Episode 21: Interview with Darude! Finnish DJ/Producer Darude (born Ville Virtanen) started experimenting with music and DJing while still attending school, adopting the nickname of “the Rude” (later Darude) after Swedish rap star Leila K.’s “Rude Boy.”
Before the Storm Producer Jaakko Salovaara (aka JS 16), founder of the independent label 16 Inch, teamed up with him to release his first single, called “Sandstorm.” British Neo-Record became involved in the newcomer project soon after. In June 2000, Darude achieved the status of the chart-topping artist in the U.K. Around the same time, Ville Virtanen successfully performed on the BBC Top of the Pops show, bringing forth the release of his debut album titled Before the Storm.
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Episode 9: Interview with Tydi! Australian DJ, songwriter, and producer tyDi is a conservatory-trained musician whose eclectic trance and house tracks have earned him a globally dominant profile. Born Tyson Illingworth in Mooloolaba, Australia in 1987, tyDi first became drawn to trance and other types of techno in his early teens. Although he played drums while in high school, he eventually procured a set of DJ turntables and by age 16 won first prize at the Brisbane DJ Wars. After high school, tyDi relocated to Brisbane, where he earned his Bachelor of Music Technology from Queensland Conservatorium of Music. While at school, tyDi still found time to perform, building a loyal following with his regular appearances at the Brisbane nightclub The Family. In 2008 he maximized this attention by becoming the youngest artist ever to win the InTheMix Top 50 DJs in Australia contest.
After graduating conservatory in 2009, tyDi released his debut album, Look Closer, which rose to the number two slot on the Australian dance chart. Two years later he returned with his sophomore album, Shooting Stars, which hit number one on the dance charts in Australia, Canada, and the U.K. and showcased collaborations with several vocalists including Tania Zygar, Brianna Holan, and Audrey Gallagher. In 2012 he curated the dance mix compilation album Global Soundsystem 2012: California, and the following year he delivered a compilation of his own chillout, non-dance-oriented material, Hotel Room.
In 2014 tyDi released his fourth solo album, Redefined, which showcased a more stylistically varied electronic palette and included vocals from Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba and the Ready Set’s Jordan Witzigreuter. A bevy of non-album singles followed, including 2016’s “Oceans” (with Jack Novak and Greyson Chance) and “Lost” (featuring Asiahn), among others. He delivered yet more singles in 2017, including “Beautiful War” (featuring Lola Rhodes) and “Closing In” (with Christopher Tin and Dia Frampton).
Episode 17: Interview with Tritonal! Tritonal capped off an outstanding 2015 with the January 2016 release of “Blackout” – the long coveted but previously unavailable single featuring Steph Jones’ delicate vocals and a pop twist on the duo’s melodic sound. “Blackout” quickly became Tritonal’s fastest-selling and -streaming single to date, the latest in a long line of hits for Austin, Texas songwriters and producers Chad Cisneros and Dave Reed.
In the previous year, Tritonal surpassed 53 million streams in aggregate on Spotify, over 10 million of that attributable to the Chainsmokers collaboration, “Until You Were Gone”. The duo has also remixed Adam Lambert’s hit “Ghost Town”; reached millions of listeners on iTunes, Soundcloud and Sirius via the podcast, Tritonia; and sold out iconic venues New York’s Terminal 5, San Francisco’s Warfield, and L.A.’s Club Nokia along with the majority of the Untouchable tour with Cash Cash. As of early 2016, the tour’s anthem, “Untouchable”, has been streamed over 19 million times.
Formed in 2008, Tritonal spent their early days on premium imprints like Anjunabeats, before eventually landing at Will Holland’s Enhanced Music, which Cisneros and Reed came to co-own. Key moments on Enhanced include: “We Belong”, a pivotal 2009 Ferry Corsten rework; the hit-laden 2011 debut album, Piercing the Quiet; and the acclaimed 2013-2014 Metamorphic EP trilogy featuring euphoric favorites “Follow Me Home” and “Now or Never”. “Now or Never” cracked the Top Five on Billboard’s Airplay Dance chart, a placement recaptured by follow-ups, “Anchor”,“Colors”, and “Untouchable”. In a first for the duo, “Now Or Never” also became a sports anthem for CBS’s Thursday Night NFL broadcasts in 2015, introducing the duo to millions of new fans weekly.
Tritonal’s evolution and success prove that compelling songwriting, innovative production, and exuberant performances resonate with music lovers of all kinds, from underground purists to stadium fanatics.
Episode 23: Interview with Griz! GRiZ is a Michigan-born electronic music producer and musician who has attracted an enormous live following, regularly playing major festivals and selling out headlining tours. Referring to his music as “future funk,” GRiZ produces glitchy, energetic tracks with booming dubstep bass and elements of jazz, hip-hop, and soul.
Born Grant Kwiecinski in Southfield, Michigan in 1990, he began playing alto saxophone and piano as a youth, and dropped out of Michigan State University in order to pursue a career as a musician. His debut album, End of the World Party, was released in 2011 by Mochipet’s Daly City label, and its sample-heavy downtempo tracks made a splash online. The saxophone-wielding musician began supporting popular touring electronic acts such as Bassnectar and Pretty Lights, leading to his own successful headlining tours.
His self-released second album, Mad Liberation, appeared in 2012, followed by the more socially conscious Rebel Era in 2013. His fourth album, 2015’s Say It Loud, featured numerous guest vocalists (including Talib Kweli and Ivan Neville) and an increased presence of live instrumentation, working toward more of a vintage funk sound while remaining contemporary. GRiZ stuck with the organic funk approach for 2016’s Good Will Prevail. His fifth album, it featured guest appearances from Eric Krasno, Big Gigantic, Muzzy Bear, and others. He’s working on new music — including a sixth studio album to follow-up 2016’s Good Will Prevail. But GRiZ cautions against anyone holding their breath waiting for it to surface imminently.