After spending over 20 years in Chicago, DARIN EPSILON packed his bags and moved to Los Angeles 3 years ago, and is now considered a staple in the Southern California underground dance community. Asides from playing Hollywood’s best clubs including Avalon, Vanguard, and Playhouse, he will be performing this year’s Nocturnal Wonderland at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino.
I recently had the chance to sit down with Darin at Katsuya on Hollywood Boulevard. Here is part 2 of our two-part interview.
TDJL: I know you‘re a history buff when it comes to electronic music. When do you believe Progressive House exploded onto the scene?
Some people would say that it began as early as 1995 with the group LEFTFIELD. I believe that was one of the first times a magazine ever coined the term Progressive House. At the time, it was considered the antithesis to rave music of the early 90's (which mostly consisted of Breakbeat and Acid House).
Progressive House referred to the more forward-thinking and intelligent music, and wasn’t specifically geared towards the dancefloor. If you listen to Leftfield's first album Leftism, which is one of my favorite albums of all time, every song is an extremely high level of quality and draws influences from so many different genres.
The second time that Progressive House became widely known was circa 2003, following the boom and eventual collapse of Balearic Trance at the turn of the century. All the major magazines began declaring that “Trance is dead“. This was around the time that the leading figures of the genre, SASHA and Digweed, began moving away from the euphoric anthems towards their now signature deeper, darker, and groovier sound.
TDJL: Who are some of the DJ's that influenced you while you were growing up?
There were a lot of local Chicago DJ's on the radio that influenced me, but PAUL OAKENFOLD was my biggest inspiration back in 1999-2000. I was also a huge FERRY CORSTEN fan even before he was known as Ferry Corsten. He was using all kinds of different aliases like System F, Gouryella, Veracocha, etc. Then in 2005, Sasha and Digweed were in town as part of their Delta Heavy tour, which I would consider a life-changing experience.
TDJL: What kind of music were you listening to before that?
I listened to whatever was on the radio. Asides from dance music, I also enjoyed Alternative Rock and Heavy Metal during my rebellious teenage years. I was one of those kids that went to Ozzfest every year.
TDJL: Did you play vinyl? If so, do you still have your collection?
Yeah, I'm old school and loved my vinyl, haha. I started collecting records when I was 17 while working at a record shop. That's where I learned the majority of what I know today about music. I still have my collection with me, but I only keep it for the sentimental value.
TDJL: How did you get started as a producer?
I took a class in MIDI and music production during high school and completed my first track when I was 14. It wasn't the greatest, but from then on, I began listening to music in an entirely different way. Looking back, it’s still hard to believe my school offered a course like that. I’m lucky to have been exposed to the technology so early on.
When I reached college, I would work on music on and off. Mostly I’d be too busy with exams, but I’d pick up where I left off during summer and winter break. Finally, I released my first remix in stores during my senior year of college.
TDJL: What was your big moment or big break that got you on the map and noticed by everyone?
I don't really know if I could name a specific moment. It’s been a rather gradual process. Certainly there have been landmarks along the way, such as the first remix I completed for Perfecto. That gave me a huge boost in credibility because it did so well on Beatport, reaching Top 25 on their Progressive House sales chart.
My regular gigs at Vision Nightclub in Chicago and Avalon Hollywood have certainly helped. I’d also say being named as a winner in JOHN DIGWEED's DJ competition last summer has been one of my career highlights.
TDJL: Tell us how your Perspective radio show materialized?
When I was attending college, I hosted a show which featured electronic music on the weekends. Talk about the irony! College radio was what got me interested in dance music in the first place when I was growing up.
I enjoyed being on the air so much that when I eventually graduated, I decided to contact Digitally Imported (whom I had been providing guest mixes to for years), only to find out that they had no available slots. I was on the waiting list for about a year before being asked to take over Perry O’Neil’s timeslot.
TDJL: Where can people go to hear your sounds?
My radio show Perspectives currently airs every 3rd Wednesday on FriskyRadio.com You can download or stream every episode since 2007 for FREE on iTunes. All of my tracks and promo mixes are also available on soundcloud.com/darinepsilon
TDJL: Finally, if you had to vote for one DJ other than yourself, who would you vote for?
Well, my favorite DJ at the moment is HERNAN CATTANEO, but there are so many other great names like Guy J, NICK WARREN, JAMES ZABIELA, Sasha, and John Digweed. In terms of lesser-known talent, I was particularly impressed by Ian O’Donovan’s guest mix for my radio show. Sorry, I guess I couldn’t stick to just one name!
7/27 – Hacienda La Dicha – Popayan, Colombia
7/28 – La Hojarasca – Cali, Colombia
8/10 – Exchange LA w/ Glenn Morrison – Los Angeles, US
8/24 – Caix – Buenos Aires, Argentina
9/01 – Armas Foro Sol – Mexico City
9/21 to 9/23 – Nocturnal Wonderland – San Bernardino, US