Danny Daze on the Good and Bad of the Miami Music Scene

As an artist, Daniel Gomez, better known as Danny Daze, is not easily satisfied by his own work or by those around him. Talking to the Miami-based DJ, producer, and electronic music extraordinaire about the current state of the Miami music scene, the lone and iconic line from DJ Shadow’s “Why Hip-Hop Sucks in ’96” comes to mind: “It’s the money.”

Considering the ever-increasing popularity of Ultra Music Festival, the steady growth of III Points, the institutionalization of Miami Art Week and Art Basel as international cultural gatherings, and Miami’s already-rich musical history, a surface-level prognosis of Miami’s health as a musical hub would most likely be a positive one. But, asked for his take on the current state of Miami musical affairs, Gomez has a different assessment. “I think Miami has taken a lot of steps backwards," he says.

“Back in ’98 to around 2002, Miami was at the forefront of experimental music,” Gomez continues. “There was a really cool electro scene, there was a really cool experimental scene. Then for some reason, between that time and 2011 or 2012, the EDM scene kind of blew the hell up, and there’s a complete generation gap between those ten years when kids were listening to electro and older stuff; they kind of let go of their roots and where they come from.”

However, don't write Gomez off as a total pessimist. He was quick to add that he does believe things are on the upswing. “It’s starting to come back, with III Points and stuff like that… I do see Miami going back to where it used to be when it was at the forefront of things.”

Gomez was born, raised, and came of age musically in Miami, having DJ’ed weddings as early as 13. With that in mind, it's easy to understand why he feels the need to express such strong opinions on Miami music. To do otherwise would be a disservice to the city that raised him. Gomez now splits his time between Miami and Berlin, but still spends the majority of his time in the 305.

Last week saw the release of Gomez’s newest EP, Miami, on his nearly year-old label, Omnidisc. In just 30 minutes and five tracks, Miami invites listeners to a jittery and high-tempo electro and techno party that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the Miami garages, streets, and dance clubs of yore. 

Perhaps more than any of his other releases, Miami is a showcase of Gomez’s willingness to not only buck expectations, but completely and utterly indulge in his artistic impulses, with tracks towing the line between danceable and idiosyncratic. To Gomez, crafting a more immediately accessible or “pop” record at the expense of artistic honesty is not even a consideration.

Gomez will be headlining a set at Trade alongside Ben UFO on Friday, March 4, showing off sounds from his new EP. For those who both dance with wild abandon and worship at the IDM altar of Aphex Twin, Danny Daze may very well prove to be among the best sets of the year.

“With EPs, I’m now dividing it where the first two tracks are definitely dance cuts, while the last one is weird stuff that nobody is ever going to play [in a DJ set],” Gomez said when detailing his approach to constructing his smaller releases. “You gotta find the balance between releasing straight-up dance cuts and trying to be as distinctive as possible. I think when someone hears a record that I make, maybe it doesn’t sound exactly like the last record that I made, but after someone says, ’Hey, this is a new Danny Daze record,’ they’ll go, ’Oh, right, OK – this does sound like something he would make.’ I completely change my sound constantly. I guess that’s my ADD kicking in.”

Danny Daze and Ben UFO. 11 p.m. Friday, March 4, at Trade, 1439 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-531-6666; trademia.com. Admission before midnight is free via eventbrite.com.

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