Brooklyn NYC-based DJ/Producer Brian Cid is a precociously talented rising star who’s genre blurring musical creations already adorn the catalogues of leading labels such as Hot Since 82’s Knee Deep in Sound, Philipp Jung’s Get Physical, Guy J’s Lost & Found and Zurich’s Cityfox, to namecheck a few. He’s hot property right now, DMCWORLD delves in as his new EP flies out…
A big welcome to DMCWORLD and congratulations on your new ‘Pluto EP’, the 51st release on microcastle. You’ve returned to the label after last year’s well-received ‘Belles Du Shaman EP’, so the first thing we’ve got to ask is what makes this Canadian label so special?
Thanks for having me, pleased to be here. Toronto’s microcastle is one of the most unique and well-respected imprints in the underground scene. Mitch, who owns and runs the label, spends a really solid amount of time curating the music, focusing on forward-thinking high crafted productions. Lots of time and dedication goes behind each release. From the artwork to the way it’s shared and distributed. For many years now Mitch has been a big supporter and mentor to me. With him I’ve released very special tracks – ones I hold dearly. I always look forward to my releases there.
Early support for your ‘Pluto EP’ comes from such luminaries of the DJ world as Damian Lazarus, Ame, DJ Tennis, Hernan, Slam, Guy J, My Favorite Robot, Sasha, Nuno Dos Santos, Trikk, Henry Saiz, Musumeci etc… What does it take to create music that appeals to these premiere league players?
All of these amazing tastemakers are always looking for something unique. These are the questions I ask myself when I create: Will this be a timeless track that will turn heads around? What kind of vibe and emotions will this trigger? Will this track be remembered at the end of the night?
Was it the delightfully named Thugfucker who first picked up on ‘Pluto’ some months ago and got the ball rolling with their support? Do you handpick DJs to receive your music a long way ahead of release or even before it’s signed to a label to test things out?
I never give out promos or send my new music to anybody, no matter whom or how big the DJ is. My focus is always my own shows and my goal is to give my crowd a very unique experience by playing music they’ve never heard before, so I like to test things out myself. Only I know exactly which tracks fit where because I remember my headspace at the moment of producing them. But it’s happened before where I’m in the studio with some of these guys and they hear what I’m working on – they ask me to send it to them. So I do. Holmar from Thugfucker was in the studio with me working on our Theory of Light project and he loved ‘Pluto’ and started playing it everywhere. It made me very happy, but what makes me even happier is for me to be the one playing it to my own crowd. This is why I got into DJing in the first place, to play my own records.
For anyone not familiar with your music, how would you describe your style? Can you put your finger on the elements of your music that makes it so distinctive?
Everybody has a different idea of what is what, so I won’t give my style a specific name. One thing I will say though is that I make music for the body to dance and the mind to fly. I use elements of techno, deep, progressive & house. This is what makes it stand out. I stick to no rules.
The lone remix on your new EP is provided by the Italian duo, Marvin & Guy, who’ve created a new journey for ‘Pluto’ played out over twelve magical minutes. How do you feel about people remixing your work? Are you excited or nervous to hear other people’s interpretations?
I’m always excited to hear the work of the selected remixer, who is always carefully picked by the label and I. Marvin & Guy are doing something very unique at the moment so we reached out and they were all in. Their take on ‘Pluto’ was very interesting and we were very pleased. I played it for the first time at Good Room in Brooklyn and the room went down. They added elements that I would never think of, and that’s the beauty of it, music becomes limitless.
Talk us through your other two tracks on the EP – ‘Mancha’ and ‘Dimensions’? Are there any intriguing stories going on here?
Yes, of course, there is always a story behind each track. ‘Dimensions’ tells the story of self-exploration, challenges and a newly found peace within myself. I created this record while going through strong shifts in life and new adaptations. It became a sonic adventure to an unknown world inside me that I never knew existed. Heavy on melodies – this track has strong drive accentuated by deep percussion and low synths – merging to form complex rhythmic patterns full of movement. Complex yet simple. Simple yet elegant.
For ‘Mancha’, I’ve been in the mood of creating grooves designed for bigger spaces and monumental moments – undeniable rhythms that gain everyone’s undivided attention; ones that can express a lot by saying very little. Mancha (which means stain in Spanish) is one that’s difficult to ignore – big synths and bassline on a rhythmic pattern, accompanied by smooth chords that add tension and emotion to the journey. This record is a symbol of freedom & strength, which is a good reflection of where I am physically and mentally today.
Do you find it easy to express your deepest emotions in your music, or is this something that finds an outlet only in certain, special tracks?
If the track I’m working on doesn’t elevate me and touch my soul, I don’t even bother finishing it – so each one of them always has an emotion attached. Some more than others, of course. I like to think that my subconscious-self channels my inner energy through and this is what gets captured in the recording. It all flows and connects.
Tell us one thing you are happy to have achieved today?
The genuine love of the people that follow me. The amount of amazing souls that I’ve met through this journey so far is overwhelming, in a good way. This music we all love is the key that opens the doors of that other dimension.
Let’s rewind for a moment, what is your earliest musical memory?
There has always been a hypnotizing essence about music that attracted me since I was very young. I didn’t come from a musical family, so for me it was always a big deal to be in front of a live band, listening and feeling the sounds. It blew me away! This is when I started developing an intense obsession about music and sound, I remember spending hours tweaking the old mini stereo EQ. Putting both speakers next to my ears while lying on the floor and adjusting the frequencies. Fast forward and well… I’m still doing the same.
You started out playing drums, and then studied to become a professional mixing engineer, becoming the go to choice for names such as Wiz Khalifa, Mos Def, and Snoop Dogg, and engineering tracks for the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Cher. Wow! How did all this develop?
The deep connection for rhythm and sonic perfection made me pursue a career in what I loved the most. One thing led to another but it started from me working with known underground Hip Hop artists in New York City. The word came out about the new kid in town making the drums sound big and punchy, so big labels started chasing me for that sound. From there I started getting involved in bigger projects and things took off. Years later I decided to work on my own project and slowly stopped getting involved in more major label projects. This is when I slowly started pursuing the underground sound – a pure, free and innovative take on music.
What part did New York house legend Todd Terry play in your current career direction?
I just recently saw Todd in Miami for the Music Week. Ran into him and as soon as he saw me he said: “See? I told you! 100 tracks!!” We both laughed and gave each other a big hug. When I first started producing house after he signed my 3 first releases, he told me it would take producing 100 tracks before I find my own sound… well I’m way beyond 100 tracks at this point! He gave me simple yet very key advice that stuck in me forever. The main one was to never bother asking anybody what they thought about my creations. He said, “If it works for you, it works, period!” This is when I learned to always be true to myself and defend my musical integrity, because once you try pleasing others you immediately step into a very dark place that’s hard to get out of.
A piece of equipment you couldn’t live without?
I’m easy and not picky at all. Just give me a good & loud pair of speakers and I’ll take it from there.
Tell us something about the psychological effects of music that totally blows your mind?
Music heals. Music elevates & inspires. Music brings out emotions and change lives, because music creates moments. Life is moments tied together, so music is life.
So far, you’ve released tracks of a very impressive list of labels so far: Guy J’s Lost & Found, Hot Since 82’s Knee Deep in Sound, Philipp Jung’s Get Physical, Berlin’s Save Us Records, Canada’s microcastle, and Zurich’s Cityfox – where do things go from here?
I don’t know? I’m excited to find out. You can’t plan these things. Each one of those beautiful situations happened organically. All I know is that I will continue to express myself through my art and hold on for the ride.
How are things going with Extinct Records?
The creation of Extinct has given me a beautiful platform to reach directly to the public without having to wait a long time or adjust to anybody’s rules and expectations. I just released a 6-track LP called ‘Extinct Dreams Series 02’ which explores a more groovy side of me – a true musical journey. Right now we’re planning our next releases. I also have a very cool announcement to make very soon…
Best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Don’t lead the music, let the music lead you. Give in while creating. Don’t calculate or plan ahead. Let it come out of your heart, not your brain. House music is a feeling. An experience. A lifestyle. Don’t limit yourself. My biggest creations have been done under the worst technical conditions and with very limited equipment. If you are willing you are able.
What are your plans for the rest of 2017?
I’ll be returning to a lot of the places I visited last year in the Middle East, South Asia, South America and North America and adding lots of new ones. We will also be heading to Europe and further in Asia and Oceania. As for music, I have tons of new original records I’m ready to play and a few that I will be releasing. Exciting times!
Brian Cid – Pluto EP (incl. Marvin & Guy Hypnodance Remix) (microcastle) MCSL051
Release Dates: 07.04.17 Beatport Exclusive / 05.05.17 All Stores
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