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Entries in Interview (22)

Thursday
Sep052013

An Interview Across Wires With Dance Music Scientist BT

If you're even vaguely familiar with electronic music, you'll know of BT. His inventive and biological approach to programming the soundwaves of Trance and Progressive is what first put him on the map in the early 1990s and what's kept his variety of emotional electronic music in a perpetual clash with the often colorless sound of popular dance music. His latest foray into the realms of electronic albums with A Song Across Wires is both gripping and enduring, extending all the way back to 2011 with "Tomahawk" and forward to 2013 with "Skylarking." I sat down with Brian before his smash of a premiere party at Marquee NYC to see if I could somehow get a glimpse into what drives his zeal for such emotional programming.

So BT, you are a jack-of-all-trades. You have so many experiences whether it's scoring movies, performing as a DJ, being a tech guru, or in music production. Out of all these, which would you say you value the most? 

You know, it's funny because they’re all so interrelated. I'll answer that question with a story. As a kid, all of theses things didn't make sense. I was always just talking about it, just being inspired by sound. I was fascinated with sound, just playing with things in the kitchen, and recording things in the garage, in the basement, and sticking recorders in the air conditioning, just crazy stuff. And then music, music just organized all of it. The piano, the drums, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and all of the earlier composers that I studied, later led to finding out about tonal music that was more focused on the noise. Then came in my love for computers and technology. From an early age, I’ve been building things with Radioshack project kits, and making little AM radios - these three things, I’ve loved my entire life. Actually, mathematics, too. Those are really my loves. But those things didn’t make sense together; no one knew what I was going to do as a career.

That’s so impressive. I mean, I was building Legos, and like, stick houses!

Well if it makes you feel any better, I didn't have any friends until like 16. So those things were my only driving force as a boy. Still even to this day. Especially when I found that point of intersection where they all converged, that happened when I found synthesizers. Then eventually I found computer music languages, and I was able to build instruments that I loved to work with. My love of mathematics, my love of sound, and it wasn’t even until my career started that these things began to make sense. It was during my second album when I realized I wanted to develop my own software. Since I studied classical music, I could write music for an orchestra, I could do stuff for films. My mom was seriously worried about me until my late twenties, like "Oh my god, he’s going to starve to death!”

So who would be your favorite classical composer?

I’ve thought about this a lot. There is a difference between whom I like and who inspires me. But I pick this person because I’ve loved every single piece of their work and that person is Claude Debussy. If I ever write even one thing in my life as half as beautiful as the first movement of the Sunken Cathedral, then I’m done. And then I listen to dance music now, and I’m like pshh, are you joking me?!

Let’s talk hypothetical. In the crazy, earth-shattering alternate reality where you didn’t go in to music, where do you think you would be working?

Definitely something in science. It involves a lot of the same ideas I use now. I spoke at this thing called Aspen Ideas Institute several years ago, and I listened to scientists talking about noting neurons and I was like ”Oh my god! This is way more interesting than what I’m doing!" Science is the only other field where you’re playing with gadgets, using math, and creating inspiration. I love reading Scientific American, it inspires me. If you were to ask me where is the place that I want to go most in the world, it’s not going to be Bora Bora; I wan to go to Cern in Switzerland. To go there and study particle accelerators, that would be my version of Christmas times a billion.

You are actually brilliantly nerdy.

Oh yeah, like scary nerdy.

What is the beauty of trance music to you?

Trance to me represents a very high art form within electronic dance music. So many type of dance music now resemble a pedal tone, very monotonous. They’re situated around the root, and it stays there. Especially in electro, you never leave that. You’re in this one tonal area, and there’s not a lot of variance in sound. What I love about trance, and it can almost get too much, is the musical balance. There’s melodic structures, harmony, it’s actually music! I really hope this doesn’t upset people, but when you hear too much electro, you could hear a B-flat note for a whole 5 minutes and that’s the whole song!

Last question, where did you get this signature BT hairstyle?

I don’t even know. The same girl has cut my hair for years, and every once in a while she’ll be in the mood to do something new, so it could actually change at any minute now.

A Song Across Wires - Out now on iTunes!

By Anne Chang

Follow me on Twitter: @Ann3c5

Tuesday
Jul162013

Interview: Datsik Brings It Down To Earth @ EDC Vegas

What gave you that initial push into producing Dubstep instead of other genres of music?

Well um it was Funtcase entirely. (laughs) I'm chillin with my boy Funtcase here.

Funtcase: Hi dawg!

We're about to launch this next tour it should be fun.

Funtcase: Yeahhh!

Yeah it was totally Funtcase. Actually wait, no, really it was the hip-hop swag mixed with the heavy bass lines that got me into it.

What did you initially want to be when you grew up? When you were a kid.

Honestly I was going to school for audio production and my brother worked at a video game company and I actually planned on leaving college and going to work for him as a sound designer like making weird noises and shit, like doing alien stuff, and um, (laughs) I ended up getting booked before I got out of college so that's kind of how everything went. It was weird, it was a weird transition but I don’t regret it any way, so…

Did you ever listen to the dub that originated in Reggae? 

Dude, 100% man. Yo, I've been into it since like 2006 and like that was my favorite era for step like 2006 and 2009. That shit was so inspiring - I was just hearing stuff that like I could not make and that stuff inspired me so much… like old school Benga, Skream, all those guys, Hatcha, Coki - they're the originators man, I used to tune into all their shit and like follow it religiously and that’s where all the inspiration came from. Now it’s just exploded, it’s all over the U.S. And it's crazy… It’s crazy.

At least in Arizona you're one of the first big step artists that I was hearing come through the speakers at house parties and desert raves, that must be kind of crazy for you cause you’re so young and the scene has been going on for some time before you, you know? And you’re even bigger now than you were before… that was years ago.

It's been a fun ride, yeah. Honestly I'm just very fortunate that I’m able to do what I love for a living.

Who do you think is throwing the best parties right now? As far as production.

Uhh, FuntCase. (laughs)

Funtcase: Circus and Firepower records (laughs)

So would you say that FuntCase is your biggest influence at the moment then?

He's my biggest homie at the moment. (laughs) No no no. The old school shit: WuTang, Method Man, all that kind of shit. 

Pendulum?

Yeah, Pendulum. Bassnectar is also a huge influence as well.

Thoughts on spinning Vinyl vs. CDJ vs. Laptop?

Well, lemme give you the rundown. Back in the day I used to own one turntable and I bought it just to learn how to scratch and it was a vinyl turntable. From there, I ended up getting a second turntable to mix and bought 12-13 records. Most of them were like Pendulum records, DJ Fresh - The Immortal, and like, the old shit - Fasten Your Seatbelt, and Slam, and fucking uhh Tarantula and all those jocks. So I ended up getting those 12 records and I would just literally sit there all day spinning drum & bass. And that's how I learned how to DJ. So from there I went to Serato, from that I went to CD Serato, and I’ve switched to Ableton. But I carry gigsik at all times because like whenever there's any opportunity to do a tag set with any of my homies (like 12th planet and I do a lot of tag sets and I always jump on it) or any kind of weird situation, I'll jump on CDs just to fucking stay sharp.

So what was the first event that you played?

Ok so the first event that I played was outside my hometown, the "Real Event." They brought me in, it was a city called Penticton, which was run by Hells Angels, and um they brought me in and I was playing Dubstep. The guy told me to play some shit that a bitch can shake her ass to kind of thing, or, his bitch… whatever. And I ended up, (laughs) I ended up just playing what I wanted and I got kicked out of the club, but the thing is the club was completely packed and every single person in the club was there to see me play and hear my set, so everyone ended up leaving the club and there was literally just like a table left in the club. So I was pretty gutted about that but you know when you start from the bottom there's only one way you can actually go, right? 

What would say has been the best event that you've played/put on then?

Well, EDC Vegas this year has been pretty fucking insane, you know? My favorite event in the entire world though is Shambhala.

First record you fell in love with or owned?

Ummm I think FuntCase - GorillaFlex. (laughs)

No, um for real though the first record that I owned and then fell in love with was Voodoo People by Pendulum. 

When all the partying is over how do you get to chilling?

Well… I usually spend my time chilling on airplanes and literally I'm flying all the time. I mean, as soon as I get a break I’m constantly flying. And when I’m not playing music I'm making it and that’s what I do for fun. 

How is the Dubstep scene doing right now?

You know what, I think it's interesting, its going through transition and I'm excited. It's like finally the minimal element is being brought back into Dubstep and you know its funny the UK started with minimal and went to heavy, noisy stuff; America started with the noisy stuff and now its like because of Trap, Trap is being introduced to the EDM world - now finally minimal music is being accepted into a dubstep set and its changing the dynamic of everything so I'm really happy with the way that it's going right now.

What are your thoughts on "Ravers vs. Ragers" - how do they affect the scene in your opinion?

It's all for the love of the music I don't give a fuck what you wear.

Haha, right on!

What's it like being Canadian?

There's no better feeling (laughs).

Where can we expect to see you in 10 years?

Speeding in a Lamborghini (laughs).

Haha so not on an airplane?

No. (laughs) Honestly, I’ve started doing work on commercials and doing original stuff with working with them. I've been working with Rockstar a lot and I'm having a lot of fun scoring and making original tracks for these Rockstar commercials and I think in like 10 years I really have fun working with movies and doing sound design. So in 10 years if like I’m not going full on with music still I would really like to get into sound design on like Transformers 9, that would be pretty cool. 

What kind of advice would you give someone who is trying to get into the music scene?

Always be original, do it for love of music. Listen to FuntCase.

By Shayne Fabian

Photos by Brooke Allan for EDM Lounge

Thursday
Jul112013

EDM Lounge Interviews 3LAU

Over the weekend at Wavefront Music Festival, Jack & I were able to steal some time with Justin Blau, better known as 3LAU after his killer set on Sunday before Crookers, Diplo, and Justice on the Wave Main Stage. At the young age of 22, 3LAU has been blowing up the scene within the past year and riding a wave of success driven by his monster mashups and bootlegs. Along the way he has been generous enough to help those in need and leave a more meaningful impact, something I consider refreshing in the business.

Before approaching the interview questions prepared, I had asked 3LAU about his performance the night before at Bssmnt with Carnage in San Diego, CA. His response was flawless.

Justin: I took a co2 tank with nothing attached to it and just opened it...
Sierra: You just opened it?! (laughter)

J: I opened it on like 8 naked girls dancing on the booth while Carnage was slamming it!

S: Wait, what kind of club was this?

J: It was called Bssmnt, so you could imagine, just brick walls. It was the turnest fucking shit. It was nuts. It was great.

S: That sounds interesting. I’m kinda upset that didn't happen here!

J: Umm, different vibes. Well, we're on a beach.

S: Do you prefer the club vibe then?

J: No, not at all. It's all about the crowd. Its about the crowd more than the atmosphere to me, honestly.

 

Now, the actual interview...

 

S: Your background in education is not that of a typical DJ - how do you think this has benefited you and your music?

J: In education? It's benefited the business side of things more than the music itself. I think my manager and I take the business side very seriously and that's a big reason why I've been successful. Just understanding how the industry works is the biggest barrier in this industry to be successful.

S: You've been very vocal in your support in the campaign to build schools for underprivileged kids, why do you think its so important to give back and support campaigns like this?

J: I think that dance music is really unique in the sense that it is all about community and all about togetherness and its so easy to utilize that movement that exists to build charitable projects and my partnership with Pencils of Promise is something that's very long term. We built our first school and we some insanely awesome ideas to do a lot more with them. So we’re really, really excited.

S: So did you always have this music vision first or was it this campaign...

J: Well I've always been involved in philanthropy and as my career started getting bigger I felt that I could do something different.

S: So use your success to help others!

J: Exactly! Because you know, I don't need that much. I have a car, I got a home, and I fly around everywhere so what else do I need? It’s so easy to help. Having even the remotely small influence that I have, we can still do a lot. I’m so excited to do more.

S: I know you always believed you would end up in music one way or another but did you ever imgaine your career would blow up the way it has?

J: I had no idea. I had no clue. And you know, that's the best part. 'Cause everyday is a new surprise with new shows and new things and my creative inspiration is constanly changing. It's the best! I feel very blessed to be able to do this.

S: Where do you see your career in music taking you?

J: I eventually really want to be more experimental. I'm kinda finding myself more in the mainstream, which is fine, but eventually I want to do more of what I feel opposed to more of what I think my fans want to hear. That's in the future.

S: "Escape" hit #3 on Beatport overall, how long did it take to produce with Paris & Simo and Bright Lights?

J: It took about 10 months. So happy we waited because we wanted to get it absolutely perfect. So happy about it right now. Tiesto is playing it;  Hardwell, W&W, Kaskade. It’s the best feeling in the world.

S: I've read some of your influencers are Sigur Ros, Steve Angello, Kaskade, Porter, M83 plus many more, how do they influence your sound and your overall music production?

J: My favorite sound is big sounds. I love epicness and really big chords. Big feeling. And all of those artists really mend themselves to that aura. I have a lot of respect for them and I really take a lot from them.

S: So how do you hope to influence inspiring DJs/producers?

J: I hope that I’m the proof that anybody can do it. Cause I did it. I was nobody and I just did it.

Escape - Out Now on Beatport!

By Sierra Rose

Wednesday
Jul032013

The Expedition Continues: An Interview with Cosmic Gate

With a name that was once synonymous with Hard Trance, Cosmic Gate has rode the swells of Progressive to Electro and beyond. I was dying to find out how Privilege Ibiza's newest residents were enjoying ASOT Mondays alongside Armin van Buuren, and how the German duo met in the first place, so we sat down for a quick chat. As the two approach their headlining performance this weekend at America's premiere beach festival Wavefront, Nic Chagall and Bossi also let us know what Chicago attendees can be expecting this coming weekend.

Sierra: Along with Markus Schulz, W&W, Dash Berlin, and Armin van Buuren, you will be performing during ASOT's residency at Privilege in Ibiza for "Ibiza Mondays", how has this expedition compared to others in the past?

Cosmic Gate: The ASOT opening show was simply off the hook! Privilege was jam packed, even with Ibiza in mid June not being more than maybe half full, it was really amazing and promising another fantastic season for Armin and his residents who we have the pleasure to be a part of again this year. 

S: Can you explain the difference from performing inside the United States, Europe, etc?

CG: There is no huge difference in most of the clubs in our eyes. People just come to party and dance to their favorite music, feel the vibe and have a good time. It's not important which side of the Atlantic you live on, good parties happen here and there -- which is good!

S: Trance has come a long way and has really hit a huge rise in popularity in recent years, did you ever envision it getting this big or remaining more underground?

CG: Trance in our eyes still somehow is underground. A few songs sometimes stick out more than others, but in general you will not find a real trance song in the charts. Trance is maybe more popular in the club and on big festivals, bringing together huge amount of people to party together. We think Trance is simply the best music to party to by far!

S: What do you predict for the future of the genre?

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Tuesday
Jun252013

EDM Lounge Interviews Walden

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview the young and talented Walden at the Atlantic Records offices in NYC. I didn't know what to expect when I got there, all I knew was that I was going to meet a 19 year old producer who's been touted as one of dance music's most promising newcomers. Most of the younger guys in the industry are a little cocky, but I can assure you Walden is not that type of person. I was astonishingly impressed by his attitude, his demeanor, and his personality. He is one of the most humble, down-to-earth, and appreciative people that I've ever met. If you're familiar with his music you may know him for his nice smooth Progressive sounds, but he also has a dark side where he switches forms to fierce Electro, which can be heard in his most recent EP, Machine Land. After some shows on the West Coast last month, Walden was back in NYC for his show at Pacha and he destroyed it.

DAVID: Besides that trip to Powerhouse Museum which many of us have read about, what else influenced you to produce music?

WALDEN: Just music itself really, I think jazz experimental, happy hardcore, hard trance, it's just kind of where I started, and I don’t know, I kind of branched out and eventually found House. I actually first heard Fedde le Grand's "Put Your Hands up for Detroit" and I've never quite heard House done like that before. There was some funky underground stuff that I used to listen to, but that was definitely that track that got me into it.

DAVID: That track did it for you?

WALDEN: Yea, I think so. My brother actually showed me the track and I was like "this is sick," I want to make stuff more like this. And then everything else just sort of came together.

DAVID: You were always into music though, right?

WALDEN: I think so, it was weird, it was kind of like maybe around 10 or 11, I was thinking maybe I'd be like a writer, or a drawer, or banking or something. I don't know, I didn't know what I wanted to do then. But, then you know, I found the Powerhouse Museum and the creative aspect of creating a song with a program immediately grabbed my attention and my interest in music came after that.

DAVID: Well that was a wise choice because you certainly have a bright future. Alright, so what's the EDM scene like in Australia and would you ever consider moving to the US when the time is right?

WALDEN: I think it's a little smaller in Australia, it's strong though. We actually just had Tommy Trash in Sydney at Pacha last Saturday, I wasn't able to check it out though because I was busy that night. But I've seen Martin Solveig there and Laidback Luke as well for the opening of Ivy Nightclub. You know, I think especially for the festivals we get quite a few big names and also at the big clubs like Chinese Laundry and HQ in Adelaide. I mean, it's good, but it's hard since Australia is quite isolated so we don't get as many acts as I think we should, but EDM definitely has a presence here.

Click to read more ...