Sharing the stage across the globe with renowned stars such as Aly & Fila, Tritonal, Chris Lake, Frankie Bones, Grum, and Fehrplay, is just one of the many accomplishments achieved by Galestian, and we had the pleasure of chatting to him about how he reached the top!
1 — Hey! So let’s start simple, when did you start DJing and what attracted you to it?
I started DJing in 2001 at house parties, university parties, and playing for family and friends. My first real gig was DJing at my cousin’s birthday party. I literally bought my gear that same day and figured out how to use it an hour or two before. Sometimes the best way to learn is by immersion!
But, that was just one small step towards the grander scheme of things. I was massively blown away when I saw a video of Italian DJ/producer Mauro Picotto playing at a Dutch festival called “Trance Energy” sometime in the early 2000s. I’d been in love with electronic music for years and years by then, initially discovering it in the ‘90s, but I had no idea that there was so much power behind it to fill stadiums and festivals.
I remember when I’d have random conversations at parties. Surely, the subject of music would come up, and someone might ask, “Oh, so what kind of music do you listen to?” And I’d say something like “trance, house, techno” and back then in the US, it was super underground. Most average people had never heard of it before, and those that had would automatically follow that up with, “Nice! Ever been to a rave?”
I had no idea what raves even were back then. I just loved this music so much and already had for years. Finding out that DJs play this stuff in front of such large crowds – well, I was immediately attracted to it without even giving it a second thought.”
I think it’s natural to want to share things that bring you joy. Is it more fun to ride a rollercoaster ride by yourself, or with friends who can share the same experience with you? I feel the same about music. There is so much amazing music out there – it’s impossible to discover it all.
3 – And what’s the fun in holding it for yourself?
I see DJing as an opportunity to share great music with people. Music transcends all words and boundaries and connects us in a way that nothing else can. The sharing aspect of it, plus the massive connection it brings, how it unites us all together – gotta say that those two things are what I love most.
4 – You had two releases this year on Perfecto Black – “Rituals” and “The Gathering”. Can you tell us some more about that?
Sure, so I started “Rituals” when I was in Japan in late 2016/early 2017. I’ve always been intrigued by spiritual mysticism, and really felt like the coming together of that track put me in a state of flow that was special. The song has lots of tribal elements in it, plus around that time, I’d had a conversation with another traveler about how important our daily rituals are – how the little actions we do amount to massive results when you compound them with days upon days of your life. Those rituals, or maybe calling them “habits” is another way to look at it, could have both negative or positive results. Smoking cigarettes once or twice in a year probably won’t do much, but make that a daily ritual and watch how the negative effects on your body compound over time. It’s the same with positive rituals such as meditation, diet, exercise, practicing gratitude. So, “Rituals” was a very fitting title for that tune.
5 — And how about “The Gathering”?
“The Gathering” was inspired by my travels through Bali and India. Again, going back to the theme of mysticism, I definitely feel like the process of creation put me into that state of flow. The concepts for that tune came together while I was traveling, but it wasn’t until I got back to LA when I finished that one. “Rituals” was my debut release on Perfecto Black. When “The Gathering” happened, it was a clear follow-up.
6 — Do you have a number one gig you have played?
That’s hard to say! Too many good times, couldn’t single one out. Surely the best is yet to come.
7 — What is the most common genre you mix or do you enjoy switching them up?
At this moment, I’m really into the Melodic House and Techno that’s coming out of Germany. I’d say my sound is mostly along the Progressive House route, but all of my influences are sort of mixed in there – Deep House, Techno, Trance. There’s something to love about all of them. Nowadays, I’m mostly into lower-BPM stuff around 120-128BPM that’s deep, melodic, and progressive.
Sure, I do. I try to feature at least one of my own songs on Global Entry Radio for each episode. It airs every first Tuesday of each month on di.fm‘s Progressive Channel. It’s also syndicating to almost 20 stations worldwide now, so that’s something to be really happy and grateful for. You can also search and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Music and Spotify.
9 — What is your favourite venue and why?
Depends where we’re talking about! In LA, I would say Exchange LA. It’s one of the best clubs in the world, great sound system, visuals are top-notch.
In Tokyo, I loved playing at Sankeys. Beautiful venue.
I celebrated my birthday in Singapore a few years ago at Zouk before they moved over to their new location. So many rooms in one venue, it’s like multiple stand-alone clubs in one.
I haven’t played in Ibiza yet, but I loved Privilege and Amnesia. The vibe, the people, massive venues that are like their own little town while the party’s on.
10 – Finally, do you have a favourite mix online we can listen to?
Right now, I’d definitely say my guest mix for Paul Oakenfold’s Planet Perfecto radio show. It was an honor and a pleasure to be Paul’s guest for episode #383. The man is an absolute legend in every sense of the word. I showcase a lot of my own productions plus some of my favourites from earlier this year. It’s up on my SoundCloud page.
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Exclusive Interview: Paul Mayson Delves Into His Debut Album ‘One Life’
Paul Mayson‘s first-ever album, ‘One Life,’ is like a special mix of his love for House music, blended with different kinds of sounds and cool collaborations from artists all over the world. You definitely don’t want to miss this interview!
1 — With the release of your debut album ‘One Life,’ what are your expectations for how listeners will connect with the music?
My goal was to showcase my story and my sound. And for it to be an uplifting, positive, and summery album. Hopefully, it feels like that! It’s a collection of songs made at the moment, to make you feel happy and free. It’s about embracing life, the good things and the bad. And about doing what makes you happy.
2 — You’ve teamed up with a diverse range of international artists on this material. Please let us know how these collaborations came to be.
It was really exciting taking elements from different genres, working with a group of great artists who come from very different backgrounds, and bringing all of these sounds and flavors together on one project. A lot of artists I meet myself, reach out to the people I’m interested in. I often travel abroad to work on music together and do sessions in London or LA. Sometimes collabs can also happen through the label or the publisher, but ultimately it’s great to have an artist-to-artist relationship.
3 – What compelled you to emphasize the themes of life, freedom, and diversity in this album?
I’m very passionate about House music culture and the way it started. Which was all about positivity and celebrating life together. I love that message and think the soulful, feel-good element of House music is what always really attracted me to the genre. And to music in general, including other genres like Soul and RnB.
A few of the songs (like “Tell Me How” and “I Want You”) were basically made during one big jam session. It’s me just trying out completely different sounds, textures, and rhythms and experimenting with live drums, guitars, and whatever I feel like. Letting go of any rules connected to dance music allows for a really fresh approach to the album songs.
6 – How does the artwork complement the album’s concept?
It emphasizes the feel-good element and the overall message of the album. Life is in front of you, it’s there for the taking. You’re in the hallway, step into the light and embrace life.
7 – Will there be another amazing music video like “Have It All,” dropping in the near future?
We released a really cool art piece and visualizer for the album which I’m very excited about!
8 – Given your ambition to push boundaries within the Dance genre, do you think the bunch of producers already out there could make it tough for you to really stand out?
I think individuality is key. Doing something you’re passionate about. Telling your own story. If you go into that process, the outcome will be unique. Not following trends and doing my own thing is what helps me stand out and allows me to be ahead and I try to keep pushing myself.
9 – Among your studio essentials, what’s the item that you consider the cornerstone of your setup?
Quite a lot of my work is digital. I carry my laptop around and can produce and write anywhere with it, whether it’s my home studio, the studio in Amsterdam, a hotel, or even an airport. That’s what makes it flexible and international! Just being able to work anywhere and get the creative process going. At home I also love my Adam A77x monitors and I also use a Prophet synth.
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Exploring “My Friends”: Tobtok Talks Creative Process And More!
In this exclusive interview, Swedish producer Tobtok discusses all the details about his latest single as part of the ongoing countdown to the upcoming ‘My Friends’ EP. This is a collaborative effort with farfetch’d that you definitely shouldn’t overlook.
1 — Congratulations on the release of “My Friends.” Please tell us more about the influences and musical style that shaped this cool track.
Thanks! This tune has taken inspiration from bits and pieces of tracks I’ve been into over the last 10 years, everything from Daft Punk to Fred Again. It contains a lot of micro samples and vocal lines that are in a similar vein as old French House records, but we also wanted to experiment with the current UK rave sound, which we think ended up in a pretty unique and interesting way.
2 — How did you and farfetch’d navigate the creative process together, especially when faced with differing ideas or disagreements?
We were kind of on the same page with most things to be fair. Jerry from farfetch’d is a very creative guy and he loves to bash out new ideas, which worked well for me to develop into full songs. We worked on every track together in my studio and finished them off together. Of course, we had some different ideas about certain things but since none of us had a big ego, we just compromised. I think when you like the same kind of music, you usually think quite alike.
3 — What sets this collaboration apart from your previous singles?
I think this is possibly the strongest single from the EP. It feels catchy and is super simple yet not too boring. It also has Jerry’s voice in it which is unique to any other of our tracks.
4 — Can you share any funny anecdotes about specific moments while crafting “My Friends”?
We have hidden a few wacky voice notes in it as a sort of ambiance. It can be heard in the second verse or whatever you wanna call it. You clearly hear Jerry laughing about something, but I can’t remember what it was.
It’s track no.3 from our ‘My Friends’ EP which has a total of 6 tracks. It was released via Perfect Havoc on 29th September.
6 — What are your emotions when your music receives recognition and praise from other producers in the industry?
It’s always so much fun to get praise from your peers and colleagues. These people live and breathe music and probably hear way more stuff than the average listener, so I guess they tend to be less impressed by music.
Haha most definitely. I started out with French House which evolved into Nu-Disco. I later jumped on the Tropical House train (quite early on in my defense). Left that and tried something cooler with my track “ABER,” and from there, it’s been more of a mix between UK and Deep House.
8 — Is there any specific music genre you’re eager to explore?
Old School Disco and Soul. I’m a big fan of the 70s as a whole, that’s why I’ve bought a few vintage Roland pieces in my studio and a Rhodes Piano.
9 — Considering the global nature of music today, are there any international artists you’d love to collaborate with?
I love Jungle right now, for reasons made quite obvious in the previous question. They’ve mastered this cool retro 70’s/Motown sound and yet managed to make it sound fresh somehow. I’d love to just hang out in the studio with them and see what they do.
10 — As we conclude, do you feel that there’s a certain formula that artists can follow to produce chart-topping hits?
Nowadays, it’s all about doing something that stands out from what everyone else is doing and probably also adding a sprinkle of nostalgia and familiarity into something. A good example is the new Peggy Gou record which is a massive hit that takes inspiration from ATB but puts it in a new and interesting context. It doesn’t hurt to have a massive TikTok following either lol.
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From Drummer To EDM Producer: Kouss Opens Up About “Can’t Go Back”
You must read this interview with Kouss! He used to rock it as a badass drummer in the Stellar Revival band, but now he’s spilling the beans about how he switched things up and got into making electronic dance music (EDM). The spotlight is now on his latest track, “Can’t Go Back.” Learn more here.
1 — Putting your sound into words, how would you convey the mood and sensations that your music evokes to someone unfamiliar with it?
My music aims to be an uplifting and thoughtful blend of Progressive House and Dance-Pop. Even though the music is very dancefloor-friendly, the songwriting is very Pop-forward. I also love mixing live instrumentation with electronic production to create layered recordings. As a drummer, having live elements mesh with the electronic really brings out a unique texture.
2 — Your transition from Rock music with Stellar Revival to EDM is quite remarkable. Can you tell us more about it?
The transition from Rock to EDM is an exciting and natural creative evolution. I’ve always been passionate about electronic music, so finally being able to fully immerse myself in the genre as a producer and songwriter has been fulfilling. My background as a touring Rock drummer also gives me a unique musical sensibility that I try to incorporate into Kouss Records.
3 — As a drummer, you had to adapt to a different genre. How did you translate your rhythmic background into this new realm?
When approaching any genre, especially Dance music, I’m utilizing my background in percussion to create grooves and drum patterns. The drum parts still come from the same creative place whether I’m sitting behind a drum set or drawing with a MIDI controller. I will say that with EDM I find myself focused more on groove and restraint.
4 — In what ways have Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta played a role in shaping the sound of your new single “Can’t Go Back”?
Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta definitely influenced the melodic and atmospheric vibes in “Can’t Go Back.” Their music motivates and challenges me to produce massive soundscapes on the highest level. They’re all melodic magicians, and I continue to be inspired by their work. I also feel like I put my own spin on “Can’t Go Back.” It’s almost like the line between EDM and Pop became blurrier on this track.
5 — What’s the story behind the song title?
“Can’t Go Back” is generally about moving forward and not dwelling on the past. For me personally, it’s about evolving as an artist and person.
I was introduced to Anna soon after starting the Kouss project by “Can’t Go Back” co-producer and dear friend Phil Barnes. The second I heard Anna sing I knew I wanted to work with her. She’s an incredible songwriter and an awesome human. It was an organic collaboration that we’re both stoked about. Definitely be on the lookout for more collaborations with Anna in the future!
7 — How do you aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through this single?
I aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through the authenticity and musicality of “Can’t Go Back.” It’s about delivering that special feeling to the listener. We crafted this recording from a place of passion as artists. The lyrics are relatable and cathartic, and Anna’s vocals draw you into this sonic world we created. We also tap into some nostalgia with the Big Room House vibe. But overall the goal was to give listeners an authentic musical experience that resonates with them, regardless of what genre they usually listen to.
Yes, “Can’t Go Back” mixes electronic production with live drumming and live guitars. The live instruments give the song a dynamic texture and human feel. Not every Kouss song will have live instruments, but it’s definitely a major part of the debut EP coming in 2024.
9 — Looking ahead, how do you envision your music style evolving?
I want to continue bridging the gap between organic and electronic. Creatively, I think there’s a lot of meat on that bone. I also don’t want to limit myself to a single genre or style. I love all types of music and ultimately hope to develop a sound that draws from those diverse influences and experiences.
10 — Lastly, reflecting on your journey so far, what’s been the most memorable or rewarding moment of your music career?
Working with talented musicians and creators who are excited about my music has been humbling and inspiring. I didn’t expect it, but the reaction to “Can’t Go Back” has been both unexpected and validating. It’s so cool to see the song played in clubs, gyms, and cars. I’m truly fortunate to share my passion for music and connect with listeners who share the same passion.