Brendan Fallis's mixes will change the way you consume music for good
Brendan Fallis is changing the ways in which the music industry operates. With his unique social brand and ability to bring fashion, technology and music together, the Canadian import has put himself on the map as one of the brightest and most innovative DJs in our modern landscape. His mixes meld together genres and soundscapes, redefining electronic music as something that's more than just background noise in clubs -- they're compelling stories. His first hit-single "Day And All Night" for instance, featured an overlay of spoken vocals from Kate Moss talking about modeling, positioned on top of saxophone riffs and old-school beats; it spoke to the sexiness and allure of the supermodel generation of the 90s. And his latest mix seems to prove that Brendan is honing in on this skill set.
Just last week, he released his latest mix of Zak Downtown's "Kendall and Kylie", a dreamy, slowed down rendition that's highlighted by its focus back onto the lyrics. His brand-new track "Hand in Hand" also plays around with words. Maybe it's in part due to the opening of John F. Kennedy's speech on the importance of physical fitness, but Fallis's newest one hour, lyric-heavy mix feels like it was made for gym playlists everywhere. The piece (which you can stream below) has the perfect balance of electronic accents that never saturate the authenticity of each song. But the real highlight is his transitions from track to track, which are so fluid, you feel like you can get lost in them -- seriously, Soul Cycle, this mix was made for you.
If his new music is any indicator, Brendan is well on his way to revolutionizing how we consume electronic mixes.
We recently sat down with the DJ of the hour at our NYC HQ and picked his brain about where his love of music originated, his creative producing process, and more. And if you can't get enough of Brendan Fallis, head back over to AOL.com today at 12 p.m. for more exclusive interviews, including what he believes is the biggest threat facing modern DJs.
YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here.
Where did your love of music first begin?
My love of music began at a very young age. I've always associated music with memories, which I'm sure a lot of people do. When asked that question, I would put myself in the car with my dad to our cottage -- which in Canada is just a summerhouse or a lake house -- listening to weird, old rock. And it just made me feel good and happy in the car. That's my first memory of music. And music has always been my escape for my everyday life. Even though is no longer just my escape, I still find time to escape in it through different genres that I wouldn't normally play.
Did you come from a musical family?
Not at all. I think my sister played the clarinet and the recorder growing up, which is such a harsh sound. But my parents made me take piano lessons for eight years and now I no longer remember how to play anything, but I attribute that to how I understood music and composition, which is a larger part to this skill I've developed.
How did you fall into DJing?
I started getting into DJing two years after I moved here, so 2010, as a way to make more money, because I was working an office job and it was not paying well. And I did that at night to eat for free at a bar that my friend managed. We would bring our laptops and there was no one there at all, so we would mess around with the music. Then I got moved to a Friday night and then a Saturday, and I started to leverage the connections I had at my job which was a fashion incubator and used those to start DJing at a trunk shows and fashion shows. Then it expanded over nightlife and fashion as a whole.
You've done a lot in the fashion realm – how do you view the intersection between music and fashion?
I think it's good. I think the real intersection is further than fashion because everyone on social media is a brand and everyone has a following of some sort, so you can tailor it and gear it towards what you want. So if you want to gear it towards fashion you can, and then it becomes a platform for you to get access to that other community. But you can say that tech and music are really blending and it's because music is becoming so technical with production, and then all the companies from Spotify to Mashable to AOL are using it for soundtracks, so there are a lot of DJs who look at that as their lane. There's an automobile DJ space, so there really is everything.
In large part DJs filter into three categories: nightlife, corporate, and artist. And artists are selling tickets and have more of a draw then for hire people. We get hired based on our brand and our knowledge for music, but not because of our draw to sell 30,000 tickets. So you see Calvin Harris in an Armani underwear campaign but you get that because he has this massive draw and it's starting to blend the lines between DJing as an art and the fashion world.
Do you look as your social media accounts as a form of branding?
For sure! That's the one thing you can control everyday. Branding before this was a PR person who did outreach and tried to get you in magazines, but everyday now you can wake up and decide what my brand is, what my voice is, and how I get my message to the people. And the comments can be good and bad, but when people give you love it helps you think about your brand or your outlook on life. In a large part, I've branded myself in fitness a bit now. And I really would love to say that I would be in this great of shape would it not be for Instagram, but I'm happy and humble to say that people said that they went to the gym today because of me or that they feel better when they follow my workouts on Snapchat. I have to keep going because I want to help. Or it gives you that feeling of paying it forward in way you never even realized and that's so attractive, you just want to keep doing it.
You just released a new mix. What goes into the process of you conceptualizing a new mix or reinventing a song?
I always start off with relationships first. I have two mixes coming out in the next few months with friends who are music artists, so it's easier admin wise. On the conceptualizing, it's tough. I'm not super deep in the mix game, but everyone has his or her sound and I still haven't pioneered my one sound since it's popped off and made another avenue for me. I just find sounds that I like and then try and find sounds within that and pull them in to make it something that people will like. How long does the creation process take to make a new mix from start to finish?
It just depends. Sometimes it's writing a story, so you could hit writer's block and you can't come up with anything, or it could be like boom, everything gets finished right away. It's very variable.
What's the biggest thing you've learned about music as an art form since you've started DJing?
It's so interesting because you dive into every layer. It's really peeling the onion back and all the sounds that you don't think are there are there. And lately, people have been sending us stems to mix. And for example, there's like 40 stems in "Cake by the Ocean" and you're like "What are these sounds, where are they?" And you will hear these random isolated sounds in the back, but when you listen to the full song in its entirety, it's in there.
I think what I've really learned is to listen to music differently. I listen to music in a completely different way and I'm hearing things that I never thought I would. Even old songs that you think you know through and through and you know ever word to, you'll listen to it and be like, "Woah, what was that little cymbal there?" People will do things like tap their fingers on a table or feature a cup opening and closing to make their songs unique and add in those sounds. I think this exploration is making me re-love music. And I didn't think that I would ever stop loving music, but I'm loving it in a whole different way.
YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here. And come back at 12 pm EST for more exclusive Brendan Fallis features, including what he believes is the biggest threat to up and coming DJs.
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