Mastering the Music Scene with DJ Bander

DJ Bander is a composer, producer, recording artist who’s worked on remixes for such artists as Katy Perry, Vanessa Daou, Jon B., Taryn Manning and Automagic. He’s worked as production assistant to the music editor on the movie “Day After Tomorrow,” and as producer for New Age Music Group. He’s headlined California festivals Emerald Dream and Hot Summer Nights, and performed with the EC Twins at Orange County’s Sutra. And his single “The Vision Is Clear” achieved a Top 10 iTunes chart position for Electronica. DJ also took home a Hollywood Music Media Award for Best New Producer, and bagged a Top 100 spot on Beat Port for his singles “Last Sunset” and “NASA.” Recently, Bander partnered with industry icon Yamaha, and remains an original ambassador alongside Skrillex for Sole Republic.

Where are you originally from?

Brooklyn, New York.

Was there anyone in particular who had an especially positive impact on you growing up?

Yes, Emanuele Arnone. He taught me about composition, midi, and the inner workings of Logic Pro, the program I utilize for my music.

As a trained artist in jazz composition, how did you become involved in the EDM/electronic world?

I always had an affinity for producers such as Moby and Kaskade. And after years of perfecting my piano-based, downtempo sound, I began to start transferring those same melodies into progressive house as I found myself gaining lots of connections in the EDM space. I also began DJing and realized I had a strong EDM sound that led me to get booked at large festivals.

How would you define progressive house and progressive downtempo?

The term “progressive” before both of these genres refers to a structure and sound library that shifts and develops, becomes more interesting within each record. I was attracted to producing in these genres because I originally produced jazz inspired hip-hop beats but found myself not following the simple loop pattern that most rap producers follow. I wanted to create more emotion and a story behind each track, which led me to becoming more of an electronic producer.

Can you tell us a bit about your unique sound?

My sound is based from compositions I write on the piano and then do sound design to find pads and synths that I feel complement that particular melody. I always do my own compositions and make my own loops for each track. If I ever use anything that even stems from a loop, I break it down into individual parts and restructure it from scratch. Most producers aren’t composers, and so as one, it’s crucial that my sound reflects my unique compositional skill sets.

Have you composed to film? Do you have a favorite genre of film to score to?

I have and wish to compose more for cinema. I believe drama and crime sagas would be the best place for my particular sound and style.

Some EDM DJs started with classical instruments. With your jazz background, what did you play before transitioning to EDM? How did that influence your work in composition?

I played piano and drums growing up as a kid. I was also a singer in the choir, so music was always around me, long before I even ventured into the EDM world. My first beats were actually cinematic film cues that I made from scratch.

Have you ever had a moment in your creative exploration that you can pinpoint as the moment you found your unique sound?

I think when New England Nights and The Arrival EPs dropped, I realized I had a unique downtempo and EDM sound that was emotional and progressive.

Is there a dream festival you’d like to perform at? Coachella? Electric Forest?

Coachella for sure, anywhere I can perform for a real authentic audience, like when I did the Hot Summer Nights tour. I love true electronica fans as opposed to just Hollywood club spots where people aren’t interested in unique music

What would you say to a new DJ looking to find their sound?

Focus on being a producer first and DJ second. Almost anyone can DJ, and almost nobody can really produce. In general, the two words are not used correctly because most people can’t separate and understand the difference between someone who actually makes their own music vs someone who just performs it. Focus on being unique and not following trend.

Is there an environment where you find creativity flows most easily? Do you have any out-of-the box places where you suddenly feel the urge to create?

My new studio in DTLA is great for my creativity but I also love being in new studios with my arranger, or working with other producers at their spots as well to have a fresh energy.

Dream collaboration?

DJ Bander x Moby downtempo EP or a progressive record with Kaskade. Would also love to work with Scott Storch.

Where can our readers go to appreciate more of your work?

My Instagram @DJBander and on Spotify!

RJ Frometa
Author: RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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