Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I’m currently just outside of Sydney in the Southern Highlands with my family. There is not a dance music scene here which I find refreshing and rejuvenating. Its only temporary though, I come here every 6 months or so to catch up with family and friends and base myself here around a DJ tour. However I am usually based in Austin Texas for most the year where the dance music scene is very lively and busy. We typically have top tier techno artists throughout the week.
You’ve recently started a label called ‘Mavic Music’ why did you decide to start ‘Mavic Music’?
A little cliche but the honest answer is it’s that next step. I have been djing now for 20 years and full time for 11. I feel as though I have reached that point of knowing just enough to get it off the ground and I’m now in consistent communication with artists I admire who are willing to contribute their music to the label. So far I am really having fun with it.
Mavic Music is about to release an 11 track compilation on May the 24th from a bunch of exciting new names, how did you come to work with these artists and what are your plans for this compilation?
The entire compilation is from Australian based emerging talent who I either met in person over the last couple of years while touring Australia or was introduced to by the people who I had met while on tour. My goal was to uncover the most talented and fresh producers in the country and get them on the label. It took about a year to find out who is who and we trimmed it down from so many great artists to find this roster. The production level is extremely high and we couldn’t be happier. Everyone on the compilation are so friendly and humble. As far as the plans for the release go we are really wanting to shed light on the individual tracks as singles and highlighting the background of the artists who wrote them, hopefully increasing their profiles and bringing some awareness to their individual brands.
How did you go about choosing the tracks for this compilation?
I am very picky about what I play when I dj but If I will play what I hear I will sign it. I only play around 1 in 500 or so tracks I hear when I am shopping or going through demos so to find so many singles to include in the compilation was lucky. I am very surprised at how good they all are. Most the artists specifically wrote tracks for the compilation so I couldn’t believe how accurate the artist were in getting the vibe right for the labels character and my own particular style.
You were named by DJ Mag as one of the 11 emerging artists that you need to hear, did this huge recognition change anything for you?
It did, it was a nice boost and a nice surprise. DJ Mag presence gets allot of respect and notice so its been a great addition to the bio.
Your single ‘Guided Perception’, hit the top thirty in the Beatport chart, what influenced the sound and songwriting for this track?
This was a really fun project and collaboration with the legendary Da Fresh from France. He is an exceptional engineer. Basically he sent me a rough draft of some chords against a skeleton track then I got in there and got the groove going with the synth work he had done and filled it all out. Once we had the hook and all the fun bells and whistles were in place I sent it back to Da Fresh for the final once over. He did the mastering and the final touches and voila. The EP got some great attention from artists like Eats Everything and of course the Beatport chart helped get it out there also. I’m really proud of that project.
How do you usually go about writing music?
My ears love a tight kick and warm rolling bass so I usually slave away at getting a nice full sound in the low end first. I am not sure this is the best way but I can’t stop working from that direction first. Once I have a low end rumble and groove that is satisfying just like that all by itself I will then add some simple synth, drum patterns and then the effects. I only use a few channels in a track, maybe 12 including everything.
What do you think is the key to being successful in the world of techno?
Think about it 24 hours a day, work at it 12 to 16 hours per day and give it about 10 years and hopefully there might also be some lucky breaks mixed in there. It is not easy, you have to work very hard and have a very committed not give up attitude. From a focus and time commitment point of view it’s the equivalent to being a professional athlete.
What programs/instruments do you use to produce and record?
I do everything in Logic, most of my low end is from a simple Moog Lil Phatty, samples wherever I can find them or rip them. One of my favorite tracks that was released on Tronic even has some old 1970’s game show noises in there. I will usually have just one soft synth in there for the top end lead sound. Really simple tracks with big linear dance floor energy, no shoulder shuffle stuff for me haha.
How and when did you first start playing electronic music and how did you learn?
I stared in 1999 after having been a dancer at some classic massive raves in the San Francisco Bay Area. I started as a DJ first and did that as a dream hobby for close to 10 years. In 2008 (late in the game at 30) I bought a copy of Logic. I had no one to teach me I just clicked and clicked and clicked. Even now I think my production flow is quite primitive but the way I do it is care free and allot of fun. I think my music sounds fairly individual to my personality so it’s honest to who I am as a person and my real character.
You’ve been touring Australia this month, what can people expect from a show from you?
Fun in your face foot moving dance floor groovers. No shoulder shuffle stuff!
How do you prepare for each live show?
I usually have 5 songs that I am really excited to play that I have probably been saving for this special moment. I build my set around those tracks about half roughly pre planned and the other half straight from the hip. Honestly I am more focused on mixing and making DJ moves than the actual tracks I play (ewww taboo these days). It’s just that I grew up around really slick hip hop and jungle DJs so creating new fresh one off sounds with the records and the DJ gear is what inspires me the most. I love to mix records together and do fun moves with the DJ gear.
What do you find most challenging and rewarding when on tour?
Getting good sleep (surprise surprise) is for sure the most challenging and knowing that you just knocked it out of the park and rocked these people is for sure the most rewarding. Of course meeting new people and seeing new places is also a huge reason to keep doing it.
What do you like to do away from music?
I lightly exercise a few times per week but honestly aside from that there isn’t anything else at all. Techno is all I think about. I’m completely obsessed and compulsive. I should probably see a therapist lol.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
The tracks that are being sent as demos to Mavic. I seriously cannot believe how good they are. As far as non electronic music I like bands like Tool, the young and immensely talented Greta Van Fleet, Pink Floyd and some rock or metal.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2019?
After this Australia tour I am going to head back to Austin to do some local DJing, write as much music as I can, get my radio show back up and running (sorry guys I have been slacking) and then I am headed to Europe to do some shows in August. I am looking forward to playing a Tronic party in New York at the end of June too.
Any secrets that you care to share?
No but I am transparent, if anyone wants to know anything about whatever I have accomplished so far just get a hold of me and I will tell you what I did. As far as a production tip I highly recommend listening to your mix from another room or stand outside and listen to your mix in your studio. Do 2 or 3 mix downs of each track and then have a couple of non DJ’s pick their favorite mix.
Favorite food and place to hangout?
Australian meat pies are my favorite food and The Lighthouse Bar and Restaurant in Briarcliff where I live just outside of Austin Texas (when I am there) is my favorite place to hang out. Its a fairly country’esq place on the lake but the owner Robin loves techno and he has CDJ2000s and a Pioneer 2000 mixer in the bar and I practice on it after they close whenever I want. Its really great and rather juxtaposed in nature.