A Sit Down With DJ Jordy Dazz

Jordy Dazz, a once college drop out turned DJ/Producer has conquered a long and winding road enroute to his global accession. He continues to shine with his original productions, remixes and ‘Dazz-ups’ that truly set him apart from other DJ’s and producers with his signature sound and style. He also puts out a ‘Dope & Dirty’ monthly podcast, along with touring the globe, keeping him busy at all times.

 

“I’m working on something new that will give everyone a peek into my studio and how I make music.”

 

You’ve worked with EDM stars like Dannic or Bassjackers in your career . What was it like to produce a track with them?

Workingwith Dannic on “Fuego” was fun! We did the track within two days. On the first day we gathered good ideas and structured them and finished the production on the second day. Making Bass Battle with Battlejackers has also been a lot of fun. Marlon and I have known each other for years and have had the ideatogether forsome time to make a track. Marlon had a clear vision of what kind of track we could do, and after a few days we had put all the components together.

You travel a lot. What are the essential things you need to have with you at all times and what are the things you miss when you are on tour?

My Beats Executive Headphones are always with me, and my Macbook of course. The things I miss the most when on tour is probably some normal sleep!

What makes you want to be a DJ?
Actually I do not know, because from small I actually like music to buy a lot of CDs. I was just about 9 or 10 years old when I got my first mixer CD from my dad for my birthday. Music is always there for me, so that’s what helped me decide to become a DJ.

When your creating a track on logic are you drawing the melody out?

Yup. I am also playing with the keyboard as well. To me normally i make a lead sound first and come up with the melody that matches the lead sound. There is a track coming out on ‘WOLV’, Dyro’s label later this year I made that melody and the break I made in an airport when my flight was delayed in England about three years ago. I made a drop with it that I didn’t like so it laid on the shelf for a while. I still thought it was cool it just needed a proper drop one day and I finished it earlier this year.

What was the most embarrassing moment for you?

When I was about 19 years old, I was resident in one of the clubs in my hometown. I overslept so badly, that I missed the full gig. I had over 40 missed calls, and I just didn’t hear it, since I sleep like a solid rock. Gladly I never missed a gig since.

Who is your greatest inspiration in music?
I think the DJ who inspired me while young was Marco V. I was among his biggest fans because I bought all of his Vynil . I also had the opportunity to meet him when I was 15 years old. We both became close friends and I had time to stop by his studio and it was really cool!

Who do you wish to collaborate with in the future?

Throughout my career I have collaborated with big artists and smaller artists. For me a collaboration is about the project and the vibe, and how we compliment each other in the studio. I am always open to collaborations if it feels right.

How do you find time to relax?

Summer time is a busy time for me, I am really looking forward to Tomorrowland in Belgium. There isn’t much spare time in the summer, but when I need to relax I like to game, I am a big gamer. I have a projection screen at my place that makes me feel like I am playing video games in a movie theater. It’s a nice way to decompress and take your mind away from music and touring.

What your dream festival to play at?

I can’t wait to play at Tomorrowland in Belgium this year, I have heard so many stories about the festival and I have never attended myself. I can’t wait to step foot on the festival site not only to play myself but to see the all of the other DJs playing there.

Do you feel that your musical background playing drums has benefited you when producing this type of genre?

I always spend quite sometime programing drums on my tracks because I like rhythm and i think drums to me are the most important part of the whole track.

A Sit Down With DJ Candyland

Unless you’re a board game fanatic or a small child, the name Candyland conjures up images of two grinning faces who, despite their initial odd-couple vibe, seemed like the perfect pair on the surface. Fun-loving party jams and searing bass tunes on steady flow, Josie Martin and Ethan Davis looked to be headed out on the first stretch of a serious tear of a career powered by a never-ending sugar high of inventive tunes. But all is not gumdrops and licorice whips in Candy Castle, as Josie Martin, the iconic afro-rocking half of the Santa Barbara duo, has decided to split with her longtime friend and production partner Ethan Davis. Confectionary humor aside, Josie Martin is now heading down Candyland’s historically colorful path solo, and she says things are about to get a bit darker as she continues her sonic experiments as Candyland by herself.

 

“We were both homeless at some point when we were starting up.”

 

Why the name Candyland?

Ethan wanted something that people could easily chant at shows and Candyland seemed like a good fit. It’s kind of a blessing and a curse now. People don’t take me as seriously, which is fine sometimes because I don’t always take myself super seriously, but I need to be taken seriously in the sense that this is my passion and my career.

What influenced Candyland to start DJing/Producing?

Being told no haha. There is a city in Santa Barbara called Isla Vista, super big college town and a dream for any up and coming DJ so we just wanted to play there, but crazy politics and we didn’t know anyone so we could never get a show, so we were like, lets make our own music and let the music get us shows.

Who gave you your first chance playing out?
Our friends from home who were the only ones who believed in us at the time. There’s this place called IV in Santa Barbara and pretty much every local DJ wants to do something there; you can only have a party or throw a show if you know someone. We didn’t really know anyone and these guys set something up for us and that was our first show.

What was the first gig you ever sold out and how did that make you feel?

Oregon; no show sold out but that one. It was crazy. I guess it kinda feels weird because you don’t think that people really care but to see that many people come out.

So where did the love for dance music come from?

I was introduced to dance music through this one kid in math class. He was the weird one in the back listening to dance music and when I asked him what it was, he told me about Basshunter and all of this experimental dance music. It was the weirdest thing that I had ever heard so I downloaded the song and played it at a party in 2009. This is when everyone was listening to hip hop music and grinding at parties. When I played Basshunter, everyone started jumping up and down. I went home after that night and got on Myspace (I might have been the last person to still have Myspace) and I found Steve Aoki and DJ AM. I started to get really into turntablism, scratching, beat juggling, and all the crazy things that DJ AM was doing.

Tell me about your new single “Bring The Rain”, out now on Spinnin’ Records.

We had the track done for a while and were in the studio with Them Lost Boys finishing it up and Lexi just walked into the studio and we needed a singer so we just got her on it and she nailed it first take.

Name one track and one artist that has shaped you as a producer and DJ.

“In the for Kill”, the Skrillex remix. It was the first dubstep song I had ever heard and I was like “I need to do this.”

You’ve had the chance to tour all over – what’s been your favorite venue/festival to perform at?

Amnesia in Ibiza. Just the whole experience, the people, the energy. It was something else.

As far as industry goes, what do you think will be the next mainstream sound?

Who knows… maybe some pop trap hybrid. Someone comes up with something every summer haha so I guess we just have to wait!

There are a lot of great artists out there. Do you find there is a lot of competition in electronic dance music?

I wouldn’t say there is “competition” in dance music. Obviously there are better producers out there and DJs that you want to be as good as, so we just work hard to be better, and up our standards constantly.

What’d your biggest piece of advice for an aspiring DJ/producer?
Keep making unique things and don’t care what anyone else says about you.

A Sit Down With DJ Tujamo

Tujamo is a German-born Producer and DJ, ranked on the #78 spot of the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs list. He is best known for his remixes of artists such as Bob Sinclar, Dubvision, Major Lazer, Laidback Luke, Deadmau5, Showtek, Martin Solveig and David Guetta, collaborations such as “Delirious” (with Steve Aoki & Chris Lake), “Cream” (with Danny Avila), as well as his tracks “Drop That Low”, “One On One”, and “Booty Bounce”.

 

 “I draw inspiration from all different genres and artists, and I always try to keep my finger on the pulse by being innovative, but true to my trademark style.”

 

You are a German-born producer and DJ, ranked on the #78 spot of the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs list. How did you get in touch with electronic dance music in the first place and how did you get into DJing and music production?

I started DJing as a hobby when I was in my early teens. Back then I’d always been massively influenced by artists like Laidback Luke, who made me excited about dance music. But it was my girlfriend that took the leap of faith for me when she entered me into a DJing competition. I was really reluctant at first, but in the end I went… and I ended up bagging first place! That was actually a really huge moment for me, it made me realise that I wanted to take DJing from a hobby and turn it into a professional venture, so I started honing my skills creatively and producing my own music.  

How did you decide to use the moniker “Tujamo”?
Well, back then I was creating the project with a friend. ‚Tujamo’ were both our names mixed together, so that it got a nice ring to it. We didn’t continue together but he was cool with me using the name.

How would you describe your sound to someone whose never heard you before?

You know, I’m not actually sure. It can be hard to try and describe something like this when you are so close to it. I just know that I spend a lot of studio time trying to make my music sound like Tujamo, and not like someone else. In music that can be one of the hardest aspects, but it’s something that you really need to try to do as a producer.

Favourite track you`ve made?

All of them mean something to me. I spend so much time making them.

Congratulations on your “One On One featuring Sorana” release. Can you tell us more about it?

Thank you! The track has been getting an amazing response, we put the video up on YouTube and it hit 1,000,000 views in 24 hours! About the record, I wanted to take my signature sound and push myself to create more of a song rather than just a club track. I really loved the process and I am planning to do this more in the future. There will be plenty of new music from me soon…

What do you think about the digitalising era of music? 
It helped the smaller DJs a lot I think but it also generated an impossible to work through load of music, without any chance to proof quality. I mean, I do support young producers but there should always be something like a quality control. Since that has completely fallen away in the last years, it’s sometimes super hard to find the real gems out there.

If you could work with any artist on a track, who would you choose and why?

I would want Michael Jackson to write something with me. Every time I hear his music it just overwhelms me how good it sounds, even his first albums. If I listen to my stuff from when I started, even with the technology involved and then think about how they made music back in the days, how tedious the process of recording and arranging was. I have the biggest respect for the music that was born back then and the quality it had, even 30-40 years later.

Is there a particular person you share your tracks with before you send out the finished product?

The first person that gets a new track or even rough snippets is my manager. I prefer to get real objective feedback. We work really closely together, so he knows exactly what’s good for me. I also like to send it to my friends, but nice as they are, they always tell me, “Damn, bro, it’s huuuuuuge!” As much as this flatters me, it’s not really helping me.

As a German DJ, do you find that there is any rivalry between German DJs and Dutch DJs?

No, we are neighbors so we are more like a team. We always support each other and it’s not a big competition, it’s more like team work.

What are you currently working and focusing on? What’s on your agenda for the near future?

I’ve just released a remix of David Guetta and Justin Bieber’s ‘2U’. I remember hearing the track on the radio when I was on the road between shows and it stuck with me, I loved the vocal! As soon as I got into the studio I put pen to paper and started reworking it. I love being in the studio and I’m always starting something fresh, so I have a super busy schedule lined up for the coming months.

Is there a hobby or skill you’d like to master?

If I had the time, I’d go back to my hobby of skateboarding, which I used to do about 10 years ago. That was a great time.

If you weren`t a DJ, what would you be doing?

Working with disabled people. I did that for 9 months in Germany. You have to choose between something social or going into army. I worked in villages with disabled people. I fell in love with this job, so I would do something social.

Advice for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Find something of your own, don’t copy someone else. There’s already a Hardwell, an Armin, a Diplo. Everyone makes the same sh*t that made them famous. Take risks, do whatever you want, make it unique. It’s hard to do, since there’s so much out there, but that’s the most important thing. Keep focusing on producing music, and not on playing a lot. One song can change your whole life.

A Sit Down With DJ Olivier Giacomotto

Olivier Giacomotto is a French producer, born and raised in the South West of the country, and now living in Paris. He bought his first studio kit at 18 years of age and has since branched out into several areas of music production. He has become something of an online techno star and in the last decade, has constantly been at the top of the Beatport charts with his own brands of techno, house, electro and tech-house. He has worked with artists like John Acquaviva, Umek, and Popof, and had releases on loads of labels including Suara, Get Physical, Noir Music, Definitive Recordings, Toolroom Records, and Trapez. More recently, he has moved from his own releases to producing music for video games and film soundtracks.

His unwavering determination to push the boundaries of him. Between the hits, Olivier composed several songs for the mainstream artists and publishers of the Rockstar Games. Midnight Club Los Angeles. Terry Lynn and Tom Frager. Olivier also produced for pop and reggae. One of his productions for Terry Lynn titled “Stone” was hit with “Date Night” with Steve Carell, Tina Fey, and Mark Wahlberg, and “Give Me That Love”, coproduced with Tom Frager on the major global music company Universal, have been charted during 2 weeks in the French. Always a step ahead, Olivier has recently revealed his whole ability to create an entire movie soundtrack for the US film The Red Man.

 

“Hard work is essential and working harder than all the others is the key to success. So no PlayStation, no sofa, only studio and creativity.”

 

When did you start writing/producing music – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

I’ve always loved music. I started with piano when I was 8, then guitar when I was 14, then I bought my first synthesizer when I was 18. Then I started to produce electronic music with my first PC in 1999. Back in those days I simply wanted to record and sequence what I had in mind, which was a wide range of non-electronic and electronic music. My main influences at that time were bands from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s like Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Steel Pulse, Funkadelic, Maceo Parker and Kesiah Jones, but also Portishead, Dead Can Dance, Freak Power, Tricky, Howie B and many more.

How much of an impact did Paris have you as an artist at the start of your career?

​I​’m basically from Bordeaux and have only lived in Paris for 3 years now, but life here is boiling, always moving artistically, so I​’m proud being part of this.

How did you come about making music for video games and movies?

I didn’t write for video games, the company Rockstar Games was looking for new music for a new game they were developing, so they contacted Definitive Recordings and we licensed a few tracks.

What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?

The first goal is to get enough quality to be signed, technically and creatively. The challenge is the same over time, only the quality and creativity level change. Step by step I acquired more knowledge to be able to increase my skills and techniques, this way the ideas in my mind are translated with more accuracy on my hard drive.

You can play various styles of progressive music including techno, house, electro, tech-house and deep house. What is your favourite style of music to play and why?

I played different styles at different times of my career, starting with techno, then electro, and then tech-house. But a style is part of an evolution, so right now I like to produce and play sounds that are released under the tech-house genre on Beatport. I like to say that I play for the girls, so that is the right combination of groove, funk, sexiness, sometimes deeper, sometimes darker, sometimes dirtier, sometimes more melodic, depends on the crowd and the venue.

How often do you produce, and can you tell us a bit about your studio set up? 

Well, I spend less time in the studio nowadays, it depends on my touring schedule, but it’s a minimum of 30 hours per week, it can go up to 50 hours a week, it depends on my touring schedule, and my family commitment. with more than 10 years of experience i work quite fast, i know how to translate my ideas into music way faster than before. In the studio I like to keep things simple, a laptop, a soundcard, a pair of good monitors, and a small room with a great acoustic treatment. everything i produce is made by plug-ins, even the mastering, there is no hardware involved at all. that let me the possibility to work in a hotel room, in a plane, in a train, etc.

You were nominated as best electro producer for the Beatport Music Awards 2008, which also tell us you have been in the scene for quite some time. Can you tell us a little about the nomination and your work?

I had my first record released in 2004, after all this time I can tell that nominations, awards, TOP10s, are the things that make you feel good, but are also the things I don’t think of when I produce. Recognition is not and will never be a motivation, I always keep in mind that I make music, and not marketing.

You compose across a lot of genres – what inspires each?

Inspiration depends on my mood. I can have a concept idea in the bath, driving my car or after a gig. It can be a lead synth first, or just a beat arrangement, a vocal, there is no rule. Then a song can be made in a day or in a month, or in three months – it’s a matter of satisfaction. Sometimes, ideas come in two hours – sometimes, it’s like a childbirth, it can be painful and long!

So tell us a little about your studio – it seems small but perfectly formed.

I’ve been trained on all kinds of high-end gear, but my studio is just a MacBook Pro with Logic Pro installed, an RME Fireface 800 soundcard, a pair of Event Opals, a small MIDI keyboard, and a SubPac. I only use plug-ins, like Native Instruments, Waves, Sonnox, Arturia, Soundtoys, and so on. As I said, I keep things simple. I travel a lot, so when ideas come, I need to have at least my laptop and my plug-ins to write them, then I make them perfect in the studio. Acoustic treatment of the room is also as important as the monitors.

What’s your vision on being a musician, besides making people dance? 

I’m first of all a musician, and I’m not a proper deejay… while producing my first tracks , I was thinking about what could be the best way to play my music? A liveset with machines or DeeJaying? Visually speaking, DeeJaying looks like more active than a Live Act… and when I discovered Final Scratch in 2001, I directly decided to buy it, being able to play at night, on vinyl’s, the track that you made in the morning seduced me.

A Sit Down With DJ D. Ramirez

The D Ramirez name has been synonymous with cutting edge, forward thinking sound since the release of ‘that’ genre defining remix of Bodyrox’s ‘Yeah Yeah’ Top 40 #1 in the mid-noughties, but it’s the rich tapestry of production that followed that continues to make tidal waves across the industry. From Space Ibiza, Womb in Tokyo to Avalon in LA; or smashing sets at iconic festivals Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Global Gathering and Australia Day in Sydney; D Ramirez is a definitive crowd puller across the globe.

As well as commercial success with high chart positioning hits and even an appearance on the famous BBC television music show, Top Of The Pops, D. Ramirez has also received a number of illustrious industry awards throughout his career as a producer, from places DJ Magazine (Best Producer and Best Remix 2007), iDJ (Player of the Year) and even an Ivor Novello nomination for his now classic remix of Bodyrox ‘Yeah Yeah’. With his remixes of Roger Sanchez – Lost (D.Ramirez Lost In Rave Remix), which was named as Pete Tong’s Essential new tune, Plump DJ’s – Electric Disco (D.Ramirez Mix), also an Essential New Tune along with Max Linen – The Soulshaker (D.Ramirez Mix), D. Ramirez had his industry peers tipping their hats to him.

 

 “Being just a DJ isn’t enough these days – you need to bring something new to the table and impress people with a different skill set. “

 

Tell us about your musical background.

My real name is Dean Marriot. We might as well get the real name out of the way first. I’ve been producing music for the last 30 years. Making music was always a hobby for me, and I started when I was about 10 years old. Eventually I had some recognition for a track when I was producing with another guy under the name The Lisa Marie Experience. The track, ‘Keep on Jumping’ was what we became most famous for. That was in 1996 and went to number 5 in the UK charts. Later on in the 90s after doing hundreds of remixes and tracks I decided I wanted to make more techno-influenced House music and this is where the D.Ramirez moniker came from. I wanted to start again without any connotations as the Lisa Marie Experience was quite a commercial project, really. I wanted to do something dark, underground and dirty, and I didn’t want anyone to know it was me. I wanted people to think it was a Spanish dude, you know! Though I couldn’t look anything less like one actually. So, I’ve been doing the D.Ramirez project now since about 1999 and it’s going strong.

Talk us through your typical workflow from idea development to conception.

I always start by finding the right hook – whether it be a sample or a riff and i build it from there. I used to start with drums and percussion and add the hooks in later but now i get the hook first. Basically if i can have something sounding great with just a kick drum alone, i know i’m onto a winner. I’ll then start by throwing some loops (that i’ve collected over the years) around the hook in Ableton. Once i’m satisfied with the way things are sounding i’ll bounce everything out from Ableton and export into Logic Pro. I prefer to arrange in Logic as it’s just what i’m used to. Here i start to sketch out the track. This method is very much in keeping with the ‘left brain/ Right brain’ theory where i’ll play around with ideas first and then i’ll go into arrange mode later – it splits the 2 processes up.

You have been a firm fixture on the house and techno scene for many years, what do you feel is the secret to your continued success as a DJ and Producer? 

I think my secret is sheer tenacity-I’m a hard worker and I absolutely adore what I do. I love being in the studio, it’s all I need in life and making music is my number one pleasure. I’ll continue to keep doing this while ever I possibly can.

What kind of sound and what musical trend has inspired you most?

I have to say I was inspired the most as a child when the New Romantic scene broke in the early eighties. Bands like The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, ABC, Depeche Mode, and Heaven 17 were my favourites. I even had the infamous asymmetric hair cut that Phil Oakey from the Human League had!

So, your music style has transitioned from upbeat, Electro House to underground Techno. Where do you feel your music is at now?

Well, I’ve had big moments in my career from the time of The Lisa Marie Experience. Ironically, I began making more underground music afterwards because I didn’t like the success and commercial nature that led to the expectancy of playing only a certain style of music. But then in 2006 the same thing happened: I released an experimental wonky-electro track that happened to go to number 1 in the charts. It was amazing but it kind of went against everything I wanted to do, because then everybody was looking at what I was doing, booking me for big concerts and festivals—which was brilliant—but with that came the expectation that I must play commercial music.  After that I decided I didn’t want to make that kind of music anymore, especially as a lot of other artists copied that sound I had started. So, I’d be hearing stuff and think, “Hang on a minute, that sounds familiar!” It wasn’t just that the style was copied, it got to the point where that genre got watered down and was being overdone. So I decided to start making minimal Techno which I think was a total shock to my fans, but I carved a little niche out doing that. Now I’m making more House-oriented music; Tech-House, and I’m signed to Toolroom who are purveyors of that sound. 

What part of the production process do you find the most challenging?

I currently struggle with getting my mix downs sounding fat enough. I’ve got to the point now where i don’t even attempt the mix anymore – i just pass it over to a mix engineer…

How do you think the technology affects the music producers release?

The kids now have the ability to make fully produced tracks entirely on a laptop from start to finish. You can produce and master a track using the best, professional plug-in’s on the market so it’s an open playing field out there at the moment technology wise. Although, just because there is all this technology available doesn’t necessarily mean that the track produced will be any good.

Recently, you have changed your musical direction and have been greatly influenced by Deep House and Techno, would you agree?

I have always loved house, deep house and the more underground techno sound. So I was really happy when I started to hear this music trickling back through the underground again; especially the old school sound that I grew up with.

Not only a label owner, producer and DJ, you are also a regular contributor to the academic side of things through your work with Toolroom Academy, SubBass DJ Academy and various online tutorials. What made you decide to give back?  Any further plans in this area? 

Teaching is something I really like, mainly because I get to talk about all the things that most people generally don’t want to listen to. I’m really passionate about music production and all the technology that goes with it, i love to learn new techniques and i love being able to share those techniques with others. I’ve recently become one of the main advisors for the Toolroom Academy and i’ve just completed a 6 hour long, Tech House Masterclass for Fader pro which is out now which i’m already getting loads of props for. Teaching is something a see a lot in my future as i’ll always want to give back.

What about hardware in studio and live?

I used to play with vinyl and then I got heavily into the laptop generation and started off with Serato Scratch and Traktor which I was using with the S4. But it was pretty big so I’ve gone back to using CDJs and USB sticks when DJing. Of course I use all my hardware to produce the tracks first and then play it live the easy way when I get to the gig. I’ve been collecting stuff for my studio for the last 25 years. I’ve got my SH1, Prophets, Jupiters and lots of stuff! I started getting into nice preamps. For example, I’ve got a Universal Audio 610 preamps, Culture Vulture stuff, and the Thermionic Culture Fat Bustard Summing Valve Mixer. So I’ve got all of this hardware mainly under dust sheets because I don’t get a chance to be in the studio much now.