Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Valentino Khan X Danceism Interview

Valentino Khan is making huge splashes in the music world. Making some instant Bangers, to producing for some of the biggest names in Hip Hop. 2012 will become one of the biggest years for Valentino Khan. So let’s get to know our favorite producer!
Danceism: What’s your name and where are you from?
Valentino Khan: My name’s Valentino Khan. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA.
Danceism: Describe your music in three words?
Valentino Khan: Versatile, epic, handsome.
Danceism: You recently created a Moombahton song titled “Kingstone,” what was the inspiration for the song?

Valentino Khan: I made the track many months ago actually. At the time I hadn’t heard Jamaican influence infused into a moombahton song, so I chopped up vocals from an old dancehall record and layered it with big drums and Dutch-y synths. I wanted everything in the track to sound dirty – almost like a bootleg. It was supposed to be bundled with “Rukus” for its Mad Decent release, but sampling issues prevented that from happening. So I put it out for free.
Since I held onto it for so long, I think a bunch of people beat me to the punch of making some Jamaican moombahton. Regardless, I think the response has been positive and some of my favorite DJ’s have shown support for the song.
Danceism: Moombahton has been gaining momentum at an exponential rate, do you see it going mainstream or staying a niche within the EDM scene?
Valentino Khan: I think it’s definitely got strong potential to go mainstream, but you never know. One of the reasons I produce every sub-genre of EDM is because the scene can be so fickle with what everyone likes. If you stick to a particular formula, your whole style might go extinct one day. Moombahton has definitely made its way into the mainstream with a few songs, but there’s a couple hurdles it has to overcome in my opinion.
First, it’s got to continue to get support from big-name DJ’s and it will be exposed to a wider audience. It’s cool to see guys like Skrillex, Diplo and Laidback Luke show support to such an emerging genre and even incorporate it into their sets to a degree. That’s a significant part of the push it needs to receive. It’s about getting endorsements from guys that are playing big festivals.
The other large part of it is getting guys to produce and release quality over quantity. From what I’ve experienced, unless you’re trading tracks with your DJ friends, the genre is driven by what’s on Soundcloud. It’s both a blessing and a curse. You can find a bunch of “diamond in the rough” tracks there because anyone can upload anything – it doesn’t matter if you have a name or not. At the same time, that fact that anyone can share their tracks makes it tough to sift through the people who don’t necessarily view their music as anything other than a hobby. More blogs need to start regularly covering moombahton and be selective in what they post. It also helps when established producers make songs and up and comers create tracks that are properly mixed and with a crisp, mass-appeal sound. In my mind that’s where it stands as a genre right now.
Danceism: You were involved in a DJ/Producer duo called Market Price. Is it on hold or it has come to an end?
Valentino Khan: It’s been over for a couple months now. I keep my business behind closed doors, so I won’t go into detail. When we first formed the project, it was a great idea and we’d effectively combine our respective crafts. I’d create & produce all of the music and my partner would do all of the DJ-ing on stage. Unfortunately, we just had a different vision of the future and parted ways.
Danceism: A month after “Watch The Throne” came out; You remixed the whole album (Mark the Throne); How were you able to produce it so fast?
Valentino Khan: I was just determined. When I came up with the idea to remix the whole album, I knew it would probably be the most ambitious thing I’d done musically to date. However, I also knew I’d that if I didn’t accept the challenge and do it, I’d truly regret it. So I basically chained myself to the computer for a few weeks. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself because I knew there might be a wild chance that someone else would beat me to the idea.
It also helped that the original album meshed with my own outlook on my music. Overall, every song sounded different apart from the fact that Jay-Z and Kanye are on all of them. Although I didn’t always stick to the original tempo, there was a wide range of BPM’s on Watch The Throne. That kept things fresh for me and the album’s spontaneity played into how I want my body of work to sound.
Danceism: Were there any rituals to keep the creativity flowing for producing “Mark The Throne?”

Valentino Khan: None in particular. Like I said before, just staying focused. I also couldn’t let myself feel satisfied after I finished one remix because I knew I had several more remaining. So I tried as best as I could to not re-listen to any of the songs until the album was completed. I wasn’t able to fully appreciate all the work until a couple days after I wrapped up.
There were a couple tracks where I put off until the end because I didn’t have any immediate idea on what the remix should sound like. “Welcome To The Jungle” comes to mind. I basically made that one last but it ended up being one of my personal favorites. The great thing about EDM is you can be as creative as you want and you’re able to freely manipulate sounds to a certain extent. On the other hand, when I’m producing hip hop I’ve always got to leave a lot more room on the instrumental for a vocalist.
Danceism: You produced a song for T.I. how did this project come about?
Valentino Khan: I’d been in contact with his label for a while now and sending music over to them with him in mind. However, Tip was incarcerated so I didn’t get a ton of response until he got out and started recording again. I’m happy to end up on the final product and be on an album alongside some other producers I really respect, including Just Blaze & Dr. Dre.
Danceism: How was it producing a hip-hop style track?
Valentino Khan: I’ve been making hip hop since I was a teenager, so it wasn’t anything different for me. I actually didn’t really get into EDM until around 2007 when Justice and Boys Noize came out with their big albums. It hasn’t even been a year since I started releasing EDM tracks, so I’m really happy with the response I’ve gotten. Producing both hip hop and EDM balances me out creatively. If I’m feeling bored or uninspired with one of those two, I can jump into the other.
Danceism: Your coming out with a track with Will Bailey. How was the collaboration process?
Valentino Khan: Simply put, Will’s my dude. We actually met through Soundcloud and shared some music with each other. He was coming to LA for a little while and we wanted to make a big moombahton track. I only had spoken to him over brief e-mails prior to meeting him, so I didn’t know what to expect. Thankfully, he couldn’t have been a nicer dude and a great friend. He’s also got a great work ethic and that’s something I really respect. During the downtime of our collaboration, he’d be working on his own tracks on his laptop.
We had such a good time making “Rukus” that we collaborated again a couple weeks later on the “Love Harder” remix, which will be coming out on Dim Mak this year.
Danceism: “Rukus” is coming out through Mad Decent. How has it been having one of the big heavy weights in dance music showing you mad support?
Valentino Khan: It’s definitely great to have that big push behind your music. Everyone at Mad Decent has been super cool and great to work with while making this happen.
They’re a label that likes to take risks and put out new sounds that the masses haven’t heard before. I think that ties in with their support of moombahton while being one of the bigger labels.
Release date is February 2nd, ladies & gents.
Danceism: What artists you want to collaborate with next?
Valentino Khan: It’s funny, because I’m generally not a collaborative person when it comes to making music. I’ve made all my solo tracks in complete solitude.
However, when it comes to EDM specifically, I love the idea of working with other producers and making music that people can get excited about. I think part of it has to do with the fact that everyone I’ve met in this scene so far has been down to earth and laid back. To me there has to be at least a mutual respect of the other guy’s talents when collaborating. All in all, there’s too many to pick, so I’ll just name some big names – Wolfgang Gartner, Skrillex & Dillon Francis. Doing a song with Boys Noize is something I’d really love because he’s always thinking outside the box. I didn’t exactly name any unknowns there, did I?
Danceism: Any artists you want us to check out?
Valentino Khan: ETC!ETC! is making heat right now. I’ve been fortunate enough to hear some of his unreleased music and I think it’s his best work to date.
Also, peep Bro Safari. His track “Da Worm” came out through Mad Decent and it’s a classic moombahton song in my opinion. He’s got such a big sound behind all of his releases. I like the fact that his music doesn’t roll with one certain format.
I’m probably forgetting a bunch of people, but these two popped in my head because while they produce big room moombahton, they also branch out from there and show their talents in other sub-genres too.
Danceism: For all the fans out there, what would you like to tell them?
Valentino Khan: The best part about EDM is it’s driven by the internet and you’re able to instantly connect with people that enjoy your music. It’s perhaps the purest genre in all of music right now because there’s constantly that direct connection between artist and listener. So regardless of any success I achieve in the future, at the end of the day it’s a result of the support I receive.
I’d like to give everyone my thanks for backing my music – I appreciate all of it. I hope my songs get you responsibly drunk and dancing your ass off.
As I said before, Rukus comes out February 2nd on Mad Decent and stay tuned for that Dim Mak remix release too. I’ve also got a bunch of other projects under wraps right now, so stay tuned! I’m stoked for everyone to hear them.