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Feature: Brian Cid [Interview]

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Brian Cid is a Brooklyn-based DJ & producer with a level of musical talent that has taken the underground electronic music scene by storm. His original productions have found homes on a number of the most credible and tastemaking record labels, with a style that touches melodic techno, deep house, progressive house and more, with no boundaries whatsoever. This catalogue of innovative, genre-defying tracks has given Brian the opportunity to grace the decks at some of the best clubs, parties, & events across the globe. It’s also led to a DJ Mag ‘Best Breakthrough DJ’ nomination, and Billboard Dance to state that he has “undeniably proven himself an artist to watch”.

Brian’s debut album ‘Meteorite Man’ has been released on the legendary label Balance Music, alongside his original productions that can be found on imprints such as Fabric, Supernature, Lost & Found, microCastle, Manjumasi, Cityfox & more. Support on his music has come across the board from both longstanding DJ legends, as well as the new wave of club tastemakers. Everyone from Richie Hawtin, Pete Tong, Sasha, Hernan Cattaneo, Lee Burridge, and Joris Voorn, to Adriatique, Damian Lazarus, Thugfucker, and Tale of Us have championed the sounds of Cid. Now continuing what has been a strong production year, we catch up with Brian on the cusp of a new EP for Guy J’s Lost & Found. Enjoy.

Hi Brian, thanks for joining us today,tell us where in the world you are and what your plans for the week are?

Always a pleasure. I’m in South Florida enjoying warm sunny days. This weekend I plan to go see the SpaceX rocket launch if weather allows. If it doesn’t, I will be cycling, making music and cooking some great food.

Tell us about growing up and living in the US, how has it affected your musical taste and the music you make?

For a curious person like me, living in a big multicultural city like New York is the golden ticket to run into many musical adventures, since the city carries so many different shades of sounds and rhythms, nearly impossible to neglect. Since young I was always looking for the next experience – something beyond what I’ve seen before. Today it’s safe to say that I am a product of all of it in the purest form.

Tell us about your record/music collection, where do some of your early influences live?

My early music collection began with latin infused genres like spanish rock, ballads, latin jazz, reggae, carribean rhythms. Then I step into harder rock, grunge, progressive rock and continue into indie pop, underground rap and house. All these styles shaped me and gave me a very solid musical foundation.

Are you musically trained? And do you think it’s necessary for success in writing electronic music?

I am not musically trained, however, I do play drums/percussion, dabble with the piano and I have my ears trained as I’m also a sound engineer. There is no need to be musically trained to be able to create an amazing musical piece rich in melodies and harmonies. All you need is a good ear and sense of sounds and harmonics.

The industry and how fans discover new music has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so. How do you discover new music nowadays?

I find new artists while navigating the web fishing for new or old interesting sounds. No different than how it used to be when going to record stores. I pick a random day and start running into online music stores to see if something interesting catches my eye. I get lost in it. I really enjoy it. I trust the chances and enjoy where it takes me. A great way to also discover talent is checking out music magazines. Every time I do I run into an artists that are doing something very special.

How have you been dealing with COVID-19? You’ve obviously lost gigs because of it and the impact it’s having on travelling DJs is hugely significant. You’ve done a mix for Lost & Found’s streaming series, tell us a bit about that, is this typical of what we might hear from you in a club setting?

I see the current situation has two faces. On one hand it’s devastating to see how many people fell victim for this virus. On another hand, for those who kept safe, I see it as an amazing opportunity to recoil and reconnect – to reorganize, explore new ideas and put old ones into action. I truly enjoy being in my own element and I know that there are brighter days are ahead. I do miss traveling, but everything in its time. Soon it will all just be a dream. Musically, I decided to just do one live stream and make it a truly special one. I accepted L&F ECHO’s invitation and got to showcase new music of mine and some other cool up and coming releases. I never know what I might play at a show but I will take you on a journey that fits that moment in time.

Once nightlife eventually resumes what kind of effect do you think this period in our history will have on the clubbing experience?

There won’t be any permanent effect. Everything will just be temporarily until the coast clears. Soon enough everything will be back to normal as if nothing ever happened. It’s human nature at its purest form. We are social creatures and we will always find ways to make it work.

You have a new EP out on Lost & Found this week. Tell us a bit about the release and how you approached writing the ‘Point Of No Return’ track and the production process behind it.

‘Point Of No Return’ is a mere reflection of my story as it stands today. I feel that the illusion of things being back to how it used to be is only a fantasy that gives us comfort, but nothing ever goes back to what it used to be. As time passes the world changes and we continue to move along with it. We just need to accept it and learn to let go. Cherish things for what they were and look ahead to the next. To keep it moving as we say in NY. This is the inspiration of ‘Point Of No Return’, which is what we are living right now. Musically, the whole EP carries an upbeat, celebratory feel filled with left field harmonics and strong analogue synths throughout a groovy pulse. When I get onto my own creations and lose track of what happens, the outcome becomes magical. As I finished these sets of tracks I thought Guy J would appreciate them. Progressive, beyond a sound, is also a mood that could be expressed in infinite ways.

Lost & Found was one of the first label’s you released on after you entered the world of progressive music in 2017. How important is it for you to maintain relationships with labels that were instrumental in getting you to where you are today?

The ultimate expression of respect and gratitude is loyalty. Lost & Found was my first home for my progressive side and so it remains. I always kept my core group of labels very tight, as I have never been after quantity, but quality.

How much road testing is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished? And how much does crowd reaction influence whether or not a particular track gets shopped around or released?

When I create music aside from putting my emotions into sounds, I think of the journey I’d like to take the listener on when experiencing my music live. It becomes very personal, without thinking about other DJs playing it. Then when the right time comes I release it. It could be in a few months or maybe a few years. Time always tells. It’s like seeing a story unfold while I am also the main character in it. For instance, my track ‘Rebirth’ was created 5 years prior to its release. ‘Pluto’ was created 3 years before its release, and so on. It’s interesting to think about it. There is beauty behind knowing when it’s time to present a track to the public. Timing is an art of its own, as time is divine.

What’s a piece of gear or software that always gets used when you’re writing a track?

My Roland drum machines are always present. 808, 909, 727, R-5, R-8. Also the classic Juno and Prophet.

You have not done many remixes over the course of your career and that’s obviously not from a lack requests, what do you look for when deciding on a remix project?

I just take on something only if I am deeply moved. I need to feel a soulful connection with it. It needs to be memorable.

I think for a lot of artists music allows you to write a sketch of your own personal universe in a way; your travels, life experiences etc. Is this something which is true for yourself? Where does inspiration come from?

My music is the sonic mirror of who I am, and I am what I feel as I feel what I see and experience but also what I imagine. Everything channels through me and goes back out in the shape of sound. Sound being the ultimate, most powerful, as well as the primest form of human expression. So to me, anything can turn into an inspiration…the shape of a flower, a cool breeze on a warm afternoon, colors reflecting in water. Desires, fantasies – they are all shaped into sound. My deepest thoughts, ideals and emotions. I see poetry in everything, I see beauty and perfection everywhere, I am in constant intrigue and fascination. I am deeply in love with life beyond the perception of our senses.

Tell us a bit about your Endangered label, it’s been running for a few years now and has firmly established itself as one of premiere imprints in melodic house and techno. What was your initial vision for it when it began and how has it changed and evolved to where you are today?

Endangered is my dearest musical project. One that keeps me the most engaged in music. Our vision has always been to build our own universe and unique style inspired in the sound I’ve been making for years. Me and my amazing team are proud to say that we’ve accomplished just that. Today we have a powerful crew of impressive artists from all around the world. All with their own unique sound, but at the same time one that deeply connects with ours. At Endangered we focus on the music rather than the profiles. We push our artists to go beyond and step into a new place within themselves, where it’s no longer safe. That’s the true essence of being Endangered.

What advice would have for an artist hoping to get signed to the label? Both in terms of presentation and stylistically, what are you looking for from a new artist?

We look for originality in their artistry and sound. A synergy with people that understand and share our ways. Beyond great artists, they need to be great people. This to me is essential. Once you become part of the label you are part of the family.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

There is something very romantic about the purest form of our existence. The act of being fully present, breathing consciously. Caring for our body through great food and exercises. It makes me the happiest the moment I connect and become one.

What does the remainder of 2020 hold for Brian Cid? Anything you can share with us?

The next set of releases are designed to slowly build to a very interesting place you probably didn’t know existed in me, unless you’ve been to one of my shows. I have something very powerful aligned as this story continues to unfold.

‘Point Of No Return’ is out now on Lost & Found, you can purchase the release here: https://bit.ly/2XHbmge

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