Ravetastic Canadian producer Northend fell in love with electronic music when he first heard the Tiësto classics “Adagio for Strings” and “In My Memory.” Now at the age of 24, the producer born Daniel Wagner Cash is coming into his own as a musician, having ended 2012 with a bang, touring with greats Chris Lake, Michael Woods, and TJR. He looks to keep up the pace in 2013, moving forward with a slew of releases including “Reverence,” some collaborative tracks like “You & Me” with Jed Harper and “Dancing In the Dark” with Yug, and his first full North American tour later in the year. Cash told us a bit more about his history and his goings on in the following 5Qs.
Can you tell us a bit about how your music was discovered?
I posted “Keep It Down” and “October” on my SoundCloud, and a friend of mine sent them over to Provoke [a record label and artist management company]. They reached out to me and told me they liked my music, and we started speaking over the internet about what I was trying to accomplish with my music. A few months later, I flew to Toronto for Christmas, as I was living in London at the time, and met the whole Provoke team. We all got a long really well, and I ended up taking them on for management.
You moved to London to work on your music. How do you think the scene there influenced your music? Do you think it’s a better setting to produce than the US?
I’m not sure which is a better setting to produce; I think it’s all about your own personal situation. I had finished university and didn’t feel like I was being productive enough, and I wanted to make a change. I have a British passport, so I thought, “Why not just move to London?” It was a really impulsive decision, but I knew I wanted to learn how to produce electronic music and also, I wanted to be in an environment where dance music was a bit more accessible. I was having a hard time in Toronto meeting people who enjoyed the same music as I did, and I thought London would be a bit better for me. In hindsight, it’s funny, because it took me moving to London to meet people who are involved with the dance music scene back in Toronto—but that’s the way the cookie crumbled.
London was also a massive influence on me. It was difficult at first, as the spontaneity of it all led me to spending a few nights sleeping in a chair at a 24-hour internet café with all my suitcases, but once I settled in, it was worth it. Ministry Of Sound was a club I had heard of since I started listening to dance music, especially through their mix compilations. Going for the first time was like a pilgrimage, and it became an almost weekly obsession. Being able to go to events like the DJ Mag Top 100 party and see Laidback Luke, Deadmau5, Armin van Buuren, Fedde Le Grand, and Afrojack all in one night was massively influential and it drove me to learning more about making music and becoming a better producer.
What was it like to have Beatport name “Keep It Down” one of 2012’s biggest electro-house drops? Tell us how you produced such a dramatic track.
That was an amazing feeling. Especially because it was the first song I had finished, and to be honest, I actually never expected it to even get released on a label. Getting recognition from Beatport on top of that was even better. It was a really great accomplishment for me. I may have checked the electro house main page a few times too many that week. The production aspect of it was—as I’m sure anyone’s is very early in their music making career—very experimental. But I think what made it work so well was the simplicity. The chords are simple and the drop is simple as well. You read this everywhere on forums and see it on videos and stuff and it’s true—less can really be more, and I guess in the case of “Keep It Down,” it was!
What was it like touring with Chris Lake and Michael Woods? They’re vets on the scene. Did you learn anything from them?
They really are vets of the scene. It’s funny because less than a year before I went off on tour with them, I was sitting in a Starbucks with my friend when Chris Lake strolled passed and I immediately got up, left my buddy, and ran up to tell Chris how much I loved his music. I found out later he lived on the same street as I did in London—North End Road—which is of course where I took my name from. Touring with them was an amazing experience—TJR, too. I learned so much from all three of those guys. It was the first time I had played shows two nights in a row, so I tried to soak up as much as possible from the whole experience as I was definitely the rookie amongst everyone. Chris Lake taught me about how to balance out performing all hours of the night, and still being able to wake up early and get back to business. I played nine shows in just under two weeks, and when it was all done, he still had to keep going and wasn’t off balance at all. I definitely think that was a lesson in how to increase the longevity of a touring career. TJR on the other hand shocked me with his DJing ability. I always made sure to watch him when he was playing because I wanted take in as much as possible. The Chris Lake and TJR leg of the tour was really great, minus of course the beating they gave me in lazer tag and Chris’ horrible sense of humor. But I’ll get them back one day.
As for Michael Woods, it was a bit harder to keep up with balancing out performing with daytime business. He still seems to be able to pull it off, except he intoxicates everyone around him with Patron, and then looks at you the next day like nothing happened! Woods helped me a lot with my production. He listened to my music and gave me amazing feedback. And when feedback comes from a guy like Michael Woods, you listen! It was also one of the first times a producer that I look up to had sat down with me and helped me become a better producer. The whole tour was such an incredible time, and since then, I’ve been locked in the studio working on music so that I can get back out there as soon as possible!
What are you looking forward to most in 2013 musically?
To be honest I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions, but I am really looking forward to finally getting a lot of my music out there for everyone to hear. My next release “Reverence” just came out, which is a collaboration with my friend Stereotronique. On top of that, a few months ago I put together a mix of all my music, and the response from everyone who heard it was “this is an album.” So, I’m very carefully piecing that together for release in the first half of 2013. So I’ve got that and of course I’m always working on new music. Working with singers is something I have always wanted to do and I’m finally doing more of that now so I’m hoping to release some really cool music in 2013. Touring is also something that I’m hoping to do more of in 2013. After my two weeks with Chris Lake, TJR, and Michael Woods, I haven’t been able to take my mind off of traveling and playing shows! My goal with making music has always been to have as many people as possible listening to my songs, and so over the next 12 months that’s what I’m going to try and do!