Sunday, 4 March 2012

"I think I have managed to stay unique and not follow other producers."

Merseyside DJ and producer Liam Keegan has made more than just waves in the dance music scene over the last few years. A well known 'triple threat', his name has appeared alongside the likes of Rihanna, Skepta, Katy Perry and, just to name a few. Like many DJs, it's the overall prize after years of hard work and dedication.

"I had a love for music from a very early age," the scouse DJ said. "It started out with me humming melodies and making my own words up for songs when I was about five or six. When I was 11, I started listening to acid and piano driven house. At 15-years-old. I was at a house party and I had a go on some Technic 1210's mixing happy hardcore music. From that day I caught the bug and never looked back."

Liam didn't take long to get noticed and by 19 had secured himself a professional residency at a local club. It wasn't then a case of 'where Liam would end up' but more 'how long it would take him to become a star'. The answer? Not long at all.

"In 2004 I thought the natural progression of DJing was production," the acclaimed remixer said. "So I started to mess around on sequencers Acid pro and Reason before moving onto Cubase in 2005. That's when things started to get more serious. I started writing tracks around 2004-05 and started remixing in 2006-07."

His unique style, love of synths and solid beats got him recognised by a number of different labels who have headhunted him to officially remix their work. His remix of Sak Noel's 'Loca People' reached top spot in the UK Chart and his infectious remix of Sway's hit 'Still Speedin' is still the best selling track on Clubland 20. But, he's far from finished.

"I've actually just finished a remix for a Grammy nominated artist in the US," the highly talented producer said. "Over the Christmas period I was also asked to remix for a big 80's band called Erasure, so yeah there's some big hitters still to come."

So what is it that makes Liam grab people's attention?

"I've tried to create a sound that fits with the current mainstream but with my own twist. By staying unique and not following other producers, I'm giving people something different."

What makes Liam's success even more impressive is that he's completely self-taught. One of his friends showed him the basics on Cubase and over the years he's found out what works and what doesn't from just trial and error. In a world of ever evolving technology though, specific software has given wannabe producers the chance to quickly learn the tricks and create their own tracks. The Merseyside-based DJ was quick to quash the thought though that improvements in technology means anyone can be a top producer and earn a living from it.

"There are a lot more courses available now than when I started out," the house lover said. "But I think the bar has been raised in regards to a quality finished track. You need to up your game now to be recognised.

"I think you have to be doing some kind of production to get your name out there and that comes hand in hand with your DJ profile. It's not like when I first started out and you could just fire out a load of demo mixes to bars and clubs and get booked from that.

"A tip I would give to aspiring producers out there would be to definitely create your own sounds. With the copyright infringements getting stricter it's getting harder and harder to fire out unofficial bootlegs. I'd say try and create your own sound and send off tracks regularly to labels, taking any feedback they give on board."

In terms of DJing though, it's about being able to deal with situations and adapting, Liam explained.

"The worst thing that happened to me was probably when we where playing in a bar in Oldham and the power failed. There was about 750 people just looking at us and we couldn't really do anything. But when the power came back we played Snap! - The Power and all was forgotten pretty quick."

In recent years, the dubstep genre has taken over and exploded into a mainstream phenomenon. As it did, House music was believed to have suffered. But Liam quickly reiterates it's Dubstep that is the one trying to keep up.

"Dubstep is just an alternative scene," he said. "There is still massive events and DJs that play house, and it isn't going anywhere - after all it's been here since the the 80s. Dub has just become a big scene alongside house so I suppose it's a question of how long will Dubstep keep up with house?"

The perceived set back hasn't stopped Liam in his quest for House music fame, as world renowned record labels, 3Beat, Blue, AATW, Neon (Australia) and Next Plateau (NYC) are just a few who have snapped up his popular remixes. His Dizzee Rascal 'Holiday' remix and Katy Perry's Firework edit have been supported by national radio stations in the UK and others across the globe.

"It's a great feeling to get headhunted to remix for big artists off the back of your previous work" the fortunate star said. "The last 18-months I couldn’t ask for better support. From the big club DJs to radio DJs in the UK and all over the world, right down to the bedroom DJs - all the support is highly appreciated."

No one can say the Birkenhead-born producer hasn’t worked hard. But after years of experience and hardship, he still can’t quite believe what’s happened and is happening.

"I think I've only had one DJ booking in Merseyside in the past 2 years," Liam said. I've been lucky enough to play in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow to name just a few cities. Also this year, I played in Australia which was amazing and there are more international gigs lined up so things are really hotting up - it's amazing!"

Like many other producers though, progression is as important as ever and the scouse creator has already got some exciting new projects in the pipeline for 2012.

"I will be concentrating on some more 'Big Room' house tracks this year," Liam said. "Plus I'm doing some commercial singles along with a few interesting collaborations as well. As for an album, with what's already in place I will probably concentrate on that next year."

1. John Dahlback - Life
2. Sebastian Ingrosso ft. Alesso - Calling (Lose my mind extended remix)
3. Tristan Garner - Punx

More more track
Favourite end of the night anthem - Robin S. 'Show me Love'
Must have song in your set - Avicii 'Levels' or Dirty South and Those Usual Suspects 'Walking alone'
Song that got you into house music - Far too many to think of
Favourite song of all time - Juliet Roberts 'Caught in the middle'

Saturday, 25 February 2012

“One tip I've learned...Do what you want and just keep pulling it through"

Despite only being 18-years-old, Extravagant has not only started making a name for himself in his home town of Wiesbaden, but is also getting support across Europe for his infectious bootlegs. His mash-up style has seen him reach nearly 15,000 "plays" on Soundcloud and 20,000 YouTube views - not bad for an unsigned artist who's only been producing for five months!

"I started making bootlegs about 5 months ago," Extravagant said. "I just started with Native Instrument’s Traktor and I then focused more on using Ableton. I got so much positive feedback and support from people after my first one, it just motivated me to continue and create more."

But unlike many artists, Extravagant, real name Steffen Kalig, didn't run before he could walk. The talented youngster has been perfecting his style and skills since the tender age of fourteen.

"I was always fascinated about DJing - I loved to see them spin the turntables and mix different songs together. When I was 16 one of my friends, who had a reputation in my hometown for being a good DJ, showed me a little bit and I was well and truly hooked.

"I then bought myself a little Denon mixer and started making some short mixes and tried some little tricks,' The German-born DJ and producer said. "After that it started to snowball quite quickly. I got some little gigs at private parties and was getting a lot of good feedback for my sets. A few months later, a friend of mine who has his own label, 'Y&B Entertain', asked me to come along to a party he was holding and warm-up and that's when it started getting real."

Over the last five months, Steffen has had huge backing from respected players in the house music game, including Swanky Tunes, Gregory Trejo, Paul Ahi, Marco Zanfardino and many more. It's this support and constant feedback that has kept him producing the music he is quickly becoming renowned for.

"Getting the support for something I love doing is unbelievable," Steffen said. "It's so great! When I hear people are supporting and liking my music it just motivates me so much more to keep doing what I'm doing because after all, that's what I love to see. People enjoying my music."

In recent years, the dubstep genre has taken over and exploded into a mainstream phenomenon. As it did, many believed House music would suffer and feel the full effect of this new genre.
But Steffen is quick to reiterate House music hasn't gone anywhere.

"There is all this hype about Dubstep and sure, it's really at the forefront now but House is still very much there. The best example I can give is David Guetta. Everyone loves his music, when his tracks drop the clubs go wild because he brings House music inline with R&B and that's why his music is so popular. It'll be interesting to see how 2012 pans out and what 2013 has to offer."

And as most 18-year-olds are deciding which University they're going to study at or where they want to work, Steffen is living out his dream.

"At the moment people are aware of me and my music and that feels so good!" The young producer said. "I went back to my home town to do a gig and people were enjoying my bootlegs and loving my set, it was incredible and that just really highlighted how far I had come."

In a world of ever evolving technology, music production is seen as getting easier and, more importantly, cheaper. With the latest hardware and software being widely available, it’s normal behaviour for those looking to get into production to start making tracks from their bedrooms on their laptops.

"Every day, more and more new technology is available that makes producing music that little bit easier," Steffen said. "Whether it's software or tutorial videos, the engineering side of things is being explained in greater detail and that's why there has been an increase in producers and remixers.

"The difference is though that not everyone can make music, even if they think they can. There is a knack to it. You can learn the technique, you can read a book or watch a video on the 'precise' way to make a track but it's about 'feeling it' and knowing from experience what will work and what won't. That's something technology can't teach people."

In terms of DJing as well, there is only so much technology can do, the Wiesbaden based DJ explained. “When I started to DJ I knew I also wanted to produce. One tip that I've learned and would tell anyone who wants to get into the industry is to do what you want and just keep pulling it through. The moment you start trying to change who you are the passion from your music slips and people can see that straight away."

Like many other producers though, progression is as important as ever and Steffen has already got some exciting new projects in the pipeline for 2012.

"I’ve started with my first podcast epidsode called 'Tracks of the month' but without a guest mix. I want to change this in the next episode and then hopefully we will see if it's successful. That's another avenue I've gone down. I've also got collaborates in the pipeline and have had many requests for remixes and bootlegs, so it should be a very exciting year for me. I love to work with other people, it's one part of the job that's really exciting."

And it doesn't stop there. Steffen, is currently on course to win Prysm Radio's Newcomer Contest, something that will take his career to yet another level. But despite his quick assault on the music scene the mature teenager still hasn't forgotten where it all began.

"I've definitely been most influenced by the likes of Swedish House Mafia and Afrojack and that's where I aspire to be. Not because I want to be famous or rich but because when I set out doing this I was willing to do everything and anything because I love the music and that's still the case. It's all about the music and that's how it'll always be with me."


1. La Fuente – Bang Bang ( Extravagant Intro Bootleg)
2. Tujamo - How We Roll (Original Mix)
3. Qulinez - Troll (Original Mix)
4. Dada Life vs Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike & Promise Land - Happy Alarma
(Nick Svenson & Romain G Bootleg)
5. Steve Angello – Be (Original Mix)
6. Afrojack ft.Otto Knows - Can't Stop Million Voices (Extravagant's Singing
Bees South Leeds Vocal Bootleg)

One more track:

Favourite end of the night anthem - Of course it's got to be my bootleg 'Can't Stop Million Voices'
Must have song in your set - Hard Rock Sofa "Quasar" or Qulinez "Troll"
Song that got you into house music - Don't laugh but Fedde Le Grande "Put your Hands up for detroit"
Favourite song of all time – Nadia Ali "Pressure" the Alesso remix. It's just an amazing song.
Saturday, 14 January 2012

After nearly eight months away from the studio, Chris returns to the radio waves once more to bring you the soundtrack to your weekend. The Ministry of Sound Academy DJ, has secured a prime-time slot in a new city and for a completely new station.

Chris finished University in June and like many graduates spent the first three months searching for a job. But ever since finding his feet in Leeds, he has been itching to get back on the radio.

"I love being on the radio," Chris said, "and I love music. The last few months of my student radio career went so fast and the feedback I got from The House Bandits show was incredible that I couldn't just leave it there."

The House Bandits won Best Specialist Show at the in-house University awards and Chris' eight-hour send off was described as 'a great example of how you can take your show on the road' by Student Radio Award judges.

So what does his new show have in store?

"During 2011 I kept in contact with a whole host of radio personalities who all told me the same thing, 'don't try and be the next whoever, be the first Chris McKay'. So that's what I'm doing. I've done various shows in the past but my passion has always been House music and that's what I'm focusing on."

Chris promises to bring listeners the best in House music, with unheard remixes, bootlegs as well as minimixes from local talent.

"Last summer saw the release of some amazing tracks and bit by bit House music is rearing it's beautiful head in the mainstream chart. What I want to do is show people the best of the genre by encompassing what it means - 'hands-in-the-air' house.

Chris has already got some unbelievable mixes and unreleased material lined up for his shows and hopes to start the way he means to go on.

"I've been sent some great tracks over the last few months and my playlist for the first show is coming together nicely. I've even got a minimix from super-producer Avicii to really kick off the show in style."

You can listen to Chris' new show through South Leeds Radio online

His first show is on Saturday 21st January at 10pm.

Chris is always on the look out for new music, minimixes and bootlegs. If you've got new music or want to feature on the show get in touch
Sunday, 1 January 2012

2011 saw House music work its way back into the charts as global stars proved to the world that the genre was no where near dead. As The House Bandits plan for what 2012 has in store, Chris takes you through their favourite tracks of the past 12 months.

LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem
Released January 2011

"If a party is starting to die down there is no better song to bring it back to life than this. It single handedly reinvented the "shuffling" dance and will no doubt be played in clubs for years to come."

Redroche vs Armstrong - Make your move 2011 (Tristan Garner Remix)
Released January 2011

"I remember playing this for the first time on the show and getting a mass amount of positive feedback. The iconic hook, mixed with memorable lyrics made this an instant classic with music lovers of all ages."

Erick Morillo, Eddie Thoneick feat. Shawnee Taylor - Live your life
Released June 2011

"I have always been a big fan of both Erick and Eddie and their collaboration on this track is amazing. Add their infectious beats to Shawnee Taylor's talent and it's a vocal house track that always gets a good reception when I play it in the clubs."

Aloe Blacc - I need a Dollar (Zinc Remix)
Released April 2011

"Ever since I heard Aloe Blacc's 2nd studio LP, 'Good Things', I've been a massive fan but unfortunately it wasn't until recently he's gained the success he deserves. His latest album and his incredible single 'I Need a Dollar' has been receiving no end of praise. This remix is one of my favourites of 2011 by one of the biggest producers in the game. Zinc creates a revamped dance floor hit."

Bingo Players - Cry
Released April 2011

"As soon as I heard this track on Andi Durrant's Capital show I knew this would forever remind me of 2011. It's an absolutely gem and despite having quite a pop-feel to it, it still works its magic in the big rooms."

Tom Hangs feat. Shermanology - Blessed
Released May 2011

"When I spoke to Avicii earlier in the year he told me he uses different names to differentiate between his different styles. Using the pseudonym Tom Hangs, he created a fantastic club track that has been played in venues across the world. But what makes this song one of my favourites of 2011 is the fact Avicii then made an edit of it because he thought he could improve it further, showing what a true perfectionist the Swedish youngster really is."

Fedde Le Grand - So much Love.
Released August 2011

"I love this track, it's another anthem from the Dutch master himself. He blew the roof off Ibiza's Space Terrazza at Toolroom Knights with it and it's a definite crowd pleaser. The original was a classic - the remix is an epic."

DEVolution featuring Amy Pearson - Good Love (Alesso Remix)
Released September 2011

"The Swedish protege is at it again with this brilliant remix and one that gets the big rooms bouncing. He destroyed Pacha in New York with this track during Labour Day Weekend and it's safe to say this isn't just an absolute banger this is a powerful tune too. A must, in my opinion, for any House DJ."

Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna - We found love
Released September 2011

"This song really needs no introduction. It's like watching an entire series of 'Skins' in four minutes and is from a singer who can literally do no wrong and a Scottish producer who is famous all over the world for his dance hits. One of the biggest club tracks of the year and another guaranteed party starter."

Avicii - Levels
Released October 2011

"My overall favourite track of 2011 goes to Avicii. I remember hearing this for the first time as a party goer and going mental. I think I scared a few people as a result but it's just one of those tunes that gets the adrenaline pumping. I've been a fan of Tim Berg's work since he broke onto the scene, every release has that extra special something. The youngster is extremely talented and has that unique ability of knowing what will work and what won't. The scary thing is, I think his best is yet to come."

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

“You won’t be able to look around and find a track that sounds the same as mine,” Diavlo said. “Every producer has their own unique sound to their productions.”

The journey for Diavlo hasn’t been easy but after countless underground hits, a Beatport 'must-hear' number one, worldwide gigs and support from huge names it seems a long time since he was mixing records in his friend’s attic.

But unlike others who may have rushed into things, Diavlo’s single ‘Genesis’ came after seven years of hard work and dedication.

“I first got into DJing when I was 17 with my very good friend, DJ & producer Ant Brooks. We started playing hard house in his attic believe it or not, which use to be a great laugh. Soon after that I found that I really enjoyed it and wasn't bad at it either,” he laughed to himself.

“Ant, the other half of H Unit, and I decided after DJing together it was time that we got into the studio. It was then that I realised not only did I want to be a DJ, I also wanted to produce tracks so I could play my music to others.”

The bonus for Diavlo wasn’t having just a number one on the Beatport must-hear house tunes chart, but that he had made an impression on non-other than Michael Woods and was instantly signed to his record label Diffused Music. With huge backing from the likes of David Jones, Gary Beck, Sonny Wharton and Andi Durrant, he was definitely making an impression.

“It really was a great feeling to have huge support from the very beginning, there are many great music producers on the scene and so this was a fantastic achievement. It is amazing when you get the final product out of the studio then see it getting enjoyed and played by some of the head honchos in the industry.”

In recent years, the dubstep genre has taken over and exploded into mainstream phenomenon. As it did, many believed House music would suffer and feel the full effect of this new genre. But Diavlo didn’t take long to quash those rumours.

“Music is always changing with new sub-genres coming out and a new flavour of the month but house music always comes back no matter what,” he said. “If you take a look in the Top 40 now there are more and more 4/4 style tracks creeping in from the likes of David Guetta, Example and Calvin Harris, all doing the damage.”

Obviously the perceived set back failed to stop Diavlo in his quest for House music fame, as world renowned record label Cr2 Records were next to sign the talented producer for his latest release, Changes. Since those days in the attic Diavlo has seen Cr2 as his label of choice.

“They put out some really great music and have great respect in the music industry,” he told me. “It is always important to choose the labels that portrays the right image of you as an artist. You need to establish your identity so that people know what to expect from you when both DJing and producing.”

No one can say the Coventry born producer hasn’t 'been there, done it'. But after years of experience and hardship, he still can’t quite believe what’s happened and is happening.

“The best thing is travelling the world playing my own music to crowds and seeing their reaction. It is such an amazing thing, meeting great people, doing something that you love and the best part is getting paid for it.”

In a world of ever evolving technology, the barriers between musical genres are constantly being eroded by the relentless rise of the digital age. With the latest hardware and software being widely available, it’s normal behaviour for producers to follow the latest trends.

“With the technology available to people I think it is easier to make music,” he said before quickly offering some words of advice for the budding producers out there.

“You can't teach someone to be a producer but you can teach someone how to be an engineer. As a producer you need to have the creativity and the ideas along with the skills to create those ideas and turn it into music.

“Don't set out straight away to make a certain style of music, experiment you might find you are really cut out for something that you didn't intend, which isn't a bad thing. Go with what comes natural to you when making music. Whether that’s a groovy bass-line or a new twist on a genre or style” he said, before revealing one main tip to those already in the process of making music.

“One trick for giving more bounce to your tracks is side-chaining elements, like your bass-lines. Also adding slight delays and reverbs on vocal parts and percussion elements can take a track to the next level.”

In terms of DJing though every gig is different, the Coventry based DJ explained. “You need to be able to read a crowd. I mean the last thing you want to do is turn up to a gig and clear the dance floor, which I have seen done on more than one occasion. Knowing your audience in the club is the biggest advice I can give for aspiring DJs.”

Like many other producers though, progression is as important as ever and the 28-year-old creator has already got some exciting new projects in the pipeline for 2012.

“I am currently working on several new EP's one for MAR186, Matteo DiMarr's Label, a single for Factomania,Wally Lopez's label and the rest are for ammunition for next year’s take over,” he chuckled. “I am also working on an EP with Ant Brooks, which is going to be massive and I’m in the mist of working with Ralph Berr.”

But as he continues to make waves in the House music world, Diavlo still remembers the days spent with Ant at the very beginning of the journey.

“My main influence I would say has got to be Steve Lawler, David Hererro, Wally Lopez and of cause Ant. We are close friends and have worked together several times, with hopefully many more successful tracks to come.”

Exclusive mix for House Bandits by Diavlo


1) Back to the old skool (Original mix) - Diavlo
2) 007 (Original mix) - Diavlo
3) Gimme some more (Diavlo Re-edit) - Steve Lawler
4) Four4 - Diavlo
5) Massive (Diavlo remix) - DJ PP

One last track

Favourite end of the night anthem - Tori Amos ‘Professional Widow (Armand Van Helden Remix)'
Must have song in your set - Four4 a track from my latest EP on Muzik Xpress
Song that got you into house music - Happy Clappers ‘I Believe’
Favourite song of all time – BK ‘Revolution’. I heard at it Global Gathering in 2002 and it was amazing.

Diavlo's music is available on Beatport now

Free Download

Josh Kerr has never graced the House Bandits' studio but that hasn't stopped him giving you the chance to download some of his own production.

No Superstar

Dowload Here

Tokyo Express - Kerr's Rewire

Dowload Here

DJ Dave Crane graced the House Bandits' studio on Friday 25th April and as a present he's giving you the chance to download some of his own production.


Dowload Here

Mnml Dsc

Download here