First off, let’s talk a bit about your musical upbringing. Where did you grow up and what were some of the sounds you were raised on? Where would you say you take most of your musical inspiration from?
I actually grew up on the east coast in West Hartford, Connecticut, and moved to San Francisco 15 years ago. I was raised in a very musical household, and listened to just about everything from classic rock to hip hop. I played piano and saxophone, which eventually led to me studying jazz. Later in high school, I discovered Bjork, Goldie, ltj Bukem, and Deee-lite, and fell in love with electronic music. My love of music has never stopped growing to this day, and I take my inspiration from everything I hear around me on a day-to-day basis. I’m just totally in love with sound.
You said you’ve been into drum and bass music since you were 15, how did you get started with DJing?
I actually got my first record when I turned 16 but I started kind of listening to electronic music when I was 15, when I was listening to Bjork and Dee-lite and Goldie and LTJ Bukem. I was on a jazz band tour in Europe during my sixteenth birthday, and I was just listening to this LTJ Bukem Mixmag CD nonstop the whole time on my CD Walkman.
So for my sixteenth birthday my friend bought me the Logical Progression vinyl, it was a three-record compilation, and as soon as I got home I found whatever turntables I could and started learning how to DJ and started collecting records from there and fell in love with it instantly. So yeah, I’ve been doing it for over half my life now, since I was 16, that’s crazy.
When did you start seeing electronic music shows?
Really early on. I was going to my first raves when I was 16 in Connecticut. I’d go and visit my brother, who was going to college in Southern California, so whenever I’d go out and visit him, he’d take me out to these desert raves or whatever thing was going on at his college, and I instantly fell in love with it.
During the summers, he was living in New York City, so I’d go out with him there using his ID. I kind of instantly found my calling in life, as a young little raver, and just enjoying going out and not even partying. Just going out and dancing and hearing DJs play.
What do you want the crowd to feel when you’re playing a gig?
I just want them to feel excited and happy, and physically feel the bass. You know every set that I do I put my all into it, and make it fit the vibe of that city and the room I’m in. I spend so much time doing my own edits of tracks and making my set personal so I don’t sound like everyone else. Even if it’s a well-known track I’m playing I don’t want people to have my version of it.
Your parents are frequent attendees of your shows. Were they always such big fans or only after you started to gain momentum?
My parents have always been really supportive of any goals or dreams that I’ve had. Since I’ve been a kid it’s always been like “we’ll support anything you do as long as you don’t ask us for any money and don’t end up in jail.” For me and my brother they just always wanted us to follow our dreams and do whatever it is that made us happy as long as we weren’t being lazy bums and we could be successful at it. I think it took a little while [for them] to really understand our music. My dad was really into classic rock and classical music when I was growing up. Then he stated getting more experimental – it took him a while. First he started listening to Radiohead and then the Thom Yorke solo album, everything but the girl, and Bjork and he just started to really understand a little bit about electronic music – slowly but surely. And now they love it! Not just because i’m their son but they actually listen to my album on a regular basis, which is like the ultimate! That makes me feel really really happy. I remember when I was writing the album I ended up taking some of the curse words out because I wanted this to be an album that my parents could listen to and something that parents could play their kids.
They seem like a lot of fun too.
Yeah that’s the best part! They try to make it to every single one of our park outdoor parties. Not just that but they came to my album release party in San Francisco which is like next level – almost a little scary – because its night life. Here my dad is in the DJ booth drinking a 40 oz with me. And all my friends are crazy and drunk and acting all wild. But they had a blast!
Vinyls, CDs, USB stick… What do you prefer?
All of the above!
All those arguments about the medium with which you play music… what do you say?
I say do whatever you do best at, and you can be the most creative with. Creativity is the most important part. I think people are quick to hate when they see someone doing something different than themselves. There are the vinyl purists, the laptop djs, etc… As long as you are creative and got people dancing and having fun I’m cool with however you want to do it. Please just don’t take down your entire set up around me while I am trying to dj… that is annoying 😉
Producing or DJing?
Both… Producing is so much fun because you get to create whatever you could possible dream of! I get to make songs that I want to hear… And djing is the big payoff… when you get to see if all the hard work in the studio works on the dancefloor… and when it does it is the best feeling in the world!
If you could change some things in the music business, what would it be?
I don’t know… I´m pretty happy and honored just to be part of it all.. so its hard for me to say I would want to change anything. Nothing is easy in this business, but it´s that way for a reason. If you want to be successful you gotta work for it and never give up.
Your key to success: What’s your message to all the young people out there who want to start producing?
Follow your dreams, set some goals, and don’t quit. If it really is your passion than give it your all. I learned how to produce just by spending a LOT of time on it. Software has never been easier to learn… I had a few people give me tips here and there along the way, but for the most part i learned on my own, so if i can do it so can you. MAKE IT HAPPEN and always be creative!