Deadmau5 hand-picked 24-year-old British producer and DJ Burns to warm up for him at every show during a 30 date US tour last year. He’s also Calvin Harris’ go-to support DJ when he tours.
And yet not much was known about Burns, until recently, when his face appeared everywhere, in both high brow broadsheets like The Times, and dance bibles Mixmag and DJ Magazine. Even rock rag NME jumped on the Burns wagon.
Now big bands like the Black Eyed Peas, Wolfmother, Ladyhawke, and Franzmusik are asking for remixes, so we decided to get closer to the rising star of British electro house as his new EP ‘So Many Nights’ has just been released.
You recently returned from a 30 date tour with Deadmau5 in the States. How did that go?
Yeah it all finished at the beginning of December. It was hectic. We basically did a gig a day. We lived on a tour bus, after each gig, we got back on the tour bus and headed to the next city.
The response of the American crowd was great. Couldn’t ask for much from them really. It was a relief for me as my sound is quite different to Deadmau5’, but they seemed to like the contrast.
How did you two first hook up?
We met at a party in London actually. I DJed before him, and we got chatting. He said he was looking for someone to support him on his US tour so I chatted to his management and it got set up.
He wanted someone who played different to what he plays, because there was no point having somebody with the exact same sound play before him.
So what it your sound?
I guess I play more of the indie style of dance music. It’s a bit leftfield, and I play weirder stuff, rather than full on dance or trance. But it worked well as a warm up for his set. His music is more full on rave, whereas I play more poppy.
Did you open every gig from when the doors opened to the start of Deadmau5’ set?
Each gig was different. Sometimes I’d start and it would be an empty room, and then by the end a few thousand people would be there.
But then at other gigs, it was packed from the very beginning, like Terminal 5 in New York City. That was one of my best ever gigs. There was such a huge crowd there from the start.
How was the tour bus?
Most nights we slept on bus. I had a guy with me from back home, the guy that does all my viral videos. He documented the whole thing, right now he’s putting together a documentary of the tour.
The whole tour was pretty crazy actually. America is a completely different culture to the UK really, and we saw some strange things. Female stalkers, that sort of thing.
Yeah. I met this one gig at a gig in some city. And the next day she got a flight to the next gig just to meet me again. I won’t go too far into it, but it was interesting, shall we say?
And then you also joined Calvin Harris on a tour in the UK. How was that?
I met Calvin a long time ago now. It was just when he was beginning to get some recognition, and I was still trying to get recognition.
We got in contact over Myspace. We both have the same manager now, so it has worked out well. It’s good to have a friend who is into the same thing as you.
We’re similar people, with the same sense of humour, that sort of thing. We have a mates relationship. I always go to his studio to hear what he’s working on, and vice versa.
Do you both live in London?
He’s In london, I’m in Brighton right now. But it’s not too far to get to London.
Is your sound similar to Calvin’s?
I wouldn’t say so, no. He’s obviously quite poppy, whereas the stuff that I’ve released has been club orientated. It’s not commercial pop anyway.
Although my album will be quite poppy. None of my EPs will be on the album.
I guess the album will be a cross between what I’m doing currently and something more pop. It’ll be a crossover sort of sound I hope.
It’s quite odd that you write club music, but you’ve never really been into clubbing.
Even though I wasn’t into the whole club scene, I was still into that type of music. I still bought dance music.
I wasn’t into pop. I don’t know how I got into dance music in the beginning. I guess it was just through friends in school. In the ‘90s, there was so much good club music, like Daft Punk, and the whole french house scene.
The 1990s was my era. I was in my early teens, and that’s when you get most of your influence from I think.
But I’ve always been into everything really. My mum has huge collection of records. She handed them over to me.
What sort of music did she listen to?
A lot of disco, 80’s music, and some 70’s. And she was into dance stuff during the 90s, like acid house. I guess my path into dance music is half inherited, half from what I bought.
You were big in the blog world before anywhere else. Why do you think that is?
One of the most important things a new artist can do is build up a presence online. It’s the main tool to promote yourself these days. You have to get yourself out there.
A friend of mine is really good at viral videos so we did videos to try to boost awareness of the music without giving tracks away for free.
But in the beginning we also blogged quite a lot of tracks. Giving your music away is a good way to promote yourself in the beginning.
Now we’ve eased off on the blogs a bit, as don’t have to give it away for free any more! Giveaways is something everybody has to do these days. You have to embrace it, and use it to your advantage. When you first start out, you have to do it.
Even big pop acts are giving away free stuff.
Have you always been into DJing?
No, not really. I got into DJing only once I started building up a