Welcome back to Toronto! You are no stranger to our city – what do you love the most about performing here?
I always think of Canada as being the smarter, more interesting older brother of the United States.
I was born in NY and I live in LA, and I really like it, but I do think that by almost all criteria, Canada is a superior country to the United States. Healthcare is better, the education system is better, and the people are generally smarter and more attractive. What I’ve always loved about Toronto in particular is that real city, it’s very cosmopolitan and international, but it still has a friendliness and civility to it that’s missing from a lot of other big cities.
I love Canada. I love Toronto, and in all sincerity I am always very happy to be here.
Many of the new generation of EDM fans in North America grew up listening to your alternative- or rock-influenced music. How would you describe the difference between your DJ style and your music production to this new cohort of listeners?
Well it’s funny because my background as a musician is very odd. When I was very young I played classical music and then in junior high and high school I played in punk rock bands, while the records I’ve made have been very eclectic with rock, blues, classical and dance elements. When I DJ, the sets I do are really unsubtle – it’s hard electronic dance music. I can imagine someone who came to see me DJ, if they bought one of my records they might be disappointed because the records I make really don’t sound anything like my DJ sets. And conversely, someone who bought one of my records and came to see me DJ might also be disappointed because my DJ sets don’t have anything to do with my albums.
So hard electronic dance, is that an interest you’ve always had?
Musically, I’ve always loved everything, I know that sounds wishy-washy, but I’ve always loved jazz and heavy metal, classical music, folk music, punk rock and hip hop. I’ve never really seen the reason to focus on one genre or style of music when there are so many interesting styles of music out there.
You’ve been quoted to say that everyone is an artist and especially because technology has made it easier today to produce, to film, or to even snap a picture. In this age where everyone can be an artist, what advice can you give to aspiring musicians?
My first piece of advice is to learn how to do everything. Learn how to play instruments, write songs, produce dance tracks, do film music, remix other people, DJ – learn how to do everything and that way you will most likely be able to have a career regardless of what happens in the world of music. I think the old days of someone making a living being a bass player, unfortunately, are drawing to a close.
My other piece advice is to listen and be open to a lot of different types of music. The greatest and most interesting music usually comes from someone being inspired by music that is not that familiar to them. For example, if you think of the Rolling Stones, they were white guys in the North of England who were really inspired by Chicago blues. You know?
Be open to genres that you might not have that much familiarity with.
Do you have an eye on any current or new artists who you find interesting or have potential to create something amazing?
There are so many people making great tracks, especially in the world of electronic dance music. I love a lot of the Australians like Tommy Trash and Loops of Fury. Also Cold Blank, Lucky Date and Dubsidia. I really like a lot of the Spanish and Italian tribal techno producers. I don’t remember too many of their names. The thing about dance music is if you buy 100 records or mp3s a month, there’s a good chance it’s by 100 different people.
There are so many people making good music, so it’s really hard for me to keep track of everybody.
You’ve shown concern in the past with artists connecting with their audience, saying the experience is not human enough these days. How do you make a connection with your audience?
I just like communicating with people. So I communicate via the music I make, by doing interviews, being on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, anything that’s available. I like the dialectic that’s created when you’re communicating with someone and they are responding. That’s one of the interesting things about social media – it’s not one-sided. It’s not like I communicate and people just pay attention…there’s more of a give and take, back and forth.
Are there any particular styles or music or instrumental sounds that are intriguing you more today?
In the world of EDM, I really love tribal techno records – it seems like they are all coming out of Italy and Spain. I also like a lot of the rave-inspired electro tracks, like I mentioned Loops of Fury earlier. And I always really like the more minimal atmospheric music, even though I don’t get the chance to play it so often. But a lot of the experimental, melodic, weird, minimal stuff.
So tell us, what do you have coming up in 2013?
I’m putting out an album, probably in September that bears absolutely no relation to what I play when I DJ. Some of it is electronic but it’s much warmer, melodic, and song-oriented with a lot of collaborations. I’m also doing some collaborations with friends of mine who are producers, like Loops of Fury, Laidback Luke and Moguai and others.
We certainly look forward to it!
Click HERE for EDM TOR’s recap of Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival