I’m always up for anything charity-related and the idea of working with a contemporary choir really appealed. I thought it’d be great while it also tied in very nicely with the Power to the People project we’re doing. This involves people from across the world performing different versions of our Power to the People song in different styles and languages, demonstrating that music can break down boundaries and connect people from all creeds and cultures. The song is on our new album but we’ve let it have its own life outside the record. It’s about people having a voice.

What do you think about London as clubbing centre?

I don’t think that exists now. Vegas and Ibiza have concentrated centres. The access to information means you can get as good a night as anywhere in the UK as London. Before London had the keys to the information and musical access. Now everything is more widespread.

Over the years, what is the biggest thing you`ve learnt?


All the ideas of celebrity and fame that people learn are definitely shallow and empty. I never really intended to get to know that world but I’ve gotten to see it. When I was a student, all my cynicism about celebrity culture was all absolutely bang on and I’m right back to where I was as a student – it’s all a load of nonsense. Please, all you students: don’t waste your time on it. Go and make your own things and to a certain extent just ignore the media. It leads to dissatisfaction, envy, just loads of things that don’t make you happier and life can be amazing.


Enjoyment is a big part of creating music, do you feel satisfaction with how far you’ve taken your music career?


I feel blessed and lucky to do something I enjoy, and the fact that the music is still being played on the radio means that people still want to hear it. If that stays for another 50 years, remains to be seen. I think everything is about the journey and experiencing life. There’s a great song by Kamasi Washington called ‘Rhythm Changes,’ that’s just saying that our genius and our success is only temporary and will fade away anyway, so don’t get too hung up on them, and all we have is the moment we are in. One day, you might climb Mt Everest. The next, something tragic happens. I dunno, we are all just experiencing this rich tapestry of being alive. People are wrapped up in celebrity culture and fame at the moment, like that’s a way out to bring happiness. I’ve gotten to see that first hand and feel the same way before I started Basement Jaxx; the things that are important have nothing to do with your success. Yeah it’s nice to get a Christmas bonus or whatever, and that’s good, but that’s all surface stuff.


When you are working in the studio, do each of you gravitate toward your own roles, or do you both work on everything?

With Simon, he gets two bars to sound like a track. For me, I’ll do the whole thing, and I’ll play it to Simon, and he’s like, “I can’t hear a thing of what’s going on.” I can hear a whole song that’s all in there, but it sounds like a mess. So it’s kind of like the elements are more important to me than the way it sounds. Obviously it has to sound good, but that’s the way my mind works.

Do you think money or class has anything to do with music?


A lot of the middle classes embrace (popular) music and it’s kind of become their thing. Pop music used to come a lot from the working class. I think that’s just the way society works. I think anyone can make music. You don’t need music. We had no money when we started out. Creativity is not about having cash.


What are your top tips for new producers?

Generally in a world where there is so much corporate entertainment, give us something more honest and artistic. It’s about ignoring what other people are doing, do your own thing and stop worrying and tweeting about what you haven’t done yet.

https://soundcloud.com/basement-jaxx/rendez-vu-jesse-garcia-tribal

A Sit Down With DJ Sabrina Terence

19.12.2017


Sabrina Terence is a world famous artist, DJ, model and TV host.  Sabrina’s passion for art was born in 1998 when she had her first painting lesson whilst living in Germany.  Her passion developed further as she began exploring some of the world’s best art exhibitions, including Art Basel, Art Berlin and Art Fair Singapore.  Sabrina Terence attributes her inspiration as an artist to abstract art, and she seeks to utilise a bend of acrylic and oil on canvas, allowing her to create her signature work which usually includes big bold colours.

Sabrina’s professional DJ career and passion for music have taken her all over the world including popular destinations within Asia, Africa, USA, Europe, Middle East, and Brazil. Her musical journeys have enabled her to share her unique vibe at major events around the globe while working with notable artists/celebrities such as Neyo, 50Cent, Nelly, Taio Cruz, Jay Sean, Paris Hilton, Akon, Akcent, Nicholas Cage, John Travolta and many more.

 

"Of The main Thing is to have an Interaction with the people and to give Them a good time."


 

How did you get started with Djing and that one thing that made you want to become a LIVE PAINTER?

Well DJing happened back in 2006, after being a model in Germany and moving to the Middle East. I started doing the Live painting since 2016 as a new project to inspire more people during corporate events. today, i could not only be dj and paint in a nightclub, but at any bar venue, car show etc. this is a great new concept! There are many live painters, speedpainters but none of them do paintig besides Djing.

You were born in Germany, but reside in Dubai. What can you tell us about clubbing and nightlife Dubai? Do you have any nightlife related suggestions for first-time visitors?


Dubai is so different from most places in the world, you find everything deep house places and very commercial R&B clubs. But I love it and whatever you like you can go for... I would say, definitely check out the 360 club lounge at Burj Al Arab, amazing view and good for warm ups. Then if you wanna go in a bigger Club go to Sensation Crowne Plaza, mostly R&B but I do Saturdays there if I am in town and people love it!

What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?

My biggest dream was always, traveling around the world, which I did and still doing. Then building a family besides my career. My last goal was becoming a well known DJ in the region ( Middle East , Dubai) which I successfully achieved. My next goal is becoming a well known artist and painter.

Everybody always thinks being a DJ means drinking a lot of Alcohol. Is it true please tell us more about this rumor?

Well I have 2 alcoholic drinks at max. I focus on drinking a lot of water in order to perform well. If I am drunk I’m scared to fall while I’m dancing lol and also drunken DJs are unacceptable. I do prefer vodka tonic even though I am German I do hate beer.

What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?

Meeting nice people from different cultures & seeing the world, getting flowers and travelling with my asian agent Cecilia from BCBG, always fun.

What was the best and the worst gig you ever played and what was the funniest thing ever occurred during any of your performances?


My best gig, hmm there are so many I cant really tell each place is unique.
The worst one was when the stage crashed down during an festival, but thank god I was lucky and kept on playing as nothing happen.

Do you think producing your own track is a key success factor in order to be a number one DJ?

Yes, of course it is very important to have your own tracks. I try to produce new songs every 2 to 3 years. My new song “Higher” is coming out very soon you can listen to it on my Facebook page (female.dj).  I will be back in Thailand every 2 to 3 month, as Illuzion club in Patong will promote me further. This is where I played my new song as well while dancing on the DJ booth.

You are first female Live Painter DJ. What are your other hidden talents?

I can cook. Would love to open my own restaurant or cafe one day with my own art and music maybe. 

You had a successful career as a model, what led you from the catwalk to the DJ booth and how did you get in touch with electronic dance music in the first place?


I always were in touch with music due my model jobs, and then back in 2006 I moved to Dubai because of love, then I got bored of just being a housewife and model so I decided to start DJing, 2008 I had my first gig in a club and it was amazing! 800 people and I was so nervous... from there everything has begun.... I am very thankful for everyone who believed in me!

You travel a lot. What countries or cities do you like most of all and why? Is there any place in the world you was impressed greatly? 

Thailand, actually all Asia is my favourite, but also Africa, South America , North Amercia, Europe, ofocurse I love my base in the middle east. I am very grateful that I have so many followers from all over the world, I love every single one because without them I wouldnt travel so much or having in my up and downs "privately" a reason to not give up! 

Sabrina its no secret that you look exceptional so please tell us what is your secret to stay in such a good shape?

Oh, thank you. Actually since I stopped modeling, I gained around 10 kgs. As a model, I used to be the slim type with no curves at all. Now I got at least woman curves which I like. I feel comfortable and sexy with it and I think it suits me better.

Do you think that «DJ world» is men's world? In your opinion is it harder for girl to become famous DJ? 

It's hard for every DJ! Every ARTIST! You need to be at the right time at the right place and you do need to know how to market yourself out there, I do all the marketing alone, Sometimes people ask me how many employees I got for all social media. Just my mum and me.

https://soundcloud.com/djsabrinaterence/liveatblends

A Sit Down With DJ Alex Metric

09.01.2018


After experimenting with the sounds of UK’s big beat scene, London based producer and DJ Alex Metric began crafting his own style, drawing influences from soulful indie rock and french electro sounds.

Over the last five years, he’s built up a massive collection of remixes for artists like PhoenixGorillaz and Depeche Mode, and original releases (Head StraightOpen Your EyesAmmunition Pt. 1-3), securing him a spot as one of the most in-demand artists of the moment.

With a plethora of productions and left field remixes, Alex Metric’s creativity is as vivid as his vibrant personality.  He’s the bloke who can make cool synth-pop, disco house, Electro, or progressive and determine which is the right sound for the song as well as what he is feeling.

 

"They seem to really love what I do and get what I do… I don’t think that I’ll have to feel like I have to do anything other than just play what I want, and play the music I love."


 

Why do you think your music has such broad appeal?

My love has always been chucking everything in the pot, the first thing I really got into was the big beat days, Skint and Wall of Sound, and then the French house thing, Super Discount and Etienne de Crecy, and I think that throwing everything into the blender is definitely something I try to do in my tracks, to have all these different influences. I love going out and not knowing what you're gonna hear next, you're never sure which direction it's gonna go in. That's the exciting thing about going out, the music that surprises.

You don’t do a lot of remixes like the other guys do, how do you choose which remixes you go for?

I turn down about 4 times as many remixes as I do. I tend to only remix songs with lyrics, which is my general rule. I don’t really like doing club remixes of club records because all you are doing is just moving some sounds around to make another rhythm. If I choose a song, 9 times out of 10 it will be because there is a lyric in that song that actually has a fucking meaning to me. Although it is a remix I do sometimes feel like I am writing another song with their lyrics. For example I am splitting up with a girlfriend at the moment, and in the “DNA” song there were some lyrics that I could relate to and made me feel like I had an emotional connection to their song. That was the reason why I did it, if I can tweak those lyrics and make it feel like it has a meaning to me then you flip it on its head and it is going to mean something to someone else. I think that all of the best remixes that I have done in my career have always happened at times when I have had personal things going on and have related the songs to my life. It sounds like a weird way of doing it, but 90% of the time that’s the reason because it means something to me. The “take me away” part was perfect, because I was literally feeling like “get me the fuck out of this situation.” I think that is a good way of doing it and it gives an extra depth to the remixes and feels less like fucking with someone else’s song and more like something that you feel and is real to you.

What do you think about the dance music explosion that’s happening in America right now? 

I think as a British DJ who comes over to America quite a lot now, my attitude towards it is, there’s a fucking amazing opportunity in America at the moment to shape the tastes and opinions of a generation kids. I don’t see what the point is in sitting in the studio and being snotty about it. Fucking get on a plane, go to America and play them some different music and you can have a part in changing things and showing them other stuff, you know? I think it’s a crazy exciting time in America at the moment! And I certainly think from my last tour there, Miami was a real eye opener, in that everyone was really open to different sounds. I played more disco sets there than banging club sets. I enjoy the challenge of going over to the states and doing shows where I kind of play music on my terms and still hopefully capture the imaginations of an audience.

Writing, producing and singing – have you always been D.I.Y. and independent in your attitude towards music?

The reason I got into production is that I used to just be purely a singer, and having to rely on flaky producers wasn't much fun. So I decided to take it upon myself to do it all myself, and as I got into production I kind of stopped singing for four years or something. My music didn't fit having my vocal on it, until I really discovered what the music that I wanted underneath it was. But now I feel that I've come to a point where I'm happy with the style I've got, so it made sense to get back on the mic again.

How do you keep a record playing and keep promoting it in a way that people don’t lose interest in it and still buy it the first week? How do you keep that balance going?

Ministry knows what they are doing in that respect. They have been drip-feeding different mixes of it, the video and the Mind Vortex remix. We still have the Marcus Marr from DFA remix to drop as well. Keep in mind that at the moment we are still only working the UK, you guys are getting this via the internet and there isn’t even an American release date set at the moment.  We are talking to who we are licensing it to, but I feel like the record has a long shelf life and that it is going to be a gradual record as all the different territories come on.

Your music has been compared to the likes of Ed Banger's output. Do you feel an affinity to the new French electro crew?

That sound has come back round again. I guess I feel an affinity more with the first round of it, I guess my sound is similar to those guys but with a bit more of an English twist. I don't want to be deemed as doing a pastiche of those guys, I think that the whole French and '80s thing is something I've always been into, and a lot of people like it again.

When the two of you work in the studio do you fight over the keyboard, how does that work?

No, not at all. I know that Stuart is a much better keyboard player than me, so I let him play it quite a lot. I think that when you work with someone that you have so much respect for, you could feel like you have to let them be right all the time and feel a bit conscious of their status and their talent, but the refreshing thing about working with Stuart was that there was none of that. Stuart would send me some ideas for the track when we were working remotely, and the fact that I was comfortable being able to tell him that I didn’t like something helped me learn a lot. I think the best and most interesting thing about working with him was that there was no pretension and no bullshit, just two creative people making a record together.

What do you think of RAM so far?

I think it’s… FUCKING incredible! Madeon put it really well when I was speaking to him the other day. He said Duft Punk have attempted to make a masterpiece and that should be applauded. It’s gonna make people think about what they do. Even if they don’t like it but still react to it, it’s doing a good job.

Any advice for producers who are just now getting into music?

I think the main thing to say to them is, do your own thing. Be brave enough to stand apart from the crowd. That’s how you’ll get your head above everyone else. Don’t make music based on what is popular or what you think is gonna get you somewhere quick. Work out what it is you love and make those records.

https://soundcloud.com/alexmetric/sets/ammunition-pt-4-remixes

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