To have achieved what Danny Avila has at the age of 23 is phenomenal enough. To have done it with such integrity and passion makes it even more special. Danny Avila is passionate about music, and it shows. His music has been released on major labels including Sony Music, Interscope, Musical Freedom, Spinnin’ Records and Ultra Music. In 2017, he made the highest re-entry and highest ranked spanish DJ to the DJ Mag Top100 DJ’s poll at #52, a powerful statement of his impact on the scene as of late. In Danny’s eyes, DJing is a form of art, hence the variety of genres from techno to big-room and from tech-house to trap, always finding a way to take people on a journey.
How did you get started with your career in music?
Danny Avila: I’ve been a music guy since my early days. I asked my grandfather to buy me a violin as a birthday present when I was about six years old. I’ve played many instruments since then, but DJing was always my main passion.
What was it about DJing in particular that appealed to you?
DA: In the beginning, for me, DJing was like playing an instrument. Being able to put different songs together and tell a story in a DJ set felt like magic. I loved everything about it from the first moment I touched a mixer. I wanted to improve my mixes, my interaction with the crowd and was looking for new ways to DJ and make my sets more interesting by adding more and different sounds to the songs I played.
Yet your musical background plays a part?
DA: Yes, totally! Like I mentioned before, I come from playing several instruments like violin, guitar and the classic piano. This definitely helped me develop my musical skills, even though I haven’t played these instruments in a while now. I should start practising again, ha ha. Even before I had my first mixer and started to learn how to DJ, I was really fascinated every time I saw a DJ playing somewhere. I’d usually stay for hours watching them play.
what gear’s in your setup?
DA: My main setup consists of four CDJ-2000 NXS2s and a DJM-900 NXS2, plus an RMX-1000 as sampler and effects machine. My main DAW is Logic Pro X and I use Pioneer’s rekordbox software.
Who are your idols, and why?
DA: Tiësto has always been one of my biggest idols and early influences. He was definitely someone who has helped me so, so much in my career, from musical to personal advice. But I think the great thing about music is there are always new talents coming up; it’s very important to keep an eye open for that sort of stuff.
Do you have any software or hardware you’re keen to get hold of?
DA: A few months ago, I started playing around with the Pioneer Toraiz SP-16. It’s super interesting, but I definitely need some more free time to make it fit properly in my sets and feel comfortable using it on tour. It’s 100 per cent worth it, though. My goal is definitely to incorporate it in some of my sets, eventually.
How do you use the rekordbox software in your setup?
DA: rekordbox is everything for me. I wouldn’t be able to comfortably play a set if it wasn’t for the way you can prepare everything in rekordbox in advance such as organising my music library, playlists, hot cues, cue points and so on. It’s just so essential for my way of DJing. In addition, I import all my data into my USBs and then I have all my stuff set up correctly on whatever CDJ I’m using out there.
What advice would you give to aspiring music makers and/or DJs?
DA: Work as much as you can! It doesn’t really matter if it’s producing, looking for new music for your DJ sets or finding new ways to make your sets more interesting. The more you work, the better results you will get.
How does a track start for you?
DA: It’s always different, to be honest. It can be working with a topline from scratch, coming up with a certain melody and building a track around it or even making drum patterns and adding to it. It works in many different ways. What I like to do is to get the main idea finished first. So if I come up with a melody I think is strong, I try to finalise it until I think it’s perfect, then build everything around it.
So, how did the Sony deal come about?
Well, I had been in touch with Sony Spain for quite some time before. They were always very keen about my music and my DJing. So, last time we met we talked about working more together. I presented new demos to them, which I had been working on at that time. It was more pop/dance sort of stuff and they really liked the route I was taking musically. Then, one thing led to another and we all got together in London at Sony’s European headquarters. That’s where I also met Wolfgang Boss, executive vice president A&R international of Sony Music. We all understood each other very well and all wanted to work together on new music. They offered me a deal with them and I took it!
How exciting is to see your tracks come to life when artists such as The Vamps release them into the world?
It makes me unbelievably happy, it really does! This project has turned out so awesome. This for me is definitely the most exciting period of my career so far. My music is getting pushed into places it perhaps wouldn’t have reached before, with the help of these new audiences. Like many as an artist, one of my goals is to continue to make people happy with my music, and The Vamps have helped me take that achievement to the next level.
You have also worked with Machine Gun Kelly recently, what was it like being in the studio with him?
I’m really into hip hop and rap music, so to have one of the best rappers in the scene on my track was an honour and something that I’ve been wanting to do since I first started producing. I can tick that box! He’s got this intense energy about him – he works fast and he’s focused which matches up with my own work style. It was a really refreshing project for me.
You have worked with many big names, are there any current artists you’d like to produce for soon?
This is very difficult to be honest, since there are so many great producers out there. Right now, I’m too much into my current projects than to think about who I would like to work with next. But I’m gonna make it a good one…
You just wrapped a tour of China, how much fun did you have over there?
I can’t even begin to tell you how crazy it was! The energy that the crowds brought over there was unreal! You should check out the tour recap on my YouTube – you’ll see what I mean. It’s always an amazing experience when I’m in China. The country and the culture over there is so different to what I’m used to in Spain or the US, but I deeply enjoy their mentality and their way of welcoming you to their country. There’s something very fascinating about Chinese culture. Plus, the local food is still one of my favourite in the whole wide world and easily the best part of these trips, for me haha.
What can we expect from you over the next year?
I have some more treats coming up, as part of my international deal with Sony Music Spain. I’m taking my music to the next level this year – watch this space 😉