Darin Epsilon is a music producer, DJ, radio host and record label owner originally from Chicago, which is more well known for its house sound rather than the more progressive sounds. Darin has had a series of strong releases on labels such as Sudbeat, Renaissance, Hope Recordings and his music is being supported by the likes of Sasha, John Digweed, Nick Warren to name but a few. Darin also runs his own record label, Perspectives Digital, as well as hosting his own monthly podcast called Perspectives where he has featured artists such as Darren Emerson, Max Cooper, Guy J, Way Out West and many more. Besides finding time for all the aforementioned he also found the time to enter and be named as one of the winners of John Digweed’s Structures DJ Competition. The judges at the event included Oliver Lieb, Nick Muir, Robert Babicz and John Digweed himself, so to be named as one of the winders was no mean feat. So, as you can see, Darin is a very busy man so we felt very privileged to have stolen a few minutes of his time for him to chat to us about what he has been working on and what he has planned for 2014.
Hi Darin. I believe you were born and raised in Chicago, which is regarded more for its house sound than anything else. What made you sway to the more progressive side of music?
Coming from a very musical background, nothing excites me more than hearing an inspiring melody. Combine that with a groove and heavy percussion and that’s heaven to me. Progressive House is a very developed and evolved sound and I would say it represents the best of everything music has to offer.
You have lived in LA since 2009. How do you find living in LA and is it a huge influence with your music?
I love it over here on the west coast! Living in such a dance music hotspot has certainly shaped my sound. People here are really educated and it challenges me to push myself and get more creative with my sets. Asides from Progressive House, my sets also incorporate Tech House, Deep House, and Techno.
You were named as one of the winners of John Digweed’s Structures DJ Mix Competition in 2011. How did you go about constructing your entry and what were your thoughts when you were named as one of the winners?
The rules were to take any of the tracks that appeared on ‘Structures 2’ and come up with your best 30 minute DJ set. I managed to fit in over 10 tracks that were grouped together by key, rhythm, pacing, and overall mood and feel. To prepare, I listened to each track carefully and contemplated which ones I was going to use and where they would fit within the context of the mix. I was extremely honoured and happy to be named one of the winners, not just because I respect John Digweed, but also because I poured my heart and soul into the competition.
Besides touring you also run your Perspectives Digital label and Perspectives Radio Show and Podcast. How do you find the time to juggle everything?
Hahah, that’s a very good question! It’s really true when they say that being a professional DJ is a full-time job. Since I don’t operate on a normal work schedule, I try and stay organised and plan for things in advance. Some days I’ll focus solely on production work, other days I’ll focus on promotion (like doing this interview!), and other days I’ll be digging around for tracks to play at my next gig. People have this misconception that being a musician is all fun and games, but there is really an insane amount of time and energy required to make a career out of it.
You mentioned that you use the radio to play a lot of tracks you simply would not be able to play in a club. How do you go about selecting tracks for your radio show?
The radio allows me so much freedom. I can play what I want and not have to worry about constraints. Pretty much anything goes, but when I’m performing live in front of an audience, there are so many things I have to consider: who just played before me, what style of music is popular in the city I’m in, what time of night is it, who is playing after me, etc.
Who would you say are your biggest musical influences and why?
Paul Oakenfold’s mixes from the late 90’s and early 2000’s were what got me seriously interested in DJing. Sasha’s ‘Global Underground Ibiza’ was the compilation that got me hooked on Progressive House. I’m also a huge fan of Prodigy, Leftfield, Underworld, and Future Sound of London. These days I would say Hernan Cattaneo and Nick Warren are the two people I identify with the most musically.
You travel all over the globe when you tour and have played in many great clubs and venues. Where would you say is your favourite place to play?
Without a doubt, my favourite country to play is Mexico. I must’ve played there at least 20 times by now. I’ve also experienced really excellent crowds in Kenya, Russia, and Argentina.
The industry has seen many changes throughout the years, but one issue is the struggle for exposure in a flooded digital world of music. How do you find this affects you and releasing your music?
This year I’ve been spending a lot more money on promotion/PR to push my releases out and build my online presence. I’ve also had to come up with unique strategies that help me stand out amongst my peers. You have to really think outside the box these days and not rely on just having strong material because unfortunately that’s no longer good enough.
When in the studio do you prefer using software or a more analogue approach to your music?
I own some analog gear but I prefer the convenience of working with software instruments. My favourite VST’s at the moment are Spectrasonics Omnisphere, Rob Papen’s Predator, and Synplant.
Many of your productions have been used off the dancefloor and on film scores. Is this something you intended when you wrote the tracks?
Not at all, but it’s always good to see people finding a use for my music outside of the dancefloor! Kind of a nice bonus any time it actually happens.
Progressive House is a genre that has become a little lost in its way due to the likes of Beatport and their categorisations. What are your thoughts on the genre and how some tracks have been categorised?
Hmm, tough question. I see a lot of Progressive House producers releasing their music under Deep House or Techno now because of the confusion. I actually get a lot of support from Beatport, so for me it’s not as much of an issue, but for new producers I could see this really being a problem. Also, my label gets tons of Commercial House and Electro demos that are mislabeled as Progressive House :p
Many of your productions have been supported by big name DJs and have been released on labels like Sudbeat, Renaissance, and Hope Recordings. What do you think makes your sound stand out from other producers?
I think having a strong musical background has helped me. I also really spend time on my music and prevent myself from rushing just to get something done. I’ll get feedback from people and listen to my track repeatedly to see if it has staying power. If I get sick of it too quickly then I know it needs to have another element added.
Can you tell us about any artists out there at the moment that are really hitting all the right notes musically for you right now?
Jamie Stevens, Dousk, Kastis Torrau & Arnas D, Pig & Dan, and Quivver are doing great work at the moment. The new EP by Paji was my favorite discovery this month. Simply City are the best newcomers of the year, in my opinion.
Finally is there anything you have planned for 2014 that you can tell us about?
I’ll be starting off 2014 with another tour in India. I’m also working on a remix for Matt Darey, a collaboration with Cid Inc, and looking forward to my two forthcoming releases on Hernan Cattaneo’s label Sudbeat. You can keep up to date with everything I’m doing on my Facebook.