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It’s funny how social media can change everything! A few weeks back I posted a FRESH OFF THE BEATS article on Twitter/ X featuring one of the newest rising talents on Dirtybird Records, Danny Kolk, immediately he reshared the article and reached out thanking the team for supporting him and his new release. We started talking more on social media which led to a full-length interview article. Throughout our session of messaging back and forth, I automatically realized he is a hardworking passionate artist who thrives in uplifting other DJs the ones who are unheard of, a place and time where he was once in his career. Along with his EP on Dirtybird Records, he is the label boss of his own imprint, Red Paradise Records which showcases and shines a light on underground artists. "For a long time, I had difficulty getting my music signed by record labels, perhaps because my style of music is different, and I focus a lot on originality rather than closely following market trends. Additionally, I had little exposure as a producer. I noticed that many other emerging producers faced the same challenges as me, with many not even receiving responses to their emails from record labels."

Once I realized this, I was motivated to create a record label to help these producers who faced the same difficulties I did. Of course, I also wanted to release my music. If you're a House Music producer and want a label that will pay attention to you, know that at Red Paradise, your email will get a response, whether it's with a 'congratulations, your music was accepted' or 'not this time,' and even with comprehensive feedback on your music, focusing on improvements to help you evolve in music production, something I've done many times.”

Danny Kolk

Artist Guest Mix: Danny Kolk

MyPlayground · Artist Guest Mix Feature: Danny Kolk

01. Maximono - Digits (Original Mix) [This Ain't Bristol]

02. Crusy & Prophecy - Pills (Original Mix)

03. MAGNVM! - Clap (Original Mix) [Dirtybird]

04. Mosimann - Balek (Original Mix) [SANS MERCI]

05. Les Castizos - El Pescador (Original Mix)

06. Ocean Roulette - Sorry About This (Original Mix) [Box of Cats]

07. Max Kaluza & TRND - Hear The Bass (Original Mix) [Box of Cats]

08. Dipzy - Que Pasa (Original Mix) [Box of Cats]

09. Danny Kolk - Easy Love (Original Mix) [DIRTYBIRD]

10. CASSIMM - Freak (Original Mix)

11. Smith & Sorren x Jay Roman ft. Jaymalina - Somewhere Lost (Extended Mix)

12. Wilkie - All My People (Original Mix) [GOODSIDE]

13. Kyle Watson - Lost ft. Evida (Original Mix) [No Context Records]

14. Danny Kolk - Balanced System (Original Mix) [DIRTYBIRD]

15. Malik Mustache & Teklow feat. MC Dablio - Cha Cha Cha (Original Mix) [Dirtybird]

16. Danny Kolk - Abstract World (Original Mix) UNR

17. Cour T. - TRIPPPY (Original Mix) [Dirtybird]

18. Edgvr Romero - Elevator (Original Mix) [Artichokes Are Yellow]

19. Danny Kolk - Drop Me (Original Mix) UNR

20. OldChild, Freenzy - Saudade (Original Mix)


Introduction

Following his label and his own mix series ‘Aloha Mix Show’ which gives underground and undiscovered artists a chance to show the world what they can bring to the new generation in dance music. “I receive many promos, and I have the desire to play most of them. Because of that, I started the Aloha Mix Show to support producers. It's also a way for me to stay updated on what's being released by record labels. It's therapeutic for me, as I love electronic music! Due to the many promos I receive, I'm maturing and starting to have a more open mind toward other styles.”

Listen to the Aloha Mix Show:

RED PARADISE · Aloha Mix Show - By Danny Kolk

The humble and talented Brazilian artist incorporates his native heritage in tracks and throughout his energic sets at well-known festivals. At a young age, the music spoke to Danny, and was influenced by different types of music to expand his pallet to new dimensions. As he got older he started playing private pool parties, where he learned to craft and learn the art of mixing and sculpting a DJ set. “My name is Danilo Morais, but you know me as Danny Kolk. I was born in the interior of São Paulo, Brazil, and I've lived my whole life in the capital city, where I discovered electronic music during my childhood. A neighbor who lived behind my grandmother's house threw a techno party in the '90s when I was very young, I had no idea what electronic music was at the time, but it certainly left a mark in my memory. Many years later, during my adolescence in 2005 with the release of the Summer Eletrohits compilation, I reconnected with electronic music, and from that moment on, my addiction to electronic music grew stronger every day.”

“My interest in mixing music arose as I attended small private parties near my home, where the DJ played for a crowd gathered around a pool, a true 'Pool Party.' While I watched the DJ mixing, all I could think about was wanting to be there, making people dance. From that point, I started delving into understanding the work of a DJ and connecting with people already involved in electronic music, finally taking my first steps in DJing.”

Danny Kolk

Danny Kolk has already stood out for combining humor and synthetic elements, also incorporating his culture when creating new tracks and mix sets. Either at a live performance or in the studio, each set is unique in its own way, always changing up the placements of his tracks and keeping the groove going. “From a young age, I've always been eclectic; I didn't have a specific taste or tribe that I considered my ideal group. My family always listened to Brazilian pop music, and I was the family member who deviated from the norm. During my adolescence, I became addicted to rock, and to this day, rock is what I listen to the most in my daily life. Brazilians love deep bass frequencies, and that strongly influences my music production. As a producer, my focus is on creating fun and danceable basslines. Many of the elements I add to my productions are aimed at making people smile. This doesn't mean I don't take music seriously, but the point is to bring joy to people through music. It's not just about business; it's about having a goal and making people's days better with your music.” Listen to his exclusive mix for MyPlayground Media.

Danny Kolk red paradise recordings press photo
Danny Kolk

Signing to Dirtybird

Creating his original corky, wild, and vibrant sound in house music, quickly led to the signing of the biggest house and techno music label that lives by the definition of weird and wild, Dirtybird. He describes his style of sound “For a long time, I called it Bass House, and then I started to believe it was Tech House. Today, I prefer to say that I make House Music because I'm influenced by many styles.” Staying true to yourself staying unique and passionate and never giving up, leads to a great opportunity as a DJ and producer. “I've been trying to secure an EP on Dirtybird for some time now. Since my EP on Dirtybird Select, I've been trying and even managed to get some releases on Birdfeed, but I never gave up and remained focused until I finally got an official EP on the main label. That was an incredible achievement for me! It was the same feeling as when I signed the EP Doctor. My heart raced, and I was ecstatic in my studio! I was euphoric and trembling, hahaha. Many times, I thought about giving up. Every day, we battle ourselves in our thoughts and persist in what we believe in. It's not an easy task, but we need to be persistent.” The Brazilian-based DJ and producer released his first official full EP on the label called ‘Easy Love’ which received huge feedback from the house music community as well as the Dirtybird family. With it, he joins the likes of Cour T., Bruno Furlan, DJ Glen, and Plastic Robots, other house and techno artists who have come out of Brazil and found a home with Dirtybird. 'Easy Love ' opens with its engaging, funk-riddled titular track. Cut with hypnotic vocals and rolling drum beats, ‘Easy Love’ serves as an introduction to the attention-grabbing listening experience of Kolk’s latest two-track EP. Its complement, ‘Balanced System’, is a shadowy heater that offsets its smooth predecessor with bouncing basslines and a dark, tech-heavy edge. Showcasing his amusing and versatile style through the catchy toplines and lively rhythms of 'Easy Love', Kolk’s whimsical bass house approach is befitting the Dirtybird ethos. The authentic new track from the newest Diritybird member delivers powerful and energetic melody flowers with prowess lyrics. Cut with hypnotic vocals and rolling drum beats, ‘Easy Love’ serves as an introduction to the attention-grabbing listening experience of Kolk’s latest two-track EP. 

Danny Kolk continues about his inspiration behind the crafted EP. "Easy Love" came about at the beginning of the pandemic when I was facing my inner self. With parties put on hold, I couldn't test my music, and I always made music with the dance floor in mind. I had the desire to produce something that went beyond the clubs, something with a more prominent vocal presence and a deeper message, with more consistent basslines and not as "broken" as I usually produced. I wanted something that could reach more people, and that's how "Easy Love" came to be. I've always been a producer who, even though I have many reference producers, I’ve tried not to have direct influences from other producers when creating. But with "Easy Love," I did things differently and used another song as a reference, although I can't remember which song it was now because it's been a long time. This song wasn't necessarily made with the goal of releasing it on Dirtybird, but rather to express what was inside me. As for the second track of the EP, "Balanced System," it was indeed created with Dirtybird in mind, leaning more towards Techno, with small vocal cuts and a somewhat haunting synthesizer going in a different direction from "Easy Love." Basically, both tracks complement each other, with one bringing a happier and smoother energy, and the other a more underground and heavy energy.”

Danny Kolk - Easy Love EP

Creating a single track is very difficult, especially when entering the dance music scene as an amateur with little experience in the business and industry. On top of creating an original track, which every underground DJ should do, it's the only way they can stand out and become something. Remixing tracks is also a good start, but creating fresh and new tracks is the best way to enter the industry and be more likely to get signed to a big label. On top of creating new music and remixes, the DJ has to dive into what he or she has to offer to the industry and create an original sound that doesn’t get lost among the other thousands of artists who are trying to do the same thing. “I always aim to convey a joyful energy through my music. My goal is to make people dance with a smile, so you'll always notice a playful element in my tracks. Sometimes, I produce something more serious, perhaps because of my maturation, which happens over time. But I believe this mindset will continue for a long time. Since deep bass frequencies catch my attention the most, I typically start my productions by creating the basslines, and from there, I build everything else. Sometimes I start a production with a solid idea in mind, but in general, things flow naturally during the creative process.”

Danny Kolk has been permeating the Dirtybird ecosystem for several years. After debuting on the limited Dirtybird Select series with his 'Doctor' EP, Kolk has since appeared on Birdfeed and was tapped to perform at Dirtybird Campout East. At the first and only edition of Campout East, we ask what was his experience. I also attended the festival, the first night for campers was next-level, it was jarring to see how the rest of the weekend could be better. The renegade after-parties made the camping festival unique because of the unbelievable sets by campers and themed camping sites. The crowd was a mix of Burning Man performers and attendees which made the vibe even better. The Campout Eat brought a slew of upcoming names on the label and in the scene, which are now dance music pioneers. It also gave an opportunity to underground artists including Danny Kolk on the ballot. The festival will always hold a special place in his heart. “This is a very special topic for me because Campout was the first major festival since the Danny Kolk project started. I had gone nearly 2 years without playing at any parties! To start by taking over one of the craziest stages I've ever seen was simply surreal! I could say that playing at Campout was my favorite part, but I believe that was my second favorite part. The first was the warmth with which I was received by people! I can't talk about Campout without mentioning the people who welcomed me and treated me in the best way possible. They vibed along with me, even though I couldn't speak English, and during my set, I felt the energy of these people. I was euphoric, and all I could do was thank God for allowing me to experience that moment and feel those positive vibes coming from all directions.” Dirtybird Campout East Coast edition was a festival that went down his history as one of the most creative and messy camping festivals in today’s era. It was also the first festival to hold a Super Bowl event on festival grounds. 

“Since my first release on Dirtybird, my only job has been with music, whether it's producing, performing, or managing Red Paradise Records. Additionally, I also have Cream Dance Records and Word of Kolk Records.”


Motivation & Inspiration

Everyone has to stay motivated in life and constantly within their career. This mainly includes anyone working in the artist and entertainment department in any realm. I stay motivated by listening to music and talking walks, also by journal writing which can also expand my mind when writing new material for MyPlayground Media. What motivates Danny Kolk as an artist? “The love for music and the mission of making people happy through my work were the primary factors motivating me to continue. Nowadays, being able to help other producers through my record label has also become another motivation.” Burnout happens to everyone, even when it comes to doing things that you love. Danny Kolk stays balanced and creative by pushing through his deepest and darkest thoughts, this was mainly during the COVID lockdown pandemic. “During the pandemic, we went through, I experienced burnout, to the point where I had extremely negative thoughts that I had never had before, thoughts that even put my life at risk. When I realized I was on the brink of a point of no return, I decided to take a break from production. For a producer, one of the worst things is forcing yourself to produce and not getting anywhere. You start to put pressure on yourself, which sabotages you even more, leading to frustration and various issues if you're not careful. If you're not careful, you can even fall into depression. When I noticed the signs, I set music aside and started doing things that brought me joy with minimal effort. I watched movies, and documentaries, listened to podcasts, played a lot of video games, and spent hours talking with friends. This, coupled with having my girlfriend by my side, helped me stay on track. I only returned to the studio after months, and I only went when I really felt the urge to produce. With this approach, we made progress without wearing out the mind, and things started flowing naturally.”  Motivation is key to becoming a successful  DJ and producer in today’s dance music scene. For underground DJs and producers, they have to work twice as hard to stay motivated. 

There are many artists that we must also give credit to for the inspirations behind Danny Kolk’s music and mixes. “There are many artists who have inspired my work, and we can separate them into two categories: musical production and artistic presence.”  From a music production standpoint, his list of inspirational DJs is long, which is why his style of sound is colorful and vibrant. “Some producers have strongly influenced my musical taste, production techniques, and many other aspects of production. These include Claude VonStroke, DJ Glen, Fractall, Maximono, Bruno Furlan, Erick Morillo, Walker & Royce, and many other producers.”  From an artistic category in performing and DJ mixing there’s the only name that comes to his mind, the house pioneer, Green Velvet. “ I love watching how Green Velvet enjoys himself on stage, dancing without caring about what others might think. His green hair that stands out in black light is a great presence, and I end up bringing a bit of that into my performances! In Brazil, we had a band called 'Mamonas Assassinas,' and they had an insane stage presence. They were fun! They wore costumes, their songs were fun, and yet they had a critical message in their lyrics, which influenced me a lot. With my EP Doctor, I started performing dressed as a doctor, and today I have red hair, haha. Plus another house music legend, Erick Morillo always threw down a tremendous performance and conducted rare sets throughout his life and career. “His stage presence is a lot of fun. He's dancing and smiling all the time, which makes the crowd connect with the DJ and feel his vibe, and they start doing the same. So, it's very easy to see people dancing and smiling during his performances!” Being a big team player on the Dirtybird imprint, there are many producers and DJs that Danny Kolk would love to collaborate with in the near future of his career. “There are many producers I'd like to collaborate with, including DJ Glen, Fractall, Green Velvet, Claude VonStroke, Walker & Royce, Two Tails, and many other great producers.” 

Danny Kolk red paradise recordings
Danny Kolk performance DJ

From managing multiple projects including his imprint and releasing music for Dirtybird Records. Danny Kolk is becoming a house music staple his today’s underground house music scene. From São Paulo, Brazil with a driven passion for dance music and a hard-working and motivated attitude, he is an artist that everyone needs to know about. His creativity should be showcased on an album, not a lot of DJs release albums these days, mostly compilations which Danny Kolk has been a part of. “Having an album has always been a goal, maybe not now, but certainly that day will come. I intend to work hard to create an album of good quality and invest heavily in marketing, creating music videos, and more, connecting all the album's songs. This is a dream, and I'll make it happen at the right time.”

On The Horizon:

What’s on the horizon for Danny Kolk? There are new projects in the works such as more releases on his second label Cream Dance and more mixes for his radio show. “One thing is certain; I always have songs to finish. You can follow my second label Cream Dance Records; I'm dedicating a significant part of my time to elevate this label. So you'll see many songs being released on both labels. Additionally, I have the dream of hosting a Red Paradise showcase, so that might happen in the near future”  Look out, Danny Kolk is coming through with more music than ever this remaining year. He is a force to be reckoned with and will never slow down or stop from doing his passion. The future is bright and clear with Danny Kolk in it, release the next banger in house music.

Listen to 'I'm Talking' EP

Cream Dance Records · CRE050 Marae - I'm Talking EP [Cream Dance]

Interview Segment: ‘Either/ Or'

Chicken or steak?

  Chicken!!

Beach festival or city festival?

  Beach festival

Coffee or Tea?

  Tea

Club sets or Festival sets?

  Festival Sets

House Music or techno?

 House House House

Perform back-to-back or solo?

  Solo

Day event or weekend festival?

  Weekend festival

DJing or producing at the studio?  

Producing at the studio

“If you love music and are willing to work HARD to become someone relevant in the industry and make a living from music, know that frustration will often be a part of your daily life, and that's okay, it's part of the process! You need to persist, and even if everyone around you doesn't believe in your music, it depends only on you! You can be sure that somewhere, someone will connect with your production, and your art, and things will start happening. So stay focused and keep moving forward.”

Danny Kolk

FOLLOW DANNY KOLK:
INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER X | SOUNDCLOUD | SPOTIFY

Sitting on the breathtaking rooftop of the Arlo Hotel in Midtown New York City, dance music DJ, and producer KC Lights emerges for our one-on-one interview., followed by his debut performance at Paradise Club. The Scottish DJ and electric dance producer, real name Kerr Slaven is becoming one of the most highly recognized talents in the scene. Expanding his talent globally, he has a rare ability to integrate underground house roots into a new and unique sound, establishing his own in the industry. After releasing a few major bangers his DJ status skyrocketed to levels beyond belief. The momentum continues with his newest track, which has had many plays and features in festival sets bringing his status to new levels. It is an uplifting euphoric festival piano edit of his 2021 hit “Hold On featuring Kye Sones” that is out now via Solardo’s special SOLA imprint. “I created this edit shortly after writing the original with vocalist Kye Sones back in 2021. I’ve always been a big fan of spinning my songs in different ways creatively. I had this idea of a ’90s piano riff for the drop and the rest came together pretty quickly. It’s been a song that I’ve been closing out my set with for the past year now and the response has been incredible. It’s one of my favorites!” - KC Lights. Once again, KC uses his diverse talents in the studio, offering intricate melodies that invoke a certain sense of bliss. ”It kind of had a bit of a nostalgic vibe to it. - almost quite like the 90s. I decided to go down that route and bring in a, I like the 90s rave theme and minigame M1 piano, and I can breakbeat over the top of it and it was just something that I thought of. I've been playing it out for maybe a year to eighteen months and it was always like my end-of-set track,” said KC Lights. Kye’s vocals float breathlessly on top helping to build toward an epic climax, while having the full complement of KC’s driving piano stabs and a punchy four-on-the-floor groove. KC Lights' career has been on a steady growth spurt over the last few years. His signature sound has opened doors and driven demand for him to remix some of the world's most prominent artists.


The Beginning:

Following an explosive few years, Scotland's multi-talented musician, DJ, and producer has firmly established himself as one of the most exciting up-and-coming talents on the scene. He grew up on a small island off the West Coast of Scotland, the Isle of Bute, and music grabbed his attention from an early age. His love for composing and performing led him to an honors degree and multiple awards at the University he attended. After a trip to Ibiza in his teens, KC Lights fell in love with electronic music. This new passion, along with his electric musical background, has evolved his expansive production range and uplifting DJ style, with fans touting his unique take on house music.

press photo KC lights
press photo KC lights

“I remix all of my records, all of the titles. It's kind of the way that I write. I think just because of the way I describe the way I am creatively or the way I write, I'm like an ideas guy. I just always have a million ideas. When I'm working on a record, even penning down one version is kind of difficult because I've always got a few different versions of it. So obviously  I'll always come up with what version - this is a cool version. Then go in and dig in and mess things around and reimagine it in different ways. It's just something I've always really liked I love remixing. I've got a remix a lot of times and I, I love doing that. Just taking something and kind of putting it in a different context almost and the whole thing I'm thinking about because I've been playing it out and for some reason, the vocal reminded me.” - KC Lights

Last year, ‘Hold On’ was one of the most-played tracks at the iconic festival Tomorrowland. “I had the original track ‘Hold On’, that was such a big song for me. It was strange that I did this new edit over, but there was just something that could help me. I never actually expected it to come out. I just couldn't put it for me. It came out in Solardo's label Sola.” He continued about how he teamed up with Solardo to release the remix on the label. “Mark Richards from Solardo reached out to me one time. I've made those guys a few times. They're great guys. I look up to them. Mark made me one day and said, ‘Have you got any tunes’? We can hear the label. So that was the first one I was saying. I'm saying it was right away because it was just a demo I'd been sitting on and he loved it and said, cool, let's do it. Let's put it out.' It was super simple. It was nice when that happens. It doesn't always happen that way, but it is nice when it's that straightforward. I think as an artist, what's important is just having that kind of approval from someone like that in the industry.”

KC Lights - Hold On (Festival Piano Mix)

From then on ‘Hold On’ has exploded into a popular frenzy with elite artists playing it their sets on a global spectrum. Plus, he performs and plays it in his energetic sets in Ibiza, Mexico, Europe, and his favorite festival Tomorrowland. “I played main stage Tomorrowland last year, which is probably one of those bucket lists. It seems for almost any electronic artist. That in itself was special. Just being there, not even a performance side of it. It's just such an insane experience. It was an insane experience, just the whole setup there was immense, catering to the hospitality. That's a special one! There are more like 200,000 people a day or something, that's just in the variety. I played loads of super cool little boutique festivals around the world as well. I was just out seeing Mexico and near Cancun for you to be a festival, which is like a really small boutique festival. That was nothing like I'd ever played before either. It was so much fun. Everyone was just having the best time,” replied KC Lights.


Talking about Tomorrowland made me think about the time I went, it has been eight years since I was in the most detailed and breathtaking festival. It's a global party, everyone all over the world travels to Boom, Belgium a small town outside of Brussels to camp, party, and connect for the three-day festival. “We need those days and people. I think what's cool about it is what they've captured in their experience. Just treat it like you're kind of in another dimension almost. I think that's what's cool about it every detail, everything. I got to when I arrived and we went to this, huge artist village and there are 40,000 people there. One of the producers said, 'We like the idea of being unique. So we rather than kind of commissioning someone else to make all this stuff for us. We just do it ourselves.' So no festival in the world looks like that. I think that's probably why they are what they are. You can't go anywhere else to experience that. It's one of them.” Plus a magical moment happened during his set which almost holds a special place in his heart for the festival. “Someone actually, it is on the live stream as well. My set was recorded on YouTube and someone proposed to their partner during my set. It's cool that it's captured on camera as well. I have no idea how I would try to reach out to them somehow. I have no idea who they are but that's cool. Do you know what? It's probably even in the comments section on YouTube. I've not even had a look. I mean, the other thing as well is people love investigating online. So I'm sure if I just put up a post saying, can we find these people? Well, we didn't take that long,” said KC Lights

KC lights DJ

KC Lights has appeared live on BBC Radio 1, Ireland's RTE Pulse, Revolution Radio in Miami, and Sirius XM. He's toured the dance world's biggest stages, such as Creamfields; We Are FSTVL, ADE, The Warehouse Project, Ministry of Sound, and Printworks, and headlined tours both in Australia & New Zealand. He has become a regular on the Ibiza circuit, with performances in Amnesia, Hii, Pacha, Eden & more, cementing him as one of the top household names on the scene. He has released other bangers and grown his audience with original records on prominent labels such as Hervé’s ‘Cheap Thrills’ imprint. "Lose It All" gained support from house music heavyweights Rudimental, MK, and Danny Howard, while his next record "No No No" became the definitive Ibiza Anthem of 2015. His momentum has continued with a slew of releases, including his collab with Mike Mago and club hit “Daylight” on Spinnin’ Records, and his latest single “Temptation," released on Danny Howard’s label Nothing Else Matters.

“Playing music out that no one's ever heard before or they can't get their hands on as I always quite enjoyed and got a few legs and things in my sets."

KC Lights

KC lights DJ


On The Horizon:

His newest release ‘Better Times’ is on Toolroom Records. Giving him consolidation and the boost he needs in the music industry as an artist. We asked KC Lights what was like meeting Mark Knight for the first time after releasing a few records on the label. “I think the first time I met Mark Knight, I played the Toolroom pool party at Miami Music Week, maybe in 2019, right before the pandemic. I think that was probably the first time I met him. Meeting him was cool because he is a really nice guy, really supportive, and you'd be the guest behind the artistic side as well, it's not just a case of here's a track, he'll be giving advice and feedback about the track. He has more of a hands-on approach than I know a lot of other label heads do. This is cool, especially for someone with that status in the industry, it means a lot. Having someone like that get behind you. He's a nice guy.”

Listen to KC Lights - Better Times [Toolroom Records]:

Inspirational Words:

Being a DJ and producer has helped him on both a personal level and a career level. “They're not totally two different worlds if you know what I mean. I think that's why I chose to pursue a career in music because it's just always been my go-to if I'm feeling low, if I'm feeling happy if I'm feeling like I want to celebrate. It's always been something that I've used. I suppose it's a bit of a means and a platform of expression. Being able to take that into and sharing that in my way with other people and allow them that experience.” On a personal level, he continues disconnecting from everything else and only focusing on music. “If I put on my headphones and just show me, I mean, it sounds corny, but like it transports me to another place. I can just escape, I've always been grateful to have that. I think people find that in different areas of life in different ways. The fact that it's so accessible for me, I can just stick on a pair of noise with my headphones and chill or pump me up or whatever, I love that. It is like another world.”

KC-Lights-festival
kc-lights-interview

Concluding his interview which was short and sweet, however, it was memorable following his uplifting and energetic performance at Paradise Club. He packed the nightclub with his vibrant set. His momentum is continuing to grow with multiple infectious releases. He’s been inspired by music his entire life and he continues to inspire others with his music. Keep your eyes open for a few highly-anticipated remixes out later this year. KC Lights has built an impressive musical background with fiery ambition and passion for dance music. He created a distinctive sound drive that is undeniable. He’s a humble person and DJ with already huge accomplishments as a music artist. KC Lights is on tour stopping at Austin, Texas, and San Diego then off to Ibiza for the rest of the summer. He will be performing at multiple parties and iconic events such as David Guetta’s F*** Me I’m Famous and headline night clubs at Pacha plus, music festivals in Europe, more dates will soon be announced.


FOLLOW KC LIGHTS:
INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | SOUNDCLOUD | SPOTIFY | BEATPORT | TWITCH

Amsterdam is the mecca of dance music, some of the greatest DJs that have entered the industry over the last two decades have emerged from The Netherlands such as Armin van Buuren, Hardwell, Oliver Heldens, Joris Voorn, and Martin Garix. It's home to some of the most significant festivals in the world like Awakenings, Luminosity Beach Festival, Defqon.1, and in October, the largest dance music conference ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event). One particular DJ and producer from The Netherlands who is rapidly looming in the dance music scene is known as ØSAS ØHM. He has always been passionate about music. The euphoric feeling of making music and showcasing it in his performances translates into a universal sense. “Melodic deep house. I like to use euphoric chords and euphoric melodies, which are energetic but also deep sounding.” His following is strong and he can describe his sound as an emotional feeling instead of a sound to be heard. “Where words fail, music speaks.” - ØSAS ØHM.


Artist Interview Episode 005: ØSAS ØHM


The Beginning:

In this exclusive interview, ØSAS ØHM speaks about how he got inspired to become a DJ and producer, the person he looks up to, and music. He is still in the underground deep house scene however, he is rapidly growing with his mixes and his debut release ‘When We Were One’ on Sunchild Records. “What got me into music, I think I always had a passion for music, even when I didn't create music when I was very young, I can remember like about ten years ago, my nephew, was a DJ. I just saw that they were always doing stuff with music and I got inspired by that. So the next day I bought a DJ controller and I made music.” He created a unique melodic sound that is stirring a following. “I did a lot of different types of music. I produced hip-hop and house, mainly right now with ØSAS ØHM (pronounced as Ossos Ohm), I think it's really a bit of a melodic deep house. I really like to use euphoric chords, and euphoric melodies, really energetic, but also deep sounding.” His passion is fueled by creating music and developing a signature sound that is unusual and exceptional.

“I really try to go to all the emotions because I think many people say it's only love and light and that's really cool, like the euphoric sounds. But I also like to go to the darker type of emotions and the deeper sounds because they are also part of human life. From a spiritual standpoint you can't neglect them, you know. So I just like to make my mixtapes a kind of journey through all those emotions.”

ØSAS ØHM

His biggest inspiration and the artist he looks up to most is surprising, “it started about six years ago. I always was a fan of Martin Garrix because he was also young and he started young and he was, like in no time he became very famous. It was about six years ago, my mother, met Martin Garrix in Amsterdam. She was in a restaurant, we were friends of hers,” he continues “She met Martin Garrix, he was at dinner with Tiësto so she immediately gave me a call and she said, oh I'm with Martin Garrix in the restaurant so I got him with him on the phone because she just went up to him and we talked a bit, he also gave me his email address and from that on my real goal was to be like Martin Garrix. Not really his sound of music, I got my own sound. But I just really got inspired by his positivity, how he is with his fans, how he communicates with the fans. Just his vibe, I really like that overall said ØSAS ØHM. What Martin Garrix is doing with his platform now, is he goes to third-world countries and cities and towns and throws shows for them for free, and interacts with his fans. “I really love that about it. He is really doing something for the community and for the people who love him. He's very humble too,“ replied ØSAS ØHM. Martin Garrix is a very humble person for a DJ with that high of a status. He's a very humble person. Throughout the years of being a music journalist, I met him a couple of times he is such a nice person. “It's important to stay humble, no matter how big you are. People really appreciate it if you're humble. Even if you're like so big as Martin Garrix, just have something magical to like to stay humble and don't become too arrogant.”

The Netherlands celebrates dance music as a culture that unifies music lovers all around, excepting everyone. It's been a while since I’ve been to The Netherlands, I've been to festivals and ADE events at Gashouder in 2018 and Awakenings Festival in 2017. “What I like most about the dance music culture, is there's some form of unity. About a year ago I went to Tomorrowland for the first time in my life. My uncle, he works at Jupiler, and BUD and he was able to get me an extra pass. So we went there and it's funny, about two, three years ago, I stopped making dance music, EDM all together because I got a bit of like I got some losses and I wasn't feeling inspired after all and I just said, fuck it, I'm going to do hip hop. Maybe there's where I find my success. I tried and I tried, and then I went to Tomorrowland one year ago and I came back and I really felt that I need to go to the dance music, to the dance music world again. That's just where my passion is and I like how people are feeling connected when they are at a festival like Tomorrowland. Just incomparable to any other music genre in my opinion,” said ØSAS ØHM. It doesn’t even compare to how much effort and passion the festival and event producers put into creating these iconic shows, between the carefully created lineups, the details, food, organization, pyro, and technology. “It's just lovely how the dance music and the dance culture are really integrated into the Netherlands. It's just special. I actually feel blessed that I'm born in this country because of all the other big DJs that came from here.”

ØSAS ØHM mixtape 001
ØSAS ØHM - When We Were Young cover art

ØSAS ØHM's very first moment began ten years ago when he first ever attempted DJing and already produced music at that time. “I think it was like really when ‘Animals’ by Martin Garrix first came out, he really inspired me because it became so big overnight a lot of people say overnight with you really worked I had like two-three years. He wasn't famous at all and he just kept working But like the moment that you really get discovered by a big label and they see the value in you You really can grow and really big really fast and that really inspired me.” Back then, ‘Animals’ was a different and unique sound that everyone couldn’t get enough of, everyone venue wanted him to headline, every media site wanted an interview and his name was on every lineup.


Developing the Signature Sound:

Throughout the years dance music evolved along with artists also evolving, trying to stay current even changing their form and sound. “First of all, I want to put my passion into the music. I want to put my feelings into it. I really try to create a signature sound that nobody has. I also feel like there's in the sound that I have, I'm really into the melodic house. In the last couple of years, I felt a bit of a trend going on. Towards the melodic house and the melodic techno as well the specific genre is getting big, so I'm trying to wave a little bit. Just besides getting a signature sound, because it's just really important, I try to stand out in a way, like when I'm on stage when I'm with people I don't know if I got fans already, but when I got people who really got inspired by my music, just to treat them well and just be loving. Just like Martin Garrix, because he makes incredible music, but a big part of his success is just the person he is and the pureness in himself, you know. That's just, that's really important. It's just all kinds of factors. I think it starts with, of course, just putting the work in, in the studio, and just making something that feels good and it really comes from the heart. Don't try to use a formula to make commercial music that you think can be a hit. Just do something that you love, because it's lasting.” When you listen to his mixtape, it takes you on a journal of emotions. Which is what his main goal was in the process of creating it. You can feel the passion and euphoric feelings through each transition.


Making the Transition:

His journey is only the beginning with releasing his debut single ‘When We Were One’ on Sunchild Records to his mixtape. He dabbled in making hip-hop but then realized he wanted to re-enter back in the dance music industry not music it's more popular these days globally, but because that’s where he belonged and that’s what his true passion really is. “I'm more proud of all these tiny steps. I don't know if there's particularly one big thing but I think it is because like two years ago I was into that hip-hop. I was only doing hip-hop and it was maybe just a cope mechanism because I didn't want to go back to dance music because I failed the first time and I thought, I will never make it. I think the moment after Tomorrowland that I decided, I'm just going to let go of that hip-hop world, it's not my world anyways. I'm just gonna start pursuing dance music because that's what I really dreamt of as a kid. Those people normally I think they're gonna give up in like two or three years. Of course, there are some producers who just started, and two years ago or two years after that they just got a huge hit and they got big. But 99.99% of the time I think you really need to put at least like seven, or eight years in. Using your dog just making music just doing stuff Before you can actually make something that's worth it and of its labels think oh, I want to sign it one.”

ØSAS ØHM - When We Were One

ØSAS ØHM is working hard in making his true passion into a full-time lifestyle and full-fledged career. Playing at sold-out events and festivals, getting him on lineups to dream festivals like Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and Tomorrowland. This media site is meant for artists such as ØSAS ØHM who is more upcoming in his country but unknown in the states. MyPlayground Media is here to shine the light on the underground on a global base. “Tomorrowland is number one, at the main stage, that's like the ultimate goal and play at Ultra Music Festival in Miami. I like any festival I just like to be connected to the crowd and it can be on a big stage but also on a really small one but I think it's too much land that's like the ultimate goal at least for like the European people I don't think maybe for the American people it's more like Ultra Music Festival. Tomorrowland, it's magical, when you step in there, it's like a fairy tale you're entering with music. It's also like really the vision of, like in the general, in the world. We all have that vision of coming together in peace, with all these wars and things going on, the left versus the right and black versus white in Tomorrowland, everybody is coming together and just loving the music. If like the whole world could be like Tomorrowland it would be amazing,” said ØSAS ØHM. His dream collaboration would have to be Martin Garrix, when asked, “I'm just open to a lot of collaborations. Every artist has his unique sound. I'm just really curious about how their sounds can inspire my sound and not only in that collab but also in the future, how they can inspire me to do new things. Artists to name other than Garix would beI really love Meduza a lot, they're really dope! Also, Vintage Culture, and Rufus du Sol.” 

On The Horizon:

The underground artist should be on your radar, between his debut release and mixtape, plus upcoming music in the works. “I'm working on a remix project. I'm doing this for the Armada Music remix contest of Seq. Martino Kill My Heart. It's already finished so I hope that it's gonna be released on Armada Music of course.” He will be on the road soon performing at nightclubs in Amsterdam and throughout the Netherlands. Amsterdam Dance Event recently release their first artists phase it will be the perfect opportunity to showcase his work and network there. He has new projects in the works, going strong never giving up, and maintaining that focus to become a successful DJ. “I'm currently working on two new projects. The other two projects I'm like still working on and I still need to find a label that maybe wants to release them. So yeah, definitely more music coming soon.”

I'm like the worst self-critic but that's a curse it's also can be a blessing because when I make a track and when I'm often when I make it that's the worst part of it the curse I don't like it when it's finished as I listen to it so many times and I think you need to send it. For the track I do after that, I always try to search for the tiny little thing in the previous track that just didn't work out or just try to fine-tune that. With every track, I try to get a little bit better and that process in itself is already a big motivation for me.”

ØSAS ØHM

Interview Segment: ‘Either/ Or'

Wine or beer?

“Beer, I love beer!

Normal hours or after hours at a club?

"Normal."

American football or football soccer?

“American football.”

Club or festival?

“Festival”

Techno or house music?

“House Music. But I also love techno festivals.”

Walk or run?

“I go running once a week running. Before I go to sleep I always try to go on a walk for 20 minutes.”

Day event or weekend festival?

“Day Event.”

Perform Back-to-back or Solo?

“SOLO.”

Underground warehouse raves or an organized rave at a venue?

“I love the vibe of the underground.”

“Just keep, definitely for the artists who are listening, keep making music, and keep chasing your dreams. Keep loving, because getting your dreams is cool, but if you don't, if you're friends, we're gonna party with you and celebrate with you. The success is not good. You just need people who love you around you. Also just follow Myplayground Media of course! Follow the podcast, and follow you on Instagram. And it would also really be nice if you guys can follow me on Instagram.”

ØSAS ØHM

FOLLOW ØSAS ØHM:
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On a night at Webster Hall, that's where I first met the trance DJ, James Cottle. “It's Cottle, same as a bottle.” We were there for Paul van Dyk's new event concept Venture X. From then, we agreed to an interview together. Trance music has always been the heart and soul of dance music with the emotional lyrics and chords it's a global genre that everyone can speak. "Uplifting, joy, and happiness to do with trance. There are so many sad things, what terrible things going on in the world. That's why I try to inject a bit of joy and happiness into something out there and that's not to say I don't like making dark styles of trance music. It's something a little bit sad, but it's definitely. Directed towards Uplifting and happy sound.” It's the reason why James Cottle entered the scene and persuade his passion and dreams into a reality. From releasing unique tracks, and performing at iconic trance festivals and events to his weekly Twitch channel, James Cottle is the one to be on your radar.

Watch James Cottle on Twitch


Artist Interview Episode 003: James Cottle


The Beginning:

Born and raised in England, UK - Northeast of the country. At an early age, he discovered dance music. “The year was 2000, the first time I heard trance because my sister was listening to tracks like ATV at home. I started building my music library around 2003 and 2004 when I was leaving high school. I managed to find a lot of Tiësto tracks. Then I heard them in a local nightclub that I probably shouldn't have been going to at the age of 15. I decided I love trance music.” Through the beginning of his DJ career, he experienced different sub-genres and different types of trance music. “In a different direction, I was going to a retro-style piano house night in England. It was a nightclub called Club M, and about 7,000 people would go. It was a huge event, it was a monthly thing”. Cottle then discovered the business side of the music industry and began to hustle his way through. “So trance kind of took a bit of a backstep. There was a lady at work who was buying their Mix Mag, and she just gave me loads of them, like Slammed, The Band On, there was Armin van Burren, Big Room Tracks in 2004, Paul Van Dyk, Return of God MixMag CD, which blew me away. Then after a year or so, some friends who were more into tech house and earlier tech house stuff got some Pioneer CDJs and would go around and have a mix on them. So then in 2008, I got some Pioneer CDJ 800s. That's when I started to learn to mix and download lots of trance music. I didn't have any vinyl decks.” Through discovering more artists that touched his body and soul he was able to create original mixes and tracks. “So from then, I was just all about DJing and I kind of didn't realize the importance of making your own music to promote yourself. I was very single-minded on that subject. Then I bought Ableton Live and started learning to produce music, which took a long time. I also started to work for an events company called Good Grief Events and Tours in England and they were booking DJs like Eddie Halliwell, John McCallaghan, Giuseppe Ottaviani, and the big trance acts. I was getting to meet these people. I was then getting gigs, which it's all part of the process. Soon after, I ended up getting a main room warm-up slot at Digital Nightclub in Newcastle. Probably the longest club in Newcastle.”

James Cottle trance DJ press photo
James Cottle cropped photo

After breaking through, he signed his first track with a major label, officially putting his name on the trance map, leading to more releases and appearances at events and festivals. “When I signed my first track to Vander Records in 2016. That was the moment I decided I wanted to do it as a career. But what got me into electronic music was probably, I told you my sister was listening to a lot of trance music. Also before that my, parents were very music orientated. Going back a long time before they had a vinyl playing. They would play stuff like David Bowie a lot.” Many artists and DJs will not make it big in the dance music industry if they don’t have an inspirational icon to look up to. With any genre in any realm of music, a song is always inspired by an old track or beat that was produced in the past. It all circles back to the beginning when I first met James Cottle at Webster Hall who then told me who his number one DJ who inspired him, the answer then made sense. “My number one is Paul Van Dyk, I love his older music and I love his current music. He stayed very true to his sound over the years. Also, I love Alex Moth. I used to listen to him a lot like a while ago.”

Throughout the years he established his style of sound in trance music, teaming up with heavyweight DJs and producers such as Paul van Dyk, “done two tracks together with him but the first one was a proud moment for me.” Plus, Craig Connelly ‘Place in the Stars “Was released on John O'Callahan's Subculture record label. So we discussed potentially doing a second collaboration over a few drinks. I'd been writing some ideas and I sent them over to Craig and he said he liked one in particular. So I end up going to a studio in Manchester. I met John O'Callahan in 2009 when he was playing a trance gig. I was just in the crowd. I went and said hello to him at the end. So then he got a girlfriend and one of her friends is one of my friends. Then we all became good friends over the years.” One of his biggest accomplishments as a DJ was performing at the infamous Ministry of Sound “That was a proud moment then. A dream come true, to be honest with you.”

James Cottle & Craig Connelly - Place in the Stars

Artists from different genres have been changing their DJ sound and sometimes identity by creating another alias. Sound change is not a bad thing, it's the perfect way to stay current in the music industry and express a different range instead of one specific genre giving artists a bigger platform for more releases. James Cottle was asked if he would ever change his style of sound and explore a different genre. “It's a difficult question. I just love the uplifting trance sound, it sounds so much at the moment. Art is changing its style to stay current. I used to have some quite interesting views. I thought people shouldn't do it, but at the end of the day, these are their main jobs and they need to earn money and they need to feed their families. I've got more of an open mind on it now. Whereas I was probably a lot more narrow mind on the subject a few years ago.” Circling back to where we first met at Webster Hall, Paul van Dyk was not an ordinary trance event. Recently he launched a new event series concept called Venture X releasing a slew of techno and melodic completely shifty to a different gear in music. He completed his tour with positive reviews and maintained his original followers and supporters plus gaining more. “So my view on it is, I like techno a lot, so I don't really have, a problem with people changing the sounds, also like has a lot of like fancy elements in it. It still does it, doesn't it? But I'm not sure whether I considered doing it at the moment. Memories I could take some crossover style tracks, but I wouldn't slow, my sound right down to that speed.”

Paul van Dyk  & James Cottle - Vortex


The freshly talented, innovative, DJ and producer has captivated the trance scene with his original tracks and selection. His pure natural skill and the deliverance of each set are what make him shine. His abilities and talents of playing diverse sets are why his highly entertaining and unique and put him on the right path to building his impressive catalog. The process of making original tracks is difficult on its own, but what's the process like for James Cottle? “I would normally start with writing some melodies and then, and maybe just thinking about a point in time in my life, like for a theme, maybe something that's happened or something that's like, maybe it's planned to happen in the future. So the way I work is I would write the main theme with melodies and chords and pads, string sounds, and then a kind of layout of structure with drums and baselines. Sometimes it can take quite a long time and sometimes it can just maybe take one or two weeks to make a track. I would do is I would listen to lots of tracks that I love from other artists. I wasn't feeling so inspired on a particular day, I would maybe listen to Paul Van Dyk one of his earlier albums. I should also say that I like going out for walks as well away from electronic devices, getting away from social media and electronic devices, and maybe spending time with family, and friends. If you're struggling with ideas, just being with family could just lighten the mood up, and then something pops into your mind.”

James Cottle artwork press photo

From the beginning of entering the dance music community, I always loved trance. The three Ts in my life are trance, tacos, and techno. I’ve been to many trance events and shows and they always held a special place in my heart. I ask James Cottle why trance music. Why did you become a trance DJ rather than a different genre? “I think it's so emotional and the melody and riffs are so catchy. I just became obsessed with it. Trance was his calling card, he continues - “It's not to say I don't like other genres of music. I do like techno and things like this. I would go out to a club and see a techno DJ. I think trance will always be the one for me. I'm one of those types of people.” His all-time collab was difficult to answer because he already collaborated with icons such as Paul van Dyk and John O'Callaghan. “If I had to pick somebody else, it would probably be Michelle Jean-Jacques, he's an electronic artist, French. He's been doing it for 50 years. His sound is so weird, modulated synthesized music from the 70s. He's just so forward-thinking, it sounds like striving to expand and push boundaries to warp your mind. I love people like that.”

“Finding that balance is difficult.”

- James Cottle

James Cottle Closing Set at Goodgreef Trance In The Woods:


James-Cottle black and white press photo


On The Horizon:

James Cottle is now on tour, he is performing at two iconic Ibiza clubs, Eden and Privileg. Plus, the Ministry of Sound UK, and a few trance festivals such as Marquee Mini Festival “In the summer, I’ll play down in Nottingham in England, it's like a mini-festival with Piotivari, Bryan Kearney, and Will Atkinson. I'm excited about that.” His most recent release is with one of his favorites and close friend Craig ConnellyGot to Give’ along with two new tracks still in the works. “I've got two new tracks signed. I believe it's early summer, but I can't say the record there was at the moment. I'm very excited about that. I've been working on a vocal project together with a singer from England.”

“Inspiring words for producers, we're just getting started! I would say YouTube is our friend. There are more music production or trance production tutorials than ever on YouTube. So I would go and check them out. Also, I think it's very valuable for new producers to go and spend time in the studio with a professional and I think it's a great thing. Also, if you're struggling, don't be afraid to ask your peers. The colleagues for help and guidance. So I'm going around, circles on your thinking, you know, you shouldn't ask for help because of the song you're lying and complaining about it. I want to thank everyone so much for their support over the years. I can't wait to show you my new music.” - James Cottle


Interview Segment: ‘Either/ Or'

Coffee or tea?

"Tea."

Normal hours or after hours at a club?

"Normal."

Club sets or festival sets?

"Club."

Be on stage or in the crowd?

"On stage."

Social media or not at all?

"Not at all."

Sneakers or sandals?

"Sneakers."

Soda or soda or beer?

"Beer, of course."

Cheers to that!


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Joe Pompeo is one of those artists that has made an impact with his platform in the New York dance music industry. He’s known for his creativity blending elements in house music. The insanely talented DJ and producer express his passion through his love of the genre. This statue of talent gained two releases on Green Velvet/ Cajmere’s infamous Cajual Records, plus Salted Music, Beatdown, Nervous, and airplay on Radio 1 by Annie Mac. His first Salted release “Try to Love Me” was remixed by Miguel Migs and licensed to Miguel’s second “Get Salted” mix compilation. He has a unique talent in his production and DJ sets and a long-running DJ residency at multiple popular nightclubs such as TBA Brooklyn, Ceilo, Output, and Sullivan Room. He has played alongside Charles Meyer, Detlef, and others at multiple elrow New York residency events. Pompeo is the type of artist that pushes boundaries and extends the bar of performance. Taking over the decks and the crowd in the perfect formality takes specific expertise to do it the right way.  His form of mixing and transitioning each track in every set in the art of craft makes him the unique underground artist Pompeo is known for. Recently, I had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with the underground DJ and producer. Digging deeper into the minds of one of New York's well-known artists and getting to know more Joe Pompeo. The humble and laid-back artist spoke about the challenges and the perks of being a DJ in the beginning and today’s music scene, how New York dance music shaped him as an artist, and new music in the works.

“You end up with the people who think they should be listening to you, wanting to hear you play those big tunes that they've heard, and then it becomes soulless. You become a jukebox. I want to play my style of music inspired by the New York scene of the 90s, Chicago House, a little bit of acid, a little bit like European techno mixed up what you want.” 


Listen to the full Artist Interview: Joe Pompeo


The Beginning:

It always didn’t start easy, it usually never is easy to make a famous name, especially as DJ and music producer. Even twenty, thirty, and forty years ago when there was no social media or barely any internet. “Back then it was definitely tougher in the early 2000s. You had to have a lot of money to open a studio. You couldn't just have a computer as you can nowadays and download some software. It was more hardware-based, so it was a little bit more difficult. You had to get in and do that,” said Joe Pompeo. Making music and getting music out to the public as a DJ is tricky, artists had to be original and come up with effective ideas. Although back then not too many cared about the artist and the name as people take so seriously and aggressively today. Only if you were the original O.G. legends like Paul van Dyk, Frankie Knuckles, and Danny Tenaglia. “So we went out one night and they took me up to see Danny Tanaglia at Vinyl. People say they have an eye-opening moment, and it was just, that was it. I remember going out that one night and saying like, holy shit, this is good stuff. I want to do this. I want this to be a part of my life." So yeah, that's kind of how I got into the whole dance music thing.” At that moment Joe Pompeo’s life was changed. He carefully tabled and experimented with different sounds and baselines to create his own original style. He slowly crafted together tracks on different labels, getting his name throughout the dance community and industry. Labels such as New York’s top house music label Rawsome Recordings, Space Invaders, and mentioned before on Cajmere’s infamous Cajual Records with his EP ‘Keep it Up’. This was one of Pompeo’s favorite pieces of work and label it with work. “It's definitely Casual. I had the most success from that label. It was great to have Sunny Federa introduce me to Green Velvet/ Cashmere. So that was really cool. It was great to work with him. He gave a lot of good feedback on the tracks. But yeah, it was definitely my favorite label to work with by far.” Then it was asked if would he consider releasing music again on Cajual Records. “Yes, I would love to. He doesn't really do Casual too much anymore.”

Joe Pompeo

Making An Impact:

Joe Pompeo has been making an impact both stateside and overseas via his DJ sets and productions. Well known for blending house and tech house elements, Joe has created a unique production style, earning him fast support from top international DJs. As was said before he enjoyed dabbling with different sounds to stand out. “I like evolving as an artist, but sometimes to go in a direction from, Oh, I'm playing house and now I'm playing borderline techno because that's essentially what he does. I feel like that would be too much of a drastic shift. Well, I would love to get on Relief. I just feel like I'd rather stay true to my sound and not do that.”

During his career as a DJ and a producer, he faced some struggles from an emerging artist to a well-known resident. Learning to face those struggles and overcome them as a DJ can be difficult constantly overcoming obstacles every day, testing yourself and as an artist. Plus not get lost in the famous and all the perks that come along with being an all-around DJ and producer. It is hard to fall off and it's hard to stay afloat, consistently keep up with the crowd, and stay true to your sound. Pompeo faces all these challenges every day as an artist and stays social, and maintains a good image. 

“The hardest part is probably the, I don't want to use the word struggle because it's not a struggle, but just the constant struggle and the pressure you put on yourself to want to do good and achieve and do better. I think that's kind of the hardest part. There are a lot of aspects to it too, especially in dance music. Having to go out and be social all the time as well. That becomes a little bit of a challenge at times, just because you have to have so much time to do so many different things. But yeah, definitely that's the hardest part.” 

“The best part, I guess, is just the reward that comes with it. Obviously, if you make a good song, if either a big DJ plays it or it does well on Beatport, that's always rewarding especially. No one really knows how long the artist put into, the time they put in a single track, which these days is very easily disposable. Something's cool for a week or two, and then no one's really going to hear it after that unless it's a really good song. That's the rewarding part.”


NYC Nightlife:

Throughout the years he established a name in the New York City dance community and it was then Pompeo continued to perform at iconic nightclubs and gain tight support and following. “I think just the community in New York is super, super strong.” Especially in house music where he thrived mainly and tech house. Although some of the top nightclubs he played at are unfortunately shut down for good. As DJs and producers evolve so does the nightlife. “I would say Vinyl. He talks about his favorite old clubs and his favorite moments. A lot of people don't know what Vinyl is. So Vinyl was a little club on Hubert Street in Manhattan, down in the East Village. It was strictly an after-hours club that had no liquor license. That's where I heard Tenaglia play first and it was just a small room. It had a low ceiling, but it had an amazing sound. And the lights in there, it's hard to explain. It's hard to say, "Oh wow. The lights in the place were amazing. It really made it." I kind of judge every club that I go to after Vinyl. I can't find anything like it. Maybe because it was just the first venue I went to, but it was a really, really good place. Cielo would definitely be second on the list because we held the residency there for a couple of years. Output was also a great venue. I played there a lot as well, but I definitely, yeah, I definitely like Cielo. I would say. Not like it, but I would want Cielo to come back.”

Listen to Joe Pompeo's Exclusive Guest Mix:

MyPlayground · Guest Mix Vol. 002: Joe Pompeo

Inspiration:

The process of making a track can be different for every artist, everyday life, nature or a meaningful memory are all elements of inspiration for a DJ and producer. Throughout Pompeo’s epic DJ performances and massive bangers, the process of making a track and the inspiration behind them are unique. “So the inspiration for a track, it comes in many different forms, I think. I might find a vocal sample that says, "Oh wow, I like this. I want to use this for a song that I'm working on." Or I hear a sound from a synthesizer that I'm just kind of playing around with or something. I wouldn't say there's a direct inspiration for my music and say, "Oh, this is what I pull off of for every track I make." It kind of just comes in various forms. And that'll kind of inspire me to say, "Hey, let me do this." If I hear a cool loop or anything.”

Pompeo has worked with many artists before and has been on multiple compilations but who is his all-time dream collaboration? “High up on the list would definitely be Darius Syrossian. I really like him. I like all the stuff he puts out on Moxie Muzik. Darius is awesome! Guys like Latinum or Detlef, I really like that kind of sound. It would be awesome to collaborate with him. Obviously to do something with Green Velvet/ Cashmere remixed one of my songs. But to actually work on a track with him, I think would be kind of a next-level vibe. Danny Tanaglia. would definitely be up there as well.”

READ Darious Syrossian Interview

Over the years, and with his hard work and dedication, Joe Pompeo has become a main staple in the New York City dance music industry. “It's good. It's a lot of fun. It definitely is a lot of fun. It was awesome that people and the perks! Yeah, there's definitely always some perks. Not having to pay to get into any clubs is always fun. I can say I haven't done that in a long time.”

“Obviously just the people. I enjoy going out sometimes and seeing people I haven't seen in five or so years or a long time, or just reconnecting with them and everything like that. I think just the community in New York is super, super strong. And I've met so many people and have so many friends just from a kick and a snare drum. Put that in simplest terms, so yeah. I really think that's a big perk. People don't understand why. It's the music industry and stuff, but just the community and everything, I think is a big part of it, and I like that”

Joe Pompeo


On The Horizon:

From one upcoming DJ and producer to a professional, here are some inspirational words from Joe Pompeo for the next generation of house music artists in the New York City community. Any advice in the industry can be helpful to anyone trying to get their foot in the door or moving to the next step. “I mean, just be true to your sound. Definitely, you're going to have to put in a lot of work. Definitely going to have to go out and learn how to network. And there are definitely a lot more factors in the game now as having good social media obviously helps. You can't just be a good DJ and then that's it. You know, you have to do everything and you have to be ready to do it yourself in the beginning. So just be ready to work.”

Joe Pompeo x MyPlayground Beatport Playlist

Interview Segment: ‘Either/ Or'

So crunchy or soft tacos?

"Oh, crunchy Tacos."

Eat out or cook at home?

"Definitely eat out. I never cook at home it's so rare. I eat out."

Football or football, like soccer.

"Soccer, a hundred percent. A hundred percent. Big soccer fan!"

Coffee or tea?

"Coffee."

Club sets or festival sets?

"Club sets a hundred percent!"

'90s techno house music or today's music?

"Today's music, yeah. The '90s were cool, but definitely, today's music is better. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Better produced."

Fly or drive?

Fly! I hate driving.

Vinyl or DJ programs?

"I play off USB sticks. I would love to play on vinyl again. While I love the mobility of a USB stick. Not carrying around crates of records. There was just something cool about playing on vinyl."

Backstage or dancing in the crowd?

“I do like going out into the crowd and dancing and hearing the sound of the club or the venue that I'm at. Just seeing everything. Yeah, exactly. But yes, when it comes to just having some room and your own bathroom or whatever they have back there. I'm mainly backstage but sometimes I'll like to walk around.”:

Early set or a late set?

“Both, to be honest with you both because I have a lot of early music that I would love to play that I don't necessarily get a chance to play if I was playing a later set. But obviously, the later set has better energy and more people. So both. I don't prefer one or the other, but I would never want to cut out an early set from playing them. Yeah. Yeah. I don't mind playing chill kind of opening stuff.”

Warehouse or nightclub?

“Definitely a nightclub. The warehouse serves its purpose and it's cool, but I definitely prefer a nightclub.”

Normal hours or after hours?

“Normal hours. After-hours are few and far between for me these days. But yeah, I'd definitely rather go home at four. Nothing really productive happens after hours. But yeah, it's still fun after hours, especially in New York. You can't be in New York after hours, I'll tell you that.”


FOLLOW JOE POMPEO:
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Original Date: October 31, 2018

Alan Fitzpatrick was back on the road this October, with his infamous House Party Tour, kicking things off in Bristol, then onto Brighton and Southampton. We Are The Brave events have been popping up all over the UK, with a rapidly growing artist roster. Laying down some mega anthem tracks in the last 24 months, we can expect a lot more, as We Are The Brave continues to fulfill fans to the max, with its energetic rave ethos.

Anthony Cardinale aka Avision, a producer from New York makes his debut this November. He caught the attention of Alan with his dark and deliciously deep beats. “I love the direction Alan is going with the label, and the broad range of his musical taste. I'm blessed to be a part of it” adds Anthony.

The title track ‘The Come Up’ has a growling low end, a thick groove, and roaring rhythmic movements – a track that couldn't be more perfect for We Are The Brave. “I’ve been playing pretty much everything that Avision sends me. He has a very mature sound that you can tell draws on a wide variety of influences, which gives his music a very unique flavor– says Alan Fitzpatrick 

Both featuring vocals, ‘Get It Right’ has a euphoric 90’s house edge to it, alongside an energetic beat, whilst the short stabbing vox effect rhythm in ‘Out Of Sight’ makes this the most minimal, linear track of the release.

“I am genuinely so excited to have this release out on We Are The Brave – for me, it represents the next step in my career, and a sort of ‘come up’ in the industry”. – Anthony. ‘On The Floor’ is instantly catchy with its hypnotic hook. It’s got that chunky NY old-school sound that Avision seems to effortlessly create.

Anthony Cardinale aka Avision is a force to be reckoned with, starting at the age of 12, and his preference for a more mature sound led to his first residency at Club Abyss in New Jersey by the time he was 15. Fortunate to grow up around the club culture of New York, and influenced by the sounds and music scene - Avision has become a new wave of techno. Over the last year, he has rereleased various influential labels like Mark Broom’s Beardman Records, Carl Cox’s Intec, Victor Calderone’s Matter+, Carlo Lio’s On Edge Society, Inmotion LTD, and now Alan Fitzpatrick’s We Are The Brave


Your debut EP ‘The Come Up’ is set to be released soon, how long did it take to create it?

"Yes, it is, and I’m super excited about it! ‘The Come Up’ I would say took me about a month or two to create, I’m always working on music, so after I had a good batch of tracks I sent them to Alan and he selected from there."

How did the NY music scene influence ‘The Come Up’?

"The NY music scene has always inspired me, I have always been inspired by the early 90’s music scene. DJs would play all night long from 10-24 hours sometimes playing tribal, techno, house, and even vocals. ‘The Come Up' is an EP that really resembles my influences from New York as it has a little bit of melody, groove, and chunkiness to each record"

He was recently featured in DummyMag Avision and was listed as one of the Top 10 Best Rising Techno Talents. In a recent interview during Amsterdam Dance Event, we spoke with New York’s techno artist Avision, he is set to release his debut EP which features his talent. Throughout the interview, he talks about the EP and how his passion became a reality.

Avision-at-Avant-Gardmer
Is there a favorite track from the EP you have?

"I don’t think I have a favorite track on this EP, I think each track is unique in its own way and I enjoy playing them throughout the night."

Is there a meaning behind the title of the EP?

"There is, I think this EP is what is going to push me further in my career.  ‘The Come Up’ title just means it’s my come-up into this amazing industry."

‘The Come Up’ is being released on Alan Fitzpatrick's label We Are The Brave, did you ever imagine your musical career would lead to this? 

I can’t wait for this EP to release, and I’m honored to have it on Alan’s label. He’s been working very hard on this label and all of the branding behind it as well. I never imagined my musical career would lead to this, but it was always in the plans. I always want to better myself and strive for bigger ventures, especially when it comes to my music. 

Who is your biggest musical influence?

"I have so many influences but if I had to choose one it would be Quincy Jones - enough said."

ADE was last week, tell me about your experience

"What an amazing experience, I was blown away since it was my first time. To finally meet everyone I’ve been talking to overseas, and getting to link up with my DJ friends was an experience I’ll never forget. The parties were all packed, and all the production was done properly. I’m looking forward to next year already."

Avision press photo

What was your favorite moment during ADE?

"I don’t think I had one specific favorite moment, although my favorite part about this trip was walking into almost every party and hearing one of my records. It was really humbling, and inspiring to hear so many different artists playing my music. I never would have thought to hear my music as much as I did, and for that, I’m forever grateful for all the artists playing my music, it means a lot to me."

Was there a particular spot or nightclub you enjoyed the most at ADE?

"I mean as always, I think Awakenings was really impressive, but I have to say everything I experienced was nothing short of amazing."

Besides your debut EP, what's on the horizon for Avision?

"There is still a lot of music ready to go for the future. ‘The Come Up’ is my last EP of 2018, but we start the new year up with a big release on “On Edge Society” that has a remix by the legend DJ Rush, and I also have an EP coming out on Eats Everything’s a new label called EI8HT. I’ll most likely come back to We Are The Brave as well with a follow-up EP.  The rest you’ll just have to wait and see!"

Watch the Avision documentary:

His debut EP ‘The Come Up’ is a four-track project showcasing all of Avision’s talent and passion. Avision’s legacy is growing like a supernova exploding in the farthest reaches of our galaxy…and he’s just getting started.


FOLLOW AVISION:
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Original Date: January 21, 2020

SOEL began to produce his own sounds during adolescence, using music samples representing his originality and changing from house music and dark disco in the year the 1980s and 1990s, to minimal techno.

His music has immediately been supported and played by some of the most popular techno artists in the world, like Carl Cox, Marco Carola, Tale Of Us, Dubfire,  Luciano, Mind Against, Oliver Huntemann, Karotte, Paco Osuna, Mark Knight, Alexi Delano, Joseph Capriati, Marco Bailey, Kaiserdisco, Pig&Dan, Stephan Bodzin, Martin Eyerer, Sian, Wehbba, Alan Fitzpatrick Ambivalent, Carlo Lio, Sonja Moonear, and many many more.

In the course of his experience, he has refined the technique also strengthening his musical culture, His DJ sets are in fact a journey that includes a mix of techno and minimal sounds blended with dark vocals.

There is one artist who is dedicated to his work and craft of creating his own unique sound, SOEL was born in the gray and bustle of Milan. Over the course of more than 10 years in music production and DJing, SOEL’s inspiration has come from his Arabic roots, Hollywood music composers, and varying genres of music, but most of all the world around. His passion, probably hereditary, was born from an early age thanks to his father, who collected vinyl records by artists including important figures who stood out like Ry Cooder, Robert Johnson, and Jacques Brel.


It's been a few months since your Afterlife / Voyage 017, how big was the response from other artists and listeners?

“It came at the end of September 2019, and has already reached more than 81,000  streams (as of this month, January) and likes from all over the world! The response was unreal, I couldn't have imagined such support from all these music lovers, and it makes me very happy because the two hr set is made only with my own productions! I know many people have been waiting for my tracks, especially 'Ambrosia', 'Sense of Eternity', and my remix of Sting's 'Desert Rose'.  By making the set with only my own music, I was able to at least have those tracks played in full. Not just video clips online.”

From your unique talent and techniques, Who are your top musical influencers?

“I have many, but especially Hans Zimmer, Clint Mansell, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Trentmøller, Alva Noto, Trent Reznor, Derrick May, Jeff Mills, and Recondite!”

The musical evolution of SOEL leaves people with multicultural experiences and individualism is originally reflected in his music. He’s refined his unique sound to a mix of deeply emotional ambient & atmospheric techno sounds, blended with dark synths and cinematic soundscapes.

Where do you get your inspiration for creating your own signature sound?

“First inspiration comes from my background, my North African / Middle Eastern origins fused with my European upbringing, gave me the opportunity to experiment and create my own sound, based on the cultural differences between those two places, the music, the people, the cinema, even the food. I'm very inspired by what's around me! I've written tracks for example, on a plane because the colors of the sky were so beautiful, or because of the stunning view from the Brooklyn Bridge of NYC when I was living there, or simply because of a movie I love.”

A lifelong traveler, and fashion and art enthusiast, SOEL’s musical evolution, multicultural experiences, and individualism, are organically reflected in his music. Throughout the past decade, SOEL has refined its unique sound, which includes a mix of deeply emotional ambient and atmospheric techno sounds, blended with dark synths and cinematic soundscapes.

Who is your dream collaboration? 

“Ryoji Ikeda, Trent Reznor, Alva Noto, Ryuichi Sakamoto" 

Your biggest project is the new label ORACOLO Records, what inspired you to launch your own label?

“I had a vision and a dream about it, but I personally didn't have the time to create it and so it fell to the side for a bit. My girlfriend and a bunch of artists friends who I truly respect, the ones with 20+ years experience who I knew were honest in what they were telling me, as well as the huge encouragement of my supporters, is what pushed me to finally open the label.  I'm not opening the label with this motto of "I have to be the biggest and best label in the world. I have to be famous", if anything, it's the opposite mindset. I have over 37-hours of unreleased music, that's like 350 tracks.  When it comes down to it, I haven't been able to find a home for my music, so why not create one myself?”

ORACOLO Records will focus on musical realms in dark, atmospheric techno, and cinematic ambient. Giving him the opportunity to showcase his unreleased music and much more. This is a huge milestone for SOEL as an artist.

Listen to soel on spotify
What are some music and life goals?

“I hope the future releases of my label, my music, and the journeys I try to create each time through my sets, will reach more and more people around the world! The support and messages I receive every day and during each gig are truly indescribable.  I do my best to interact with everyone who writes to me and/or comes to my gigs.  I see every message, every comment, and it's what inspires me to keep doing what I love.”


SOEL profile photo

What was your favorite track you've released in your career?

“'Maisha', which means 'Life' in Swahili, was released on Recondite's label, Plangent Records at the end of 2017.”

Any new music?

"Absolutely, yes. I can't share the details just yet, but I will. I have some really interesting projects I'm working on. Some are quite different from what people are used to. But so far, this is one of the most creative projects to date. I can't wait to share more about it. I'll keep you updated!"

Listen to Afterlife Voyage 017: SOEL

Afterlife · Afterlife Voyage 017 by SOEL
What's on the horizon for SOEL?

"I am playing my first live show next month, at a big festival with so many artists and friends, followed by my first South American tour, with debuts in Argentina, Chile, and Colombia.  I'm also making a return to Asia which I first toured last year. I'm very excited about that." 

SOEL continues his trip to the musical reality, with enthusiasm and rigor, giving his music around Europe, Egypt, Morocco, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Vietnam, Qatar, and North America. He will continue to travel the world and make new music stay tuned for more!


FOLLOW SOEL:
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Making changes in both his DJ career and the underground techno community, Bryan Fein, better known by his artist name Mafia B is known for pushing boundaries and staying original. He always stays true and his goal is to continue to create quality and make an innovative impact in the music scene and community. 

Listen to the full Artist Interview: Mafia B

For the first time in his music career, the DJ and producer created an event and party concept DECODED. Providing a sense of community for both guests and artists is a meaningful project for Mafia B. As a beginning artist, it's difficult, especially these days to make a name and stand out from the rest of all the DJs. DECODED will provide that chance and opportunity for those who have been waiting for their moment to perform and be seen.

“I wanted to create a sense of community within the dance music community, especially locally first. I'm trying to create something where the artists, DJs, even the people, and the attendees are more engaged with each other, rather than just going to an event, or going to a party, I want something more engaging. Let's put a light on the X first. How can we make them feel like A-list, right? How can we put a spotlight on them and make them feel like there's somebody rather than like, oh, you're DJing tonight and no one knows? I'm working to develop something where they feel more appreciative of the art. If the person is spending X amount of time, their hours in their studio, and putting their heart and soul into this craft, why not feel like there is somebody when they're DJing? And when it comes to the attendees, how do we make them feel like this is just more than an event? How can we make this more of an experience, an interactive experience? And that's what I and my team are currently working out at the moment into creating that experience for both ends of the spectrum. Yeah. So when I talk about community, my goal is literally to have everyone say, have you been decoded? And are you decoded? And use that verbiage interchangeably. Yeah, that's my goal for that. And at the end of the day, it's all about music. So maybe later down the line, it might turn into a label, but at the end of the day, as I said, it is about the music, playing good music, and the overall experience of being part of Decoded." 

Mafia B takes the underground scene to a new dimension with his own party brand. He is touring different cities throughout the TriState area with DECODED displaying his passion and talent in new realms. He will be taking over a secret location with his DECODED concept this Saturday, March 11

DECODED has already launched last month and is already becoming a huge success with sell-out rsvp and packed nightclubs. DECODED isn’t at one location, each night a different location throughout the New York metropolitan area. Giving more insight into different dance clubs and building and creating its community.

“I do see a sense of community, especially with the dance music culture, because as you go out every week to different types of dance music events, whether it might be house music or techno, there is a sense of community there already. Because you might most likely see the same people there, and they know you by your first name, which is amazing. Every sense of genre of music will have its sense of community. And the reason why I gravitated more towards the dance music scene, is because I started out playing house music, and that was way years ago when I used to partake in martial arts. And my instructor was a DJ and a promoter. And for every class that we took, he would play house music."


THE BEGINNING:

Mafia B cover photo
Mafia B cover photo

been influenced by Hip-Hop, Rock, and Classical Music. He developed a unique sound as he continuously release original music in his studio or on the streets of the city he lives. Brian has played at the top nightclubs from across the country and the globe. “So I was training to house music, and I was like, how do I get into this? I downloaded the software so I can make my own mixes. That's how I started. I love dance music. I love dancing. I love music in general, and it just kind of snowballed from there”. 

From first playing at underground parties and after hours, he quickly gained a following of popularity from performing at elite New York City dance clubs. Forming and experiencing techno and house music rhythm and sounds, Mafia B generated himself as a well-known local. In his earliest years, he dabbled with both house music and techno with different upbeats and down-tempos. His energy feeds off the crowd as an artist and DJ performer, whenever experiments with new music or plays some of his early and old tracks. He quickly then moved up to perform at upscale clubs at the age of 18 being one of the youngest DJs playing at 21 and over in New York City nightclubs.

“I remember playing one of my tracks, and the first time I played it out, and I didn't know how it was going to react, and once the drop hit, I just heard, oh, I was like, all right, cool. This works. Even though that track is not the best, at least in my eyes, I'm my worst critic. But when I heard, oh, and I'm like, yeah, okay, cool. It feels good."

Mafia B has opened for numerous artists such as the legendary DJ and producer, Erick Morillo, and other techno heavyweights and local favorites. In addition, Mafia B has played at infamous clubs around New York City including Marquee, Cielo, Output, Analog BKNY, Highline Ballroom, Sankeys, and more. His first record released was signed to Elektrobeats Records and was also part of The Techno Compilation which landed on the number one spot on Traxsource.


Listen to Mafia B's debut album, 'Perception'


INSPIRATION:

Creating killer beats in his new Brooklyn studio, teaching classes to up-and-coming DJs, Everywhere he gets inspiration, from old classical music to classic dance music and life experiences. To make a name as a DJ and producer in this competitive industry, every artist must stay original and continue the momentum Plus, use every aspect of general life, and constantly release music. Let everything inspire the artist and use to it expand the creativity.

“Everything inspires me. I would say I think as an artist, we just absorb different things in our lives and we kind of put that in a capstone, figure out how can we take that emotion from whatever inspires us and make it our own, right? That's the beauty of being an artist hearing that and oh, that inspires me to do something. So for example, I think the last couple of songs that I'm currently producing is, okay, I like the sound of Heavy Metal. And I'm thinking in the back of my head, what happened if the bassist in my song, he's like a metal head or something, and this is what's happening in the back of my head. And it's like, what if he's a metal guitarist? How do I kind of translate that into my techno song? So like I said, anything and everything inspires me when it comes to creating a sound or creating music, new songs, anything. I just enjoy the process of doing that, creating, getting something that inspires me, and spitting out something that I could call that's mine.”

Most artists have so much unreleased music it’s because they are uncertain if the public will like and approve of the track. Feeling nervous about losing fans and following, a true artist will face that fear and release everything regardless if they may think it’s bad the true fans will still follow and support. “Just because as an artist, you're allowing yourself to be vulnerable because you're putting a lot of effort and soul into your craft, then that's your vulnerability, and then you put it out there in hopes that you can make an impact to at least one person. Right? I remember at one gig, it was a random gig actually, and I was just DJing, this girl comes up to me and she's like, oh, can I request a song? I'm like, oh, no. Why? But she showed me the song that she was requesting. It was one of my songs. And I was like, yeah, I'll play that. That's cool. And obviously, that one song that I released years ago made an impact on her. It may not be made the number one on Beatport, but it made an impact on somebody for them to come to my event and see or hear me play a particular song that she liked”.

“So when it comes to releasing, yeah, there's a little nerve. Okay, hopefully, somebody likes it, or at least the label likes it. But at the end of the day, if I like it and I believe this is the best I can do, and this is what it is, I'm going to release it in hopes that people like it and keep moving forward, keep moving on."

The world and the city that built his DJ career, Mafia B has explored different realms and ways for more inspiration. Eating different foods, running new trails in New York City, or experiencing new nightclubs for DECODED. Generating new ways and ideas for more creativity as an artist and producer. 

“I used to run Central Park all the time in the morning, and I kind of use it like a metaphor for life, because I'm running to a particular destination, which is I'll go from 60th, which is the entrance to Central Park, to the reservoir, and that's my goal. But as I'm running it, I see people on the left and right of me, and there are people in front of me, but I'm not in competition with any of those people because they have their own goals. If I were to follow one person, whether he or she gets off the next exit, then I'm losing sight of my own goal. I'm following one person. Because that's their goal. I don't know what they're doing. So I think as long as you know where you want to go and just keep going in that direction. And it's okay too, if you're running and you're getting tired, maybe you start walking down a little bit. As long as you keep moving forward toward that goal, then you will reach there. It takes time. If you're okay telling yourself, it would take me five to 10 years to be somebody or to reach a certain level and this craft. And if you're okay with that, then yeah, you'll be all right. But if you expect to be a hit overnight, which is an anomaly for sure, but if you expect to be a hit overnight, but you haven't put the work into it, then you can be discouraged every single time."


Artist Goals: 

From establishing his own studio and party brand, DECODED within a matter of a couple of years, Brian constantly sets new goals for himself to maintain the energy he quickly built from the very beginning. “There's going through this journey and just hitting these little milestones are signs of success. Even the average human set mini goals, not big goals, you just set your set. There's a difference between you're going to be frustrated if your major goal is to DJ Ultra, right? But you haven't produced a track yet. So set small goals, but okay, the first goal is to learn how to do this. Learn how to do this. Or the first goal might be to release one track. What's that look like? Releasing one track can be a sign of success. So the more you make these little goals and be consistent will ultimately have this huge pyramid of milestones. And before you know it, you might be in front of a large crowd at EDC or Ultra, whatever it may be, whatever your North Star or goal may be.”

Besides setting and completing goals, the music industry quickly grew into a life passion. Making new music, performing at nightclubs, and growing the party brand, Decoded all that excites him the most. The positive vibes from the crowds each night demonstrate why he entered the scene in the very beginning.

“One is being a DJ and a producer. I just love being in front of people. I'm a people person, so I love being in front of a crowd and seeing how they react to certain songs. I purposely make my sets unpredictable, and I love to see the reaction of crowds. And that excites me because I like to see people have fun, seeing people enjoying themselves.”


On The Horizon:

DECODED is taking off at a successful rate, and Mafia B still has the time to create some new music. His studio is his favorite place in the world its where he can expand his mind to different realms of creativity. “I'm turning out some EPs. I already have one EP done. I'm just setting up feedback before I send it out to labels. So one EP is done, working on a second EP at the moment. That's going to be sent to a feedback phase, and then I'll send it out to labels. So hopefully sooner than later, we'll have some new music out, some Mafia B stuff.”

The process for every DJ and producer is different, some can make an album within days or years, and some decades. Everyone is different and everyone has different ways of processing their creativity.

“I like to work in collections. In terms, of what I mean by that is, okay, either I'm going to turn out an album or an EP, and the process is different every single time. Or the length of developing a project varies from project to project. I can't say if it takes long because that's relative. Right? But typically when the project's done, it's done. Usually, that takes a couple of months, which I'm okay with. I wanted to give it my best, the best, and give it my all. At the time of my current skill set. Right? So it takes time. And yeah, I'm looking forward to multiple releases this year and seeing how people react to it.”

Would there be an album anytime in the future, or? “I love albums, but not a lot of people make them anymore. Unless you're an A-list artist like Skrillex, or Deadmau5, or who could be anybody. I think at that level it is a little bit easier to release albums because here's a collection of 13 songs and 15 songs and sure. Then go on tour. But as you're a developing producer, I think that releasing either singles or EPs.” 

“Yeah. And having people recognize your name. That person does this type of music. I've released albums and albums before. I think I would love to do an album. This is the vibe and theme of this album, and just kind of focus on that and release it. But definitely, I would never rule an album out."


GIVING BACK:

“It's approved by the masses. When I get into the studio every day, I just love being in this room, constantly learning about my workflow, constantly figuring it out. That's my job as a producer, is to figure it out. I just love solving puzzles that excite me. You just figuring it out because no one knows anything. Just pick one thing and figure that out. And I pick music and I'm figuring it out as I go every day, and that excites me. There are no DJ schools, no DJ universities."

“I have students that come into my studio once a week, and I teach them, and it excites me to see them going from learning nothing to having tracks. Right? And that excites me. I'm like, wow, I gave so much value to this person, and they took it and they create something out of nothing. It amazes me. And I didn't have that. I did have a mentor, but teaching somebody kind of cuts all of the wrongs turns if you will. Although it is inevitable to make your own bad decision and learn from it and come back to stability if you will. But yeah, teaching students excites me. Being in this room excites me, and playing in front of people excites me. I love music”.

When he’s not DJing or creating original music, he strives to make the New York City house music and techno scene better and give back to the community. In his off time, he teaches DJ classes, these days everyone wants to DJ or learn how to. There is no school or Univerity for that kind of learning in the states, most people are self-taught and grow from the experience and keep getting paid gigs. Mafia B launched his DJ class at his studio, the moment he began his classes he quickly fell in love with it and gained more respect for the community. Through these teaching classes, he found more of a purpose and one of the ways to give back and pass along the greatest knowledge ever. 

Teaching classes and focusing on expanded Decoded, creating new realms and possibly a festival or label. DECODED continues to rapidly grow with constant sell-out tickets, and the culture and movement continue to grow and expand, each month by taking over different new and different nightclubs plus secret locations. 


FINAL THOUGHTS: 

If you are first starting or taking one of Mafia B’s classes or considering becoming a DJ here are some wise words from an experienced DJ and producer. 

“Hard work, not giving up! Consistency is key, right? It's okay to take breaks here and there, but I think that as long as you keep moving forward, that's all it matters. It takes time. If you're okay telling yourself, it would take me five to 10 years to be somebody or to reach a certain level and this craft. And if you're okay with that, then yeah, you'll be all right. But if you expect to be a hit overnight, which is an anomaly for sure, but if you expect to be a hit overnight, but you haven't put the work into it, then you can be discouraged every single time.”

Be sure to catch one of his sets and experience the new party brand, DECODED. Each weekend a different location and artist lineup. Follow the link for all the information and free rsvp.

DECODED

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“It’s all about House and Techno, and I'm not interested in fads.” That's the motto Darius Syrossian lives by. It’s what made him a producer that doesn’t play by traditional rules. First, he’s been performing for over 25 years, creating his signature sound. Then, in 2019, he launched his [Moxy Muzik] record label and party concept. 

“My inspiration came from the 90s scene, which was like Junior Vasquez playing Sound Factory in New York, and he played 24 hours and that's what DJing was about. Playing every week in the same club where you get to know the crowd. Now with Moxy, I don't play every week, I play once a month.” Having played gigs at every major club in every significant city. “Before that, I used to play Sankeys, and I've always been a resident. When I started playing After Tribal Sessions, Do Not Sleep, it got to a point where it became a bigger brand and put on getting so popular.” 

The word Moxy comes from someone who does what they want and doesn’t even a fuck if people don't like it. “It became a point where it's like you've got Charlotte De Witt one week, then you got this and that, and there's no musical identity, nondescript. It's just anything that sells tickets. For me, that's not why I became a DJ.” 

Darius Syrossian takes the underground scene to a new dimension with his own party brand. He is touring different cities across the country with Moxy Muzik displaying his passion and talent to new realms. He will be taking over The Brooklyn Monarch with his [Moxy Muzik] concept this Friday, January 21

“I want to enjoy what I'm doing when I'm teaching, I want to play what I want to play. So in smaller rooms, longer sets are about 6 hours playing what I want with fewer people, but people who want to hear me play.” 

He continues about the music scene. Back in the late 80s and 90s, people only cared about music. There were no smartphones which meant no photography and social media posts. It was simple back then, with good vibes and great music. These days it's all about those high prices to try and sell out the massive spaces. 

“You end up with the people who think they should be listening to you, wanting to hear you play those big tunes that they've heard, and then it becomes soulless. You become a jukebox. I want to play my style of music inspired by the New York scene of the 90s, Chicago House, a little bit of acid, a little bit like European techno mixed up what you want.” 


Moxy Muzik is More Than a Party Concept:

Moxy Muzik is an imprint where all listeners discover underground talent. It gives upcoming artists a chance to be found and heard. “Moxy started it to be a way that I can do this. Now, if you look, I've got loads of shows all over the UK, Manchester League, London, and I play a long set. I also bring upcoming artists. So I don't just book other established guests. I spot artists who I know are upcoming, and I know that they're good. It makes me feel good that I'm helping other acts as well at the same time. So that's what Moxy is about.” 

Darius-Syrossian interview

From the beginning, he was always passionate about the music and the scene. But, as only some people do it for fame, Darius does it for the love of music. “I enjoy doing it with other people, have journeyed with other people '' What he is also known for that sample may not know about is that he has launched many other inspiring artists careers. “I think I'm in a position to help upcoming artists, so I've lost count. My label still presses vinyl.”

Since the label’s launch, it has only grown into a successful imprint. “It cost me a lot of money to do. If you want the records, they're going to buy the records anyway.” The digital tracks go straight in at #1 on Beatport ́s minimal deep tech genre. “Moxy Muzik has quite a lot of number ones on the Beatport, and it makes quite a bit of money.” The label has grown into producing multiple #1 vinyl records within three years. “We press vinyl, and we don't just press vinyl, we do colored vinyl. We also have Charlotte Archer, she's an independent artist. She's hand-drawn art for each one. So that costs quite a lot of money for each release. So trying to get up to sell and buy is really difficult. So I've given Lucas Alexander his first release on vinyl. Andrew K, his first release on vinyl. Many big names like Steve Lawler, Doc Martin, and DJ Sneak. We also help get music from an act because I know; she's important, that is.”

“You need to give these people a platform to show how good they sell. I find that quite rewarding. Helping other people as well and not just making Moxy just about me. That’s what I’m probably proud of a lot.”

Darius has a few tracks out now that are very popular, especially ‘White Rabbit.’ “My parents used to listen to it all the time because my parents always had music on nonstop, all day, every day in the kitchen house. So that was always music.” 

“I did it just for a laugh, for myself, and it turned out quite good. But I didn't release it in Lockdown. I waited after Lockdown in England when the clubs opened, and I played it. Defected Croatia, and all the Defected crew was like, ‘What is it?’ Shoot. I was like, something I've done. We'll never play the sample, but we got a singer to reshape it all and replay it all, and I've sampled them. Otherwise, we'd never clear the sample.”


Exploring Different Realms of Music: 

Darius Syrossian always had an act for being different, “from the beginning, I always do what I want, and it's not a typical dance floor track. It doesn't really sound like anything else I've made before, but I just like to mix it up and do what I want. If I want to make an edit, I'll make an edit.”

He continues by explaining how the music industry can work against him sometimes. With Darius Syrossian, he thinks outside the realms of music and creates masterpieces. He explores different subgenres and does not categorize himself in one dance music category. It works out both good and evil; however, he will always have loyal fans. “Tne techno tracks on Drumcode, and I've played House Music on Defected. The problem is that it works against you a little bit because people want to pigeon all you, and you can't pigeon on me. It's like, I'm not part of any crew. I don't want to be part of any crew. Right now, business technology is big. But I released it on Drumcode, and Adam Bayer loved the track. He said it was brilliant. When I posted that, there were a lot of Drumcode fans getting angry.” 


The Beginning:

It didn’t happen overnight for Darius Syrossian, and becoming a DJ was never planned. It all just worked out for the best. “I had a record shop about 15 years ago, so it was never my plan to be an international DJ. It just happened because in 2008, when vinyl crashed and we had to close the shop. I thought I might have to get a real job. So then I thought I was going to fucking start making records. Then the records that I made started getting signed by all the labels, and then I ended up having a career that way.” 

He has had many proud moments throughout his career, but there's one moment that will always stand out. He also put out his vital entry into the Essential Mix series doing two, so he remains a pivotal figure in the house scene. “This was the one live at Sankeys Visa on Radio one week in 2013. Then halfway through the track, the mix, I played Dusky, and you can hear the crowd on the mix. It was surreal because I just suddenly looked out and saw the whole crowd, and they all started clapping, and I don't know, I got a bit emotional. I just started breaking through at this point. So I've been trying for fucking years, and this was like a massive thing.”  

DariusSyrossian · BBC RADIO 1 ESSENTIAL MIX - (2013) recorded LIVE from Sankeys Ibiza

He never comes to the club with a pre-recorded set. “I never plan a set. You plan for yourself, but there are many people in that room. You have to try and build something within the energy that's going off in that room at the time.” Although he never wavered from his devotion to the groove, Darius’s vast music knowledge and unique vinyl collection allow him versatility. “A good DJ is someone who can read the crowd. It's not about matching as much. Lauren Garner is one of my favorite DJs, he mixes it up all the time, but his beat matches are sometimes constrained. It's about reading the crowd and the emotion in that room in front of you and what kind of vibes will come off the previous track. You're going to have happy records, technical records, moody technical records. It's about knowing how to play the right track at the right moment.” 


Inspiration:

Moxy Muzik is all about playing extended sets in an intimate setting with a loyal crowd listening to one artist for hours. The party brand is coming to New York at The Brooklyn Monarch, where he will be bringing all the vibes and divine music. “That's what inspired me. It's a New York House Music, to some extent, Masters At Work. You couldn't even see the DJ back in Manchester because he was on a balcony behind you. Everyone was dancing, and nobody was facing the fucking DJ with a phone. But we can sit here and moan as much as we want. Things change. There are a lot of things that are better now. There are lot more types of different music with sub-genres, and the sound systems are more advanced. So we can always moan but the scene is still good. I still enjoy what I'm doing. I just wish people were more about the music than they are.”

He continues about the club scene in Manchester, a huge party city. “I'll play every month in Manchester. It sells out every month, but it's only 500 capacity. But the crowd is fucking bang on. So I don't want to play just once a year, 10,000 people for 1 hour. I want to play every month for 5 hours. That's the difference between me, and I don't want to be a jukebox.” 

Darius Syrossian Interview

On The Horizon: 

Darius has more to come, such as another world tour and upcoming releases with respectable artists. “I've got a release on Catz 'n Dogz label, PETS Recordings, that's out later this month. I've been playing it out, and it seems just to pass the test, let's say. Then in February, I got a remix on the label from Canada, Griffintown Records.

A true workaholic, Darius Syrossian has many upcoming tracks that will take over dance charts, dance floors, and minds. “Then I've got a huge record called “Back in a Dance,” which is a collaboration with me and George Meadows, and this is going to be massive. When I played it on my Mint Festival set, the number of people that ask for track IDs for this, when I play in clubs and on SoundCloud in the comments, it's going to be huge! Next, I've got my own release of Moxy called “Mercy Me,” that's going to be a viable release. It's a remix by Jordan Masters from Birmingham. He's another upcoming artist. It's going to be his first final release. Then I've got a track called “I'm the Joker,” and you'll hear it in New York. I've sampled an old hip/hop, bass, house kind of vibe.”

You can catch Darius Syrossian in a city nearby as he continues his tour, expanding his brand. “We’ve got Moxy Muzik at Zeti Hotel. The lineup is getting put together now. I'm also doing the Hideout Festival in Croatia, Defected Croatia. The lineup is unreal for that. In Croatia, I met so many amazing people from America.” 

When he’s in the studio or performing at a nightclub, Darius Syrossian represents the value of being an original artist and not afraid to stand out. His success from doing just that empowered and inspired other artists to do the same. More DJs and producers should do the same and not listen to their inner demons and just say the word “Moxy.” 

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