Danny Daze on Underground Music and South Beach: "It's an Odd Mixture, It Kinda Works"
Danny Daze is a superstar DJ.
After spending years grinding out five-day work weeks in the MIA, this local EDM mastermind finally broke free with "Your Everything," a major club banger that officially turned him into a big fucking deal.
He's relocated to Spain. And he's become a fixture on the European club scene. But this weekend, Danny's back on South Beach at Story Nightclub for a homecoming show.
So we here at Crossfade hit up Mr. Daze to discuss his move to Barcelona, hanging out at Story, underground music, his hatred for Clear Channel, and the dangers of South Beach.
Crossfade: What's life like for Danny Daze, these days?
Danny Daze: It's fun. It's been about 14 years in the making.
You've called this weekend's show at Story a homecoming show. Is that just 'cause you 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. That's how I know it's gonna be a good night. People are going to come out who I haven't seen in two or three years.
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, 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 this place is 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 ... By all means, I'm taking my whole family out there.
Have you been to Story since it opened in December? What do you think of the joint?
I was actually there for Dubfire. And I like it. There's a mixture of models and bottles, just a blend of really good looking people with everyone who knows what's up. It's an odd mixture, but it kinda works.
Hoepefully, what comes out of Story is a bunch of people who aren't sure why they're at Story listening to underground sounds actually get into good music, ditching all that same crap that's being pushed by absolutely everyone on the radio all the time.
Story and its team seem dedicated to bringing underground sounds to South Beach. How badly does the SoBe scene need that kinda music? There aren't many Miami Beach outlets, except Treehouse.
Yeah, definitely. And it's the LINK and Miami Rebels guys who are really pushing it, along with Biz Martinez.
Ten years ago, you had stuff like the Mix afterhours, which was a trance club, but it was really good music. Now I honestly believe that commercial radio is what's caused people to like loud obvious music. So little by little, I think people need to be introduced to ... And I don't even want to call it underground sounds. I just want to call it good music.
But is it going to work? Will people actually care? I'm not sure. South Beach is known for drugs and sex. It isn't exactly known for music anymore. But hell, at least the good music will get into some ears.
Over the weekend, Borgore's set got cut short at Story. And DJ Shadow got kicked off the decks at Mansion a couple months ago. 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's 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's at fault there. I mean, you're not gonna go book Bjork at a South Beach club. He's along the same lines.
It's tough to take chances on SoBe. And Story's taking some risks with the bookings.
Oh yeah, they've booked Kevin Saunderson and Magda. There's proper names coming out. And I'm really excited to play because people are finally going to get to hear what exactly I do on the road. I can bring it back home.
I've played recently at Treehouse. But this is entirely different. It's a couple thousand people. So it's another level.
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 and whomever. 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.
That's always the way it is. The hometown 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's 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 just get spoiled when somebody's from our own city.
Exactly. That's why, when you become an international DJ, you kinda have to keep you hometown appearances to a minimum. So people get excited when you come back for a big gig.
Danny Daze. With Thunderpony. As part of Undergound Story. Presented by LINK and Miami Rebels. Saturday, February 16. Story Nightclub, 136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at 11 p.m. and tickets cost $30 to $40 plus fees via wantickets.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-538-2424 or visit storymiami.com.
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