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Interview: D33J

Interview: D33J


Posted in Interviews

"An album you can smoke jacuzzi blunts too but with enough details present for all the kids staying up late on adderall writing about art history or whatever."

D33J is one sly motherfucker. Back in March when it was still very much the winter outside, he keenly dropped his debut EP Tide Songs, pulling our mental state out of the blistering cold and placing it on a deserted beach somewhere without a care in the world. The music was nirvana-like; filled to the brim with blissed-out synths, luscious samples, and psychedelic soundscapes--making for the perfect soundtrack to block out those bitter walks through the snow. Since then, we've been following our dude D33J rather closely--seeing him succeed in many ways...from making his first ever mix, to remixing Drake's "Marvin's Room", to most recently getting booked to play with Clams Casino and Shlohmo in August (details here). There's no doubt in our minds that D33J is next to blow up…and we just want to be able to say we were there to watch it happen. Recently, we asked the man if he would make a mix for us, our exact words being: "Hey D33J, can you make a swagged-out mix for us?" There was no telling what that would entail…but we'd like to think it came out quite nicely.

Real Name/Age/Location of where you are talking to us from:

Djavan Santos, 20, Vienna, Austria.

Where are you originally from? We've heard LA, Germany, and various other places. It seems like your always on the move.

Born and raised in Mid-City Los Angeles, but i've been in San Francisco for the last few years. Currently in Hamburg, Germany for the summer, doing a visual arts residency. Super-currently here in Vienna for a few days then off to Prague.

When we found out about D33J, you were already apart of the LA beat crew WEDIDIT Collective, which hosts talents Shlohmo, Groundislava, and Jonwayne, amongst others. What exactly is WEDIDIT and how did you get affiliated with those dudes?

Been friends with Groundislava and Shlohmo for a quite awhile now. Me and GIL went to high school together with alot of other dudes like Baths and Rock Dove, amongst others. Many monikers ago me and GIL would swap our cheese-ass 'beats' and have been friends since. Last year i lived with Shlohmo in San Francisco, and we bonded hard, #pause. when it came time to release Tide Songs, WEDIDIT was the obvious place. What is WEDIDIT exactly? Who knows. We are sorta all over place doing our own thangs but WEDIDIT is where we come together and share the things we make. We're pretty lazy on updating our site but there are plenty of goodies to be had. I think its best to describe us as "Professionally Unprofessional".

You released your first ever body of work earlier this year with Tide Songs, which we described as "infectious, syrupy love ballads that one just can’t help but zone out to." Walk us through everything about that EP--from the title you chose for it, to the songs you picked, to the artwork. What was the feeling or point you were trying to get across with it?

Tide Songs was the first time I sat down long enough to organize something concise. I'd been working under earlier monikers since back in highschool, but never really felt ready to release anything. Some of the new work I was making like "Drowning Pools" and "Park" fit nicely with some older songs like "Sleeping Out" and "Reever's Edge", so it sort of fell in place. With Tide Songs I wanted it to be something relaxed--music that could be for both passive and active listening; an album you can smoke jacuzzi blunts too but with enough details present for all the kids staying up late on adderall writing about art history or whatever. The album art was a last minute decision, i think i threw it together a day or so before releasing it. I don't know, something about pink and b&w is nice too me, kinda been rolling with that for the design of the other works i've been releasing.

Where do you pull influences from musically? Like before you created D33J, was there a type of music that struck you so hard that you realized this is the type of music you wanted to create? Usually it's easy to guess what an artists influences are just based on their sound, but with you, your music is so different we feel you could pull influences from some pretty interesting places.

Not sure that you'd be able to tell right of the bat, but i take a lot of inspiration from earlier indie rock shit. I remember my homie Seth giving me some Built To Spill records early in highschool, and that in combination with some stuff like early Bibio, Deadelus, and Postal Service really influenced me. The Los Angeles house show circuit back in HS is something i'm not sure i'll be able to forget either. The memories of watching Rock Dove, Post-Feotus, and Nephews (among so many more) play in our backyards was some straight magic. Nowadays I still bump the same old shit, but i've included a lot musically. Really fond of the Los Angeles & London electronic dudes murdering it in their respective places, especially Lone. First listened to Lone back in '08 and it was quite a game changer for me. Since then I've been trying to find a balance in my own stuff between the soft 'indie' melodies I like to write and lo-fi 4x4 house/hip-hop-esc production.

You have a pretty big show coming up with Shlohmo, Clams Casino, and Holy Other in San Francisco. How stoked are you for this and what can one expect at a D33J live show?

Soooooo Stoked to be playing with Clams! Quite nervous to be playing with all the Tri-Angle dudes. Shlohmo's sets all always such fire too, so not sure how I'm going to hang with these big boys. For the most part each show has been quite different from the next. Based on the tools I have around at the time, I like to change it up. Out here in Europe I only brought my drum machine, midi stuff and mic with me so its been mostly that. For the SF show, i plan on using the above but try and squeeze in some guitar as well. Live-looping has been pretty integral to my sets now, and doing a lot of improvised things with the drum machine live. Oh yeah, and super emo washed-ass vocals over everything.

What/who have you been bumping hard lately?

Raleigh Moncrief, Rock Dove, RL Grime, Shlohmo, Fidlar, Kouta, Mark Aubert

If you could only listen to 3 albums for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Rock Dove - Everything

Bibio - Hand Cranked 

Lone - Lemurian

Best song to make love to?

BTS Letherette Mix, one song is not long enough.

Best song to get in a fight to?

I don't usually fight, but when i do, its "Come to Daddy".

Best song to live by?

Milton Nascimento - O Trem Azul

And last but not least, when can we expect more music from D33J?

I've been working on a lot of new things recently, hopefully tidy the next proper release sometime in October. Pretty different vibe with the new EP, a lot of  =(  mixed in with the  =).Trying to organize a Tide Songs Remix EP too if my lazy friends get off their bum bums. Some collab stuff with Kouta is also in the works.

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