Since 2009 Tony Fresch has made a name for himself as one of the most distinguished up and coming DJs and producers in the LA edm scene. He has played at some of the most well known clubs in California including The Avalon, Club Nokia, The Key Club and Dim Mak Studios. He has opened for the likes of Steve Aoki, Diplo, Rusko, and Dillon Francis, among others. In 2011 his remix of Chromeo's "Hot Mess" under the alias Rolex was chosen as a winner in Turbo Recordings' official remix contest and was released on Turbo Recordings' Hot Mess Remix EP. In 2011 and 2012 Tony won the title of "Best College DJ in LA" in a live contest vote. Tony has recently developed the deeper alias "Dr. Fresch" and has released two acclaimed remixes for indie rock bands Y LUV and Kiven. The debut Dr. Fresch EP, "Fantasy / Ecstasy," was released on Prep School Recordings in June.
Music has been my biggest passion and served as my primary extracurricular since I was seven. Music has also always been an outlet for me to express myself when I couldn't verbally. I have created this outlet both in the studio and on stage. The primary reason I have pursued music so greatly has been for personal happiness, but I also strive to make others happy through my music. From playing Debussy and George Gershwin pieces at classic piano recitals to DJing Nocturnal, my end goal is to make others as happy as I am when I'm writing music.
Home Town: Tiburon, CA
Currently Living: Los Angeles, CA
Origin Of Name: My last name is Fresch, and I felt that I had to use that in my artist name. I chose to go by “Dr. Fresch” instead of Tony Fresch because I felt that it better represented the deep and groovy style of music that I make.
Weapon of Choice: For DJing: I will go through different phases where I have a specific “weapon on choice” track for the dancefloor. Right now that track is “Wonderland” by Denis Naidanow featuring Tyree Cooper. In the studio: My favorite virtual synthesizer right now is Togu Audio Line’s “U-NO-LX” plugin. It’s an emulation of Roland’s classic Juno synthesizer.
Source of Power: My friends, family and every music teacher I’ve ever had. I also look up to a lot of producers and DJs—right now MK (Mark Kinchen) especially. I love how he has produced both pop and underground music and has maintained a position as one of the leading forces in house music for the last 20 years.
Was there one particular moment in the recording or mixing process for your Discovery Project entry that made you feel like you were creating something pretty damn special?
When I finished recording my mix for the Discovery Project I realized that this collection of work was completely my own, and was entirely a representation of my personality and artist brand. Being able to look at the way I combined all of my original productions into one cohesive mix made me to realize that I had successfully created an artist brand.
Are there any dots to connect with where/how you grew up to your musical output?
My mom forced me to take classical piano lessons starting at age seven. I hated it at first, but as I grew older I realized that this knowledge would allow me to explore other genres. I joined a rock band in middle school, joined the jazz band in high school, and starting DJing at producing electronic music when I was 17, in 2008. Having an education and practice in several musical genres has given me the platform necessary to make the music I produce unique.
What do your parents think of what you are doing?
My mom is incredibly supportive of my career. I chose to pursue music full time after graduating college in May 2013, and she hasn’t questioned my decision once. She is excited by the strides I’m making as an artist and is willing to support me in all of my musical endeavors. There is no greater validation for my lifestyle choice than knowing that your family is 100% behind you.
What’s the strangest part of your job?
Being able to control and change people’s emotions with the music you release and the music you play live. It’s amazing to think that you are creating a different experience for people every time you play.
What’s the biggest misconception about being a DJ?
No one “blows up” overnight. Every artist and performer in the EDM community, and in the music industry at large, has put an enormous amount of effort into their career to get where they are now. It took me four years of producing electronic music to feel confident in my productions and share them with the public, and I recognize that I still have a long way to go. But, if it wasn’t this hard to establish yourself as an artist/DJ then it wouldn’t be nearly as fun or rewarding.
How does what you do for a living affect you on a day-to-day basis?
Being an artist/DJ is a completely unstable career path, but the rewards are much more satisfying. I am constantly sacrificing spending time with family and friends to work on music, but all of my family and friends recognize that I have to pursue this lifestyle in order to succeed as an artist.
What is your ultimate career dream?
It’s cliché, but: to inspire young producers to follow their dreams. I work hard to support myself, however it’s far more rewarding to know that your music has inspired people to do what they love for a living.
Are you impulsive with your work or do you have a sketch in mind before you start?
For every song that I’ve written, I’ve come up with a basic concept before I sat down in the studio. I usually get a kick of inspiration, sit down to develop an idea and spend the rest of the day in the studio.
How, if at all, does listening to music figure into your creative process?
I take inspiration from listening to new music every single day. This not only goes for music similar to my brand, but for all genres. I could be just as inspired by a vocal hook from a 90’s pop song as I could by a bassline from a contemporary garage tune. The last song I heard that made me get to the studio right away to produce was probably something by Hot Since 82.
What’s the most important piece of gear in your studio?
I don’t use too much analog gear, but I love my Korg Triton LE workstation for how juicy the pads are. I love Rob Papen’s Subboom Bass VST for creating pretty much any bass sound under the sun.
How important is it for you to experiment and take on the risk of failure?
Essential. There is a clear niche in EDM for deep, tech, and nu-disco, but I make a deliberate effort to create music different than the norm in an effort to brand myself as something new. I am always willing to risk my artist career by stepping out of the box.
If we pressed Shuffle on your iPod while you went to the bathroom, what would you be embarrassed to come back to us listening to?
Britney Spears “Lucky.”
What sound or noise do you love?
An 808 cowbell with a ton of reverb.
What should everyone just shut the fuck up about?
Sub-genre classification in “EDM.” I understand that it’s important to be able to classify music under genres on platforms like Beatport, but I absolutely hate putting a label on my music.
What gets you excited when you think about the future of electronic music and club culture?
That dance music has reached a level of global popularity that has allowed more niche styles of music to become relevant.
What are your weaknesses?
I like too many different styles of dance music. This has made it hard for me to hone in on a specific sound.
Tell me about your most memorable night out.
As a fan, I went out in Berlin a few months back on a Wednesday from dusk past dawn. My best friends and I started at an A$AP Rocky show and ended up at Watergate club watching Italo Johnson spin an all vinyl set until mid morning. It was amazing to be able to see so many different styles of music performed in their purest forms. As a DJ, playing Nocturnal was amazing. Winning best college DJ in LA in 2011 opening for Steve Aoki, and winning best college DJ in LA in 2012 opening up for Rusko was amazing as well.
Do you have any memorable moments from past EDC's or any other Insomniac party?
EDC 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 were amazing. EDC 2011 was especially memorable because my long time friend and colleague Clinton VanSciver and I decided that we wanted to start a record label together, Prep School Recordings.
Do you have a favorite all-time mixed CD or series?
Jamie Jones Fabric 59 Mix. It’s an amazing mix of styles and artists. I bought the CD at Amoeba and have been listening to it in my car for the last two years. Fabric London’s mix series is amazing in its entirety as well. Fabric London is one of my favorite nightclubs in the world because they maintain such diversity in their bookings; this is evident in their mix series.
What advice would you offer someone thinking about entering the Discovery Project competition?
Focus on showcasing your original productions. My Discovery Project mix included five original productions and one of my remixes. Convey that you not only write and produce good music, but that you also have an artist brand and a clear vision for your artist career.