Waxhole February Mix – The Digital Connection

The Digital Connection stepped up to the plate with this mix. Between releasing a full length album in January (HERE) to gigging across the country and holding down a day job, The Digital Connection, better known as Ricky Shine, gave us this great mix utilizing tunes from January as well as some from his personal stash and some unreleased Digital Connection joints. Not only did he give us this dope mix, but he also was nice enough to answer some questions we threw his way.

So without further ado, have at this mix, and read the interview below for some insight into how this producer and DJ handles everything from production, live sets to juggling the personal life with the music life. Oh yeah, and follow the dude (Soundcloud, Facebook) for MUCH more music and mixes.


Waxhole: How did you get started in music and what brought you to the EDM part of the spectrum?
TDC: What first got me interested in making electronic music was messing around with FL studio in Highschool, I wasn’t really too exposed to electronic music at the time so at the time was mostly getting inspiration from Nine Inch Nails, Aphex Twin, Boards Of Canada & the bands I was listening to. I on and off played around with FL studio for a couple years but I was much more focused on playing with bands and playing guitar/bass. When I got I started my first year of college I was heavily exposed to the electronic music scene making weekend trips to the prominent Beta Nightclub, seeing acts such as Deadmau5, Jack Beats, Dirty South etc. I got really into making electro for about a year and then found out how vast the genre really expands when I stumbled across Glitch-Hop/Dubstep, I haven’t really looked back since then.

Read more of this great interview with The Digital Connection after the jump

Waxhole: You are on a great label, Gravitas. How did you get hooked up with Jesse and them?
TDC: We all first got linked up through the website Turntable.FM, which has become a pretty popular site for DJ’s and music enthusiasts alike for finding new songs & up and coming independent artists. We would all get on during work and jam and share our new tunes. Ever since then we’ve been chatting on a daily basis looking for the next big move to make. I feel extremely blessed to be working with such awesome people including my fellow collaborator One4All (We have a collab EP coming out on Gravitas later this year)

Waxhole: A lot of talk around the producers’ watercoolers is the debate of going with a label and going independent. What is your take, as a member of a label that’s not like many others out there.
TDC: One thing I love so much about Gravitas is the freedom, I wanted to do my album release for “Stasis” a little differently than the normal label would and Gravitas allowed it to happen 100%. The idea was to have a donation based album but also to have it available on the major online retailers, giving people the option to “pay what they want”. The result was incredible, I was shocked at how much better of a response I got with this kind of release as opposed to any of the self releases I have done on my own or even an official release. I fully support releasing with labels however the music industry is changing at an incredible rate and less and less people are willing to pay $2.50 a song when its on Beatport for instance. The labels who stay ahead of the curve are going to be the ones who are here to stay.

Waxhole: At least in our circles we know that Colorado is a huge hotbed for EDM and music in general. Why do you think this is and is there anything specifically Denver that has helped artists not only become artists but become GOOD artists?
TDC: One thing I think that makes the music scene in Colorado special is that even though there are so many people wanting to be an aspiring producer/DJ there is a very tight knit family feel and for the most part everyone supports each other. Of course there is still competition between people, but I feel like there is a very special vibe that really brings us all together in the end. One thing that makes people here strive to be the best is that you are literally a needle in a haystack.  If there isn’t something that separates you from the norm then you’re just another plain DJ, and thats not at all what I nor many of the producers around here strive to be.

Waxhole: You have played on some amazing bills, who have you played with that has been a favorite? How have they or any of the people you’ve played with influenced you in your work?
TDC:  I’ve been lucky enough to share the stage in the last couple years with some of my favorite bass music artists. A few of my favorite’s were KOAN Sound, Amon Tobin, Adventure Club, ESKMO & Figure but the list goes on. Playing/meeting with some of the artists I’ve gotten to play with has been a real treat, it’s been incredibly awesome meeting some of the artists I look up to and finding out most are just straight up genuinely good people. They do what they love because they love it. That kind of feeling inspires me more than anything.

Waxhole:  What is your live set-up? How do the bigger artists’ setups differ from yours?
TDC:  For my live sets I use a custom setup I made in Ableton Live. I use an MPD24, and LPD8 drum pad and a little circuit bent toy called a Thingamagoop. One thing thing that separates the way I do my live sets is my use of my drum pad. I’ll drum along with lot’s of parts of the songs and add my own little live twist on with various FX and samples I’m doing with the drum pad. It definitely adds an extra live element to my sets but I’m constantly striving for more live instrumentation, I’m eventually wanting to add live guitar into my setup.

Waxhole:  Speaking of your live sets, how do you build a set for a show? Focus on crowd? Focus on your sound?
TDC:  Every set I do is always done on the fly, preparation for myself mostly consists of thinking about what kind of vibe the show will be and figuring out what kind of sounds are going to go over best. I play just about 90% of my own material at each show, and I work with a lot of styles of music so a big part of playing live for me is reading the crowd and trying to find that perfect groove that gets the crowd moving.

Waxhole:  How did you build your DJ career and how has it affected your producing career?
TDC:  Well I got into DJ’ing after I was already producing , basically i wanted to learn to DJ so I could play shows. A friend of mine let me come over to his dorm and practice mixing on his CDJ’s so that’s where I first caught onto it. After getting a little more serious with Ableton and production I figured out how to build a little DJ set up so I could practice mixing. Before I knew it I was playing house parties which led to some small gigs when we launched our website Got Bass Music which was led by a group of 5 of us who we’re all buddies in college. Eventually I started getting bigger gigs and it’s led to getting opportunities to play with some incredibly talented artists. As far as how that’s affected my producing I guess my main focus when I’m finalizing a new song is the anticipation of getting to test it out on crowd & big system and really getting to feel the power of it.

Waxhole:  Any tips for up and coming DJs?
TDC:  The best advice I can give to anyone who wants to start DJ’ing is to just have fun with it. If people see that you’re having so much fun theres a good chance you’re going to make them have fun too. Nobody wants to look up and see the DJ of the party looking like a zombie.

Waxhole: Your new album released last month was fantastic. What was your inspiration for this and is there any underlying theme the listener should look out for?
TDC:  Thank you! The inspiration for this album really came from all over, from start to finish it took almost a year to write all the songs. The sound of the album progresses from a heavier feel to a more melodic airy vibe which was a big driving force for the underlying theme. “Stasis” is the idea of equal and opposing forces, both the format of the album and the format of the songs themselves i feel like are heavily expressed with this idea of clashing forces. I was trying to further develop the style I’ve been trying to create for years which involves both elements of heavy dark music intertwined with beautiful melodic music. I feel like the vibe of the album as a whole is very dark but with bold moments of light appearing. I wanted people to sort of create their own story through listening to the album from start to finish, but from my own point of view I’ve envisioned the world in a state of post apocalyptic chaos, progressing into a new age of enlightenment, tuning our conscious minds into an entirely new frequency.

Waxhole:  What was the easy and difficult aspects of making this or any album for you?
TDC:  Well the easy part for myself was just allowing it to happen, I didn’t really have to force any idea’s I just let it happen naturally and initially didn’t really shoot for an overall vibe and it really came together excellently in the end. I was originally going to do a 4 song EP and the idea progressed into an album because I continued writing music that I wanted to include until I had a full albums worth of material. The hardest part was keeping the songs under wraps for so long before getting released, Jesse (Gravitas Recordings) really pushed me to wait to release the album and I couldn’t be more happy with how the final product came out. It was big learning experience for myself and it really helped me figure out where I want to take my sound now. I’m really looking forward to the fact I’m already working on the next release and it’s already shaping up to be bigger and bolder.

Waxhole:  How do you go about constructing an original? What is the process like for you?
TDC:  Usually when I sit down to write something most of the time I won’t have a set idea I’ll just sit down and play with some different synths or sounds until an idea forms. I used to want to rush through every song I made so that I could get it ready for the next show but now I am much more about taking my time with a song and being patient. It usually takes me a few weeks to a few months to finish each track I’m working on, but I’m always working on several different songs at a time.

Waxhole: What do like better, remixes or originals?
TDC:  Originals for sure, but I love making remixes too. Sometimes if you’re having writers block it can help get some ideas stirring around to start on a new remix or work with some samples.

Waxhole:  You are a prodigious producer and DJ. Over 70 songs on Soundcloud, Gigs every week and a day job. How does music fit into your life with all of the time constraints and how do you juggle music, job and social life?
TDC:  I’m still kinda figuring that all out actually haha. I work 40 hours a week and most of the time just come home and work on tunes for the rest of the night. I see my close friends quite a bit since we all live close in the Boulder area, but I spend a lot of my time keeping busy with projects.

Waxhole:  What’s next for 2013?
TDC:  The start of this year has been great, more and more out of state gigs are coming through so I’m hoping to get some touring going in the spring and summer and working on a few different releases. I’m hoping to release a few EP’s and another full length at the end of the year. I guess we’ll see where the year goes 🙂

Posted By: Hypo-Luxa

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