Posted by VMan on February 2, 2016
After releasing his last single “Swing,” Marat Leon took the time out to do an interview with FNT. The Baltimore based DJ has a strong focus on house music. In 2015, he’s re-strategized and has been able to put his music center stage. “Swing” recently broke the top 100 on the Indie Dance and Nudisco charts. This is just the start for the solo DJ. Read below to hear more about Marat Leon’s perspective on the scene.
What were the main moments that got you into DJing?
Marat: I would say there were a couple. My brother and I have a pretty big gap in age (10 years) and he started Djing when we first moved to the U.S. He would always practice on his Technics and i wouldn’t leave his side. I never really thought about DJing events, i just loved the music and process so much. When i got to college i finally saved up enough for equipment, and I would just practice in my room all day. As you get older the bills start to pile up and this was a great way to make some extra money, until i got hooked even deeper. I started playing bigger shows bigger crowds, and the feeling was surreal. During that time I got into production and never looked back since.
If you weren’t DJing what you be doing?
Marat:Film and Acting! This was something i was passionate about since middle school and have not stopped pursuing to this day. I hope to be able to do both music and film in the future because i have equal passion for both.
What do you think has changed the most for the self-marketing DJ?
Marat:Mainly the ability to do the marketing yourself unassisted(FREE), and get your music/mixes/talent out there on major platforms. There’s so much potential to be heard or noticed at your fingertips regardless of age or location. its crazy at what pace it’s grown and will continue to grow.
What was different about “Swing” in comparision to previous collaberations and originals?
Marat: I’m really excited for Swing because its my first Label release and Original. My prior tracks and collabs were all remixes. I’m pumped to see where it goes!
What did you take away from last years experience as a DJ/producer?
Marat:I would say major growth not just musically but from an artist and business standpoint. Every year you will come across issues because thats life, but last year there was a lot to over come especially the tail end of 2015. This is already a tough career path for anyone, so going through those situations that i experienced last year, and to overcome them make you stronger mentally as an artist.
What genres are getting bigger and how do you see yourself playing a role in this?
Marat: I would say house, deep house, indie dance/nu disco seem to be evolving into the craze big room was a couple years back. Not saying they weren’t big before i just think they are getting more mainstream and commercial attention, which might sit well with some people, and might not. I try not to label myself under one genre, and I know that’s a huge risk, but I’m passionate about many different genre’s of music. I don’t want to limit myself, and create rules to take away passion.
What are your plans for this year?
Marat: I really want focus on my Original’s I have coming out this year, and establish a solid foundation as an artist. I’m always excited to see everyones reaction when new music comes out.
I think it will be a good year!
Posted by JT on December 3, 2015
Swedish powerhouse producer and DJ, John Dahlbäck, is a name that hasn’t skipped a beat from the spotlight and is back to bless the Armada Music catalogue with his latest single, “Count To Ten,” a stylish blend of disco pop and Melbourne bounce with heart-grabbing vocals. I sat down with Mr. Dahlbäck to talk music, shows, and weird rituals.
Posted by jeffwbaird on August 30, 2015
The best part about being a blogger is finding a new act that you feel like everyone should be listening to, and would be if only they were more widely known. Given the tremendous ease of sharing one’s music these days, though, those kinds of artists are a definite rarity.
The most recent relative unknown to really excite me on a deep level is the 24-year-old Orange County, NY native MNYS. There is nothing exceptionally unique about his work on a sonic or lyrical level, and yet it’s still as engrossing as any pop music being created today. His debut EP, My New York Summer, is a cohesive and engulfing six song effort, produced by the talented and versatile Skinny Atlas (best known for his work with Dylan Owen).
Eager to learn a bit more about the man behind the music, I spoke with MNYS about his process for creating this EP, and what we can expect to hear from him moving forward.
Posted by jrhardy on July 17, 2015
Rising producer and DJ Crowd Cntrl does a nice job with his remix of Bingo Players “Nothing To Say.” I got in touch with Sully and was able to ask him some questions so check it out on what its like to be making music as a college student. However, more importantly check out his “Nothing To Say” remix. Very nicely done and very clean work from Crowd Cntrl. Watch out for this guys in the future.
1) What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me? That’s a tough question to answer because every day is filled with new ideas, opportunities, etc. such as this interview and feature. So as far as a set schedule goes, I don’t really have one unless I’m in class or working at my part-time day job (Guitar Center Sales Associate). However, when I’m not doing school work or working my day-job, its 100% effort into Crowd Cntrl, even if it keeps me up half of the night on exam week.
Currently, I’m working on a lot of original material and I’m digging deep with sound design to develop a type of sound that hasn’t really been “trademarked” yet. If I’m not working on that, I’m usually polishing up remixes, edits, and mixes to keep the hype going around Crowd Cntrl. It’s extremely humbling for me to get all this recent exposure on my two latest remixes, and I only look to continue that success with a lot of hours or work and TONS of coffee lol. I don’t wanna give too much away, but what I can tell you is that this original work doesn’t exactly fit one particular style of electronic music. My goal with my first original project, whether it’s a full blown album or just a 5-7 song EP, is to really spread myself throughout the entire EDM genre spectrum and not follow a style but rather have a hybrid outlook on it.
Besides the music portion of things, my team and I are always thinking of ways to bring fans into my life and really get them involved with what I’m doing to give them a more personal perspective of who I am. Who would I be without everyone supporting me, right? At the end of the day, I’m just like every other 20 year old out there that’s just trying to get his sound heard, so the support is crucial!
2) What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?
My personal advice for anyone looking to pursue this career is built upon 3 things:
1. Get GOOD people to work with and work for you. Whether it’s a collaboration, your manager, or social media team, it’s SO important to make sure that these individuals are willing to put in just as much effort into the overall goals of what you are trying to accomplish.
2. Give yourself mental breaks. This career can become very mentally frustrating when ideas aren’t flowing the way they should be. Give yourself a break for a while and come back to it. It’s weird, but I often find my best ideas when I’m not thinking so hard.
3. Have fun with it. The idea that you can entertain yourself and entertain others through music is awesome so enjoy it no matter what level you get to.
3) Why do you think that your “Nothing To Say” remix is one of your best tracks?
It just gave me the chills the first time I played back the song completed. I remember listening to just the bassline harmony in my studio and I was struggling for days trying to come up with a melody that fit it. I think I was at work actually and I just whipped out that melody progression on one of the pianos we had in the store while listening to it on headphones during my lunch break. From there, I recorded in into the studio computer at work and then developed the squarish synth later that night at home. In addition to that, I think the way the brass section creeps into the drop was pretty cool and adds a nice sustained low-end feeling giving it that “festival” feel. I also think the vocal chop carries the song from the beginning to the end and it’s never too overwhelming but still powerful enough to sit in the mix perfectly.
4) What is it like being a DJ/Producer in college? Do people respect it or hate on it?
Almost all people respect it, obviously you get haters here and there, but I’m sorry I’m not playing top 40 for you unless it has some filthy drop behind it lol.
It’s an experience that has evolved for me over time. I am now currently a double degree at Western Michigan University in both music production/recording arts and business management. It is quite the work load which is where the coffee and long nights come into play but the school work is going hand-in-hand with my personal journey with music all at the same time, so it’s nice and I’m learning a ton as I go. On the DJing aspect of things, being in a large network of people definetely helps a lot and my shows continue to grow in size every time I play. It’s something about being on stage that is just the biggest high in the world for me and I can’t imagine doing anything else then making people move and producing music that I love.
5) Do you DJ your own college parties?
There have been times where we have thrown our own events like tailgates, big apartment complex events, etc. for strictly promotional purposes. However, we mostly we stick to bars, clubs, fraternity/house parties, and a few festivals with our bookings; at least for the past year or so. This fall we are really looking to expand and get to new areas of the midwest region and country and see what can develop from that. Right now we are handling all our own booking but are looking to get into a talent agency in the near future as my popularity and value increases steadily here in the next few months.
6) What makes you unique and separates you from other rising artists?
A lot of artists would answer this question with something along the lines of “my talent”, “my hard work”, “my determination”, yadayadayada, I’ve seen these kind of answers everywhere. SO to be unique, I’m just going to say I would rather have everyone else answer that question for me and just let my music speak for itself. I’m just going to keep doing my thing and finish this un-trademarked sound. The sky will be the limit from there.
Remember to check his remix of “Nothing To Say” out!
Posted by jeffwbaird on April 2, 2015
CJ Holland is back with his latest cover, this time adding some soulful flavor to his acoustic cover of Nick Jonas’ hit “Chains.” As he’s continued to amass a steady following and work towards his debut album, we sat down with him to learn more about his work and what we can expect next.
Catch the interview after the jump!
READ ON >>
Posted by Middy on October 17, 2014
Many artists go dark after an album, or rely on singles and remixes from it to keep the buzz alive. Not Andrew Bayer. He has been hard at work releasing more club oriented tracks like “Once Lydian“, “Bullet Catch” and the “England” EP. With his musical training, his ability to write and produce is evident with each individual song and as a collaborator with Above & Beyond.
The last time we spoke to Andrew Bayer it was around the time of the release of his sophomore artist album “If It Were You, We’d Never Leave“. Now one and half years later, one the eve on the biggest show of his career, joining Above & Beyond for ABGT100 at Madison Square Garden, we had the chance to chat with the DC based producer about his feelings on the show, how life has been over the past year and a half and what he has coming up. Read on for the interview.
Featured, Interviews | FNT Exclusive: Maxim Talks Buying 50 Bras, NYC Memories, Passion For Music & More
Posted by Middy on October 2, 2014
No I did not interview the magazine, though I wouldn’t have minded that. Maxim the frontman of The Prodigy has had an illustrious career as part of arguably the most influential dance trio in history, but he has not stopped there, creating an impressive solo career alongside The Prodigy that includes 2 albums and a host of EPs. Maxim DJ has taken off for him as we wait for news about the impending Prodigy album and whatever twisted, genius work will come from the trio.
A couple weeks back I had the pleasure of sitting down with Maxim, the rowdy frontman of The Prodigy. Meeting up with him mid day at a studio, Mophonics in the West Village, Maxim was in the midst of a bender of a week, mixing it up with old friends on the town, while here to work on music and talk music. Sitting very calmly, sporting large black sunglasses and potentially a hangover, one can never tell with these guys, he cooly answered my questions and undoubtedly the ones that preceded mine and those which were to follow. Listen to his most recent tunes below and read on for the interview.
FNT: Since we are in New York, what’s you first memory of New York?
Maxim: First memory here in New York professionally was when we [The Prodigy] played here. I just instagramed a picture of it, The Limelight club. It’s not actually a club anymore, its an exhibition hall or something. We played there in ’91, I just drove past it and was like “wow that’s the Limelight”. My best memory of New York. It was a really odd night. It was one of our first times in America and it was a challenging time for us, it was new, it was exciting, it was fresh.
FNT: Was it packed?
Maxim: Yeah it was packed. It was a weird night because there were a lot of transvestites in there. People were all dressed up. Yeah it was a good party, we hung out at the bars chatting to people, yeah it was a good time. Then actually we came back and recorded the video for “Everybody In The Place” here. I think that was in ’92 as well. Kind of the video I look back at and think a bit cringey, but everyone has moments in their life where think, what am I doing there?
FNT: Since we are in one of these studios, what is the first thing you go for when you walk into one?
Maxim: The first thing I always look at are the speakers. That is the first thing I always look at, because you want to know what kind of weight and sound it is going to be pushing out. You can always judge a studio on its speakers.
FNT: Turning to your music, do you see any similarities in that and what you do / did with The Prodigy?
Maxim: Only the fact that it is me. That’s it. My personality doesn’t change. My personality is going to be the same when I am in The Prodigy as it is when I do my solo stuff. But obviously doing solo stuff it is going to be 100% me. It is like a parent dressing a child, the child has a little bit of input, the parent has a bit of input. That’s The Prodigy. I am the child and I have gone on and dressed myself. I have put on these odd clothes and I am quite comfortable in them.
I used to wear some odd outfits even when I was in The Prodigy. If you look back at old photos I used to wear kilts and skirts and stuff. I actually made a skirt it was covered in pins to the front and it was made out of black material and people used to say “Where did you get that? It looks like Jean Paul Gaultier”. I wore it for years on stage. I made a jacket out of bras. It was made of 50 bras.
FNT: Where did you get the bras?
I went to the store and bought 50 bras. It was probably an odd moment for the store. What’s this guy coming in and buying 50 bras? They were satin bras, so when you see it on stage it almost looks like a parachute kind of jacket because I cut the bra straps and the bra straps are hanging all over. I cut the cups in half and layered them, so it has satin cups all over this jakcet. Then the straps are hanging all over.
FNT: How long did it take you to make that?
Maxim: A couple of days. I wore it for 6 months and then I threw it in the crowd, so somebody has that coat.
FNT: How would you compare the experience between the two, musically, live etc?
Maxim: Playing music live is the ultimate thing. DJing comes in a close second because I am writing my own music and playing it but I am behind the decks and I am not a behind the decks guys, I am a stage guy. However, it is good to take a back seat where I can put Ciana Blaze out front. She is the energy of me, she is the performance of me. In some respects I enjoy it a bit because it puts her in the limelight and puts me in the shadows and she deserves to be there as a good MC and performer. It is more about her than it is about me really.
FNT: So I guess would this be taking We Are Noize on the road?
Maxim: Yes and no. I have changed the approach to the whole We Are Noize thing because it became a bit confusing for people. “You are Maxim DJ, what’s We Are Noize?” Well I am part of a collective We Are Noize, we are just producers.
FNT: But do you perform as We Are Noize?
Maxim: No just as Maxim DJ, so I had to reevaluate the whole We Are Noize as the label which I put the music out. So predominantly it is just Maxim DJ for my music and the producers are writing music with me, but it all comes through as Maxim DJ featuring Ciana Blaze and eventually it may become just Ciana Blaze on We Are Noize. I just simplified the whole approach. It is just DJing during Prodigy shows and performances, I slot the DJing in between it and just keep on writing tracks and Ciana performs her tunes. Eventually Ciana will be able to do her own show without me because that is her goal, so let’s see.
FNT: Do you ever see a point where you might retire?
Maxim: Never. For what? People who retire, don’t enjoy what they are doing. A footballer retires because he isn’t capable of playing anymore. Music is a totally different thing. You can always create, you can always write music, your brain doesn’t slow down. You take on different inspirations, but your whole ethic, your belief in music, it always stays the same. You don’t start writing metal at 21 and as you get older you start writing orchestral music or country. No, no, no. You just have to stay on top of what you are doing and have the same belief. You have to stay on top of what people are putting out there and be current and original. This is what I love, what I like to do, I like to write music. The performance side will change. I still have energy, I am still fit, I still perform in the Prodigy. Who knows how long that will last. As soon as my knees start to give away then I think I will call it a day. Djing ::chuckles:: I think I will be performing forever. Retire, to do what? Gardening? Potting plants? Flower arranging? Go and work in the library? No I just write music and that is what I like to do.
FNT: What is something people might not know about you?
Maxim: I am an artist as well. Check out my website mm-gallery.com.
FNT: Do you sell your art?
Maxim: Yeah, but I have stopped selling my art for a while now until I start painting again. Another point I think many people don’t know about me is that I grew up through reggae music. A lot of people think The Prodigy started and that was the first thing I ever did musically. No when I was 13, 14 I used to MC on sound systems and that’s where I honed my skills as a MC. A lot of people think that “Firestarter” was the first Prodigy tune. The young kids they don’t really look back 10 years, “The Prodigy who are they, who are The Prodigy”?
We tried to bring the party scene from the UK over to the US and they weren’t interested. Now you have the “EDM” scene. It’s a start. As time goes on it will fragment.
It’s like a flower that is starting to bud. Eventually it will grow into a tree and have many branches on it.
FNT: … And everybody will have a place.
Maxim: Exactly. That is a good note to end on.