Darin Epsilon is an internationally recognized DJ & producer whose music can be found on top labels such as Paul Oakenfold’s Perfecto and Baroque Records. His work has been used by global brands such as MTV, American DJ, American Audio, Elation Professional, and Global Truss, and appears in the upcoming films Ecstasy and Slip Cue, as well as numerous top-selling compilations.
His most notable accomplishments in the studio include remixing for high-profile artists Matthew Dekay, Chris Fortier, D:Fuse, Kenneth Thomas, and Noel Sanger. His tracks have received support from dance music’s biggest stars, including Hernan Cattaneo, John Digweed, Sasha, Paul Oakenfold, Markus Schulz, Sander van Doorn, Matt Darey, Nick Warren, Dave Seaman, Solarstone, and countless others.
Clubbersguide: How did you start DJing?
My first real exposure to electronic dance music happened about 11 years ago while I was growing up just outside of Chicago. There would be these mixshows late at night with DJ’s spinning a variety of underground house and progressive trance every week. It didn’t take long before I became addicted to the music. Well, I shouldn’t use the word addicted, but that’s really how I was feeling at the time.
Eventually, it was no longer enough to just be a listener; I wanted to extend further and become an active participant in the scene. I picked up a part-time job at a CD shop when I was 16, and was able to afford my first set of turntables after about a year.
Clubbersguide: And producing?
The production side of things came much later. Although I wrote my first track when I was 14 as an experiment, I didn’t release my first remix in stores until I was 22. It sort of happened by accident. This producer told the owner of Red Circle Music (the label of ProgressiveHouse.com) how I was giving valuable feedback on his tracks, and that he’d like to see me take a crack at remixing one of his tracks.
Clubbersguide: Who are your biggest musical influences?
There are too many names to mention, but my major influence when I was first starting to DJ was Paul Oakenfold, circa 2000-2003.
Clubbersguide: How do you describe the music that you're releasing right now and where do you look for inspiration?
I would say that the music I’m representing is both a groovy and melodic form of progressive/tech house. I like to produce tracks that are thought-provoking and challenging to reproduce, which is why you won’t hear me writing something that sounds like a 10 minute loop. It’s also due to my upbringing as a classical musician that I don’t enjoy overly repetitive music.
As for sources of inspiration, they can strike literally anywhere at any time. Believe it or not, some of my best song ideas came to me when I was doing really ordinary things around the house.
Clubbersguide: What are some of the biggest lessons you've learnt while being a DJ?
Being humble, honest, and polite can get you very far in this industry. There are many talented DJ’s and producers out there, but it takes somebody with the right attitude and mindset to carve a successful career as a musician.
Clubbersguide: What's your preference - playing at festivals or clubs?
I most definitely prefer to play at festivals because it’s a rare opportunity that doesn’t happen all the time. I think people get really excited whenever they hear of a big event happening outside the club.
Clubbersguide: Being a producer as well as a DJ, how much does one influence another? Are your productions more influenced by your sets and the tracks you play, or is it vice versa?
You would be amazed how easy it is to spot a producer who doesn’t know a thing about DJing, just by the arrangement and pacing of his or her tracks. It is really important to see both sides of the spectrum if you want to be a successful DJ/producer combo these days. But for sure, if I had to pick one, I would much rather be a producer learning how to DJ than a DJ learning how to produce. A great producer can eventually become a great DJ, but the opposite scenario is not always possible.
Clubbersguide: What do you find more challenging - recording your own tracks, or remixing tracks from other producers?
Recording my own tracks is definitely more challenging because I’m starting entirely from scratch. When you remix somebody, you already have good sounds (assuming you picked a decent track to remix) and the producer’s song idea to work with, so half your job is already completed.
Clubbersguide: When you're making music, what kind of equipment are you using?
I have a few pieces of hardware, including an old Korg MS2000 keyboard and Electribe drum machine, but I’m almost working exclusively with soft-synths these days. I find it more convenient and more flexible to deal with than hardware.
The tools in my arsenal include Logic, Ableton Live, Reason, and boatloads of samples and VST instruments. Particularly I’m into anything made by Native Instruments, Spectrasonics, and Rob Papen.
Clubbersguide: What producers/labels do you like these days and why?
Too many names to mention, but guys like Christian Smith, Cid Inc, Jody Wisternoff, Eelke Kleijn, and Guy J are consistently churning out quality tracks. As for labels, I really appreciate Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat label, microCastle, Henry Saiz’s label Natura Sonoris, Parquet Recordings, and of course John Digweed’s Bedrock Records.
Clubbersguide: A gig is always a give and take between artist and audience. What do you take home from a gig and what do you hope your audience does?
At the end of the day, I just hope that people leave the club with a smile on their face and maybe, just maybe, I might have educated some of the non-dance music listeners in the audience.
Clubbersguide: What do you think is more important for a DJ - the mixing technique or the track selection?
Both are pretty important, but I think people generally come to the club to hear a DJ because of his or her amazing track selection. Of course, the best idea would be to find a balance between the two.
Clubbersguide: The new technology has made its path creating new kinds of DJ equipment. What do you think about using CDJs, laptops or decks? How would you describe the strengths and weaknesses of each?
I’m personally liking the ability to arrive at my gig, stick a disc into the CD player, and be ready to go right away. Laptops can be a legitimate enhancement to a performance, but more often than not, I just see DJ’s using the computers to mix for them, which I find incredibly lazy and boring to watch.
The major disadvantage of what I do is the countless number of CD’s I go through (including burning and labeling them), as well as the possibility of the discs being squashed on the plane, which has actually happened to me before.
Clubbersguide: What piece of kit can you not live without?
My MacBook Pro is a complete lifesaver! Don’t know what I would do without it while I’m on the road.
Clubbersguide: What do you think about music sharing over the internet? Does it globally ruin the music industry?
File-sharing is often referred to as a double-edged sword because it is exactly that. I understand how beneficial it can be at spreading our music faster than ever before, but it’s not making up for the heavy amount of losses that the recording industry has had to suffer in the past several years.
Many downloaders think that these millionaire pop stars and rappers don’t need the extra money, but in reality, it’s the lesser-known artists that get hurt the most. With not enough income to support themselves financially, it means that we’re seeing fewer labels and artists taking risks. This results in an overall decrease in creativity and artistry in the music coming out now.
Clubbersguide: If you could pick any career besides a DJs/Producers what would it be?
I couldn’t imagine doing anything else besides music, but if I lost my hearing or broke my hands the next day, I would probably be a website designer because it requires the perfect combination of artistic and technical abilities.
Clubbersguide: What do you do to relax? Any hobbies besides music?
I’m a bit of a bore actually. And by that, I mean I’m always working all day long. I’m really into film (particularly independents) because it has many parallels to what I’m doing.
Clubbersguide: What can we expect from you in the future?
Hopefully continuing to release tracks, play shows around the world, and turn my label/radio show Perspectives into a well-known and respected brand.
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