Above: Danny Avila on the left, Deniz Koyu on the right
If you read my review of the Generation Wild Tour, then you know it was one big party. But before the show, I was lucky enough to sit down with the two biggest DJs on the tour: Deniz Koyu and Danny Avila. Both of them are from Europe, and they’re really enjoying their time here in the US. Both Deniz and Danny were extremely nice guys, and they really seemed to love what they’re doing. Even when I went to meet them on their bus, Danny was coming up with a new intro for his set in less than an hour. The two DJs were nice enough to sit down and talk with me just before their sets.
Could you please introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about yourself?
Deniz Koyu: My name is Deniz Koyu, DJ and producer from Germany. I started DJing two years ago and I’m just having fun.
Danny Avila: Hello, my name is Danny Avila and I am also a DJ and producer from Madrid, Spain. I’ve been DJing for almost six years now, producing for about 3 years now, and I’m also having fun.
So since you guys have been DJing for a few years now, how long have you been into music and playing instruments?
Deniz: I started playing piano when I was a kid, when I was six years old. I got lessons in a music school for a couple of years, and then it took me a while until I got my first keyboard, synthesizers and music software. But that was when I was a teenager, about 15 years old. I got into the music industry when I started making music for fashion brands for websites when I was sixteen. I got some contacts and made some lounge music. But lounge music has roots in house music, actually. Like chilling, easy house music, y’know? Easy beats. So that’s how I got into it. Then I started listening to music from Eric Prydz, Steve Angello, and of course Daft Punk. I got hooked on it, so then I tried to produce that kind of music. That’s how I got into it.
Danny: So my story, like Deniz, is that I started playing piano when I was 7 years old. I played for four years and then I changed, after deciding I didn’t like classical music, and I played the guitar for two years. Then, I bought a very simple and super cheap controller. Super basic. I didn’t even know how to mix two tracks. But I just liked it so much and spent so many hours on it that I bought better equipment, which was a Pioneer CD J800, and I started to DJ with that. Then I started to do my own work with my brother because we were living in the south of Spain. So that’s basically how I started. Then we were a group of five or six friends and we were all DJs. We were all playing the same parties, and since they were producing, they taught me a little bit about how to mix music. So yeah that’s basically how I started.
So since you guys are both from Europe, how do you like it here in the States and how do shows here compare to shows back home?
Deniz: Basically, I think that the scene here in the States has been blowing up for about two years now. Before that, everything was based in Europe. So for us, I think that three or four years ago, we couldn’t even imagine being able to come to America and play here at all, because it wasn’t interesting at all.
Yeah, it just got really big here pretty recently.
Deniz: Yeah definitely. I remember the first time I came to the States, about six years ago, I went to Las Vegas with a few friends for vacation, and we couldn’t find a single club where we could go out and have fun and enjoy music we like. It was impossible. Now, it’s just the other way around. At the moment, it’s basically that here in the States, you have the real raver culture. That’s what’s happening here in the States. In Europe, to be honest, we don’t have that. It’s just turnover. So it’s very cool. It’s very exciting for us to play here in America.
Danny: Especially in the college market. All the raving culture is blowing up. To be honest, I didn’t know when I started DJing that I would be able to play in the States. It was like impossible for me. So when I started, my goal was basically just to play in Spain. Then somehow, everything was going better and better and I got the chance to go around Europe. And you know, things were going good and I got the chance to play in America, and you know, EDM is extremely big in the States. Before I played my first gig in the States, friends were telling me, “Man, EDM is so big in the States, and there’s this buzz because electronic is huge.” But you don’t even realize it until you come here. This is definitely the place to be.
So with all of that, how’s the tour going so far?
Deniz: It’s crazy. This is our seventh show so far now I think. We basically just started, but it’s amazing. We’re going to these colleges basically, which is also new for me. I didn’t play college markets before. But it’s fun. It’s really cool. You have all the raver kids at these places. They bring all the energy to these shows and it’s really wild. Our photographer, Kirill, is with us, and we’re having so much fun. It’s a special show. He’s doing his stuff and we’re doing our music and it’s a great combination.
Danny: Yeah everything together is really cool. The tour has been great. The shows have been perfect. The music that I play I think fits better in the college market. For example, if you play dubstep music or drum n bass- because I like to play a little bit of everything: a little bit of electro, dubstep, trap, some hip-hop, I try to play a bit of everything- it doesn’t work as well with an older crowd. For example, if you go to a club in Europe, you play a lot for an older crowd, like 30 or 40. It doesn’t work as well, because they have a different perspective on music. So now we’re playing in these college markets, and they go nuts with these music genres.
So, what’s the craziest show you’ve played and what happened?
Deniz: This is always a tough question. I can never pick out one favorite show. I can only say my favorite ones in 2012. Those for me were Ultra Music Festival, the Cosmic Opera show with Axwell in New York was a really good one, then one show I did in Ushuaia was really good. Then I played 3 Sensations. All of them were amazing, especially one I played in Istanbul in Turkey, which is my home country. I came there for my first time to play, plus I played back to back with Fedde la Grand, so it was double the excitement. Then, I had a couple of really great shows at the end of the year. I play on New Year’s Eve with Dada Life in New York, in Brooklyn, in a warehouse to 8,000 people. It was really sick. Just the night before that I played in Chicago, and I think that show maybe was my favorite show of 2012. I played with Porter Robinson and Hardwell at the Congress Theatre. I think this was my favorite.
Danny: Yeah, that venue is sick. So yeah, I would say the most special gig for me last year was probably Ministry of Sound with Fedde la Grand. Ministry of Sound is such a legendary club. Every single DJ in the world wants to play there. So it was really special. Then, the shows at EDC have been very good as well. I did EDC Puerto Rico and EDC Orlando. Then I did one show at Pacha NY with Martin Solveig. That was really, really, really incredible, because I didn’t expect to crowd to be that good. They were literally crazy. So yeah, those would probably be the best shows.
So Deniz, I hear that you were on MTV’s 2012 “EDM Rookie to Watch” list. What was that like?
Deniz: It was sick. First, when I saw it, I didn’t realize what had actually happened. I saw it on the website, and then I saw my twitter blow up. I looked at it, but I didn’t really realize it at first. It was really good for me. It was great.
So Danny, I hear that you are 17 years old. What’s it like to be 17 and touring the world and having people really want to come out and see you?
Danny: It’s crazy. It happened so slow, yet so fast at the same time. I’ve been doing this for almost six years. I started when I was 12, which is super young. I was playing at underage parties. Now I’m 17, and I’m playing all over the States and all around the world. It’s crazy. I mean, I think it’s a dream for every 17 year old guy in the world. Especially since there are so many DJs and producers trying to make it, it’s a dream come true for me.
I’ve heard through the grapevine that Tiesto is a fan of both of your music. He said that Danny was up and coming and he also plays Deniz’s music at his shows. What’s that like?
Deniz: It’s like one of my dreams coming true. It’s one of the biggest goals of a DJ: getting respect from Tiesto, or someone like him. That’s amazing. It’s one of the biggest goals.
Danny: Yeah, I mean, he’s a legend. He’s been doing this for what, twenty years? I don’t think there’s someone bigger or with more knowledge about this music than Tiesto. Tiesto, Erick Morillo, I mean, these guys have been doing this for so many years. So, if these guys say that you’re a good DJ or a good producer or they play your tracks, it couldn’t be better.
So, obviously, you guys are going to grow more, but was there a point where you felt like you had made it? Or a point where you stopped and said, “This is awesome, I never expected this.” Was there a specific point?
Deniz: For me, one turning point was when I released “Tung.” Before that, I was actually working towards that point for maybe three years already. I had some releases before that, nothing special, but I was trying and working hard, and trying to make a better sound and better tracks. So I was working really hard, and it took me a while, but after “Tung,” there was a turning point for me and I realized how things started going really fast.
Danny: Well, for me, I mean, you never know what’s going to happen in the future: if it’s going to work, if it’s not going to work. The only thing that you know is that you have to work hard every single day. One of the best things that happened to me was probably the last summer season. I had three difference residencies: I had one with Tiesto. He invited me to play at his opening party, and he liked it so much, that he invited me to play like 10 more shows. This was really cool, y’know? Then I signed with AM Only, one of the biggest agencies in the States. Then, you realize that you’re going to play a lot in America, so it gets better and better. So yeah, it would probably be that.
So, what kind of music do you guys listen to in your spare time?
Deniz: I actually listen to very different music. I like to listen to music that is more relaxing. I like to listen to indie pop, especially when I’m in the car. I don’t want to listen to banging electro music all the time. I’m listening to it so many times when I play. I like to listen to indie pop bands like Coldplay. They’re probably my favorite band. Then I like Miike Snow, MGMT, and that kind of music.
Danny: Well, to be honest, I listen to house music pretty much every day. I don’t have the chance to play it first of all, because it’s not really my style, but I like this kind of deep house, like Maya Jane Coles. It’s super uplifting and very mental stuff. When I’m just at home I play that kind of music.
So what can we expect next from you guys? Is there anything coming up or any plans for the future?
Deniz: Yeah, of course. I just had my release with Dirty South called “Halo,” on this label Phazing Records. It just got released.
Danny: It’s #10 on Beatport!
Deniz: Yeah, it just reached #10 on Beatport today. I released it 4 days ago. So it’s going really well. Then, my next release is going to be “Rage” on Refune Records. It’s coming out mid-March. Then I’m working on some other collaborations, and some solo records. I’m working on one track with Otto Knows from Refune. Then, there’s one or two big collaborations, but it’s a bit too early to talk about them yet. But it’s going to be really exciting. Then, I’m working on some more solo stuff.
Danny: Well, I have a couple of residencies for this year. And yeah, as he said, there are some things that you cannot really talk about. But yeah, there are some really cool residencies, like the biggest festivals in the States. I played Ultra Festival, in the States, which was incredible. It’s great. Then I’m playing Coachella, which was a big goal for me. Also, I have a new track finished. I don’t know the label or the name, but I have it finished, and I’m looking forward to the release. I’m testing it out on this tour, and then I’m just going to keep working on stuff.
That’s great. So, to close, are there any shout outs you’d like to make? Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Deniz: We’re having a lot of fun on this tour, and it’s great to see all the nice feedback and all the people coming to the shows. We’re having a great time, so we’re looking forward to all the next shows. We’ll see you there!
Danny: Basically, we have received a lot of good mentions on Twitter about State College. We were really excited to play here, because this is a young market, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re really excited, and to be honest, I would love to repeat this tour in the next couple of months, because it’s been so much fun.
Well, that’s all I have. Thank you very much guys!