I'm more of an artist and a songwriter than I am a DJ. That word seems a little bit - well, it doesn't really describe what I do.
I think that most people who hire me to do a remix just want it to work in a nightclub, whereas when I'm writing my own album, I don't have to worry so much about 2 A.M.
A lot of people see electronic music as a flavor of the week, but it can be more than that - has to be more than that.
I don't feel that electronic music has to stand on the back of urban artists or anyone else to be recognized. It's great music.
Listening to music is such an uplifting, spiritual thing. It's far-fetched to some - I understand that. But the way dance music brings people together, it's not a big stretch from hymns.
It's interesting: in the late '80s, there was this really random mix of new wave, industrial, and these early house records. And a lot of it was coming out of Chicago because of Wax Trax! So I always visited Wax Trax Records.
Music evokes a lot of different emotions and triggers different senses.
I DJ'd for years. I DJ'd in high school, and I think my parents thought it was a passing thing. And then when I was in my second year of college, I was like, 'Yeah, you guys don't need to send me money anymore. My DJ gigs are good enough. I'm selling music; I think I'm gonna have a record deal. I can pay my tuition.'
I love a great melody and wonderful lyrics that speak from the heart, and my music has that and speaks about it; but there's just something that was really raw and energetic about the early House music. It's hard to describe. It's like you had to go to these parties where the stuff was being played on these huge sound systems to really feel it.
I think people look at dance music and see it as kind of a bad thing, and bad people hang out in nightclubs, but it never felt that way for me. Growing up in Chicago, music was the thing that saved me, that kept me on the straight and narrow.
People book me because of the songs I write, not because of the sets that I play, per se... I'm sure I'm going to be moving to a laptop really soon, but I was one of the last guys to let the vinyl go. I was crying. In my room, I still have thousands of records. I still pull them out and play them all the time.
Dance music will always be around. People around the world love to dance.
The producers and writers of dance music are becoming the stars, not so much the DJs.
As a kid, my parents had the typical stuff going on in the home, like Bee Gees, The Carpenters. Then I got exposed to what my brothers were listening to: a lot of classic rock, Led Zeppelin. It was around the mid-'80s when the whole Electro-Techno-Pop-House music thing started happening in Chicago.
I have really fond memories of growing up in Chicago, and I always love going back. I still have a lot of really good friends from high school that I go to dinner with. It's kind of become a tradition when I go out there to do a show to give a few friends a call, tell some funny stories about high school and walk down memory lane.
I think there is some truth to the fact that yeah, okay, cool, obviously the more mainstream kind of easier-to-grasp-onto dance music has become popular, but that holds true with almost any genre. It wasn't like the Sex Pistols hit the radio. It was poppier versions of that is what hit. It's never, like, the true core stuff.
I've always been a big advocate of making shows affordable because a lot of these bottle-service clubs and events are geared toward really expensive experiences. Club music is for everyone, and it drives me crazy that people are getting priced out.
It's weird, when I go back to San Francisco, the few times that I've done shows there since leaving, it still feels like I live there. It's very, very strange for me. That's where my daughter was born, at UCSF. I have this huge attachment to San Francisco. It's like a love affair.
There is so much great talent in the underground, and electronic music is finally getting the props that it's deserved for so long. I feel like now that everyone is discovering it and it's so fresh sounding to so many people. It doesn't get any more rock n' roll than playing EDC or the Staples Center. It's really madness.
When you go see a good DJ, you'll know it, man - you'll know it in your bones. Between the guy who's phoning it in and the guy who's obsessively working it to give you the best show of his life.