Darin Epsilon takes G-Sounds on a progressive journey…
Internationally acclaimed DJ, producer, radio host, and label owner Darin Epsilon is often referred to as a leader of the Progressive & Tech House scene. His ‘Perspectives’ radio show and podcast, along with his frequent guest appearances on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, allow him to reach out to listeners across the globe. He launched his record label ‘Perspectives Digital’ in November 2010 as an extension of the brand, further solidifying his influence and presence within the global dance community. To top it all, he was named one of the winners in John Digweed & Beatport’s DJ Competition during the summer of 2011.
As a gifted student of music from an early age, former record shop employee, and former director of a college radio station, Darin draws inspiration from his nearly encyclopedic knowledge and genuine appreciation of electronic music. He cites a variety of important influences in the past decade, from the early Leftfield and Future Sound of London albums, to the iconic Global Underground compilation series, to the sweeping sounds of Paul Oakenfold circa 1999, to Sasha & Digweed’s mind-blowing Delta Heavy tour in 2002.
Darin’s refined taste in music and natural ear for a catchy tune has translated into the production world as well. He gained the attention of the industry’s elite early on with his first-ever original tune titled “Bluephobia”. The track debuted on Hernan Cattaneo’s now legendary Metrodance radio show in 2007 and proved to be monumental success, even spawning a series of viral YouTube videos. Following the success of “Bluephobia”, he continued turning heads with remixes for high-profile artists Matthew Dekay, Chris Fortier, D:Fuse, Kenneth Thomas, and Noel Sanger.
To date, Darin has released music on many of the industry’s most respected labels, including microCastle, Armada, Perfecto, Black Hole, and Baroque Records. His productions have gained much success and have featured on compilations of Markus Schulz and Paul Oakenfold. He counts Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren, John Digweed, Sasha, Dave Seaman, Paul Oakenfold, Jody Wisternoff (Way Out West), Sandra Collins and D:FUSE amongst his regular supporters.
If you have ever been in the audience to catch one of his live sets, it’s immediately apparent that he is proficiently skilled as a DJ as well, which has propelled him to gigs around the world. He has electrified audiences across the United States, as well as headlined shows in Argentina, Russia, UK, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Bulgaria, Peru, Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.
Within Los Angeles, where he currently resides, he often plays for the city’s most prestigious clubs, including Avalon, Vanguard, Playhouse and Circus. Over the years, he has shared the spotlight with many of dance music’s superstars including Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren, John Digweed, James Zabiela, Sander Kleinenberg, Fedde Le Grand, John Graham (Quivver), Josh Gabriel (Gabriel & Dresden), Jody Wisternoff (Way Out West), Paul Harris (Dirty Vegas), Dirty South, Dave Audé, Morgan Page and countless others.
However, it would be foolish to say that his achievements have been purely confined to the club setting. Global brands such as MTV, American DJ, American Audio, Elation Professional, and Global Truss have all called upon him to provide the soundtrack to their videos. His music can also be found in the films Ecstasy and Slip Cue, placing him in a small category of producers that have ever made it onto the big screen.
With hard work, passion, pure dedication to his art and support from the industry’s most revered names, this Chicago native turned LA transplant aims to prove that this is only the beginning to a long and promising career.
Firstly tell us a bit about how you got into dance music?
My first taste of real electronic music happened at age 14 or 15 around the turn of the century. I grew up outside of Chicago, approximately 45 minutes from Northwestern University. Every week they would feature various mixshows with local House and Trance DJ’s on 89.3 WNUR FM. I instantly fell in love with the sound and even recorded some of the mixes on cassette so I could listen to them over and over.
Eventually, it was no longer enough to be just a passive listener. I wanted to become an active participant in the scene. It took me two years working part-time at a music shop in order to save up enough money for my first pair of Technics turntables. Fast forward to 2007 and I released my first-ever remix in stores during my senior year in college.
Would you say there has been a clear difference in musical influences for your sound from when you first started DJing compared to now?
Of course, it happens to a lot of DJ’s actually. I like to think of it as an evolution in musical selection and taste. The first records I bought were from Ferry Corsten and Paul van Dyk, but the more I learned about the music and its vast history and culture, the more I strived to dig a little deeper and go for the records that other people were not playing. For me, finding these brilliant pieces of work was the equivalent of striking gold every single time.
Who would you say has influenced you a lot in refining your sound to what it is today?
I would be lying if I said Paul Oakenfold didn’t have an enormous influence on me from the get-go. He was absolutely the biggest DJ on the planet in the late 90′s and early 2000′s. A few years later, I was heavily inspired by Sasha & Digweed’s set in Chicago during their Delta Heavy tour in 2002.
It’s still one of the best concert experiences I’ve had to date. More recently, I’m following the sounds of Hernan Cattaneo and Nick Warren. These guys play extremely elegant dance music without borders.
You’ve worked in a record shop and ran a college radio show. Did these spark your passion for music or were they a result of that passion?
I would say that music has always been an interest of mine for as long as I can remember. This attraction probably steered me and motivated me to these positions and only served to fuel my interest towards electronic dance music. I discovered a lot of great new artists that I was previously never exposed to as a result of doing both.
You were one of the winners in the John Digweed & Beatport DJ Competition. Why did you decide to take part and how has that had an effect on your career?
It was a decision I made almost immediately after reading the announcement. I want to say that the last DJ contest Digweed held was in 2004, but I’m not entirely sure. In any case, it’s not something that happens all the time. Up to this point, I was already building my name as a prolific producer, but I wanted to prove to people that I was totally capable at DJing as well. The result has been very helpful at getting my name out there and getting my foot through the door in various places around the world. It’s an achievement and title that I will carry with me for a very long time.
You launched your own digital imprint, Perspectives Digital, which is up to its 13th release and 3rd compilation. In what direction do you strive to push the label?
I would like to see the label continue to influence and shape the progressive house community and even the electronic dance music industry at large. Our next releases are a good mixture between huge peaktime tracks and other more slower-paced ones. The music on Perspectives Digital should sound great at home but also be able to rock the club. It’s a duality that I don’t think every label is capable of or focuses on, but you need to be able to do both in order to be a success, in my opinion.
What can we expect from your label in the near future?
We just released a track by LA-based producer DAVI which did very well for us. It received plays from superstars like Hernan Cattaneo, Above & Beyond, and Max Graham. Coming up next, we have signed some brilliant tracks by Fiord, Jamie Stevens from the Australian band Infusion, Kastis Torrau & Arnas D (the winners of Sasha’s remix contest), and Argentinian up-and-comer Mariano Favre.
You have provided the next installment of our G-Sounds mix, how would you describe the sound and influence that has gone into it?
It’s very representative of the Perspectives sound: hugely melodic progressive house with a strong groove and splashes of Tech House and Techno influence.
As a DJ your career has taken you to play all over the US as well as places like Costa Rica, Peru and Mexico. Where would you say has been your favourite place to DJ and is there anywhere in particular you would love to play?
Mexico has consistently been my favorite country to play. The crowds there are more enthusiastic and friendly than anywhere else I have ever been. Russia comes in a close second, but I have only played there four times, versus over ten times in Mexico. Next month, I will be making my first-ever appearance in Kenya, which is honestly one of the most proud and exciting moments of my entire career. A few months ago, I didn’t even know dance music existed in Africa, but the social landscape is rapidly changing with all the new technology that is readily available. As for where I would like to play next, I still never had the opportunity to play in Asia or Australia.
What kind of atmosphere or vibe do you aim to create in your DJ sets?
With each of my sets, I really strive to take the listener on a musical journey. This really has a lot to do with my early days spinning Trance. Not a lot of DJ’s are able to pull this off, but when it’s done correctly, there’s nothing better.
What labels are you featuring regularly in your box of tricks at the moment?
Some great records are coming from Bedrock lately. I’m also supporting a lot of stuff from Sudbeat, Vapour Recordings, microCastle, and Mesmeric.
What record have you been playing a lot recently?
There’s too many to name just one! Asides from my own material and label tracks, I’ve included “Carambola Green” by Christian Smith or Guy J’s remix of P8 & Answer42 on Anjunadeep in just about every one of my sets. These are huge anthemic tunes that work in every context, whether I’m playing for a cool underground crowd or a slightly more commercial one.
The following few months are likely to keep you busy with a number of international gigs lined-up, but what else do you have lined-up in the near future?
My remix of “Soul Is In The Air” by Dezarate & Michel Manzano will be released on Perfecto Records this July. Paul Oakenfold just picked this up for his next compilation and is also considering it for his upcoming BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix. I’m also in the process of signing my latest original track to one of my top 5 dream labels, although I can’t mention who it is just yet. You can always follow my Facebook or Twitter in order to stay updated.