Words: Tristan Sundae
Redux Saints is a relatively new persona that you’re known under. Tell us a bit about your background in the music industry?
My first endeavour in the music industry was hosting and Djing yacht parties in Miami during World Music Conference. After several years of performing across the states as Jay Millz I decided to learn music production and create Redux Saints. In the process of creating Redux Saints I attended ICON Collective and then Toolroom Records Academy music production programs. I also became a partner of Krafted Music Group based out of the UK in early 2016. Krafted Music Group has four sub-labels (Krafted Underground, Krafted Digital, Sounds of Krafted, and Krafted Records) covering a variety of music genres.
Were there any early influences in the dance music scene that have become apparent in your production?
I submerged myself into electronic music after my musical grunge phase in Chicago as an early teen listening to Chicago House Music such as Frankie Knuckles, Derrick Carter, and Eric Morillo. Around the turn of the millennium I started to listen to the “Annual Summer” from Ministry of Sound and “Northern Exposures” by Sasha and Digweed, and music from Danny Howells and Tiesto. I fell in love with the melodic elements of trance music. It spoke to me in the ability to capture the emotion on the dance floor. What I’m doing with Redux Saints is merging these influences. Taking my love of melodic elements – filling the frequency spectrum with melodic piano, pads, and synth elements. – and gluing this with the driving, chunky percussion of House and Tech House.
You are a partner in the UK based brand Krafted, how did that come about?
Redux Saint’s first EP “Rebirth” was signed to Krafted Underground. In the process of working with the planning of the release, I worked closely with Paul Sawyer and Darren Braddick (Krafted Music Label Owners). The EP project was a success and quickly after the project, I was asked to join the label as a partner.
Tell us about your original tracks on this release?
I was listening to a lot of Anjunadeep music when Boundaries EP was created. Hence, progressive style heavily influenced the production of the EP. The first original track Boundaries I had a vision of a sunset or sunrise.. Boundaries was also reflective of some boundary challenges I was facing with allowing people into my life without setting proper expectations. Zetta track name originated from the Urban Dictionary. This track show some progressive style elements along with a catchy bassline. Virus CDEF is the name of the computer virus from one of my favourite movies “Office Space. This track was the first track I created post graduation of ICON Collective so it has a special meaning to me.
There’s been some significant support for your releases as Redux Saints, how has that felt for you as an artist?
It is humbling when you see artists you admire supporting your work. With each new track as Redux Saints I looks to set the bar higher. We’ve had great support from producers like Fat Boy Slim, Pete Tong, Kolsch, Roger Sanchez, David Penn, Miguel Bastida, Enzo Siffredi, Danny Tenaglia, Yotto, Eelke Kleijn, Tiesto and many more.
Your latest release ‘Boundaries’ includes remixes from D Ramirez, Made By Pete and MINTZ. Talk us through the planning of the overall EP and how you decided who would be the best fit for the release?
To have these three remixes for Boundaries EP is something special that I really must thank Concrete Promotions for organizing for me. Not only were all three brilliant, but brought depth to the EP. I couldn’t ask for better remixes across the music genre spectrum. MINTZ had a brilliant remix on my first single called “Take Me With You”, so MINTZ was a no brainer for this project. They brought a good deep minimal vibe to the EP. Made By Pete’s recent releases have been hitting the charts and he is one of the easiest producers to work with. He hit the nail on the head with bringing my vision to of a ibizia sunrise/sunset. D. Ramirez is a legend and all around terrific guy and did a great job on the remix. I recall the first time listening to it and saying to myself – “Now that is a remix!”. I recently got the honour to work directly with him and was blown away at his creativity.
You played at Burning Man last year, how was that for you? Will you be returning there this year?
Burning Man was an amazing experience for Redux Saint’s last year. Seeing the time and energy everyone puts into making it an enjoyable experience is inspiring. I was amazed at some the art carts like the Mayan Warrior. It’s like a mobile club. I performed on a few art carts, specifically the camp’s air ship we stayed at called Airpusher Collective. I do plan to head back this year and looking forward to catching up with new and old friends and fans and hopefully having more opportunities to perform for additional camps.
Any events that you have coming up that you’d like to mention and that you’re looking forward to playing at?
I’ll be performing at Steampunk Masquerade Burning Man event in San Fran Mid May and then have several planned performances in Los Angeles in June/July.
We hear that there’s a new album in progress?
Yes, I am very excited as the pieces are starting to fall into place after several months of planning. The next EP is more than a just a release for Redux Saints – it’s a launch of a brand, identity and events around a concept called Krafted DTLA (Deep Tech LA). Living in Los Angeles we are bearing witness to a transformation of the urban downtown area. With that transformation, I see a music scene transformation taking place as well. The city is ripe for something different than top 40 and hip-hop. Hence is where I see Deep Tech LA coming into play to range from Deep to Tech House dance music. DTLA EP has three originals that have taken my progressive style and the arrangement and tech house drums to create a unique style of Deep Tech House tracks. I’ve worked closely with Toolroom Records through their academy to fine tune the production, arrangement, brand and launch the EP. There are three exciting remixes as well, by Dom Kane, Ben Remember, and Paul Sawyer. Following the EP, a DTLA compilation is planned to be released around end of August. This compilation brings together scattered producers in the Los Angeles area. We’ve had several successful feedback sessions with producers on compilation reviewing one another track. Not something you see that often in today’s producing environment.
If you could choose one producer to collaborate with, who would that be?
There isn’t one specific artist, however I do really see the value in collaborating from a creative point of view. One of my aims in building the DTLA brand is showcasing the community of producers in the underground scene of Los Angeles who are already working together. We hold regular listening sessions, where we get together and give feedback on each other’s tracks. It’s a real collective of talented producers, so you can expect some collaborations from our group over the coming months.
You’ve been spending some time on the Toolroom Academy recently, how has that benefited you as a producer?
Toolroom Academy program was a choice I made when I was looking to step up my production through continued education. I was out of ICON Collective for about six months and had some specific goals in mind. My primary goal was to learn how to program Toolroom sounding drums. Second goal was to understand UK tech house. Third was to get an original track signed directly to the label. I recently got to spend two weeks at Toolroom HQ and there is a reason the Toolroom brand is successful with music is only one component of it. The people who work for Toolroom are genuine and authentic and it shows through brand. Benefits are that my production has improved drastically. I got work with experts in the area of Marketing/Branding (Miles Shackleton) , A&R (Pete Griffths), Production (Brian Rojas/D. Ramirez). So everything from my social media, arrangement, and production have improved.
Krafted regularly host events at Egg in London and we see that they are back there in July. Do you plan to fly over to represent the brand this year?
Yes I hope to be able to make it back to UK a few times this coming summer to perform.