Over the past year, Polish ex-rocker turned DJ/producer Tom Swoon has transformed himself into one of the most prominent movers and shakers on the EDM scene. Swoon’s infectious enthusiasm for different genres and vast knowledge of all things music, has awarded him high acclaim. Already a veteran of remixing, we at Joonbug sat down with the man who has been dubbed,“Poland’s First EDM Star,” explored his metalhead roots, what makes him tick, and more...
You were originally known as Pixel Cheese. Why did you change your name, and how did you come up with Tom Swoon?
I just felt it was right to change my artist name from Pixel Cheese into Tom Swoon. As Pixel Cheese was more the name of a bedroom producer and now Tom Swoon feels more mature and representative of the music that I produce. After all to SWOON is to lose consciousness for a short duration of time which is what I want my music to be about. And "T-O-M" are the three first letters of my surname.
You started out playing rhythm guitar in a rock band. What made you make the change to EDM?
I was a total rock/metal head at that time, but a bit later I got hooked emotional/technical-wise on Deadmau5 and Kaskade’s track “I Remember”, which made me also want express my feelings through my own music. That’s how I got into EDM.
How do you think that starting off in rock has shaped your musical sound?
That’s a good question! I believe that I’m really into high energy progressive house music is possibly a result of my rock band history. And also I focus a lot on the drums in my productions which definitely also has to do with it.
We know that your main focus is progressive house; are there more genres that you want to tackle in the future?
I am a big fan of melodic music and that’s also the kind of music you will continue hearing from me in the future.
You’ve remixed everyone from Linkin Park to Steve Aoki. Who would you like to remix next?
That’s difficult to say. I accept a remix based on if I like the original track and if I think that I can create my own dimension/way of the track. If I have to pick some names I would love to remix it will probably be Florence & The Machine or Lana Del Rey. They are definitely on my wishlist.
What do you think makes you different from other artists?
I never compare myself with other artists. I just try to bring my own sounds and give myself for the full 100% in the music.
If you could give one piece of advice to artists looking to make it, what would it be?
Never set the "get signed" goal. Just do what you feel, share that stuff on blogs, Facebook, SoundCloud etc. and look for some constructive feedback. Develop your own sound! Making your music sound good enough to release it officially takes some time, so be patient and when you feel that moment came, just send couple of emails to different labels and wait. Nothing's worse than re-sending the track every week to labels and DJs. It's totally unprofessional. Even if you have to get a negative response after 2 months, wait... Use that time in studio instead! And the most important - stay true to yourself.
There’s a lot happening to me right now. In December I will start with a weekly radioshow on the biggest polish radio station RMF Maxx and I have collaborations coming up with artists such as John Dahlback, Paris & Simo, Laidback Luke.. and there’s even a lot more to come but I can’t reveal more at this point!
Electronic music heavyweights, Astralwerks and Deadmau5, have announced a monumental partnership today, revealing that Astralwerks will be the exclusive partner and distributor of future Deadmau5 releases, as well as the new home to Deadmau5's imprint, mau5trap recordings. The global partnership is the first of its kind for Astralwerks, and sets into motion a power move poised to shake up the EDM world. Furthermore, Deadmau5 will retain full creative control of upcoming releases for himself, as well as mau5trap signees, a rarity in partnerships of this magnitude. The first release of the partnership will be Deadmau5's compilation, We Are Friends Vol. 2, which is due out November 12th, but will be available for pre-order on October 22nd. Check out the tracklisting for the compilation below, and share your thoughts on this huge partnership!
JES under the alias, Taxigirl, has just released a mash up of her song "Do You Love Me" with Deadmau5's "Proffesional Griefers". The song uses JES's vocals and syncs them up wonderfully with the instrumentaion off of Deadmau5's latest hit. The song is available for stream and download via Soundcloud right now.
You can listen to JES's latest episode of her Unleash the Beat podcast on iTunes now, which consists of a bunch of her mashups and other artists original mixes as well.
This Labor Day weekend, a number of festivals took place across the nation. There was the North Coast Music Festival in Chicago, the Bumbershoot in Seattle, and Electric Zoo in New York (which ended a day early due to two fatalities). Then there was the Made In America festival in Philadelphia. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway was closed off in its entirety for this new American festival, which is only in it's second year running. Made In America was started and developed by Jay Z, with help from Budweiser, In its first year, the festival included names like Kanye West, Pearl Jam, Skrillex, The Hives, Afrojack, and Jay Z himself. For their sophomore year, they offered the talents of Beyoncé, Nine Inch Nails, Phoenix, 2 Chainz, Empire of the Sun, and so much more. It was destined to be a great festival because of such a line up, but we would have never thought that it would have left such a lasting impression on us.
The Made In America Festival will be taking over Philly this Labor Day weekend for its second year! The festival, sponsored by Budweiser and founded by Jay Z, is set to show up with a wide range of artists.
The line up consists of big stars and new acts alike, but when it comes to genre, there is no doubt that you can get them all. Dance your heart out with EDM artist such as Deadmau5, Wolfgang Gartner, Calvin Harris, and Nero. You'll be getting your soulfull R&B through Beyonce and Miguel. You can rock out with Nine Inch Nails, Queen of the Stone Age, The Gaslight Anthem, and Phoenix. And of course, there's going to be a good amount of Hip Hop artists: 2 Chainz, A$AP Mob, Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, and Wiz Khalifa. These are just a couple of the artists that will be showing up. Although Jay Z is not on the line up, don't be surprised if he stops by for a guest appearance.
This past weekend we attended HARD SUMMER, where an estimated 70,000 attendees took over the Los Angeles State Historic Park in downtown Los Angeles for one of the best music festivals of the year. The two-day sold out event featured a variety of artists in the electronic and hip-hop worlds: Justice, Bassnectar, 2 Chainz, Empire Of The Sun and Knife Party were just a few acts that filled this stacked lineup.
HARD Events began in 2007 under the direction of Gary Richards, known widely by his stage name, Destructo. Long before his start as a DJ, Richards became deeply imbedded in the music industry. Richards' father worked with radio and concert promotions in Washington, D.C., and gave him his first insight to the scene at a young age.
By the early 1990's, Richards organized his first two major music events. In 1991, his team put on "Magical Mickey's Holy Water Adventure" at Wild Rivers in Irvine, CA, and in 1993 "Rave America" at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA. His love for dance music led to the creation of a weekly event titled, "The Sermon," which began at 6 am on Sundays. The early start stemmed from the culture surrounding the Los Angeles warehouse parties that ran till the early hours of the morning. "The Sermon" not only filled the void for those who didn't want the party to end, but it also became the birth place of his stage name, Destructo, which describes the sound of his hard techno beats.
Richards continued his work within the music industry when he was hired by Rick Rubin as an A&R in the electronic-music division of Def American Recording. Richard's ability to find new music and expand within the industry led to the establishment of his own record labels - Nitrus Records and 1500 Records. After focusing on his career as Destructo, Richards returned to concert promotion with the first ever HARD Events festival in 2007.
Since it's beggining, there have been massive changes made - both in the music industry and within the company. Electronic dance music, better known as EDM, has exploded in the United States over the past few years. This eruption has carried the music from underground warehouses to massive festival main stages, turned DJs in modern day rockstars, made shows and festivals priority destinations, and created a constantly growing multi-million dollar industry. Given the extreme amount of growth over the past few years, major corporations like SFX Entertainment and Live Nation have made moves to cash in on a market that up had previously been ignored.
Live Nation became one of the first major corporations at the dance party when they purchased Cream Holdings Limited, a major player in the EDM circle in May 2012. With this acquisition, Live Nation also gained the rights to Creamfield Festivals, which have been held worldwide since 1998. Soon after, Live Nation struck a deal with HARD Entertainment in June of 2012. Live Nation's deal with HARD came only a month after Robert F.X. Sillerman announced his plan to spend $1 billon in acquisitions of local and regional dance-music promoters to rival Live Nation within the EDM market.
Sillerman, the media executive who started SFX Entertainment, was famous for changing the music industry by using this same idea of acquiring local and regional promoters under SFX Entertainment during the 1990’s. Surprisingly enough, he is now rivaling the company that he started, before he sold it to Clear Channel Communications for $4.4 billion where it later became Live Nation.
Sillerman first acquisition after SFX's revamping was Louisiana's Disco Donnie Productions, a company that was started by legendary rave promoter, Donnie Estonpinal. In a New York Times interview in June 2012, Sillerman explained his intentions to negotiate with the upwards of 50 different companies, 15 of which he had already struck unconfirmed deals with. Following Disco Donnie Productions, he acquired the tour Life In Color (previously known as Dayglow), as well as the Miami Marketing Group which owns eight nightclubs including LIV and Story.
While Live Nation and SFX have been duking it out for control over the rising market, many EDM advocates, including some DJs, are concerned with some of the decisions that are being made in the industry. Some believe these acquisitions may too heavily commercialize the once underground scene, and hinder the creativity of the music and its culture.
World-famous DJ and producer Deadmau5 explained his frustration in 2012 by posting the statement, "E.D.M has turned into a massively marketed cruise ship, and it's sinking fast. Not because of all the passengers, but perhaps there are too many cooks in the kitchen," on his Tumblr page. He finished by stating, " All I'm trying to do, is put on my life jacket and swim as far away from this ship wreck as I can."
Likewise, Richards describes how the term "rave" differs in Europe from America in a 2012 interview with Pure Volume by saying, "Rave has a different meaning in Europe -- a raver in Europe is not a 15-year-old girl flying out of her head wearing a G-string and furry boots. A raver over there is an average music who wants to go out and have a good night, listen to cool music, and dance or whatever." Richards continued, “I feel like the culture in America around dance music has always given it a bad name, between what people wear, how they look, and the drugs."
Closing the interview he says, "I just wanted to bring it back around and have it be more about the music and the artists, and not have it be about little kids getting wasted. I thinking that's always overshadowed the music in America and I think that's a big reason why it never went to the next level. So just when it's about to peak and break through, then it gets shot down by whoever because the kids act stupid that are going to these things. They're not responsible, so I am trying to change that."
After attending HARD SUMMER we are sure of one thing, Gary Richards and HARD haven't forgotten about the music. They have been leaders in helping to reverse the commercialized sinking of the EDM cruise ship. HARD is evidence that being acquired by a major corporation does not mean your company has to lose it's character. Richards’ and HARD's ability to provide a diverse lineup has served as the foundation for their success, proving that music will remain the heart and sound of their festival.
With the growing popularity and the money that surrounds this scene, we should be extremely thankful for people like Gary Richards who keep originality feeling alive. His dedication to creating his own path through pushing passed generic boundaries has not only resulted in successful and unique events, but also has also made him one of the most powerful people within the dance music world. Richards is a staple in making sure this movement breaks through to the next level and becomes so much more than just a fad of the decade.
It’s been two years since Deadmau5 launched his last North American tour, ‘Meowingtons Hax Tour.’ We saw him way back when at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD, shortly after the venue had opened. Over the years, Joel Zimmerman has been notorious for being extremely opinionated on the dance music scene; in fact, he is quite an opinionated individual in general. Not to say that this is a bad thing, because we love seeing artists who care enough to speak their minds. However, when it comes to Deadmau5, there’s always something to read about because there is never a dull moment in Joel’s life. This year alone, he broke off his engagement with tattoo artist Kat von D, left Ultra Records for Capitol Music Group, and most recently, got into a Twitter argument with Afrojack over the meaning of “good” music. But lately, he’s also been uploading tons of new music to his Soundcloud. Some of his newest previews include “Going Nowhere Fast,” “Nowhere Fast 02,” “Suite 02,” and “Suite 04b,” just to name a few. Naturally, this rapid uploading process only left fans wondering when he would he would embark on his next tour to perform all of this new music, live.
Trying something new can create two different scenarios. It can end up as a failed attempt that can ultimately ruin someone’s reputation and reputability to the point that their name is tainted by that single instance. Or it can actually end up on the opposite end of the spectrum, making it so critically and commercial acclaimed that it could boost a person’s notability overnight. Although finding fame is already a mission that has been far accomplished by world famous DJ and producer Joel Zimmerman aka DeadMau5, his hunger for something new still seems unfulfilled as he heads into the studio with an interesting choice for a collaborator.
Deadmau5 and his distinct "mau5" head will be returning to Ultra Music Festival this weekend, March 16th, to headline the Main Stage. This moment will mark Joel Zimmerman's first major appearance of 2013 and it should be quite the experience for those attending. It's been a whirlwind of success for the mau5 man as his work and material from ">album title goes here<" earned him a GRAMMY nom for "Best Electronica Dance Album."
To add more, out today on Ultra Music is deadmau5's and Imogen Heap's new single "Telemiscomminications," a very soft and melancholic song that is a step in a different direction from the usual material he's known for. The track also features remixes from Crookers, Copy Paste Soul, John Roman, and Kölsch. Watch the official video below and you can get the song on iTunes here and on Beatport here.
Just before the Ultra festivities kick off, deadmau5 will make an appearance in Austin, TX at SXSW where he is participating as a panelist with Richie Hawtin for "deadmau5 & Richie Hawtin: Talk. Techno. Technology," where both artists will discuss their careers along with a huge focus on innovations in technology and the power of social media. Later on, the pair will play a one time performance together at the Media Temple official SXSWi Closing Party at Stubb’s. This weekend catch deadmau5 make his return to the main stage of Ultra Music Festival on Saturday, March 16th and again on Saturday, March 23th.