Hard-hitting Miami breakout Henrix has wasted no time asserting his dominant grasp on the club world. In just six months, the Heat-loving producer has shed his kid gloves like few of his time, using Size Records debut “Hit It” and subsequent Wayne & Woods collaboration “Jumangee” to seal his name as one of the more hotly tipped talents on North America’s dance-music landscape. With “Jumangee” comfortably doing the rounds, Beatport News caught up with Henrix to talk hitting it hard, challenging the masses, and why reading the crowd is an asset no modern artist should overlook.
It seems fair to say that 2013 has been a whirlwind ride for you thus far. Talk us through how you are feeling six months into the year?
It’s been pretty surreal, to be honest. I had never even played live as Henrix until WMC at Laidback Luke’s Super You & Me event at LIV, so to have done so much in such a little period of time is really surreal. I’m fortunate to have already played Ibiza, finished an awesome GRID tour across America with Bassjackers and Dyro, and then have so many huge events lined up throughout the summer.
Tell us about your experience of Miami life away from the infamous conference, and how you found cutting your teeth as an artist in the city.
A lot of people have this misconception of Miami being like the conference all year round—and it’s really not. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a major party city; just not as crazy as the conference every week [laughs]. It can be hard coming up as an artist in Miami as there’s a lot of great DJs here. I actually took the other route; I decided to stop DJing for a bit and focus more on my production, and when the time came I would go back. I started off as a DJ, then went to production. It paid off, though!
Given the current influx of artists in electronic music, how important do you feel genre boundaries and categorization is, and is this something you have paid particular attention to over the years?
It has no importance and I personally don’t care for it at all. I don’t think music should have boundaries or categorization. Music is just like art. I personally can make a hard-drop track then go and make a progressive track or more of a chill track, like I did with my Stafford Brothers “Hello” remix. I don’t want to be labelled as one type of artist.
How do you respond to the argument that amid the great surge of electronic talents, there has been a considerable sense of saturation surrounding the industry and the quality of the music doing the rounds of late?
That tends to happen when something starts getting to a global level. The more popular it is, the more people want to do it or get into it. Same goes with genres of music. If a track gets really big, a lot of people try and copy it. It comes with the territory. You just have to learn how to deal with it and do your own thing and not really bitch about it like a lot of these DJs do—no names.
There is little denying that North America has seen something of a swell in terms of electronic music’s popularity. To your mind, has this been entirely advantageous to artists such as yourself?
Oh, yes, for sure. You cannot deny that North America is where it’s at right now. The fact that I live here is a huge help in terms of my career. It used to be the other way around, though. If you were from America, it was harder to break into the European scene, but now the tables have turned in favor of the North American market. It is almost working in reverse for the industry now.
“Hit It,” alongside Miami peers GTA and Digital Lab, was a surefire landmark for you this year. In the context of your recording career to date, how have you seen it develop to this point, and what did this track owe to the bigger picture where your sound is concerned?
“Hit It” was probably my biggest track to date. It went from a track we sent out to all close DJ buddies to one of the most played tracks this year. It’s definitely helped build my career. It solidified me as a big-room, big-drop, festival producer, but honestly, I’d rather not have that label. I think after an artist makes a track that got [to] that level, people expect that from that artist. If you look through my SoundCloud, you’ll see how diverse I am though.
There is a lot of excitement surrounding your hotly anticipated collaboration alongside Wayne & Woods. Tell us how it felt to return to Size and the experience of working with these relative new kids on the block.
It felt great returning to Size. Having two releases on this iconic label in less than six months really epitomized the momentum of 2013 for me. Some people dream of having just one. The guys [Wayne & Woods] are amazing to work with. They’re real talented producers. “Jumangee” started off with a drop idea that I had and in a matter of days they had incorporated this dope melody. From there we went back and forth on everything through Skype and it was born. We’re definitely going to be working on some other stuff together soon.
Electric Zoo and TomorrowWorld have seen you firmly inaugurated into American festival culture. Were the bigger crowds prove a challenge for you in the beginning, and does your approach vary between more intimate shows and the larger festivals?
For me, it is still crazy to think I got booked for two of the globe’s biggest festivals. As far as it being a challenge, I think it’s pretty much the same. It really depends on the venue, to be honest. Some intimate venues, you can’t go all out and play those bigger festival bangers, so you have to make it more of a groovy set. Adapting to your environment is a key skill that I believe you still have to bring to the table, no matter what crowd.
What do you consider to have been the most challenging element of your career to date, and why?
Making a song that everyone will play [laughs]. I guess with “Hit It” that element was somewhat accomplished. It is so hard to make a song that the whole dance community will play. It has to be different so that the DJs that get ahold of it will actually want to drop it consistently.
In terms of your wider career, is there a bigger picture or any burning aspirations you are looking to fulfil within it?
Oh, hell yeah! I eventually want to start my own label and have a team under me, like Steve [Angello] has with Size and Hardwell with Revealed. Timing is everything, though. I’m really just taking things one step at a time. Looking back, it’s crazy to see I’ve only really gotten started three months ago, so I’ve really done so much more than I could have ever imagined in such a short period of time, but I have so much more to give the industry.
What can we expect from you for the remainder of 2013 in terms of studio work and live shows?
There is a lot on the horizon, for sure. Lots of new music that’s already finished and then lots of tracks that are close to being done. It’s all hush-hush right now, but everyone will be hearing them soon. As far as live shows, there’s also a lot of very special gigs coming up, too, that I can’t wait for. The job is for me to keep delivering and enjoy every new leap.