Pushing all the right electronic buttons and one of the front runners in the US dance music scene comes easy from the sometimes hybrid, sometimes classical DJ/Producer. Playing a major part in the mixing and mastering scenario of Hip Hop giants in the early days to impressing House music’s legend Todd Terry that eventually led to a shape shifting release on his imprint, Brian Cid is a major figure within the movement of dance music, creating moods and modes that one associates with his name.
Furthermore he forges ahead as the next big thing not only by taking on responsibilities as label head at Extinct Records that’s well on its way as a cutting edge imprint by itself, and steering his own radio show ‘Extinct Private Sessions’ on Frisky; he is also cracking on as a fine producer with releases on Lost & Found, Knee Deep In Sound, microCastle to drop some, not to mention each release establishes how luscious these sonic expeditions sound. Having a chat with the maker of ‘Pitch Black’, ‘Rotations’ ‘Redwood/Myst’ is a logical progression, as we meet Brian Cid for the first time in an in depth coverage of what makes him go…
Hi Brian, welcome to Decoded Magazine, happy to have you here. To get right to it, could you tell us for a musician to hit the right spots in the electronic dance music industry in America, whether the process is harder if you are playing a more eclectic, underground sound?
Thank you for having me and supporting my music. Yes of course it’s harder but it’s also more rewarding. You get to play to a musically educated crowd that understands and appreciates your work. That doesn’t necessarily happen in the commercial world where it’s all about the hype. The underground is about quality over quantity. To me, that’s beauty.
How did you come about to choose DJing as a career?
I have been playing the drums since I was 13 years old, I started producing music by the time I was 14, and been a professional mixing engineer for about a decade. Learning to DJ was the next part of my evolution as an artist.
About 4 years ago I noticed that I was getting tons of support from DJs all around the world which motivated me to learn to DJ and play my own tracks. I saw it as completing the full life cycle of a track by creating it, mixing and mastering it and then playing that directly to the people and feeding off their reaction. To me there is no better feeling, it’s the ultimate payoff.
I hear that you were part of the Hip Hop scene, how was it that you got to associate with this style? There are some big Pop names in there…
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work with the biggest artists of our generation and that’s all due to the exposure to different musical genres. When I came to NYC after experimenting with Reggae, Dancehall, Pop and Latin Rhythms, I naturally got into Hip Hop and embraced it. I quickly became the ‘go-to mixing engineer’ for a lot of big Hip Hop acts such as Mos Def, Wiz Khalifa, Camp Lo, Stalley, Curren$y, Snoop Dogg, Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch and many others.
Everyone identified me with the New York sound and that’s exactly what the pop artists were looking for, with beats that are energetic and heavy. I had the big pleasure to work with stars like Beyonce, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and Cher. All of this happened right before my adventure started in the underground world.
You got into being a mix and mastering engineer, did you get yourself formal training and do you think that gives you a kind of cutting edge musicality now that you are producing and playing dance music?
Yes, I’ve been experimenting with mixing songs as a hobby ever since I was 14 years old, so I decided to take it to the next level and get formal training on it. I went to school for 5 years to study the business of music, production and audio engineering. Then I stepped into the professional studio world. People say my sound is very clean and full. I play a lot with effects and it can get quite sophisticated.
I like sophisticated productions, or worked out productions, those that have layers and a story to tell. My tracks can get very technical at times.
Your profile lists that US House legend Todd Terry was impressed by your productions; you went on to release on his label Inhouse Records. How different were your production capabilities and thought processes back then to now, also were there ever any nervousness involved?
I always wanted to create something big and make an impact. I think Todd saw something in me and gave me the initial support I needed to get things rolling. I didn’t feel nervous, I was actually excited to show people what I was capable of doing and I was ready to put in the work.
Obviously I am always learning more and more so when I look back I can see how far I’ve came along, but I can also see how far I am from where I want to be, and that excites me.
I have a lot of respect for everything Hot Since 82 has achieved in the scene so it was a pleasure for me to have the support and have my music released on his imprint. Knee Deep in Sound is a relatively new imprint but it’s growing very quickly and has the potential to be one of the best of the world. The release got exposure on a more UK House scene so that was great for me because I love that sound. It also felt very natural to me.
You have already come a long way from when you released – “Myst/ Redwood” on Guy J’s label Lost & Found. Do you think that has been one of the major highlights of your musical career? That one major shift which put you in the spotlight forever.
It was definitely a really cool release that turned a lot of heads. It put me on the radar for a lot of people which was great. I’m not sure if I can call it my major highlight, as the best is yet to come. I have several releases in the works right now and I am eager to share them with the world.
I remember speaking with you not too long ago about getting yourself out to the rest of the world, in particular Europe and now that you have, could you say you have changed your sounds vis a vis what you would play back home in America?
My sound always slowly evolves as I get inspired by different things at different times. Travelling to Europe and other parts of the world always add to the spices of what I’m cooking. I think an artist is a beautiful reflection of his/her environment and experience. As far as playing different sounds go… no, I try to keep my signature sound and adapt to the room rather than the country.
And how did your trip and gigs go overall?
Well, amazingly. Recently played in Ibiza where I got the opportunity to show out a very special deep and groovy set at Cafe del Mar, before that I was in Alicante playing with Matthias Tanzmann. So much love for music is incredible.
Having played at some of the top clubs in the US, are there any venue that stands out as your favorite? A place where the vibe, sound and all the rest of the club aesthetics involved are just right…
To me Output’s sound system is the best in the US. I love playing there and the aesthetic of the place is top. It has a cool warehouse feel. No VIP tables, no fancy lighting system, where music is pure.
Can you run us through your studio gear, what machines are you loving and have at the moment?
Ohh there is plenty but I’ll tell you a few. I used the Inward Connections Limiters and EQs while mastering Hot Since 82’s track called Veins. The API Compressor 2500 is always a favorite. The Retro Instrument Channel Strip always gives nice thickness to my sound and my all-time favorite is the Cranesong Master Buss Compressor. I use it a lot. I’m a gear head so I can go on for days!
What made you create and establish your own imprint Extinct Records and how are things going at the label?
I wanted to have a way to directly connect with my fans without depending on any other label’s approval or schedule. Extinct is a way for me to channel all the music that I truly believe in. It’s also important to grow your own brand and give opportunity to others that need their music out there, so that’s all part of the plan. Give back. We’ve gotten amazing support from the biggest DJs out there and for that we are very grateful. All of our releases have reached Beatport Top 100 which is amazing considering it’s a new practically unknown imprint with no huge names on it yet.
Any plans and or direction you want the imprint to take in future?
Yes of course, we will start to bring in some new names to the label as well as start introducing our merchandise. I am prioritizing A&R for Extinct Records in 2016. We have lots of cool things planned for it. Stay tuned for more.
The secrets out…we see an EP coming out of Lost & Found later this year, what can you share with us about that release, where was your headspace at and happy with the result?
Super excited about this project coming out and it’s one I’ve been working for the past 6 months and it’s quite a musical journey. It has everything, a very wide range.
You recently released a four tracker with the – “Extinct Dreams Series 01”, what are the aesthetics involved in this project, could you give us your thoughts on it?
The Extinct Dream Series is a collection of deep melodic and groovy tracks. Ibiza inspired, beach feel. Something you can zone out to. We intend to continue the series with other artists as well. I was surprised to see how much support it got, so definitely another win for Extinct.
What plans for the rest of the year and overall like the direction everything is going in? Also tell us about the 1 hour exclusive mix you have graciously provided for our followers, is it painted with the sound that you are currently excited about? And thank you for taking time out to chat with us.
This year expect some more releases, on Extinct, Lost & Found and a few others that I can’t disclose just yet. As far as this exclusive live mix (which by the way includes one of my new secret unreleased tracks) is full of deep, dark, melodic sounds, a bit aggressive at times and driving. Well I’ll let you be the judge and hope you enjoy it and see you soon!
Make sure you head on over and follow Brian Cid via;