Will He Make The DJ Mag Top 100 This Year? Shogun Exclusive Interview
The past few years have been like a roller coaster ride for you and your rise in DJ land seems unstoppable. Five years ago, would you ever have thought you would be traveling the world playing for amazing crowds like you do now?
Hi guys, thanks for having me. What’s happened since I starting DJing and producing has definitely been a dream come true. I think it’s safe to say that anyone with a passion for music dreams about being able to play to huge crowds of fans who love your tracks and know every word. I’ve been very fortunate that this has happened to me in a relatively short period of time. It’s also been amazing to play alongside some of the DJs I’ve looked up to, like Armin, Ferry, Dash Berlin, etc.
How did you establish your good relationship with Armada Music?
Basically, I just sent them a track I had done and they loved it and signed it right away. Ever since then, we’ve had a great relationship and they’ve supported all of my tracks.
Skyfire was one of the biggest trance hits last year. What would you say is the magic touch behind its success?
I put a lot of time into Skyfire — it took about 3 months to complete. It’s a very personal track for me with a lot of meaning behind it so I wanted it to feel special to people, more than just a club song. It’s about the aftermath of war, the effects of bombing on a city and how the sky opens up with fire during that. ‘Lotus’ is the follow-up track and it’s about starting fresh and seeing the beauty and calm after the storm–being able to rebuild. So I think the fact that there is a meaning behind the track, a story, is what makes it so popular. Not to mention that it does work really well on the dance floor as well 🙂
You are a DJ and producer from California and the whole EDM scene is clearly blowing up state side lately. Do you feel trance has gotten a larger following due to that?
Yes, I definitely think so. In LA, we have a lot of the big clubs supporting the trance scene, like Exchange LA with it’s ‘Awakening’ night which I’ll be performing at alongside Norin & Rad and Emma Hewitt. Almost every night is sold out there. That can be said across the country to NY and Miami as well, everybody is craving for the more emotional, uplifting side of dance music and we trance artists can bring that to them.
How do you like dubstep and other forms of bass music? Do you see yourself producing such styles of music in the future?
I’m a trance purist through and through, so I don’t see myself ever experimenting with dubstep. I don’t knock people who like it though as there is a place for every type of music. I do like minimal and could see myself doing a chillout album.
You are known for a lot of vocal anthems, but trance music has been known to be mainly instrumental. Is a vocal needed for you to make a track more deep and emotional?
The vocals I choose for my tracks are usually very dark, deep and emotional. The songwriters bring the storytelling aspect to the track and listeners can interpret it any way they choose. I like that about vocal trance because it allows people to sing along and really connect to the track in a personal way. I don’t think vocals are needed to make the track emotional though, since Skyfire and Lotus are very minimal on vocal elements and they tell a great story.
You were ranked #122 in the DJ Mag listing last year. If you would make the Top 100 this year, do you feel it would make an impact on your career? Or doesn’t it make a real difference in the end? What are your thoughts on it? Clearly you haven’t been shy of any gigs!
I do hope to make the Top 100 list this year as it’s an amazing milestone in any DJ’s career. It helps in the types of gigs you get booked, how often you travel and where the gigs are located. I definitely want to play more North American gigs and the Top 100 will help with that. So if you haven’t voted yet, please support your favorite trance artists so that we can keep touring in cities near you! 🙂
Do you prefer the epicness of large scale festivals or the intimacy of smaller clubs?
Both are equally cool. I do prefer club gigs because you usually get a longer set time and can take the crowd on more of a journey. It’s also cool to be up close and personal with the fans–at a festival, sometimes they’re pretty far away from the stage, behind the barricades. Festivals are awesome in that you are reaching a much larger audience than normal and you probably walk away with a few more fans. It’s also nice to meet up with your peers in the festival environment and catch up on what everyone’s been doing.
Who is your favorite artist outside of EDM and why?
Linkin Park – I’ve always liked the mix of industrial, metal music with electronic.
What is your drink of choice before you get on stage?
Red Bull and Grey Goose vodka.
Is there a final thing you would like to say to our readers?
Thanks so much for your support, see you at a show soon!