This year’s homecoming concert will provide something special for University of Miami students. Dylan Echevarria, a current UM student, will be DJing at the concert for his fellow students to enjoy.
In an interview, Echevarria shed some light on what life is like being a young DJ.
1: At what age did you develop a passion for music and DJing?
It started when I was 5; I started to learn how to play piano, and so did my older siblings. Additionally, I picked up an interest in the drums during middle school, mainly because my dad is a drum player himself. I started playing on his kit and picked up how to play songs without even knowing the basic foundations of drumming. I got a teacher for a couple of years, but I definitely learned more by myself. My friend Evan and I were hanging out after school one day, and he showed me “Virtual DJ”. At first, I was skeptical, but it grew on me a bit. I asked my older brother for advice on how to master the software, since he is a musician as well. He told me to choose either between Serato or Traktor. I chose Traktor, and do not regret it at all. After a year of DJing, I bought Ableton Live and started teaching myself the foundations of the production software. I watched countless videos on YouTube and wrote music whenever I could. So in conclusion, I’ve played piano for 14 years, drums for eight years, DJ for five years and produced for three years.
2: Was there a certain point in your life where you said to yourself “Hey, I may have something special here”?
Definitely! I felt that when my original song got signed to Spinnin’ Records, a record label that releases different types of electronic dance music. They have artists such as R3HAB, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Borgeous, Tiesto and many others! My song, entitled “A Discussion Between Saxes,” originally a free download, was submitted their “Talent Pool”; a widget where you can submit your track to a “pool” to get voted on, with the chance of your entry getting critiqued by one of the A&R’s of Spinnin’. A best-case scenario results in you having your track signed to Spinnin’. When I submitted my track to the Talent Pool, it was getting great support and my votes exponentially increased. Someone privately messaged me two weeks later (the A&R), and told me that they wanted to sign the track! I said yes, we sorted out contracts, and I was the first official release of Spinnin’s latest installment of the Talent Pool. A Discussion Between Saxes reached over 200,000 plays, and gained support from artists such as Tiesto, Oliver Heldens, EDX and others. I was so shocked when I kept seeing those big artists use my track. It was at this point that I told myself: this was no longer just a hobby; this can be life changing.
3: What software do you use to mix your beats and produce them?
As I said earlier, I use Traktor for DJ’ing and Ableton Live for production. I love the layout of Traktor, as it has more of a creative range than Serato. Ableton Live can go so in depth, which I love, and the workflow is structured so well. I rarely have any issues. I also use some of the basic plug-ins like Nexus and Massive, but I like to use plugins available only in other softwares. For example: sometimes I’ll export the stems from my Ableton project, place them into Logic, and use some of their plugins to work on several aspects. My favorite plug-in though by far is the Korg M1. Amazing piano sounds, and I use them in almost all of my productions.
4: What artists have served as inspirations to you?
Two people for sure: my brother and Deadmau5. My brother is currently working on his music in Germany, and he is a genius. He runs analog for all of his productions and uses complex techniques to really bring out his unique sound. At one point, he was a member of Scar the Martyr: Joey Jordison’s industrial metal band. He currently makes IDM under the name Blush Response. Even though the music he makes is not similar to mine at all, we’re still able to talk and share our sounds. Deadmau5 is the primary reason I got into the electronic music scene. When I heard his earlier EPs, he immediately grabbed my attention. But, it was really his 4×4=12 LP that made me want to start producing.
5: What genre do you consider yourself now, and is this the genre you will stick to for many years?
I consider myself a house artist, however I have been all over the map in terms of electronic dance music. I started with complextro, moved to dubstep, trap and now I have finally settled in melodic house. That can range from tropical stuff like Kygo, to the more upbeat tracks like Sam Feldt and Michael Calfan. This will be the genre I stick to, at least under Eche
6: Has there been a favorite venue or place that you have performed at thus far? Any specific reason why?
This past spring break, I played several events in Bimini for the STFU & Party trip. I met Van Esso and Jon David (owners) about a year or two ago. They had told me this idea and I was in such disbelief that they could pull it off, haha. Yet, they proved me wrong, and it was definitely the best trip I’ve ever been on.
7: Has there ever been one person that has supported you through everything?
A good friend of mine, Andres, without a doubt has been a huge help. I met him when I was in tenth grade of high school, and had just transferred, so I didn’t know that many people. We would send each other beats and would hang out to learn new things about music production. He’s supported me pretty much since I started, and I can’t thank him enough for that.
8: Have you developed a signature style to your production yet, or plan to with your beats?
I would say my signature style is a mix of elements. I deeply listened to a spectrum of house artists, specifically the guys who made the more melodic content, like EDX, who’s one of my major influences. I even listen to bands like ODESZA, to get a feel for how I can further develop my arrangements, such as in the piano or even drums patterns.
My sound has a range; it’s not one definite route. That’s the beauty of making different sub-genres of house. For example: you can branch out from all of the different types, mix them, and create something new instantly.
9: Have there been any doubters or haters in specific thus far that you’ve had to shrug off thus far? Any bad reviews or negative comments? People tend to get very judgmental very quickly with music.
There’s always going to be haters. I don’t let them interfere with what I make. If they’re not a fan of my music, they simply don’t have to download it or buy it, haha. My sound is my sound. It’s what I’m happy with, and its what defines Eche.
10: Are you in the middle of any new musical developments? (A sample track, a demo, full album, etc.)
Many tracks in the works; a couple of collaborations, a new original or two and I’ll be playing more shows soon!
Echevarria will be opening at the Homecoming concert Thursday night at the BankUnited Center, 7 p.m.
Brandon Carusillo is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in psychology. He’s from Coral Springs and wants to work as an entertainment agent when he graduates. He loves music, sports, writing and photography.