Saturday Night Session 005: BRKLYN crafts heavy mix and talks the significance of releasing debut EP

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Saturday Night Session 005: BRKLYN crafts heavy mix and talks the significance of releasing debut EPUnnamed

Cameron Alexander and Cody Nadeau may be based in Los Angeles, but that hasn’t stopped the duo from creating feel-good music and quickly gaining momentum within the electronic music scene under moniker BRKLYN. The duo started to make a name for themselves after releasing “Steal Your Heart” in 2015, and from there, they have toured around the country opening for larger names like Audien as well as headlining their own shows. While their style fluctuates from progressive house to commercial crossover releases, they have found a way to keep each track they make fresh and original in a cluttered landscape of catchy vocals and predictable drops.

Both Alexander and Nadeau grew up playing the piano and the guitar, eventually joining bands that kickstarted their musical journey. They then joined forces to make electronic group BRKLYN, but their first shows under the moniker included the artists playing guitars during their sets and bringing out singers to perform live. The duo sat down with Dancing Astronaut and notes, “We will always play instruments and will always incorporate live instruments into all of our records and live shows.” In addition to infusing instrumentals into their live shows, every track they write is built on the foundation of a guitar or a piano.

While impressive that both artists create thanks to a foundation of instrumentals, they are quick to call out that claiming to play an instrument and infusing it with a live electronic show is becoming overdone to the point of inauthentic. When asked about their response to the stigma that electronic music artists are not ‘real musicians,’ the duo claps back, “You either write good tunes or you don’t. And you either have a killer live show that blows minds and creates experience, or you don’t.” They continue, “Now it almost feels like a gimmick. Everybody is so dire to prove they are talented musicians, so they started playing drum pads. I could never find the strings on those things.”

BRKLYN has released their first EP titled Things I’ve Learned with five tracks spanning from feel-good “Gotta Have It” to infectious “Good Vibe,” which has the capacity to be a radio fixture. Things I’ve Learned features collaborators including Zack Martino and Disco Fries among others. The duo spoke about what it feels like to finally have their first EP out, saying, “For us, an EP rather than just a single was something we always felt strongly about.” They continue, “We wanted to finish a body of work that our fans could listen to on repeat that captured this shared time in the world.”

In honor of the release, BRKLYN put together an hour long mix for Saturday Night Sessions, and the set takes the listener all over the map whether it be current hip hop releases or old school Skrillex infused drops. For those curious what a BRKLYN live show would be like, this mix is the perfect taste of what is to come.

Read the full Q&A with BRKLYN below:

_________________________________________________________________________

What jobs did you work before becoming full time musicians?

Cameron: Lighting technician at a local music venue called Chain Reaction.
Cody: I taught guitar lessons And was an Intern at Sunset Sound Studios in LA.

How important are instruments to your creative process when you start working on a new song?

BRKLYN: Live instruments have always been crucial to our creative process. Every song we write starts on a foundation of guitar or piano.

Although it is becoming better, what do you say in response to the stigma that electronic music artists are not ‘real musicians’? Especially curious since you both are skilled instrumentalists

BRKLYN: I think it doesn’t matter anymore, and the whole stigma is whack. You either write good tunes or you don’t. And you either have a killer live show that blows minds and creates experience, or you don’t. Now it almost feels like a gimmick. Everybody is so dire to prove they are talented musicians so they started playing drum pads. I could never find the strings on those things. But I do think there is a distinct advantage for writing records if you know how to play an instrument. For us, all we know is guitar and piano and instruments. We grew up playing in bands, and to gain any type of success or recognition, we had to be better at playing, writing, and performing than anybody else. During our very first BRKLYN shows we played guitars live in our sets and brought out singers. So, we will always play instruments and will always incorporate live instruments into all of our records and live shows.

How does it feel to finally have your debut EP out?

BRKLYN: It feels tight. We been crafting these tunes and felt it was ready to release into the world. For us, an EP rather than just a single was something we always felt strongly about. We wanted to finish a body of work that our fans could listen to on repeat that captured this shared time in the world. We are all tapped into the same energies and some of us are better at identifying what they are and others will know it and it will feel familiar or like an answer when they do experience it. I feel songs are that. So, we are very happy to share a mutual experience with our fans. And hopefully they are expanding and learning through our music just like we are expanding and learning through them.

What is one thing about each of you that your fans would not know?

Cameron: I want to have twins.
Cody: Hmm… One of my favorite places is being inside a theatre. Musicals, plays etc… Such a creative vibe in there.

What other hobbies keep you sane as you balance living the lives of touring artists?

Cameron: Exercise, meditating, and reading. My physical, mental, and spiritual health has been an important journey for me.
Cody: I love working out to clear my mind, running outside specifically.

What is your musical guilty pleasure?

Cameron: French Horn and Christmas music.
Cody: John Mayer has been my favorite artist since about 8th grade.

What kind of a Saturday night is your mix getting us ready for?

Cameron: This mix is tight! This mix will get you ready to blast off into another dimension that you didn’t know existed. This shit is hype and lit at the same goddamn time.
Cody: This mix is a little heavier for the pregame vibes. Throwing in some things y’all might hear at our shows!

Elderbrook continues to build momentum after Grammy nomination with ‘Old Friend’ EP [Q+A]

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Elderbrook continues to build momentum after Grammy nomination with ‘Old Friend’ EP [Q+A]ELDERBROOK Credit FIONA GARDEN

As the year comes to a close, London’s Alexander Kotz tops the list of artists who continue to prove their worth by cementing a unique sound and a distinctive voice in today’s oversaturated electronic music scene. Kotz, more popularly known as Elderbrook, had a meteoric ascension into popularity after his breakout collaboration with CamelPhat, “Cola,” scored both of the artists a Grammy nomination. The producer is taking this newfound popularity in stride and capitalizing on it with a new four-track EP titled Old Friend. The EP proves that Kotz is a far cry from a one-hit wonder, with each track seemingly strong enough to be its own standalone hit.

Kotz spoke with DA about Old Friend, and revealed that the EP shows his more electronic, upbeat side. “I wanted to release these songs as a body of work to show where I’ve been musically over the last year since the success of ‘Cola,’ ahead of next year when I plan to release my album.” While he did not divulge more details on his forthcoming album, he did give insight into how he measures his own success and how that relates to his future bodies of work. Kotz notes that although “Cola” scored him a Grammy nomination, his measurement of his own future success is going to be based on whether he releases music that he loves.

The EP contains four tracks, and each has its own distinctive flair. Title track “Old Friend,” which the producer cited as his proudest creation of the EP, has an eerily similar effect on the listener as the infectious “Cola.” With its enthralling vocals paired with an upbeat synth progression, it is seemingly impossible to not replay the song over and over again. Kotz has figured out the formula to create catchy releases, and “Old Friend” has the capacity to take over the radio airwaves like past hit releases. Another track of note is “Capricorn,” with its groovy backdrop set against vocal chants that keep the track moving.

Old Friend undoubtedly has the ability to appeal to everyone from techno fans to pop fans, which is consistent with the producer’s own description of his musical style. He comments that, “because I love all genres of music; country, electronic, indie rock to name a few – I like to think that my music takes a little bit from each. Obviously the sounds I make are predominantly electronic, but the vocals and vocal melodies are definitely more down the indie route.” Old Friend is a big end to an important year for Kotz, and the EP is out now via Big Beat Records.


Your recent collaboration with Camelphat scored a Grammy nomination. Is this now a bar that you are aspiring for with new releases and perhaps a release on this EP? Or are you happy using that momentum to continue to build?

The collaboration with Camelphat did better than I could ever have expected, and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t want that kind of success again in the future. However, since the release of “Cola,” I found myself considering where my music was going to end up as a result. After a while, though, I realized that when putting music out there again, all that matters is releasing music that I truly love. Music that represents where I am as an artist right now. As long as I love the music, reaching certain heights or comparing myself to anything or anyone else seems irrelevant.

Do you have a favorite track off of the EP?

I love them all, but I’m really proud of “Old Friend.” It’s different to what I’ve done in the past and that’s exciting! “Bird Song” is another one I love. It was amazing to work with TEED on that one because I’m a big fan and have been for years. For us to have written a song together definitely means a lot to me personally.

This year was your first tour of the US. What did you think?

It was amazing. When I was younger I always pictured where my music career would take me. I had always imagined myself in the US, touring and driving across the country. To think that I’ve now done that is surreal, and I can’t wait to get back out there again.

How would you characterize your musical style?

This is a difficult one for me because I love all genres of music; country, electronic, indie rock to name a few. I like to think that my music takes a little bit from each. Obviously the sounds I make are predominantly electronic, but the vocals and vocal melodies are definitely more down the indie route.

What were some of your influences for this EP?

I’ve always been really influenced by people like Bonobo, Hot Chip, Jungle, music like that. With this EP I definitely wanted to show my more electronic side. However, I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year finding new sounds that I’ll be exploring next year with my album.

Photo credit: Fiona Garden

Elderbrook continues to build momentum after Grammy nomination with ‘Old Friend’ EP [Q+A]

This post was originally published on this site

Elderbrook continues to build momentum after Grammy nomination with ‘Old Friend’ EP [Q+A]ELDERBROOK Credit FIONA GARDEN

As the year comes to a close, London’s Alexander Kotz tops the list of artists who continue to prove their worth by cementing a unique sound and a distinctive voice in today’s oversaturated electronic music scene. Kotz, more popularly known as Elderbrook, had a meteoric ascension into popularity after his breakout collaboration with CamelPhat, “Cola,” scored both of the artists a Grammy nomination. The producer is taking this newfound popularity in stride and capitalizing on it with a new four-track EP titled Old Friend. The EP proves that Kotz is a far cry from a one-hit wonder, with each track seemingly strong enough to be its own standalone hit.

Kotz spoke with DA about Old Friend, and revealed that the EP shows his more electronic, upbeat side. “I wanted to release these songs as a body of work to show where I’ve been musically over the last year since the success of ‘Cola,’ ahead of next year when I plan to release my album.” While he did not divulge more details on his forthcoming album, he did give insight into how he measures his own success and how that relates to his future bodies of work. Kotz notes that although “Cola” scored him a Grammy nomination, his measurement of his own future success is going to be based on whether he releases music that he loves.

The EP contains four tracks, and each has its own distinctive flair. Title track “Old Friend,” which the producer cited as his proudest creation of the EP, has an eerily similar effect on the listener as the infectious “Cola.” With its enthralling vocals paired with an upbeat synth progression, it is seemingly impossible to not replay the song over and over again. Kotz has figured out the formula to create catchy releases, and “Old Friend” has the capacity to take over the radio airwaves like past hit releases. Another track of note is “Capricorn,” with its groovy backdrop set against vocal chants that keep the track moving.

Old Friend undoubtedly has the ability to appeal to everyone from techno fans to pop fans, which is consistent with the producer’s own description of his musical style. He comments that, “because I love all genres of music; country, electronic, indie rock to name a few – I like to think that my music takes a little bit from each. Obviously the sounds I make are predominantly electronic, but the vocals and vocal melodies are definitely more down the indie route.” Old Friend is a big end to an important year for Kotz, and the EP is out now via Big Beat Records.


Your recent collaboration with Camelphat scored a Grammy nomination. Is this now a bar that you are aspiring for with new releases and perhaps a release on this EP? Or are you happy using that momentum to continue to build?

The collaboration with Camelphat did better than I could ever have expected, and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t want that kind of success again in the future. However, since the release of “Cola,” I found myself considering where my music was going to end up as a result. After a while, though, I realized that when putting music out there again, all that matters is releasing music that I truly love. Music that represents where I am as an artist right now. As long as I love the music, reaching certain heights or comparing myself to anything or anyone else seems irrelevant.

Do you have a favorite track off of the EP?

I love them all, but I’m really proud of “Old Friend.” It’s different to what I’ve done in the past and that’s exciting! “Bird Song” is another one I love. It was amazing to work with TEED on that one because I’m a big fan and have been for years. For us to have written a song together definitely means a lot to me personally.

This year was your first tour of the US. What did you think?

It was amazing. When I was younger I always pictured where my music career would take me. I had always imagined myself in the US, touring and driving across the country. To think that I’ve now done that is surreal, and I can’t wait to get back out there again.

How would you characterize your musical style?

This is a difficult one for me because I love all genres of music; country, electronic, indie rock to name a few. I like to think that my music takes a little bit from each. Obviously the sounds I make are predominantly electronic, but the vocals and vocal melodies are definitely more down the indie route.

What were some of your influences for this EP?

I’ve always been really influenced by people like Bonobo, Hot Chip, Jungle, music like that. With this EP I definitely wanted to show my more electronic side. However, I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year finding new sounds that I’ll be exploring next year with my album.

Photo credit: Fiona Garden

Elderbrook continues to build momentum after Grammy nomination with ‘Old Friend’ EP [Q+A]

This post was originally published on this site

Elderbrook continues to build momentum after Grammy nomination with ‘Old Friend’ EP [Q+A]ELDERBROOK Credit FIONA GARDEN

As the year comes to a close, London’s Alexander Kotz tops the list of artists who continue to prove their worth by cementing a unique sound and a distinctive voice in today’s oversaturated electronic music scene. Kotz, more popularly known as Elderbrook, had a meteoric ascension into popularity after his breakout collaboration with CamelPhat, “Cola,” scored both of the artists a Grammy nomination. The producer is taking this newfound popularity in stride and capitalizing on it with a new four-track EP titled Old Friend. The EP proves that Kotz is a far cry from a one-hit wonder, with each track seemingly strong enough to be its own standalone hit.

Kotz spoke with DA about Old Friend, and revealed that the EP shows his more electronic, upbeat side. “I wanted to release these songs as a body of work to show where I’ve been musically over the last year since the success of ‘Cola,’ ahead of next year when I plan to release my album.” While he did not divulge more details on his forthcoming album, he did give insight into how he measures his own success and how that relates to his future bodies of work. Kotz notes that although “Cola” scored him a Grammy nomination, his measurement of his own future success is going to be based on whether he releases music that he loves.

The EP contains four tracks, and each has its own distinctive flair. Title track “Old Friend,” which the producer cited as his proudest creation of the EP, has an eerily similar effect on the listener as the infectious “Cola.” With its enthralling vocals paired with an upbeat synth progression, it is seemingly impossible to not replay the song over and over again. Kotz has figured out the formula to create catchy releases, and “Old Friend” has the capacity to take over the radio airwaves like past hit releases. Another track of note is “Capricorn,” with its groovy backdrop set against vocal chants that keep the track moving.

Old Friend undoubtedly has the ability to appeal to everyone from techno fans to pop fans, which is consistent with the producer’s own description of his musical style. He comments that, “because I love all genres of music; country, electronic, indie rock to name a few – I like to think that my music takes a little bit from each. Obviously the sounds I make are predominantly electronic, but the vocals and vocal melodies are definitely more down the indie route.” Old Friend is a big end to an important year for Kotz, and the EP is out now via Big Beat Records.


Your recent collaboration with Camelphat scored a Grammy nomination. Is this now a bar that you are aspiring for with new releases and perhaps a release on this EP? Or are you happy using that momentum to continue to build?

The collaboration with Camelphat did better than I could ever have expected, and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t want that kind of success again in the future. However, since the release of “Cola,” I found myself considering where my music was going to end up as a result. After a while, though, I realized that when putting music out there again, all that matters is releasing music that I truly love. Music that represents where I am as an artist right now. As long as I love the music, reaching certain heights or comparing myself to anything or anyone else seems irrelevant.

Do you have a favorite track off of the EP?

I love them all, but I’m really proud of “Old Friend.” It’s different to what I’ve done in the past and that’s exciting! “Bird Song” is another one I love. It was amazing to work with TEED on that one because I’m a big fan and have been for years. For us to have written a song together definitely means a lot to me personally.

This year was your first tour of the US. What did you think?

It was amazing. When I was younger I always pictured where my music career would take me. I had always imagined myself in the US, touring and driving across the country. To think that I’ve now done that is surreal, and I can’t wait to get back out there again.

How would you characterize your musical style?

This is a difficult one for me because I love all genres of music; country, electronic, indie rock to name a few. I like to think that my music takes a little bit from each. Obviously the sounds I make are predominantly electronic, but the vocals and vocal melodies are definitely more down the indie route.

What were some of your influences for this EP?

I’ve always been really influenced by people like Bonobo, Hot Chip, Jungle, music like that. With this EP I definitely wanted to show my more electronic side. However, I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year finding new sounds that I’ll be exploring next year with my album.

Photo credit: Fiona Garden

Techno Tuesday: Facundo Mohrr on his love affair with melodic dance music and embracing imperfection

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Techno Tuesday: Facundo Mohrr on his love affair with melodic dance music and embracing imperfectionTechno Tuesdays

Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.

Another star rises out of Argentina to make his mark in the deep, melodic realm of dance music. Facundo Mohrr‘s affair with electronica has been instilled in him from birth; his mother, a raver herself, passed on the tradition and continued to attend events as she was raising a young Mohrr. It was only natural that, upon reaching adolescence, he would eventually take his own step behind the decks and begin to create house music.

Mohrr’s path to stardom seemed destined to happen. By 2008, he’d already made it onto Frisky with a release that was remixed by Cid Inc. Shortly after, he’d caught the ears and support by the likes of John Digweed, Sasha, Nick Warren. and of course, his own compatriot Hernan Cattaneo. A decade-plus after his break and Mohrr is just starting to climb toward his peak; in 2017, he found his way onto Henry Saiz‘ Natura Sonoris with a widely-rinsed Bleed EP. He and his longtime friend and collaborator Valdovinos made it onto Get Physical’s Kindisch arm shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, demand was starting to grow for Facundo’s live presence, taking him to the US, Tunisia, Mexico, England, and beyond.

Come 2018, a new friendship was born with Lee Burridge. Their musical visions quickly aligned, and by March, the Argentinian talent had made it onto both Burridge’s imprints of All Day I Dream, and the Hoj co-owned Tale + Tone. It feels fitting that as the year comes to a close, Mohrr’s first extended player on All Day I Dream arrives. La Espere fits perfectly in with the label’s aesthetic: profound, emotive deep house, but with a more energized and rhythmic touch courtesy of Mohrr.

Dancing Astronaut had the pleasure of premiering “Blue Bird” prior to release, but we remained curious as to who this mysterious artist was at his core. So, the only move was to

Techno Tuesday: Facundo Mohrr on his love affair with melodic dance music and embracing imperfectionMohrr 1

Credit: Julian Farina

Describe growing up in Argentina and how you came to fall in love with dance music.
I fell in love with electronic music thanks to my mother. She used to listen to this style. I remember being 13 years old back in 1998 … we lived in a flat which was in the top floor of a building. That flat overlooked Sarmiento Park, where the first raves were held in our country. My mum would go to those parties and I remained at home looking at the lights flashing in the park, from my balcony. Everything was very intriguing to me. So, I started to look up information about the DJs who played at those raves. I investigated in every way I could, because internet had just begun so it was extremely difficult. Some years later, in the last years of my secondary school, a classmate and I discovered FRUITYLOOPS (now known as FL Studio), and since then I have never stopped making music. Today, 15 years after that first contact I still sit in front of a project with the same emotion and adrenaline that I started with.

How did you arrive at your current sound?
Talking about my sound is a bit difficult. I’d say that I always stress the rhythm a lot. I don’t like having energy in my tracks without any sense or pattern. I like deep melodies in my productions, as well as in my sets. I really try to transmit *something* at all times. I like stuff to be happening constantly in my work, and I don’t worry about what others say about going eclectic at times; I see the good side in everything and take advantage of it. Ultimately, I stick to the saying, “there is no good music or bad music; either you like it or not.” I try to evolve and always look for the diversity, and fully accept the risk of upsetting the public in adding surprises into my music.

There’s a huge melodic/progressive movement in Argentina. What do you think draws the people to this kind of music as opposed to other types of dance music?
One name: Hernan Cattaneo, a model in this genre, and he is Argentinian. I think everything is related to this fact. Nowadays, however, other genres are growing up enormously, and all of them have massive festivals monthly. The Argentinian scene is having a great moment. People have access to all kind of information, and thus, they are discovering things constantly.

Now let’s talk about Burning Man. How did you get introduced to this culture, and how has it influenced you since your first time?
My first experience with Burning Man was extraordinary. I truly thought my first year would be 2019, but it seems that when things are meant to happen, nothing can stop them. While on a Central American tour weeks before, a series of events happened that made the event unavoidable this year — from the way I obtained an entrance ticket, to getting there from Buenos Aires, the with my trip back manifesting just two days after Burning Man ended. Everything settled in such a perfect way that if I had planned it beforehand, it wouldn’t have resulted how it did.

Many things are said about Burning Man; I also asked a lot about what it was like and when I finally went, but the only real answer is, “I can not tell you, you must go.” I’ve never experience anything like this in my whole life! The Playa is a magical place that is always wowing you. I met extraordinary people and felt as if all us were a big family. Many profound things happened there and what one can see through the social networks doesn’t represent even 10% of what’s really lived. I was lucky to be able to play music there, and it was awesome. Everything was felt differently. It was as though in the air connects you directly and naturally with the people on the dance floor. Something weirdly awesome? Going cycling around the city and high-fiving with everyone!

You’ve partnered with Valdovinos a lot, including on this EP. What makes you two a good collaboration pair?
Simplicity, ease, and similar methods allow us to get on very well with each other in the studio. We don’t like going ’round and ’round over the same situations; instead, we always choose to go one step forward, and if we get stuck, we delete and start again without thinking too much. This is something I like and makes work fluid — a thing I always look for. I like to go forward fast and I can do it with him. Rodrigo is a great artist and I admire him a lot.

How did the process go of writing ‘La Espere?’ Did you write all of the four tracks specifically for the EP? Any big inspirations in particular?
Not really. When I make music, what comes out is what I felt in that moment. The four tracks of the EP were probably the ones I thought Lee was going to choose. My process is always the same: I search for a loop of drums which I can listen for a long time without getting bored and on this base, I start the musical part, always taking the rhythm as a starting point. I never draw a specific melody or bassline; I record it directly several times, and I let the small mistakes stay. They are part of the process and if it appeals to me, I keep on with the rest. My music is full of mistakes and I love it!

What are your biggest tools for writing music so far? Like a specific plug-in, hardware, a routine you follow to boost creativity, etc…
I make music 24 hours a day, all the time. I neither follow a routine in particular nor wait for an inspiration to come. If a melody doesn’t come, I try out samples, turn them back, double their time, everything that can compensate for the lack of creativity that day. There is always a way, and is often in the most hidden folder waiting for you. If I can’t make sounds, I combine the ones I have, but I never stop.

I have a home studio which is really tiny: a MacBook Pro with a simple sound card, a pair of Adam F 5s, which I love, and a Roland JP08. Regarding software, I use Ableton Live and a few plugins. I like very much to use sampler and loops.

What do you hope to accomplish over the next few years?
What life has ready for me! I will keep on making music and letting it take me wherever I have to go. Always with and for music, expressing myself through it and hoping to transmit it to as many people as I can .

Finally, what else is coming up for Facundo Mohrr?
Music, music and more music! I have several scheduled launches, some of them before the end of the year and others at the beginning of 2019.Apart from some venues in Argentina, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama and Canada, we are also about to launch music on Kermesse with Valdominos. A hectic year is coming!

Factor B dishes on Dreamstate, what drives him artistically, and more [Q+A]

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Factor B dishes on Dreamstate, what drives him artistically, and more [Q+A]Factor B Credit His Facebook

Few artists can say they’ve been booked at top festivals in their genre, signed to prolific labels, and made the leap to full-time production in under half a decade after making their entrance into dance music. Factor B falls into this minority category, lighting up the trance world with his burning passion for the music and careful attention to detail in both his sets and his original works and remixes. He’s managed to do this all from scratch in his home country of Australia, which notably has a very small scene for this particular strain of dance music.

Talent and hard work are ultimately undeniable, as the burgeoning artist has proven to himself. Prior to taking up the art of creating and performing electronic music, Factor B clocked in a large number of years as an eager consumer. His love affair with trance began with Ferry Corsten‘s Trance Nation contribution from 2000, and has only continued to grow since then. After close studying of how the music was made and performed, he soon worked up the courage to try his own hand behind the decks, which proved a natural fit for the young fan. He soon found himself taken under Solarstone‘s wing with a signing of “Sacrosanct” to Pure Trance — an uplifting anthem that established him as a force to be reckoned with. But this was only the beginning for Factor B. His clear skill and dedication to his craft landed him on other prolific imprints, like FSOE and Armada’s WAO138?! branch, with constant plays from the likes of Armin Van Buuren, Super8 & Tab, Aly & Fila, and even his role model Ferry Corsten. Such widespread adoration led to his move to Amsterdam in 2017, where since then, Factor B has seen an even bigger explosion in success that has allowed him to make a living off his music.

Ahead of his return to Dreamstate — Insomniac’s beloved trance brand whose flagship Southern California festival has become the genre’s prime destination stateside — we talked to this legend-in-the-making about his drive, influences, recent developments, and what to expect for his second time at the festival.


How would you describe the “Factor B sound?
Uplifting, cinematic, energetic, emotional & my own

What are the most influential trance songs or mixes of your past that have helped guide what you make today?
I loved a lot of the early work from Lange, Airbase, Super8, Nitrous Oxide, Nu NRG, Ferry Corsten, Above & Beyond to name a few. In terms of compilations, The Global Underground series along with Gatecrasher, Slinky & Clubbers Guides were frequently in my CD players.

On that note, you’ve become known for your huge, multilayered uplifting pieces. What draws you to uplifting as opposed to say, psy trance or tech trance?
Even though I don’t mind a bit of Psy & tech, I don’t get the emotional connection to those styles the way I do with melodic trance.
When I write a record, it always has a storyline or a feeling behind it and I love translating that to an audience via sound.

You’ve been living in Amsterdam for a bit over a year now. What are some key career growth moments that have come to you as a result of moving to a trance hub?
I think just simply being closer to the action here in Europe / UK / USA has been highly beneficial for my growth. Not having to fly to & from Australia means more show opportunities and chances to showcase my music / DJing. Being on the tour circuit more often has been amazing as I’ve had the opportunity to get know more about the industry and learn from some of the really cool characters within it.

Tell us about some of the hardships you faced when taking the plunge to do music full time, and how you got over them.
I think for me it was about learning how to manage myself & my producing. Coming from a full time business background – a big challenge for me was learning to understand how to manage my creativity and not force things. I burnt out pretty quick when I first arrived in Amsterdam – I was producing non stop for 9 months, so after that happened, I learnt pretty quick to slow down, harness my inspiration and not to force it. I don’t just sit in the studio because I feel I have to now. To help the process, I have learnt to step away from music for periods of time, focus on things that help clear my mind and then approach my studio sessions nice & fresh.

How does your studio process go? Do you have a starting point you like in a track or an area you feel you have to get ‘just right’ before finishing? How do you address writer’s block?
For me it’s all about the melodies. I tend to write melodies first and once I know it’s got something special about it then I start expanding. Not all ideas make the cut. I’ve learnt to leave & come back to projects after a few days with ‘fresh ears’ so I can get a better perspective on where the track is at. If it dosent pass the goosebump test – it goes in the bin!
A good dose of exercise often helps clear the mind when things aren’t going to plan in the studio, that or a glass of whiskey!

What’s inspiring you to create the most these days?
I think it’s still just the love of the music, it’s thrilling to land a great melody and then see it grow. I love the process – the challenge, the rollercoaster that’s associated with writing music. When it all comes together – it’s difficult to find a better feeling.

Are there any specific goals you’re looking to achieve musically, like starting a new label of your own, experimenting with a new sound, playing a certain place, etc?
Of course there are always aspirations and goals, but for me traveling the world and playing my music is still fresh and exciting. I don’t want to try to do too much too soon. I love trance, I love performing – so for now I’m just focusing on keeping my music fresh and staying optimistic about whatever the future brings!

Sort of related, but since your international explosion, what have been some of your favorite places to play or prized trance memories?
No doubt Luminosity on the Beach is one of my favorite shows each year, along with any tour back home to Australia. The recent Subculture show in my home town of Melbourne in front of 7.5k people was probably one of the greatest moments of my life! The USA as a whole has been incredible for me this year. I’ve never really travelled the USA so to get to see so much of it in the last 12 months has been really exciting. Dreamstate is definitely one of the shows that launched my name in the USA so that’s one in the calendar each year I get really excited for!

You’re coming back to Dreamstate! With last year’s set erring toward the ‘producer’s set’ side, what do you have in store for us this year?
As dreamstate showcases so many great acts I think most artists sets tend to lean towards producer sets nowadays anyway but I have what I feel is some of my best work to date to playout / debut at DS this year so I really can’t wait for it!

What are your thoughts in general on the American trance scene and Dreamstate?
As mentioned previously, it’s been fantastic for me, I’m very grateful to have played so many shows around the states and for Dreamstate this year. The crowds are all great and seemingly really enjoy my uplifting style as I’m fairly fresh to the USA tour circuit. I can’t compare it to anything prior but from my experience thus far it’s healthy and growing!

Finally, what’s next in the Factor B pipeline?

Well, firstly I have an abundance of new music to release in 2019 – First and foremost that’s what excites me the most. On the show front, I have some very exciting announcements to make in the coming weeks, some big debuts and some big tours. Keep an eye on the socials! 🙂

 

It’s not to late to pick up Dreamstate tickets; make sure to purchase them here.

 

 

Photo credit: facebook/FactorBmusic

Calvin Harris lets fans engage him in impromptu Twitter Q&A, distances himself from EDM

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Calvin Harris lets fans engage him in impromptu Twitter Q&A, distances himself from EDMCalvin Harris 1

Calvin Harris took a short break yesterday from cranking out number No. 1 records and posing for Armani underwear spreads to engage in a slew of Twitter exchanges with fans on the state of his music and “EDM” at large.

The Scottish “Feel So Close” producer answered music and non-music-related inquiries alike with a bit of comedy and a great deal of candor. A glaring takeaway from the repartee is Harris’s delineating his current chosen production style with the now-ubiquitous umbrella term, “EDM.”

Upon a fan asking whether or not he’d be “going back to EDM at some point,” Harris replied,

“EDM has been sad, slow songs for years now. Doesn’t have anything in common with the music I love to make. 2010-2014 edm was more house influenced to me. Anyway now I’m out the bubble and making big records with amazing singers that sound like house music to me…”

Additionally, Harris took the opportunity to suggest he’ll be diving back into the festival circuit soon–now that many of his large-scale projects (namely Funk Wav) are in the books. He also announced an indefinite retirement from his former live performance setup, having purportedly exhausted the format at this point in his career. However, make no mistake: at 34, Harris continues to flex his adventurousness in the studio. Just this month, he offered one of his rare vocal demonstrations on his new house single with Benny Blanco, “I Found You.”

Photo Credit: Rukes

 

 

CloZee tells a tale of finding her way in the studio and the intricate album that results [Q+A]

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CloZee tells a tale of finding her way in the studio and the intricate album that results [Q+A]CloZee BangOn NYC Halloween

Out of France comes a blossoming new talent specializing in left-field bass and electronica. CloZee has quickly made her mark on the low end of dance music for her keen ear for sound design and for her moody, eclectic sound since her start in 2011, catching attention of other stalwarts like Emancipator, The Glitch Mob, and more. Having released her debut LP in 2012, the complex and instrumental OckeFilms Soundtrack, the arrival of her sophomore Evasion had been highly anticipated and comes with even higher expectations. Luckily, CloZee isn’t one to disappoint; Evasion serves as not only a fitting follow-up to OckeFilms Soundtrack, but also as a marker of her artistic progress thus far. She continues her play at different textures and free-flowing bass arrangement, telling a transcendent tale across ten tracks that feels even more put together than its compilation-focused predecessor. It’s the mark of an artist who spent a good while poring over her craft to put out the best product she could.

CloZee has been following quite the busy schedule as of late, touring in support of her album across the globe. Right before she set off on her leg around the states, we nabbed the forward-thinking musicmaker to talk about the inspiration behind Evasion, her identity, and beyond.


How does this album compare to your previous work?
My past projects (‘Harmony’, ‘Revolution’, ‘Inner Peace’ etc) were all EPs, so quite shorter, including different tunes I made without thinking of the project as a whole. There were more like « compilations » of tunes I made thorough the year of the release, whenever I had time to work in the studio between all my different tours.
For ‘EVASION’, I took the time to sit in the studio for a few months to compose all the tracks during that period, thinking of the story I wanted to tell, inspired by all my past adventures and experiences while touring, traveling, meeting new people and discovering new landscapes.

How does your extensive travel influence your music-making?
What inspires me the most when I’m travelling is to discover new landscapes, different type of nature, and all the memories that come with those moments. It could be a sunset in Malta, a hike in Hawaii, swimming in a beautiful waterfall in Costa Rica, walking by night in an empty street in Tokyo etc. Those memories and experiences are what brings me inspiration when I’m back in the studio.

What sort of emotions/atmosphere are you trying to evoke with this new record?
All my tracks have different stories, inspiration, but the main idea I’m trying to communicate with my music is always positive, motivating. ‘Evasion’ in French means « escaping reality » when it’s music related. I want the listeners to be transported into their own secret places, feel in peace with themselves, and feel like they can overcome any challenges in their life.

Can you elaborate on your live show experience?
For this tour, I wanted to increase the visual experience, instead of common DJ setup. For the first time, we bring production (lights, lasers) and we’re pretty much playing the same live show and story every night. When they enter the venue, I want the people to forget all their problems: I want them to get lost in the music, lights and lasers. I want them to be happier and recharged at the end of the show.

How has your artistic identity in general evolved over the years?
I feel like with this album I came back to my beginnings, my original feelings when I compose music. When I started to make electronic music (when I was like 18) I didn’t give a damn about trying to produce music for the dance floor. I just made the music I wanted, depending on my mood and emotions. This is exactly how I feel now again, but it didn’t used to be like that.

When I started to play shows when I was 21, my music switched a bit on the heavier side, because this is what promoters would book me for. They don’t want to book someone who’s gonna play Trip-Hop or Downtempo (at least not from an unknown artist). I was more categorized in the ‘Glitch-Hop’ and ‘Bass Music’ scene, and was more DJing to try to give what people want (to dance to). I liked that period, but it was more to put my name out there, and get to tour in clubs. At some point, I missed the more melodic and ‘storytelling’ side of my sets and songs.

Since 2 years ago, I felt like I reached a point where I could do more experimental music, propose something deeper and more intimate. In my sets, I started to play more and more my own tunes, and produce tracks that are all a part of me.

What sort of legacy do you hope to leave behind in the music world?
I didn’t think about that actually, I’m just doing my own thing, doing what I love and trying to make people happy. If my music leaves anything particular behind, then I’d be very satisfied, but it wouldn’t be on purpose.


Grab a copy of ‘Evasion’ here

Photo credit: CloZee’s team

Techno Tuesday: Jeniluv takes us beneath LA’s surface ahead of Secret Project Festival

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Techno Tuesday: Jeniluv takes us beneath LA’s surface ahead of Secret Project FestivalJeniluv Press

Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.

Los Angeles’ vibrant underground dance sphere wouldn’t be where it is today without figures like Jeniluv leading the charge behind-the-scenes. The tenured DJ, producer, and music lover has been a prime fixture of both the San Francisco and LA scenes for a combined 20 years, moving back to LA permanently in 2007 to cultivate her Making Shapes events brand into the stalwart it is today.

Jeniluv is a respected figure for good reason; she’s never once compromised her passions, and continues to spend her time helping others up, either through booking, collaborations, or in showcasing the finest below-surface house, acid, and techno records one can dig for. It’s because of her deep understanding of and integration into the LA scene, and her proven history of successful event production, that Insomniac tapped her talents for their debut Secret Project Festival. The festival represents a whole new foray for the brand, pairing up with David Chang’s majordōmo to create an exclusive menu, and Apotheke for a cutting-edge array of cocktails. It’s an event for the more mature dance fans in their base, which is sealed into place with headliners like Carl Cox, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Dixon, Peggy Gou, and more. Meanwhile, Jeniluv and other LA crews have been brought on to not only bring a sense of authenticity, but also to show off just how thriving the city’s music culture is — if one looks deep enough.

We sat down with Jeniluv to quiz her a bit about her musical upbringing, her inspirations, playing Secret Project, and more ahead of the show. Last-minute tickets can be grabbed here.


Let’s get started with the basics: what was your path into the LA underground in the 90s? Did it happen by chance, or did you fall in love with the music and seek it out?
I was 15 years old and went to school in Long Beach, California. I collected classic rock records mostly; we listened to local emo or backyard bands like Sublime. We skated half pipe to punk rock and listened to Dj Drez hip-hop cassette tapes. I had never heard of House music, or dance music beats besides maybe 80s for example, or Everything but The Girl. One day, a latina girl I had a crush on walked up to me and asked me if I wanted to go to LA that weekend and hear some house music. I was like ‘Whats that??”

I jumped into her older brother’s car Saturday night and we headed to Echo Park to pick up a few of their friends. We stopped at a few places so they could spray some graffiti, before ending up on the east side at a warehouse on the railroad tracks. The music was not on yet, but people were arriving. I saw a crew of kids carrying several crates of records into the entrance, following someone. I remember feeling mesmerized by all the movement and the warehouse environment.

We were at an “Unlock The House” party, and once inside, the music started. Doc Martin was the DJ and his record crates lined the wall behind him, about 10 crates total. There were four turntables and a massive sound system pumping out bass like I’d never heard, sounds and rhythms both acid and tribal. “DEEP HOUSE,” they called it — and house music roots are deep in Los Angeles. The crowd was mostly chicano and local to Los Angeles. I was the loco white girl dancing on my first ecstasy that night and no one seemed to mind at all! I fell in love with house music and went “raving” every weekend. I am still good friends with those kids today, 25 years later we share dancefloors.

On that note, what drew you to electronica early on, and what is it about house/techno that has kept the fire alive for you for so long?
I found freedom. The music changed me as a person, the people embrace me as I am, the places I have traveled because of the music — and my global dance music family.

Can you spill a couple crazy rave stories from your time in the scene?
I need time to integrate my experiences but i just keep pushing on into more — it’s all a blur. Good times, bad times — this is a harsh and beautiful lifestyle. Most memories that come to mind are illicit, about death or too amazing to put into words.

You’ve made it on your own successfully as an underground artist for so long. The beauty is that you’ve done this while still keeping your integrity and humility. Do you have any words of wisdom to impart on younger artists about success/what it means, and what they can do to find this in their own careers?
If you love it, it will take everything you have to remain a part of it. To have it be what you do with your life, you will need to carve your own way into a rock. Don’t listen to anyone not worth listening to. Just do you — people respect that. Remain open to all kinds of music and your collection will build in many directions. Develop your own sound and style — people will catch on.

Who have been some of your biggest figures of inspiration throughout the years?
Doc Martin, Solar, Justin Martin, Jennifer Cardini, Juan Atkins, Move D, and DJ Harvey — to name a few for a variety of reasons… along with my current role model underground DJs and best friends in music, Heidi Lawden and Masha.

What is the current LA scene needing now (if anything), and what can we as fans do to help?
Its mayhem here, every weekend there are several parties with big line ups. We are one of the leading weekender hubs for dance music in the world, now. But what we need is a weekday scene.

Let’s pivot now into Secret Project territory – first off, have you ever played any events in Chinatown before? How has this area changed in your eyes over the years?
I have played at local Chinatown bar’s General Lee’s and Grand Star Jazz Club back when heavy disco laden nights like Sunny Side up and Full Frontal Disco frequented them. There used to be this big party in the alley next to the area where Harvey and Guy Gerber do their party — an alley take over as opposed to a block party, I forget who did that. It has a fun history, and promoters are taking more advantage of the unique daytime space now.

How did you get involved with Secret Project?
My partner in Making Shapes, SONNS, called me up and said we were playing together. I think initially we were going to do a back to back set, but now we have individual set times.

Aside from yourself (your set’s going to be awesome), who else should Secret Project fans be looking forward to most on the lineup that aren’t the main headliners, and why?
Octa Octa — live? Peggy Gou — good time! SONNS — LA prodigy and party boy.

What kind of set do you have planned for Secret Project? Are you going to douse us in acid, lay down some hard techno, some grooving house, a mix?
Depends on my set time, I have been buying, downloading, and throwing music in a folder waiting to dissect it closer to date. Probably early day stuff that’s interesting to both listen and dance to, beckoning you to the dancefloor.

What other aspects of the festival excite you most?
A two day line up in Los Angeles that is stacked with these artists just has not happened here before.

Do feel Secret Project has the potential to set a precedent for other large organizers to support local talent scenes?
YES

Finally, what else is coming up for Jeniluv in the near future?
Asia tour in February with Solar and DJ Nobu, also some snow boarding together! My new project ‘Psychicbody’ is a casual label, mix series and after hours event in Los Angeles. Also, The Dusk Festival, Southern California — tba

Goldrush founder tells us the secrets of successful event promotion in AZ [Q+A]

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Goldrush founder tells us the secrets of successful event promotion in AZ [Q+A]Goldrush Credit Goldrush Fest

Arizona’s general interest in dance music had been on the rise for quite some time, but it seemed to have needed a true place it could call home within the state — outside a number of select venues and events. Enter institutional brand Relentless Beats with their newest Goldrush endeavor. The shiny new Western-themed gathering, which, despite its short tenure on the circuit, has risen as a hub for mining the shiniest artistic nuggets that the industry has to offer. Goldrush carved out a niche in the Arizona sphere with ease for its inaugural 2017 edition, bringing a multitude of dance acts across the spectrum spanning from Migos, to Nicole Moudaber, to Barclay Crenshaw.

A festival of this nature would not be successful had it not been for the tenured organizers behind-the-scenes who perpetually have their ears to the ground, and a vision of success. Relentless Beats in particular has risen as the voice of dance music in the region, having created some of Arizona’s most sought-after events to date — like the New Year’s celebration Decadence, for example, or a number of club nights that bring in talent from across the country and world. Goldrush, however, is shaping up to be their largest venture yet, despite being in just its second year of production. Curious as to the mechanics behind throwing a festival that’s a guaranteed success among a saturated market in general, we sat down with one of the prime leaders of Goldrush and Relentless beats, Thomas Turner, to pick his brain on putting a gargantuan event together, hurdles they’ve faced, new additions to the festival, and more.


Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get started in event promotion/organization?
I started producing underground electronic events in the 90s, after being influenced by European house music. Specifically progressive house.

How did the idea for Gold Rush come about, and what kicked its formation into action for you?
The western town we produce Goldrush in was a tourist destination North of Scottsdale, when i was growing up. When i saw it in its setting at Wild Horse Pass, many years after being relocated, i salivated at the idea of producing a western themed music event- it was just many years to soon and we needed to pick the right time for something so niche. I had a lot of time to think about the name and it finally felt right in 2017.

We’ve read your goal is to curate cutting-edge lineups. What is your methodology for finding acts that you feel haven’t been booked for an event of this nature before?
For us the process is long and detailed when it comes to breaking and sustaining an act’s brand in the market. We want the fans to get a great show as well as the act.

How was the process of getting Gold Rush off the ground last year? Any kinks you encountered while throwing its first edition that you’ve ironed out for this year?
Certainly the first year always encounters some hurdles and we are constantly looking to fine tune the experience, but the thing I like most is us getting our arms around hosting the best event in the space. And while it years to see our ultimate vision, we have made major strides this year.

What kinds of expansions or cool things can we expect for year 2 of Gold Rush, now that the festival is hitting its stride?
For one the mainstage is now on a new patch of grass called The Riverwalk, which we are very excited about. In addition, we have moved from 16+ to 18+ with later hours to better serve our core fan base.

What can you say about the AZ dance scene and how it’s grown over the years?
The Arizona dance scene is tremendous and i really can’t say enough good things about how strong the electronic music culture is here. We rival major markets in overall ticket volume, yet are a fraction of their size.

Who are you most excited about on the bill this year?
I’m personally most excited to see Vince Staples, Chris Lake, Loud Luxury, & of course my boy illenium

Any final words for Gold Rush attendees?
I can’t wait to see all the costumes & outfits and spend two amazing nights with everyone. Let’s ride AZ!