This year the Netherlands is celebrating twenty-five years of dance music. Although electronic music has been around in the United States for just as long, the tipping point didn’t hit until around 2006. Since then, the electronic dance music scene in the United States has exploded. We caught up with D-wayne Megens, a twenty year-old Dutch DJ, while in Miami for the Winter Music Conference. Though we were sheltered in an intimate basement bar of the Delano Hotel, outside thousands of people were partying and dancing at pool parties, the electronic music echoing with excitement and fervor. Needless to say, the music scene is different here in the U.S. than our European veterans’. We asked D-Wayne if he could help us understand the two music scenes.
“I think right now EDM is still blowing up in America and it’s so funny to see,” D-wayne responded. “Afrojack will play in the Netherlands or wherever, and people are just staring at the DJ, looking at him, dancing from time to time. It doesn’t matter who is playing here in America but wherever they play, people are just fist bumping and going crazy. They are so enthusiastic about the music and that’s what I really like about America right now.”
Relatively new to the dance music scene, D-Wayne has been producing for just two years. His success is a combination of mad skills, extraordinary luck, and a strategy to get to the top that has paid off in a big way. “I’ve always released tracks on different labels,” he said. His tracks have been picked up by Steve Aoki’s label, Dim Mak, Spinnin’ Records, and most recently, Afrojack’s label, Wall Recordings. “I wanted to sign with a really big artist and Afrojack gave me an offer because I wanted to get a platform to release my music out to the people.” Not only that, Afrojack has been teaching him about the mixing and mastering process. “The only advice that he gave me about producing music and what to produce is ‘stay true to yourself’ and that’s what I’ve always been doing.”
Eventually, perhaps in two or three years, he plans to produce his own album that’s “refreshing” and does what other people don’t do. Certainly, he’s on the right path with his February 24 release Africa. “What I wanted to express with that track, I think it’s an inspiring story for myself and I’ve heard from others that they like it as well.” By others, he means at least ten of the world’s top DJ’s like Hardwell, Tiesto, David Guetta, and Nicky Romero. The song is solid. It offers brilliant chord progressions, a catchy lead-line with a balanced baseline, and of course, an exciting drop. But for us, what really cinches the track is the music video which features people of Africa jumping and foot-stomping to the music.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on in Africa right now, either political or just trouble. What I like about music is music is emotional and you can inspire people. What I see in documentaries about Africa is that whenever [they] are suffering…and have music, they just get happy and dance around and that’s what I wanted to express in that track as well. Whatever happens to you in life, you know, bad things can happen. Music connects people and brings people together and you just enjoy the moment at that time. So that’s what I liked and what I wanted to express in Africa.”
EDM is becoming more and more popular – even mainstream – but in the end it’s all about the music. “You get your music out to get recognized by people. That’s what I really like in America right now. It doesn’t really matter who’s playing, but if it moves and it’s good, then they accept you.”
We got a sneak peak at D-wayne’s newest track, X-ray Vision, which will premiere on Wall Recordings on April 28th along with Freedom, a collaborative track on Afrojack’s new album featuring the vocalist Jack McManus, and both had us moving. There’s a lot more in store for the young DJ. He is negotiating a top-secret track now, has five or six additional tracks lined up, and he just recently headlined the Electric Run in Amsterdam. You can catch D-wayne next at the Electric Daisy Carnival in New York on May 25.
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