American deep house DJ and producer Wolfgang Gartner
, aka Joseph Youngman, is known for a record number of songs to land at Beatports No. 1 spot over the past 5 years, and also for his hit collaborations with Skrillex, Will.i.am, Tiesto and deadmau5.
Hard to believe its been almost six years since Gartner
released his landmark debut album Weekend in America
. Coming to fame during the same time that deadmau5
were starting to bring EDM to the masses during the late aughts and early teens, Wolfgang helped usher in a new era of dance music. Wolfgang, real name, Joseph Youngman
, made his debut at Los Angeless top club, Exchange.
How would you describe your sound?
I do have a distinctive sound that people associated with Wolfgang Gartner. I have certain songs that I have written along those lines, Shrunken Heads is one of those that really has written Wolfgang all over it. Even when I branch out from that on progressive house, there is still a really distinctive sound that I do. Little tricks that I like to do in my tracks that hopefully people can still tell it is a Wolfgang Gartner track and identify my tracks along the way.
How important do you think visuals are for your live shows?
Theyre an added bonus. I dont have them at all the shows, only bus tours and really big shows sporadically throughout the year. They certainly add a whole new dimension and people love them, but its not logistically or fiscally possible to use them constantly.
When someone would go to a Wolfgang Gartner show, what can they expect to hear?
I cant be defined by one particular sub genre, I go through too many styles to be an electro artist or just a progressive house artist. Its all just forms of house music. If you come to my show and listen to my music that is what you will get. You do not get one very specific sub genre of music, it is going to be all across the board.
How did you have to prepare to make the transition from producing dance to producing R&B?
I had to find and learn quite a bit of new software and learn some new mixing and sound design techniques. The sound couldnt be more different from what I usually make. Which was so refreshing. I learned how to recreate a lot of real instrument sounds with samplers and computer programs and a lot of editing and processing, since the only instrument I can play is keyboards. I needed guitars, live bass, vintage pianos, etc to achieve the sound we wanted and I figured out how to replicate a lot of that stuff to a certain extent myself, which took quite a bit of time to really nail the authenticity of the instruments.
"...all about finding the right balance doing what I really love doing which is spending time in the studio".
How do you feel thats benefitted your music style and production recently?
Well, recently, is interesting, because nobodys heard what Ive been doing recently. All people have heard is what Ive released. I kind of got back into my roots, which is not electro house, but more like disco, funk, straight up house stuff. I started getting back into that last year with the John Oates collaboration Baby Be Real and Devotion, those were all kind of housey tracks. And I guess I just went back to a little bit more of my roots because I felt a little bit freer to do that. And lately Im honestly experimenting with some completely different type of stuff, thats not at all like anything Ive ever released before, I dont know how much I should say about it besides that
I cant really play it in this type of a set. I would say its basically a little bit more radio friendly than the stuff Ive done in the past, people will hear that eventually.
What do you like to do outside of dance music?
The only other thing I do besides produce music is cook. I don't really do anything else. I have a studio separate from my house so like I go to the studio, I come home, I work a little more at my home studio, then I like to cook. I get a bug for a few days where I wanna go to the store, make all these extravagant recipes. That`s my other thing, i'd really like to create the menu for restaurants. I wouldn't want to own a restaurant or operate it, but i'd want to create the menu. Cooking is very creative for me, the way that everything compiles together, almost similar to music for me, so when i'm not at work, I kinda go crazy and cook all this extravagant shit.
What was the best and the worst gig you ever played?
Best: Sasquatch Festival, in Washington State. Worst: If I said where it was, I'd probably never play in that city again, so I won't.
Looking back at all of your previous collabs which are you most proud of?
"We Own The Night." To me, that is the best of all of them.
Who do you admire as a DJ?
Mark Farina, Derrick Carter and DJ SneakI couldnt list just one. Why? Because they are my personal godfathers of house music, who I grew up listening to and studying. Those three taught me more than anybody else about the art of mixing.
What artists are you listening to in your personal playlists?
This guy Joyryde is on a very similar clips like when I'm doing. So I discovered him after I started like working on the sound of like they're doing the same thing I'm doing. I still listen to a lot of whole 90s disco house stuff.
How complicated is one of your sets?
It's an equal balance between doing a lot of complicated technical stuff and also putting on a show physically and stage presence-wise for the crowd. I jump around and do the hand movements and stuff, but I don't leave the turntable and go crowd surf or spray champagne. I don't have time to step away from the turntables for more than 20 seconds. It's very technically involved. It's hard to find that balance between doing something technical and challenging yourself and also engaging the crowd and not just standing there, staring at turntables.
You've said in the past that you feel it's your responsibility to advance the genre you're in - do you feel like you've accomplished that?
Well, advancing the genre, I don't know. Advancing the genre is more of a goal and something I try and push myself to do when I'm making music. I think I can make a quantifiable effect on dance music where I can say "yes, I have improved dance music overall." It's kind of like a mantra for me when I'm making music, like, I have to do better, but I do know that I have definitely influenced a lot of other producers and younger producers who were learning and growing up when I was putting out a lot of music. All you can do is put out your music and be unique and if people start copying you or imitating you and taking that to another level, then you've made your mark and made an impact.
How would you describe your evolution as an artist?
I started when I was 14 and Im 34 right now so that's fucking crazy I didn't even realize that. My evolution as an artist is a continuous circle that is going because 20 years ago or even before that because I started producing music 23 years ago. I got into everything. I'm a hardcore, I made drum and bass, I made trance, I made deep house, I made hard house, I made every single genre under the EDM umbrella, and that's when I was just getting into it, and I was kind of like cause I loved everything. And then my taste towards the late 90s started to kind of narrow into like the house and deep house sound, and that's mostly what I wanted to produce and pretty much all I wanted to play at the beach and from like the mid-90s and the early 2000s mid-2000.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you can give?
Make hits and make a name for yourself as a producer and you will have a career no matter how good of a DJ you are. Thats what the scene has come to, sad but true and I am not a big supporter or this but that just what it is. Make hits and people will start booking you before they have even heard you play.
Dahlbäck has established himself as a well-respected DJ, producer and label owner with well over a hundred releases to his name dating back to the beginning of the millennium. That talent did not just appear from nowhere though. The Kaskade
collaborator played drums in a band for six or seven years when he was younger and that has been instrumental to his productions now.
He is grew up in a household with a father and mother both professional musicians, as well as a cousin Jesper Dahlbäck
who has been a successful techno DJ until his career was forced to be cut back several years ago due to significant hearing loss.
How and when did you first begin your exploration of electronic dance music?
My cousin Jesper is a sort of a techno pioneer here in Sweden and he gave me a copy of his album, Stockholm, when I was 13 or 14. I really didnt like it in the beginning but it grew on me and I loved it after a few listens. By that time, I was already playing around with my fathers Atari computer, on which he had music programs, so I started to make house music around then.
Whos your biggest musical influence and why?
Anyone whos pushing boundaries and stay out of the box with their music instead of just either follow trends or make the same kind of music over and over again.
How do you get the inspiration for producing different tracks?
I get inspiration just by opening my laptop and my music program to be honest. I also get really inspired by my surroundings.
Which do you consider as your biggest moment in your career so far?
To see music that werent aimed to get onto radio and then do so. Raven is a good example, we thought it was a cool club track but 11 million streams on Spotify later, we were clearly wrong.
Whats the most difficult thing about being a producer and a DJ?
To stick out and be original. Its so easy to fall into these trend traps because you want instant success. Its more difficult to stay long term in this business.
Its interesting how you can weave genres together. Do you think that the EDM explosion has led to the walls between them to come down?
I hope that its contributing to the rise of smaller subgenres. I think its very boring when theres one sound. When I have free time, I go in and listen to what people are playing at festivals. Sometimes everyones just playing the same songs. Why? If youre given the chance to play a peak-time main stage slot at a festival, why wouldnt you want to surprise people with something very different?
As a traveling DJ, youve got to have a lot of crazy touring stories. Can you recall one of your craziest experiences from a show on the road?
These stories just sort of disappear for some reason, maybe because I have a story for every place Ive ever been to. Sometimes I need a map to remember them. A nice memory was at a show I did, and I was playing my track with Kaskade, A Little More, and suddenly I see a guy in a wheelchair and people carry him towards the stage and then put him there right next to me. It was very emotional and the goosebumps were intense.
Three of the most memorable moments in your career so far.
1. Walking up to the Tomorrowland main stage and DJ for the first time, in 2009 I think. It was so huge!
2. Seeing an underground track like Blink make it to radio!
3. Last, but not least, to overlook any sort of trends or comments from people and making an album that Im so proud of!
"Life is not all million play tracks however, it is a grind to make sure you find good tracks and have a plan to make sure enough people find and buy them".
Why did you decided to start up three of your own labels? (Jackmoves, Pickadoll, Dahlback Records)
The first one was Dahlback with my cousin Jesper, and we did that because we wanted to release our own stuff and then I started Pickadoll, because it is my own, really my own label, I get to choose everything. Those two are like the main labels, and then we have like Jackmoves, which is a label which is more like a project.
Do you enjoy the independence that having your own label allows you when making music?
Yes, it has a lot of perks. I feel very free, releasing music that I love. I like to see things become bigger and bigger like Pickadoll; started with nothing except great music.
Youve surprised your fans so many times, how do you stay one step ahead of everyone?
I get bored in the studio, so I constantly try to develop my music and try out different things to keep it interesting.
What's the single most exciting thing about dance music at the moment in your opinion?
The most exciting thing at the moment is definitely the digital distribution. Vinyl is going down and I'm very interested in what will happen, how the music will continue.
What piece of advice would you give to young producers who dream to reach your artistic standards?
You have to be original and dont try to sound exactly like anyone else. You can of course be inspired by a certain song or dj, but you need to have your own style. Another thing is to set up smaller goals on your way and have a steady aim for what you wanna do.
lobetrotting DJ & producer Jay Lumen
has been stirring up attention for the last 10 years as a hugely sought after techno character.
Techno giant Jay
is without a doubt one of the most sought after DJs in the world. His productions have been making their way onto every major DJs playlist since time immemorial. As a producer, he has had 11 Beatport #1s, and 27 Top 10s. He has released on some of the most renowned labels in the world such as Drumcode, Saved, OFF Recordings, Octopus Records, and 100% Pure.
How did you get into DJing? Who also inspired you to start producing?
It began when I was child. I first studied music for eight years in a special music school, so I was sure that I would do something in the music scene. I was singing in the chorus and also learning to play violin so my whole life was around music, but it was also my hobby just like now. That's why I was listening to all kind of music everyday. I was an 'everything eater' and it's the same today as a music fan. But I loved the first dusty old school techno and house sounds from '80s. It was the real explosion for electronic music I think with lots of experimental sounds. I tried to find as many sounds like that as possible. After a point I was sure this will be the sound for me as well and then I realised that I wanted to be a DJ. So today I've realised my childhood dreams.
How do you create music?
Technically, the first step is to write down the idea. Sometimes I remember the ideas for months, but other times I forget them in an hour, so the safest thing to do is write them down as soon as possiblefor example, if its a main melody, I play it out loud to keep it in my mind. But sometimes I only have the feeling of a tune; in this case, I build it up from the kicks, percussion, and bassline grooves. My sound is very groove-oriented, so I always try to insert my signature shaking sprays. Once I have them, I just add some essential FX, small cuts, or other FX samples that I made to add a special and different character to the track. Finally, I add the main theme or the main melody if I had this kind of idea when I started the tune.
What about your top three records of the moment?
1*KNTRL - Stay (Luca Agnelli Remix)
2*Cosmin TRG - In Your Body
3* Martin Buttrich & Loco Dice - Damn U Made It
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your tracks, and what does the process look like for you when you are writing them?
I am travelling around the world a lot, and I always get some new insights and feedback from people, feelings from parties, places, cultures, etc. The whole point of it is that I keep asking myself how I can find a way to make a new sound. For example, I am travelling somewhere in a completely different part of the globe and I get an idea for a melody, after which I fly back home and start to work on it.
"DJ needs to lead the people but has to also be very interactive to feel the resonance of the venue, crowd and the night overall... you need to breathe together with the people".
What have been the greatest challenges in your career?
The greatest challenge is to find the balance between your career and private life. When you travel 52 weeks a year it's not very easy. My DJ life is my dream so I don't feel it a challenge.
Is there someone you would like to collaborate with that you have not yet had the opportunity to?
I have some nice collaborations planned for this year. Last year I had collaboration with Green Velvet, and with some other guys. Now, for this year I have more plans with Green Velvet as the last tune we made was a big hit for us. So, I am hoping the next one will be a big one as well. It is not so easy to find the studio time to make tunes together with others, but I will do my best to find the time.
How do you manage to produce so many tracks and keep a steady tour schedule?
I just do one release around every one and a half months. I dont think it is too much, but in the weekdays I am normally in my studio. I try to keep my balance between the studio work and the gigs. I make time to make cool new sounds and I try my best to work consistently.
Whats your favourite city to play in and why?
A very difficult question. I cant choose just one. I love Buenos Aires, London, Madrid, Berlin, Helsinki, Barcelona, many, many cities. They have different moods and different people but we are all connected by music.
When you arent performing, where is your favourite super-club to go to in Ibiza?
Well, I was going to many clubs including Privilege and Space. I dont know which one is better but I like Space if you are talking about the big clubs but on the other hand I like Privilege because you have a lot of space if you check look out the window in the Vista Club, it is so beautiful. Also, on the other hand, Sankeys is also really cool because of the whole family atmosphere.
How do you feel about the expansion of Electronic Music into the Mainstream?
I think it is a good thing for everybody. So many DJs say that the action is going towards the mainstream shitty music, but I dont believe that. The mainstream is for the younger generations, which turn to the underground later when they get older. It is a great first gate for people to learn and practice for the underground. The underground is growing up so fast around the world, and it keeps getting bigger with much better parties. So, it is a very cool thing.
What made you decide to kick start your own label, Footwork?
Well I'm very happy that I had the chance to release on this great labels like Adam Beyer's Drumcode, Nic Fanciulli's Saved, Green Velvet's Relief or Octopus Records. But I always had a plan to start my own label. It's like a new baby. I just tried creating the sound of it. Manage it for the future, find the path. So it's a new challenge for me. Also it's another way that I can show a little part of my own world to the people. Footwork is going very well luckily so I'm very happy.
Is there any advice you can give to emerging artists?
Nowadays it is not so easy to start a career, as so many people with so many ideas want to be a DJ. The main advice is, if you love the music just try to really show your true original self to people. Do not copy the sounds of somebody else, do your own thing and try to find your own way. That way you will be happy and if you like your music the people will like your music as well.
better known as "Nifra
" is one of the finest female artist from Trance scene. We all know, when it comes to female artists in EDM, trance to be precise, there are not many. But she is one true Trance lady whose sounds are creating aura in her own style.
Having her productions and remixes released on labels like "Armada", "Coldharbour", "AVA", "Spinnin", "Enhanced" and many more she is leading trance scene everywhere.
Her music regularly finds itself in the DJ wallets of the top names of trance such as Armin van Buuren, Markus Schulz, Gareth Emery, Andy Moor and this global support has not only lead to remix and collaboration requests from many of her peers, but has also lent a lot of support and extra respect to her own solo productions. She has gradually built up a loyal, hardcore fan base whilst keeping the integrity within the Coldharbour sound that she has become know for. Progressive Trance with balls!! is how she likes to put it.
When did you start DJing?
It was in my homeland Slovakia when I was 18 years old. I had already been producing before that but it was for fun and I was just learning. DJing began for me when I was playing at the local club for the opening set when nobody was really around. I always went for the electronic sound and back then it wasnt possible to do that since trance wasnt big enough in Slovakia. I used to mix house, a little bit of techno then eventually trance music started growing. In around 2006 it was starting to become really popular and from than I was able to play what I wanted. Tiesto was the first major trance DJ to perform in Slovakia.
How would you describe your personality to people?
Djs are considered extroverts but thats not applying to myself. I`m more introvert, sometimes reserved and super shy. But when I go on stage I totally change, I guess it just proves that thats where I feel the most comfortable.
Do you feel that being a female producer in the dance music industry gives you any competitive edge or puts you at a disadvantage in any way?
Ive been fighting the female tag since the beginning of my career. When i first started it was all about the passion for the music. I was incredibly interested in the creative process of production and when I was around 16 I got my hands on production software. At that time I didnt think twice about being a woman and that it could be disadvantage in the future. For me it was all about the music and most importantly it was fun. So being female is not exactly easy and looks can only get you so far in the music business. Whats important is real talent. Staying true to yourself and genuine to your fans is what makes the difference and will ultimately overshadow any fast judgments based on gender.
"We shouldnt be surprised that In a modern 21st century society there are still people, who say that women are not able to dj or produce music and their place is somewhere else".
Why did you name yourself Nifra?
Actually its not a big secret. If you take 2 letters of my first name Nikoleta and 3 of my last name Frajkor u will get Nifra. I was thinking about my artist name for a long time and I thought that this combination didnt sound bad at all. I have been using it since the very beginning.
What are your goals in life, and have you met any of them yet?
One of my goals was to be able to earn for living with my music. There is so many great musicians who would like to be able to not have a day job but make it with their music. Partly I achieved that.
What is your opinion about the explosion of EDM music in USA, and have you noticed increase in your bookings there?
I think its great; it opened a lot of doors for producers and DJs. In Europe or Asia there are not enough events as the same DJs are booked all the time.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Markus Schulz obviously. His dark coldharbour style inspired me in the beginning and as the sound evolved it still continues to inspire me. Its such an amazing feeling to be part of the Coldharbour family itself and also push the sound forward, that ultimately started it all for me.
If asked to choose between Coldharbour, Armada, Spinnin, which family will you choose and why?
I think all the families are great in their own way but the choice is obvious in this case. Coldharbour recordings has been my favorite label since I remember. Its the perfect blend between techy, proggy, and melodic trance and Im extremely lucky to be part of the family and pushing the sound forward.
Can you describe for us the process of producing a track?
Most of the time I just start with the breakdown, cos its the melodies which come to my head first. From there I build it to the drop, and usually after that start with the intro. But it really depends.
Many have called you the queen of trance. How does it feel to carry such a grand title?
I dont even know where it comes from, but Im of course flattered. Makes me incredibly happy to see people loving my work, and when I started, I wouldnt have even dream about what was going to follow. Im living the dream.
Your sound is very unique, can you describe whats included and what is not included that creates your Coldharbour sound?
My sound evolved throughout the years just as the Coldharbour sound did and I tend to describe it as progressive trance with balls. I just really like energy in combination with the deeper basses and huge leads and thats what I always try to achieve in my productions.
What are the biggest advantages and disadvantages of being a female Dj?
Sometimes I think there are not any advantages especially when you see comments from people accusing you of not making your music. Because there is more female DJs than producers, they try to become very famous by using ghost producers. And since that happened so many times people automatically think each of us is doing the same shit. People forget that among them could be some real artists who actually do their thing really well and my full respect goes to these girls that have chosen the harder way and not the easier one.
What other music do you listen to besides trance?
I really like Oliver, Nero, Com Truise, Kolsch etc. A bit of everything. I have always used to listen to different genres of electronic dance music. I also like 70/80s music also because this is the time of the first digital synthesizers and I`m a huge vintage synths lover.
George has helped change and evolve trance from an underground movement to massive festival experiences throughout the world. George Acosta is probably America`s most unique dj and has undoubtedly been a major force in shaping the sound of trance in Miami and beyond says fellow dj Dave Ralph. George Acosta is America?s representative in the global Trance scene says Markus Schulz.
He is revealing enough information to understand that his musical style has changed throughout the times. On the other hand he is mentioning on how Ultra Records was his first platform to escalate within the EMI, being a major milestone in relation to his music as well.
When you got into the electronic dance music scene, and how you settled into trance music as your preferred choice?
I began my career as a DJ at the young age of 15 by spinning at high school parties. I then began to do my own parties which then led me to spinning at many clubs at some of the very popular hot spots of South Beach. While spinning at these many different clubs on the beach, I met a German promoter by the name of Wolfgang. By this time, I had already transitioned from being a hip hop DJ to a techno DJ to finally a House DJ. And to make a long story short, Wolfgang asked me to play at one of his many parties in Germany. After that experience, I switched genres once again and only focused on Trance music. These days, however, I am breaking out of the trance only and focusing more on a progressive house sound.
How old were you?
I`m 28, so I guess I was about 20 or 21. It was like the day that I grew up. It`s like you decide to go to college, get a degree, you know? I went to college too, but at the same time I was doing the DJ thing at night, so like I said, there wasn`t much I could do, just keep playing at clubs and stuff, so I wanted to do something extra. I started doing tracks and started playing raves and stuff and I did one track, and it went real big.
If you can remember the track from your favourite dance genre that struck a chord in you?
I came across dance music in the 90s and house music was definitely my genre of choice I was always influenced by German techno and NY house, I would say tracks from Josh Wink, Sven Väth and tunes similar to that were in my play list as well as in my thoughts in making something like this one day.
What were you playing before that?
Well I mean I used to play breaks. I played my drum and bass back in the days, I mean I started as a hip hop DJ like 10 years ago, so I`ve come along way.
The most magical moment you experienced behind the decks?
I think I just described it in the question before! Undoubtedly, any of my Vegas pool party shows have been the ultimate experience for me. Of course, there have been other magical moments throughout my career, Ive been blessed and fortunate enough to have performed all over the world in so many shows and venues, so honestly each experience has been memorable for its own special reasons.
"Whenever I play anywhere, I feel like I am at home, I see my people, they understand me, they understand what is happening as I spin my records."
You set up at Fektive records in Holland and your own record label Aco Music. Are you satisfied with the way that the label is moving at the moment?
As for the mission for Aco-Music, it was to present the more signature style of the sound I am focusing on right now and to hand pick artists that I really enjoy that are new breed which I like to give back my support.
As for the Fektive Label and being satisfied I am going to say I plea the 5th as I would not like to incriminate myself at this time. My manager Francisco Pacheco is in the final stages of getting a deal inked to move the label to a more structured, balanced company which will secure the direction which I am headed in my career. This is sad for us as we really like Fektive but their attention is clearly in their business and I seek for the attention for my business.
At what age did you leave Cuba? Have you ever gone back?
I left Cuba at the age of seven. I will always have a love for my birth country. Since I left at such a young age, the United States is what I primarily know and its the place that has given me the freedom I have and all the opportunities I have experienced. I do however have some childhood memories of Cuba, some good, some bad, of course. But most importantly, I am thankful to my parents for making the hard decision and the sacrifice of leaving everything behind in Cuba to start a new and better life here in the United States of America. I have never been back to Cuba, but one day hopefully I would love to visit a free Cuba and see the island I was born in. I would love to go back to my roots.
What was the best business move that enhanced your career to great benefit?
Believe it or not, the best business move that enhanced my career greatly was going back to school, studying at SAE and earning a degree as a sound engineer. I can definitely say my sound has grown and matured and improved once I accomplished my goal in becoming a sound engineer. Best move I ever made.
Do you believe that trance music is popular and recognized in the USA?
As for the USA Market the house, progressive house and slower tempo music is more accepted in the clubs that are more geared into the older crowds of 21 years and older, that listen to slower, but yet driving music. So to answer your question, in the USA it is less popular but trance is popular for a hand full of producers that sell tickets for promoters.
What makes your sound special?
I guess what makes me special is that I never stay behind the times. There are certain aspects about my DJing that remain consistent, but as far as the type of music I spin, I feel that that has evolved throughout the years. As of right now, I feel my style is made up of a more progressive house. However, I always like to mix my music to a certain level, making sure you can always pump it up nicely in a club. I need to be certain that I can always hear my kick and bass perfectly.
The story about how LA-based DJ, producer duo Mako
came to be is one part fate and one part chance. Alex Seaver
and Logan Light
's fathers were roomates in college at Syracuse back in the 1970s and this formed a life-long friendship between their two families. However the two kids went on two different paths. Seaver attended Julliard, the elite classical and jazz music school and Light went to Columbia, before transfering to Michigan where he picked up DJing. Their paths crossed once again in Los Angeles after graduation and a trip to EDC Las Vegas
opened Seaver's eyes to the wonders of electronic music. Their first single "Our Story
" became an internet hit and fast forward to 2015, the pair are working on an album and have played festivals like Lollapalooza, Electric Zoo
and Ultra Music Festival
The two come from completely different musical backgroundsSeaver originally wanting to play in an orchestra and Light as a DJbut together, they come together to create something that is unique, catchy and is bound to be stuck in your head after the first limit.
When did you both (Alex Seaver and Logan Light) first meet and how was Mako originally formed?
We apparently met in 1993 at the age of 4 since our fathers were friends and college roommates; however, they lived in different cities. We really didnt connect until we were 22 or 23 and just happened to join our parents at a dinner. I brought Alex (who had just moved to LA) out to EDC the following week and from that point forward Mako was spawned from Alexs background in composition and all his brilliance and my DJing and interest in EDM. The name actually comes from my favorite video game Final Fantasy 7 (if you havent played it I highly suggest it!). We wanted something that meant something to us as kids so we compiled a giant list and that was the name we ended up using. In Japanese we were told it meant magical light which was a nice play on my last name and within the game it serves as the life force of the planet so it had a good aura around it.
What it hard to become a duo?
No, the single thing was just fun for me, DJing. I never thought this would be what it is today. I did this in my little room in Michigan just for fun and had fun jumping around. I met him it was kind of like, well if you want to dig around and try this let's see what happens. It kind of took a life of its own pretty quickly and I think we are very combative personalities when it comes to each other. We kind of found our own niche and made it work with what it was and if one thing isn't working we adjust. For me I was just DJing so it was always myself, he always had to work with other musicians so it was never a solo venture.
It`s way different doing this than it was doing classical music but I don't think it was ever difficult because we complement each other's personalities and our work styles, but I think the big adjustment was making electronic music.
"...youre never going to stand out if youre just so closely replicating another artist so there has to be that moment when you decide what makes me, me and what do I wanna say with my music".
You guys played EDC Las Vegas. Tell me about that experience.
It wasnt sweet from 3-5 p.m. though. They brought us out to sound check and it was 117 degrees! I would open the computer and it would melt down really quickly, so Id have to reboot it. But after that, it was great!
We played the Discovery Stage maybe two years ago, so that was our first taste of being a part of it. Then this year we were at the 7UP Stage which was really special. Its such a cool part of the journey to cross milestones like that and to revisit places that you experienced in a way different way when you were starting out.
Do you ever get the time to go out and see other artists very often?
I really try to! I dont do it so much because I can be a little anti-social and I just spend all day and all night in the studio kinda making music. But its really inspiring to go out to see other artists especially as were sort of shifting our whole live show away from DJing to this kind of like, live-electronic hybrid setup
Its to see what people are doing and how people are performing their music. And theres a lot of different ways to do it technologically speaking. And then in terms of like the Aesthetic, like the lighting that they use or if they use graphics. And then just seeing how that translates to an audience. Because instead of just a bunch of people jumping at the drops, its a music venue you know where people are listening to music and just kind of getting what that kind of relationship is with the audience has been a different from our background.
How have you guys evolved over the years?
Its a cool time for electronic artists in general because the cycles of the genre come and go and weve definitely sort of followed what everyone else is doing. Right now were taking a step back, looking at a blank canvas and making whatever we feel like it regardless of whether its in style right now or what our colleagues are doing. Its been a good moment for all artists when they start to figure out who they are.
Do you tend to take a different approach when youre in the studio providing a remix for another artist rather than producing a solo track for Mako?
Absolutely. In some sense making a remix is a hugely relaxing experience. When you get to use someone elses vocal or melody, that is one aspect of the song that you dont need to account for, and you can spend the rest of your creative energy focusing purely on everything else. It tends to feel like a vacation compared to the grueling aspects of doing everything from scratch .
Where does the name for the album come from?
The name came after thinking a lot about what kinds of songs I was writing for this. I ended up borrowing a lot from my life and experience, and I noticed that a lot of the songs dealt with time in some from whether it was abstract or more obvious, looking back to the past, nostalgia about seeing something in the future with somebody or living in the present with somebody. I dont know something about the motif of time just kept popping up and I just kind of felt that an hourglass represents time in a way that was pretty creative.
What do you hope people take from your music, music videos?
Thats kid of the million dollar question for us right now. A big part of being an artist is having a brand and a community and building something. A lot of it so far has been led by the music that we make and were trying to figure it out. But recently weve really started to cultivate more of a visual and auditory experience for our fans thats kind of consistent throughout. We dont know exactly how to describe it yet, because were kind of poking around, but I think each of these videos is an experiment. Theyre each a learning experience. Its kind of like sharing a part of ourselves with our audience and its hard.
What can you share with us about your experience working alongside the iconic Steve Angello?
It was a total dream come true. We idolized Steve as he was largely responsible for aiding Logan in getting me to fall in love with dance music. Come time to work with him, it was a surreal experience having that same guy sitting across from you in a massive studio asking your opinion on what you are working on. He was so gracious and kind as well, an experience well never forget.
What would you consider your genre and why did you decide to go this route?
I think previously, if you heard of MAKO before, I would called it progressive house or electronic dance music. Bizarrely what were doing now is redoing the entire notion that we were DJs at all and kind of using a live band now. Its an alternative electronic thing with our new album.
What do you attribute your passion and success to?
The universe first and foremost. My past experiences have shaped me and driven me along this path. More recently meeting DLR has helped a lot with general vibes and motivation. My lovely girlfriend Ash is a massive inspiration too. She lives in London and I live in Bristol so Ive had to move towards a more organized way of living to make sure I spend time with her and spend as much time as I can on music. Love is a tremendously motivating force. Imagine, the brain is flooded with a desire to spend as much time with your loved one as possible, but youre caught in a paradox because for the last five years youve felt the same love for music and producing and now time, or more accurately, how Much time you have, becomes the focus. This pretty much goes against most of what I had been teaching myself through meditation the last few years so it has been twisting up my brain a little. But this suffering of life is synonymous with the passion of life so im eternally grateful for the continued inspiration that I encounter.
A DJ since the 1980s, David's famous Red Zone residency in the early 90s saw him, uniquely at the time, mix American and UK dance music together and inspired the moniker for much of his dub mix work. His Red Zone mixes became a must check for house music DJs the world over, as successful an underground alternative to his main vocal remixes. He also established other production aliases including The Face, who scored a global hit with 'Needin U' in 1998 and Moca who released 'Higher' in 2000.
Internationally acclaimed Grammy-winning American house music DJ and producer David Morales is one of the most prolific remixers of all time. He's worked on remixes for some of the biggest names in music such as, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Whitney Houston, Pet Shop Boys, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, U2, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Jocelyn Brown, CeCe Rogers, the Spice Girls, and Mariah Carey.
"Im not here to judge the music. Im here to judge and to give opinion to the DJ".
What did you start DJing, or producing with?
I started DJing when I was 13. 40 years ago. And there was no DJ culture at the time. It was just about the love for music and being the selector. I started editing my own mashups in 1985. I also bought my first drum machine and keyboard in 1985. My first tools for making music were an Alesis drum machine and sequencer.
How do you personally feel about the advancements in technology, consumption and trends that seem to push dance music forward?
There are positives and negatives. I love the involvement of the technology.
But its lost some of the basics that are essential, like the quality of sound for one. I mean youre talking mp3 files compared to vinyl or even cd quality. People dont have to know how to sync to mix anymore. And everyone thinks right off the back that theyre a producer. There was a joy in going to the record stores and meeting up with other DJs to buy music. There was more of a social network with DJs. The house music scene has gone mainstream. I think thats great really. Its been a long time coming.
Some feel the art of DJing is quite different. Do you have any thoughts on this?
It is a lot different today. I mean obviously with vinyl you have to know how to beat match which is the biggest thing. And it was about real mixing and layering records on top of each other. Even playing on CDJs was ok because there was a similarity with vinyl. Playing with computers and the new software that's out there is very interesting. I played on Traktor for a few years and I must say that I really enjoyed playing with its 4 decks, looping and effects. But it was more from a producers point that I loved it, because I was able to create new things on the fly, that I could never do on vinyl, ever. Ableton is also playing more from a producers point. It's like having tons of stems and creating. But you have to do a lot of preparation. Whereas with vinyl, you just skimmed through record covers. Also the whole sync thing has made it easy for people to DJ.
What would you tell us about the recent expressions of dance music in the electronic landscape, even in comparison with the previous dynamics of the '90s?
Music has gone through many evolutions over the years thanks to technology. Today there are many styles. You can experience a lot and people are very open to all this. I've never been following the trends. I think a Dj should have its own style. That may mean that. I believe in good music. And that means any style. A good piece is a good piece. Today's djs are especially fond of a single style. Some djs play with styles that they do not like but do it just to be able to work. Dj's world has become something different. It is a much more popular culture today. DJs have become rock stars. It's amazing how in 40 years I've been able to see how everything has evolved. Today we even have a TV show that is dedicated to the Dj.
Which of your remixes are you most proud of and why?
The ones that definitely stand out for me are; 'Finally' by CeCe Peniston, where I sampled the drums from 'Let No Man Put Asunder' by First Choice and had Satoshie Tomiie play keyboards. 'Dream Lover' by Mariah Carey, which was the first time that an artist re-sang the song in a whole different style and key. It was the first time that I submitted a new original track from scratch.
'Mr. Loverman' by Shabba Ranks. 'Mr. Loverman' was a dancehall record. I totally changed the arrangement of that song. Besides adding some hip hop drums and again arranging new music I added a sample of Maxi Priest from a different Shabba Ranks song that I had mixed called 'House Call', I rearranged vocals and created a new chorus which made them end up changing the title of the song to 'Mr. Loverman'.
'Space Cowboy' by Jamiroquai, where I sped up the track and totally rearranged the vocals to create a structured song, because the original was really a jam session. Whats funny is that JK hated it. 'Dirty Cash' by Stevie V. The record company was ready to dump the record but because it was such a big record for me at the Red Zone I asked the record company to let me remix it. The song went on to be #2 on the pop charts.
And of course 'Where Love Lives' by Alison Limerick. That was mine and Frankie Knuckles first big record that we mixed together. All of these songs went on to become big pop hits and sell millions of records. So in hindsight I made a lot of people rich.
When on tour and traveling do you have any mobile studio tools with you to work on ideas or sketch ideas?
Yes, I always travel with Ableton Live and a portable MIDI keyboard. I'm always in studio mode.
How had the music changed you were playing then?
At that time the only thing I knew was commercial music, so the music I bought was the music you heard on the radio. I bought it at a record store. And I played once for somebodys party, it was a surprise party for someone and there were some older people that used to go to a club called The Loft that was owned by David Mancuso. And I think I was about 18 years old. And somebody bought me like a stack of records of what they called Loft records and it was records they werent only playing at The Loft, they were playing them at the Paradise Garage, but I never went to any because they were both membership clubs. So when I first heard these different records, I was like Whoa, what is this sound? They were a lot of imports, none of those records you heard on the radio. So of course I wanted to know where to buy these records. I used to go to commercial record stores. There was Rock and Soul, there was Downtown records, and Vinyl Mania had these Garage and Loft classics. And some of them were very expensive, 25 to 50 dollars or more and at that time a 12? was two or three dollars. So for me these old collector records and imports were really expensive.
Who in your opinion are the Princes Of House and which royal title would Frankie Knuckles hold were he still with us?
For me there are many kings in the house music scene. Were just three out of many that have represented house music. There are many princes out there. I like Teddy Douglas, DJ Spen, Joey Negro to name a few. Its hard to remember when youre put on the spot. As far as Frankie Knuckles
HE IS THE GOD OF HOUSE MUSIC!
What is your relationship with your fans?
I'm always kind and grateful to my fans. Without them you are none. We were not born superstars already. They are your fans that allow you to become one.
Do you still have a club-residency in New York?
It is a waste of my time. You can't do things that you want. There is no crowd that appreciates and you gotta have a promoter that Really wants to do that thing, wants to promote parties with good music. It's all about the promoter.
What tips would you give to emerging DJs and producers hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Have passion for music first and foremost. This way you're always happy and never disappointed if you don't make it as a successful DJ. Whatever that means to someone. Also as a producer never force yourself to make music. If you feel it go for it, and if you don't then go and watch a movie.
I heard you and Todd Terry are the most expensive House-DJs...
I don't believe this. I'm expensive, but I'm not more expensive than other Djs, like Louie Vega or Frankie Knuckles. Me and Frankie, we have the same price. Louie has the same price. Roger Sanchez has the same price. Todd Charges more than all of us, but Todd doesn't go around a lot. Todd is like: "Well, I don't wanna go nowhere", so people pay him more to come. They wanted me to play in Turkey and I didn't want to go, so I said: "You give me $ 20.000 and I'll play", thinking that they wouldn't pay this much, but they called later and said, that it's ok. I was thinking that now I had to go there and play. I guess, I am one of the highest paid Djs in the world, one of.
is an Austrian DJ, producer and sound designer. In addition to numerous collaborations with international artists he is busy with producing remixes and has just successfully completed his BA studies at the London College of Music. He also writes articles about music production in magazines like FutureMusic and does music production shows for the Berlin Mitte Institut. Till now his productions have been released on famous labels such as Trapez, Stil vor Talent, Resopal, Herzblut and Kling Klong.
This is a Man, who has been at the top of his game for over fourteen years. Known for his deep, grooving tech sound, his productions are characterised by his love of analogue, which represent his true signature sound. As a DJ, live performer, studio producer and sound designer, Florian has, over the years established an impressive producing base for himself in his Berlin-based Riverside Studio complex with an exciting hardware set up. As label owner of Flash Recordings
he has been able to share his musical vision, reflect his tastes with over 150 releases including the likes of luminary names in the Techno world like Heron
, Electric Rescue
, Maxime Dangles
and Hans Bouffmyhre.
You are a DJ, Producer, sound engineer, you also run your own label FLASH Recordings. Where do you find all the time to put so much of yourself into so many things?
I think its in my nature to try out and do many things even they dont make sense in the first place but somehow after years there are moments where everything comes together and all of a sudden it makes sense, its able to be marketed or sold and in addition many of my activities are interlocked. I used to be a mechanical engineer and I love efficiency, if something is not efficient I instantly loose interest and get depressed with it, this is an annoying but very useful feature isnt it? I should also mention that I built up a huge network of very creative and busy people to form little teams to realize my ideas and also to get inspired I make sure all of them get their fair shares! If I start something I tend to do everything myself except very complicated things to experience all steps, but then there must be a point where I either stop it completely because it didnt work or didnt make sense or I get together a team doing it for me, if you miss this point you find yourself in an inefficient state where you are overworked and not able to be creative.
What was your first success?
My first Vinyl released in 2005 which was charted and played by Larry Heard aka Mr. Fingers and my most successful record was a hit on Trapez Records a few years later which sold 5000 units. In terms of sound design Riemann Kollection. 1 in the charts very often and my collaboration with Native Instruments for a MACHINE Expansion pack called Static Friction is worth mentioning too.
"...there are always lucky moments, where you dont know anything about it and the outcome is better than everything else but you might have much more success long term if you know everything very well but be able to forget certain rules in certain moments."
Do you have any other work besides the music business or does it consume your existence?
I study music technology in London, this is very time consuming besides music production, label, Djing and other personal things... its hard but it works.
Can you talk us through your journey into the techno scene and to Berlin?
My journey into proper Techno like Jeff Mills, Surgeon etc started a bit later than my first contact with DJing it was through a DJ mix and I loved the machine like sounds it also fitted the time very well it must have been in 1999 when I was studying mechanical engineering: the music was the soundtrack to the mechanical things I learned there, and soon I started to produce music which was a very technical thing as well with all the parameters on a synth. For me, Techno is still half music half engineering.
When did you first appear in public?
In the year 2000, so with 15 years - I always played the warmup sets in Linz / Austria, where I came from, for the venues like Nova and Membrankeller.
How would you describe your creative production process?
Im a bit bad in copying something or recreating exactly this or that, Im more like exploring things and find a setup of gear and harmonies etc. and then produce many variations of this and select the best one after some time. This method is a bit more risky the the other one but the reward can be much larger. My process is basically experimenting and then selecting and further shaping.
What tracks, remixes or mix-sets would you recommend to someone that is not yet familiar with your music?
The DJ-Mix player with almost all of my recorded DJ-Mixes inside which you can find here and my tracks which are all available on Beatport.
Can you tell us more about your excellent Flash 151 EP?
Yeah it was created entirely on the modular system and I recorded depending on the song only 1 stereo master channel or 2 stereo channels so it was pretty much mixed on the fly and then only cut a bit in Cubase because I tend to record 15min. takes. A disadvantage I want to improve in the future is that it is a bit too much in mono. I tended to mix most of the things to the middle of the stereo field because I was focussing on the sound-shaping and performance too much.
What inspired you and Oliver Koletzki to create your own label?
The fact that we had different skills which merged together within the label and the opportunity to release tracks which wouldn`t fit perfectly to other labels.
What is the record that you always carry with you, that never fails?
There are some records of that kind of course but at the moment its Shifted Persistence of Vision (MB Elektronics). I also like the title of it. And, please forgive me, I also have to name at least one from my own imprint FLASH Recordings because I play it in all sets which is a very energetic big room track called Jar from the French producer Jusai.
Is there any artist you would like to collaborate with?
Yes many, I think collaboration helps a lot for the artistic development if the right people come together! Björk would be interesting to work with because she is one of the highest respected musicians in my record collection and she likes to collaborate with electronic music artists.
Do you have any advice for the young Chinese DJs?
They should invent their own way of Techno that would be very interesting! They should build up their own labels and show the world what is their sound, I like to collaborate with people who built up their own thing.
Tom Hades started to discover and experiment with electronic music when listening to DAF, Kraftwerk, Front 242, ... At the age of 15, he bought his first keyboard, the famous Casio CZ-101 and transformed his game-computer, Amiga 500, into his first DAW. Quickly he got experienced with MIDI-integration and sampling functions, which gave him even more urge for buying/selling new material as addition to his current setup.
Never one to shy away from globetrotting, Tom Hades DJ-ing and live shows have taken him around the world a multitude of times. From Fabric in London to Fabrik in Madrid, and from Awakenings to I Love Techno, his work ethic demonstrates a literal tour de force. Tom Hades started to discover and experiment with electronic music when listening to the likes of DAF, Kraftwerk and Front 242 in his formative years.
What was it that you liked about it, that made you want to be a DJ and a producer?
I started to listen to new wave and other electronic music when going out in local parties from my neighborhood where I grew up. I really liked the sequential, almost hypnotic way of building tracks with electronic soundscapes and sound design. Thats the reason I really became interested in this world because I wanted also to be able to make some hypnotic stuff and have people react on them.
Tom Hades is your alter ego, how did you get to this artist name?
That's actually a very special story. I used to be together with Steve Redhead in class, in that time we already made some music. Steve knew Marco Bailey and asked me if I did not even want to make some music with Marco . Marco then came to my home one day and that was jamming together, which really went very smoothly. In a few hours we stopped some tracks. Marco drew the night to Gent to Music Man to present our tracks. And suddenly I got phone ... Marco.
If you had to choose between DJing, playing live, producing and managing a label, which part of the job do you enjoy most?
I guess it would be in the following order: producing, playing live, DJing and then managing the label. It doesnt mean that I dont like to do, for example, the last one, but my heart will always be in my studio. My passion started there so it is hard to change that.
How did you evolve like dj from earlier to now?
In my early years I always turned a dj-set to events. But I'm someone who is naturally bored quickly. I found DJ sets after a time really boring . That's why I made the switch to livesets after a while . I have done that for 8-9 years. I always liked making something with that hardware on the spot. That's how many productions are created, then you have something authentic.
"Just do your thing because everybody is always negative about new things because its possible competition for them".
Whats your greatest challenge been in your career trajectory?
To be successful or to have some kind of success there are a couple of factors that are really important. Of course, you need to know what youre doing, thats one. Second, you need to have the right people around you, in terms of contacts but also in terms of people who support you. And of course, the third and probably the biggest factor is the luck. So, has it been smooth? It has been smooth but it also has been very difficult at the same time. So, its never never think that youre there. Stay with your two feet on the ground, no problem.
What inspired you to produce EP Subbed?
Ive been a lot in the studio using newly bought equipment to get back to my roots and get the same feel as I did when I started in the music business. The inspiration came pretty quickly just by doing a one-take recording based on all kinds of internal and external instruments. Just fiddling with knobs gives everything such a more human feel.
How do you see the worlds techno scene at the moment? What do you think can be done it order to make it better?
I think we should focus more on the music and less on the whole thing around it like social media, profiling, likes, votes, charts. Back in the days, when there was only a vinyl store, you could only go there and listen to the music and judge for yourself what you liked and what not. And then you still needed to filter out probably due to the higher cost. But that brought so big quality of music that gets lost now in the huge pool of music. Lets get back to what music is all about : listen and enjoy.
You have traveled all over the world with your baggage bag. Who do you like the best audience to play?
That's very simple, Japan remains for me . The first time I went there was in the Liquid Room . You can compare that to the AB in Brussels, with the difference that the club is in an apartment building, on the 14th floor where people living above, below and next to the club live. This is not possible here. That audience is incredible . They all go together together, all of them. They stay from the first minute to the last minute. Plus they are completely out of their roof while they are still disciplined. When you look at the audience while you are in a row, they are in line for dancing.
What have been the biggest challenges and the highlights for the label over the years?
The biggest challenges are that I always wanted to show the outside world that a lot of new talents can bring big things. So I had a lot of artists on my label, which have now become established professionals so Im very proud of that. I guess the biggest highlight for me is my current release since again, I never thought I would still be doing this, or having a label with such a catalogue.
Looking back on your career what do you think was the highlight? And what makes you really proud?
Im proud on everything I did! Ive played on big festivals and clubs but also on very small intimate venues where I got so connected to the people that the set I do only gets better. Getting energy means giving more energy. But above all that, Im so happy that I got the chance to live my dream and meet so many people and cultures all over the world. Music unites and still does nowadays. And that is what the world needs.
Is there any advice youd give to up and coming DJs, or producers?
Find your own way. Find your own sound, find your own way and dont follow too much hype, or what charts say, or whatever. Just do what you think is best. I have a really cool thing that I saw sometime ago, and its a nice sentence about this: In the beginning they will always laugh at whatever you do, but then they will start to copy. Actually, this is it.
If you havent heard of Tanner Petulla aka Getter
I dont know what the frick is wrong with you. Whether it be the OWSLA artists insanely well-produced music or his hilarious internet presence, the San Jose natives wide range of talents has garnered him one of the largest and most loyal followings in electronic music.
Producer and DJ, Getter has established himself as one of the best rising acts in American-made bass music. Hes released a number of styles from dubstep to trap and drum & bass on Rottun, Firepower Records, and more recently OWSLA with the excellent Head Splitter single and a remix of Carmadas Maybe.
You have years of experience as a producer and DJ. How did your career start?
Honestly it all just started for my sheer love for creating music. Before i produced or started DJing, I played drums and guitar for various metal bands with my friends. Just for fun. I later discovered I could make anything I wanted by myself on a laptop and immediately focused my energy on producing.
What elements do you think go into a good DJ set?
I think when the DJ can work with the crowd and take them through a journey. I was a fan first, so I have a good idea of what people want at shows. If I have ten unreleased songs and mash them up with other songs and surprise the crowd, they go crazy. You can kind of tell how the show is going by how the crowd is reacting, so when they are mellow, you gotta bring em back.
How do you feel about genres?
I feel like genres are necessary to classify what you like, same with certain sub genres. I'm just not a fan of sub genres that can not be put on anything.
Youve collaborated with the likes of Skrillex, Datsik & Borgore. Can we anticipate any big collaborations in the near future?
I have a whole new huge EP coming out later this year with a tour and a bunch of shit. Im focusing a lot on hip-hop and vocalists. I could collab with Tiesto, I could collab with all these big ass EDM artists
but at the end of the day I like hip-hop and I like female vocalists. Ive got $uicideboy$ on one song for the EP Im working on. Kodak Blackmaybe. Im really trying to collaborate with vocalists and rappers rather than EDM people. Not that I dont like it, its just where Im going.
"Without any idea I have or a song, theyre automatically on board cause they believe in me and my vision".
Can you tell us about the making of Head Splitter?
I made it pretty quickly with no intention of release, and sent a rough version of it around to some artists. Next thing I knew, I got hit up to have it signed to OWSLA! I immediately went in and perfected all of it.
If you could choose one artist to work with, Who would it be and why?
Definitely Eminem. Like old school Slim Shady shit. He's my favorite rapper of all time and to have him on a track would be insane.
Why did you decide to start Shred Collective?
I decided to start it because like, I came up the same way all of my friends came up right now where like you need to get handouts from people. Well, not handouts but help from people who are more popular than you. So I got to the point where I was like, I know enough people who are putting out music that Im really close with, but they always go with labels and get f*ed. They dont get paid, or it takes forever for them to release something. So Im just like dude, you will keep 100% of the money. I just spend the money I have and the money from merch sales and anything I do with Shred on the actual artists.
How is the dubstep scene different than what it was five years ago?
There were so many people complaining about shit back in the day. Now I feel like its gotten to the point where everybodys finally stopped arguing. People just listen to the music. Everybodys doing everything now, its a lot more diversified. But at the same time its changed for the worst. A lot of times, in my experience, Ill put out one type of music and get a bunch of fans in that genre or market, but then switch and try something else and then those people, previously calling themselves my number one fans, are cussing me out. Thats why I always blow up the topic online, I think its fucking annoying that people cant make up their minds about what they like.
Is there a right way and a wrong way to go about constructing your own tunes?
I really dont like it when people ridicule others for using samples. Most of the earliest beats were 100% samples. I use lots of different samples but only for drums and effects. Its dope to find a good snare sample with a nice transient and then make a snare out of that; it saves time and a lot of the time can sound better. I dont understand using samples for the main synth, though. It takes out the originality.
Who can you attribute your success to?
My number one mentor, the dude that got me to this point was Borgore because hes been a big fan of my music and hes super selfless. He cares about everyone else and he wants his friends to come up. I was hanging out with him a while ago and he introduced me to this guy Stephen that I used to know from back in the day, and then he started managing me. Shit just took off. Hes definitely one of the biggest reasons why everything is happening. Hes my biggest mentor and my best friend. Besides that, Flume is my biggest inspiration just because he does what he wants and he makes it fucking work.
Best advice for upcoming producers?
I feel like they gotta put their dicks away and stop waving them in front of everyones business. You just gotta let the music speak for itself. If you make good shit people will find it. Perfect example is Rickyxsan with his Gettin That record. He didnt send it to anyone, people just heard it and then Skrillex and Diplo were playing it. People just need to stop sending so many emails and giving out USBs and stuff.
As a DJ, his appearances have quickly built up a loyal following wherever he goes. He developed his sound while playing extended sets at an early residency at esteemed Stalker club in his hometown of Haarlem, Holland. He has gone on to become not only a headline name in his native land with regular appearances for Dance Valley and Extrema, but now across Europe, developing his profile as one of the most in demand DJs on the circuit. As of recently, Matthew's appearances have been restricted exclusively to Europe.
Dekay's work is admired across the board. Through his epic DJ sets, Matthew has built up a truly global following, conquering territory after territory, airwave after airwave with demand for him on an upward gradient month after month.
"I seriously believe that we're moving into the next era, where you can offer people more than just selling the music".
So what did you grow up listening to?
I was obsessed with the band Level 42 for their funkiness, interesting chord structures and harmonies and their lead singer/ bass player Mark King was my idol growing up.
You were a producer first and then became a DJ, often the opposite to most, is that still how you see yourself?
For years I would have told you that I would consider myself a producer/composer first and secondly a DJ, but after playing internationally for over decade I have totally fallen in love with DJing and developed my skills of working the dancefloor. If someone were to force me to choose one I'd pick producing music before performing. Hopefully that doesnt happen as I really think they go hand in hand and feed off each other.
Having formed the "Matthew Dekay" band, have you found that you feel more comfortable working alone or do you enjoy working as a team?
It doesnt matter. I like to work with many different musicians cause its always feeds your creativity. And sometimes I just like to create my perfect world and I really enjoy being alone in the studio.
When did you discover electronic music and how did you decide to embark on this musical path?
I wasnt introduced to electronic music by radio or a club experience. Rather, my first contact was at music conventions held during the early 80s where they played that type of music to showcase the uses of the new instruments. My father was really obsessed with gear, keyboards in particular, and he took me to these international music conferences where all the big name manufacturers came to announce their new products. Around that time, there was also switch from analogue to digital synthesizers. These experiences blew my mind and I recall how I was carrying these product catalogues with me everywhere staring at them and somehow just inherited this passion for gears. Later, I abandoned the educational path in classical music as studying repertoire or wanting to become a piano virtuoso wasnt so appealing to me. In my opinion, music shouldnt have rules. Embarking on a musical path with electronics enabled me to break out from classical boundaries and improvise my own style.
Where has been your favourite place to perform during your career?
I love Hungary in Europe. For me its the best place on earth to perform. The reason is that the people are so open minded over there.
How have you changed as a musician in this time?
First of all I don't consider myself a musician. Yes I do play the piano but I rather categorize myself as a composer rather than a musician. As far as composing music I've done a full 360. I first started off with samplers, synthesizers and mixers with no use of a computer. Then I moved to a computer based studio and was one of the first to do full productions inside the computer. I remember there was not a lot of variety in choice of plugins etc. Today I've gone back to the hardware and have been collecting vintage synths, mixers and compressors etc. I think it's the only way to sound different today from the majority.
What are your intentions for the imprint, do you see it as a platform for pushing your own music, or other artists who you support?
I am trying to concentrate exclusively on a small group of musicians and really nurture their talent and creativity by providing a free and open community environment. I feel loyalty is paramount, meaning I dont want to end up with 50 artists on the label all with a single track signed. Its very important to me that this is a group project and everyone involved feels like they have total creative control to write and release music that they may not be able to do on other labels.
How did you perceive the transformation within the music industry over the last 20 years?
The industry has changed in a way that it has become very difficult just to make a living only out of music sales. The proportion of income generated by stage presence and performance increased significantly so producers had to enter the DJ world as the audiences demand for seeing the composer of a particular record playing it publicly increased. When I re-entered the electronic music scene around the early 00s after a short stint in cinematic music, I did not aim to be a DJ. I was actually a terrible DJ back then. I just wanted DJs to play my records.
You've been in Australia, how are you liking it?
I simply love it here. I always get such a great vibe here. The Australian attitude; always positive, happy and smiling is contagious. I cant help but be in a good mood here. The food options here also are so great.
Deep down did you have a goal that you wanted to achieve or did you just go with the flow and let fate pave the way?
MDK: I always knew what I wanted. Its kind of strange but I wasnt really interested in doing other things at a very young age. I just wanted to be better everyday in playing the piano and learn more about studios. I also wanted to be better every day in making arrangements and writing songs. It was and still is an addiction. So I think I started some engine or something and that brought me to the point I am today.
Hailing from Strasbourg, France, Ferry Tayle
s history in music didnt start out in the trance genre. Jazz was the first style of music he took up and at the young age of seven he learned to play the saxophone, which he went on to play for many years. It wasnt until he discovered Jean-Michel Jarre that the passion for electronic music grew, and with the new millennium on the horizon, it was the perfect time for him to enter the electronic music world.
There are a few underrated Trance producers that are surprisingly not as popular as you would think. One such producer is Ferry Tayle a lot of people were excited to have him play here New York recently and it took a fair time publicly sharing the desire for it for anyone to meet the demand. So this month USTM is proud to let you know a little more about Ferry Tayle and why you may want to know about his music!
His synth stabs tend to twinkle the average styles, and he seems to enjoy holding the emotional breakdown out as long as he can before the drop. His tracks seem to have a little more of a groove to them it could be the shuffling of his bassline notes, the decision to add small house-like stabs during a rolling bassline intro, or something else entirely. Something is there that is just a little different, and people respond to it.
"I really try to tell a story every time i produce a track".
What kind of music did you grow up with?
I grew up with Jazz. I started to play the saxophone at the age of 6 and that was my main instrument for a couple of years. The feelings in Jazz are very close to those in trance. Its all about emotions. In Jazz, you are free to play a track the way you feel it. Thats why, even the biggest hits can be reworked with your own feelings, without being too far from the main theme. There are less restrictions in Jazz.
How did you get the nickname, The Wizard?
Ferry Tayle In 2010, I played at the famous Trance Energy and ID&T (the promoter) called me the french Wizard. I kept the idea and worked around this.
You discovered jazz at an early age and was inspired by the music of Jean-Michel Jarre's. What is it with his music that has always stuck with you?
Well, jazz brought me the way to understand & feel the pure emotion, because for me, there is no better style than this one for feeling the real emotion, the deepest one. After that, I felt in love with the creativity you can have with the electronic music. The only limit, its yourself.
How best would you describe the sounds on the album? Is it something that a Ferry Tayle fan would identify himself with immediately?
Ferry Tayle As I said above, its a full story, and I tried to cover all trance genres, from progressive to euphoric uplifting tracks, through some downtempo & orchestral/cinematic feelings. I just tried to do what I love.
Are you a fan of Armin Van Buuren and do you feel it is deserved that he is the most popular trance DJ around?
Im a fan of Armin and respect him. I had the chance to meet him at a State Of Trance 550 in Moscow and he is very nice guy. He is a workaholic and deserves to be the world N°1 DJ for the 5th time. He does a lot for the scene even if a lot blame him for the changes. We should all respect him for what he did & still does for us. Without him, I wouldnt be here in my career. He supports a lot of my tracks and through his show, my name is seen all over the world. In a way, he helped build my career.
When was the first time that you heard about the legendary Technoclub? What does the Technoclub mean to the EDM fans in France?
When I was young, one of my friend gave me a technoclub compilation. It was the first time I heard about it. After I saw many events with so great line up. I never expected to play there one day. In France, Technoclub is mainly known on the other side of the Rhein.. unfortunately not everywhere in France.
Both in terms of producers and scene, trance in France is famously scarce. Are there any nights over there that you think buck this trend?
Im the only one in France now to organize trance parties. We already hosted it for Sean Tyas, Darren Porter, Talla 2XLC, Aly & Fila, Sam Mitcham, Jorn Van Deynhoven, Ruben De Ronde and soon John O Callaghan. I think our project is growing and Im thankful to the people who are supporting us more & more.
The trance scene is very limited in Germany as is it is in France. Is it the techno and House scene in France that limits the trance scene to grow?
Well, in France its worst than Germany
Trance is close to 0 ! A lot of French even dont know that Im French !!! and I have never some gigs here ! House is the main stream in France definitely thanks to David Guetta, Bob Sinclar, Martin Solveig. Its hard for the trance scene to grow up, but its a good things for the French people because they start to open their eyes about the DJing scene & the electronic scene in general. Before David Guetta, French people always had a bad opinion about electronic music, even with monster like Daft Punk or Jean Michel Jarre.
What does Electronic Dance Music mean to you?
To me, music is a Universal langage. Its a story inspired by others, by what surrounds me. Im the writer, the public is my words. I try to communicate somerhing deep and close to my fans, to show my emotions and my sensibility through my music.
What do you do away from music to relax?
I try to spend a lot of time & chill with my girlfriend, family & friends
I have a chance to be surrounded by a great "team" that help me to stay on Earth & escape sometimes from the Music Biz pressure. They are definitely a big part of my current success even if they are in the shadow.
Who is the most inspirational person in your life?
I am called The Wizard by a lot of people, that means that the golden rule is to never share the trick. I will keep it to myself as well the person who is my inspiration source. She knows who she is.
What are your hobbies?
Sports when I have time, video games, spending time with my family & friends, because between my job & music, its hard to manage everything.
The Moment in Career that you are most proud of ?
Absolutely the rebirth of Capetown, which was created in 2002-2003. I was happy that Airwave proposed to me to give Capetown another chance together. The first track we made, Proglifter was a Future Favorite on ASOT - it was one of the best tracks of 2006, and the story continued in 2007, with Metaphoric.
A man whos rallied against the really boring tech house sound since day one, Dave thinks its only a matter of time before the genre dies, and like minimal the tech house precursor everyone will go yeah well I never played that. In an attempt to repackage tech house acts as techno before that happens, Dave sees the modern media hype machine stirring up confusion, at times purposefully. There's hype around the wrong things, he says. And there are certain artists using investments from cash-ins they've had to support their career and buy journalists, apparently.
ITS hard to single out anyone in the last 20 years whos done more for technos onward march than Dave Clarke. While some veteran DJs coast along, dining out on their classics and releasing retrospectives, Clarke is still in thrall to technos inherent futurism.
"I'm not looking for a time to cash my chips in and turn traitor to everything I believe in; I'm content where I am".
What made you so interested in electronic music and what made you want to become a DJ and a producer?
In electronic stuff I got interested because of my father, because he used to have a lot of interesting things in the house: recorders, echo machines, disco lights even. And then becoming a DJ was quite natural for me because I just really really enjoyed music and then I stared doing a few parties at friends birthdays and rolling discos.
Did you move to Amsterdam because of the ease of access to the rest of Europe?
When I first went to Amsterdam and I fell in love with the place. I dont know why, I cant really explain, its just bizarre really. Its not because of the drugs either because I dont like drugs and I actually hate that cliché that it gets presented with. Its just a city that I fell in love with and Ive always had in mind and circumstances in my life just enabled it to happen. Then, after that, it became very clear that living in a European country within the schegen district makes more sense than going from other countries. Sometimes when I fly to Spain I dont even have to show my passport. I dont have to queue up and go through the passport queue every single flight that I take.
You also say "techno DJs have better skills than for other genres. Do you make any mistakes when DJing?
All DJs make mistakes, me included, CD mixing is easier in some ways (quicker cueing for example) but CD mixers also add their own problems and you have to adapt to different techniques (for example there is no centre spindle on CD decks to speed up so you have to develop a new flick technique) but it keeps you on your toes. Ableton mixing is soooooo easy, OK the pre-programming is where the skill is, but you can't drop a beat when you're using it so that to me isn't DJing, it's just sequencing without risk.
Do you have a personal assistent in buisness or do you prefer to do everything yourself?
I have to do that as a DJ or my sets will get stagnant. Some DJs get other people to do it for them but I feel like I need to do it myself. People are sending me their music personally, theyre struggling to get it heard, you have to go through it. Then again, you can always tell if theyre not sending me their music personally. If theyre going, Yay! This is the biggest hit on Pete Tongs radio show and its smashing it in Ibiza, you know theres a 98.5 per cent chance of you not enjoying that track.
Tell me about quality of EDM in the recent times.
What most upsets me about EDM is that theyve completely forgotten the roots. People like Hawtin, people like Guetta, in a way they are kind of like Isis in Palmyra, destroying everything that came before to suit their own needs. Thats probably an ironic statement coming from someone like me whos a punk, which is always about destroying. But thats about destroying the establishment, things that don't make society fair and correct.
Can't you lose yourself in EDM just like you can with techno?
EDM disrupts the attention. It's not hypnotic. It goes alongside the problem of phones, filming and selfie sticks. Certain clubs have the right idea, saying, "Fuck off with your cameras. You're here to interact with people inside a club, not to take photos every five seconds." The whole point of music is to disconnect with parts of world you can't be bothered with. House was always about a slow build-up of drums taking you somewhere. With EDM it's not about taking you anywhere, it's about telling everyone what a great time you're having.
The electronic industry is a fickle. How do you fight in such an environment?
I like to keep things separate because sometimes its a matter of What can you do for me and what can I do for you? I think its healthier to not be surrounded by the industry in every single part of your life because then youre not going to be a well rounded person. My friends are not involved in my industry exactly as my industry is. Sometimes they do videos for other artists EDM artists even but theyre not getting anything from me, Im not getting anything from them. Im quite private.
This is was really affected me when I was growing up, it was the X Mix Electro that you did. Is this a topic that you will return to?
It has always been there for me. Those people that pine for a mix CD are very, very sweet but its not going to happen any more. A mix CD was a step up from a mixtape, which to me always sounded really bad. Making a mix CD doesnt really make sense anymore but electro on the other hand; its always been a massive part of my life. The last Fact mix that I did was electro and I play a lot of electro on my radio show, White Noise, its always there. I play it out less in clubs now because it doesnt seem to be so popular, but then you have to have an incredible sound system for it to work well and so that people can understand it.
What do you think was the greatest challenge you had in order to get where you are now?
To give up complete social life. To give up weekends. To give up holidays most of the time. You know, thats one of the things no one really talks about.. If you have a normal job, of course its tough, of course its difficult, but you normally have time off where you see other people, other friends at weekends and so on. You know, I live in Amsterdam and I get invited to birthday parties for one or two years and all of the sudden people dont invite you any more because they think youre constantly working. So thats one of the toughest things, that you dont really have a social life and weekends. And thats quite hard.
Over the last decade his productions and remixes have seen massive support from Eddie Halliwell, Tiesto, Armin van Buuren and Paul van Dyk who has employed John's remix skills repeatedly on his highly respected Vandit label.
After the huge successes of his singles "Vellum", "The Door" and "New Dimension" and "Chime", John has gone on to deliver a catalog of big singles including the recent hits "Nothing Left Between Us", "Fade to Black", "Bored of You, Bored of Me" and most recently "Vandalism".
As a remixer John has worked for numerous high profile labels including Vandit, Euphonic, Afterglow Records, Duty Free, Ministry of Sound, Monster Records, Flux Delux, Conspiracy, Moodmusic and Fenology.
His sound was influenced by a mixture of tough melodic German dance music that was fast putting Frankfurt (and djs like Sven Vath and Dj Dag) on the map as the epicenter of the global trance scene, and the hard, more percussive sounds that artists like CJ Bolland, Westbam and Jeff Mills were pioneering.
"...only thing I will be pulling out of the bag will be a kick drum machine gun to assault you all with."
You started your career in the early 90s with a residency at Code Red in London. What got you into producing?
My career in music started long before I got involved with Dance music. I played the flute when I was really young and then the guitar in a number of rock bands when I was in my teens, so writing and performing music has always been my main passion in life. When I traded in my guitar for a set of decks, I thought it was great as I didnt have to rely on lazy drummers or moody singers to perform, but I still missed that feeling that you get from a crowd singing reacting to or singing along to a song you had written yourself. Nothing could ever replace that feeling, so I felt the only solution, taking into account my new musical direction, was to produce material to then play in the clubs. Having a crowd go mental when you play a big track gives you an amazing feeling, but when you have written the track yourself.
What have been your favourite club nights?
I loved my gig at Privilege in Buenos Aries and also the SAMC was amazing. Digital Society is always a highlight and I absolutely loved the gig in Sydney on the Trance Energy tour. Id say the gig at Privilege was the absolute highlight.
If you could play at any event or celebration, what would it be?
Ive never been to or played in Japan. I would love to go there to play and really explore the country, the culture and the food. There are many places I have been to play that I have no interest in going back to but Japan is one country that fascinates me. Other than that Im pretty stoked to be doing a 10 hour set at one of my favorite venues in the UK the really underground Boxxed Warehouse in Birmingham. Ive played for the promoters Trancecoda many times and the shows are always superb.
Besides eletronic music what do you like to listen in your free time?
In my car I have the new Metallica album and the new Slipknot album. I really like Metal and hard rock so I listen to lots of this, but I also like some more softer stuff like U2, The Killers, Pink.
Youve been performing and playing for a long time, is there a reason that this is your first EDC?
No not really, theres no great reason. Ive had a couple of show offers for Insomniac before that I havent been able to do because the dates didnt work out. And there are months in the year when I dont tour because you know I have kids. The weather in England is so shit all the way through the year that July and August tend to be the only times that its actually worth being in England and thats when the kids are on holiday. So I dont really do any gigs.
Do you specially prepare tracks and edits that you only use in your live sets like a lot of other DJs seem to be doing in recent times?
Yes. There are some tracks you get sent that are great but just too damn long so you edit them down from 9 minutes to 5 and a half and then there are others that are great but have a really cheesy breakdown so you take that out or maybe write a new breakdown to replace it. And then there are some tracks that have 1 or 2 great elements but lack power and energy so you take those one or two elements and completely rework them to fit in better with your sound.
Do you think that the current trance style have the same concept that the trance made in the 90s?
In a way all dance music is similar regardless of genre but for me the music now is better than it has ever been.
You put together your own label. Where did the idea of that come about and how has it been to be able to release freely on the label, avoiding much of the 'label politics' which many artists often refer to?
Ive been very fortunate to be given the opportunity to A&R my own label and I have been even more lucky to work with such an incredible team as the guys at Discover/Recoverworld who look after all the business aspects of the label as well as exclusively managing all of my music. Politics can never be avoided in any business. I dont think you can have any organisation, regardless of industry sector, without there being some form of politics involved, however, at Discover we all have a very honest relationship and above that a strong friendship based on our love for music. In terms of the artists on the label, we look after them as best we can and we are as honest as possible and I think they are happy with what we do.
How do you think you inspire other DJs? And who would you say is YOUR greatest inspiration?
I encourage them to never compare their own career with anyone elses and I try to insist that they are always grateful, that they work hard and are always polite and courteous to fans, promoters and anyone else they come into contact with on the road. Ive seen other DJs behave like cunts on the road. Bigheaded, demanding divas that ought to be ashamed of themselves I wont work with horrible parasites like that. They give the scene a bad name. Those are the qualities I like to think I help instil in the artists I work with. Who is my biggest inspiration, - Oliver Reed and Keith Moon.
From an early age, Woods has prided himself on standing apart from the crowd. He is the son of a music teacher, the U.K.-born Woods was classically trained in a variety of instruments ranging from piano to percussion, and as a youth he even performed briefly with the London Symphony Orchestra. The experience this musicality has brought now sets his productions apart and gives him an edge on contemporaries.
Michael Woods has sailed the seas of Dance music for many years, working ceaselessly to the top of the pile, where he unquestionably deserves his seat. His reputation as an essential booking for huge scale music gatherings across the planet is obvious to see by his continuous schedule of international bookings. Its been twelve years since Michaels legendary remix of Café Del Mar exploded onto the world stage and unlike many trailblazers of years gone by, Michaels ability to evolve his productions and DJ sets alike have ensured that he remains a figurehead in the international House music league.
''The one thing I strive to do more than anything else when working on music is try to make a good club record''.
How did you first make the transition into the trance world? Why was that the style of music that ended up taking over you life?
Trance was the first style of music I produced, but my style has changed a lot since the days of 'Warrior' and 'Into the Dawn' and carries a much more progressive/techno feel to it now. I'd say there are still elements of my sound from back then in the music I create now, but times change and with it my style changed; music progresses and artists have to progress with it. Trance will always be a big part of my life and has helped to shape me into the artist I am today. I wouldn't consider myself a trance artist now.
What first got you into producing electronic music?
It kind of happened by accident, it wasnt something I was actively looking to get in to, but around 16 years ago my sister, Marcella Woods, who is a vocalist in her own right, was dating a DJ/Producer by the name of Matt Darey. He took it upon himself to show me around his studio, and one day, while he was out of the studio I decided to mess around with some melodies and chords using his equipment little did I know Matt had overheard what I was making and ran in to the studio asking me to play it again. We ended up making a record out of this music, signing it to Inferno Music and it went top 40 in the UK national charts and Ive been doing it ever since.
There has been always an antagonism between French and English, throughout the history. Could you please tell us what is your vision about the French electronic music scene?
Its hard for me to answer this question as to this day I have never been to a nightclub in France. Although France has spawned some amazing producers, for examples Justice.
What inspired you to make such an awesome song like Platinum Chains?
Michael Woods, laughs; and says I remember writing it on the plane actually, I write a lot stuff when Im on the plane I just came up with that cord thing that da-da-dee-da and I tried on the piano and it sounded completely different and just took it into the studio and it just worked and I released it to Calvin Harris and he loved it too and it was on his label Fly High and he was playing it at every single set and it blew up in that way too."
How do you deal with traveling the world, producing music and also being the founder of Diffused? What is your balance like on a day to day?
Drinking a lot of Patron! [Laughs]. You know, that is probably the most difficult thing to do, is trying to balance everything. There are only 24 hours a day, and so much you can do. Lucky, I have got a really cool management company like Three Six Zero who looks after Deadmau5, Calvin Harris etc. Within that company they look after my label. I have a management team that looks after the label and works with me so I do have got a good team around me that helps me out. Basically, all I have to do is make sure I am producing good records but outside of that I have people that help me out.
What technological change would fundamentally change the concept of DJ and/or clubbing?
I think that technology has completely changed the way clubs and clubbers have evolved since the explosion of acid house. Before, it was only records, then CDs and computers, now DJs are playing from their Ipads. Track titles are going straight onto twitter as they get played and sets are being streamed across the globe. Every year something new comes around that will have an impact on the clubbing scene, even mobiles have helped with clubbers asking DJs to play records, so who knows what's around the corner next.
Where is your number one holiday destination?
If its a total holiday with nothing but chilling out Id have to go back to the Maldives.
Do you have a favorite venue youve played?
Its really hard to answer this question as Ive played at so many amazing venues all around the world, but I always love playing at Amnesia in Ibiza, Ministry of Sound in London and Cream in Liverpool, UK.
What advice could you give to aspiring musicians who want to contribute to the EDM scene?
My best advice for up and coming producers/DJs is to be really passionate about what you do, put in the time and never give up. I remember when I first started to make music professionally, sometimes I would spend up to 48+ hours at a time in that studio/garage, sometimes just listening to the same 4 bars over and over, trying to perfect it and get it just right. It was a lot of hard work and I made a lot of sacrifices but Im reaping the rewards now, and I believe any aspiring producer/DJ can do the same if he/she puts in the hard work.
Master of the rework, Chris has put his own interpretations in the studio to tunes such as Leftfields Phat Planet, Eurythmics Sweet Dreams and Prodigys Climbatize. His rewards have not only come in the form of remixes, with Santiago De Cuba receiving much praise recently for its big room appeal.
His production talent was noticed after his talents behind the decks. It only took him 6 months to secure his first residency after discovering his passion for the music he loves, that place being Passion in Aberdeen. DJing, as with his production, is clearly a talent that comes naturally to Mr. Lake.
"I think it is good for any scene to explore its limits. If you do not push things to the extreme, you will never know how far you can go".
Do you think that achieving the amount of success you have at such a young age will help you in your career in the future?
I hope so. I am certainly in this long term. I have grown up writing music, and I don't plan to stop. I have spent the past 18 months finding my feet in the industry. It has been difficult sometimes to get people to take me seriously because of my age, but now people are realizing I am capable of things, so this is becoming less of a problem.
Could you see yourself also producing other kinds of music?
What niche do you fill?
I do think I stand by myself. Ive got a huge appreciation of the underground scene, but that appreciation is a bit more innocent. Ive never been a big party guyIve never done drugsbut I really do love the music. At the same time, I can appreciate a big hit and the more commercial side of things. I sit right in the middle. Its quite a difficult place to sit in, actually.
I already do! I do all sorts. Ive done a lot of work for pop artists, and for adverts / TV etc. Its great fun to be creative, and I dont always just do dance.
How do you musically differentiate the parts of your sets, if at all?
I take a different approach. I know a lot of guys group tracks into genres and try to play similar records together. I was thinking about this the other daymaybe I see links between records that other people dont see. I mix everything together and go along with the crowd.
How do you compare DJ'ing and Production? What would you like to focus on in the near future?
Djing is the reward for my Production work. A chance for me to see how people react to my mixes.
When youre not on tour, whats an ideal way for you to spend the day, and where?
With my family. I have the most amazing family. I wish I could spend more time with them.
What do you attribute that to with Americans?
Americas like a big social experiment, and everyone wants to make things happen and try and do things bigger, better and bolder than everyone else. I feel people have the attitude to want to make shit happen. Its as simple as that.
What is your favorite TV show past or present?
The Wire, or Breaking bad. I love watching box sets on my computer. I download a few seasons off iTunes before I go on a tour, and watch them on the plane etc. Those 2 were some of my favourites.
How and why did a label like OWSLA change your vision of the current House scene?
What I like very much about this label and its crew is how much they are attached to making good sounds without taking the lead. I know this may sound very vague and simplistic, but you'd be surprised how many people in this scene are doing things relatively safely, without getting out of their comfort zone. I do not consider Owsla to be in that category. At all. They are always in the goal of doing even better for fans and giving them more, while remaining creative. It's a super inspirational team and I love working with people who have such positive philosophies.
Are there any trends in EDM that disturb you?
Producers trying to copy each other rather than innovating and finding their own sound. Its boring, its not unique. Ive been involved in the scene now for 12 years, and producers copying each other has always been going on. Theres always been sh*t music. There have always been genres that arent cool but are commercially successful and genres that are cool but arent commercial at all.
Greg Zaccagnino, better known simply as Zaxx, is the latest rising star in the electronic music scene. In a very short time he has transformed from bedroom producer who was looking to create a track people would hear around the world, to a DJ who has taken the electronic music community by storm. Gaining massive support from the likes of Tiesto, Hardwell, Afrojack and Tritonal, it is no surprise that he has sure taken the right track to attaining his goals. I first heard of Zaxx after he remixed The Chainsmokers
hit track Roses, and was blown away by the track. He didnt stop there, as has also remixed other tracks from artists ranging from Sander Van Doorn to Alice Deejay and Seven Lions to W&W.
maybe young, but he has quickly built up a sizable fanbase and has already played in front of a sea of dancing feet and bobbing heads. It is clear he is driven and motivated by one simple truth, his genuine love for music. It is perhaps the most important characteristic of any musical artist, especially a DJ whose job description requires them to find, curate and share the best tracks the world has to offer. He is unfazed by the status quo, and lets his passion for music lead him in everything he does.
"Don't release anything until you're ready. Success won't happen overnight and never give up".
Please introduce and tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Greg Zaccagnino, people usually assume my first name is Zach because of my DJ name, but Im just a 17-year-old kid from Staten Island, NY who loves making music.
How do you write your tracks?
If Im making a new song or starting up a new track, I always start with the chord progression or the melody. Ill mess with a bass line then think of notes that can complement it. I usually go from there. I focus on the melodies, then I go to the kicks and all the drums.
Which music aspect is most important to you in your live sets or live production?
In my live sets I like to make people feel like theyre in some kind of nostalgic euphoria, which is why I play a lot of classic remixes, most of which Ive made myself. Theres just no better joy than hearing a song you really love live.
Which artists in the music scene do you learn from or enjoy watching when you play big events?
Ive learned a lot from artists that arent even in the dance scene and a lot from some that are. One important thing Ive learned from watching these guys is that the key to being successful and being happy is to do this for yourself- to make the music you love and be happy doing it.
Youve been making music in an array of genres, from festival trap to house, whats your favorite to make?
I like to make everything. Thats why when I make a track, Ill have one drop different, then another drop different. So I always try to incorporate shit. Now in all my new music, its all like nothing youve ever heard.
As a DJ you always have to have the dopest tracks. How do you find them?
What I do is I go on SoundCloud. I follow a handful of artists that I really like and check out what theyre doing. Then theres the bigger artists that I like and see what theyre doing as well. I see what they liked or favorited and Ill just peek through it. The point was so the people went This song is so good, but I can probably only hear it here. It must be an exclusive song, I wish I knew what it was because its sick!
So youve basically grown up with the EDM genre, music influences, EDM wise, non-EDM wise, who do you listen to?
My main influences are definitely, in EDM is Martin Garrix, he was one of the first dudes to support me as well. We started chilling, and whenever hes in New York I always hangout with him, and he just gives me great advice. I dunno, non-EDM I listen to everything, classic rock, everything. It obviously varies, but Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith.
Who are your biggest musical inspirations and why?
My biggest musical inspirations have to be the Smashing Pumpkins, they have a very distinct sound and made unique music since they first began and it landed them as being one of the most popular bands in the last 20 years. Im inspired by any artist who can be original, fresh and still sound good.
If you could play one festival in the world, what would it be and why?
Either Ultra or Tomorrowland for sure because I feel like theyre the two most groundbreaking festivals.
Do you have any advice for other DJ?
My greatest advice is to honestly never give up or get discouraged. There are millions of kids who want to be the next big artist and thats why this game is so difficult. If you dont worry about shows, dont worry about the other nonsense, and just focus on your MUSIC, I promise you will see results.
Normally when you think of Germany and electronic music, the first association that come to mind are dark techno clubs scattered around Berlin. That is still the driving force behind the Germans, but there are those who can comfortably occupy a main stage slot just as well as one of his underground countrymen can DJ a dark club until the early the sun rises. Here we find Thomas Gold...
"I would consider myself as a successful person, since I am making a living doing music".
How and when did you first begin your exploration of dance music?
When I was fifteen I started listening to house music. I loved the sound of the music at that time and I loved dancing. I decided I wanted to make my own music. I started playing keyboards when I was seven and then when I was sixteen I got my first synthesizer. I started making my own music and later on I would DJ at my friends parties. About two years later I got my first job at a local venue. They actually fired me after my first night because it was so bad. So then I went home and practiced. I learned how to read the crowd, how to react to them and how to make them dance. A year later I started working at a club and I became a resident there for five years. After that I got more jobs and just kept going.
Whats your production style like, what are the first and last steps you take when making a track?
Generally speaking, I always go for a musical approach when producing tracks, be it remixes or original productions. I try to get a vibe, a rhythmic structure or a short bassline loop which in my opinion fits best for the given theme, hook or vocal and then I build my mix upon this basis element. When there is a basic layout or arrangement, I do all the fine tweaks, effects and additional sounds or vocal bits. But this can also happen in the middle of working on the track - just as it comes to my mind.
You are originally from Berlin, Germany. There are some pretty iconic dance clubs in Berlin and throughout Europe. What are some of your favorite rooms in Europe?
I love Berlin of course, for its authentic and very organic music scene. Whenever I have time to go out here, I try to visit a club and hang out with friends. Apart from that, I love Barcelona for its vibrant nightlife scene, and of course Ibiza is one of my all time favorites.
How do you balance touring and producing?
Yeah actually it's not very easy, you have to find your way. I remember last year I was a little bit sad that I did a lot of touring which is cool but I didn't get enough lot of studio time to produce my tracks, so I had to change something.
Have you been working with any up and coming producers/DJs that you would like to mention?
There are a lot of collaborations with singers/songwriters, but none of them are actually DJs. This is also a very new and fresh experience for me.
If you werent a DJ/producer what would you be?
I cant really imagine. Id be doing something creative. Where I can work with my own ideas and grow. I cant really imagine being out of the industry. Live with and for the music. Making sounds. Its been with me all my life.
If you had few days of not making music, what would you do?
I would hang out with friends, and chill. Host BBQs and grill some nice steaks)
Youve worked with a lot of labels over the years. You released The Chant on Armada Music. How do you decide what labels to work with?
When I do a track, I always try to find the right home (label) for it, and I have been releasing on all kinds of labels (Axtone Records, Size Records, Spinnin Records, Toolroom, Revealed Recordings, Protocol Recordings and Armada Music) and I am in touch with all of them for possible future releases.
Besides dance music, what other styles of music or artists do you enjoy listening to?
I really love underground stuff, but then I also love Disclosure, The Weekend, and slower music.
Where you sees the future of electronic dance music?
I think it is going to evolve a little bit, and it will go back to smoother and softer sounds. Four or five years ago everything was very groovy and melodic.
You regularly tour all over the world, from Canada to Brazil to Lebanon whats been the gig of the year for you so far and wheres been the best country to party in since you started playing internationally?
One of my favourite shows this year was in Brazil, in Rio De Janeiro at "The Week". Amazing club, awesome sound system and an incredible vibe. As for the best country, I couldn't say which is THE BEST one. When it comes to music there is no really big difference anymore. It is more a matter of the club, big or small, undergroundy or commercial and of course the venue itself. I`ve got the impression that people know how to party no matter where they from and where they live.
Your advice for hopeful producers and DJs.
Take your time, do your own thing and try to find your own personal signature, style or sound. You have to do it every day, every single hour and you have to be passionate about what youre doing
do what you love and put all your energy into it.
Over the years, technology has transitioned from samplers to multiple instances of digital judder, but Weillers appetite for the sonic fringes is no less voracious. His pitch-bent sound design has established him as a forward-thinking producer of cathartic, harmonics-enriched bangers, while his dynamic sets have made him a North American mainstage mainstay.
If I could say one thing, I would say dont look at the status quo and think that thats what you need to be".
Can you tell me a little bit about your musical background before you started as Bro Safari?
I started DJing and producing around 1998 or 1999 and I was in a group called Evol Intent and we made drum n bass with two other guys and Im still a part of that group actually. Thats what I mainly did leading up to launching Bro Safari. Before that, growing up, I mainly played in bands. I played guitar, bass guitar, and drums growing up.
How do you balance all of these projects and not get stuck with a bunch of half-finished ideas?
I just try to keep things moving. I cant say that Im afraid of a song not getting finished; I have thousands of unfinished songs on my various hard drives from over the years. Sometimes, you have to scratch away the dirt on the surface to find something valuable. If that means that I have to make 173 terrible track ideas just to make one that turns into an actual song, then thats fine with me. I know other producers that absolutely must finish everything they start, and I admire that. For me, that just doesnt work. I am constantly changing my workflow, and its always a party for me in the studio. As far as balancing everything? WORK HARD. Simple answer.
Do you have any standout moments?
Theres always those shows that will really surprise you. Last weekend we were in Grand Rapids, up in Michigan, and none of us really knew what to expect having never played there before. Maybe because its up near where Electric Forest is and theres just a lot of people into that music out there, but it was just a completely packed house and a really great show with excellent promoters. Just everything across the line was awesome at that show.
When producing, do you spend much time considering live sets and crowds?
I spent a lot of time thinking about the crowd too much, to the point I felt I lost sight of what I was doing for a while: Was I trying to please myself, my fans, my peers, or just trying to become a better producer? Now that I had the realization
Ive put that aside and made very intentional tones and sounds to inject in my songs.
What do you find hard about collaborating with other people?
Not doing it in the same room is always weird. I think when youre in the room with somebody, you have a good idea and you can bounce it off of them a lot quicker. Right now, Party Favor and I are trying to get a collab going, but we havent quite hit it yet because were all set on an idea and hes like, yea thats cool, but then without being in the same room together, its just kind of hard to brainstorm around the original concept. So its basically up to one of us to kick it all off and then we can go from there. Thats probably the hardest part.
Do you think it`s different perfoming for a solely colledge-based crowd?
For a college-based crowd, its definitely different. Everyone is there to party, thats just the nature. On top of that, the venue is typically smaller, which I love. I love to perform in 200-300 [person] capped rooms. Its fun because its more like a house party. Its also refreshing coming off of festivals. Its a completely different experience because of the massive crowds. Its difficult to connect because you cant see if everyone is into [the show] because its intimidatingly large. I definitely like smaller shows and college towns.
You were talking about Evol Intent
How do you keep up with that project and simultaneously maintain your very busy solo career?
The best way to do it is to not play the shows. I dont really play the gigs, but I work on the music because drum n bass is just something I cant stop working on.
What tracks and artists are the current weapons of choice?
Id say Dion Timmer is a sick producer, and we have a collaboration on my EP. His production reflects his sensibility of catchy, off-kilter, heavy, dubstep-trap hybrids. Barely Alive is another set of versatile producers with technical abilities that are amazing. And another Id shout out is Tisokihe has an interesting vibe and is a technically gifted producer.
Do you see the bubble of electronic music bursting or do you see it continuing to rise?
I honestly have no idea. Its a movement in its own and it seems to have already lasted longer than most fads in the music industry going back to the 90s with grunge which as an example was huge for a time but than slowly petered off. Now you have artists like Skrillex who have been relevant for 5-6 years and have been making it happen for themselves consistently staying as big as he was. Obviously, if the music stays stagnant, the genre is going to die. However, like we were just talking about, people are really pushing the boundaries right now and whether the fans will follow and get a little more weird with us remains to be seen at the moment.
Any advice for up-and-coming producers?
Dont look at your favorite artist and say, I want to be them, and then follow their path and think thats gonna get you there. The only thing thats going to bring you success as a producer is sticking to your guns and making the songs you want to make
If you start thinking, Its about branding, its about this, its about my merch, its about how I interact on social media,
Youre fucked. You want to make sure that youre always making the music that you want to make and playing the DJ sets you want to play, or else whats the point? Are you just doing it to be popular? My point is to assess where youre at and think about what you want. Do you want to be a producer who has longevity? Do you want to be a DJ whos popular? You know what I mean? Because now being a producer means being a producer/DJ if you really want to make it big. One thing that I can say for sure is that, if you dont keep it up and if you dont keep putting out original music that youre really proud of, its gonna go away, it will disappear, and you wont have anything left. Its important to be humble, be good to the people who book you to play shows, who want to work with you
Just be good to everyone around you, stick to your guns, and focus on making good music.
Klocks underlying motivations for DJing are as strong today as ever. There is an insatiable hunger when he talks, an underlying passion that can stem only from a profound love for what he does. He sits up and smiles as he describes the feeling of "goosebumps" when he "drops the right track at the right time and forms a "deep connection with the crowd," before pausing to bask in the moment, as if revisiting it in his own head.
I still see DJing as about 20 percent as a job, but 80 percent as doing what I loveor trying to achieve a vision.
Of course, there is a business side to it, but I still need to feel the core of it; I still need to feel the passion for it, If there are times where I dont really feel the energy then I have to adjust quickly because then my role as a DJ wont work. I have to have passion for it otherwise I cannot be good. Criticism is far more common today than it used to be, but I have had to learn to deal with it because if you get too much involved in this it drags your attention away from what is important. But I do not doubt my ability to be a DJ because I know that I can be amazing; I have had so many amazing shows and special moments, like magic momentsbut there will always be times when it doesnt click.
How was your daily life in recent years? You did not really produce, it was more a matter of being ready and fit for each date?
When you travel so much, it's almost impossible to make music. If you play four days in a row, then you have to get back, take care of the mass of emails, meet your agent, and then you're back on the plane. For a while, I also thought that my musical creation was DJing and I put everything in there. You can sometimes see it as arrangement, almost production, and I also edit a lot of pieces. But it's time to change and find a balance with production, and by the way take me a few weekends of rest.
What did you do before you became a DJ?
My first job ever as a kid was handing out flyers for clubs on the street, followed by being a Santa Claus for Mars and Snickers. I did many things: sold Olives at a market, did factory work, was a call center agent, I did child-minding, was a street musician with a guitar, a bartender, all kinds of things. As a serious, full-time job, I was graphic designer for a couple of years.
You have become, perhaps in spite of yourself, an icon. It's interesting that you talk about responsibility.
Sometimes I do not think about it, especially right now. I was on vacation six weeks, completely cut off from it all. It's a bit strange for me because I see techno as a community: we share an idea, it is not about stars. But I must say that it makes me think more, and that I sometimes do it twice before choosing certain directions. When you become better known, you have more opportunities to go right or left. It is therefore necessary to choose well. It starts with the collaborations, the festivals where you play or not. Sometimes there is more money in some but the place does not match.
What do you do to keep your stamina up for those kinds of sets?
Nothing really. A bit of champagne and some coffee. When the flow is there, I just enjoy the long sets. Others can sleep for 13 hours, I can play for 13 hours.
Do you practice meditation, yoga, that sort of thing?
I do yoga, but it never lasts long. Meditation, however, I do practically every day, I think it helps to maintain a balance. It also helps to get to the bottom of things. I think we must try to go beyond superficiality, try to find meaning in one's life, and realize one's potential.
How do you assess your creativity?
I hope that I can bring a few colors into the music world, not more. I think it's all there, we're not inventing anything new, just re-assembling elements, or combining them in our own, unique and special way. My color is definitely deeper and darker, but always somehow sexy. I'm not particularly interested in trends. For me, it is important that you find your own voice and what you really want to do. I am happy when I see that I can inspire others to find their own way.
Why don`t you have a manager?
I work with people, but in the end it's me making decisions and stuff. When you have a manager and they're deciding for youI never really got that. I have an assistant who does some of a manager's job, but I want to be in charge of my profile or artistic direction. I'm not the kind of person who can give that away to someone else.
Name a track that always seems to work on the dancefloor.
At the moment, it's Robert Hood's new version of "Never Grow Old." To be precise, it's Hood's alias as Floorplan. I love it, and it lifts the energy to a strong emotional level.
Club residencies seem like they're becoming a little less popular around the world. What do you think about it?
I think it teaches you a lot if you have a residencyI always think I can go deeper and more intense because of those longer sets, and you read the crowd better and learn things you couldn't if you just play quick two-hour sets all over the world. You maybe learn something different [with shorter sets], but [don't have] that intensity. You also learn to present something new every month for people who always come to see you. If you just travel all the time, you can kind of play the same sets everywhere because there are new people everywhere. Residencies challenge you, definitely.
What do you make of the so-called Berghain sound? Are you glad it has become known over the world or
is it more of a curse?
I think the term is limiting. The Berghain sound is something to be experienced, and encompasses much more than how it's often described - that is, heavy bass drums, a dark atmosphere and drone sounds.
What do you think about the state of techno right now as a whole?
There are always eras where things are copied and everything kind of sounds the same, and it gets a bit mechanical. I think you just have to have authentic artists and unique voices that have their own style, and not care so much about wanting to sound like this and that. As soon as you have that "copy, copy, copy" thing, then it gets boring and is dangerous for the techno scene, because at some point it gets stuck without any life in it anymore.
Was there someone who mentored you a little bit?
Not really. You have to learn on your own in a way.