Danny Daze is a superstar DJ.
After spending years grinding out five-day workweeks in the MIA, this local EDM mastermind finally broke free with "Your Everything," a major club banger that officially turned him into a big effing deal.
He's relocated to Spain and become a fixture on the European club scene. But this month, Danny is back in his hometown for Winter Music Conference, Miami Music Week, and a gig at Ultra Music Festival. So we hit up Mr. Daze to discuss his move to Barcelona, underground music, and the dangers of South Beach.
Danny Daze at Ultra Music Festival 2013
Danny Daze: As part of Ultra Music Festival 2013. Friday, March 15, through Sunday, March 17, and Friday, March 22, through Sunday, March 24, at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Visit ultramusicfestival.com.As part of Miami Deep. Presented by Nervous Records. With Maxxi Soundsystem, Murk, MK, and others. Wednesday, March 20, at Shelborne South Beach, 1801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-531-1271; shelborne.com. Tickets cost $25 plus fees via wantickets.com. Ages 21 and up.
WMC / MMW 2013 Event Listings
New Times: What's life like for Danny Daze these days?
Danny Daze: It's fun. It's been about 14 years in the making.
Do you just spend most of your time on the road now? Or have you moved outta Miami?
I actually live in Barcelona now. And I started a project with a buddy of mine, Maceo Plex. It's also just easier for me to do touring, being that most of my gigs are in Europe. So it makes more sense to be based out of Spain and then do tours in the United States.
I don't play too much in Miami anymore, which I used to play five times a week.
Did you make the move to Barcelona specifically for the project with Maceo Plex?
It was actually Maceo Plex who convinced me to move to Spain since I was already out there so much. He said, "Hey, dude, why don't you come out here, man? It's the best thing I ever did." And he said that as soon as he moved to Barcelona, everything pretty much fell into place. And it seems as though that's exactly what's happening to me now.
Since most of my gigs were in Europe, I had to consistently travel eight hours every single time. And it was taking a huge toll. I wasn't able to make new music. But now, living in Barcelona, everything is an hour and a half away. Then I can get back home the next day and feel ready to make music, where if I were coming back to the United States, it'd take two days just to get back to feeling even remotely close to normal.
Is living in Europe like crashing in the Garden of Eden?
Well, my life basically revolves around music, and Clear Channel is the Devil to me. And the fact that Europeans play underground music on commercial, mainstream radio proves that it's where I belong. I wish I could stay for the rest of my life. But I'm not sure I can, because I have family in Miami. But hell, if I make enough money to bring everybody to Barcelona, I'm taking my whole family out there.
Over the past few months, Borgore's set was cut short at Story and DJ Shadow got kicked off the decks at Mansion. Last year, Dennis Ferrer was a victim of the same shit. So South Beach gets a bad rap. But in your experience, is it worse than other cities about trying to tell DJs what to play?
I've experienced it myself. Every single DJ in Miami has had to deal with, "Hey, we got somebody who's spending a shitload of money. Can we play this track?" And as a DJ, if you're somebody dedicated to your craft like I've been, it's a slap in the face. You know, "I'll tell you what to play."
That said, somebody like DJ Shadow doesn't even belong at Mansion. Ever. It's a mistake at Mansion. But the agent and his manager should've known better. Everybody is at fault there. I mean, you're not gonna go book Björk at a South Beach club. He's along the same lines.
Despite the usual SoBe drama, the whole Miami dance music production scene is kinda heating up. Who would you say are some of the most notable locals?
Guys like Lazaro Casanova and Jesse Perez — they're already up to bat. They're already touring the world. Then obviously, we have legends like Oscar G and Ralph Falcon.
Meanwhile, we've got the guys who play for LINK and Miami Rebels, like ThunderPony. All they've got to do is start making original music and putting it out. That's what it takes these days. You could have a record collection of 20,000 vinyls, but you won't get anywhere. You have to make your own music nowadays.
What's strange is more people outside of Miami than local fans are aware of Lazaro and Jesse.
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That's always the way it is. The hometown DJ doesn't ever get as much recognition as needed because the locals have seen you come up. For example, DJ Craze, a six-time world champion, if he's booked somewhere in Miami, people will say, "Eh, it's Craze." But the guy is a fucking six-time DMC world champion! Or if you book Oscar G, it's not exactly "Eh," but it's still "just Oscar."
I guess we get spoiled when somebody is from our own city.
Exactly. That's why, when you become an international DJ, you kinda have to keep your hometown appearances to a minimum, so people get excited when you come back for a big gig.