Posts in Interview
Oliver Heldens Interview: Inspirations, Not Burning Out + More!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Oliver Heldens is wildly creative DJ, Producer who operates a hugely successful label called ‘Heldeep’. The imprint also shares the name of his global weekly radio show, Heldeep is a platform through which he unearths the greatest new talents to his audience.

Heldens has amassed a dedicated following for his infectiously catchy music and finely tuned selections in his sets. He can be heard playing across the main-stages of Tomorrowland, Ultra and EDC, but in this snapshot we caught up with him whilst he was touring in Toronto. Read below as we discuss how he avoids burning out, favourite genres, his early influences, collaborating with his idols and much more.

Welcome back to Toronto you've been here many times before, how do you enjoy playing for this crowd? 

Canada is definitely in one of my top 5 favourite places to play because of the crowds. I love playing in North America as it seems like the people, in general, are more outgoing and extravert, and positive – especially at rave festivals and dance events. Canada is a nice mix between Europe and America, so I've always enjoyed playing here. I feel at home in cities like Toronto and Montreal. 

I've also noticed there is always a lot more females in the audience compared to Europe – it's a great vibe!

You have a lengthy schedule for Heldeep 5 tour, how do you keep up with that lifestyle of constantly touring and making music while switching between club shows and large events including Miami Ultra and Tomorrowland?

For starters it helps that I'm not a big drinker and I don't have FOMO or fear of missing out, of course, I could do an after-party each night but I'm chill, and on stage, I'm always sober and focused. That's what I think helps me stay rested and keep on playing shows with my hectic schedule. But also, you get hyped from shows and you’re still so excited after a big set, so sometimes it is hard to get to sleep afterwards. It's really important to keep a balance because in my case, I get more creative when I'm playing shows and from the adrenaline of performing – which can sometimes result in less sleep because I'm so inspired to make music — that's why I try to keep a balance between creativity and relaxation. 

It’s really important to keep a balance because in my case, I get more creative when I’m playing shows and from the adrenaline of performing – which can sometimes result in less sleep because I’m so inspired to make music — that’s why I try to keep a balance between creativity and relaxation. 

What keeps you focused to continue pushing out new music? 

Personally, I always loved to create even before I created music. When I was younger, my dream job was to be an inventor, designer or architect – I would draw, or create other things. Since I fell in love with dance music, or more specifically house and techno, it made sense to me to start creating my own music – which I really enjoyed. With the lifestyle I’m living now, playing over 100 shows it a year, it keeps me super motivated to make new music as I always want to play new music and edits. 

Although I have less time to make music on tour, I actually produce the same amount of music as when I'm at home because of the creative energy that comes with touring.

I make music when I feel like it, but when I'm home, I'm more laid back and spending time with family and friends, so I enjoy that part too. The ability to be creative but also fully relaxed. 

How does travelling inspire your music?

Inspiration can come from very different things. Most of the time you don't know exactly where inspiration comes from. I'm really grateful that my career allows me to travel and experience lots of different cultures to meet new people.

My hometown, Rotterdam, is super multicultural and I think that's played a role in my appreciation for diverse music styles. For example, in high school, I had a Surinam friend who was into R&B, a German friend who was into metal and hard rock, and a Dutch friend who was into electronic music. Through those friends and their cultures, I also experienced a lot of different kinds of music. When I was younger, my dad would take us to interesting shows - such as a Surinam funk band that played Latin, Brazilian, kind of funk, and then in the car on the way home we would play jungle or drum bass and jump on the piano and play classical music once we were home. We really loved it and I think those experiences definitely help me when Gecko broke through, because the touring picked up massively, really quickly and I definitely had a certain appreciation for different cultures and experiences, musical or otherwise.

 How do you keep the vintage house genre alive?

I have a really big love for soul, house, funk and disco; I love banging acid techno, proper hard techno trends too. Lately, I've been going back to more future inspired house, drum and bass, gabba and rave styles. At Ultra I played some really big new future house tracks, I think they are very fresh. Check out the live stream online & let me know if you like them. 

I was also inspired by drum and bass and techno so with HiLo I put out tracks of that type and then went to that old warehouse type of vibes, so in saying that; I want to be diverse but also maintain my future house sound. In the future it will be great to work on future house tracks like I did with Nile Rodgers on Summer Lover and release more heavy records at the same time. I have a lot of new songs coming out so I'm excited for those.

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How does the Heldens machine keep running without burning out?

I don't make a new track every day, but if you make a new track once a week or every two weeks, there's plenty of time to sleep.  I don't necessarily live for music 24/7; I love to create but outside of it is, drawing, being with friends, family, playing sports, video games, also because these things help me to stay energized and focused. When I feel good, I feel creative. I'm very focused on my career – and spend a lot of time putting together the Heldeep Radio show every week and helping the Heldeep artists on their releases.

The shows are very motivating; I like to hear and play new music, it's always an entertaining experience. I love being able to do that, its super fun for me; I can also just head back to the studio and nerd out on my music. I'm not necessarily making new music every day, although curating my live sets and Heldeep Radio keeps me busy daily. I enjoy it though - I connect with DJ friends or new people who want to share music, and I love to showcase it as well, because there is so much great music out there.

Is it ever surreal to be playing at the Flying Dutchman, Tomorrowland, or to collaborate with people like Sander Van Doorn, Axwell, Chocolate Puma, Gregor Salto as they must have been idols for you when you were younger?

 Yeah, that's true. After Gecko blew up, I had the opportunity to work with Sander van Doorn. He opened my world to techno, tech-trance and electro in general. Of course, when I was 19 and still in high school, it was amazing to work with people like Sander. I also worked with Laidback Luke, Gregor - who were definitely people I looked up to and still do. I'm very grateful for those experiences. I'd love to collaborate with people outside of the electronic music world as well such as Pharrell, Childish Gambino, Billie Eilish, Coldplay, Tame Impala and Foster The People.  

I started to music just for myself, and nowadays I still do that just for myself and I' happy other people like it too.


Oliver Heldens’ brand new release with Moguai is out now!


Vigel Interview: Russian EDM Scene, Upcoming Projects, Dream Collab + More

We recently had the great opportunity to interview Russian artist Vigel. Vigel is known for his hard hitting trance records as well as his incredible progressive house productions. We discuss Armin Van Buuren dropping multiple tracks of his in his Ultra set, favourite place to perform, upcoming projects, Russian EDM scene as well as playing at the upcoming RFM Somnii Music Festival in Portugal.

You’re based in Russia? How is the dance music scene over there?

That’s right! Actually, the dance music scene here is very different. For example, we have a very big community of Trance music lovers here. Last time when I played in Moscow alongside Above & Beyond – it was sold out. The crowd & atmosphere were really amazing & special!  We have also a lot of fans of g-house & techno music. Of course, if it comes to our festivals – big room works really great too. What I really like about our Russian people – they’re so into the music, emotional & maybe little crazy in a good way on a dancefloor.

How would you describe your music?

I think my music is something middle between Big-Room & Progressive. It’s bit trancey but energetical at the same time. Honestly, I’m always trying to not be the prisoner of any genre or style & reaching something new with every tune I produce. That’s the same thing I’m always trying to do in my live sets too. It’s important to realize: there are no borders in music, there are borders only in your head. It’s always good to explore & find something new.

 What was it like to have two of your tracks played by Armin Van Buuren at Ultra 2019?

Fantastic & I was really pleased to see the great response by the people on the dancefloor! You know, I think it’s probably already my 4th time in a row when Armin played my new stuff on Ultra Music Festival. So cool & I hope now it’s becoming a tradition :D

 What is your favourite place in the world to perform?

You know, every place is always so special for me. No matter where it is: Asia, Europe, my home country or any other part of the world. So cool to realize that there are so many different people on this planet with all different cultures, different languages, different tastes but music is uniting us!

Are you excited about your show at RFM Somnii in Portugal in July?

Absolutely! I’ve heard a lot about this great festival a while ago, so it will definitely be a big pleasure to be there together with the people! Make sure you won’t miss it!  

Is there one artist that you must collaborate with?

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From the headliners of festival? Of course! You know, I’m a big fan of Fedde Le Grand’s deejaying style as well as his productions for many years. Afrojack does it really great too. Of course Alesso, no need words to explain. Magnificence are killing it at the moment! Got too many on the list!

 You’ve been with the Armada family for some time, what makes them so special?

I love how they’re exploring new areas & crossing the borders in music nowadays. Back in a day, Armada was only as a trance label. Now Armada is giving much more space to their artists to release & promote any kind of music they produce.  

 Do you have any upcoming projects you could tease?

Well, now we’re planning to release a big new remix for Limelght’s single called “Canis Major” that Armin has premiered in his Miami Ultra set this year. Also a couple of solo tracks from Vigel for this summer & pair of big collaborations which I’m working on at the moment. You can always check my socials for the big announcements & updates on the next months 😉

What are you goals for the second half of 2019?

Of course, to release more good music. We’re also scheduling many new tour dates with my team at the moment, so it would be awesome to visit all these places.

That’s to Vigel for chatting with us, we can’t wait to see what he brings next!


Vigel’s most recent release ‘Guangzhou‘ with Aryue


Dennis Lloyd Interview: Writing Process, Playing Coachella Ahead Of His Australian Tour

Dennis Lloyd is the man behind the breakthrough hit “Nevermind”, his powerful lyrics and honed vocals are distinctly recognisable and having just release his Exident EP a few weeks ago he’s showing he’ll be sticking around. His production and worldly inspired sound has a mass appeal for its originality and captivates listeners with a raw emotion that has seen him collect more than half a billion streams.

He recently played both weekends of Coachella, which we were lucky enough to catch one of. It was his first ever festival performance in the US as part of his North American “Never Go Back” Tour which included 21 dates.

He’s had an incredibly interesting path to get where he has today from being in the Navy to disconnecting in Thailand for an entire year to write. So ahead of his debut tour in Australia kicking off with shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth we found a moment to catch up with him and learn a bit more.

For those who haven't heard your music, how would you describe it? What inspires you?

I would describe it as “genreless”, I’m inspired by rock, hip hop, jazz, reggae and electronic music. I don’t think there’s one box where I can fit perfectly.

You moved to Thailand for a while. It seems like things really started to connect for you there. Did something about it inspire your writing?

Of course. The key was that I had no distractions. I didn’t have WiFi in my apartment and I wasn’t really listening to music. It allowed me to find my sound and be loyal to myself.

Was there a certain point in your life when you knew music was going to be the path you followed?

I joined the navy when I was 18 and at that time I almost didn’t write and record music at all. I decided that if after my service I still wanted to make music that’s what I was going to do for the rest of my life. No plan B’s.

If you hadn’t chosen music, what would you be doing now?

My two options were becoming a musician or a scuba-diving instructor.

You recently played Coachella, how was that experience? 

I didn’t know what to expect. Coachella was the first festival I’ve ever played in the US. It was absolutely wild. The people, the energy - I still can’t decide which weekend was my favorite.

Your EP, Exident, just released earlier this month on Arista Records. You’ve got some powerful messages in there. Would you say you have one overall message you are trying to convey? 

I think Dr. Gary Lewandowski (sampled in GFY) described the overall message of Exident in the best way.

“When you think back on your life
And you're 95, a hundred years old
And you look back over the course of your lifetime
You're not gonna think
I wish I owned a better phone
I wish I spent more time on the internet
I wish I spent more time at work or sleeping
It's not gonna be any of those kinds of things
It's gonna be I wish I spent more time with the people I love”

You grew up in Tel Aviv. What is the music culture like at home?  

The music scene in Israel is very interesting. You can find every genre of music there. Recently I’m listening to a lot of oriental music - I love the middle eastern sound.


How do you deal with the pressure when choosing what to release next? 

There’s a lot of pressure in the music industry but if I am always worried about the future then I won’t be able to enjoy the present - and that’s not how I want to live.  Music makes me happy, whether I'm playing in front of 12,000 people at Coachella or in front of my two dogs. 

If you could’ve written one song by any artist, which would you choose? 

Bill Withers - "Ain't No Sunshine"

You’re heading to Australia for the first time, what are you most excited to see about the country? 

I’m really excited to meet my fans in Australia. I wish I had more time to travel and explore the country, but I’m sure it’s going to happen at some point.  

What’s the funniest or strangest thing you’ve heard about Australia so far? 

I’ve been told that every animal in Australia is going to try to kill me - even the adorable ones.

Can you tease any upcoming projects you’re working on?

We just shot a second music video to one of the songs from Exident that I'm very excited about. My fans are going to experience an emotional roller coaster.

What are your goals for the second half of 2019? 

Every year I used to write a list of goals, but this year I haven’t. I want to enjoy the ride, live my life to its fullest. The journey IS the goal. 


Dennis Lloyd is touring Australia this fortnight. Get your tickets!

MAY  07 –  Max Watt’s, Sydney  –  BUY TICKETS

MAY 08  –  Prince Bandroom, Melbourne  –  BUY TICKETS

MAY 10  –  256 Wickham, Brisbane  –  BUY TICKETS 

MAY 11 – Metropolis Fremantle, Perth –  BUY TICKETS 


SG Lewis Interview: Playing Coachella, Creative Vision, Pre-set Rituals + More

The first thing Sam does when he sees me is hug me. He has a warm energy to him and since like attracts like, it makes sense why the crowd he drew at Coachella was so beautiful and chill. I had the opportunity to sit down with SG Lewis before his set to ask him a few questions.


You’re playing later today. How long have you been preparing for this performance?

Honestly, mentally since three years ago. Since I was here. We did a load of rehearsals about three weeks ago to run through the set, [and] add some new songs. We’ve been touring so much recently which acted as preparation as well. Honestly, since I found out I was playing I’ve been mentally preparing for it. Just excited in general.


When did you find out?

On tour in America. We were on the tour bus. I was really hoping we’d get on the lineup this year. When we found out we were in the middle of nowhere, driving through the desert. It was 3am and had just played a show. My manager texted me and we were all going crazy on the bus.


How fitting that you were driving through the desert and now you’re playing in the desert.

Yeah, I spend all my life in deserts just driving around.


Sounds like a good life!

It’s a good life. I’m having a good time.

Can you give us the low down about what you have in store for the fans today?

We play the music live. There’s five people on stage. It’s electronic music we create in a live environment which is something I’m really proud of. I have a special guest that I’m not going to reveal just yet. The set moves through the three parts of this concept album that I’ve done. Dusk, Dark, and Dawn are the three parts of this concept record and the show itself moves through the three different phases as well. So, I’ll take you on a journey for the 45 minutes, hopefully.


Can you talk about your creative vision behind Dusk, Dark, and Dawn?

Yeah absolutely! For a while I started to make an album where it was a producer focused album and if I am singing on some of the tracks, the production has always been the focus. Before I had a concept or central vein, it just felt like I was making an album for the sake of it so I spent a bit of time thinking about the album I wanted to make. And I had this idea to make an album that followed the trajectory of a night out. Because I feel like nightlife and club culture has been such a huge part of many of my favourite experiences. It’s so easy to dismiss nightlife and going out as this sort of shallow thing.


That’s really cool! Do you know when Dawn is going to be released?

I’m finishing it up this week. It could be two weeks time, could be four weeks. But it’s really imminent, so very soon.


As you were saying, you’re moving through a night out. What was the creative vision behind Dawn?

The end of the night, the sun is rising, made it back, and cooling off after the energy of the night out. I just remember when I was at University of Liverpool we’d go back and we’d always have a playlist of songs that brought us down from the evening and maybe drifted us off into sleep. So Dawn represents that lowering in the energy.

Photo: Goldenvoice

Photo: Goldenvoice


Do you have any pre-set rituals that you do?

We, me and the band, have this one thing that we’ve done since the first show where we all put our hands in the middle and say, “One, two, three! Super psyched, super ready!” [Laughs] It’s like some High School Musical shit. But for some reason it’s every single show. If we don’t do it then we have a terrible show.


You’ve collaborated with some impressive names like AlunaGeorge, Col3trane, and Gallant. What do you look for in a collaborator?

I’m a fan of music before anything else. 99% of the time, all of the time, the thing I look for in a collaboration is being a fan of someone’s music. Then on top of that, seeing something in their music that I feel like I could add to. If I see something like, “Oh, that would be so cool if that person did this kind of track,” I’m fortunate enough to be in a position to make that happen. There’s people that I’m a fan of that I might not necessarily feel that way. I might see something and be like, “That’s perfect in its immediate form.” Not that those other artists aren’t, but it’s just seeing something and knowing something I have can add to that. Or a collision of those two worlds could create something new and amazing. Always a fan first and foremost.


Is that how your track with G-Eazy came about?

Ah! That’s actually a slightly different story, so there we go, it was 99% of the time. With G-Eazy, I was aware of his music and heard some stuff. But he found me on Twitter and followed me. He hit me up and said, “Hey, I love your track ‘No Less’”, which we’d already released, and told me the story of how that song had personally connected to his life. And he said, “Look, I’d love to flip it and try a version” and I’m a collaborator myself so I was like, “Yeah, I’d love to hear what you’d do with it.” I was a fan of what I’d heard so sent him the track and when he sent it back, he really understood the lyrics of the song and had done what we just discussed. He added something to the track that wasn’t done before. That was really cool and a really unexpected collaboration but I think it turned out really great and it put the song in a different space. Something that’s been out for quite a while and it was kind of cool to have new life breathed into that.


In terms of music creation, do you have a favourite genre that you like yourself like to stick to? Because with G-Eazy it’s a little more urban but with AlunaGeorge it’s more house/pop.

Creation wise, I jump all over the place in terms of genres. Sometimes I’m like, “Is it detrimental? Should I be doing one thing?” But it’s like different moods. You might wake up one day and feel sad and you might wake up one day and be happy. For me, I might wake up one day and feel like making 80’s synth pop or I want to make disco. There’s no reason now that you shouldn’t make the music you feel like making. I kind of go with what I feel like making at the time.


Out of your tracks, do you had a favourite production?

Ooh! I’m not meant to say yes but I’m super proud of ‘Aura’. I love ‘Aura’. Usually by the time I’ve released something, I’ve mixed it and can’t stand hearing it anymore, but for some reason I still really love ‘Aura’. On a production level, maybe ‘Blue’ off Dawn. Just because I’m singing on it, I vocal produced it, I produced it, I wrote it, so I just feel really proud of everything in it. It does some crazy production stuff in the second half where it shifts down into this different universe. I’m super proud of that as a production too.


Do you have a creative process that you go through?

It usually involves a lot of coffee and it always starts with chords. 99% of the time it’s sitting down at the piano and finding something that makes me feel something before anything else is added. If the melody, the chords, can stir something in you before there’s the drums, the sounds, then that’s always the trigger point.


So you’re looking for the emotion?

Yeah, absolutely. It’s emotion over sonics, any day. It’s finding something on the piano or even singing along and it might trigger a thought like, “Oh that’d be great,” and then it’s take that from the piano into beatworld and build it from there.

After our interview, Sam was whisked away for press photos before his set. I went to his show and found myself saying to my friends, “Wow, this performance is so good,” a fair few times. He looked like he was having the best time while on stage. He was wearing the biggest smile during his performance, as if he knew Mojave reached its capacity while he was playing. SG Lewis is an incredible, multi-talented, and passionate individual that I hope to be able to catch up with and see perform again in the future.


SG Lewis most recent release is 'Throwaway' together with Clario


Steve Aoki Interview: Dream Collab, Australian Festivals, Hard Decisions, Commercial vs Dance Records + More

Two time Grammy award winner and the hardest working DJ in the world - Steve Aoki, sat down with us for an interview whilst he was in Australia. We talked about his cross road in college, the state of the Australian festival scene, a dream collaboration, new music and much more!

How is it being back in Australia?

It’s been a couple years since I’ve been back in Australia, last time was for the Aria Awards. It was pretty awesome to apart of what felt the the Grammys but here in Australia as well as seeing all the artists down here. I saw Flume and he won tonnes of awards! I love Australia, I have a fondness for this country and I’ve actually come down here a lot through the past decade. I’ve also seen the whole culture of electronic music shift and change and festival culture come strong and go away. I always love coming down here so it’s nice to be back. I feel like there's a surge and a want for that same kind of festival and electronic energy that I experienced in the early 2010’s. Which will be exciting because that means I’ll get to come out here a lot more! Plus my new album ‘Neon Future III’ dropped so I want to let my fans down here know about the new album, I’m very proud of all these songs. I'm excited to see the success of ‘Wasted On Me’ down here and how the radio is picking it up and overall supporting this record.


Back in late 2016, you were shocked that Australia didn’t have any significant dance music festivals after Stereosonic and Future Music Festival ceased operations. With the arrival of Ultra in Australia as well as other large festivals starting to pop up - do you think Australia is on it’s why back to becoming a key location for artists?

Yeah so because of Ultra and other festivals starting - they’re bringing down more EDM acts to Australia. Really it’s the culture of how things move, there was a big wave of festivals coming in and then I guess from around 2015 - 2018 there was a lull. The culture changed as well as people’s interests. These mega national touring festivals were obsolete.  There needs to be someone to pick up that spot again and people are getting excited, they want it! The idea of it being over saturated and then turn to a delusion, then a want and need for festival culture.

Nobody can deny what a festival can bring to people, the energy, the community, the spirit. A big part of the overall culture in Australia was the gathering a festival would result in, everyone went to the festivals! Doesn’t matter who you were, what music you listen to - you went to the festival to see these artists.


You had a crossroad in college, you either choose to continue down the academic route or progress with your label Dim Mak. How hard was that decision for you?

The decision was very difficult when I wasn't sure if i would even get into the schools i was applying to. I was in a crossroads of going to graduate and/or conduct a PHD program or pursuing my record label Dim Mak. The hardest decision was when I didn’t have the answers from the schools. I applied to 15, but once I got accepted to 2 - then I had to make the decision.

Before, it was all up in the air, once I knew I could actually go down the school route I could think critically about what that route would look like. I could clearly see both futures and I couldn’t do that before I was accepted.

The answer to all is that once I could have a clear vision of both sides, I was able to make a very easy decision. The takeaway here, for people reading this that may have a critical crossroads is; in order to make the decision easy for you, make sure you know both sides of the potential futures that you could be embarking on. If you don’t know, you’re going to have a hard time. If you do have a good idea, the decision becomes very easy and natural and you just need to follow your gut and your heart. And I did, and I followed music.


Your Neon Future comic book launched in October, was that a bucket list moment for you?

Yeah I’m very excited about the comic book! Right now I’m really obsessed with the future, obviously with ‘Neon Future’ - I’m obsessed with science, tech and most notably science fiction concepts of us turning into robots or becoming god-like. It’s kind of like our evolution on becoming more and more immortal. What that future looks like is a very exiting path that and I love to see down that road. Everything I’ve just mentioned goes back to when I first opened up comic books when I was just a kid - before I was even into music. That opened up my curiosity and I was obsessed. It evolved into science fiction, into science research, which turns the science fiction into science fact. Then applying that into my music. Now we’re full circle, making the ‘Neon Future’ comic book storyline - an epic epic storyline! Issue #1 is out now and issue #2 launches April 24th. It’s a great introduction into the world of ‘Neon Future’, please read it - if you can! You can find it on Impact Theory Comics.


The third Neon Future album was just released, it includes commercial music as well as dance floor friendly tracks - do you make sure to incorporate dance music in all your projects?

With every album, I need to make sure there's a convergence of the culture that brought me up and the other cultures (I saw plural because I’m attracted, I’m challenged and I’m draw to many different cultures of music). I think the idea that I’m drawn to all these different worlds of music allows me to be a better producer, musician, song writer and better human being overall. I like to always have elements of where I came from. I don’t want to base the music I make on what the fans want. With ‘Neon Future 3’, you do have these commercial crossover records, but you have the ‘Hoovela’ type of tracks also - that are straight bangers for the club/festival. It’s important to emulate those worlds.


You’ve done so many collaborations - from your mum, to blink-182 to Hardwell, do you have a dream collaboration that you haven’t done yet?

I’m always putting this out there, I’m not sure if it's going to happen. But I’m not going to stop until I get a very hard no. Elon Musk - the dream is to be in the studio with Elon. To see what happen, what musical narrative could happen with us working together in the studio. With Elon, and artists like him, I’m not sure if he even has a musical background but that's not what's important to me. I want to be in the room with him and connect our brain and see what comes out of that. So my collaborations are wide and varied, I’m going to continue to think like that.  With ‘Neon Future 4’, coming out this year - I’m really trying to find what the next one will be. ‘Neon Future 3’ was Bill Nye, ‘Neon Future 2’ was JJ Abrams and Kip Thorne, and ‘Neon Future 1’ was Aubrey de Drey and Ray Kurzweil. ‘Neon Future 4’ has got to be big, got be awesome and epic.


You just mentioned Neon Future 4 is coming up, do you have any other upcoming projects you can tease?

‘Neon Future 4’ is another mega cultured collaborative project across the board. Songs that I have been working on in the same time frame as ‘Neon Future 3’ as well as new songs I’ve been working on in the past year, also what I’m currently working on now. It’s going to be a mix of all kinds of stuff in there. That's my next main project. However I am working on other songs with artists for their own projects. I can’t really discuss them as in some instances I’m just the producer and they’re going to have the creative say on how it’s going to be presented to the world. Lots of different projects at the moment, in the studio with tonnes of different artists all the time. I always love to surprise people and get funky with it!


Steve Aoki just released his collaboration with Alok ‘Do It Again‘

Steve Aoki & Monsta X’s track ‘Play It Cool‘ is still going strong!


NGHTMRE Interview: New Label, More Music With Slander, Chainsmokers, Strangest Rider + More

Tyler Marenyi, better known as NGHTMRE recently released his highly anticipated monster collaboration with A$AP Ferg as well as the VIP edit! He just closed down Coachella weekend #1 with his brand new stage piece ‘The Orb’ which will be featured in his tour this fall. He brought out mystery guests who are recent collaborators A$AP Ferg and Lil Jon on stage to play their respective tracks and it made for an unforgettable night. 

We chatted with NGHTMRE about his Chainsmokers collab, weirdest rider he’s seen, more music with SLANDER, his recently launched label and more!

What got you into electronic music?

Originally when I was in high school, I was listening to a lot of hip hop, rock and all kinds of different types of music. There was this DJ named Girl Talk and he was the first guy I heard that had the mixing style that focused on mashups. He created an entire album of just mashups by sampling all different records. I was just really intrigued by it and it was such a new thing for me. He had all these rock songs that I grew up listening to and loved and had mixed them with dance music and it was this beautiful collaboration of all these genres. That was the first thing that inspired me to listen to dance music. It was the time when Porter Robinson was making house music, Skrillex was making his first dubstep, Zedd was making house music, Flux Pavilion was just starting, Zeds Dead and those kind of guys. I got really into that type of music and started to produce on my own by teaching myself and it snowballed from there!

You’ve collaborated with a huge variety of artists.  Who would you like to work with again?

I’ve done two tracks with Dillon Francis.  He’s always really fun to work with. It’s also really easy to work with him, we always have really similar tastes. Both times we’ve done a track it has come out really naturally. Obviously he's a really funny dude so it's cool to hang out with him also!  We use Ableton and a lot of the same software so everything feels really easy and natural when we work together.

In the past you have collaborated with Chainsmokers.  How did that come about? 

We had been talking about working together for a long time. It’s kinda crazy, their day to day manager was basically the first person I ever met in the industry.  Before I was even making music as NGHTMRE, I was making it as a hobby and I made this song that won a Dancing Astronaut competition and he was running it at the time. I thought it was crazy! He actually ended up being the tour manager for The Chainsmokers. Before they even made ‘Selfie’ we were in communication and we discussed making music. Obviously, as soon as ‘Selfie’ hit and they had all these huge records blowing up it took a little while to work things out and get time in the studio. It was cool though, I expected artists of that calibre to be disconnected or something as they’re really busy! But it was great.  Anytime I texted Alex or Drew about feedback or something they and their team were super responsive. It was great to work with them. They have been stuck in this pop world a bit but if you go and see one of their shows you see that it's crazy festival music. The collaboration was great as I got a cool vocal from Drew which is more relatable to their fans and they got to do something more what I like to do.

You launched your label with SLANDER last year.  Tell us about Gud Vibrations.

Yeah we worked on the label idea for a long time.  It’s great to have it finally operating consistently. One big factor in us starting that label was to get the names of upcoming talent out there a bit more. Soundcloud isn’t that big anymore so it’s not that easy to get your name out there even with great music, so hopefully we can help in pushing their talents and we’re excited for the world to discover them!

Any new collaborations with SLANDER on the horizon?

There's a couple of things that we’ve worked on that is solid and finished. But we’re definitely focused on producing together for our label.  We have some studio time scheduled in to work on more stuff! It’s hard when we’re both always on the move. I’m sure it’ll come together, it always comes very naturally when we work together.  

What is the strangest thing you have seen on an artist’s rider?

Ookay has a pretty hilarious rider.  I think he has a signed picture of Tiësto on his rider. Shout out Abe [Ookay], he’s the man - I love you!  

If you weren't in music what would you be doing now?

I love food and cooking, so I feel like I would be in cooking. It’s another one of those jobs where there's a whole set of rules but you can be real creative with it too. So I’d probably be a chef!

What is happening at the moment for NGHTMRE?

I have finally released my collaboration with A$AP Ferg called ‘REDLIGHT’ - it’s a crazy hip hop/trap/dubstep song and we worked on it for a long time. I really enjoyed shooting the music video!


Listen to NGHTMRE’s new track with A$AP Ferg


Blinders Interview: Garrix Collab, Future Goals, Artwork Designs + More

Polish artist Blinders is smashing the game at the moment with frequent quality releases on Martin Garrix’s STMPD imprint. He has found his niche sound and really capitalising on it! He caught up with him and talked all things music! From his Garrix collab to his artwork designs - we covered it!

You released your long-awaited Martin Garrix collaboration ‘Breach’. It’s done really well so far. Are you happy with the way the track turned out?

I’m super happy.  It came so fast - we had ideas just before it was released like maybe two weeks before and we tried to do our best to finish before the release.  We did it so we are both super excited and happy, with both the track and visuals. When I made the draft of the track, I was thinking it would be like Sirene 2.0 - maybe you can tell the similarities.

What's an average day for Blinders?  Are you residing in Poland?

I think so! For me as a music producer, waking up, drinking some coffee, going on my laptop and coming up with new music. But you do these things everywhere, or if you travel you make the time to produce on the road.

It seems like you’ve been on a hot streak with your music lately.  Every track this year has been really good. Have you changed something in your production process?

Everytime I make a new track, I try to learn something from the past productions.  When I realise something is wrong, I make sure to focus on that and always try to make my new track better than the last one.

How do you decide on the track names?

Actually it's funny, for example the ‘Okami’ one was the idea of my girlfriend, because sometimes she does some graphic design animations for the tracks and I just asked her “how do you see the visual of the track?” Then she said “let's do something like wolves or something” because I really wanted to keep it Asian/Japanese style for the names of everything. Because I use a lot of Japanese traditional characters, so that came with ‘Okami’ because it means wolf.

You’re artwork on the latest STMPD tracks are awesome! Do you have any input on those?

My girlfriend designs about 90 percent of it. The ‘Breach’ one was different because it was a music video, and was created by Martin Garrix’s team, but when I’m doing my solo tracks I always trust her with the designs.

You are producing a lot of harder/main room releases lately.  Could we see any more progressive house, like your ‘Golden Times’ remix?

Yes maybe I’m gonna do something like that. I’m not sure that it’s going to be 100% like the Golden Times remix but currently I’m thinking of something based on the chords on the drop.

Any new projects you want to drop a hint about?

Today I jumped in the studio with TV Noise.  We are playing together tonight so I wanted to do something to premiere our set.

What goals to you have in 2019?

I want to do as much as I can do - bigger productions and bigger collaborations. Maybe some more Garrix collabs. Me and Martin have a close relationship so we are always sending ideas and stuff. With ‘Breach’ it was a sudden idea to collaborated on the project.


Blinders latest track on STMPD is ‘Relieve‘!


Brooks Interview: Unreleased Collabs, Kanye, Future Goals + More

Brooks is killing it currently after collabing with Martin Garrix and David Guetta as well as pushing out quality solo productions. We caught up with him and talked about said collaborations, favourite place to play on tour, hobbies outside of music as well as his dream collaboration and a lot more! Brooks definitely has a bright future ahead of him!

You’re playing a B2B tonight, do you do many B2B’s?

Not that much actually, but it's fun. Of course with STMPD, we all know each other personally for quite a long time and we’ve been in the studio together as well as meeting each other at shows. For example, Julian Jordan I have randomly met when we’ve both had a show in Poland and we wouldn’t even know. It always works out when you play a B2B set.  He’s going to play his track, then I’m going to play mine.

You’re close friends with Jonas Aden.  What’s he up to at the moment?

He had his studio flood, maybe two years ago and that kind of set him back a bit. But he’s built a new studio now and has been making a lot of music for other people as well. I have received some tracks from him that are signed on some pretty big labels.

2018 as a massive year for Brooks. You had the David Guetta and Martin Garrix collab.  Could we expect anymore music with them?

I’ve got a new track with David for sure, just us two. Last Summer I actually spent quite a lot of time at his place in Ibiza. He has a studio there so most of the time when we did shows at Ushuaïa or Pacha we would head back and go to the studio. We have one track that will be released soon and a couple of others in the works and I’m not sure if they’ll be released. With Martin, we will see. But with ‘Byte’, if I want to do a track with Martin we could finish it in a day. With ‘Byte’ we finished it on the Monday and released it on Friday.  It was a crazy turnaround. It was a funny story. On the Thursday we shot the music video and Damien, the guy who does the videos had to work until Friday morning to finish off the video so that we could post it.

Other than David Guetta, do you have any other collaborations that you could provide some details on?

I am working on a track with KSHMR at the moment.  Hopefully that is finished soon. I’ve been super busy with touring.  I’m only getting used to it now because it’s like my first summer tour. It kind of caught me off guard.  I thought I’d have a lot more time in the studio.

On your tour, where was your favourite place to play?

Of course Tomorrowland, as it’s a dream for all the beginner artists out there. Ever since I made my first track I always checked the livestream. I played on the STMPD stage and then the next week David Guetta brought me onto the mainstage to play our collab. Goosebumps all over for that!

Where you nervous for that?

Well the thing was, I didn’t really have to play - when David brought me out. Still, when I was there it was all happiness. I had nothing to do so I couldn’t mess anything up! Untold Festival was also really cool, as well as Croatia - really cool country!

Do you focus on any hobbies outside of music?

Well at the moment, I’m very busy but I like to cook which is something not a lot of people expect from me. And I love food, especially when touring in places like Asia. I like to bring back some weird spices from there and try to make a dish out of it when I’m back home. But I really love Peking Duck, especially in the pancakes.

Who would be the dream artist you would collab with, dead or alive?

I don’t want to sound bad but I didn’t really listen to a lot of music from older generations. When I grew up, I immediately started listening to ‘EDM’.  But to be in the studio with some of the bigger hip hop artists would be awesome. I think Kanye West would be it. He is such a visionary. He’s made so many beats for other artists as well. As a producer, I think he is a total genius.

New Kanye or old Kanye?

Good question! I think maybe a mix of both.  I’m thinking about it and I’m not really sure. Actually, I think the new Kanye.

What can we expect from Brooks in 2019. Any specific goals?

I had a big meeting with my management in December and spent the whole month producing, so there will be a lot of new music. I want to develop my sound and not create three copies of ‘Like I Do’. There will be new music but it will still have the signature ‘Brooks’ sound.


Brooks’ massive collaboration together with David Guetta is out now!


Sam Feldt Interview: Biggest Track, Working With Jeremy Renner & More

‘Uplifting’ is the word that best describes Dutch DJ, producer and entrepreneurial spirit, Sam Feldt. Having built a career upon his distinctly feel-good sound, Sam now has his sights set firmly on the future, working on his own platforms for a more social and sustainable dance music industry. We spoke to Sam while he’s touring in Australia at the moment. 

 

You recently launched the Heartfeldt Foundation. Tell us a bit about that.

I launched the Foundation at Amsterdam Dance Event in October, specifically at ADE Green where they’re all about sustainability. The Heartfelt Foundation is a new platform that aims to combine the reach of a lot of different influencers to create awareness around sustainability issues. For example, if I post to Facebook or Instagram, “Let’s not use plastic straws this weekend”, maybe a couple hundred thousand people would see it and of those people, maybe ten thousand people would not do it. But what if I have 100 influencers all with one million followers? If they all do it at the same time, you can really make an impact. I think a big part of the music industry is looking into sustainability, but not so much the artists. A lot of the artists might not care, or they don’t know about the issues at hand and I just want to create an easy way (because artists are a bit lazy let’s be honest) for people to get on board. So, we give them a list of ten easy things you can do right now to reduce your impact by 80%. When you make it like that and provide bite sized education and facts, I think that works for both fans and the artists to get everybody on the same page.

You speak a lot at panels, like during Amsterdam Dance Event and the World Music Conference. Why do you choose to do this?

I’ve spoken before at the Amsterdam Dance Event, one of the panels was about plastic and one was about using your reach to impact positively. This year I’ll also speak at the WMC in Miami. Because I’m working on my foundation, I find it important to share my knowledge.

 

The biggest Sam Feldt release, on Spotify at least, is the EDX remix of ‘Show Me Love’.  Can we expect any new EDX remixes?

I’m not sure actually, maybe a collab? We are good friends, me and Maurizio (EDX). He really helped bring the song to the mainstream audience because my song grew big on radio but you always need support in the clubs too. The original isn’t really a club friendly track.  It’s a slow, down tempo, 115 bpm tropical house song which is great for radio but not for the clubs. He did a great job making it ‘clubby’.


Of course, you're a DJ/Producer, however you have other projects. Tell us about ‘Always Bright’

With Always Bright it’s a funny story.  I’m doing this with two other guys. One of them I met about two years ago in Vegas, we were both at a party and the anti-hangover product market is pretty big over there. They have the IV where they come to your hotel and you’ll have to pay €300. I was curious as we have a big party scene in Amsterdam and lots of hangovers there, why hasn’t anyone come up with a product based in The Netherlands? I actually tested it this morning, it is not a miracle product, but it has all the vitamins, minerals and supplements your body needs after a night of drinking and it supports the natural function of your body.

You put out a track together with Jeremy Renner last year. What was it like to work with him?

I initially didn’t know he was an artist, just that he was an actor. But my publisher actually came to me to say that he wanted to do something with me. I wasn’t sure what he could do, maybe he could sing. Anyway, I was in the studio in LA and he sent me the vocals and I was surprised by his quality, he’s actually a really good singer! The whole collaboration was done over the internet, I met him in Vegas for the first time when we performed it. Then we became friends, I actually saw him the other day in Bali.   

Do you have any goals for 2019?

I hope to have an EP out soon, as well as to be fully back into touring. And so far, that’s going great with my current tour in Australia and an USA tour coming up in March.

 

Catch Sam in Australia these coming weeks. All tour dates below:

Feb-7                      The Emerson, Melbourne, AU
Feb-8                     Geisha Bar, Perth, AU
Feb-9                     The Bottom End, Melbourne, AU
Feb-13                    Newcastle Hotel, Newcastle, AU
Feb-15                    Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane, AU
Feb-16                    Marquee Sydney, Pyrmont, AU
Feb-17                    Gilligan’s Backpacker Hotel and Resort, Cairns, AU


Sam Feldt’s latest single ‘Gold‘ together with Kate Ryan is out now on Spinnin’


Nicky Romero Interview: New Music, Proudest Track & More
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We sat down with Dutch artist and label owner Nicky Romero and chatted all things music! He teased some big collaborations, talked about staying with progressive house, proudest track, what would be his last show and more. Thanks for answering our questions Nicky!

You premiered your awesome collaboration with David Guetta at Tomorrowland, can you give us any details on when we might be able to expect that?

So I have a song coming with David Guetta, we’re trying to wrap it now. He’s focusing on his album; which is out. Hopefully we can give some more information soon but it might look like we’re going to put it out in the first quarter of next year. It’s called ‘Ring The Alarm’, it’s basically a club song, like what we used to do. He’s really my mentor from the earlier days, it’s so good to be back with him in the studio and actually wrap a song. It’s cool because people maybe expect more of a radio song but it’s really one of those club songs that he used to produce and like my track S.O.T.U. If you look at David’s new album he has some more club type songs and this new one fits in with his roster and mine, as people are shifting back to club music and not just Spotify.

What influences Nicky Romero music and what is signed on Protocol?

I'm getting influenced by everything, whenever there's hype I'm trying to take all the best parts in and trying to apply it to my music without losing my identity. The same goes with Protocol, when we A&R and select the songs. We try to take in what the hype is in that moment without losing the signature of the label. That's actually a serious task, I really don’t like to join a hype but take parts and apply it to the genre and sounds I like.

If you had only had one more show, what would be the event you would want to play?

Good question! If I only name one place I’d leave out so many good ones. I think either Japan or maybe Miami because Miami is really accessible for many counties, it's like a centre-point.  

You're one of the progressive house legends and have continued to push the genre forward while many artists have shifted to pop and commercial sounds. Is this still your favourite genre to produce and play out?

I think progressive house never really left, it just goes up and down - it’s like a wave - hypes come and go. It's been like that for the last two to three decades. It’s like fashion, the styles come and go and then a few years later it's cool again. I think that's the same with progressive house, if it has its peak it’ll be back. I resonate with that music a lot and I love the fact it's so melodic and so epic. If I play live these are the songs that go off most.

Which Nicky Romero release are you most proud of?

There's quite a few that I’m proud of, for this year, I’m really proud of ‘Paradise‘. I love ‘Be Somebody’ with Steve [Aoki] as well as ‘Bittersweet’, that’s probably my favourite of this year.

You collaborated with Steve Aoki on a single and you each did a remix of each other’s original. How did this overall collaboration come about?

Well, Steve has been a friend for a long time and we’ve been saying since our first show in South Africa we needed to do a song. It never really came to a point were we got to the studio until last year.  I’ve always looked up to him in multiple angles actually. He’s been progressing his career in the past 10 years in so many different ways. He’s opened up a pizza place, he’s built this crazy label, he has his own couple of fashion lines and even his own skateboard brand I think. He’s a really great businessman. In terms of music, I think he’s done so many great things for the industry, next to that he’s really just an icon. I was like; “We really need to work on a song” and finally that became ‘Be Somebody’. He really loved the song when he worked on it and it got to the final result and I think we can be proud of what we have now.

Are there any Protocol artists we should keep an eye on?

There's a lot of Protocol artists but one of them that I’m a big fan of is called Trilane - they have a song on Protocol called ‘Miss Out’ as well as our collab ‘Bittersweet’. That is one of my favourite songs of the year and they were really important on it. They’re really talented guys from Sweden. Raiden is awesome as well, Corey James - he’s putting out some great music and picking up some steam. Maximals is doing great, Teamworx from Israel as well. So many of them actually, but these are the ones that pop up now.  

Have you got any projects coming soon you might want to drop some hints about?
Yeah, there is a song coming with W&W, there's one coming with Afrojack, also the David Guetta one. There are also plenty of solo tracks and many remixes coming also!

Do you have any goals for 2019?

The most important goal is to get back to being as happy and healthy I was in the beginning of my career. I think we’re almost there! If you’re happy and healthy you get the best results, you’re most creative. Right now I think I’m in a really good place mentally, I’ve found the happiness in making music again which I probably didn’t have for two years.  I think if I have these two things, all the other things will come also.


Listen to Nicky Romero’s latest single together with Olivia Holt


Ferry Corsten on New Collabs, His Influences + More
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We caught up with Trance legend Ferry Corsten to discuss the state of trance, a potential new album, how he stays creative having done 600 of his radio shows, how to keep a long running label successful and some exciting upcoming collaborations.

You released blueprint last year, it included 17 tracks. How long did it take to produce them all?
I worked on Blueprint for a year and a half, there's also touring so I bring all my studio stuff with me on the road. Touring slows things down a bit but yeah about a year and a half. I think a lot of the time besides actually producing the tracks was spent on the complexity of matching the songs with the story and the narration that accompanied the album.   

Any potential of another album soon?
Not sure yet, I’m playing around with the idea in my head. Nothing complete yet!

You have a handful of alias, what made you create a new one?
Well a lot of the alias were a while back but really it was all a product of the time. I wasn’t touring so I was producing a lot faster and a lot more records then. My output was really high. Due to the touring and the development of my career, I haven’t touched them in a while. The only one that I would still be involved in is Gouryella. The alias’ give me a freedom to do something else. I just brought System F back for a one off show also. Other than that, the focus is really on Ferry Corsten - that's the guy behind everything anyway!

You've done almost 600 of your countdown radio shows. How do you handle that and how do you make each radio show unique?
There is great new music out each week! Sometimes it's hard, finding the time to record it all, especially whilst travelling - I have my mic with me and end up in an echochamber of a hotel room. Sometimes I build myself an igloo with pillows! I record the show every Monday, so it can be organised to be published by Wednesday.

You were born in Rotterdam, how has living in The Netherlands influenced your music and your musical career?
The diversity over here is really good, it’s a small country - therefore a tight knit community. When I started producing and getting into the scene in Rotterdam, hardstyle was massive. But really the key is the diversity, if you look at the countries around us, you’ve got Scandinavian Pop, the UK sound, German minimalistic sounds as well as like the Belgian/French ‘suave’. I think in a way, it all comes together here and that influences the Dutch sound in general.  

Your label Flashover has been going for 13 years. How do you manage to be successful over a long time? Do you find yourself adapting to musical trends?
I guess it's about trying to stay true to what we think is right in a sense. It’s easy to just go with the hype and go completely away from where the fans want you.

Tell us about your 'UNITY’ collaborative project
It’s that one thing that always happens at festivals, I’m done playing and hanging out with the DJs that played before me. We always say “We should do a collab, I’ll call you next week” - it doesn’t happen. It’s always like “too busy” or “I forgot about it”, this and that. So this year I thought I would chase everyone for the collabs and make a project out of it.

Also, if you look at trance as a genre, although its big and although its got a massive following - it doesn’t have that core. I don’t mean that in a bad way but if you compare the core to what's happening in EDM or the bass world, all those DJs are playing each other’s stuff. In the trance scene, the 140 [BPM] guys aren’t playing the 128 [BPM] guys - the gap is too big. So that’s what I’m trying to break with Unity. I’m doing collaborations with artist I wouldn’t usually to see what will happen and to merge these different types of trance.

Any projects happening at the moment and anything you can tease for 2019?
I actually just released my collab with Ilan Bluestone called ‘We’re Not Going Home’. I also have upcoming tracks together with Alpha 9, BT and a few more almost finished. So there's a good lineup coming up. I also just finished my first film score, that's worth mentioning - it’s called ‘Don’t Go’, it’s out already in the states, so that's just a whole new world for me that I want to continue exploring.


Listen to Ferry Corsten’s latest collaboration together with ilan Bluestone ‘We’re Not Going Home‘ Stream/Download


EJ on his Relationship with Formula-E, How the Persona Began, Future Plans + More
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We sat down and had a beer with mysterious DJ and producer ‘EJ‘, known for being the brains and face of Formula E music, as well as enormous tracks such as ‘Fire In Your Heart‘, ‘One More Night‘ and countless others. We chat about his introduction to Formula E, how he came up with the persona and his future plans.

Where are you based?
Based in London!

How did you relationship begin with Formula E?
I was working at Ministry of Sound for 10 years and that's where I originally met Formula-E. They wanted Ministry of Sound to come in and do all the after parties as well as their overall music strategy. Of course they thought Ministry would be good for that considering their history in dance music.  Unfortunately that deal didn’t go ahead. At that time I was considering leaving Ministry of Sound, so I contacted them and said “I love what you’re doing, do you want me to come in for a meeting?” They needed a DJ to play the races, they needed someone to help with and produce the broadcast music as well as help all the music content overall. It was perfect timing, so that's how my relationship started with Formula-E.

How did the EJ name and persona begin?
I really wanted to put my spin on things musically at Formula-E. What it came down to was me wanting a persona that would grow alongside the championship. So I created EJ and actually got referred to in the press as the bastard child of deadmau5 and Daft Punk! I began with house but always had a passion for trance, so when I decided to take the trance route with my music, I wanted an identity that stood out and was unique. The name came from mixing Formula-E and DJ, which resulted in Formula-EJ but that didn’t sound right so we ended up with EJ.

Do you have a favourite Formula-E driver?
I’ve got to go UK, so Sam Bird from Virgin. But you know what, there's a lot of really good racers in there now. BMW is actually coming in this season and then Mercedes and Porsche coming next season. The championship is just getting bigger and bigger.

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Could you describe your music in 2 words?
Overall, I’d say it's Progressive Trance. I like to put a spin on the vocal stuff because I always love a vocal. But a lot of the stuff when I play the races, it's quite unique what we do for that. We aim for energy during the race, the cars are racing around the track and there are speakers at all the grandstands. There’s 3 different parts to it, I DJ with the cars going around the track. Also an EJ show that's on stage for the podium crowd, as well as all the after parties around town after the races. When I DJ during the races and when the cars are lining up and getting ready, it’s actually broadcast live on TV. It can be a little bit daunting because sometimes it's 20 million live viewers. I’ve been DJing for 5 years but still definitely get nervous during those shows!

Your record 'Fire In Your Heart’ is very powerful, what inspired it?
When I produce I make sure to think about how it’ll feel being played at the races, so it’s got to have a lot of energy. There is a funny story behind some of the lyrics, “fire in your heart, ice in your veins” is basically the polar opposites and I remember feeling frustrated at that time.

What's happening for EJ in 2019?
Got loads of new music coming out, I’ve got hopefully another 2 releases on Garuda confirmed. I’m working on a compilation album on Garuda also, ranging from progressive sounds to trance. It’s going to be titled ‘Formula-E - The Soundtrack’ and it’ll be all the music I play on the racetrack. That’ll be releasing in December and will coincide with the launch of the new Formula-E season. I’m also working on something pretty special which’ll be out in Q3 2019, that is something that’s very close to my heart.


Listen to EJ’s latest release ‘Follow Me‘ + Stream/Download


Sophie Francis Talks; Not Giving Up, Dream Home, Favourite Events + More!
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We caught up with young gun Sophie Francis at ADE and discussed all things dance music including what the hardest part of being an artist is, her dream collaboration, where she would live anywhere in the world, her new track ‘True Champions‘, transitioning from a big room sound and more.

You’ve been DJ’ing for a few years now, what was the hardest part when you were first learning?

Yes since I was 16, I’m 19 now. One of the most important factors is not giving up, things can get hard especially on the production side. In the beginning it's especially hard, people say stupid things and you need to ignore them.

What was the earliest song you remember growing up?

I’ve grown up with a lot of different things, however in South Africa theres a group called Goldfish, that was my first live concert and I really loved it. The real first dance music that I listened and inspired me would have to be Showtek - back in their hardstyle days!

When you are starting a new track do you always start with a similar element?

It really depends on what track I’m making, for example with ‘Weekend Love’ it was the topline of the vocalist and then I started production around that. It depends on my mood, but usually I prefer to start with the break - but if I have inspiration for a drop, I’ll focus on that initially.

What is your favourite production of your own?

At the moment, it has to be ‘Weekend Love’, so far it's my most developed track - maybe you can hear that! I’ve been focused a lot in the studio this year. I mainly love working on energetic tracks, I have one called ‘True Champion’ which is not out yet but I’ve put it on all my videos because I love the energy in it.

When will ‘True Champion’ come out?

We don’t know yet, we might want to have a Chinese rapper on it. Or not, it’s not fully finished yet so I can still go anywhere with it - I'm not sure yet. But I really love the energy in it.

You’ve played all over the globe, if you could choose one of those places to live where would it be?  

I guess Tokyo, because I think you’d never get bored there. Every district, every street, there is something new to discover and I really love that.

What has been your favourite event to date?

I don't really have one, what makes a good event is the energy of the people. But actually, I think the people who go to Ultra and Tomorrowland, they go there with the mentality to have the most epic day. So those normally I really love, I love the vibe there, the energy, the people.

If you could work with any artist past or present who would you choose?

Right now, it has to be Shawn Mendes. I’m super in love with his voice, for a few years now. His voice is so authentic and so special, I would love to work with him!

What inspired you to pursue a career in dance music?

What really inspired me to become a DJ/producer was actually a school project. I needed to do something were I learned new skills and interact with new people. I always really loved working with music, I felt that djing and producing you can interact with so many people, you can make or break their night with the music.  

Your latest single 'Weekend Love's is awesome, what was the inspiration behind that?

I was actually at a Spinnin’ writing session and someone else was recording that track and I heard the lyrics and loved it. Most tracks now days are epic love songs or epic breakups - that sort of stuff. But these lyrics were about two single people and their love life. I thought it was super cool because it's different and being single is fun! I heard the topline and straight away I envisioned this whole happy melodic almost folk style to the track.

You've transitioned from a big room styled production over the past year, what motivated you to try a new sound?

I love making whatever I feel like making. I’m not someone who says with one style, I love hardstyle, I love trap, I love pop. I really try to make what makes me happy. I’ve made a few trap tracks, even a few trap reworks of my own tracks. I’m also making hardstyle as well as more upcoming club tracks.

Have you got any new releases upcoming that you can give us a hint about?

I have three tracks upcoming on Spinnin’ but unfortunately I cannot say anything yet!

The track mentioned above as well as Sophie’s latest release ‘Weekend Love‘ is embed below


Exclusive Interview with Sander Van Doorn: His Label, D.O.D Collab, His Average Day + More!
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We sat down with the legend Sander Van Doorn to discuss his latest music including his D.O.D collaboration, how he spends his average day - listening to hundreds of promo a week, his alternative alias ‘Purple Haze’ and more! Check out his latest remix embed at the end of article.

You're label Doorn has been around for a while and is still doing very well. What's the secret for a label to have success in the long term?

I think it's all about the identity of the label, and the identity of the label is very broad genre wise. I don’t really mind if its very slow or fast or one particular genre, as long as its original and comes from the heart. Funny enough, a lot of the artist I’ve signed right now are all from Italy and they have a little bit more of a dark touch to their sound which works well for the label. I think it's the combination of consistently releasing tracks that are originally produced which makes the label very strong.

What artists are you most proud to have signed?

You know the greatest thing about the label is the people that release tracks always come back to the label. They always enjoy realising stuff and I always take them on board to my different parties. Guys like Promise Land have always been loyal to the label as well as the newer guys like Bottai. They are really amazing, so for me its most important that people love coming back to the label.

You have an alias as Purple Haze, what inspired you to create it?

Yeah it's been one and a half years since I revived the project that I started 12 years ago. I was brought back to it to have more of an outlet to produce more underground music, more of a darker sound - I also decided to make it a live act. It's a side of me that I discovered, a different way of producing tracks. Sometimes you feel like doing something different in the studio. Overall it's also creates more inspiration just in general for both names so for me it works out well.

You come back to the melodic progressive style with 'No Words', what inspired you to return to this sound?

I would say there was a time where the whole scene exploded, I had the tracks ‘Into The Light’, ‘Nothing Inside’ and ‘Love Is Darkness’. I always found tracks like these always had a special place for me personally, ‘No Words’ brings me back to those times - and it was a really good time! That’s why I decided to finish ‘No Words’ because I had already been working on it for a few years. I made like 5 different versions and I wasn’t happy with them and then all of a sudden I found the right way to finish the track, I’m happy how it turned out!

Your record 'Nothing Inside' from 2012 seems timeless. Do you still play it and do you remember producing it?

Yeah I remember it, for me it was a particularly hard project because the breakdown is a lower BPM then the actual climax. But I didn’t want people to be aware of that so it needed to feel very natural. But it still had it’s original tempo for the vocal as I didn’t want to speed it up because it wouldn’t sound right. Especially in Logic you don’t want to change your tempo on the project because it creates a nightmare! So it took a while to get it right, you’re always so busy in the process of producing the track that you actually don’t listen to the final result. But when it was finished and rendered, I listened to the whole track and I was like wow I’m really happy with this.

Your new track with D.O.D is awesome, it's got D.O.D's signature 'future jack' feel to it. Was his style an important factor is your decision to collaborate with him?

I’ve been playing his tracks for the last few years, I’m a big fan of his sound. When he came to me and said let's do a collaboration, I really felt my sound and his sound would fit well! I particular love doing the whole baseline thing and with his jacking house sound. I actually played at the ‘D.O.D and Friends’ party with him! Overall though it felt very natural to do a collaboration with him.

As a label owner and an individual with two artist projects, how do you go about balancing your time?

I also do the radio show as well! So I’m working with new promo and demos, it's a lot of music! Thankfully it gets filtered a bit for me, however I still get around 150 tracks a week - they’re either for the label or the radio show. It’s all about finding the time, producing a bit on this record then, listening to new demos after and playing my show later! Luckily now we have it covered and I can find time for everything.

What's an average day for Sander Van Doorn look like?

Well I would get up and get a very strong cup of coffee, I usually go straight in to the studio, which I luckily have in my home. Just producing away. Tuesday for me is radio day so I get that done and with that comes promo day. It's very dependent on what people send you. So when ever I get the chance, I spend time listening to promos - same goes with producing. But it really changes everyday obviously the weekends is all about the DJing.

Could you maybe drop some hints on some new music coming soon?

I have just released my remix for ‘Discopolis 2.0’, that one is on Armada. I also just released a remix for Frontliner’s track ‘I’m The Melodyman’, the was original is a hardstyle track. Actually my wife originally introduced me to hardstyle a few years ago and she was like; “listen to this because it’s really good music!” so I started listening to this particular genre. I found that the tracks they produce are very intelligently produced. I was listening to a lot of tracks and I came across ‘I’m The Melodyman’, it was the perfect track for me to remix. So I got in contact with Barry (Frontliner) and we actually just finished a collaboration as well! The funny thing is, it’s not hardstyle - it’s like a mix between us, we kind of created a new genre with this one! I’m always open and keen to listening to different genres of music because it inspires me.


Sander’s remix of Frontliner’s ‘I’m The Melodyman‘ is out now! Stream below


Henri PFR on his Robin Schulz Collab, His Name, Dream Vocalist + So Much More!
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We caught up with Dutch duo Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano in Amsterdam. We chatted about their label, how Steve Angello is a father figure, their latest music and their upcoming ‘Sexy By Nature‘ event. They’re really awesome guys, you can check out their latest release with Marc Volt below the interview.

You started learning music at age 6, what instruments did you learn first?
I first learned piano, it's funny because I started with the academy so really classical music like Beethoven and Mozart. Then when I was twelve I decided to play piano on the computer, thanks to that I started making electronic music.

What was the first song that got you interested in Electronic music?
That's a good question, maybe 'Lord of Trance' from Tiesto. I started listening to trance music. Also, in Belgium we have a DJ called DJ Furax, he's quite famous - I remember, that kind of music brought me to another world actually. So I said that's the music I want to make and thats what will give me the most sensation. That's what I love in electronic music, you can have good feelings as well as sad music and all of that with a lot of energy.

Can you explain the reason behind the name Henri PFR?
It's really simple, my real name is Henri Peiffer. I just removed the vowels in my last name to create PFR. However it's annoying sometimes as people sometimes say my name as Henry and not Henri, and sometimes mistakes with PFR - mixing up the letters. So it's really a complicated name, I'm not so happy with it.

How did your collaboration ‘Wave Goodbye’ with Robin Schulz come about?
I remember I was at a party in France at 3am and I received a message from Robin's tour manager. He said he was at the airport with Robin Schulz and they were listening to my stuff. I thought it was a joke at the time, because I only had around 10k plays on that track. I couldn't imagine a guy like Robin Schulz was listening to my music! I got him to send me a photo of him and Robin to prove it. Then Robin himself sent me positive messages and invited me to a party in Paris. At the party I showed him a track I was working on and he loved it so much he decided to collaborate with me on it. We worked on it via Skype as he was always touring around the world. It was really cool, for me he is one of my biggest inspirations and to make a track with an inspiration is a dream for a lot of people.

When working on a new song, what is the first part you focus on?
The main part for me is the lyrics, what you want to say in the song; then comes the chords. It really depends though, sometimes i focus on the drums, the sound design, the melody, it’s a hard question because it varies from track to track.

If you could work with any vocalist past or present who would you pick?
That's another tough question, if I say one i will forget 10! But i think i will pick Mike Jagger from The Rolling Stones. My father is the biggest fan of The Rolling Stones in the world, if I say to him I did a track with Mike Jagger - he would be so proud. So I say Mike Jagger for my father!

What is your favourite studio snack?  
It’s not good to say but I drink way too much Red Bull in the studio. The studio life is not very healthy at all, you stay really late and hardly eat. When I have an idea for a track, I can’t stop working until I’ve made it.

You started on Armada and have been signed with Sony since, how is it working with a major label?  
It’s really cool, I’m really happy with Sony - it’s Sony Belgium so it’s a bit smaller but still has all the support from the major label. I’m not a little fish in a big ocean, because the label is still quite small. I have my place and I have the people who work with me and provide me with the big contacts.

What are some goals for yourself in 2019?
In the short time I want to continue making music and performing, basically continuing what I’m doing now. In the long term I’d love to become a movie composer.


You can listen to Henri PFR’s most recent release with close friend HIDDN below!


Julian Jordan Talks Garrix Collab, Going B2B, His Next Goals + More
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We sat down with Julian Jordan at ADE, we talked about the upcoming Martin Garrix collaboration, as well as who his dream collaboration would be with. He also discussed what his future brings, he’ll be working closely with STMPD on multiple of his next releases. Julian Jordan has a lot of upcoming projects we are excited for, his future is looking very bright!

You can watch our video interview below or alternatively direct on Facebook here.


We Interview Kryder on His Sunnies, Work-Life Balance, 2019 Goals + More
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We sat down with English DJ/Producer Chris Knight aka Kryder at ADE 2018 for an interview. Topics ranged from his Amsterdam experiences through the years, his goals for 2019, how he manages his non existent work life balance, his musical inspiration and much more!

C: How’s ADE been for you so far?
K: I just arrived last night actually.  We went out and hooked up with Erick Morillo and watched him down at his party.  That was sick, really sick.  Good house music and good to catch up with everyone.  Just played a Clubbing TV party this morning.  That was pretty wild.  Just literally rolled out of bed, straight onto the dance floor, so to speak.  That was really cool.

C: Is that why you’re wearing the sunnies?
K: That’s exactly why.  I’m feeling a lot of pain behind here.

C: So we need to get you some Panadol?  That’s ADE for you isn’t it?
K: Yeah definitely.  You’ve got to expect it.  It’s super hectic and great.  Absolutely great.

C: What’s your favourite part of ADE?
K: Probably the city, actually.  Amsterdam.  Absolutely love Amsterdam.  I would probably live here if I could.  It’s really sick.  Amsterdam is good for DJs.  The airport is amazing and there’s so many studios and music is everywhere here.  So I think it is quite inspiring for DJs.  That’s probably the only reason why I would love it.  That I would love to live here.  Nothing to do with weed and prostitutes.

C: This year has been huge for you.  You’ve just released ‘Billionare’ and you’ve had a bunch of other global hits.  How do you keep things fresh?  How do you keep your sound fresh and groovy whilst still keeping to your signature tribal sound?
K: It’s just a consistent challenge with myself actually.  I always try to up my game with every release or always try and stay true to what I genuinely love myself.  But always try and take it a little bit out of my comfort zone and develop something fresh and sort of exciting that way.

C: What would you say is your greatest inspiration musically?  How do you come up with an idea and how do you see it through?
K: It comes from travelling.  I’ve spent a lot of time in South America and I really got involved in the latin side of things down there.  And also a lot more not dance music inspired stuff.  More folklore sort of stuff.  I got really into that sort of side of stuff.  Started sampling and working with those artists and actually fusing what they do with what I do.  Had some really great results with that.  Different instruments.  I also love Asia as well.  I get a lot of inspiration from Japan.  Love visiting there.  I also listen to a lot of film music.  I love film scores.  Like Hans Zimmer and these sort of composers.  I’m inspired by that kind of stuff as well.

You’ve mentioned that you enjoy Japan.  Is that your favourite country to tour or to go to?
K: I would honestly say yeah.  I would say Tokyo’s definitely my favourite city and I always spend a few weeks there when I go.  I’ve been going there every year for the last five years.  I just love everything about Japan really.  I love the culture, the food, everything really.  I would live there if I could speak Japanese.

C: Are you trying to learn?
K: I can barely speak English!

C: In terms of work/life balance, is there such a thing?  How do you keep a balance?
K: That’s a super interesting question.  That’s an absolute struggle with this lifestyle.  I mean, I’ve killed myself on multiple occasions.  I’ve ended up in hospital, had lungs collapse on me mid tour,  pneumonia, and all sorts of stuff.  I’ve definitely taken a step back with regards to the touring side of stuff and actually looking more into the logistics of travelling.  I used to say “yes” all the time to gigs in the summer.  Sometimes I’d be playing 20 countries in a month.  I actually played 18 countries in August just gone and I felt absolutely horrific after I came off that.  Your body clock is all over the place.  You’re so out of sync.  You don’t eat well.  You don’t exercise.  You use alcohol to get you through and into the party mood sometimes as well which is such a bad way of doing things.  I think it’s just about working with people that actually care for your health.  That don’t just keep pushing you into the money pit all the time.  I think that’s really important.  I think getting a balance right is something that I would love to try and achieve.  I still haven’t conquered that yet.  

C: So it’s a work in progress?  It’s definitely the team that surrounds you.
K: Yeah. I honestly think that’s it because you make… You can’t make all the decisions yourself.  Sometimes you make bad decisions.  Especially when you’re not thinking right.  If you’ve done three gigs, no sleep, and someone says, “Oh! We’ve just got a last minute gig for you!” You know you should say no but then it’s like, “Oh well, it’s only a two hour flight.  I can keep going.”  And it doesn’t work out for you well in the end, unfortunately.  I think that you definitely need to surround yourself with good people.  

C: One of your very first gigs as Kryder, you opened for Tiesto in Ibiza.  How was that?  What was going through your mind before and during your set?
K: I was generally nervous and excited and feeling all sorts of wild things.  I brought a ton of my friends with me to Ibiza and lived like a rockstar for a weekend.  We stayed at the infamous Pikes Hotel and partied consistently for about 72 hours.  It was absolutely wild.  It was a great opportunity and I treated it as if I was never going to get another opportunity again.  I played the best set I possibly could, partied really hard, just absolutely loving life and enjoying it.  I was quite fortunate that sprung into a career after that.  

C: You just concluded your label Sosumi and you started Kryteria.  What brought about that change?  What sort of artist/sound/music are you looking for?
K: Again, it’s kind of always pushing forwards.  We did 100 releases with Sosumi and I thought it was time to call it a day.  I didn’t know what direction to take it in and I didn’t know how to develop it.  I hit a ceiling with it, so to speak.  The idea was to team up with a much bigger label, Spinning Records, and get some help from them with their distribution channels.  But also take what I loved about Sosumi and use a little bit of that to build a new platform and a new outlet for musicians and DJs and producers that I love as well.  It’s about opportunities and moving the sound and what we do forward within the scene.  

C: Can we talk about your boat party at ADE?  How did you plan it?
K: Yeah!  I’d love to!  Again, it was really cool.  I came over here and looked at a boat, filmed it all, put it up on Instagram and said, “Should we hire this for the boat party?  600 people, are we going to be able to sell it out?”  And we sold it out over a month ago!  And it’s really cool.  I just invited people to play.  Obviously we’ve got the guys from the label putting out a compilation called “God Save The Groove” so everyone who has produced a record is playing on that compilation.  And then we’ve got a ton of friends and we’re setting sail on Saturday and can’t wait for it really.

C: Any goals for 2019?
K: Probably referring back to one of your previous questions, just to try and stay sober and balance my life a bit better.

You can listen to Kryder’s latest single out on Spinnin’ below


Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano on Steve Angello, New Music, Their Label + More
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We caught up with Dutch duo Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano in Amsterdam. We chatted about their label, how Steve Angello is a father figure, their latest music and their upcoming ‘Sexy By Nature‘ event. They’re really awesome guys, you can check out their latest release with Marc Volt below the interview.

How’s ADE been? What shows did you play?

We did our own label gathering on Wednesday, we invited some friends, it was like a pop-up store. We just wanted it to be a drink or two, but it turned into a big party, people jumping, screaming - it was fun! After that, we played at Oliver Heldens’ party unannounced. We got to play after Oliver and people were really surprised, fun gig. On Thursday we played at the 538 DJ hotel, doing an own showcase and then Saturday, we played at AMF, in the Amsterdam Arena. And last but not least on Sunday we had our own label party at Mad Fox, which was so much fun! Busy times!

You've got a pop-up party and a club night for your label. Is it the first time SONO is at ADE?

This year is our second time with SONO at ADE! Last year we were at Mad Fox as well but we organized it very last minute, so you can think of 2018 being the first proper year.

Your new label SONO is doing very well. What inspired you to create your own label?

We kept on getting promos from artists and they were not your typical EDM song, so they weren't getting signed anywhere. We would play the music but not do much with it after that. Everyone would ask us “What is this track?”, so we decided to create the label to release them ourselves. We talked with Armada and started the label with them. Right now it's taken off, we have so many promos!

What type of music or artists are you looking to sign?

A lot of people send tribal music with the beats and drums. But really, if you send us a track of what's cool, what’s fresh we would listen to it. We aren't genre specific, it’s more the sound and the arrangement. Of course, in our sets we play a lot of tribal sounds, but we also play techno and progressive, we play whatever sounds cool to us. If it’s different we will sign it, we love different music. With the label, we aren't into signing artists on multi track deals, we want them to be free. Of course, if an artist wants to be with us for many tracks that's great so we have a close connection.

You've got the ‘Sexy By Nature’ event on December 29th. Are you excited?

Yes! The 29th will be our New Year’s Eve. Normally it’s during ADE, last year we sold out 5000 tickets and it was amazing. 5000 people were still there at 5 o’clock in the morning! This year we had AMF, so we didn’t want people to choose where to see us, so we moved Sexy By Nature to Rotterdam on December 29th.

Who else is playing?

The legendary Erick Morillo, alongside Kungs, Vinny James and Marc Volt, with whom we just released a brand-new track: ‘In My Mind’. The second area will be hosted by ‘My Day My After’ with performances by Leroy Styles, Michel de Hey and Rancido.

You recently released your collaboration with Tom Staar on Size Records. It's not your first time on Size - what makes Size so special?

It’s Steve Angello. That guy basically gave us a chance internationally. We played together with Swedish House Mafia at Sensation in Amsterdam and he said we were amazing. Then Steve came to a show of ours on the beach and afterwards said he was blown away. He wanted us for the Swedish House Mafia Masquerade Hotel shows at Pacha Ibiza. The summer had already started so we didn't think it would happen and we thought he was full of shit. But in the car 20 minutes later we received an email from Swedish House Mafia’s manager; Amy Thomson saying: “thanks Steve for the introduction, we need you guys for four dates blah blah blah…”. From then it went very fast, Eric Morillo was in Ibiza all the time and he loved our sets, so we played with him in New York, then Steve took us to LA and then everything started. Steve for us, well we are the same age but, he feels like a father. He literally gave us the opportunity and we are never going to forget that. These kind of moments in your career, you cannot ignore them. Tom Staar has a label and so do we, but when Steve asked for the track we have to say yes, it is Size Records!

So could we expect you to be supporting Swedish House Mafia on their upcoming shows?

I don’t know, it would be a big honor to play for them of course.

Is your track ‘Coffee Shop’ referring to Amsterdam coffee shops or normal coffee shops?

You tell me! That's why we made it like that, it's for your imagination. The Amsterdam Coffeeshops are not for us, since we only drink. But sometimes you do go into the coffee shops with your friends.

Your latest release ‘Born Again’ is pretty unique. What was the inspiration behind it?

It’s actually not so unique, 10 years ago Ricky L released the track ‘Born Again’, there was the Pastaboys remix and the Balearic Soul remix which was the big one. They emailed us 10 years later once the rights became free. They asked us if we wanted to release it again with our own version under our own name, we looked at each other and immediately said yes! We played the original track out so much that we are the ones who made the track big. The original was so good, so we only added some drums, rearranged and remastered it and here it is! We’re so happy people are jumping to it and that we are actually on the track.

‘You Are’, the collaboration with Armin Van Buuren was a great success. You released ‘You Are Too’, was that an alternative version of the initial production?

The thing is, it was just a joke actually. We play ‘You Are’ so many times and in the car, we decided we needed to make a different version just for the sets. We made the new melody with our mouths and then Armin sent back the melody the next day. Then two more phone calls and ‘You Are Too’ was done. After we started playing out, all the fans started screaming that they need it. We actually wanted to use that melody for something else, but after all the fans heard it, we had to put it out like that. It's even going harder than the original version now actually!

Any collaborations or upcoming projects that you can give some hints on?

We just release a track, ‘In My Mind' with Marc Volt. Marc is a really talented guy that we will be supporting on our label a lot.

What can we expect from Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano in 2019?

We are aiming for an amazing time spot at Tomorrowland and hoping to bring back the Sexy By Nature stage again. We hope to make time for more studio, we have so much inspiration - but we also have so many great upcoming shows, so it’s kind of hard to choose. I think our plan is to expand ‘Sexy By Nature’ - we have the radio show and now we make the party bigger, we hope for exclusive venues. But really, we hope to play all the big festivals where we can see all our fans!


You can listen to Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano’s banging new release with Marc Volt below!



 

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Diplo Talks Life, Travel And How He Got His Start
 
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We all know his songs, have seen him play but Diplo recently sat down with the Oxford Union while on tour in the UK and gave an interesting insight into his early days that you've never heard before. He also fields questions from the attendees in a Q&A session discussing both the business and creative side of music. 

The Oxford Union is the world's most prestigious debating society, with an unparalleled reputation for bringing international guests and speakers to Oxford. Since 1823, the Union has been promoting debate and discussion not just in Oxford University, but across the globe.