Slander Returns

Last Friday, Slander took the stage at Royale and as always, their performance is nothing short of expectations. While I am personally not a fan of heavy bass, Slander somehow always knows the right tracks and beats to make the crowd scream and go insane. Continue reading “Slander Returns”

Announcement: Ascend Nightclub Closing

Announcement:
Saturday, April 29th will be the closing party at Ascend Nightclub. The building has been sold, and we wish all the best to the new owner and operators! In the meantime check out Stay Classy Bar, a Will Farrell themed pop-up restaurant in the Umbria restaurant on the first floor, from 4/13/17 – 4/24/17. You can also visit us upstairs at Ascend Nightclub for Elephante on 4/22/17 and Alpha 9 (Arty) on 4/29/17.

We would like to thank our staff and patrons for 3 amazing years as we welcomed some of the best DJs in the world! It has always been our goal to bring people together to create a community of music lovers where people were free to be themselves and share their love of music.

Thank you for your support and unforgettable memories!

TIGERLILY INTERVIEW AT SHRINE

On a clear but chilly September night, we hit the road and headed down to Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut to meet and greet the one and only Dara Hayes, also known as Tigerlily. After the team settled in around 11:15 pm, we had a few moments with Dara before her set at Shrine to discuss her health habits, signature style, and exciting new releases on the scene.

Ashley Feldman: Dara, I know we’re ecstatic to have you in the states as of late. How has
touring been in North America?

Dara Hayes: It’s been really amazing, I’ve had a couple of great shows already and so many more cool performances coming up. This weekend is fully hectic, I’ve got five shows in a row. I love it though, the crowds are great, very versatile and open-minded. Overall, I am very excited to be here.

AF: Being the road can provide many different challenges. Despite this, you promote clean eating and living a healthy lifestyle on your Snapchat and Instagram. What does your daily routine look like?

DH: I don’t have a daily routine. Yesterday we traveled for 14 hours to get here, it was crazy. I try to be as healthy as possible, the lifestyle I live is the worst for being healthy. I slept for three hours last night. Being a vegan, it’s hard to find food that is good and fresh. I do what I can, when I can. I think the most important thing is learning as much as I can about health and well-being. People seem to be so uneducated about all that, especially when it comes to the dance music industry where things like drugs and alcohol are heavily involved.

AF: So what is the best thing people can learn about their bodies?

DH: Oh my god, everything. I truly believe everyone should be on a completely plant based diet. Especially with the all the incidents of cancer, heart disease and diabetes…all that kind of stuff is directly related to what you eat, most of the time. I think people just need to take the initiative to learn more about what they are putting in their mouths and find what they are interested in on a fitness level. My number one tip is to have a big, green smoothie once a day. You just put heaps of veg and heaps of fruit in there; so many vitamins and minerals in one big hit.

AF: What other hobbies do you enjoy outside of music?

DH: I love practicing yoga, although I could be better. I like to do things I’m not very good at. I like hiking, boxing, going to the beach, eating, finding new restaurants and things like that. I’m a big socialite too, so when I’m home I love seeing my friends. And anything that has to do with being healthy. When I’m on the road, unfortunately I can’t be as active, so it’s about doing the best that I can with what I have.

AF: Let’s talk about your style. As a female and an artist, how does your image come into play when considering how you represent yourself on and off stage?

DH: Yeah totally, well I think image is a huge thing, especially in today’s day in age when it comes to the shareability of content over platforms. I suppose my blue hair is like a trademark now. I’ve come to have a love-hate relationship with it.

AF: I recall you changing it recently?

DH: Yeah, I did and everyone kicked up a huge stink about it.

AF: Why did you decide to take the leap?

DH: Because I was over it. I wanted a change. It honestly hurt my feelings so much when people were not cool with it. The thing is they shouldn’t care what I look like. People are focused on how people look these days, and for me that’s just so lame. It’s about what’s on the inside and what you are providing people with, be it music, entertainment, or whatever it is. It made me question a lot of things when I got that type of reaction.

I think I’m going to change it back, because when I did go with the blue again I was so upset. I remember calling my mom and being on the phone for hours. You realize you do these things to explore your artistry. I used to love having the blue hair but now it’s time for a change. As someone who is followed on social media, I’d like to see people be more open minded as to what I want as a human being. At the end of the day, I am Tigerlily, but Tigerlily is not me. I am so much more than that. The alias is only a part of me. With that being said, I am excited to explore my style a bit more next year.

AF: Where did “Tigerlily” come from in the first place?

DH: I made it up. I wanted to be in a pop group when I was younger *laughs*, growing up I always wanted my name to be Tigerlily. So, there’s no crazy story, it was pretty organic, something I had always wanted and I made it happen.

AF: Following up one of your most recent releases, what or who was your inspiration for ‘Whenever I’m With You?’

DH: That was a love song, partly about my ex-boyfriend, partly about the way music has the ability to bring two people together. I think that’s really powerful and something that has been a force in all of the relationships in my life. Whether that has been romantic love or friendship-based. That was kind of the overriding message of the song; music and connection.

AF: Anything you want to add or want your fans to know as we wrap up?

DH: Keep your ears out for new music. At the moment I’ve got a tune sitting at number 1 on the Beatport charts, so that’s pretty awesome. Check out my collab with KSHMR called ‘Invisible Children.’ I’ve also got a brand new track and music video coming out Friday, September 16th called ‘Skyline.’ It’s actually the first song that I’m singing on, with a DJ from New York, known as Nick Martin!

AF: Can’t wait to see it. Thanks so much Dara, it was a pleasure. Good luck out there!!

SAM FELDT INTERVIEW AT ROYALE

On September 23rd, we were joined by house music favorite Sam Feldt to close out the summer’s Boat Cruise Summer Series, alongside his friend Bakermat. After throwing down on the high seas, Sam sat down with us before his set at Royale to discuss his quest for the perfect alias, his unprecedented come up, and one of his latest singles!

Ashley Feldman: What’s going on, Sam? We’re excited to have you in town. How was the boat?

Sam Feldt: I didn’t really know what to expect…but it was so good!

AF: What is the best part about having the opportunity to travel the world?

SF: The best part is definitely the shows; being able to interact with my fans from all over the world. I love playing my music and seeing them enjoy it. Worst part is the traveling- being on airplanes and in airports the whole day…missing your family and friends.

AF: It seems within the last few years your career has really taken off. Where did your journey with music begin?

SF: It’s hard to say. Music has pretty much been around my entire life. I started playing the piano when I was around 8 years old. Then I started my own drive-in show with my dad when I was 11. I would spin a lot of birthday parties and shows for my friends. I pretty much stuck with that and picked it up again when I was 17, got my own DJ controller, made a couple of mixes in my bedroom and tried to get booked, signed, ya know the same story with every DJ. After 3 or 4 years I switched to a different style, a different name… Sam Feldt.

AF: You kept your first name, ‘Sam,’ but where did Feldt come from?

SF: I wanted to do deep house, so I looked into deep house DJ’s and all their names seemed to be German, so I researched some common last names and when I found Feldt I knew it was the one. So I said to myself, ok, under this Sam Feldt alias I am gonna release and play only the music that I really enjoy listening to myself. Soon enough, I got signed to Spinnin’ Records and it all took off from there.

AF: What do you do for fun in your off time?

SF: I like chilling out, watching Netflix… normal stuff. I just started ‘Stranger Things’ and of course I love hanging out with friends, but it can be hard when you’re on the road all the time. The other producers and DJs you see on tour really become your family because you are all in the same position and can identify with each other in that way.

AF: So, who are your favorite people in the industry to work or collaborate with?

SF: I work with a very broad spectrum of people. I love to work most with really talented songwriters and singers, who can really take a cool instrumental to the next level. ​

AF: Anything you’d like to add?

SF: Everytime I’m back in Boston it feels like coming home, so thank you guys for that. I hope to see you at my next shows there and if you wanna hear some brand new Sam Feldt music, my new single ‘Runaways’ just came out October 8h.​

AF: We look forward to catching ya the next time around! Thanks Sam!

CLAUDE VONSTROKE INTERVIEW

Once again we are on the high seas of Boston’s finest. It is around 8pm on August 8th, 2016 and after dodging some stormy skies, the sun is blazing and we’re ready for a night full of dirty beats and booty bumping. To carry us into our celebration, I’m here with Barclay Crenshaw, more formally known as Claude VonStroke who is prepared to throw it down in just a matter of minutes. But until then, we’re discussing some of his inspirations, future plans and BBQ obsession.

ASHLEY FELDMAN:

What’s going on for you as of late in your career? Any exciting endeavors to report?

CLAUDE VONSTROKE:

I’m almost done making an album under my real name: Barclay Crenshaw, more hip hop instrumental type stuff. I’ll probably have some new Claude VonStroke stuff out in the winter.

AF:

It sounds like doing a rendition EP will provide you with the space to explore some other sounds. But, what inspired Dirtybird in the first place?

CVS:

I had moved from Detroit to San Francisco and met some guys that were into the same vibe as me. But, none of us were very happy with some of the music we were hearing in nightclubs. We all agreed on Drum n Bass but girls weren’t heading out to those kind of shows anymore. So, we wanted to combine hip-hop, Drum n Bass and gritty techno into regular San Fran house music and disco that we saw trending.

AF:

So, what are you trying to accomplish or share with the world through this unique blend?

CVS:

I’m trying to have really great production and some unexpected elements, without taking it too seriously.

AF:

Your Brooklyn edition of the Dirtybird BBQ series is coming up on September 11th. For those of us who have missed out up until this point, what can we expect in attending?

CVS:

The BBQ is a little bit different this year. It’ll look a little bit like a county fair with games and best in shows contests for things like most creative outfit. Before we were just giving away free cheeseburgers, but this time around we are having it catered from authentic BBQ vendors. The only catch is it’s not free anymore, haha but it’ll be way better.
Claude 1

AF:

Your Youtube channel features production tips amongst other tutorials often based off the arrangement of your own tracks. I can imagine there being potential vulnerability in this kind of exposure.

CVS:

You know I thought about the risk, but these days you can find out whatever you need to, to sound like anyone. Everything is online and there’s all kinds of tips everywhere. But you can’t copy someone’s brain. It doesn’t scare me to put out techniques, because at the end of the day we all see things differently. I interpret things in ways no one else can and vice versa.

AF:

It’s clear you have the bandwidth to help others. What is your motivation in doing this?

CVS:

That kind of goes back to my childhood, I was big on the internet but I couldn’t find out anything about how to produce EDM or hip-hop and I really struggled. I didn’t know what I was doing for like 10 years. Needless to say, it took me a long time to get into the industry because I had no mentor. So, I don’t have any problem helping people out.

AF:

With that being said, always smiling in pictures, you’re notoriously known for your positive attitude and friendly demur as a professional. How do you view success that you think has shaped your humility?

CVS:

I think the best thing that has happened for me and my whole label is that we are all friends who came up together. It’s not just an individual project, we’re a team and that’s really awesome. I can see how it would be lonely to just be all on your own and get famous and nobody knows what the f**k you’re talking about, haha. I’m glad that it didn’t happen that way for me. Even my family understands what I’m doing and they are supportive about it.

AF:

Who were your favorite producers growing up? What got you interested in this, in the first place?

CVS:

It was mostly just old 80′s and 90′s hip hop stuff growing up. But I was also influenced by Green Velvet and some Detroit techno. So that’s even crazier that I’m working with him now. I didn’t get influenced by that much house, even though I produce house, it’s weird how that worked out.

AF:

What makes being here in Boston special for you tonight?

CVS:

I’m just happy that we’re out on the water! It’s beautiful weather haha, I’ve never played a boat cruise in this city before. It’s not necessarily the first thing you’d think about when you picture being here.

Claude 2

AF:

Anything else you want your fans to know about you?

CVS:

I think the BBQs will be awesome and the Campout is going to a whole other level, that’s our festival outside of LA. So if you feel like making the trip, it’ll be worth it.

AF:

How can we best keep up with ya in the meantime?

CVS:

I use twitter the most @vonstroke and if you want to follow my new alias its @BarclayCrenshaw.

AF:

Great we’ll definitely look out for that one. That’s all I have for you, thanks Barclay!

-30-

GOLDFISH INTERVIEW

I’m here with the South African duo Goldfish currently cruising the Boston Harbor on the Boat Cruise Summer Series. It’s around 8:30pm, perfect timing to settle in, have a drink and take in the view. I got the chance to snag some time with Dom and Dave to discuss their recent move to San Diego, recent travels and ninja-esque super powers.

 

Ashley Feldman: What’s up guys —  how are you feeling tonight?

Goldfish: We’re good, we’re on a boat *laughs*, there’s music behind us, a beautiful sunset, we’re in Boston! The last time we were here it was frigid, so it’s a nice change!

AF: So where were you guys before this, where did you just come from?

GF: We were in San Diego, we’ve actually just moved there. We’re from Cape Town, South Africa, but we’ve decided to base ourselves in CA for a little so we can concentrate on touring the states and finishing off our album. Last weekend we were in Toronto, Vancouver and Whistler.

AF: What made you want to move to SD?

GF: SD is actually very similar to Cape Town; the climate, the surfing and relaxed “outdoors-based lifestyle…” We wanted to get closer to the action while feeling at home. We are really excited about what’s happening in North America right now. There’s a real response to what we’re doing…combining dance music with live elements. Especially for the audiences who are looking for something more. I think we fit that bill.

AF: You know, these days I feel like festivals have been dominated by bass/bass house and trap bangers. Does that kind of exception pose a threat to you and if so, do you feel the need to work that much harder to step up your game?

GF: That’s always a challenge, I think it also depends on the programming. There’s probably nothing worse than being in the slot after Bassnectar haha. But the whole tropical and melodic house movement has really taken off in America, we do that sound and we offer the live experience as well. I think a lot of the time we are giving something to people they didn’t know they wanted, which is always the best kind of surprise really.

AF: So why Goldfish? What has been your experience and/or inspiration with infiltrating a jazz flare into electronic music?

GF: We were studying Jazz at The University of Cape Town, so we were just instrumentalists playing in bands. I think we just wanted more, to create a musical experience that we were really dreaming of. That was definitely one of the main reasons behind it. Once we produced a few tracks we were like “Okay, what do we do now?” Our instinct was to play live because that’s what we always did. But this time, there were only two of us so we needed a couple of machines to do different things. We create a lot of music in the moment and I think there’s a draw to that when you are able to feed off of the crowd’s energy and receive their feedback in real time. Sometimes it works well and others not so much. But when it does, it’s exceptional.

AF: So why dance music in the first place?

GF: Jazz music was the original dance music, I mean that’s what our grandparents were listening to. We had this revelation in our studies like “Oh my god, there’s so much good stuff here,” it just needs updating. St. Germain, Fatboy slim, Moby, you know they were sampling a lot of that old stuff and that’s exactly what we are going for. We kind of found a way to combine the best of old school and the best of new school. The rest is history.

AF: So being on the scene for about 10 years now and having traveled all over the world, what differences have you seen in fans across borders?

GF: People are so vastly differently. I mean America is so huge that every state and town has its own personality, just like other places in the world- Brazil, Amsterdam, Dubai for example. Interestingly enough, Boston is one of the craziest places we play. I think it’s because of the massive student population, they’re super enthusiastic. We had a couple of gigs at the Paradise Rock Club and I swear people go mad, it’s mental. As far as we’re concerned the crazier, the better.

AF: Traveling as much as you do what are three things you can’t live without on tour?

GF: Well off the top of my head I’m gonna say our gear haha, after that our headphones, MacBook Pro’s since we’re always making music on the road, a proper neck cushion with memory foam (none of those crappy inflatable ones, those things are a waste of time)… and probably a toothbrush.

AF: Speaking about making music, being a duo, how do you go about putting the production together?

GF: This is going to sound cliche, but it’s different every time. Sometimes Dave will come up with something he’s working on, or we’ll start jamming at a soundcheck and record it. About 2 or 3 of the tracks on our upcoming EP have been produced on the road or in odd places. It’s almost like being a fisherman, you don’t know when those ideas are going to pop up and it’s up to you to catch them or not. We’re like ninjas.

AF: So what’s next on the roster, any cool shows or other projects in the works?

GF: We started a side project recently called Deep Fish, which is kind of like an after party vibe. It’s a set where we just kind of fuck around more. But people are loving it, this stuff is more bass and groove intended, different from our usual. Still within our flavor, it allows us to explore other sounds that wouldn’t necessarily fit into the traditional Goldfish set.

AF: I’m loving the fish metaphors guys, haha, sounds exciting. Thanks for a great sit down and looking forward to hearing you perform on this beautiful summer night in the Boston Harbor, Cheers!

JAUZ INTERVIEW

We’re here with Sam Vogel, a.k.a. Jauz, at Royale in the club district of downtown Boston on June 25th, 2016. Chilling backstage in the green room before his set, we discussed his opinion on classifying musical genres, inspiration, and his future endeavors surrounding his growing career. Meanwhile, duo DUDEnGUY are out warming up the crowd.

ASHLEY FELDMAN:

What do you have in store for the shark squad tonight? Any new material?

JAUZ:

Yeah, I’ve been writing a lot of new material for all my shows. I dropped a bunch of fresh stuff at EDC Las Vegas since it was a pretty big show for me. Since then, I’ve been working to transition that music into my normal sets. Every time I play in Boston it’s a great time so I think I’ll get to incorporate some sounds I don’t usually work with.

AF:

Does performing at smaller venues allow you to test out new music before introducing it to larger crowds?

JAUZ:

Honestly, I usually do it the other way around. If I’m going to play something new, I’ll just do it at a festival. If it works there, then I’ll bring it to my club shows. I don’t know why that’s just always been my method. During performances, I’ll feel out the vibe of the room. There’s stuff I normally wouldn’t play in a club setting but if it works, it works.

AF:

I think it’s pretty safe to say that your dirty vibe and shark persona have taken the world by storm. Where did Jauz come from? How does the theme situate in your life?

JAUZ:

I think the whole theme came about because of the name. But Jauz at first had no association with sharks. “Jauz” was a stupid slang word that people used at my high school back home in San Francisco.

AF:

What did the word mean?

JAUZ:

It was basically another way to say bullshit. If one of your buddies was like “ahh I totally aced that test” you’d be like “Jauz, I know you didn’t study…” When I was trying to come up with a name it was around the time I was talking to someone from my hometown and the word came up. I thought, “you know it’s short, catchy and people might think it has something to do with the shark,” and when I started to get bigger it caught on with followers. At first, I was hesitant about having the shark squad association with my “brand” because it felt kind of cheesy but at the same time, it gave the fans something tangible to attach themselves to, bringing people together and giving them a platform to identify with.
13575768_1051387664898352_7128484796180780269_o

AF:

How would you describe your personality and in turn your sound?

JAUZ:

My personality comes out in my music. I like all genres and I make a point to put a little bit of everything into my work. The motto/slogan of my brand would be “Music has no Boundaries,” which sends a message that it’s okay to listen to future bass and dubstep and everything in between. For a long time if you wanted to be successful you picked a path and went down it. But now, there’s so much bullshit out there that you have to find your own bubble where no else is. I’m obviously not the first person to come up with the idea, but I’m a proponent of keeping boundaries open. I even apply this idea to my sets. Tonight I plan on opening up with Guns and Roses. In the end, it’s about finding a balance between playing stuff that is popular and music that I want to encourage with the audience. Finding tracks that ease people into different types of sound while still spinning stuff that everyone connects with.

AF:

Who are your influencers?

JAUZ:

It’s cliche but I always say Skrillex because how are you not going to say Skrillex? He’s the reason we are all here doing what we’re doing. Another one is Kill the Noise, one of my good friends now, but I’m still so inspired by him. Honestly, it’s a hard question because there’re so many people. Rusko & Caspa were probably the beginning for me. The first song I got really attached to was “Woo Boost.”

AF:

Having the kind of success and outreach that you do, what has been your most memorable show and why?

JAUZ:

EDCLV this year was pretty amazing. I’ve been to EDC for two years now and I was backstage but never performing. Even the first year I got to watch my friends play and some of my music was even being used, but every time I looked at the stage I knew I wanted to be there. So this year getting to play at the main stage, probably the biggest in America, was so humbling and surreal. It left me even more inspired to get back in the studio and make a bunch of crazy shit.

AF:

What is the most rewarding part of your career?

JAUZ:

The small shit that happens. When we went to Thailand and these kids were waiting at the hotel to meet me. This one kid who runs a trap blog over there reposts all my stuff and he almost broke down in tears when he got the chance to talk to me. I was just like… Yo I’m a normal dude… but he was so sweet and kind. The fact that something that I do can reach that far around the world…there are no words. I could never have imagined.
13528384_1051389701564815_8817015143205802073_o (1)

AF:

Within the last year, you released your remix of “Bugatti,” which has seamlessly proven to be a crowd favorite. When you go about putting your spin on a track, what kind of re-arrangement do you tend to go for? What are you listening for?

JAUZ:

Honestly that track has proven to be such a hit or miss. People either love it or hate it. I remember when I first started playing it at shows, I’d pull the volume down at the drop to hear the crowd say Bugatti and no one ever would…for that song specifically, I had a roommate who was super into techno and when “Bugatti” first came out, he more or less pressed me into doing a remix on it haha. I hit up my dude from my Mad Decent and asked for the stems and he was already sending them over. I put it together in like a day…I wasn’t so sure he would like what I did but he told me I was the only guy who managed to do this remix without being a p***y about it. But in general, the only time I will remix a song is if I hear a track and I know instantly what I want to do with it. There are lot of people who ask me to work with stuff, but if I’m not inspired by it…I can’t finish it.

AF:

What are you most looking forward to in terms of upcoming shows?

JAUZ:

I mean it’s festival season so all of that is really exciting. I’m headed out to Paradiso in Seattle, something I’ve looked forward to for years. After that, I head to Europe to do all the festivals out there, which is just a blessing in itself to be able to travel. One of the coolest things about this year is how many times I’m going to Europe, Asia, South America…places I never thought I could travel to as a kid. Playing in America is awesome, but now that I have the ability to go outside the country, it makes the shows in the US that much better. The excitement and energy are that much higher.

AF:

Awesome, well thanks for your time Sam, that’s all I have for ya. Looking forward to hearing some of the new stuff you have waiting for us. Good luck with the rest of your travels!

-30-

REZZ INTERVIEW

We’re here with Isabelle Rezazadeh (REZZ) at Ascend Boston, pre-set and the crowd already can’t get enough of her. We snuck away to kill some time, put some finishing touches on her new look, and talk about her exciting plans for the next couple of months, as well as her career, life, music and everything in between.

ASHLEY FELDMAN:

Thanks for being here with me, Isabelle. I think everyone is looking forward to getting an inside look at your rise to fame. You’ve had enormous success since the launch of your career just about 2-3 years ago. Grabbing the attention of Skrillex’s imprint Nest HQ, which may have helped land your EP, “The Silence is Deafening,” on deadmau5′s Mau5trap imprint. Tell us a little bit about this release?

REZZ:

I’m super hyped on that. Especially because deadmau5 is the one that has the final say of what goes on his label. People might not think he is involved but he always has the final say. So, whenever I have a release on his label I feel so proud because I know he approved it. I mean, he is the reason I started making music in the first place. I think we also bonded over the fact that we’re both from Niagara Falls, which eventually led to a bus tour together and so on.

AF:

How did you get discovered?

REZZ:

I had a lot of guidance and support from producers like Skrillex and Jauz. Eventually deadmau5’s label found me which caught the attention of deadmau5 himself and I started performing at shows with him. One thing leads to another and random opportunities keep popping up. I think that’s the thing people don’t realize, you don’t really get famous overnight, things build upon each other and the fan base grows. The main thing that happened though was getting hooked up with a booking agent from AM Only. You get the right connection and you go from sitting in your room to touring the world. I’m happy with where I’m at. I lived such a normal youth so now I feel more humble and grounded going into all this.

AF:

Within the few years that you’ve been on the scene and being somewhat of a newbie to the DJ lifestyle, what are some of the most helpful lessons or tips you’ve learned in order to keep your focus and stay sane in your personal life?

REZZ:

You have to keep reminding yourself that making music is for fun. I should never feel pressured or forced to make it, but at the same time it’s something I always do. Honestly, I stay sane by producing music; I’ll start to lose my head if I’m on the road too much and not dedicating enough “studio” time. If I have 4 days off, I won’t do anything else but make music. It’s about balancing it all out. Another thing that helps me is changing up my DJ sets, to keep myself excited. I’ve been doing a lot of that recently.

AF:

So what is that process like for you, of sitting down to write a song?

REZZ:

I have this inspiration in my head and it all comes out really naturally for me. I’ll sit down at my computer and start making sounds and before I know it, I have a track put together. I’ve been thinking lately that I want my sets to be heavier, more bassy, ya know? I want people to leave and say “holy shit that was crazy.” Whether they hate it or they love it I want my show to be nothing like they’ve ever experienced before. I want them to remember it.

AF:

BillBoard Dance just named you an Artist to Watch in 2016, congratulations! With that being said, what should we watch out for? Any cool projects or collabs on the way?

REZZ:

Well first of all, everyone should check out my new goggles, haha. [Boston’s] the first performance I’ll ever be using them. But, I have another EP that is gonna be coming out on Mau5trap, and some other vocal collaborations. You know I get sent so many demos that I normally don’t take the time to check them out but I had this one producer reach out to me on Twitter. I loved the track so I finished off the project file and changed up the arrangement. I’ll be playing it tonight, so look out for “Alien.” Hopefully we’ll have some more good stuff coming your way in the future.

AF:

You posted a video on Facebook the other day featuring your custom made LED goggles. Not only are they dope af but they give you a distinct, out-of-this-world image. What’s the story behind the alienesque frames?

REZZ:

Being super inspired by deadmau5 is a huge reason behind all of this. I remember when I first saw deadmau5 perform years back, I was in absolute shock and amazement. His brand, so to speak, was so weirdly suitable and matching to his vibe. I felt hypnotized by his music and I wondered why no one had utilized the idea of hypnosis in their image. So, I wanted to incorporate that into mine. As for the goggles, I wanted to make my character come to life and do something that felt uniquely me. I think when you combine visuals and sound, there is magic that happens. I feel like I’m dressing up for Halloween every time I put them on. But this decision was all me, I came up with the idea on my own.

AF:

Seeing as this music scene has predominantly been a boys club, there is an increasingly growing market for female producers and DJs. Do you feel a responsibility to set an example or encourage other women to pursue careers as DJs as a budding role model in this scene?

REZZ:

If they want, they totally should and not feel discouraged. Honestly, I never felt discouraged. I didn’t sit there and think “I’m a woman and this is going to be difficult for me,” I was confident in the music and my vision, I didn’t take my gender into account. I would tell others to work their ass off, the most reputable way to go about this career is production. There are a lot of DJs, both men and women, in this industry who get a lot of attention just because of their looks. That goes for sports too. But at the end of the day, your fans are going to respect you based off of your skill set, using that talent as your reputation.

AF:

I think a lot of the time an artist’s sound reflects their personality or a vision they try to emulate. You’ve been referred to as the new Queen of the Dark Techno scene, speaking to your edgy persona. What place does this come from that brings this to the surface?

REZZ:

Yes, I make super dark music, that’s undeniable, but I wouldn’t call it Techno. It’s rhythm driven but more bass heavy. Those who are notorious for Techno like Nicole Moudaber would hear my music and be like “What is this? This is not Techno,” you know what I’m saying? My sound is more industrial and weird. Labels are just labels and people can call it what they want. But I wouldn’t put myself in that category.

AF:

Coming up on your 2016 REZZurrection Tour, you’ll perform alongside some pretty notorious acts at Spring Awakening, Mysteryland, Paradiso and more, among a handful of hotspot venues. What are you most looking forward to?

REZZ:

I’m definitely looking forward to Red Rocks with Zeds Dead, Mysteryland, Paradiso I’m really excited for, hmm…Shambhala, it’s less mainstream, more underground, Dubstep acts. The crowd there will be pretty passionate about the music and not so much about just partying, which sadly I think a lot of this industry has turned into, but don’t get me wrong, there is a solid fan base and numerous shows, festivals etc. that still emulate that back to basics vibe.

AF:

Anything else you’d like to add?

REZZ:

Follow me on Twitter over anything else…@officialrezz. All my fans that know me, know that’s the place to follow me at.. I’m constantly tweeting the dumbest shit but it’s a good time, people seem to appreciate my honesty and humor.. I respond to everyone who mentions me, I always see the tweets! But, hit that follow on Instagram too, also at @officialrezz. My Soundcloud will be linked there.

AF:

You know, I think it’s so important to be different and have a unique style and you’ve really nailed that. I can’t wait to see how you grow and what you do in the near future. Thanks for taking the time, REZZ!

 

TJR INTERVIEW

We’re here with Thomas Rozdilsky, also known as TJR, at Royale, in the heart of the club district in downtown Boston. It’s about 11:30PM on Friday, April 29th, 2016, and we’re chilling in the green room backstage while Shaun Frank takes over the house for a while. We were fortunate enough to snag his company for a few minutes and get a sense of where he is in his career and his current views of the music industry.

ASHLEY FELDMAN:

Hey TJ, let’s get started. I’m anxious to hear you spin tonight and the crowd out there is heating up. You’re about to go on, how are you doing right now?

THOMAS JOSEPH ROZDILSKY:

Haha you know sometimes it’s hard to tell. I usually do my pre-show routine back in the hotel room before coming out to the venue.

AF:

What does that look like?

TJR:

I go through all of my folders to refresh my memory. I played last night so I feel good about things at the moment, but in order for me to do my best I need to know where everything is. When I travel during the week and produce on the road, I use a different side of my brain and I’m not as in tune to the DJ part. I need some time to get into that flow.

AF:

How do you organize your music?

TJR:

I use a platform called record box and I categorize everything first by genre and then by key. I have like 50 or 60 tracks in every folder so when I’m trying to mix quickly it’s helpful to know the tracks first hand and then I’m able to remember what comes next.

AF:

How would describe your personality and sound?

TJR:

Humor is a big part of my life, so the music I make always has some sort of bouncy, fun and quirky vibe. I throw in a ton of samples that represents how I am in that regard. I’m not always like that in my personal life, I experience the downs just like everybody else does but that’s why I make music, to make me happy.

AF:

“Wanna Party” has hit #1 on Beatport recently, that’s rad, congrats! Alongside oldie but goodie tracks like “Ode to Oi” and “Eat God, See Acid,” your music and trademark as an artist is unreplicable. What is your process of sitting down to produce a song?

TJR:

I’ve always been someone who wants things done my way. Even if someone tells me that I’m doing something wrong, I’ll go ahead and do it anyway just to keep things authentic. That’s the way I go about dance music, I don’t want to sound like anybody else. I try and get as weird as possible in the studio when I’m making beats or designing sound leads. A lot of the time what I create ends up sounding so whack and I think, “Wow, I have to use this.” I’ll even go through things like Fred Flintstone samples and hook ‘em to my tracks.

AF:

Is there a favorite venue you’ve played so far since your time in North America or is there a city you’re most looking forward to?

TJR:

LA to me, over the last few years, has become a really special place to play for. When I was younger I went to a public high school and felt like I couldn’t quite figure things out. But then I transferred to a private school to play hockey and found myself in that smaller environment.. Moving to LA from Connecticut was a similar experience for me. At first, I felt kind of overwhelmed with the size and combustion of the culture in Cali, as I had during my time at public school. But soon enough I was able to call it home and felt that connection on a personal level and with fans. It’s a fun time right now because the crowd over there rolls with whatever I throw at them.

AF:

Going back to basics for a moment. How did you decide to hit the road and pick up this lifestyle?

TJR:

I went to college in North Carolina to play and study golf. I ended up discovering DJing and raves down there. So when I graduated I came back up to Danbury, Connecticut and I had a hard time because there wasn’t much of a scene for me around those parts. I don’t know man, I had to create the world for myself. It wasn’t out there for me from what I could see.. So eventually I hit a point in my life where I was sick of the corporate job I held. I thought to myself “I can do this forever, but I only have a small window of chance to go out to LA and make it happen.” That’s how I ended up moving out west.

AF:

Do you have any long terms goals you hope to accomplish in five years?

TJR:

I hope they cure baldness and I have hair *chuckles*. Nah, I mean this music scene is changing so much. I’m excited to start working on new music and it’s cool how things are changing though, the evolution of it all keeps it current. If it was the same thing all the time, it would eventually fall off. Hmm…maybe I’ll make an album in five years time.

AF:

What do you see the industry trending towards at this point?

TJR:

I think it’s happening right now, EDM really is that bubble term. Festival bangers are now trap, with the influence of hip-hop. Hip-hop has become massively popular in the last few years within this context, so you definitely see that meld between the dance world. The millennials I’ve found are into the Bass House, Future-Bass movement and they’ve claimed that as their own, predominantly amongst Americans. I think at least for the next few years that trend will continue to ride out.

AF:

Do you find it difficult to stay true to your sound and avoid being disingenuous in keeping up with what is popular in the mainstream?

TJR:

The thing is, you can’t chase trends, I’ve been around watching and doing this long enough to realize that. This kind of thing has happened before, for example with Complextro about six or seven years ago. It’s crazy this stuff turns into producer porn, guys are out here trying to make the craziest bass sounds and eventually it turns into this incoherent war that falls away after some time. I am a DJ first and foremost though so I’ll always throw some trap bangers into the set, I love doing that stuff. But true to form for me is definitely house music and techno.

AF:

How can fans best keep up with you?

TJR:

I’ve been using Snapchat more, but I admit it’s hard to get into that world. At this point just put a camera on my shoulder and film me 24/7, I think things would be way more interesting that way, haha. But you can follow me at IAMTJR on Snapchat and @TJR on Twitter.

AF:

I wish you the best of luck, I’m sure you’re gonna kill it out there tonight.

And kill it he did. Big thanks to TJR for playing a packed house on the 29th at Royale! We look forward to seeing him again soon!

GARETH EMERY INTERVIEW

5/4/16

Trance mogul Gareth Emery has just concluded his North American escapade, the 100 Reasons To Live tour. The legend has released hits like “Concrete Angel” and “Long Way Home” alongside countless collaborations and other musical ventures such as his very own ‘Electric For Life’ radio series.

It’s 2AM on April 20, 2016 and we’re here at Ascend Nightclub in downtown Boston, a three-story venue inside Umbria Prime, notorious for bringing in niche sub-genre EDM acts. Gareth has just gotten off the decks after putting on a killer performance that the crowd thoroughly enjoyed and we’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his 100 Reasons To Live Tour, future plans, and life as a musician.

ASHLEY FELDMAN:

Gareth, great job out there! Thanks for being here with me. I’m pumped I got the chance to sit down with you for a few minutes. Given the energy you put into every performance, is there anything you do to unwind and relax after a show?

GARETH EMERY:

It really depends on the night. I have a few different strategies, but most recently I’ve picked up mediation. I use an app called Headspace and find it’s really helpful in getting to sleep after being so hyped up. I’ll throw in my headphones and chill for an hour. It is the equivalent to smoking a joint or drinking two large glasses of red wine.

AF:

New tours bring new challenges, new experiences, and new insights. How does this tour differ for you from others in your past?

GE:

On the last album we did a big tour right away but that was a mistake because at that point nobody had a chance to get to know the music. This time, we wanted to save the bigger stuff for summer and Fall 2016, utilizing the smaller venues for 100 Reasons. What you lose in production level you gain back in intimacy with your fan base. It’s a great way to figure out what is working and what is not, by testing out different tracks and experimenting. I’ll take that information and know how to approach a festival or larger scene in the future.

AF:

What was your inspiration for 100 Reasons To Live?

GE:

I was traveling all over the world, playing some of the best clubs and festivals and I found myself not enjoying my life the way I should have been. I lost my flow and passion. I understand that this is a privileged lifestyle I live but it is so easy to get desensitized from it after a while and base your happiness on the luxuries that are ever so prevalent. I saw myself falling into that trap that so many others become subjected to in this industry. But one day, I woke up and realized that wasn’t the kind of person I wanted to be. I started living in the moment and putting less emphasis on social media, taking the time to figure out how to become a more grateful person.

AF:

What came of this revelation?

GE:

It is common to only portray an artistic façade, where you only show people the glossiest parts of your life. I think this album was born out of hard times and people can connect with that. As I was coming up in the world years back, I used to set career benchmarks as my measure for happiness. “Once I play Coachella, I’ll be happy…once I spin at EDC, I’ll be good. etc. etc.” But that stuff never holds up in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, I strive for success but I’ve learned that what makes me happy are true friends, walking in the park, spending time with my daughter, moments when I connect with the crowd, and making music that touches my soul. That is what it’s all about.

AF:

Tell us a little about Electric For Life?

GE:

It’s a compilation of many parts. It’s a foundation and live radio show with a podcast series. My team and I are always on the search for new music, but the selections usually come down to what kind of vibe I’m on that week and the quality of the records I come across. The standard of the music will change so it’s important to keep current with it. Traditionally, the show is built upon Progressive, Deep house, House and Trance jams but we transcend across genres heavily. There are enough people out there who will play only one style, and never change it. I don’t get off doing things that a hundred million other people do.

AF:

With the tour coming to a close, is there anything we can expect from you coming up?

GE:

At the end of 2015, we held a 24-hour live broadcast called Electric For Life Day (EFLD), featuring artists like Above & Beyond and Armin Van Buuren. The first 18 hours were a radio stream and then the last 6 we switched to a live video broadcast at Stereosonic in Sydney, Australia. Ideally, I’d like to hold another EFLD on New Year’s 2016, hopefully in a venue not too far from [Boston]. But this time around, I’d like to have the venue for 24 hours, stream the radio broadcast for the first 16, and then turn the last 8 into a huge event for thousands of people.

AF:

What are your opinions on streaming music and the concept of ‘Free’ in the music marketplace?

GE:

I know people don’t need to buy the album; streaming services are unlimited these days. That’s what it’s coming to alongside content that is free of charge upon delivery. But, if you buy it, you’re helping me out and other artists alike for that matter. The way I see it, if fans like the free Electric For Life podcasts and the free downloads and all the other material I provide, 95% of which is completely free, buying the album seems like a fair trade off. It helps support the artists who will in turn deliver better content to the audience the next time around.

AF:

Moving forward, how can fans best keep current with the whereabouts of your career and life?

GE:

Definitely Snapchat, it is personal. I’ve got an amazing team that handles all the other platforms. There was a point where I was spending 6 hours a day on social media and 6 hours a month in the studio, I had my priorities completely wrong. That wasn’t what I had in mind when I chose this path. Now, I mostly just outsource my stuff to get the word out about the important things. It may seem like fans lose that interaction on a day-to-day basis, but it buys me time to work on my music and in the end makes it better. I used to be worried in the past that I’d lose my place in the market if I did things my own way but as I’ve matured I feel more confident to do what’s right for me.

AF:

Anything you’d like to add?

GE:

I’d like to say thanks to the people tonight and everyone for their continued support. I think the coolest part about the changes I’ve made in the past two years is that people have been accepting of it all and understanding of my journey. I try to communicate the life experiences I’ve had and if it helps out other people, it’s a good thing. Thank you to everybody for allowing me to be the artist that I want to be. It’s a lot of fun.

AF:

Fantastic, thank you for your time Gareth, I really appreciate it.

 

Written by Ashley Feldman

Owner of Feldzz.com

 

Instagram: @afeldzz

Twitter: Werkdatash

SnapChat: Smasslee