How did you get your start DJing?
I didn’t really take DJing very seriously until I moved to Utah. Before that I had just messed around making music and didn’t see DJing as something to do for a living. But once I moved to Utah was when I began to do shows. I remember the first time I played an actual show a club manager offered me to play. I asked him, “Hey man give me a crack at Monday night” and that was in 1995. So yeah ,that was my first legitimate paying gig. I mean, I had done lots of house parties and parties for friends before that but my first well-paying gig was in Salt Lake City on a Monday night. I think moving to Utah was cool because up until that point in my life I just assumed the entire world was listening to house music. I didn’t realize that it was some weird and freaky phenomenon that was only happening in Chicago, Detroit and London. I didn’t realize that it was still such a small world; so leaving Chicago and all that was going on there inspired me to do my own thing. I think if I had stayed in Chicago I would have just been another guy who went out to clubs every week and bought vinyls at record stores on the weekends. I would have been very casual about it.
Seeing as how you saw house music back then only really existing in places like Chicago, how do you feel now that electronic music has gotten so popular these last couple years?
It’s just wild to see it explode onto the mainstream. It’s cool because I always knew it was going to have its time, but its amazing to see it actually happen.
Did you expect it to get as big as it has, what with events like the Electric Daisy Carnival, Nocturnal and HARD?
I didn’t see it happening over here in America. I didn’t think it would ever get this big here in the U.S., and it’s because of a lack of support. We don’t have any press or any radio coverage or anything really. I mean, this whole movement is completely grassroots. It goes against everything that Clear Channel stands for. These guys own the airwaves and the touring venues so it’s really interesting to see the music do as well as it’s done. I expected it to get big because so many people have a passion for it and it’s been successful in other countries around the world, but I didn’t see it getting this big. I mean, standing in front of that crowd at EDC last year, I think there was something like 80,000 or 90,000 people on Saturday night. The main field was basically at capacity and playing in front of that crowd was truly amazing.
So, a few years ago [2008ish] you worked with Deadmau5 and put out some really great tracks [I Remember]. What was it like working with Deadmau5? How has working with him affected or changed your own musical process?
It was cool. I think we have a lot of respect for one another and it was cool to actually collaborate on something. At that time he was still coming up as a DJ and wasn’t as established. But it was cool, I just kind of hit him up and he was open to it. It was a lot of fun and I’m sure we’ll get together again soon to work on something. Now it seems like both our schedules are so ridiculous that we just don’t have the time.
What other DJs out there today would you want to work with?
Well, I just collaborated with Tiesto on his new album Dynasty. I thought that was really cool because in our world he is still the biggest act that is out there so it was cool to work on a track with him called “Only You.” But if there’s anyone out there that’s in my musical world I just kind of email them and see if they want to try and put something together.
The list of remixes you’ve made is just incredible. What do you look for in a song when you are remixing?
It just has to be a good song. The tempo has to be somewhat in the same area because if it’s too slow then it makes it kind of impossible to remix. The vocals would kind of sound like chipmunks. It has to be the right speed and it has to be a good song. I mean, if it’s not a good song then I don’t want to be putting a good deal of time and energy in retooling it for the dance floor.
I remember a few months ago I had the chance to interview 2ManyDJs and I asked them the same question. They told me, “the song already has to be amazing so that we don’t have to do much.” Would you agree with that?
It makes it easier, but there are a lot of songs that are amazing. Take for example some of the new Britney Spears songs that I’ve worked. The songs themselves are amazing, but the way they’re produced like the beats and textures around the song weren’t all that cool. They weren’t produced in any way that I thought was cool or in any way that would make my DJ crate. I mean, there are a lot of amazing songs that are produced very poorly. That’s actually what makes it easy is that there are so many amazing songs but they’re produced so poorly and all I have to do is flush out the good song.
EDC is coming up in a couple months. Can we expect another epic set from you at the L.A. Coliseum?
Yeah, yes you can. I am really excited for EDC. I think it’s one of the biggest and best parties in the world right now, and to have it here in my home state of California is awesome. So yeah, I’d say that I’m all about it. I’m putting a lot of time and energy into the way I’m going present my music that night.