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Introducing… Digital Mozart

Maria Hanlon caught up with producer, DJ, designer and UD alumnus, Digital Mozart, on his inspiration, his recent achievements, Talent House and future plans…

Maria: You’ve built a reputation for uniquely blending sounds together – what genres do you work within usually?

Digital Mozart: R&B. I like R&B a lot. That’s probably the main source of my inspiration. My uncles – my mum’s older brothers – were DJs, and used to play R&B, so that had a profound effect on me. Also, I used to be a grime producer when I was in school, so being able to come up with different drum patterns and stuff, I’d say I get that from grime. Also, garage has had a very big influence on me as well. So those are the main three. I feel like being able to blend those three genres together along with other things like jazz, dancehall and Afrobeats, and having that sort of mixed palette allows me to be as creative as I can.

“Having an online following is cool but being able to see it in person is a whole different experience.”

Digital Mozart

Maria: You’re a DJ and a producer, what do you like best about each?

Digital Mozart: Pre-pandemic, I really liked DJing. I used to have a monthly residency at Ace Hotel and I used to enjoy that a lot. But producing is my bread and butter. I get ideas on remixes I want to do or chord progressions. It allows me to express myself creatively without being front and centre. I used to MC when I was younger, but I realised I don’t really like attention. I don’t like being the centre of attention. Producing allows me to express creatively without being in the spotlight. With DJing I like being able to show my music and see how people react to it in the physical realm. Having an online following is cool but being able to see it in person is a whole different experience. DJing also gives me a chance to actually meet the people who listen to my music. You know when you want to show someone a song that you like, well DJing is my way to force people to listen to songs. So for example, at the party I did at BOXPARK, I played ‘All Rise’ by Blue and someone came up to me and said, ‘Yo, I haven’t heard that song since 2002. I thought it was corny but it’s actually an R&B banger!’

Maria: That leads on to my next question. So how was your event DIGI + FRIENDS at BOXPARK

Digital Mozart: It went really well. I was having panic attacks prior to playing, so after the party when people came up to me saying, ‘Yo, that was so sick, how do you feel about it?’ I was like ‘It was OK, wasn’t it?’… When I have a panic attack, usually before I DJ, I have no emotions but looking at the footage the next day, it looked really sick and I’m actually very proud of myself. BOXPARK shouted me the other day about doing another one, so that’s cool. 

Maria: How do you get through a panic attack when you DJ?

Digital Mozart: I’ve been DJing maybe five plus years now, I’ve learnt to compartmentalise my feelings. Like sometimes I’m like, ‘OK I feel this way right now…’ but that’s not important. The most important thing is getting the job done and making sure everyone enjoys themselves. It’s like I go into autopilot as soon as I start DJing. But I have a very good support system. I speak to my friends, and I spoke to my friends that were there, like my old friend Henry. I spoke to him and he’s like, ‘you got this.’ 

Maria: It seems like you enjoy bringing your friends with you – for example with your Voices Radio show and obviously with DIGI + FRIENDS at BOXPARK. How important do you think community and collaboration is within the music scene today? 

“I can’t stress it enough, having a community is so important.”

Digital Mozart

Digital Mozart: When I started producing, when I was in secondary school, I thought I was the best producer in the world. I was like, no one’s better than me! Then I went to college and met my friend Henry. He showed me his beats and I was like, ‘wow, I’m not really that good.’ We started collaborating and it made me realise ‘oh, this is actually fun’ and I’m learning to get better as a musician. Same way with how I collaborate a lot with my friend More Night. He’s so amazing and he’s one of the key people that forces me to get better, he keeps me on my toes. Then with having a community, I know I have a wealth of talented people that I know and I can call on at any time, which I am so grateful for. It allows each of us to help push our careers even further. For example, the event I did at BOXPARK I could have just booked myself and it would’ve been all right but I feel like being able to have multiple people on the lineup just elevated it even more. My community is so important because you can’t do everything by yourself. It keeps me grounded and I get excited at the prospects of getting better as a musician, having these people around me that push me.

Maria: Just touching on radio – you’ve been featured numerous times on LA based Soulection Radio on Apple Beats, Rinse FM, BBC 1Xtra, Voices Radio… How would you summarise a typical Digital Mozart radio show?

Digital Mozart: It’s just super eclectic and diverse. I like to embrace a lot of musicians that I feel don’t get a lot of shine. Also, I’d say unpredictable because I play a lot of my own stuff and I make so many genres that I don’t even know what I’m going to play sometimes. 

UD TALENT HOUSE LAUNCH

Maria: Let’s chat DJing again – you’ve played for UD a few times now, for their UD x Timberland ‘Built For The Bold‘ series & for the UD Talent House launch. How would you describe the vibe you bring to each of your sets?

Digital Mozart: I would say, it’s very exciting. I always get people coming up to me saying that they like what I play and they try to get my details and stuff… I actually said this one time, whenever I DJ my only goal is to cater to women at the party. I feel like when you do that, then that just makes the party even better. 

TIMERBLAND ‘BUILT FOR THE BOLD’ X DIGITAL MOZART

Maria: Apart from the DJ bookings, you’ve been very involved with UD. Obviously you’ve shared your skills in production on numerous occasions and you’ve done some tutoring. Why do you think UD is such an important organisation?

Digital Mozart: I feel like UD is a very important organisation. It’s going to sound so corny, but I feel like they give a voice to the voiceless. So many talented individuals have come through UD, myself included. I don’t see any other organisations that give opportunities to young people like UD do. I actually came across UD when I was 12 years old, they came to my school when I was 12, so it’s a full circle moment to be working with them. That just proves the consistency of what they do. 

“I don’t see any other organisations that give opportunities to young people like UD do.”

Digital Mozart

UD x DIGITAL MOZART LEVEL 4 COURSES

Maria: What do you think of the new UD Talent House and its facilities? 

Digital Mozart: I think it is amazing. I’m from east London and to see a building with that much technology, within arms reach, is just so amazing. The facilities are amazing, every time I go there, I’m just blown away at how sick the building looks. I just think it’s like a very, very good investment that they’ve made and I’m happy that they’ve made it, especially now. Technology has made breaking into music accessible, but at the same time, it’s not super accessible. Only good things can come from the Talent House and I’m excited to use the facilities myself. 

“…to see a building with that much technology, within arms reach, is just so amazing. Only good things can come from the Talent House and I’m excited to use the facilities myself…”

Digital Mozart

Maria: Where do you get your inspiration from for your production work?

Digital Mozart: R&B, grime, garage but also my friends, my producer peers. Sometimes I’ll be on the phone to More Night and we’ll be talking about different mix down techniques for like three hours… Or one of my other friends will be sending me an idea that he’s made and then I’ll send him an idea I’ve made, then we give each other pointers. Also, I would say, just seeing my peers do their thing, seeing their latest releases, seeing them kill it at a show, that inspires me as well in my production. 

Maria: Not only do you produce and DJ but you also design, and your design work goes hand in hand with your music. When did you first get into designing and did you start designing specifically for music?

Digital Mozart: I started designing in school because I used to do art. I feel like especially now in the social media age, your visuals are just as important as the music. I’ve always had a fascination with sci-fi and cyberpunk and I feel like that really matches my music. I specifically started designing for music just because, when I wanted to start putting stuff on DSPs (Digital Service Providers), when I first started using SoundCloud, I used to Google a picture of space or see a cool picture on Instagram. I’d make that the artwork on SoundCloud and I thought, you know what, if I wanna start putting my things on DSPs, I don’t want to be having issues with photographers and all that, so let me just start designing. I treat the way I design as the same way I make beats. I’ve had people ask me to design their stuff and for now, I’m not really open to it just because I know I like what I like and I like my aesthetic and I don’t know if I can replicate it.

A DIGITAL MOZART CREATION

Maria: As we step into 2023, what have you been really proud of in the last year?

Digital Mozart: I’m proud of doing my first party at BOXPARK. I’m also proud of the project that I dropped, 20XX Vol. 2. The reason why I’m proud of that is because I actually designed the artwork in 2020 and I was going to release it in 2020, but the process of making it was so long because I had 180 songs and I had to cut it down to 20. Then, while I was doing that, I was making so much music and my friends kept asking me when I was releasing it. It was the perfect time to drop it the day before my party. So I’m very proud of doing that. I’m also very proud of DJing for Timberland, that was a big achievement for me. I’m actually very proud of the fact that I’ve been working with school kids, through UD. That has brought a new lease of life in the way I make music. Working with kids has made me a better musician. I’m also proud of working with Nike, that was very unexpected and I managed to do it. I’ve done so much in 2022 and I’m happy that for the past couple years, each year I’ve been saying this has been my best year yet so I’m hoping next year we continue the momentum. 

Maria: So what’s still to come?

Digital Mozart: I want to release another EP. I have three EPs sitting in my laptop right now. I have one EP with a singer that I’m really excited to drop. I produced the whole thing and we wrote each song together. There’s so many other R&B singers, I really, really wanna work with too. I think I will probably start working on an album. I don’t know when that will come out, but I want to start working on it.

Maria: To end, I’d love to know your advice for someone who wants to get into either production, DJing or designing? 

Digital Mozart: I would say just do it. Get started, there’s so much you can find out on YouTube. One thing I’ve been trying to implement is just putting out art. Just put it out. Sometimes you’re so wrapped up in perfectionism, you want your first song to come out and go viral, straight away. You want your song to sound the best, but do the best you can now and put it out. That’s how you learn how to get better, it’s almost like trial and error. You learn what works, what people like, what they don’t like. Also when you put out art consistently, it’s like you’re building a catalogue. I say this to my friends all the time, it’s like when you find a show on Netflix and you watch one episode and you’re like, ‘oh, this show is really good, how many episodes are there?’ And you see there’s twelve seasons. You’re like, ‘this is incredible, I’m going to binge watch all of this.’ It’s the same as how people will find one song and if they see you’ve been putting out art consistently for years or months, that’s how you build a fan base.

“Put out art, don’t be scared and learn.”

Digital Mozart

@digital_mozart
digitalmozart.co.uk
Digital Mozart on SoundCloud

Words @mariahanlon

Listen to Maria Meets on the 2nd Friday of the month, 3-5pm, on voicesradio.co.uk

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