Viv Castle is a British-born DJ and producer, now based in the US. While living in the UK, his first taste of dance music came in the late 80s and early 90s while going to clubs like Manchester’s legendary Haçienda and Thunderdome. A regular feature behind the decks at Atlanta’s premier venues including Believe Music Hall, District, Opera and others, he made his Imagine Festival debut in 2017 with superstars Tiesto, Deadmau5 and Above & Beyond, and has since shared the stage with AAA artists such as Green Velvet and Oliver Heldens. Viv Castle spent much of the last two years in the studio honing his craft, and released his debut single Control on Hausa Groove earlier this month.
Viv Castle - Control
Welcome to DMC Viv! How’s the year treated you so far?
This has been an electric year so far. I’ve gone through a rebranding, had my first track, “Control,” signed by Hausa Groove, which smashed my expectations by reaching 3rd on the Beatport Tech House Release Charts, and it launched on Spotify last Friday. It is already going to be on several playlists, and I’ve recently got offers for some of my unreleased work. All of this, and we’ve only just entered spring!!!
You recently launched your new music identity… how will Viv Castle music differ from music you’ve released previously?
I don’t see Viv Castle as a “new identity” per se. I see it more as a rebranding which I felt I had to do. Back in the 90s, I started DJing under the name VIVID. I did all of my due diligence, and there were no conflicts, but other acts began to use the name over time. Some achieved a good level of success. This would only confuse our fan bases, so I opted for the easiest route, to rebrand. The last thing I wanted was to start producing, and fans have trouble finding me. It was a bitter-sweet day. I had been VIVID for years, but the future looks bright, and I am excited that fans will be able to find me without wondering if they found the right artist.
But don’t worry, you can expect to find the same high-energy House and Tech House from me. I love the vocals, basslines, and that get-off-your-ass energy far too much to change my direction now. What has changed though, is that now you will see Viv Castle tracks. I’ve broken from being just a DJ and now embrace the Producer title as well.
You’re well known in the Atlanta scene as a beast behind the decks! How do you think you earned this reputation?
I like to think that I know what is involved in creating a good set. A few things are required here: knowing your music inside and out; knowing what time in the even you are playing (opening, prime-time, closing); most importantly, being able to read the crowd. This last one is important; you want to take the crowd on a journey, but sometimes the crowd and what you are playing are not working, so you need to switch it up. Being a good DJ is only part of it, but you also have to remember you are working for a venue and promoter, and you need to be reliable and easy to work with.
With all the assisting technology for DJs these days, what human presence and skills do you think it’s important for performers to possess?
Technology is great. It can make you a bit lazy, but on the flip side, there are mixing that I can do now that I would not even have attempted when I was playing vinyl, thanks to the technology. One thing that technology will never be able to do is read a crowd. That requires the human eye and a sense of feeling. IDK, maybe I am just hoping technology won’t figure out how to do that, but some pretty darn intelligent people are working on algorithms to keep our attention, so who knows, maybe they will be able to read a crowd at some point. Oh, now I am looking at the doom and gloom of technology. Cue the Terminator popping up behind the decks.
Control is your first single as Viv Castle – is this the sound of things to come?
Oh definitely! I am still a new producer, and I think it would be naive of me to say that I have found my sound after one release, but I do think Control encapsulates much of what I like in dance music; fun bassline, vocals, hard-hitting, drops, etc.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
I’ve got a lot of music waiting to be released. I’ve churned tracks out, and now I am at the point of getting them signed. I am working on a tour. I’ll have more info about both of those soon, so follow my socials.
Finally if you could remix any Altanta rap star into a tech house bomb, who would you go for?
I mean there are so many talented acts from Atantal. I think I would have to throw it oldschool and go Outkast. They have such depth of sound to their music. I would pick Player’s Ball if I could have my choice.