blood on the dance floor
It’s difficult to believe now, but for a vast majority of his music making career, Detroit producer Dez Andres was criminally underrated. Though that was quick to change with last year’s release of “New For U.” That world-beating single topped nearly every year end chart from a host of venerable electronic outlets, from Resident Advisor to Fact to Little White Earbuds. Suddenly, he found himself no longer underrated, but properly rated at the top. I had a chance to chat with Andrés yesterday in advance of his appearance at Middlesex tonight as part of the ongoing Together festival.
You’ve been around for some time, but I wanted to ask if you’ve noticed any changes—whether recognition, bookings, whatever—since “New For U” took off?
Well, yeah, of course. A lot of remixes. A lot of requests for remixes. A lot of gigs. A lot of people being drawn to this, what they call it, “blurring of the genres.” I’m enjoying people enjoying the variety and the cultural experience, if you will.
I was just looking and it doesn’t seem like you have many remixes out there. Is that something that you’re especially selective about?
Not necessarily. I wasn’t asked to do a lot of remixes, you know what I’m saying? All of that has changed this year, but prior to having a hot single out? Nah, I didn’t get asked a lot, or at all.
The past year, you’ve had four releases. Before that it seems like there was a wider time span between releases. Is there a reason behind the sudden spike in workload?
Not necessarily. I wanted to have an outlet to put out more of my music, which is why I started my label. As opposed to when I was just putting out music on Mahogani, now I’ve got my own label, which I’m building a catalogue with. I did put out something with M1 Sessions. And Fit… well, a lot of people don’t know about A Drummer From Detroit, which is another alias of mine. That’s me as well. But yeah, pretty much just the fact that I got my own label and can put out records when I want to also changed the amount of records I have out there.
I’ve heard you describe your DJ style as “blood on the dance floor,” which is one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard. That’s oddly self-explanatory, but do you care to elaborate on your mindstate when approaching a set?
Yeah, “blood on the dance floor” means anything goes,
as long as it’s fitting, as long as you can make it fit. Literally, anything goes. That’s one thing. It keeps it interesting for me. I like the variety, the spice of it. And I hope others do as well. I don’t think people are aware how much of a hip-hop DJ I am, and to not play just hip-hop records. There’s a lot of things going on during this whole “blood on the dance floor.” But it’s interesting how that way of describing it kind of sticks. And of course I got that one from Michael Jackson [laughs]. It’s the way I get down. A lot of cats, to me, play it safe. It’s very predictable.
The same beat through the whole set? I can’t do that. That does nothing for me. I gotta mix it up. And in that mixing it up comes the beauty of how songs weave in and out of each other.
Things like that.
You frequently stream your sets on UStream. Can you talk about that technology and how it’s helped you reach out to people who wouldn’t have a chance to see you otherwise?
LiveStream and UStream have allowed people to enjoy me in their homes! People that don’t know shit about me whatsoever. It’s been an interesting tool, man. It’s a way for me to share a lot with people.
I do live beat sessions on there as well. I make beats from scratch. That’s kind of my way of giving back to the beat cats, to the producers and things like that.
I do a lot of sample based things. Just my way of giving back to the people who might be inspired by what I’m actually doing live.
Are there any new artists that you’re particularly hyped on?
I’m always listening for new stuff. I like to listen to a lot of … just good music, not necessarily new or old. There’s some cats that I’ve been rocking with for the last two, three years that might not necessarily be new. Someone like a Danny Brown. But Danny Brown is somebody that obviously has a lot of press, that you know about. As far as someone who doesn’t have the press like a Danny Brown: Almighty Dreadnaughtz. Of course you know about Kyle Hall. Monica Blaire is my favorite singer out of Detroit.
L’Renee is also a wonderful vocalist. She’s featured on, what I like to call, my favorite record for the last year or so, which is Tonite by Omar-S presents Aaron Siegel. That’s my joint right there. So yeah, just some people that have been at it and the world needs to know about them.
Your roots are based in hip-hop, like you mentioned. And I wanted to ask you if you had an opinion on the current trap movement, where hip-hop and electronic music are meeting and the end result is almost the exact opposite of the type of music you promote.
Well, hip-hop and electronic music have long been fused together. They made a pact a long time ago. What’s going now is definitely something that’s been done before, with a lot of these 808 beats, you know?
There’s nothing new, at all. Nothing new. I’m ready to hear the next thing actually because that sound is just something that’s rehashed and dumbed down a little bit for whatever the styling is today. But it’s nothing new. The hi-hat and snares might be a lot more busier, but overall, it’s just a drum rhythm. Being someone who was around and appreciating the music of the early ’80s, especially hip-hop, I can see that. It’s a rehashing of a lot of old drum beats. I want the envelope to be pushed, as far as that, because it’s stagnant right now.
One more question, since it’s seemingly the only thing I’ve been talking to anyone about this week, have you heard the new Daft Punk album?
I haven’t. I’m going to be very honest, I’ve always liked their logo and I think I might’ve seen one of their videos,
but I’m not really up on Daft Punk’s music too much.
I know J Dilla sampled them for “Raise It Up” and that’s really all I know. I haven’t delved very deep into Daft Punk. Are they out of the UK?
A group that I am very interested in, is a group called Talc. Daft Punk is cool, but those dudes are the deal right there. Those dudes are the business.
They’re from Europe?
Yeah, they’re from the UK.
That’s all I got for questions. Guess I’ll see you tomorrow night in Boston.
Yeah, I know nothing of the town. Never been there. Maybe you can help me out. What’s good with things out there?
Well, Cambridge is the shit. That’s where you’re playing. Lot of good restaurants. And well… obviously you’re playing, so you won’t have time to check out music, but this festival you’re playing at has had music all week.
Who’s going to be there tomorrow?
Um, let me check… tomorrow night is !!!, there’s a drum and bass night, Toy Selectah, and this trap artist named UZ.
Yeah… I guess it’s about me tomorrow! [laughs]
MMMMAVEN, BASSTOWN PRODUCTIONS,
& TOGETHER PRESENT:
MAKE IT NEW WITH ANDRÉS
315 MASS AVE.
9PM/21+/$15 BEFORE 11; $20 AFTER