Our latest artist interview showcases Darin Epsilon who has just released four new tracks on Perfecto Black, Perspectives Digital and Sudbeat Music.
1. Hi Darin, how are you? It’s been a while since we chatted with you and there is a lot going on in the Darin Epsilon camp. You have 3 new releases out at the moment. Let’s start with your ‘Outliers’ track which most will know you’ve written with Cid Inc. Henri’s worked a lot with Perspectives in the past as a remixer but this is the first time you’ve collaborated on a track together. Tell us about the track and how the project came about, and was there ever a thought to release it anywhere other than Perspectives?
The idea was originally pitched back in 2013. Hard to believe it’s been so long ago. Cid works as the mastering engineer for Perspectives so we bounce emails back and forth every couple weeks.
I believe I started with about 1 minute completed and then passed it over to get his feedback. He really liked what he heard but was facing a severe case of writers’ block at the time. Fast forward a few months later and his father passed away, so we didn’t get a chance to finally wrap things up until mid-2014.
We sent the track to Hernan Cattaneo and Nick Warren right before their show at Burning Man, and were hoping to get it signed to Sudbeat or Hope, until Hernan mistakenly charted it as a Perspectives track.
‘Outliers’ is a very personal project for me, so it actually makes the most sense to be releasing it on my own imprint. We selected Petar Dundov as the remixer and Beatport will be hosting an official remix contest for aspiring producers in April, so things are looking very positive at the moment.
2. You’ve got Petar Dundov on the remix. Tell us a bit about the thinking behind having him remix the project.
I absolutely love his remix of ‘Ocean Machine’ by Falko Brocksieper and that was the track that got me thinking “this is the right guy to do it.” His sound and vision are on point, combining intricate melodies and atmospheric pads with a modern Techno sound.
3. You’ve also remixed Omid 16B for Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat Music, another Beatport Must Hear track for the week. Tell us a bit about this one. Omid’s name certainly carries some mystique. Was it a daunting task remixing a producer with such a storied history?
This was a rather difficult one to work on because the remix pack only contained 3 parts, only 2 of which I brought into my version. Omid’s name is well recognized and respected in the industry so I was definitely feeling the pressure. Fortunately I work well under stress and Omid gave his support right away upon hearing my interpretation.
4. On the subject of remixes, I’m sure you get a lot of offers. What do you look for when choosing a project?
I have to hear at least one element that I can improve upon or offer another twist. In certain cases I keep very few of the original parts and write a completely new track. On the other hand, when I remixed ‘Something Else’ by Jos & Eli, I worked with only the original parts but brought the song into a much deeper and darker direction.
Other factors I take into consideration are how well established the artist or label is and where they are located. I always think long term and what makes most sense for me several years down the road.
5. You’re also back on Paul Oakenfold’s Perfecto Records this week. You seem to have found a home there as this is your fourth appearance on the label. It’s a production you wrote with Canadian producer and vocalist Amber Long who has been a part of several big records of late. Tell us how you met Amber and how the project came about. Was it something you wrote with a bigger label like Perfecto in mind and do you enjoy working with vocals?
There’s an interesting story behind this one because it was originally written as an instrumental track for Max Graham’s Cycles 6 compilation. He wasn’t able to work with it at the time so I thought of adding vocals to give the track a stronger and more universal appeal.
Amber and I had never met in person but I was familiar with her collaborations with Kastis Torrau and Kassey Voorn. It turns out her voice was exactly what the song needed. We sent the track to Perfecto and got it signed right away.
6. You’ve certainly been busy in terms of gigs and we’ve seen some pretty amazing footage of your shows of late. Which ones have been your favorites and where are you still dying to play that you haven’t yet?
Indonesia was a recent highlight of mine and I’ll never get tired of playing in Argentina. The crowds there are just the absolute best. I’m still dying to play in Hungary, Romania, South Africa, Lebanon, UK, and Australia. Australia is the only continent left that I haven’t explored.
7. In the United States you’re one of the best known progressive artists and DJs. You relocated to California several years ago where the scene is perhaps the strongest in the country. The United States as a whole can’t compare to South America for example but do you see the sound in America growing?
I do see signs of progress in the US. Deep House is a HUGE draw lately. For example, I recently attended the sold out Anjunadeep show at Exchange. I certainly don’t think that could have been possible a year or two ago. I’ve also seen just about every one of my favorite artists perform either in large venues like Exchange and Avalon or smaller, more intimate ones like Couture and Sound Nightclub.
San Francisco has recently become one of my favorite places to play. I also had strong support for my shows in Chicago and Miami last year.
8. When you think of artists who are deemed ‘progressive’ there aren’t many that come to mind in North America. Who else stands out for you and who is part of the new breed that we’ll be hearing a lot about soon?
Some of these guys are already being talked about quite a bit but I’m hearing great things from Tim Penner, Dustin Nantais, Nick Stoynoff, and Dan Sieg. I’ve been buying a lot of music from Jon Charnis lately. I wouldn’t exactly classify him as Progressive, but his records always tend to find their way into my sets.
9. Most fans of the contemporary progressive sound cite producers from Argentina and Israel for inspiration. Where else in the world do you see collectives of great artists forming?
I’ve been getting a lot of demos lately from Dubai, Colombia, India, and Japan. Also Eastern Europe, Russia, and Australia, but those places have had their share of the spotlight in the past.
10. Your sound as a producer has evolved a lot just in the last two years. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
I’ve always found the process of programming and shaping sounds to be rather difficult. It’s not something that comes naturally and can be quite challenging since I never had formal training in audio engineering. Writing melodies and hooks from scratch is the part that’s easy for me.
When you hit a creative block, the best thing to do is anything BUT music. Go out for a walk, wash some dishes, exercise, or play your favorite video game. Just get your mind off of the track. As soon as you come back with fresh ears, you’ll hear the project in a completely new and different way.
11. You’ve yet to release an artist album or mix compilation. These must be projects you think about. Will we see a Darin Epsilon album or mix comp at some point in the near future?
It’s quite risky and time-consuming to do a full artist album or mix compilation, but when Global Underground, Renaissance, and Balance come knocking, then of course 🙂
12. What are you currently working on? What can we expect to hear from you for the remainder of 2015?
Well, I just had 3 big releases, so I’m sorting through various remix requests. I’d like to complete another EP before the end of the month. I also have the Beatport remix contest to look forward to next month.
13. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound. What advice do you have for them?
Pick and choose a handful of your favorite production tools and learn them inside and out. It’s better to know 3 to 5 VSTs really well versus 10 that you don’t know how to navigate. Constantly experiment and don’t be afraid to take risks, even if you think no one else will be into it.
You can check out all of Darin’s recent releases on his Beatport Artist page located: here
3/18 – Perspectives on friskyRadio
3/19 – Kingdom w/ Paul Oakenfold (SXSW 2015) – Austin, TX
3/20 – Kingdom w/ Hernan Cattaneo B2B Nick Warren (SXSW 2015) – Austin, TX
4/15 – Perspectives on friskyRadio
4/18 – Gorilaz City Club – Mexico City, Mexico
4/24 – Audio – San Francisco, CA
5/20 – Perspectives on friskyRadio
9/04 – Bloque Festival – Kavala, Greece
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