Here we are with BetaTraXx (formerly Redlight) hailing from Santa Barbara and a producing machine from the future. He has been living on the east coast spreading the funk but has recently made his glorious return out west. He is the first artist to be signed under the GDD™ management label, and has been kind enough to take some time out of his schedule to sit down with us for this interview.
GDD: Kinda a tradition over here at GDD for a while, but what do you drink? The first round is on us.
BTxx: Do you guys take shots? Tequila and a lime sounds pretty good right about now.
GDD: So the first questions kind of a bugger, but I know everyone’s wondering, what’s up with the name change? You had in the upwards of 20 releases under the Redlight name some official, not to mention original productions; tons of which dominated the hype machine charts and all the blogs!
BTxx: I’ve had three names over the last three years searching for a name that fits my music and the direction that I think music is heading, but about four months ago after I had just released my first 8 track album and things had been going great under the name Redlight, I got an email from the manager of ‘Redlight’. That sure was a confusing first few sentences. As it turned out I wasn’t the only Redlight, and on top of that he said if I didn’t change my name in 14 days he would sick his lawyers on me and sue me for ‘losses’. I found that slightly ironic since my bootleg Kid Sister remix hit #1 on Hype Machine 5 months before his official Kid Sister remix was released. Hmmmmm. But instead of fighting that I figured I could find a name that fits in my genre and is more original than Redlight, plus I thought I could use it as a fresh start where from there on out all my tracks would be professional and dance floor ready.
GDD: A fresh name put in place of someone your caliber can’t hurt too much…look at fake blood or classixx for example! Besides we think BetaTraXx fits your style much more…very dynamic, layered, and progressive music.
GDD: You were recently out in Boston for college. What’s the electronic music scene like over there? What kind of things have you done to help it flourish, and what type of things in that environment hindered you? What helped you stay focused on the music no matter what the scene was like?
BTxx: To be honest the electronic music scene out there is slim pickings. There is generally about one good act every other week that comes around the city worth seeing. Having said that I’ve seen some of my favorite acts there. Justice, Laidback Luke, Wolfgang Gartner, Steve Aoki, and Designer Drugs have all played in Boston somewhat recently and the shows were all small and awesome. I mean how many people have seen Justice play at a 250 person venue?
BTxx: As for what have I done to help it out? I decided sophomore year in college to just play electro when I wasn’t DJing in NYC (I’ll get into that later) purely because I wanted to shoot myself every time I heard the same Top 40 music selection at a party. And when I say electro I mean serious electro (Van She Tech, Toxic Avenger, Boys Noize, Bloody Beetroots, etc.) The first year was rough but after a while I got a reputation for throwing some heavy parties and my crowd started to grow. By senior year of college on nights I was bored I would set up my speakers in the biggest room I could find, plug in the smoke machine and a few techno strobes and just wait for the room to fill up. That’s really what made me decided to do this full time and kept me focused on this kind of music.
GGD: So what’s this I hear about you playing in NYC, I was just out there and saw one too many Djs not knowing how to beat-match let alone play good music for matter…
BTxx: Well before I was producing any good dance music I was fortunate to be able to DJ in a lot of the biggest clubs in NYC just off of my DJing. I actually had to use my fake ID to get into the clubs I was DJing in. While that was great and all to be a 19 year old DJing at the hottest NYC clubs, I hated 95% of the songs I had to play, and even when I got to play house people only wanted to hear “put your hands up for Detroit” and anything made by David Guetta. So after two years of doing that and not having the time to enjoy and create the music I wanted, it was time to call it quits and start making the music I wanted to be making
GDD: Looking forward to being back on the west coast and being an artist on the GDD™ management team? I know we’re stoked to have you on board, just means more good music and more rad shows.
BTxx: You honestly have no idea. The West coast is unmatched. Love it out here. And you guys are the center of good music. What more could I want?
GDD: Glad you’re stoked bro, we are too! This is only the start even bigger things bro! GDD™ and BetaTraXx is a match made in heaven…
GDD: How do you feel about how fast music travels today online through blogs and such? Are you thankful for the Internets ability to really get your name and your music out there or do you think its turning into a plague? How do you think the blogs and aggregator sites like Hype Machine are changing the face of electronic music and all the people and events connected to it?
BTxx: I think blogs and the ability they have to share music is the best thing that ever happened to the music industry. Every person with a computer can sit down and undermined the crap that we hear on the radio. It is a network that promotes only good music and not music that has the most financial backing. That’s why I am so excited every time someone posts my song. It isn’t because I paid them or own a percentage of their blog, it is because they like the music they heard and are excited to share it with other people. That’s the way the industry should be and I think it isn’t going away any time soon.
GDD: Touche, we feel the exact same way. We’re about the good music, financial backing NEEDS to take a back seat, we can’t be brainwashing the generation and robbing them of the illest and stickiest beats around! Glad you feel that way…a lot of artists are bummed about loosing money through record sales, and record labels are becoming a thing of the past.
BTxx: Couldn’t agree more. I think artists need to accept that music is going to be traded, remixed, and mashed up and embrace it instead of fighting it.
GDD: Were you a producer or DJ first? What programs and instruments are found on stage and in your studio.
BTxx: I was a producer wayyy before I even thought about DJing, even though nothing good came out until about a year ago. I really started way back with the first Pro Tools home rig, a Digi 001. Still today I use Pro Tools for almost everything. My production set up consist of a ton of Native Instrument soft synths, about 5 different guitar petals, a Roland Fantom X8, two random no named 90’s synths, a trigger finger and that’s about it. I don’t even own a mouse. I really find that more gear is fun to mess around with but more often then not less is more.
As for my live show, that has really turned into a hybrid of old and new. I use M-Audio Torq DJ software with an Xponent midi controller and two Vinyl turn tables. It is a pain in the ass to set up when performing with other people, but it is worth it. I made it so I can loop, sample, cue, add FX, etc. Just like all the ableton Djs out there, but then I can seamlessly cut to the tables and scratch out a song like you’ve heard A-Trak do. It is a fun and versatile setup to play with.
GDD: Do you believe you’ve had your break yet? How do you envision your “break” if not yet.
BTxx: Since I can’t think of one thing that would be considered a break I would have to say no. I have had some great things happen between shows and Internet promotion, but every step I’ve taken has been one step at a time building off a previous move I made. With the fluidity of the music industry now I think a ‘break’ can only come from putting out a track so irresistible that everyone has to spread it around. But besides that I don’t really believe in breaks because everything is progress. If you make good music it is only a matter of time, not luck.
GDD: What productions of yours up to this point are your favorite? What was it like slaving away in the studio on those tracks and then finally getting to hear them played at the club?
BTxx: I like this question. My studio work is very rarely ‘slaving away’ because I get to experiment with techniques and plug ins in my own way. Who doesn’t like to spin knobs and make cool sounds? Then hearing them on stage and knowning how I made them is something else.
BTxx: My favorite tracks I’ve made are ‘Foxtrot’, my ‘Tell Me Why’ remix and believe it or not my Kesha remix. Let me explain why. In Foxtrot I used a vocal technique I’ve been experimenting where the vocal repeats and then bends up and down using the digital distortion to create some real wild sounds. I’ve never heard anyone else do that before and I’m really happy how it turned out. Plus I like all the lyrics a lot. The ‘Tell Me Why’ track I just like because the build up and fake drop make me laugh every time I hear it. And then there is the Kesha Remix. My Kesha remix actually samples 5 Bloody Beetroot songs with my own synth leading the way. It was definitely another experiment to see if I could combine Bloody Beetroots and Kesha. I think it worked.
GDD: Why yes, it most certainly did! Your 4-song self-titled EP “BetaTraXx” just dropped. Describe this experience and what a listener should expect from the record. What are your thoughts about the first official release under your new name?
BTxx: I couldn’t be happier with my first release. For starters I got LightsoverLA and Kids At The Bar to remix my track which I’m still stoked about (although I wanted John Roman to be the third remix). I took a lot of time on ‘Foxtrot’ ever little blip and synth was constructed just for that track (obviously I guess), but I really took a lot of time making everything work together so that 4 different synth sounds can be playing at once but you only hear the song as a whole. Also I couldn’t be happier with the lyrics and the way Kendahl sung them. Every line just reminds me of a different aspect of the music I listen to and culture I enjoy.
GDD: Kendahl has a rad voice! Where did you find her?? What can we as listeners look out for in the future? Any awesome collaborations or original material poppin’ out any time soon…we’re ansy.
BTxx: Yeah Kendahl rocks. She was just a good friend of mine in Boston. As for new tracks, make music all day every day. I have easily 100 tracks that I will never let anyone hear. I am working on two tracks at the moment though that are definitely going to be released. The first is a remix of Kelis’ ‘4th of July’, but more importantly I am working on an original that is just about done that is going to blow everyone away. It is not like any of my past stuff, but is very single worthy. Here, I have a demo on my computer, take a listen
GDD: Jeesus that track is dope! (check back on GDD for the official exclusive release along with stems for all you producers out there!) Would you rather wear a permanent life jacket or a helmet for the rest of your life?
BTxx: Does the helmet have a facemask? Because if so that would be much more helpful then a lifejacket. I’ve been head banging way to many times and smacked my jaw right into the back of another guys head.
GDD: Who would you say had the biggest influence on bringing the electronic scene to where it is today? Who have you personally been most influenced by? Who did you grow up listening to, and who are your favorite artists now?
BTxx: Daft Punk is undoubtedly the king of electro. They were making funky cut nu-disco electro while I was sitting on my ass watching Rugrats. Second to them is of course Justice. My influences are very different though. I grew up always liking techno in one way or another, but I listened to mainly punk rock and ska when I was younger. I still love listening to old NOFX/Offspring tracks, or if it is a nice day I’ll definitely put on some Pepper.
My introduction to electro though came in the form of my freshman year roommate who got me listening to Van She Tech, Kill The Noise, Designer Dugs, Le Castle Vania, LA Riots, and all those electro names that were making really original stuff a few years back (not to say they are not now making amazing music). What I liked about those artists are that each of their tracks are so detailed and thought through. So much music is repetitive and boring and I love the tracks that clearly took them forever to make and use sounds that are way beyond present number 4 on their micro korg.
GDD: If you could collaborate and work with anyone who would it be and why?
BTxx: Right now I definitely would pick Deadmau5. Even if the track never got released I would die to spend a week with him in his studio. Love him or hate him (I don’t know why you would hate him) his production sounds are unmatched. If you are a DJ you know that when you play any Deadmau5 track on a loud PA system, no track sounds deeper or bassier yet clear and crisp at the same time. Wolfgang Gartner would definitely be a close second though.
GDD: Would you prefer a huge festival playing for 10’s of thousands of people, or a small intimate setting?
BTxx: One of my favorite things to do is play small electro shows where people are coming on up the stage trying to get my attention for pictures and what not, but who can turn down a the sound and light show of a 10 + thousand person show?
GDD: Any advice you’d like to give to the youngins out there hoping to rip our eardrums out in musical harmony, tear holes in our all-stars, and make us dance till dawn?
BTxx: I really believe that success is only a matter of the time put in. Every track I make is better produced then the last, and they’re only going to get better. If you spend the time making your own music how you want to do it having the patients to spin knobs, press buttons, and yes even read the manuals, something good will comes out and it wont be someone else’s sound.
GDD: And of course, do you Dance Dirty?
BTxx: I’m the worst. I can’t tell if I’m a good dancer or a shit dancer but I live and breathe techno music morning and night so hell yes I do.
GDD: Thanks again for taking the time to sit down with us bruv. We really appreciate it and can’t wait for all the glory to be attached to your name in the future!
Live Radio Mix:
And of coarse, the new hotness to go with the video:
• BetaTraXx (formerly Redlight) – Foxtrot ft. Kendahl Gold
Find the stems below:
For Northern America booking contact: firstname.lastname@example.org