The Los Angeles Underground Speaks
Deep Tech Los Angeles (DTLA) is a collective of underground house producers from Los Angeles, all striving to build a grassroots movement of music, radio and events.
Established by Jason Trevor Miller aka Redux Saints, the first US graduate of the Toolroom Academy programme, DTLA aims to provide a medium for LA based producers to be heard through organizing Deep Tech Los Angeles compilations. DTLA Volume 1 peaked at #1 for Minimal/Deep Tech and #10 for Progressive house on the Beatport album charts. Volume One also gained massive support such as Mark Knight, Friend Within, Walker & Royce, Sirus Hood, Riva Star and Henry Saiz as well as others. Krafted Underground brings you the second installment looking to reach new milestones with impressive new comers to the collective.
DTLA Volume 2; released on Krafted Underground and available for pre-order via Beatport, showcases the deep, techy and progressive sounds that DTLA stands for, featuring tracks from some of LA underground scene stalwarts Redux Saints, Shanto, Contessa, Andy Slate, Lok N Key, P-LASK, 28mm, Thomas Garcia, and newcomers to the collective Anakim, Teddy Wong Juany Bravo, Jaime Narvaez, DMorseand PABLoKEY.
We sat down with Jason to talk about the project and learn more about Deep Tech Los Angeles, Krafted, the upcoming compilation and more.
Congrats on the upcoming compilation release and thank you so much for the opportunity to premiere it and share it with the world! Can you remind us what DTLA is all about?
Deep Tech Los Angeles (DTLA) is a collection of underground producers in Los Angeles area. At inception, the goal of the project was to provide a platform for up and coming producers through music, events, and radio. We are proud to say that we have increased from 12 tracks with 11 producers for DTLA Vol 1 to 23 tracks with 26 producers for DTLA Vol 2.
As a producer, I’ve noticed there is common struggle just to get your music heard. Online I’ve seen a lot of names like Coyu talking about this struggle. I agree with him 100 percent we need more platforms like this and we believe DTLA is helping push this cause.
What was the message for DTLA Volume 1, and how has it changed for DTLA Volume 2?
When I joined Krafted Music, I was tasked by the label to expand the brand in the United States. I did not want to reinvent the wheel here, so I tapped into the talent that already existed in Los Angeles.
Hence, DTLA Vol 1 was about building a collective ecosystem of producers to support one another.
DTLA Vol 2 is about growing that ecosystem, continuing to support one another, reaching new milestones for each producer, and representing a slice of underground scene in Los Angeles. The hope is that Deep Tech Los Angeles will become a recognized underground name here in 2018.
How long have you been working on piecing DTLV Vol 2 together?
Planning started immediately after the Sunday Sanctuary Release party for Deep Tech Los Angeles Vol 1 this past October. We had a lot of success with hitting four top 50 album charts categories on Beatport so we were excited to start the process for Vol 2.
I start taking submissions for DTLA Volume 3 in May. DTLA Volume 3 will be released prior to Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE).
What were some of the criteria you used in selecting the tracks?
The A/R process is evolving with each volume release. For DTLA Vol. 1, I was looking for a deep tech vibe across the tracks. For Vol. 2 we took a broader approach and looked for a high quality underground feel across additional genres. With each release the bar is going to raised, and you’ll see it with the quality of the tracks. I was extremely happy to be able to add some fellow classmates from ICON Collective music school. I believe there are 10+ artists on Vol. 2 with an association to the school.
Got to ask you about your Redux Saints track name on the compilation – Sparkle Donkey. Can you explain what a sparkle donkey is?
This is a rare species I encountered at Burning man. One step below the sparkle pony on the totem pole of bringing negativity. This animal is armed and dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
It features known and new artists to the label, quite a pool of exciting talent. Any in particular we should keep an eye out on?
We have some veterans and newcomers to the compilation from the Los Angeles scene. All tracks in my eyes are quality so I would keep an eye on everyone on it.
I know it may be an unfair question as you obviously dig all the tracks for them to be featured but… do you have a favorite or two?
I really am enjoying Anakim’s Basin City. This fits into where my music production is gravitating. The fringe between melodic progressive house and techno.
This project includes two mixes. What’s the overall story you’re trying to tell here?
Shanto and I are on the mix duties for the compilation. I recorded Part 1 as Tech House Mix and Shanto recorded Part 2 as Deep Tech Mix.
To be honest, recording a mix for a compilation is no easy feat. Typically, you would choose your programming a bit more carefully for a mix to ensure a proper flow. With that being said, I was very pleased how both came out and I think that has a lot to do with the quality of the tracks.
How have things been going with you in the studio since we last talked at ADE?
A few tracks coming out soon are Redux Saints on the remix duties for Paul Sawyer, Son of 8, 28mm. Working on collaborations with my buddies Shanto and Lok N Key. I’m working on another massive collaboration on a track that great vocals with David Ricardo, Paul Sawyer, Vanessa Maria. I’m excited for this one as it sounds very Anjunadeep-ish.
Still working with Toolroom so looking to drop a few tech house tracks on their compilations this year.
We have our 300th release on Krafted Digital as well coming up this year with a special EP that Paul and myself are putting together. Promise you’ll have to check your underwear after the drops on these tracks.
The DTLA project has been blowing up, especially with the events you guys are doing. Can you talk to us about what’s ahead for you as far as that goes?
As mentioned previously we’ve been throwing events pretty regularly in Los Angeles. I’m laser focused on the release and party which will be taking place at the famous Globe Theater downtown. My hope is that after the success of the release party we will transition this into a monthly residency. We’ve also been in talks about expanding our events to San Diego, San Francisco, and Vegas.
Other activities worth mentioning are the radio appearances lately with “In a Dream” with Mystic Pete on KXLU 88.9 FM and “In The Mixxx” produced and hosted by DJ IDeaL on Alt949’s GLOW RADIO.
With so many music branded events and DJ crews in Los Angeles, what differentiates DTLA from the rest?
I’m sure you’ve heard on Fox News or CNN that everyone in Los Angeles is a DJ. We’ll it’s pretty much true. What is separating DTLA from other branded crews and parties is that we have an international label backing it with all crew members being producers.
If anything, I hope it will inspire some bedroom producers to put their fears aside and get their act together to submit a track to Krafted. I can say from experience that lighting that fire under a producer’s ass is sometimes all you need!
Also, I believe our branding strategy is creative and unique because it represents a lifestyle. We’re doing a little more than just saying we eat, sleep, and take techno shits every day.
Why do you think LA is such a hot spot for dance music right now, from both the artistic and event perspective?
The right people, sounds, ideas, and weather are all coming together here in LA to make things happen. I’m stoked for downtown’s further development and how the underground scene is going to influence it.
You were telling me you have some travel time to the UK planned next month. What’s that for?
I’ll be heading to UK for my annual Brighton Music Conference pilgrimage.
This trip includes studio time with D. Ramirez, attending Brighton Music Conference to meet up with my Krafted label partners Paul Sawyer and Darren Braddick, and attending Toolroom Academy for continuing my education.
Running a label is no small feat. What are some things you’ve learned since getting involved with Krafted?
It’s taken a lot of energy, patience, and understanding to feel comfortable that I have created a path to happiness with what I do with music.
Regardless if I’m running my software company, working with my label partners, or producing music, overall happiness I feel comes with the respect gained by working successfully with other people. I’m hoping that’s what is perception that comes with anything I’m involved in.
On the Challenge side:
There was a steep learning curve in learning how to approach artists’ egos vs working in corporate America where I came from. Trust me, my passion lies in working in music, but the lack of structure and sometimes lack of integrity of the industry confuses me. For the most part I’ve been very lucky and worked with terrific people, but I can count a handful of co-dependent people I’ve had to tell to piss off.
Other challenge is trying to find new and innovative ways to generate revenue for the label. We are living in the times where music sales aren’t even going to pay the monthly clubbing habit. Technology is changing the game so fast it’s hard to know where you stand from day to day and what you’re doing is correct.
On the Fucking Awesome Side:
I’ve met so many fabulous people through music in all parts of the world due to; being a fan, working with Krafted label, or my music impacting them in a positive way. I wouldn’t trade this in for anything and hope to continue to grow my network of friends and family through music.
As the label’s work progresses do you feel its goals will also?
I would hope so; otherwise I would be the first to say I have no clue what the hell I am doing.
For inquiries for Deep Tech Los Angeles contact Jason Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org