At 24, Layton Giordani Is Already Making Big Moves With Drumcode [INTERVIEW]
There's not many young DJs and producers today who can say that they've been making music before the EDM boom took over the US at the early start of the decade.
But Layton Giordani can.
At just 24 years old, EU-based New York native already has a string of accomplishments that make one feel envious. With over 10 years of production experience, a residency at Brooklyn's highly regarded Output nightclub, and the personal referral from none other than Drumcode label boss, Adam Beyer, Layton Giordani is on a path to do great things.
We had a chance to talk to Layton about his journey through dance music over the years. From his early exposure to some of New York's biggest legends in house and techno, to the first time he heard one of his tracks performed a Awakenings Festival, Layton proves that he isn't simply jumping on the techno train. While many of his peers followed DJ careers after being exposed to the attractive qualities of the early EDM boom, Layton Giordani has been busy pursuing his own unique techno sound.
His debut album 'Where it Begins' fuses together elements of melodic and ambient electronica with nose-bleeding techno in a 12-track collection that shows strong promise. Under the mentorship of Adam Beyer and the rest of the Drumcode family, Layton is already on a fast track to techno greatness.
EDM.com: You see many young producers pursuing trap or dubstep, but so few venture down the track of techno. Why do you think that is? Do you think growing up in New York has accelerated your music taste in some ways?
Layton Giordani: I would definitely say that being from New York was why I was so heavily introduced to techno. At first I was very much into house music. [G]rowing up I was listening to Danny Tenaglia, Victor Calderone, those kinda guys. They were doing house music, tribal music, and then in New York techno started to become the next “thing”. So yeah, I kind of just grew into it that way.
And as for everybody else... a lot of producers I know, even friends of mine, they kinda just jumped into the EDM scene when it kinda blew up and got so popular...they didn’t really start at a younger age or see where the music started and what it grew into. A lot of people from New York they know house music and stuff like that, and I think big areas like LA and places [do as well]. But also, like I said, the newer, younger generation if they just started getting into the music now or in the past few years, I think it takes them a few years to see what else is out there and grow from there.
My number one priority is to try and show them that I’m not just some new young kid who knew about techno this past year...
Do you find that you’re younger than many of your peers, or do you have fellow producers that are also your age?
LG: I would definitely say that I feel like one of the younger ones, but then I have friends that are also around the same age that I’ve met throughout the whole world that also make music. But whenever I playing out with people or just kind of talking to people who are on the same label as me, they tend to be a lot older. My number one priority is to try and show them that I’m not just some new young kid who knew about techno this past year, or just learned about it in the past few years. That I kinda grew up on it, y’know?
That you’ve got some street cred with it?
LG: Yeah, I don’t want to seem like some new kid that came out of nowhere trying to steal the “techno thunder” or whatever you want to call it. I’ve been producing for 10 years, y’know? I started out with house, tech-house...stuff like that. Like you said, many of my peers are definitely a lot older, so I feel like I have a lot to prove because I’m young. So I want to show them that I have experience. I think it’s starting to cut through
You’ve definitely done that, catching the attention of Carl Cox, deadmau5, and of course Adam Beyer. How did this all come about? What was the catalyst that helped you to “break through”?
LG: Honestly, from beginning to end I wanna say that it was always Adam doing stuff for me. The first time I met Adam was at Pacha, it started in New York and just kinda grew from there. Like I started talking to Adam and started sending him music – I actually gave him a USB when I first met him – he took the USB and I was really fortunate, that like 6 months after I gave him the USB he did a set at Awakenings and he included one [my] tracks in that set.
[T]hat just kinda helped me get a bit of a kickstart to my name, and then a lot of other DJs started recognizing me. When DJs would come to New York I [would] hand them USBs and that led to one of my first releases with Carl Cox’s label Intec. And then I just kept sending music. I had a residency at Output as well, so I was really fortunate to where I was able to play with all of them or be in the second room with them. And I’d be able to meet them or have a dinner with them and let them get to know me as well.
What has it been like to work with Adam Beyer and the rest of the Drumcode family? Has he mentored you in any way or has it been more of a hands off relationship?
LG: It’s definitely hands on. Working with Adam, especially in the past year or so he’s really been shaping me, music-wise. Y’know I’m known to make music really fast. I’m young, so I literally just try to make music 24/7 whenever I’m not playing. And he definitely sees a lot of that in himself when he was younger, so he definitely mentors me. I would say he IS my mentor. He tells me where he thinks music’s going, he’ll send me music, and teach me about tracks I haven’t heard or a label I’ve never heard of. He’ll tell me where he thinks the sound is going and then I’ll work on a track and he’ll give me tips. He helps me with everything.
[Drumcode] have that ‘cult’ following where you’re not just a part of the label you’re a part of something bigger than that.
And then as far as working with everybody else or playing show with everyone else at Drumcode, it’s kind of the same thing. You send them music, they tell you what they think. It’s a whole big team effort, it’s not like everyone is out there for themselves. Kind of like with every other label where you do a release and that’s it. But once you work with Drumcode, it’s like you said, you’re part of a family so everyone is always trying to help each other out. Which is kind of the whole reason I always wanted to work with Drumcode. They have that ‘cult’ following where you’re not just a part of the label you’re a part of something bigger than that.
Your new album “Where it Begins” comes out on February 27th. These days you see so few artists – mainstream or otherwise – put out a full album in favor of successful streaming singles. Why was it important for you to pursue a full album release?
LG: At first it was kind of just me sending music to Adam and we just basically came to a point that we had so many tracks that we didn’t know which ones we wanted to put as an EP and then we just started fishing an idea like, “We have too much good music here, we need to put it all out together.”
Whenever I was making music I would make whatever I was feeling at the moment, I would either make something that was a heavier production like techno and then sometimes I would do something a little bit lighter. So it all pieced together by itself, it wasn’t really planned out it all happened naturally. When we started getting the idea for the album going I went back to the studio and made some other bits as well that weren’t just techno, like some electronica and ambient stuff as well
We kind of just picked out the ones that made the most noise when we played them, or the ones that pieced together the best to create a full, nice, pallette. A nice pallette of each and every single sound, whether it’s heavy or if it’s melodic. We want it to be very different, each track, but to still have that sound – that Drumcode sound, that Layton sound.
You have 12 tracks on “Where It Begins”, was this album the result of many years of producing?
LG: I would say this is close to three years worth of music, actually. Like I said, I make a lot of music so we kinda always went through the tracks and these were the tracks that Adam played throughout the years. We kind of just picked out the ones that made the most noise when we played them, or the ones that pieced together the best to create a full, nice, pallette. A nice pallette of each and every single sound, whether it’s heavy or if it’s melodic. We want it to be very different, each track, but to still have that sound – that Drumcode sound, that Layton sound. It took some time to piece together but like I said it happened all naturally. I would say the oldest track is about three years in the making.
Considering that you’ve had a residency at Output, have performed all over the world, and have a strong relationship with Drumcode....those are considerable achievements for a 24 year old. Do you have any words of advice for other young aspiring DJs and producers?
LG: I tell people all the time when they ask, sometimes you can’t do everything online. When it comes to you making music, you gotta to do things face to face. So many people have access to the Internet and e-mails and all this stuff. Nowadays I think it’s kind of avoided by big artists when they receive stuff like that. But if you meet people in person and you let them feel you out and let them see who you are, and then give them your music so they can see the full image of yourself and perspective of yourself. Then they’ll definitely tune in a lot more and will give you their attention. Also networking. Go out there, go out to parties, get inspiration. If you’re truly making good music stick with it, don’t give up. There’s definitely hard times, even in my career where I thought things weren’t going to work out the way I wanted. But if you kind of stay clear of all the bad drama and negative advice and listen to yourself and follow your heart I think it will all work out.
I tell people all the time when they ask, sometimes you can’t do everything online. When it comes to you making music, you gotta to do things face to face.
What other big things do you have in store for 2017?
LG: I also just announced that I’m playing the Awakenings Festival which is pretty huge, I’m going to be playing the Drumcode stage. There’s a few other events I’m going to playing. Music release wise, I actually have a few more tracks in the pipeline in for Drumcode.
…[Playing] Awakenings is kind of a dream come true for me. Ever since I was young I was watching the YouTube videos, and now to actually be able to play in front of thousands of people is a dream come true.
Born and bred with the Detroit techno scene, I pledge my allegiance to the underground.