We’re not going to lie; this Dada Life tour has A LOT in store. Serious cases of missed-show regret will be real in the following weeks, and we hope you’re not one of them. Setting the tone for the madness to ensue, DJ Cristian Baca and supreme leader Kim Jong Untz are on deck to let the freaks out to play. SIMshows recently caught up with rising local Cristian Baca, and we have to say- this interview is long overdue!
SIM: Take us back a bit; when did you first begin to get involved in the local music scene?
Cristian: I started getting involved with the music scene during my Freshmen year of college in 2012. I had just turned 18, and I was finally able to attend the clubs [in the Twin Cities]. My first nightclub experience was also my first EDM show. Bingo Players and Lucky Date played at Epic that night.
SIM: What events or thought processes led you to pick up DJing?
Cristian: Growing up in a Latinx family, I would always listen to everything from Cumbia to 70’s Disco. My family was also huge on Trance. My uncle would play Paul Oakenfold and Tiesto records on his sound system, which he also would use to DJ family parties. Seeing him play music that made people dance and have a good time really kicked off my desire to DJ.
SIM: And how long have you been DJing for?
Cristian: I’ve been an active DJ since 2012 (5 years). I started messing around with DJing when I was in 5th grade [and had downloaded] Virtual DJ. However, it wasn’t until 2011 when I began to really dive into it.
SIM: Besides DJing, do you produce any music, or create remixes for your sets?
Cristian: I’ve created edits for my sets, but I currently don’t produce any of my own music. It is definitely the next step I plan on taking on this journey.
SIM: What is your preferred equipment of choice to perform on? Do you have experience with other DJ consoles?
Cristian: My preferred equipment of choice will have to be 2 CDJs and a DJM 900 mixer. I have a Traktor Kontrol S4 at home, but I’ve been thinking about investing in some turntables.
SIM: Your name is starting to become much more visible! What other gigs have you DJ’d for?
Cristian: I’ve opened for Audien (twice), Hardwell, Henry Fong, Haywyre, and Elephante, as well as various other side stage gigs at Skyway and Myth. I have also done several open format sets at Union.
SIM: How hard is it as an up-and-coming local to get booked to DJ shows?
Cristian: It really depends on the artist. It’s definitely a competitive field, and it can be difficult to get booked if you don’t know who to reach out to. My advise is always to go to shows and get familiar with the scene before reaching out for a gig.
SIM: Besides DJing, what other music interests do you have within the Twin Cities music scene?
Cristian: Whenever I am not attending electronic music shows or DJing, I love attending shows or club nights outside the scene to refresh my ears. I love to dance, so I like to get my Latin dance on every once in awhile. Otherwise, I love to go wherever my friends want to go. It keeps things exciting for me.
SIM: Looking forward, are you DJing just for fun, or are you hoping to make a career out of this one day?
Cristian: I would definitely like to be able to make this a career someday. It won’t be easy, but I’m excited to see where this path leads to.
SIM: As a local, what set reputation do you want to carry, and how have you focused on channeling this in the past year?
Cristian: I would like to be known for making people have a great time, the time of their lives if possible. Lately, I’ve played sets based on reading the crowd completely, and it has given me better results than planning an entire set from start to finish.
SIM: What has been one of your most challenging DJ sets to play, and what DJ set has surprised you the most?
Cristian: My most challenging set would have to be my set for the Global Dance Festival DJ Contest at the Nether Bar back in 2013. It was my first gig in Downtown, and I felt like my nerves got the best of me that night. The set that really surprised me took place at the Hardwell show last September. I felt like I was on a roll that night. The week after that show, I had a couple stop me at the State Fair asking for a picture with me because they really enjoyed my set. One of my favorites for sure.
SIM: Looking back on your growth, what has DJing taught you about the local industry?
Cristian: DJing has definitely taught me a lot about the music industry and the different components behind putting together shows. It has also helped me with my networking skills and how to build genuine relationships.
We’d like to thank Cristian for taking the time this week to sit down with us; we hope to catch more of him soon on another edition of #OnTheRadar. Make sure to catch his set tonight at Dada Life; we’ve got a feeling it’s going to be bananas. Tickets are still on sale, buy yours here.
Looking to keep up with Cristian? Follow him on his adventures below:
Make sure to check out our Facebook contest for your chance to win this signed banana from Dada Life’s show at Epic in 2012 as well as a ticket to their Skyway show!
Bananas, confetti, and champagne: three things that heavily associated with a Dada Life live experience. This Swedish electro-house duo are not only known as one of the leaders of electro-house, but they are also known to throw some of the sickest parties! When they were here at Myth Nightclub back in February of 2016, there was champagne getting tossed all over one side of the crowd as the other side was in a gigantic pillow war. And now they are making their way to Skyway Theater on Friday for an interactive experience: The Compound Evolved.
Dada Life formed in 2006 when Phasio (Stefan Engblom) and Dibaba (Olle Cornéer) began collaborative 12” records on various labels. They started gaining notoriety in 2007 when their track “Fun, Fun, Fun” made it onto the Belgian dance charts. They released their first album titled Just Do The Dada in 2009, placing numerous singles onto the Belgian charts. They started gaining major international notoriety in 2012 with their second album release, The Rules of Dada. This album placed the Billboard 200 and the top 20 in the UK dance album charts. Since then, Dada Life have toured all over the world and have played main stage to some of the largest festivals around, such as EDC and Ultra, and have broken not one but two Guinness World Records! Since hitting the scene in 2006, Dada Life have defined what electro-house is and continue to break records in all aspects of their career.
After extreme success with their first interactive tour, The Compound, Dada Life has released a whole new approach to their shows and are now debuting The Compound Evolved. Back in February, Dada Life announced their new tour with the premise that it will be crowd focused, with activities both during their set and throughout the entire show. And from what they’ve announced so far, it’s gonna get pretty freaking crazy: “Banana Basketball, Pillow Fights, Dada Land Tattoos, Hypnosis, Immigration Officers, Massive Lasers, roaming Dada Land Ambassadors, Scavenger Hunts, Champagne Showers & loads more!” There is also a touring photo booth stopping in each city to post pictures of Dada Life fans onto their Facebook! Dada Life have always been innovative on connecting with crowds, but their Compound Evolved tour is about to redefine what a live show is.
Throughout their career, Dada Life have always been trendsetters: they were one of the original artists of the now popular electro-house genre, they started the trend of breaking world records at your events, and they are redefining what it means to interact with your audience. So make sure to pull that banana out for a night that’ll make history with Dada Life at Skyway Theater on Friday!
Last week, Summer Set made headlines with their sixth anniversary lineup, bringing jaw-dropping artists every where from Run the Jewels to Die Antwoord to Griz and so many more. Not only are world-renowned artists making their way to Wisconsin in August, but Summer Set is also bringing some of the largest up-and-comers that have grown in just a year, such as 17-year old indie bass sensation Whethan!
Only 17 years old, Whethan has broken out into the scene this past year with his experimental take on future bass, further showcasing the new-age Chicago indie bass sound. While only making electronic music under that alias for over a year, he has still gained extreme recognition and song plays. His track titled “Can’t Hide” debuted on Billboard’s Spotify Viral 50 chart at number one, and his collaboration with Flux Pavillion titled “Savage” has gained over 2.75 million plays on Soundcloud. And in just a year, Whethan went from playing small venues in Chicago to touring around the country with both Flosstradamus and on his own headlining tour. This 17 year old has launched a new form of indie bass that has taken the scene by storm, and his continued grind will only keep him growing as an artist.
Whethan is an especially exciting artist to see on the Summer Set lineup because of his new appearance on the festival circuit. Just this year, he has debuted on the lineups of Coachella, SXSW, Buku, and Lollapalooza. He also just ended his first nationwide headlining tour, which sold out multiple dates. Whethan has really transformed himself as a performer, and his continued advancement mixed with his youthful charm will not only make his Summer Set performance extravagant but could also be a look into the future of EDM artists.
Whethan has been working extremely hard this past year, and his triumphs show for it. Before even graduating high school, he has gone on a nationwide tour, played some of the most prestigious festivals around, and collaborated with some of the top dogs in the dub scene. This youngster is making his way to Summer Set to show us his festival side, so make sure to check out Whethan’s set this August!
It’s always exciting to watch a young artist grow, and Brett Stogsdill, who goes by the stage name Mielo, has grown tremendously in the past couple years! In just a little over a year, this Melodic Bass up-and-comer has played all over the country, gained over 750,000 plays on individual tracks on Soundcloud, and has even gained recognition from Porter Robinson. We are very excited to have had the opportunity to talk to Mielo before his show with Unlike Pluto at The Loft on Saturday. Get to know this artist a little more below, and make sure to grab tickets for the show here!
SIM: You went to the University of Iowa for a while, but your formal education wasn’t in music. How did you get into DJing and producing, and what did you do to learn all the ropes?
Brett: I got really interested in electronic music the summer going into my freshman year. I bought a traktor DJ controller and started just messing around. I started contacting local bars in Iowa City when school started, and an upperclassman who was an amazing resident DJ at a bar/club called Summit told me to come in and watch him DJ. His name was Billy Vegas, and he basically is the reason I have a solid base in DJ knowledge. I just started shadowing him, and then he started giving me opening slots. I owe a lot to him taking me under his wing. After a while, I felt unsatisfied with just DJing, so I stopped and started just non-stop producing in my bedroom from basic mashups to doing bootleg remixes for the following 6-8 months. I started to figure things out and dropped a few songs here and there, but they weren’t all too good. THEN lol, I had a straight up spiritual experience at Porter’s Worlds show at Aragon Ballroom in the beginning of my sophomore year and knew the direction I wanted to go with music then spent around 8 more months refining my new style and production skills and dropped my first song “Surreal”.
SIM: You’ve had the opportunity to play all around the country, from Chicago to Arizona to Florida and more! Are there any differences with playing in different parts of the country? If so, how do you juggle making an engaging set to new audiences while still highlighting your brand and sound?
Brett: I don’t think there’s too much of a difference other than some genres of music are more popular in certain areas than others. I still need to play around more to have a more firm answer, but that is what I noticed so far. I absolutely love playing in Iowa. It’s one of the coolest growing scenes right now. The dude Dan Green who throws a lot of shows there and 515 Alive Music Festival is leading the way. Also, I really enjoy camping festivals. They always have really appreciative crowds.
SIM: If you could choose any artist to play a b2b set with, who would it be?
Brett: I would have to say Porter Robinson. He’s consistently putting up amazing DJ sets with great song selection.
SIM: You spoke a little about experimenting outside of future stuff in your EDM Chicago interview, and then your Buzzzmix set blended future, heavy dub, and hip hop seamlessly. Do you see this genre blend moving into your productions?
Brett: I think you can experience more of a heavy sound in a few of my upcoming singles, but I really think I’m starting to find a really nice blend of synthy songs meeting some bass. I just really enjoy listening to dub but don’t really ever see myself producing in that realm too much besides a live edit here and there.
SIM: You have a very emotional approach to making music, and it definitely shows in your tracks! (Lowkey I still get chills when listening to “Surreal”.) How do you keep yourself focused on creating something you love even if it’s taking longer than expected?
Brett: I just really try to keep finding art that inspires me. I’m a big believer that inspiration leads to a better outcome in the creation of art. Recently, I’ve been really finding my way through life and finding what makes me happy, and that was always a struggle since I started this music journey. I’m sitting on original music for the first time in my career, and I cannot wait to begin releasing it all starting in a few weeks.
SIM: Not only have you been taking the future bass scene by storm with your productions, but you recently released your first music video. Where did you get inspiration for the video, and what’s it like to see your track move to a visual realm?
Brett: I really enjoy nature, so I wanted the video to be in pretty scenery. It was cool to finally get to see a visual side to my music, [and I] cannot wait to do more videos with these upcoming releases. Expect more on that realm & much more meaning behind the content.
SIM: What can we expect for your set at The Loft on the 15th?
Brett: A “Mielo” DJ set. 🙂 For real though, I’ve been really refining my DJ sets, the type of style that I really think portrays me, and really think it will be a great night. (Plus I have some visuals now!)
SIM: And just out of pure interest, what have you been jamming to recently?
Brett: Basically my Spotify playlist I made lol. You can bump it below!
This Saturday, SIMShows is bringing you the future sensation Unlike Pluto! Armond Arabshahi is a songwriter and producer from Atlanta who started his initial climb in the scene with his remix of Diplo’s “Revolution”, which has gained over 23 million plays on Soundcloud. 2015 was a solid year for the up-and-coming producer. After being included in Billboard’s “Dance Artists To Watch”, 2016 began prominently for Unlike Pluto – one can only imagine what else he has in store! I had the pleasure to ask him a few questions and get to know him better; not only did I learn about this dude’s laid back sense of humor, but our conversation also shows his strong passion for music.
SIM: How did it all start for you?
Armond: It all started when I was an infant! I always had a piano and guitar around me growing up, both consistently out of tune. When I was about 13 years old, I became obsessed with learning guitar – spent day and night learning, played until my fingers would bleed. I was in a TON of bands in high school – ranging from screamo to folk – I hope none of that music becomes re-surfaced, embarrassing. When I started college, I was tired of dealing with drummers, so I turned to electronic music!
SIM: Who is your biggest inspiration/who do you have mad respect for?
Armond: My biggest inspiration would have to be Daman Albarn from Blur & Gorillaz. EVERYTHING he touches turns to gold – he also isn’t afraid to be himself. I feel like at one point, Gorillaz could have made cookie-cutter tracks, but they didn’t, they stuck to their guns. I’m also inspired by Jazz (Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Artie Shaw), Classic Rock (Moody Blues, The Beatles of course, The Zombies, Beach Boys), and Emo/Hardcore (Underoath, As I Lay Dying, Chiodos, etc.).
SIM: How would you describe your style?
Armond: I don’t even know if I have a style, but people have told me my songs are dark, which I like! I honestly don’t even pay attention to what I’m making, whether or not it will do well in the EDM scene. I just make music.
SIM: What is one subgenre you think doesn’t get the attention it deserves?
SIM: What is one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you hear it?
Armond: I have to name a few:
Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood & Feel Good Inc
System of a Down – Chop Suey & BYOB
Chevelle – Send The Pain Below
Chiodos – Baby You Wouldn’t Last a Minute on the Creek
Nirvana – Heart-shaped box
Deadmau5 – Jaded & Strobe
Justice – Let There Be Light
Incubus – (every single song they have ever made)
I could name a million.
SIM: What is one mistake you see a lot of up and coming DJs making? / What advice would you give to aspiring DJs?
Armond: I see a TON of DJ’s doing the same thing. It’s funny to see, because the emo/hardcore scene was exactly the same. This bubble will keep filling & filling, kids will make money, but then BOOOOMMM, bubble popped – irrelevance ensues. My advice is to be yourself, be weird, and be confident in what you make. DO YOU.
Be sure to catch Unlike Pluto turning The Loft into his own musical canvas this Saturday! Tickets are available here. And for more Unlike Pluto, check out his socials below!