What first drew you into music production and EDM in particular?
In 2008, I was browsing YouTube looking for videos trying to learn how to dance. I had always been a fan of “techno” or any sort of electronic sounding music I could find, but living in the rural south of the United States doesn’t pose many opportunities for expanded horizons in music genres. I got most of my fix from video game OST’s and rare snippets of Daft Punk’s music videos late night on Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. I didn’t even have a reliable internet connection until 2006. I remember stumbling upon a video of these guys doing Jumpstyle and Hardjump and I thought to myself “OMG, I’VE GOT TO LEARN THIS!” So that’s what I did, I spent days and days practicing and watching videos trying to get the different steps and movements down. After months of practice, basically alone, I had a few friends that were interested in it and started to pick it up, but no one stuck with it, I had gotten fairly decent at it and I was starting to expand my horizons into other electronic music. Fast forward 2 years, I’m in my senior year of high school and my Hardjump technique and love for hardstyle had shifted. I now spent a lot more time focused on learning how to shuffle particularly a style called “Melbourne Shuffle.” I still loved Hardjump and Jumpstyle and Hardstyle music that came along with it, but in that time frame, I discovered artists like Basshunter and Benny Benassi. From then forward, my love for Four to the Floor grew to the moon above. I found out about my first “dance music experience” or “RAVE” if you will, in early 2009. Funnily enough, I was playing basketball at the local church campus and someone mentioned there was an event in Raleigh, NC at the Lincoln Theatre, they said it was a “rave.” I tried to find someone to come with me, but It was so last minute so I went to my first rave alone. That love for dance music that had been growing was now a fierce burning passion because of what I experienced that night. The music, the people, the environment, the venue, it was a dream. It looked like what all the videos I had watched portrayed, but it felt even more amazing in person. For those wondering, I rave sober, with the occasional drink or two. Back then though, I wasn’t old enough to indulge and despite the stigma of “drugs” and the fact they were probably there, no one solicited me anything. It was such a welcoming environment, everyone was so friendly and outgoing and the music truly fostered that environment it felt like. After that event, I did everything I could to keep myself involved in dance music. A few months later I was discovered by a local group called Generation Productions and around this time, I wasn’t a deejay or producer yet, I was just a photographer. They reached out to me (Andrew Fessler and Joel Stenkvist) and wanted me to do photography for my good friend Luke Crouch (OUZA currently) at the time he was known as Symbiotik. I gladly accepted and later that night I received my induction to Raleigh’s youngest dance music family officially. I was welcomed like I was one of them the entire time, it was an experience I never really had before outside of my own family! I suffered a lot of bullying in high school and although I had a small group of friends, I didn’t really make those friends until my sophomore-ish year. Experiencing what I felt with my new friends who became my family was something so incredible and so inspiring. I didn’t really know something like it quite existed, which is what ignited my love for dance music even more so. Later that night after the event that I did photography for Symbiotik at, we went back to one of our friend’s house, and Luke showed me the software and hardware he was using at the time to deejay. It was at that moment when he was showing me the software and the playing around on the gear, where I realized where my true love may potentially lie within the dance music spectrum. He taught me some basic mixing and showed me how to transition and what phrasing was, but I was still terrible. That’s all it took though, simple kindness from some amazing people to a total stranger. That spark ignited the one thing I am the most passionate about under the stars. It wasn’t for a few years that I started actually producing my own music. However, I set out on my quest to start learning how to deejay rather quickly. The experiences I’ve shared and memories I’ve made in LED filled rooms are some of the best and most amazing things I could ever tell you about me, I will cherish them forever, just as I cherish the people that continue to give me purpose and fuel my passion with all of this. When I’m on the stage mixing in a performance or I’m in the studio working on new music, I’m constantly thinking about the people on the dance floor and the people that are in the audience, just as if I was going to be on the dance floor beside them. The ones who it might be their first event EVER! Or It could be there 300th, my goal is to create something so wonderful and so unforgettable, just like how I experienced it for the first time those years ago. That’s what drew me into writing and deejaying and why I love what I do in dance music.
Going over your Soundcloud we can tell you love producing Tech house/House, However, we have never heard House/Tech House quite as you make it, could you tell us more about how you managed to achieve your sound?
With my sound, I don’t really know haha! Honestly, I pull from a lot of different inspirations and techniques. I was a resident deejay for about 4 years in the local community hosting house weeklies and monthlies at the recently closed Mosaic Wine Lounge in Raleigh, NC. When that venue closed in 2017, it was a really sad time in the community. It was there though, that my love for Tech House and House music truly started to blossom and thrive. My good friend Steven Feinberg and Joe Bell kicked off that passion after me witnessing them deejay in 2013. Over the years to follow until now, my love for House truly honed in on the deeper and more bass driven side of the genre. So when I’m writing I try to stay in that dark and deep realm while also trying to reflect my personal taste and things that inspire me as an artist that isn’t just the thought of the dance floor! There is so much that inspires me from so many different things like video games, technology, music of course, the idea of outer space and the moon, all sorts of futuristic stuff! When it comes to actually creating music I’m self-taught with musical production. So when I write, I try and get creative and pull things that I love from my inspirations and combine it with everything I’ve learned reading and watching on the internet or from other people! Everything I’ve learned and do is a product of thousands of hours of videos, tutorials, talking to people on forums, collaboration sessions with friends, master classes and the sort. But at the end of it all, I’ve never had any academic training or anything. I think sometimes my sound developed from me being a deejay and lover of the music first combined with the fact I’ve never had any formal teaching with writing music and music theory. When I’m producing and composing I use Fruity Loops. When I write I’m just creating and coming up with things that I think are really awesome and fun to dance too, I think about the audience and how they would experience the sound, I think about how I’d want to experience it too! There are so many different songs I’ve heard and love and got to experience how certain dynamics and aspects of those songs created responses with people in the audience. So I think about those aspects when I’m writing and I try and institute similar flares to create that extra stylization on top of the personal inspiration I reflect in my sound!
Your latest track “Pars Stella” is very well mixed and mastered and would play very well in clubs and festivals, did you ever DJ your music at a club? Do you plan to play your music live?
Yeah, I have actually, I’ve been rinsing bootlegs and mashup-edits for the past several years and I’m a huge fan of making things like that to create some unique experiences for my friends and fans and other people in the audience. I also deejay my own music as well, before I shifted in the Tech House direction with my sound, I released a couple of Future Bass records that really sound awesome live. Lately, at the recent shows I’ve played I rinsed my recent catalog and some of my ID’s that are forthcoming. It’s such an incredible feeling to see the response from everyone dancing to a song that they don’t know is yours and they don’t know isn’t released yet either.
How do you mix your tracks? Any favorite plugins?
I have a long process, but I try and follow a good signal chain of processing. I don’t overdo it with presets and tons of plugins. Sometimes a sound doesn’t need much done to it at all and sometimes you feel like you are performing a rocket fuel station-installation on the surface of the moon without any guidance and no prior training just to get the right tone. If a sound is generally that bad though, it rarely makes it to the final master. I also keep reverb and delay usage to minimum during high energy parts of a composition. I really like to reflect a lot of contrasting elements to really bring about a wall of sound and unique soundscape in my music. To say though that I mix the same way every time would be a lie though because every song is different! So I just try and stick to a simple signal processing workflow. “Learn the rules like a professional, so you can break them like an artist.” A quote from Pablo Picasso and it really speaks to me. At the end of it all, sometimes what may make sense engineering wise, may not sound good to you or to your ears and vice versa. That’s my number one rule above all, I trust my ears. If it sounds bad it’s probably bad. If it sounds good, it’s probably alright hahah. I also tend to not move forward with song ideas and mixing techniques until I’ve given myself goosebumps, lol! As far as plugins, I use a several when it comes to mixing that I absolutely adore, but I couldn’t live without FabFilter’s Pro Q2 though.
What are your musical goals for the future?
I want to go on tour, even if it’s a small one, but I just want impact as many people as I can and create as many unforgettable experiences with as many people as I can. I want to make them think of that incredible night they had with their friends at one of my shows whenever they see the moon in the sky. When it comes to some other goals, I really hope to earn the attention of some of the prestigious groups in the industry like Night Bass Records, Mau5trap, & Dirty Bird with my music. To have a release on their label would be a dream come true, so I would say they are really big goals for me and I work towards them every day. But even if I don’t ever garnish their attention, I am going to pursue what I love about this music forever. It’s more than just touring to me, it has nothing to do with money. It’s about the experiences and stories through music and memories made with people that drive my passion towards my goals. I’m in this for real and I love every second of the journey. It’s so much more than just a sound and a career to me. To me House music isn’t just a sound, It’s a culture and I really hope whatever impact I make with my music big or small makes a positive impact on House music culture and the people within it as a whole. <3
What are your goals for next year? Any upcoming projects we can get excited about?
With the new year, I have a bunch of new music and content coming. The biggest thing on the horizon is a secret and I don’t want to spoil that one just yet. I was even thinking about starting a streaming series showcasing my mixing and productions and just hanging out with people! However, I would also like to say that I have a new song coming out each month for the rest of the year as long as things go according to plan and that is something I am super excited about! I also plan to continue that routine well into 2019. (;
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