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. 

A Sit Down With DJ Getter

Producer and DJ, Getter has established himself as one of the best rising acts in American-made bass music. He’s released a number of styles from dubstep to trap and drum & bass on Rottun, Firepower Records, and more recently OWSLA with the excellent “Head Splitter” single and a remix of Carmada’s “Maybe”.

You have years of experience as a producer and DJ. How did your career start?
Honestly it all just started for my sheer love for creating music. Before i produced or started DJing, I played drums and guitar for various metal bands with my friends. Just for fun. I later discovered I could make anything I wanted by myself on a laptop and immediately focused my energy on producing.

What elements do you think go into a good DJ set?

I think when the DJ can work with the crowd and take them through a journey. I was a fan first, so I have a good idea of what people want at shows. If I have ten unreleased songs and mash them up with other songs and surprise the crowd, they go crazy. You can kind of tell how the show is going by how the crowd is reacting, so when they are mellow, you gotta bring ‘em back.

How do you feel about genres?

I feel like genres are necessary to classify what you like, same with certain sub genres. I’m just not a fan of sub genres that can not be put on anything.

You’ve collaborated with the likes of Skrillex, Datsik & Borgore. Can we anticipate any big collaborations in the near future?

I have a whole new huge EP coming out later this year with a tour and a bunch of shit. I’m focusing a lot on hip-hop and vocalists. I could collab with Tiesto, I could collab with all these big ass EDM artists… but at the end of the day I like hip-hop and I like female vocalists. I’ve got $uicideboy$ on one song for the EP I’m working on. Kodak Blackmaybe. I’m really trying to collaborate with vocalists and rappers rather than EDM people. Not that I don’t like it, it’s just where I’m going.

 

“Without any idea I have or a song, they’re automatically on board ‘cause they believe in me and my vision”.

Can you tell us about the making of “Head Splitter”? 

I made it pretty quickly with no intention of release, and sent a rough version of it around to some artists. Next thing I knew, I got hit up to have it signed to OWSLA! I immediately went in and perfected all of it.

If you could choose one artist to work with, Who would it be and why? 
Definitely Eminem. Like old school Slim Shady shit. He’s my favorite rapper of all time and to have him on a track would be insane.

 Why did you decide to start Shred Collective?

I decided to start it because like, I came up the same way all of my friends came up right now where like you need to get handouts from people. Well, not handouts but help from people who are more popular than you. So I got to the point where I was like, I know enough people who are putting out music that I’m really close with, but they always go with labels and get f*’ed. They don’t get paid, or it takes forever for them to release something. So I’m just like dude, you will keep 100% of the money. I just spend the money I have and the money from merch sales and anything I do with Shred on the actual artists. 

How is the dubstep scene different than what it was five years ago?

There were so many people complaining about shit back in the day. Now I feel like it’s gotten to the point where everybody’s finally stopped arguing. People just listen to the music. Everybody’s doing everything now, it’s a lot more diversified. But at the same time its changed for the worst. A lot of times, in my experience, I’ll put out one type of music and get a bunch of fans in that genre or market, but then switch and try something else and then those people, previously calling themselves my number one fans, are cussing me out. That’s why I always blow up the topic online, I think it’s fucking annoying that people can’t make up their minds about what they like.

 Is there a right way and a wrong way to go about constructing your own tunes?

I really don’t like it when people ridicule others for using samples. Most of the earliest beats were 100% samples. I use lots of different samples but only for drums and effects. It’s dope to find a good snare sample with a nice transient and then make a snare out of that; it saves time and a lot of the time can sound better. I don’t understand using samples for the main synth, though. It takes out the originality.

Who can you attribute your success to? 

My number one mentor, the dude that got me to this point was Borgore because he’s been a big fan of my music and he’s super selfless. He cares about everyone else and he wants his friends to come up. I was hanging out with him a while ago and he introduced me to this guy Stephen that I used to know from back in the day, and then he started managing me. Shit just took off. He’s definitely one of the biggest reasons why everything is happening. He’s my biggest mentor and my best friend. Besides that, Flume is my biggest inspiration just because he does what he wants and he makes it fucking work.

Best advice for upcoming producers?

I feel like they gotta put their dicks away and stop waving them in front of everyone’s business. You just gotta let the music speak for itself. If you make good shit people will find it. Perfect example is Rickyxsan with his “Gettin’ That” record. He didn’t send it to anyone, people just heard it and then Skrillex and Diplo were playing it. People just need to stop sending so many emails and giving out USB’s and stuff.

A Sit Down With DJ Michel Woods

From an early age, Woods has prided himself on standing apart from the crowd. He is the son of a music teacher, the U.K.-born Woods was classically trained in a variety of instruments ranging from piano to percussion, and as a youth he even performed briefly with the London Symphony Orchestra. The experience this musicality has brought now sets his productions apart and gives him an edge on contemporaries.

Michael Woods has sailed the seas of Dance music for many years, working ceaselessly to the top of the pile, where he unquestionably deserves his seat. His reputation as an essential booking for huge scale music gatherings across the planet is obvious to see by his continuous schedule of international bookings. It’s been twelve years since Michael’s legendary remix of Café Del Mar exploded onto the world stage and unlike many trailblazers of years gone by, Michael’s ability to evolve his productions and DJ sets alike have ensured that he remains a figurehead in the international House music league.

 

”The one thing I strive to do more than anything else when working on music is try to make a good club record”.

Картинки по запросу photo dj michael woods

 

How did you first make the transition into the trance world? Why was that the style of music that ended up taking over you life?
Trance was the first style of music I produced, but my style has changed a lot since the days of ‘Warrior’ and ‘Into the Dawn’ and carries a much more progressive/techno feel to it now. I’d say there are still elements of my sound from back then in the music I create now, but times change and with it my style changed; music progresses and artists have to progress with it. Trance will always be a big part of my life and has helped to shape me into the artist I am today. I wouldn’t consider myself a trance artist now.

What first got you into producing electronic music?

It kind of happened by accident, it wasn’t something I was actively looking to get in to, but around 16 years ago my sister, Marcella Woods, who is a vocalist in her own right, was dating a DJ/Producer by the name of Matt Darey. He took it upon himself to show me around his studio, and one day, while he was out of the studio I decided to mess around with some melodies and chords using his equipment – little did I know Matt had overheard what I was making and ran in to the studio asking me to play it again. We ended up making a record out of this music, signing it to Inferno Music and it went top 40 in the UK national charts – and I’ve been doing it ever since.

There has been always an antagonism between French and English, throughout the history. Could you please tell us what is your vision about the French electronic music scene?

Its hard for me to answer this question as to this day I have never been to a nightclub in France. Although France has spawned some amazing producers, for examples Justice.

What inspired you to make such an awesome song like Platinum Chains?

Michael Woods, laughs; and says “I remember writing it on the plane actually, I write a lot stuff when I’m on the plane I just came up with that cord thing that da-da-dee-da and I tried on the piano and it sounded completely different and just took it into the studio and it just worked and I released it to Calvin Harris and he loved it too and it was on his label Fly High and he was playing it at every single set and it blew up in that way too.”

 How do you deal with traveling the world, producing music and also being the founder of Diffused? What is your balance like on a day to day?

Drinking a lot of Patron! [Laughs]. You know, that is probably the most difficult thing to do, is trying to balance everything. There are only 24 hours a day, and so much you can do. Lucky, I have got a really cool management company like Three Six Zero who looks after Deadmau5, Calvin Harris etc. Within that company they look after my label. I have a management team that looks after the label and works with me so I do have got a good team around me that helps me out. Basically, all I have to do is make sure I am producing good records but outside of that I have people that help me out.

What technological change would fundamentally change the concept of DJ and/or clubbing?

I think that technology has completely changed the way clubs and clubbers have evolved since the explosion of acid house. Before, it was only records, then CDs and computers, now DJs are playing from their Ipads. Track titles are going straight onto twitter as they get played and sets are being streamed across the globe. Every year something new comes around that will have an impact on the clubbing scene, even mobiles have helped with clubbers asking DJs to play records, so who knows what’s around the corner next.

Where is your number one holiday destination?

If it’s a total holiday with nothing but chilling out I’d have to go back to the Maldives.

Do you have a favorite venue you’ve played?

Its really hard to answer this question as I’ve played at so many amazing venues all around the world, but I always love playing at Amnesia in Ibiza, Ministry of Sound in London and Cream in Liverpool, UK.

What advice could you give to aspiring musicians who want to contribute to the EDM scene?

My best advice for up and coming producers/DJ’s is to be really passionate about what you do, put in the time and never give up. I remember when I first started to make music professionally, sometimes I would spend up to 48+ hours at a time in that studio/garage, sometimes just listening to the same 4 bars over and over, trying to perfect it and get it just right. It was a lot of hard work and I made a lot of sacrifices but I’m reaping the rewards now, and I believe any aspiring producer/DJ can do the same if he/she puts in the hard work.

 

A Sit Down With A DJ Chris Lake

Master of the rework, Chris has put his own interpretations in the studio to tunes such as Leftfield’s “Phat Planet”, Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams” and Prodigy’s “Climbatize”. His rewards have not only come in the form of remixes, with “Santiago De Cuba” receiving much praise recently for it’s big room appeal.

His production talent was noticed after his talents behind the decks. It only took him 6 months to secure his first residency after discovering his passion for the music he loves, that place being Passion in Aberdeen. DJ’ing, as with his production, is clearly a talent that comes naturally to Mr. Lake.

“I think it is good for any scene to explore its limits. If you do not push things to the extreme, you will never know how far you can go”.

Картинки по запросу dj chris lake photo

Do you think that achieving the amount of success you have at such a young age will help you in your career in the future? 

I hope so. I am certainly in this long term. I have grown up writing music, and I don’t plan to stop. I have spent the past 18 months finding my feet in the industry. It has been difficult sometimes to get people to take me seriously because of my age, but now people are realizing I am capable of things, so this is becoming less of a problem.

Could you see yourself also producing other kinds of music?

I already do! I do all sorts. I’ve done a lot of work for pop artists, and for adverts / TV etc. It’s great fun to be creative, and I don’t always just do dance.

What niche do you fill?

I do think I stand by myself. I’ve got a huge appreciation of the underground scene, but that appreciation is a bit more innocent. I’ve never been a big party guy—I’ve never done drugs—but I really do love the music. At the same time, I can appreciate a big hit and the more commercial side of things. I sit right in the middle. It’s quite a difficult place to sit in, actually.

How do you musically differentiate the parts of your sets, if at all?
I take a different approach. I know a lot of guys group tracks into genres and try to play similar records together. I was thinking about this the other day–maybe I see links between records that other people don’t see. I mix everything together and go along with the crowd.
How do you compare DJ’ing and Production? What would you like to focus on in the near future?
Dj’ing is the reward for my Production work. A chance for me to see how people react to my mixes. 
When you’re not on tour, what’s an ideal way for you to spend the day, and where?

With my family. I have the most amazing family. I wish I could spend more time with them.

What do you attribute that to with Americans?

America’s like a big social experiment, and everyone wants to make things happen and try and do things bigger, better and bolder than everyone else. I feel people have the attitude to want to make shit happen. It’s as simple as that.

What is your favorite TV show past or present?

The Wire, or Breaking bad. I love watching box sets on my computer. I download a few seasons off iTunes before I go on a tour, and watch them on the plane etc. Those 2 were some of my favourites.

How and why did a label like OWSLA change your vision of the current House scene?

What I like very much about this label and its crew is how much they are attached to making good sounds without taking the lead. I know this may sound very vague and simplistic, but you’d be surprised how many people in this scene are doing things relatively safely, without getting out of their comfort zone. I do not consider Owsla to be in that category. At all. They are always in the goal of doing even better for fans and giving them more, while remaining creative. It’s a super inspirational team and I love working with people who have such positive philosophies.

Are there any trends in EDM that disturb you?
Producers trying to copy each other rather than innovating and finding their own sound. It’s boring, it’s not unique. I’ve been involved in the scene now for 12 years, and producers copying each other has always been going on. There’s always been sh*t music. There have always been genres that aren’t cool but are commercially successful and genres that are cool but aren’t commercial at all.

A Sit Down With DJ Zaxx

Greg Zaccagnino, better known simply as Zaxx, is the latest rising star in the electronic music scene. In a very short time he has transformed from bedroom producer who was looking to create a track people would hear around the world, to a DJ who has taken the electronic music community by storm. Gaining massive support from the likes of Tiesto, Hardwell, Afrojack and Tritonal, it is no surprise that he has sure taken the right track to attaining his goals. I first heard of Zaxx after he remixed The Chainsmokers‘ hit track “Roses”, and was blown away by the track. He didn’t stop there, as has also remixed other tracks from artists ranging from Sander Van Doorn to Alice Deejay and Seven Lions to W&W.

 Zaxx maybe young, but he has quickly built up a sizable fanbase and has already played in front of a sea of dancing feet and bobbing heads. It is clear he is driven and motivated by one simple truth, his genuine love for music. It is perhaps the most important characteristic of any musical artist, especially a DJ whose job description requires them to find, curate and share the best tracks the world has to offer. He is unfazed by the status quo, and let’s his passion for music lead him in everything he does.

 

“Don’t release anything until you’re ready. Success won’t happen overnight and never give up”.

 

Картинки по запросу photo dj zaxx

Please introduce and tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Greg Zaccagnino, people usually assume my first name is Zach because of my DJ name, but I’m just a 17-year-old kid from Staten Island, NY who loves making music.

How do you write your tracks?

If I’m making a new song or starting up a new track, I always start with the chord progression or the melody. I’ll mess with a bass line then think of notes that can complement it. I usually go from there. I focus on the melodies, then I go to the kicks and all the drums.

Which music aspect is most important to you in your live sets or live production?

In my live sets I like to make people feel like they’re in some kind of nostalgic euphoria, which is why I play a lot of classic remixes, most of which I’ve made myself. There’s just no better joy than hearing a song you really love live.

Which artists in the music scene do you learn from or enjoy watching when you play big events?

I’ve learned a lot from artists that aren’t even in the dance scene and a lot from some that are. One important thing I’ve learned from watching these guys is that the key to being successful and being happy is to do this for yourself- to make the music you love and be happy doing it.

You’ve been making music in an array of genres, from festival trap to house, what’s your favorite to make?

 I like to make everything. That’s why when I make a track, I’ll have one drop different, then another drop different. So I always try to incorporate shit. Now in all my new music, it’s all like nothing you’ve ever heard.

As a DJ you always have to have the dopest tracks. How do you find them?

What I do is I go on SoundCloud. I follow a handful of artists that I really like and check out what they’re doing. Then there’s the bigger artists that I like and see what they’re doing as well. I see what they ‘liked’ or ‘favorited’ and I’ll just peek through it. The point was so the people went “This song is so good, but I can probably only hear it here. It must be an exclusive song, I wish I knew what it was because it’s sick!” 

So you’ve basically grown up with the EDM genre, music influences, EDM wise, non-EDM wise, who do you listen to?

My main influences are definitely, in EDM is Martin Garrix, he was one of the first dudes to support me as well. We started chilling, and whenever he’s in New York I always hangout with him, and he just gives me great advice. I dunno, non-EDM I listen to everything, classic rock, everything. It obviously varies, but Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith.

Who are your biggest musical inspirations and why?

My biggest musical inspirations have to be the Smashing Pumpkins, they have a very distinct sound and made unique music since they first began and it landed them as being one of the most popular bands in the last 20 years. I’m inspired by any artist who can be original, fresh and still sound good.

If you could play one festival in the world, what would it be and why?

Either Ultra or Tomorrowland for sure because I feel like they’re the two most groundbreaking festivals.

Do you have any advice for other DJ?

My greatest advice is to honestly never give up or get discouraged. There are millions of kids who want to be the next big artist and that’s why this game is so difficult. If you don’t worry about shows, don’t worry about the other nonsense, and just focus on your MUSIC, I promise you will see results.