etain mania

Tim Yoder ~ interview with DJ Etain ~ images courtesy of DJ Etain  ~  Etain is a ten year veteran DJ turned producer as well as a record label owner of Star People Music. She has been featured on XM Satellite’s “The Move”, and other notable internet radio shows, Provocative and Riders of a PlasticGroove. She has headlined many massive events in her career, namely the Heineken Full-Moon party in the Dominican Republic that hosted 7,500 attendees, and a short Russian tour in 2003.

Steering clear of the mainstream and familiar, Etain has maintained her status as one of Colorado’s most in-demand DJ’s for almost 7 years. Never one to follow trends, her sound constantly pushes the envelope and enables her to stand out as a uniquely talented DJ and producer.

With 10 years of DJ’ing under your belt, have you always been in Denver?

I started in Los Angeles, when I used to live there. My roots were in the CA desert rave scene which paved the way for a lot of DJs we know and love! I then moved to Columbus, OH and played events in Columbus, Pittsburgh and Cleveland for a year, before I moved to Colorado. I have been here 7 years now.

What City did you enjoy the best music wise?

To be honest, I have not played in many US cities. I need to start doing more outside of Denver. I have been pretty lucky locally in Denver, and haven’t really needed to venture the borders of CO that much. I will say though, that I was pleasantly surprised when I played in a small town called Tver, in Russia. When we arrived at the train station it looked like a poor town in the old Soviet Union. When we arrived at the club it was like an oasis in the desert and it blew my mind. People seemed to crawl out of the woodwork and come out to dance, all dressed up like it was Ibiza or South Beach. I was amazed. I had a great time. I hope to play more cities in the US if I could just find a decent agent, lol. I have not had the best of luck in that department. Hopefully soon though.

Describe your style for me.

I have come full circle when it comes to my musical style. I taught myself how to mix using old House and Breaks records. I started with House in 1996, (a lot of Subliminal-type stuff), went into Speed Garage after that. I also got into Psy-Trance & Goa, as well as Hard German trance, which was huge in the 90s. I started dabbling with London Acid Techno around 1998, because I loved Hard Trance and the Acid Techno was like that, but edgier. Not being too fond of anthems and build-ups, I started looking for a harder, tougher sound around 1999. Kev Bird from the UK introduced me to UK Hard House, which I played for a solid 3 years after that. But when that started going anthemy, I began searching for the techier side of electronic music, if you will. I have always had a love affair with Techno, being as I fell in love with Kraftwerk and Sven Vath at age 12, so I started looking for Techno again. I would say that the past 3 years have seen me start to appreciate more intelligent dance music. Maybe its age, but I prefer music at a slower BPM these days, and I look for thought-provoking, soulful music. Needless to say, I have also found myself back at my House roots and I play a wide variety of House, whether its Tech House, Electro, Progressive House, or Tribal House. I think electronic music has evolved nicely and there are genres within genres, which make it easy to be versatile performer. I also play in so many different venues, that I have to take the type of venue and audience into consideration. Whilst I will never succumb to popular demand and play something I dislike for the sake of the audience, I will definitely make sure I have the right music for the right occasion. Whether it’s playing Tech House at a small intimate venue, or banging Techno at a huge outdoor massive, I always thoroughly enjoy my track selections and love to concentrate on the unique programming that is necessary for the different genres that I play. I have to say that even though I have played a multitude of genres in my 10-year career, I am finding that my preferences are turning more towards the minimal side of electronic music.

Any favorite records in your rotation?

The vinyl elitists are going to hate me, but I just play CDs these days. Worse yet, I scribble the name of the producer on the CD, and the genres are all mixed up. It’s a mess, but somehow I always manage to find my favorites. I can tell you the producers I stick with pretty consistently, but the song names escape me. I like Valentino Kanzyani, Umek, Tony Thomas, Marco Nastic, Hertz, Mastiksoul, Steve Bug, Terry Francis. Lately I’ve been buying pretty much everything those guys put out, so they are continually in my rotation and get a lot of play!!

What made you start Angelic DJ’s?

Actually, it was Jamie Kent who started Angelic. She contacted the rest of us; me, MLE and Ms. Vicious. We have now been together for a year and a half. What’s interesting about us (this was totally unplanned) is two of us are House-heads and two of us are Breaks-heads. MLE and Ms. Vicious discovered that they have similar tastes in Breaks and Drum & Bass, and Jamie and I have discovered that we love the same kind of House. MLE and Ms. Vicious have also teamed up individually and called themselves The Dirty Girls. Their debut Breaks release Daddy’s Little Girl is being released on my label (Star People Music) on July 1st, 2006. Jamie and I are also working in the studio on some original music, which we will release soon. So within Angelic we have also found other niches!! As a whole group, we are pretty busy with local events. We have two residencies and have started to get really busy, especially now that summer is here.

Tell me about Mania TV and your involvement?

ManiaTV is the world’s first 24-hour internet television music network. We are based here in Denver. Basically our business model is simple: Play music videos of all varieties, and make it possible for the audience to chat live with the CJs (Cyber-Jockeys). It’s the first show of its kind that is completely interactive. Things are really picking up for us. I have only been around for a short while, but already I see how big we are getting. Were live, uncensored (after 10pm), 24-hours, 7 days a week. It’s the new age of television! I present a show called Circular every Tuesday from 12am 2am EST. It’s great, because people can make live requests and chat with me online between breaks. It’s definitely interesting and I enjoy it very much!

It seems you are a busy woman with all that and the radio show.

Oh yeah! That’s not all. I have a full-time job, and I run my own record label. I launched my label two weeks ago on Beatport. I also recently set up my own recording studio at home, so all I want to do is make music now. My good friend Nebulae in Dallas put me through boot camp to learn music production software, and now it’s all I want to do! Even with my crazy schedule, I make sure I sit down to write music everyday, even if it’s just a half hour. I am really disciplined with it, and rarely have time anymore for social activities which really bothers my friends. But you have to understand, I have 22 years of music data stored in my head, and now that it wants to come out, I am a slave to it! I just released my first track called Submerged and I am finishing a Techno track to be released on my label next month. It’s called The Valkyries.

What made you start a label?

Good question. I had tossed the idea around for years, and with sites like Beatport providing an easy way to own and manage your own label without the hassle of a distributor, it seemed the logical route. I also didn’t want to spend years trying to get some other label to like my stuff and pick it up, and then try to get paid for my efforts. I love the creative freedom of making my own music and then deciding for myself if it’s good enough to sell. I finally have a creative outlet to do something that I love. I do everything from writing the track, to marketing it, and I love having that control for the entire process. I also have so much music in my head that I need to get out, so honestly this is the best way for me to do it entirely my way, and never be at the mercy of someone else who does not share my creative ideas, thereby trying to make me write music I am not passionate about.

Is that the style of techno you are looking for?

If you mean the style I want to produce, then yes, that is one facet of my multi-faceted tastes in electronic music! My new track definitely has that German Techno feel to it, driving bass lines and underlying melodies with lots of energy. When I sat down to write this track, I had no idea in mind what it was going to sound like, but it is definitely morphing into that sort of style as it nears completion. I really want to try and write some more minimal techno stuff after this. The problem is that I love it all when it comes to Techno. It is such a great genre to explore and really get creative with. There are no rules in Techno. I love it!
What is the most memorable party you have played?

That would probably be the Heineken Full Moon party in Santo Domingo last August. I had played there in April, and Heineken liked what they heard, so they invited me back to headline the Full Moon party four months later. There were 7,500 people there. I love playing in the Dominican Republic. The people have a certain joie-de-vive and just love life and music. When you have 7,500 screaming music fans looking up at you and cheering you on, it is not something you forget quickly! I hope to go back this year sometime.
Any thoughts on the future? What do we have in store from you?

A lot!! I am focusing on getting my label up and running this year, with some releases from other artists around the world. I am also doing a LOT of producing. I’m writing my own original material, as well as some remix work I was recently given from Depth Recordings in Seattle. Jamie Kent and I are working on music together, to be released on my label in the near future. Angelic is in full-swing, so I expect well be doing more and more on the events side. My number one goal is to keep working steadily in my home studio and to put out quality releases that will keep everyone just dancing and loving the music.

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