Weknowthedj Wednesday: DJ Michael Mason

January 15, 2014
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There’s no way around it, the music industry wouldn’t be the same without DJs. Some help newlyweds celebrate their marriages at wedding receptions while others spend their nights on stage with the world’s biggest superstars. Whether they accompany us during traffic jams or set the mood for our nights at the club, we feel a special connection to DJs all over the world. As bossman DJ Tay James enjoys a break from an endless and exhausting tour schedule, we’re taking a trip to New York City for the newest segment of WeKnowTheDJ Wednesday. This week, we’re introducing our readers to New York native and up-and-coming DJ, DJ Michael Mason. After a WeKnowTheDJ exclusive interview and just days after his 20th birthday, we’re here to share the background story of DJ Michael Mason’s rise from college student to finding his place behind the turntables.

When did you realize you wanted DJing to be more than just a hobby? Definitely when I opened up for Jillionaire of Major Lazer; I remember spinning the first fifteen minutes of my set without even looking out at the crowd. When I did look out, I saw 500+ people going absolutely crazy—that’s when I knew I had to do this as a career.

WeKnowTheDJ sidenote: Major Lazer is an electronic dancehall DJ project created by American DJ and producer Diplo. Those people in the crowd at the Major Lazer gig didn’t only confirm DJ Michael Mason’s desire to turn DJing into a career; they were also one of his favorite crowds.

Which crowd has been your best? Definitely the crowd at B.B. Kings when I opened for Major Lazer; the crowd was absolutely bonkers. Somehow some of my closest friends got front row; it was an amazing night.

That sounds incredible! Speaking of amazing nights, which has been your favorite night of spinning? Playing Pacha (a popular New York City club) was an amazing experience; it was my first time spinning there and it couldn’t have gone any better. The crowd was amazing and the other DJs were awesome. The entire night was electric.

Speaking of other DJs, what sets you apart? I try and hit a bunch of different genres in a set. Larely I’ve been dropping a lot of trap and moombahton, any bass-heavy music that gets the entire crowd bouncing. A lot of DJs have been playing festive style sets, starting with big room house and ending with trap. I try to avoid that.

Everyone has to look up to someone. Who are some artists you admire? Who has become your DJing inspiration? Matt Zo, Victor Niglio and Porter Robinson are definitely artists I admire. Niglio has been doing some really big things lately; his “Diplo and Friends” mix has been on repeat the past few weeks! Bassnectar is my inspiration—the man is a genius. He blends genres that most people would never even consider combining.

Similar to how Bassnectar blends genres, do you find yourself changing your music based on the crowd or do you tend to stick to the same set? I definitely change the set; my job is to keep the crowd happy so I have to watch and see what they react to.

How do you handle a gig that isn’t meeting your expectations or a club that’s empty? I try to go into every gig with a pretty open mindset; you never know what tracks will work or what crowd will be there. If it’s empty, I can be a little more adventurous with my mixes. Sometimes those sets are most exciting!

Obviously you have opinions on other artists, what would you consider a common mistake among DJs? I think a lot of DJs are afraid to take risks. A good mix is adventuerous, unique and unexpected.

While on the subject of unexpected, have things gone wrong while you’re DJing? It’s terrible when it happens but every set can’t be perfect. I’ve had cords come unplugged and equipment die, but no matter what happens you have to adapt and keep the music playing.

Have you been given any advice about DJing that has really stuck out to you? Know your collection inside and out. The better you know your music, the better your sets will be.

In terms of sets, what do you want to be known for? Standing out. EDM has been stuck in a rut where a lot of the music is beginning to sound similar. I want to bring in a new, fresh sound.

Has that been keeping you busy? What’s next? I’ve been producing as much music as I can. I spend at least an hour in the studio each day and it’s starting to pay off. Finishing my first EP of remixes is my number one priority. It’s been a labor and love so finishing it is going to be a big deal.

We’re definitely looking forward to hearing it! Speaking of the future, where do you see yourself in 5 years? It’s hard to say, the industry is so fast moving that I hardly know where I’ll be tomorrow. All I know is I’ll be making and playing music until I die, no matter what.

This is just the beginning for DJ Michael Mason and we’re all really excited to see where his journey leads him. As we anticipate the arrival of his upcoming EP, you can check out some tracks he’s already released at https://soundcloud.com/michael_mason. Also be sure to follow him on Twitter at @michael_mason_ and send us a tweet at @weknowthedj to share your thoughts!

Meg C @meganciampo

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