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I Can Give You dBerrie [+ Exclusive Track]
Like his music, dBerrie has had a “bang-out” rise to popularity. Progressing from one drop to the next, he’s DJ’d for Diddy, Kanye, and parties “Paris Hilton would probably be seen at”. He even survived an attack by Britney Spears “in full Lindsay Lohan mode”. Every set and production just a continuation of a peak-time that started way back when MySpace was a thing. And then there’s David Berrie. A guy whose teacher was YouTube, and whose studio consists of old doors and piano stands.
“Anyone who listens to dBerrie would probably hate David Berrie” he says with a laugh, “they’re complete opposites”.
His beginnings may not sound the most humble, but his soft-spoken, personable demeanor quickly strip any glam and glitter that may have rubbed off from any high-profile parties or Britney Spears incidents (more later). Speaking out from the sun under the shade of his New York hotel, he discussed the turbulent state of the culture and the impact of celebrity DJs from a genuinely unique perspective.
So how did all this begin?
I went to BU (Boston University). I was a freshman and I left after freshman year. I went for general studies at that time. I just decided I wanted to pursue music because I was touring with open format and I just wanted to be in the city so I was like, if I want to go to school I can always go back. So I said fuck it.
When I went to college, I was doing electronic music and no one would really hire me to play those records. So that’s what really turned me into an open format DJ – because I wanted to play these parties for my friends. And that went on for a few years to the point where I’m touring. Then I signed with Ultra records which really was the kind of basis for which I stopped everything open format.
I took three years to teach myself how to produce, going through all these YouTube videos. No schooling, but just locking myself away from my friends. I spent three years just honing these skills and then I did this one remix for Gotye, “Somebody That I Used to Know”, which was a while ago and that was the first record that I really got support from. Fedde ended up playing it at the Ultra main stage which was pretty crazy. I had never even had like – that was like a huge motivation, and I realized everything was real. Then two weeks later we shared a gig in New York. He was like, “Dope. Send me tracks,” so I sent him tracks and there it is. I put in the effort to learn as much as I could and not have a social life. It was a difficult transition period but it paid off.
What was it like to play for these celebrity open-format shows?
Ahh, very like, ha, how would I describe it? Let’s say it was like a party Paris Hilton would probably be seen at. Anything you would typically find at a bottle service place. A lot of egos in the room, people aren’t facing the DJ… but it was always like that. There’s some cool places but for the most part, if you want to sum it up in the worst perspective, that’s what it was, haha. I mean, I wasn’t completely doing top 40 – I did some different parties and ended up getting noticed from people like Puffy. I ended up doing a lot of work for him his white party, and doing parties for Kanye and all these cool things. So there’s a lot of mix. You can meet a lot of people in the vortex of people spending money.
Is there one strange celebrity story that stands out from these events?
Oh, I have a perfect one! Ok, this one time I was playing at Tenjune and this was like, right in the midst of when Britney Spears shaved her head. She was in the booth with me, and this was like right before her album dropped – when MySpace was still huge just to give you the era. She was in the booth with me and like, just… full Lindsay Lohan mode, like basically just gone – and she’s like touching me and putting her beads on me and all this stuff. Just groping and being extra… And it ended up on Page Six. This is right before her album and I have never experienced such a flow of traffic. My MySpace blew up. I had like, a thousand messages from Brittany Spears fans, haha, just asking me like – news reporters asking me like, all these different things about what happened, about the album… it was wild. It was crazy, haha.
You played during Miami Music Week this spring, what was your favorite part about being down there?
I think the coolest party I played was this new club Eleven. It’s like a 24/7 strip club. They play seven days a week which is pretty wild – I don’t know how that works, haha. It was rockin’ during the party I played. I also got to see other people play which was cool. Actually, Solomun was really sick at Space. I really thought that was a really cool vibe.
Speaking of being in Miami, Ultra has been approved to return, but only after opposition from the mayor and a city commissioner who said locals are harassed by “people who want to be friendly in excess”. What do you make of this whole situation?
It’s funny ‘cause I had an apartment that was right across from um.. [speaking over car horns in background] …Ultra this past year with a bunch of my buddies. I took over an apartment literally that was across the street. First hand I can kinda like – I know if you actually live there it’s not that bad a situation. You can go out and sell your place for like a week for like eight grand sometimes.
Miami is Miami. It’s not like Ohio, where people can really say this is crazy, ha. I mean, you live in Miami, so you really shouldn’t be saying much about the noise that’s only gonna be for like, a week. But yeah it’s part of the Miami culture and part of the culture of electronic dance music. And to take that away would be like taking away a huge landmark. I mean, I think it’s important. And even if they did take away Ultra, I still think it would go on. You can’t really fight people – the tradition, you know?
What do you think about the increase in incidents within electronic music?
The amount of, I think, people partying and the amount of festivals that go on, it’s inevitable that you’re gonna have people – casualties and things. I mean, I think everyone does their best, but it’s always up to the partiers on how hard their gonna go and how responsible they’re gonna be, you know? It’s definitely not the organizer’s fault. They do everything they can. It’s gonna happen and it’s terrible that it does happen. You have to communicate to the partiers to be responsible. It’s nothing the event organizers can do all the time. It always comes down to the person when it comes down to it, you know?
Miami is a definitely a big place for electronic music, but you got your start playing at much smaller venues. How has that transition been?
Yeah I think the whole scene in general has shifted too. Not just what I was doing. When I was doing open format celebrity parties – 80s hip hop, whatever…Vegas-style – I was resident for Tao for two years and I was going there every two weeks. And electronic music was always there but it wasn’t as mainstream. That was kind of like the DJ AM era and thankfully it’s changed obviously. Everyone finally realized it’s about the music and it’s a good thing. What I learned from the bottle service open format era is that, that stuff really isn’t what matters. And it’s kind of coming back in a way towards like, ha, everyone’s cool with the festivals but now all the bottle music places are almost cheapening the scene because all the bottle bars that were listening to that open format music are listening to EDM so, in return like, you see places like Vegas – like Hakkasan – making like these huge DJs sort of down to these kind of commercial standards in a way. So it’s kind of cheapening the scene as well.
Your alias dBerrie seems to put out mostly electro house tracks, but there is of course David Berrie too. He used to release pure, deep house. What happened to David Berrie and the house tunes?
It’s difficult. I mean like, as an artist I like different things, you know? I think it’s important to do what you love, even if it means you’re not touring for it. David Berrie you know – when I go out, I don’t normally go to EDM events. I love going to underground events. And ever since I went to Ibiza the first time – I think I was 20… 21 – that changed my life and what I like and music-wise, and it broadened my taste. I finished actually four this year – David Berrie tracks. I’m just gonna put it out ‘cause I love to do it and you know, it’s great. I found, which was a surprise to me, that Carl Cox put out a David Berrie track as his first track on the 2013 recap which was pretty sick. It’s just a balance. Sometimes you can’t just do one genre. You know, it’s just about what you love and satisfying that.
Touring for David Berrie I kind of just do low key, but I think in the future I’ll probably – once I extend my catalog of tracks – I think for sure there’ll be a lot more touring going on. But right now [David Berrie] is pretty much just in New York, for my friends and what not.
I think that dBerrie’s got his pocket, which is the bang-out, festival, main-hours, peak time. And Dave Berrie is more intimate, kind of underground and a little bit more like after-hours kind of vibe. They’re completely opposites which is why I love it, ‘cause it’s like you get both sides, you know? I know that anyone who listens to the dBerrie, unless you’re really unique, anyone that listens to dBerrie would probably hate David Berrie, haha. And the other way around. Or just not understand him.
What’s your production process for creating originals?
Every process is different. If it’s a melodic track, I’ll probably start with the breakdown – with the melody – and pull out the piano and just come up with a four bar progression. If it’s gonna be like an electro, hard track, I’ll probably just go find different sounds and try and find that one sound that’s gonna be the focal point. It’s always about finding the focal point that makes the track. So it’s either gonna be that electro sound, or it’s gonna be the progression. And if it’s gonna be an underground track, maybe it’s the baselines or the drums. But there’s no kind of template or formula to do it. The way I work I have the studio in my apartment. It’s very unofficial. Everything’s pretty much on what I’ve made, and it’s like on a door, on piano stands – everything’s makeshift. So the way I work is very untraditional. and whatever works kind of works. There’s no right way to do something, and I’m positive the way I’m doing it is probably wrong. I don’t know half the stuff that I’m doing, haha. But they way I look at it is that if you can make believe that the track sounds good, and you can fool people into thinking the track sounds good, then you win, haha. So whatever it takes, use the tools to do that, you know?
You’ve talked about playing for celebrities and having Britney Spears “interact” with you. Can you see becoming a big celebrity yourself? Say Tiësto for example?
It’s funny you ask that. In a way I… Well, it’s a different story. Like Tiësto is a huge machine and every artist is different. For instance – Deadmau5. Also massive, but does things differently than Tiësto, you know? So everyone does their career their own way. So yeah if I was hugely successful like Tiësto that’d be great, but I don’t think it’d be all on the same lines as how he’s doing his things, you know? You gotta kind of hold your own integrity to how you operate, and how you do your social media, and how you choose what tracks you do and what remixes you do. Just as long as you’re not trying to sell yourself out to just get as many followers or whatever.
So what sets you apart?
I just don’t want to fall in the trap of like, what a lot of people hate on EDM for right now, you know? Whether it’s the same sound, or same style. I always want to keep it different and interesting and inspiring because, I feel like there’s a lot of stuff, especially now, that’s kind of making the scene a little less inspiring and I’d rather wait to put out a dope track, than put out three mediocre tracks that sound – that would be successful or whatever but really isn’t pushing it or anything. It’s not about keeping the numbers up, it’s about quality over quantity.
Speaking of different styles and being unique, what non-electronic artist you think people should be paying attention to?
You know what, this guy who is really sick who I’m trying to work on a remix for, and I found out about him because I was in London playing with Fedde actually at Ministry of Sound. I was at my hotel room and was just putting on BBC and I heard this song and it had amazing vocals. The guy sounded exactly like Coldplay, and I actually hit him up afterwards to remix his track. He’s from Chicago. His name is Andrew Belle. His voice is amazing and the production of a lot of his tracks is amazing – really cool. The track I’m working on now is called “The Enemy”, but the one I heard in London was “Pieces”. I mean he’s not even that big in the grand scheme of things… for the amount of talent he has, he should be huge but… he really was, really really dope. So check that out.
Another band, I Shazamed some track that I heard, and it was just some Brooklyn indie band called Blue Foundation. I ended up doing a remix for them. It’s on my Soundcloud. They have awesome stuff too.
You’re playing at Surrender in Vegas (5/10) this weekend, what other plans do you have in store the rest of the year?
Lots of studio time. The next thing that’s coming out is a remix for “Knock You Out”, that new Bingo Players’ single. And I finished a new track called “Amp”. I posted a little preview on Instagram for that in March. I’m also working on a remix for Ellie Goulding – “Beating Heart” – it’s a sick track I love. And this Andrew Belle remix hopefully will be done soon. And yeah, just playing all over.
Anything you’re looking forward to non-music related?
Umm… haha, Dave Chappelle stand-up in New York. Super excited about that.
Don’t miss the never before released David Berrie track “Everywhere” below. From his unreleased archives (until now), the summery track incorporates a dangerously addictive Fleetwood Mac sample and throwback house vibes, proving again his versatility and laidback attitude. We’re thrilled he finally brought this one to light after previewing it a few years ago. Download it below exclusively at ICGYH, and see dBerrie live at Surrender in Las Vegas Saturday, May 10th with Morgan Page. Tickets still available.
ICGYH exclusive track:
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