[REVIEW + INTERVIEW] Danny Avila at Stone Rose Lounge and Pacha NYC

Last weekend in New York it seemed like there was one name on everyone’s lips, Danny Avila. The Spanish teen prodigy recently made his NYC debut with a weekend full of events and we were lucky enough to catch his performance at two.

The weekend started early with all the fashion week festivities taking place at the Stone Rose Lounge, the official lounge of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Featuring visuals and innovative projection-mapping by digital artist and world renowned VJ Morgan Freeman spanning the walls and ceiling of the lounge the event felt more like a swanky get together of good friends rather than the official debut of a much talked about DJ and Producer. Beginning as a fashion week “tweet-up” hosted by designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka (of Badgley Mischka) the event soon became a gathering of some of the music industry elite as agents, managers, executives and promoters assembled to hear the what Danny had in store.

Opening the event was Brooklyn’s own Codesspinning some of the freshest house and dropping several of his own remixes and originals like “Dying” and “What You Gonna Do?”

By 12am however, Danny Avila had taken the booth amid much applause to begin spinning a mix of House, Progressive and Electro-House. Dropping gems like Funkagenda’s “What the Fuck,” Dada Life’s “Kick Out the Epic Motherfucker” and crowd mover “Jump Around” by House of Pain. Whether it was from his young age, incredible mixing abilities or talent for reading a crowd…I don’t know, but I was easily impressed by his set and couldn’t wait to get a better look at his mixing style and to interview him later in the week.

After a “warm-up” set for Kaskade at LAVO Thursday, Danny finished out his Big Apple debut by closing Pacha on Friday. And some closing set it was too! Lasting well into the morning and a full hour past the traditional 3:30-5am Pacha set, Danny kept club goers captivated with his crazy mixes, top hits and fresh skill.

Initially caught off guard by his masterful mashup of Tiesto and Hardwell’s “Zero 76,” Justice’s “We are your Friends” and The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “By The Way” (three tracks that don’t seem like they would mesh well, but definitely took the performance to another level), I was kept on my toes all night by his interesting track selection and ability to take the most circulated songs of the season and create something new and interesting. After weeks of watching DJs spin the same 20 songs in the same style, Danny Avila was a breath of fresh air to say the least. Other choice songs from his set include “Mash Mash the Bottle (Marcel Woods Bootleg)” by Marcel Woods vs Bassjackers, “Million Atoms to Apologize (Hardwell vs Thomas Gold edit)” by Nari & Milani vs Otto Knows feat One Republic and Danny Avila’s own “Breaking Your Fall” out in October.

However, by 5am Danny started to switch up the pace and for his extra hour spun what seemed to be a tracklist straight out of Ibiza rather than the more “smashing” electro that he prefers for the all-american audience. Choosing tracks like “Morumbi” by Tocadisco, “The Man With The Red Face” by Laurent Garnier and the Sean Miller & Daniel Dubb ”Sinnerman 2011” remix he closed the night on what will definitely be a well remembered New York debut.

Danny Avila Interview:
GDD: Hey Danny, so how was your Sirius XM set today?
DA:It was great, I was so impressed by all the people who came down, I didn’t expect that…like 30-40 people came to see me play! It was just great. They were all dancing in the studio.
GDD: And you were the first person who has ever performed at the Sirius XM offices?
DA:Yeah, exactly. We did kind of like a press conference today and I had alot of interviews, and it was great.

GDD:This weekend was a huge New York City debut for you. You headlined Stone Rose, opened for Kaskade last night at LAVO and have the closing set tonight here at Pacha. Have you had a favorite of these events that you played here, and what are your thoughts about the New York crowds?
DA: Well the first one was like, well you were there as well, as you could see it was like a fashion week event, I was having fun…people were having fun, but it was not a club. I think it is important for DJs to have different types of gigs, say play more beach clubs, festivals, clubs, more cool gigs, I would call them. For Kaskade I did a warm-up set so I couldn’t smash it. I really, really wanted to smash it and be like “Oh, they are so into it!” But I was warming up for Kaskade because he was headlining. But I think tonight [Pacha] is going to be the night for sure!
GDD: And you’ve toured around alot now, what do you think of New York City crowds in comparison to the rest of the world?
DA:In New York, and I think that the whole American crowd is so into Electronic music at the moment, it is so big. Like before I came to the states I heard it was so big here, but you really have to be here to feel the whole vibe and everything, its getting so huge. But I think its just going to get bigger and bigger!

GDD:You mentioned that this was your first time in New York, how does it feel to be in the city and have you had time to enjoy it and sightsee or shop?
DA: I did! I spent like half of a day shopping and I couldn’t find anything! I’m so ‘especial’ when shopping. Like with this shirt, if it was one centimeter longer then I won’t like it and I won’t buy it. I’m just so ‘especial’ shopping, I’m so retarded. And we took a helicopter to see the whole city. I can show you some pictures! I took my manager and the camera guy, it was just amazing. This is an amazing city.

GDD:I know that your age [17] has been getting alot of attention lately. I understand that you got started at 12 and that your father designed clubs in Spain. Did you go to the clubs with him and learn how to DJ because of that experience?
DA: No, no no no no no…I’ve been into the music since I was super young…I was born with music I would say, I started piano when I was 6 or 7 years old. Then I started playing the guitar and I didn’t even know about electronic music. So really, I was just into music. So when I was 12, I was living in Marbella in the south of Spain, I was sharing a lot of music with my friends, a lot of electronic music. One would have a new track…another would have a better remix, you know so…then I was wired by electro. Got some controllers so I could start mixing different music styles and that’s how I started. And my Dad was doing some clubs, so thats how I got into it.
GDD:And do you think you would have been interested in electronic music and performing if your father had a different profession?
DA:I think it would have been the same. It would have changed the way I was able to meet Fedde Le Grand for example. But then I would have met another guy. Not Fedde Le Grand, but another guy.

GDD:I’m not sure if this has just been happening in America, and I know you’ve gotten this question all weekend long, but it seems like everyone has been comparing you to Justin Beiber or saying you are the Beiber of the electronic music scene.
DA: Some people call me Justin Beiber in a bad way. I mean to be honest I don’t pay attention to all the critics. I think that the more critics that you have the bigger that you are. It is impossible to be so big of an artist and everyone love you. He’s a great and talented guy, he is not there because of money or whatever and he’s a very cool guy. He’s been in the right moment and he did the right things and I think he is there because he deserves it.
GDD: Where do you think the comparison stems from? the haircut?
DA: Yeah that’s what people say…it’s the haircut. It’s ridiculous because now he has a completely different haircut. But people just like to piss you off, it’s whatever.

GDD:Have you heard about the new CDJ-2000 Nexus? Do you think the beat sync feature will have a negative(or positive) effect on the future of DJing?
DA: Please, yes! I was asking for this question! [High-five] I mean I am super honest in interviews and I have to say for Pioneer they are so profession and have incredible products and I have to say that the new features that the Pioneer 2000-Nexus is incredible but the sync button is crazy. Because you can promote like and push that everybody can DJ. Which is ridiculous, because back in the day you had to DJ with vinyl then with CDs and Laptop. Now laptop is not really big, you know. Now with USBs and with USBs you do exactly the same as CDs. The sync button is just like….come on(sigh)…you don’t even need to know how to DJ anymore you just play records, or not even that. I hate it…but the new CDjs have a bigger screen and you can play with your iPhone which I find pretty cool…but I was just delayed by the sync button.

GDD:You now have three Ibiza residencies, a residency with Sirius XM, a performance at Ministry of Sound and a US tour under your belt. What is the next step for you?
DA: My next goal…I really really want to produce with big artists like Nicky Romero and Porter Robinson. That’s my next goal because I have been DJing alot, but I haven’t been in the studio so much. I have been in the studio but you know, not so much. And I have a new track coming out in, I think, October.
GDD: “Breaking Your Fall” right?
DA: Yeah exactly, called “Breaking Your Fall” I really like it and I play it almost every day..
GDD: You going to play it tonight?
DA: Yep! For sure. It’s coming out with a label called Big Beat. This label Skrillex released albums and Knife Party so I think it’s going to work pretty good.

GDD:Can you tell us a little bit about “Breaking Your Fall” and how you came to produce it?
DA: Yeah, the vocalist is a girl from Holland. I cannot say the name because she doesn’t want to be known, she has other plans so she doesn’t want to appear in the title. The melody, I just like did the melody…it has two parts…the more melodic part and the more electro stuff…then I did like the Swedish part and the vocal fit so good that I could arrange the rest of the track, then I tested it and did the radio edit so yeah…

GDD:Are you working on anything else right now, and what can we expect from you over the next few months?
DA: I’m working with other big artists at the moment..
GDD: Oh any hints??
DA: Ah, I’d love to say but they don’t want to and it’s pretty early to say. So really looking forward to my next releases!

GDD: Well, thats all for me, so I just wanted to say thank you!
DA: Yeah, thank you so much!


Photos courtesy of Michael Elezovic.