Internationally acclaimed DJ, producer, radio host, and label owner ‘Darin Epsilon’ opens up about his move to Berlin and life on the road.
Hey Darin, you’re originally from Chicago and made a move to Berlin. You’ve managed to build a strong progressive house fan base all over the world, but with that kind of sound not being so popular in Germany, what made you decide to take the leap?
I consider myself extremely versatile, so often times you’ll hear me play a combination of Progressive, Deep House, Tech House, and Melodic Techno in my sets. I have tracks in my back catalog that have charted in all four of those genres.
I guess I’ve been pigeonholed into a certain sound after several media outlets wrote that I was the #1 Progressive House artist from America.
Berlin is actually really affordable and the requirements to live in the country for US citizens are not so demanding, as opposed to places like London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, etc.
I was really nervous at my first shows because of exactly what you just said. However, I’ve come to realize that the Berlin audience is really accepting of different genres. They pretty much dance to anything as long as it’s good!
Berlin’s 24x7x365 partying culture takes its toll on some. What impact has it had on your life?
It’s absolutely great for networking and making new contacts. There’s never a slow time of year, and even DJing on a weekday morning can be extremely gratifying, depending which club you’re playing.
We hear Bummel Techno, a slower melodic sound with a kind of Tech House vibe, is becoming really popular in Germany. Many are choosing it as an alternative to the darker, pumping, industrial sounds played in Berghain and beyond. Have you checked it out and what’s your opinion?
The slow Burning Man inspired “Playa Tech” sound has been around for a while and has always been trendy and popular. Personally I think it’s great for warmup and afterhours sets, but I can really only enjoy DJing when the music is a bit more pumping and upbeat.
We heard your set for Balance and to us, it was a masterclass in selecting music that makes clubbers feel safe, secure, connected and free to express themselves. When you’re selecting music do you imagine the kind of feelings and emotions it’s going to create on the dance floor? Because it seems to us you are really going the extra mile to create experiences for your listeners.
When I listen to music, I not only hear notes, but also shapes and colors! A great set in my opinion is one that tells a story and carries the listener through a whole range of emotions.
The tracks I selected for my Balance mix are ones that I believe are timeless and can stand the test of time. They not only fit together harmonically but also carry a similar thread in terms of atmosphere and overall mood.
I received so many amazing demos and promos from all around the world in preparation for this mix. There were plenty of tracks that I felt were great but ultimately didn’t make the final cut because they didn’t gel with the other tracks selected for the mix.
It’s totally different when I play a club set because I’m more concerned with making people dance and getting a strong reaction on the dancefloor. It’s two completely different approaches to DJing.
How is Perspectives Digital going and what is the release schedule looking like? Have you any plans to change the sound on the label?
The label has been going strong and we’ve released music by a lot of talented artists that I admire. Going forward, the challenge will be reaching a wider audience without completely alienating our existing fanbase. Beatport’s new genre Melodic House & Techno would be the perfect way to describe the label’s current sound.
The next release on Perspectives is an EP by Paul Kardos, which includes a remix by Roger Martinez. Paul is an extremely talented producer from Hungary and he was the winner of my One Thousand & One Nights SonicAcademy.com remix competition last year. Two of the tracks from his EP were featured in my Balance Selections guest mix.
Touring schedules can be punishing and make you feel isolated, so it’s not for everyone. How do you cope with it?
I actually really enjoy traveling and seeing new places, plus there’s always nice people that I meet at my shows and on the road. Experiencing new cultures, food, and ways of life are all what make touring so irresistible to me.
It can become very isolating if you’re away for long periods of time, but fortunately we’re living in the age of FaceTime, WhatsApp, and Skype! I think we’re really lucky to have all this amazing technology which allows us to connect with friends/family at anytime from anywhere in the world.
You’re currently touring South America right now and demand for your sets has absolutely skyrocketed of late, with you set to tour North America next. Do you have some advice for any aspiring artists that are looking to follow in your footsteps?
I’ve worked nearly every day for over a decade, so I’m extremely grateful that I get to do what I’m most passionate about for a living! It wasn’t so long ago that I was working a dead-end job that I seriously hated. My advice to people that are stuck in this situation is to never give up, never stop dreaming, and work really hard towards achieving your goals!