Daniel Bortz Talks Breakthrough Success and First US Tour

One of the great things about Miami's burgeoning underground EDM scene is that we usually get to catch the international up-and-comers before they really blow up.

Take Daniel Bortz, currently one of the most buzzed-about DJ-producers in Germany, who's stopping by the Electric Pickle on Friday in support of his first U.S. tour.

In all fairness, Bortz isn't a total rookie -- he's been releasing music since 2007. But this year definitely marked his international breakthrough, following a couple of hotly-tipped releases on the Souvenir and Suol labels.

His sound has all the beloved trappings of German house: deep vocal soul with a modern tech-y sheen, plus Bortz's signature bass-heavy slo-mo grooves. It's the kind of serotonin-spiking floor fare that really gets the Pickle heads going.

Crossfade: Growing up in '90s Germany, you must have been drawn to electronic dance music by default. What were you listening to back then and which artists do you consider primary influences on your sound?

Daniel Bortz: Of course, I am influenced by the Chicago and Detroit stuff. Some artists I really dig are Daniel Bell, Dancemania from Detroit and Robert Hood from Chicago -- I am a big fan of them! Additionally, I listened to some hard stuff from the Netherlands like Djax-Up-Beats.

You've been producing for several years now, but 2012 was the year that brought you international recognition. What was the turning point for you?

For me the turning point was more at the end of 2011. This was the time people reacted more and more to me as an artist. It all started with well known DJs playing my stuff, and people started to recognize what I am doing. This helped me a lot to have bigger bookings. The releases with most attention where The One EP on Suol, Draga EP on Pastamusik, and Color of Love/Fantasy with Sascha Sibler on Souvenir. Furthermore, my monthly podcasts had an impact to my career.

You've been described as an MPC guru. What can you tell us about your use of this particular piece of gear and your creative process in the studio in general? 

Well, I would not describe myself as an MPC Guru, but this gear had an influence on the way I am producing these days. I had a lot of live jams and recordings with the MPC. So I would say it is important gear in my studio equipment. Nowadays, I create some ideas on the MPC from time to time and finish them in Logic -- no more no less.

What have been the highlights of your North American tour so far? And what are your impressions of American crowds? How do we compare to the ones in Germany and Europe?

To be honest, the crowd is very similar to Germany or European crowds. Most of them are well informed about my music -- that makes me feel honored and happy. I received lots of good feedback after my sets, and people were always very nice. I can say I feel very comfortable in the US.

What can fans expect from your during the rest of 2012? Any forthcoming projects or releases?

Frequently asked question. I am touring every weekend at the moment -- there is not much time to spend in the studio left. I collect ideas and inspiration on my travels at the moment, and after the summer I will put all these influences into my music when I am back in the studio.

You're about to make your Miami debut at the Electric Pickle. What can we expect? 

Let's keep it a surprise. It always depends on the crowd, the club, the vibe, etc. I always react on these facts, so no set will be the same as an other. Really looking forward to that night!

Daniel Bortz. Friday, June 8. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. Call 305-456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.

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