The excellent onedotsixtwo label unveiled its seventh release to coincide with ADE week and it’s a cracker! With an ethos to seek out and feature the finest world-class talent within the underground progressive house scene, they have welcomed Arizona USA’s Brenden LaBonte (aka Forerunners) to present his label debut. Brenden creates lush, majestic and addictive progressive house music, and as such ‘Magnetic Quartz’ is an exquisitely unique and fascinating production, bearing all the hallmarks of Forerunners’ smooth, precise & clean production style. This masterful DJ/Producer has been creating a big stir amongst discerning underground progressive house fans worldwide, with a steady flow of original productions and remixes on the likes of Sudbeat, Pure Progressive, Silk Selections, Saturate Audio, Or Two Strangers and Afterglow. So we thought it was high time DMC caught up with Brenden to find out more…



Brenden, a big welcome to DMCWORLD and congratulations on the release of  ‘Magnetic Quartz’ on Tripswitch’s exciting onedotsixtwo label. Talk us through the making of this release? How does the creative process work when you’re in the studio?

Thank you for the kind words and opportunity to speak! The creative process isn’t much of a consistent process for me really – it changes often. Over the years I’ve worked hard on trying to nail down the fundamentals of music production as well as collect a core set of go-to tools so that when I do have an idea to work on, the act of turning it into a completed track is successful and sounds halfway decent!

‘Magnetic Quartz’ happened to start with the bouncy bassline you hear from the start, and then I grabbed the looping synth in the second half of the song from the bones of another one of my unfinished projects. The rest just gets worked on and worked on until I’m happy with the result! I really enjoy building a groove in the first half of a track and then completely flipping it on people with a hook and a bassline change for the second half. You don’t want to do it too much otherwise it gets gimmicky I think, but used at the right time in a set it can be very impactful!

For anyone not familiar with your music, how would you describe your individual style? Can you put your finger on the elements of your music that make it so distinctive?

Sure! I worked very hard on creating a style of my own back in 2015, not knowing at the time where I might fit in. I think most of my work comes across as mood-driven with lots of melody and atmosphere. I try to incorporate my favourite parts of multiple genres into the tracks I write. I like the repetitive and hypnotic feel of techno, the percussive grooves and basslines from house music, the melodies and euphoria from trance, the feeling of escapism in ambient music, etc.

‘Magnetic Quartz’ also features a highly impressive remix courtesy of Hernan Cattaneo & Tripswitch. What do you think of their interpretation of your work?

Mind-blowing! It came as a complete surprise when Nick shared the news with me of his remix plans with Hernan. I’m a big fan of both so I knew the end result was going to be something I would play in my sets and be excited about. Sure enough they retained the feel of the original while going a different direction on the remix, couldn’t have been more perfect!

Tell us something about the psychological effects of music that totally blows your mind?

The ability of music to powerfully communicate timeless ideas and emotions is the most mind-blowing to me. I believe there are universal truths that we know innately as humans. The stories we tell in books and movies are really just these truths being re-explored and passed on for the next generation. The same stories are repeated over and over, only with different settings, characters etc. For example, the story of good vs. evil, brotherhood, the innate virtue of sacrifice and work, pain of loss. When we come together and enjoy music, especially dance music, it is like we are tapping into an ancient ritual that’s been with us for thousands of years. Only the settings and characters have changed, the core emotions and feeling of spirituality is there.

Do you find it easy to express your deepest emotions when you play and make music, or is this something that finds an outlet only in certain, special moments?   

I have thought a lot about this actually. We always hear about artists in pain writing their best work, suffering artists making masterpieces, positive emotional experiences inspiring their work. When I am in an emotional spot in life I don’t even think about writing music haha! After all these years I think I have found inspiration is a lot more subtle for me. For example, the changing of the seasons definitely can inspire some motivation to work on a new piece of music, or the changing of weather is a big deal here in the desert, which can influence how I feel. But I don’t attempt to transcribe my immediate emotions into music. I guess I am relying heavily on my subconscious to inform my immediate feelings of whether I like something or not when I hear it. If I write a bassline, do I like it? Will it lead to additional ideas?

Let’s rewind for a moment, what are your earliest musical memories?

My mother singing to me and my parents playing music. Everyone loves music in some way or another, so I can’t say I was surrounded by it more than any other person growing up. But I was learning how to read sheet music early on, playing in the school band, listening to the radio constantly.

How did your musical tastes develop? When did dance music come into your life? 

I was turned from rock music to electronic music by The Prodigy and Crystal Method. From there, it led to digging up Paul Oakenfold sets on the p2p networks, Sasha & Digweed’s ‘Northern Exposure’ albums, Armin van Buuren’s radio show, London Elektricity, DJ Shadow, Orbital, etc. Everything on the electronic side of the music industry was so different and fresh sounding. I was buying albums based on covers, Amazon recommendations, friends’, radio… Even if you dig up “old” electronic music it can be such an inspiration today! At what point did you get into producing and DJing? Who have been big influences in your music career?

Right around 18 was when I picked up my first set of CD decks and turntables and began collecting music for the purposes of DJing. A few years after that I thought I might be able to write my own music – what a big undertaking that turned out to be! A lot of the names I mentioned in my previous answer were a big inspiration during those early years. I think the way electronic music constantly reinvents itself, and how easy it is to find yourself down a rabbit hole of new music, regardless of the year, is what has kept me excited from the start.

In what ways do you think your particular journey through life has influenced the electronic music you make now?

Well in 2004-2005 I was 100% all-in learning how to write music, and in 2006 my first single appeared on Jon O’Bir’s Conspiracy label. I was young and naive to my direction in life and so I took a lot of my early success for granted. I had some exciting compilation appearances, support from some of my idols – all positive stuff. But in 2010 I quietly called it quits and focused on building a life without music production or DJing. It was never a negative thing, writing music just did not quite fit my lifestyle or inspire me like it used to. It was 2015 when I went back into the studio in earnest with a fresh perspective on finding a unique sound of my own and seeing where it would take me. I think stepping away from music when I did and focusing on building a stable lifestyle, as well as maturing in my convictions, helped tremendously. My wife provided me the spark at the right time in 2015 to get back in the studio and ever since I have been very excited with each new project I work on.

What piece of studio equipment couldn’t you live without?

Definitely my studio monitors. Not because they are anything special, but because they marked a real turning point in developing my sound. Apparently some guys can do a good mixdown on their headphones – which is impressive! I will never attempt a mixdown with heavy use of my monitor speakers.

Which of all your tracks do you consider to be your most accomplished creation to date? Why? 

‘Fading Signs’ on Saturate Audio is still one I look back on proudly. It encapsulated my sound perfectly and really set the tone for what was to come out of the studio after 2015. It has the driving repetitive structure, shifting pads, deep bass, and a subtle peak of energy as a payoff near the end. All elements I enjoy weaving into a track.


What’s your most exciting recent show? And, what new places are you looking forward to experiencing in the coming months? Will we see you over in Europe soon?

I had the opportunity to play a boat party with Solarstone last summer, which was easily the most enjoyable space to play yet! I did play ADE in 2016, so I guess the Europe bubble has been popped, but I do not have any upcoming dates over there right now. The focus this year was writing, with a gig here and there. I’m working with a proper agent now though, which will likely change things up!

If you could play for a whole night with any DJ (ever), who would be at the top of your wish list?

Paul Oakenfold! Say what you will about whatever he’s currently doing, I still find supreme enjoyment in popping one of his old CDs or live mixes on. I guess I’d ask him to make it a classics set with me!

Having grown up through the evolution of the underground scene in USA, what’s your assessment of things now? Is the scene healthy? What could improve it?

It is hard to say, the USA is a big place and it varies dramatically from city to city. At a certain point, I started spending more of my weekends and downtime focused on my own music. We still go out and enjoy every second of it, but not often enough to claim I have my finger on the pulse. I think the key now is to create your own niche. With the internet you receive instant feedback as well as instant access. So instead of trying to be everything to everyone, focus on doing compelling work and find your fans and connect with them.

After this superb release for onedotsixtwo, what new projects should we watch out for from you in the coming months?

I have a remix coming for Massive Harmony that Hernan Cattaneo has been playing quite a bit recently, and a pretty exciting EP for Lowbit is getting finished up. I hold back quite a few of my tracks these days, so it’s always a good question as to where a new one may end up in a few months time!

And finally, what’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

There has never been one single moment or piece of advice, but a continuous discussion in my family about balance in life, that sticks out in my mind. My parents always put importance on finding a healthy balance between work and play. My wife and I still discuss almost daily the balancing of life’s challenges and rewards. It is easy to be sucked into a project while the hours tick by, or become agitated when something does not go your way, or maybe lazy when things are going well! Things will shift back and forth between order and chaos always, it is important to strive for a balance between the two.

Thanks for your time Brenden – much appreciated  

Thank you!

 Forerunners – Magnetic Quartz

  1. Original Mix
  2. Hernan Cattaneo & Tripswitch Remix

(onedotsixtwo) ODST0007

In all stores now…



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