Techno Tuesday: Avision tells a tale of techno and working hard for success

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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.

Passion, patience, and persistence are three especially crucial ideas when it comes to making it in the music industry; especially during a time where the market is more saturated than ever, and less friendly overall to creators. Most musicians don’t become overnight superstars, and for most, the process of transitioning into music full time takes years on end. But, when that goal is accomplished, it’s worth the effort.

Avision is intimately familiar with passion, patience, and persistence, imbuing this principal into his everyday life and career. He is quite the prodigious talent, having first stepped behind the decks at the young age of 12 and scoring his first residency by age 16. Over a decade-and-a-half after making his entrance into the scene and moving with intense drive and desire, he is finally breaking through the surface. Furthermore, he made himself an internationally-recognized talent while staying based in the United States — a rare feat in electronica, where artists often move to Europe to advance their career and receive higher amounts of support and income.

We got him to open up a bit and tell his artistic story — from the trials and tribulations, to the triumphs. Additionally, Avision just released a dark, scintillating new EP on Matter+ titled Free Your Mind. Its three originals are bursting with soul and hints of funk, capturing what made early techno great and tossing this sound into a modern ambiance. Let it provide a background as he tells the tale of his comeup.

 


I started out DJ’ing around New York & New Jersey 10 years ago when I was 14. My first residency was at Club Abyss in New Jersey, which was the hottest club night for teens in that area of the U.S. and it would average at least 1500 kids per night. I also started producing around that time; working on remixes first and then original tracks. When I was about 16, I went to Electric Zoo festival in New York. It was the first time I realized who my cousin (Victor Calderone) really was, and also the first time I heard Techno and Tech House. It changed everything for me, and I started digging deeper into those genres and began finding new tracks and artists that I really liked.

After that, I started to change my sound and began making tech house and techno, which led to me going out a lot in the NY scene. The first real night club I went to was District 36 when I was 17 to see Victor, and it got me to see how everything worked outside of the teen clubs I had been playing. Then I started going to Pacha NYC when I was 18, and those nights really helped me learn everything, how to go through certain tracks throughout the course of a night and control a crowd. That’s when I started DJ’ing at 21+ clubs when I was 18.

Before I started releasing music as Avision, I hadn’t really found my sound yet. I had been releasing music on a bunch of labels under my real name, but I was really just finding my sound and experimenting on who I was as an artist. Once I finished around a hundred tracks, I really figured out what my sound was and the direction I wanted to take with my music. The first Avision release was just over 2 years ago on Victor’s Waveform label, and it went over really well. There was pretty strong feedback from a lot of DJ’s that I respect, and Carl Cox and Joseph Capriati played my track “Conception” at Awakenings in 2016.

After that first Avision release, I sent Mark Broom a Facebook message saying that I was a fan of his and his label Beardman, and sent him an EP that same week. He ended up signing it and he remixed a track from it as well, and this release really kicked things off for me. Mark is such a highly respected figure in techno, and the release on his label really helped give my name credibility in the scene. Ben Sims, Truncate, and many more DJ’s were playing that EP. Having top techno artists supporting my music has been a big foundation of my career so far. I had a release on Carl Cox’s Intec label last year which was a highlight, as videos started popping up of Carl playing my track all over the world (he opened his set at Movement Detroit last year with my “Mind Of The Man” track). I’ve also released on Carlo Lio’s On Edge Society (and have a follow up planned for later this year), another release on Beardman, and also an EP on Ben Sims’ Hardgroove label up next (which will be my first vinyl release).

One of the most challenging things for me has been patience when it comes to gigging. I first started playing at Pacha NYC and building my name in the NY area, and at that point I was taking pretty much any gig that came my way. In NYC, there’s enough parties going on where I could probably be spinning somewhere every week, but since I’ve been releasing as Avision, I’ve really been picky on how many gigs I’ve taken as my goal is to be touring globally in the very near future. Now in NY I probably spin every couple of months or so, and I try for the most part to make sure that the gig is with a bigger DJ I respect and/or with one of the leading promoters and venues in the area so that I’m able to keep building my name up. Lately, I’ve been able to tour more around North America, and have crossed off some key gigs at venues like Stereo Montreal, Space in Miami and The BPM Festival in Mexico.

In the U.S., the techno scene keeps growing and getting larger, but a lot of the people that go out in the U.S. pay attention to what’s going on overseas, and what artists are big there. As an American artist in Techno, in a way it feels like you really need to “make it” and have that stamp of approval by the right clubs and fans overseas in order to breakthrough as a bigger artist here in the States. The club culture in Europe is highly respected, and over here it feels like a new cycle of that club culture has started only in the past decade (with the current wave of electronic music). My focus next is on breaking through in Europe, and I’m working on my first dates there for later this year.

Some key things that have helped me so far in my career:

Mentors: I think it’s really important to have mentors to learn from, and I’ve been lucky to have one right in my family. Victor has been a great mentor to me, and when I started producing I would constantly send him big groups of tracks at a time. He would always give me constructive feedback, but in a positive way so that I was never discouraged.

Networking: Building relationships is something that takes time to create, and I think it’s important to take advantage of any opportunity that comes to you. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gone to see a DJ that plays my music, and from that have built a connection and now have an amazing relationship. Everyone likes to put a face to a name. I like to try and take advantage of any opportunity I can to say thank you to a DJ for playing my music, or ask them where I can send new music to, etc.

Work Ethic: I’ve been doing this for 10 years now, and I haven’t taken a day off since. What you put in is what you get out of it. If you’re not in it for the long run, there’s no point in starting. It’s important to take pride in your work and know how to change and evolve over time. Really focus on your strengths and improve your weaknesses.

Team: Having a team behind you is a big aspect in having & building a career – you can’t do everything alone. It’s important to have people in your life that care about you & your career, and to help you build and grow as an artist.

Love: Lastly, it’s important to just love what you do, and to recognize that things will be up & down, and not everything will be sunshine & rainbows all of the time. Keep your focus on the big picture and your long-term goals!

 

Order a copy of ‘Free Your Mind’ here

Premiere: Monstergetdown – Blakmajik

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Monstergetdown

LA remains a hotbed of fresh, forward-thinking American talent, and mau5trap has tapped keenly into this vein. One of their newest recruits from this region, Monstergetdown, has just released a fresh new EP that embraces elements spanning from tribal, to dark and heavy.

Its eponymous opener, “Blakmajik,” brings to mind imagery of voodoo and mysticism as it traverses through interweaving rhythms made with tribal percussion, and a simple that hits the ears in satisfying places. Soon, however, he subtly layers in even more exotic elements, making for quite the intriguing listen. “Blakmajik” was certainly made for the outdoor, off-grid setting, and we’re looking forward to hearing it rinsed through festival sets throughout the season.

 

“Blakmajik” is available for download beginning May 4. Order a copy here

RYBO primes Desert Hearts attendees for a bonanza [Exclusive Mix]

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RYBO

Desert Hearts is just around the corner, and to prime its guests for four days of house, techno, and love, RYBO has fashioned a high-charged mix filled with some damaging material.

The family newcomer shows off his knowledge of all things pumping and tech house, packing a juicy array of tunes into an hour-long frenzy. Tribal, raunchy, left-field, and straight-up funk soundscapes are all explored, helping build energy levels to maximum capacity. He succeeds in putting forth an diverse, yet concise taste on what’s to come as soon as the weekend arrives.

Tracklist:
Joeski – Devour You (XXX) (Original Mix) [Maya Records]
Tobias – Fiya Bun (Original Mix)
Pablo Fierro – La Palma (Original Mix)
Lauren Lane – Ruff Ryders v1
JJ Fad – Supersonic (Brian Busto Edit 2)
John Tejada – Sweat (On The Walls)
Around7 – Discotronic (Original Mix)
Rework – Like Me (Original Mix)
Sydney Blu – On the Brink
Omar Labastida , Fhaken & Wayne Madiedo – Tonight (Original Mix) [MASTER]
Bohemien, Raf Parola – Nevermind (Original Mix)_Mst
2 Sides Of Soul – My Body Is Hot (Original_Mix)
Disaia – Destination (DUB EDIT)

Anonymous producer Polymod releases new self-titled tech house EP

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Dance music fans are no strangers to artists opting for anonymity, be it in the form of a helmet or mask, or even refraining from live performance over facing public fame. It has proven to be an effective strategy, from Daft Punk to Zhu — whether its a marketing ploy or an element of the creator’s artistic method, keeping one’s identity in the backseat has become an enticing angle for electronic music producers over the last two decades.

Now, Polymod is the latest artist to join the ranks of the anonymous, and he (or she) has emerged with the release of a new self-titled EP Polymod. Details on the new project’s owner are scarce — all that is known of Polymod is that the person is a veteran of the UK electronic music scene who is choosing to release music under this new alias. The three-track tech house EP is a satisfying teaser for those attracted to dark undertones and pulsating beats, available now on 17 Steps. Let the Polymod speculation begin.

Pan-Pot and Chus & Ceballos try their hand at Carl Cox’ ‘Your Light Shines On’ [EP Review]

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Carl Cox

Beloved icon Carl Cox cast his 2016 single “Your Light Shines On” out into the electrosphere, and it returned to him reimagined by two stalwart duo.

Chus & Ceballos offered up a house-based rendition of the original, opting to stay truer its roots. That isn’t to say they didn’t make it into their own. The outfit laid down the grooves with a pronounced bassline and minimal synths, creating an enduring piece. It’s infectious as ever, per their usual tendencies.

Meanwhile, Pan-Pot naturally took a darker and more industrial turn with their rendition, injecting cloudy white noise, robotic bloops, and throbbing bass into the mix to create a knocking techno tune. They too maintain the soulful elements of “Your Light Shines On,” however, summoning nostalgia at the end of the their edit.


Purchase the Remixes to ‘Your Light Shines On’ here

Premiere: Joyce Muniz ft. Aquarius Heaven – Chapter 4 (SHADED Remix)

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SHADED

Joyce Muniz and Aquarius Heaven had quite the ear-grabbing collaboration on their hands in “Chapter 4.” Now, rising talent SHADED has entered the ring to insert a helping of undulating grooves into the mix.

The LA native takes on a minimalist approach, employing basic elements at key places to create subdued impact. A smooth, funk-laden bassline is wrapped nicely in a churning bout of percussion and accented with licks of Aquarius Heaven’s vocals from the original. The coup de gras of course is SHADED‘s synthwork, which creates a futuristic vibe to the finished thanks to its robotic tendencies.

 

3D discuss their legendary union, Danny Howells’ return from hiatus, and more ahead of debut tour [Interview]

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3D

Danny Howells, Dave Seaman, and Darren Emerson are icons in their own right. Each of these three stalwarts has spent well over two decades on the international circuit, pioneering the sounds of house, progressive, and other groove-centered strains of dance music. Their unrelenting standards and passion for what they do drives their continued success.

When these three come together as one, the result can only mean destruction — in the best sense of the term. Much like the nuances within their own respective styles, “3D” thus comes about as a multi-faceted new project that sees Emerson, Howells, and Seaman’s sounds merging into a complementary union. The project has already bred a notable occurrence: Danny Howells’ first release after an extended hiatus. It appears on their eponymous EP, which explores the history of house music with a modern sensibility. Meanwhile, the mixes they’ve assembled thus far as a group points to their excellent chemistry as a team.

Now, 3D are about to set forth on an expansive North American tour which commences March 29 — the first round of dates that will secure their impending domination as the new powerhouse group on the block. We got ahold of Dave and Danny ahead of time to talk about forming 3D, their pipeline, and more.


Hi guys, tell us what led to the creation of 3D. Whose idea was it and what’s your goal with the project? Plus do you see it as something long-term?
Danny: We’ve all known each other for years, so when we ended up playing together at Ministry we obviously loved it and wanted to take it further, which is where Dave really came into action in terms of tying it all together.

I think we’ve all done so much during our careers that our goals now are to enjoy what we do, as well as getting into some new areas, both geographically and musically, that we might not have strayed into before.

Dave: I suggested branding the night at the Ministry Of Sound as 3D as a bit of a joke initially. I really didn’t expect it to take on a life all of it’s own and turn into an actual thing. But now it is, I think we’ve all realised that it’s going to be a lot of fun travelling and playing together. Who knows where it will all lead. For the moment, we’re really enjoying it and long may that continue.

3D’s creation lead to Danny Howells’ first original material getting released in years. Can we expect more 3D EPs like the last one on Dave’s label Selador coming soon? Plus will the three of you be creating a track together in the coming future?
Danny: I’d taken a massive hiatus from production although I always knew I’d start again when the time was right, and this project gave me the nudge I needed.

Dave: Yeah we were so happy we managed to coerce Dan back into the studio. I think you’ll agree he was ready as his output has already proved, but he just needed a little push. We’re already talking about the next EP and there’s definitely an appetite for us all to do something together at some point. Goodness knows how that will turn out but I look forward to it.

With each of you being a legend in your own right, how difficult was it you adjusting to becoming a team? What does each of you bring to 3D and how you balance everything out? Plus how are you able to read each other if one of you goes off on a tangent?
Danny: I don’t think any of us see ourselves as being a legend, so when we get in the box together there’s only two goals – play as well as we can and have a blast doing it! There is a musical adjustment to playing as a threesome instead of solo, but we always pick our sets to pieces afterwards to see what worked and what didn’t, and how we can make it better next time.

I think we’re all capable of going off on tangents, but as we usually wind up doing just two or three tracks each, so we tend to stay in check!

With such a history of success behind you all, what motivates you to continue pushing things forward and searching for new audiences?

Danny: For me it still boils down to the buzz I get from playing the tunes I adore to people who hopefully enjoy them as much as I do.

Darren: I’ve been doing this for 30 years now and never get tired of seeing the reactions big tunes get on the dance floor. I still love discovering new producers and searching for the perfect beat. Guess you could say it’s become a life-long habit.

You’re touring the States soon. Will you be creating a special playlist for the shows? Or just ‘freestyling?’
Danny: We tend look at each gig, room size, set time etc to get a rough idea of what we’ll do, whether we go straight in with the bangers or whether we’ve got time to work through the genres a bit. There’s no planning as such and we tweak things up during the night if we feel it needs it. We’re all very honest with each other and tell each other afterwards exactly what we thought. Our post gig autopsies are pretty epic!

Dave: I think part of the fun is the spontaneity. Not really knowing where each of us might take the narrative keeps us all on our toes. Being slightly out of our comfort zones is stimulating and as all of us have been DJing longer than we care to remember. We’re relishing the challenge!

If you each had to choose one track from your repertoire that you had to play at every gig the rest of your lives, which would it be?

Danny: Damn this is a hard one! If I had to choose one of my own songs then I’d maybe go for “Laid Out”, purely because I’ve already played it out so many times and never got bored of it. If it was someone else’s tune then maybe something like “Accadian” by The Mole, or Jimpster’s old remix of Robert Babicz, for the same reason. I’ve absolutely rinsed those.

Darren: I’ve always loved Speedy J’s – Rise. Still sounds fresh today.

Dave: One of mine you mean? I’d probably go with ‘Nightfalls’. It’s very easy to get bored of your own productions, especially when you spend so long in the studio making them but I never seem to get bored of that one, largely due to the timeless vocal by Gaelle Adisson if I’m honest.

What are other stuff are you guys doing for the rest of the year? Plus are there any special projects coming up you want to talk about?
Danny: We have a load of 3D gigs lined up which I’m really looking forward to, as well as further studio escapades as discussed before. My next release will be out in the next month or so.

Darren: I’ve got some remixes coming out next month plus also some big collabs on the way, including another one with John Digweed and Nick Muir. Our last one ‘Tracer’ got a lot of traction, so we decided it would be good to do it again. As well as playing with 3D, I’m also looking forward to playing some summer dates with Carl Cox and his crew.

Dave: My focus for the next couple of months is on my label, Selador’s 5th Birthday. We’ve got 24 artists making exclusive collaboration tracks together that we’re releasing as 3 separate EPs. We’re launching the whole thing at Watergate in Berlin at the end of April. It’s gonna be a big statement project for us and we’re really proud of it. I’ve also got releases lined up on AFFKT’s Sincopat label and Alex Niggemann’s Soul Fooled, plus remixes for Martin Eyerer & Tim Engelhardt. So it’s going to be a busy year.

 

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Rinzen gives a glimpse into his personal crate with release of debut mixtape, ‘The Prologue’

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Rinzen

Deadmau5 has a proven A&R knack for spotting emerging talent, and historically, he’s equipped them to go off and take over their own corners of the ever-growing EDM empire. If the career trajectories of artists like REZZ or Skrillex serve as any indication, then we have another star on our hands with Rinzen.

The LA-based mau5trap recruit, currently riding his breakthrough wave on the recent “Prologue” tour, has now dropped off his debut mixtape of the same name, giving fans a glimpse at his crate of current personal favorites. Rinzen blends tracks from Mind Against, Adriatique, and Jeremy Olander, along with two unreleased original pieces and a handful of additionally sophisticated tech house selects.

So far, the burgeoning beatmaker has delivered exceptionally conceptual projects, and “The Prologue” mixtape is no different. There’s an underlying theme of equal parts trepedation and thrilling excitement that plays across the hour-long mix as it dips into deep house, progressive, and tribal territories. The mix reflects the process by which Rinzen continues to find his footing in this first chapter of his career as he sets out on what’s clearly going to be a momentous journey for the emerging producer.

 

[EXCLUSIVE] Warm up for CRSSD Fest with a high-charge mix from Kyle Watson

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Kyle Watson

Kyle Watson is no stranger to scintillating tech house sizzlers. The South African export has steadily climbed the ranks since he first entered the electrosphere a decade ago, landing himself global acclaim and eventually being accepted into the Dirtybird flock as a prominent rising talent.

His music is oftentimes a blend of irresistibly danceable drum patterns, funked up melodies, and jarring vocal samples, with singles like his Billy Kenny collaboration “Wiggly Worm” and solo works like “Moments” and “Pop Up” lighting up dancefloors worldwide.

Now, the time has come for him to bring his brand to San Diego’s CRSSD Fest, where he’ll be setting The Palms ablaze with a plethora of contemporary music built for maximum movement. To further invigorate the pre-festival excitement, he’s provided Dancing Astronaut with a short, yet sweet mix that makes for a perfect pre-game soundtrack. It features a high-charged selection of booty-shaking house, tribal tech, and grooving vocal-assisted cuts.

 

Endor – Gunna Be Mine

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Endor

London producer Endor is making waves in the global house sphere. Releases such as “Fever” and remixes of La Roux‘s “In for the Kill” and S-Man’s “Intimidating Love” have bolstered the 23 year old producer’s recognition, and he’s on pace to make waves in 2018 through an entirely distinct sonic landscape.

With support from the likes of Mistajam and Skream, the young producer heads into the year blazing with “Gunna Be Mine,” a disco influenced tech house ballad that moves and grooves in mercurial fashion. It’s a departure from his previous body of work, but an inviting one at that. The track encapsulates the modern tech house sound with its own vigor and stylistic touch, and raises expectations for Endor in 2018.