Q&A with The Magician
This year is the seven-year anniversary of U Street Music Hall and you were there for its opening night! Since then, you’ve played a number of times over the past few years. What’s been your favorite part about the venue and the DC crowd over the years?
The D.C. crowd is enthusiastic and open-minded, which I like because I can play music they don’t know and still keep them dancing. I love the venue, the setup, the sound system, and the welcome … I have never played anywhere else in DC. So I’m quite excited to play on Saturday and I’ve just seen it’s sold out – that’s great!
Speaking of seven years ago, I recently scrolled down your Soundcloud to get to your original Magic Tape One. While different and way more disco-heavy, I can honestly say it was as magical as Magic Tape 68 is today – how have you been able to do that? How have you changed your vibe and mixes with contemporary house music but still stayed true to where it all began?
Thank you. I get inspired by new music I listen too, so it is obvious the sound throughout my Magic Tapes have changed a bit because dance music has evolved. My mix method hasn’t changed though. I still mix 2 tracks together the same way since day one.
If you could go all the way back and watch your first DJ performance as The Magician, what would today’s Magician think?
I honestly couldn’t watch myself. I hate watching myself but I’m fine to listen, especially for the selection because that would remind me of some of the music I forgot. I would give myself a bad review for sure. I’m harsh with myself and deeply sensitive if the mix is not 100% perfect.
Recently, you’ve begun sharing your Magic Tape tracklists on Spotify … finally revealing some of the ingredients of your secrets… how come?
Yes, but I still leave a gap of 2 or 3 weeks between the Magic Tape release day on Soundcloud and the Spotify playlist. I do that for 2 things. Firstly, some tracks are not yet on Spotify when I release it on Soundcloud because I play a lot of promos in the magic tapes. And secondly, I like to see people interact with each other trying to find the tracks they like.
It reminds me of the record shop/vinyl era … Sometimes I used to wait 3 months or more to find out about a record I heard in a tape cassette. My obsession was having it on vinyl. I went mad for that until the day I finally found it and then as soon as I found it I’d become less interested!
What’s most amazing about the Magic Tapes is the primo song selection and how well you put in multiple tracks of different BPMs and varieties into one sequence. What inspires your record choices and how you mix them?
The track choice is based only on the music I love the month between the previous Magic Tape and the new one. I classify all the music I find and receive, and then the day prior to the release I make the Magic Tape in case I get a last-minute, great tune.
Then the mix is pretty simple on Ableton Live.
Do you have any go-to producers out there that you personally enjoy and often put in your sets?
Firstly I’m going to mention artists I have signed on my label called Potion: Aston Shuffle, Mickey, Bobby Nourmand, Fabich, Clew and Prov. They all make a different genre of music which makes Potion open minded and powerful.
Then I really like Blaze, Icarus, Borussia, George Kwali, Darius, Pat Lok, Offaiah, Fatima Yamaha …
While your Magic Tape series is a monthly gem on Soundcloud, your production ability is what really has set you apart and pushed your stardom into newer heights in the past few years. How do you describe the music you make?
In one word: Catchy.
A lot of today’s top artists came out of the Hype Machine generation who used the proliferation of Ableton and other music production technology to create newer kinds of edits and remakes. Do you consider yourself part of that wave or has your success been based on a different story?
Well I started The Magician career being fortuitous because I had a remix that charted at number one in Europe – the remix for Lykke Li. But it wasn’t made on purpose and it was also official.
What would your fans be most surprised to learn about you?
That I care a lot of what they say even if I don’t take time to answer them all.
Released on Potion, your new single “Tied Up” with singer Julian Peretta has been well received and is putting you on a track towards the top of music production with the likes of Calvin Harris. That being said, where do you see yourself a year from now and what should we expect?
You should expect way more music out under The Magician moniker. I have been in the studio a lot the past 6 months and I have new tracks ready to be released. Also, new acts on Potion.