Los Angeles-based DJ MORGAN PAGE — a bpm:tv favourite — headlines on the Electronic Stage at Edgefest ’12 in Toronto this Saturday July 14. He took a few minutes from his hectic touring schedule to field some questions from Toronto’s DJ Soundbwoy (a.k.a. Chris Wilson).
DJ SOUNDBWOY: How important was it to you to find a unique “Morgan Page” sound, and how long into producing did it take to find it?
MORGAN PAGE: Well, I think its always changing. I put out his tweet the other week basically saying that I’m just finding my sound recently, and that it’s more on a club tangent. I’m just finally getting that sound that is chilled nicely, has the right amount of toughness and the right amount of melody and vocals. I think I’m finding this nice balance now, and it has taken along time — the earlier stuff I did was much deeper, and after playing and touring a lot it’s really shaped the sound. This is a very different sound now, but emotionally it resonates. It works for a crowd that knows my music and also for people who are new to the music.
DJS: If you had to name one particular song or artist that heavily influenced you to begin producing, what/who would it be?
MP: I would say Daft Punk was a heavy influence and I’m sure you hear that a lot, since it’s like an obvious one. During their early stuff like “Around The World, it was just a major influence and I can remember thinking that I can’t even imagine playing this. I would play it on my mix show and it was just a real pivotal record — I can remember buying it on vinyl.
DJS: You’ve been busy traversing the globe this year and have been working on your live show. What has been your most memorable show of 2012?
MP: Playing Coachella was probably number one, and it was also pretty amazing to play Electric Daisy Carnival. Also “Body Work” becoming a gold record recently, it’s definitely my first gold record in any country and I think it’s the first one for Tegan and Sara for a single. It was such an unlikely thing, I’m amazed it all kind of panned out that way and it just happened to be the right song at the right time.
DJS: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen while playing a show?
MP: It’s usually something technical, like something blowing up at a show — I had a mixer blow up at one show because of the air conditioner. The club was so packed that it overloaded the air conditioning and it started to rain onto the mixer. The mixer ended up being covered in about four inches of water, shorted out, and made a white noise — and then of course the club went silent. This all happened at a show in New Mexico. Thankfully they had another mixer there and we eventually got it back after about half an hour.
DJS: Since you have so many originals and remixes out, how do you pick which ones you’re going to use live?
MP: Good question. It’s so hard, because inevitably someone is going to be pissed that you didn’t play that one song in your arsenal. I have about 250 remixes now so I prioritize by originals. I don’t want to be the DJ that just plays his own stuff, ’cause that gets kind of boring. But I know that’s what the fans want, I know they would be happy if you only played your stuff, so I play about 80% of my music and 20% of others — and to me, that keeps it fresh. When people are coming to your show they want to hear all your originals. Typically at a festival that’s easy, but at a show you have two hours or more than that, and each song has to be the best one of someone’s life. So you have to get all your originals in and your favourite new music in, and the transitions have to be seamless and the key matching has to be perfect, so a lot of expectations.
DJS: There seem to be so few American producers/DJs currently in the game. How do you feel about the recent rise of EDM in the U.S. and where it’s headed?
MP: I’m really excited about it. I think we saw a major sea change in 2011 and it is largely a result of the social media catching up on things and people being empowered to find music on their own. I think there are going to be more American producers and right now there should be a lot more — if you look at it right now we have Diplo, Kaskade, Skrillex, me, Porter Robinson and Wolfgang Gartner. There should be more headlining festivals, but its cool. There are also a lot of good Canadians ones, but when you’re boiling it down to just the American ones it’s kind of a small group of people. It would definitely be nice to have more Americans and Canadians at these festivals.
DJS: What advice would you give you a new DJ/producer starting out in this industry?
MP: There are so many little things that I could talk to you for like a week straight about it. I would say the most important thing is to put in the time, I know its not the sexiest tip in the world, but it’s totally true. Even these guys who look like the blew up overnight, like Avicii and Alesso, they’ve been doing it since they were 11 and 12 years old. I started when I was 14. You’ve got to put your ten thousand hours in, ultimately, and that’s sort of the theory that’s out there. I would say you have to be spending a minimum of three hours a day making music, and doing it as early as you can.
DJS: What’s one thing that our readers should definitely know about Morgan Page?
MP: The most important thing to know about right now is the radio show. Beyond the album and all the singles that are coming out, it’s the best place to hear a new mix every week, there’s a one-hour mix and it’s free. You can get it on iTunes if you search for my name and it’s also on Sirus XM every Thursday. The radio show is very important: it brings a lot of people to the shows, a lot of people work out to it and it has become part of a lot of people’s lives, just having that fun mix to listen to, to get you through those Monday mornings. So people should definitely keep up with that and let me know what you think.
1. Cerf, Mitiska, Jaren, and Chris Jones – “Starting Right Now” (Maison & Dragen Remix) [S107]
2. Syke & Sugarstarr & Jay Sebag – “Like That Sound” (DubVision Remix) [Oxygen/Spinnin]
3. EDX feat Hadley – “Everything” (EDX Arena Mix) [Sirup]
4. Morgan Page vs. Nari & Milani – “Where Did You Go Up?” [White]
5. Dave Silcox – “Bang Your Head” [Diffused]
6. Dyro – “Paradox” [Revealed]
7. Danny Dove & Nathan C – “Like That” [Trice]
8. Eva Simons – “I Don’t Like You” (R3hab Remix) [Interscope]
9. Morgan Page vs. Tom Fall – “Rock Fight” [White]
10. Chuckie & Promise Land feat. Amanda Wilson – “Breaking Up” [CR2]
11. Bad Boy Bill feat. Tamra Keenan – “Unsaid”
12. Gum Me – “Sweaty Shirts” [Flamingo]
13. Christian Burns & Stefan Dabruck “Bullet (Falko Niestolik Arena Mix) [Zouk]
14. EDX feat. John Williams – “Give It Up For Love” (Mysto & Pizzi Remix) [Sirup]
First thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
DJ … well, it started as a graphic designer but quickly turned to DJ.
Must-have item on your rider?
Motto you live by?
Do something you’re passionate about. If you don’t love what you’re doing quit your job as soon as you can and do something that you love, in any way that you can — even though it’s hard.