One of Miami’s newest rising stars, Doc Brown is no stranger to electronic music. Having experimented with MIDI programming and sequencing dance tracks as early as the mid-90s, it wasn’t until moving to Miami and getting his hands on his first set of 1200s that he started to link his passion for rocking parties with his natural ability to create and program electronic music live and in the studio.
Doc made the jump to being a full-time DJ & producer in 2010 when his take on creating an anthem for the world-renowned Club Space was selected as a top-10 finalist in the Stereo Productions ‘Take Me To Space’ original track contest. A few months later, winning the infamous Groove Cruise’s mix competition afforded him the opportunity to spin alongside grammy-nominated artist Dirty South, and since then there has been no looking back. Doc is currently pursing an education in music engineering and working tirelessly to further his newfound career with a steady stream of remixes, original productions, and his extremely well-received live performances.
With a professional career that spans little over a year, Doc’s productions have been spun by worldwide DJs including Tiesto, Paul Oakenfold, Matisse & Sadko, Ben Lb, DJs From Mars, Francesco Diaz, John Course & Alex Gaudino, and has already had the privilege of rocking parties with artists as varied as George Acosta, Sydney Blu, Carl Kennedy, Pleasurekraft and Saeed Younan, with performances this year at both the BPM Festival in Playa Del Carmen and Winter Music Conference/Miami Music Week. Also billed for two years running with some of the world’s top DJ talent, Doc has joined fellow veterans Funkagenda, Boris, Anthony Attalla, Trent Cantrelle and George Morel aboard the Groove Cruise in 2011 and 2012.
2012 has already seen both EPs and singles released on no less than six labels, including Baroque Limited, System Recordings, and George Acosta’s ACO Music. Touching on everything from tech to progressive to electro, Doc’s signature sound continues to rock pool parties from Miami to Vegas and club dates worldwide as his profile rapidly continues to grow.
When it comes to this industry there are two rules I wish everyone would follow: 1. Play good music. 2. Don’t be a dick. You’d think it’d be easy enough, but you’d be surprised how many can’t do either one.
Home Town: Phoenix, AZ
Currently Living: Miami, FL
Origin Of Name: In high school I was a member of an alternative/rock band but always wanted to have a side project that did punk covers called “Doc Brown & The 1.21 Gigiwatts.” This was around the time it became necessary to claim your digital real estate through screen names for AOL, webmail, etc. Mine became “docbrown” and the name just sort of stuck. Obviously I’m a big fan of the movies as well!
Weapon of Choice: If you took away my MacBook, you might as well drop me on a desert island.
Source of Power: Da Fresh, John Acquaviva, Koen Groeneveld, Mark Knight, Veerus & Maxie Devine, Jay Lumen, Umek, Alex Neza & Sack Muller, Manuel De La Mare, Konstantin Yoodza, Ant Brooks, Guille Placencia & George Privatti, Federico Scavo, Mario Ochoa, Phunk Investigation, Sonny Wharton, David Amo & Julio Navas, Andrea Bertolini, Ben Coda, Flippers, Minimize, Daniel Portman
What’s the biggest misconception about being a DJ?
I think most people look at the DJ or artist up in the booth and think, “Wow, that job looks so cool.” Most fail to realize that the performance itself isn’t really the job. For me at least, the performance is the most fun—it’s almost like a reward for the work that gets put in day in and day out—but I think most people don’t realize that most DJ/producers probably work twice as many hours per week as your typical 9-to-5 employee.
Don’t get me wrong—the performance is one of the most important facets of this job since it’s one of the main forums in which you get to put your art on display, but most weeks I work seven days from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep as a marketing manager, booking agent, graphic designer, promoter and more. Sometime the most difficult thing to do is to set aside time to actually produce music, practice and prepare for shows. The “glamour” that most see is really only about 1% of the job, and I can’t really imagine a situation where you would be able to achieve true success if you don’t have the passion, dedication and patience to make it happen the other 99% of the time.
What should everyone just shut the fuck up about?
I wish everyone would just shut the fuck up about what they don’t like. I understand that it’s normal and even healthy to casually vent about things that bother you, but do you know how much time and energy people waste on things they supposedly don’t even care about? A quick scroll of your Facebook or Twitter feed should remind you. I don’t care if it’s a DJ, a song, a scene or a style—if you don’t like it, shut the fuck up about it and move on.
If you’re so concerned that mainstream music is killing the scene, then try and make some underground music that appeals to a larger cross-section of fans. If you hate dubstep, then make some fucking trap or trance or techno or happy fucking hardcore. Just shut the fuck up. All you do when you bitch is raise awareness about something you’d prefer to have less of—it’s counter-intuitive. Plus when you’re bitching, you’re not doing anything positive to help fix what you see as the problem. Have a goal; put the blinders on and work at it—creating what you do like ends up doing a pretty good job of telling people what you don’t.
What gets you excited when you think about the future of electronic music and club culture?
As someone who used to sit in front of the computer for hours programming MIDI when I was in high school, I’m most excited to see how future technology shapes the musical creativity of artists. It’s crazy to me that I learned to DJ on two MK1200s and a Vestax PMC-07 Pro roughly 10 years ago, carrying around only a select few records to play and now you can play a selection of songs as large as you need it to be through software like Traktor and Ableton. Plus you have an endless variety in how you can utilize either or both through controllers as simple as your cell phone.
Innovation in both software and hardware along with the innovation of artists who harness this technology are opening up new ways to create on a daily basis. I don’t really think the importance of that can be understated, and anyone who fears new technology is simply boxing themselves in. There are a lot of different ways to do a lot of different things—and certainly not everything is for everyone—but the more options there are available, the more you enable people to create…and that can never be a bad thing.
When you look at electronic music and the surrounding culture, what worries you about the future?
I’m most concerned with everyone playing, listening to, and making the same shit over and over. You have a generation of people being exposed to the dance music scene, millions of them seeing different DJs play the same songs in different places. You have kids that want to be DJs that have no idea what digging for music means because all the performers they see don’t do it. This issue isn’t specific to the commercial or to the underground scene either—when you browse the sets and charts of many “underground” DJs they’re all filled with the same tracks too.
Obviously people are always going to respond to things they already know and like—and there is a place for that in every set—but I personally feel part of the DJs job is to expose people to new music that they will like when they hear it. When you know all the tricks, there is never any magic. The fundamental human connection to music isn’t really about any artist or song as much as it is the magic of hearing something that moves you for the very first time. As a DJ you have the ability to make that magic happen on a nightly basis; it’s a shame so many choose to throw that opportunity away.
What advice would you offer someone thinking about entering the Discovery Project competition?
I’ve been fortunate enough to win a couple of different contests including the Discovery Project, and I get messages from time to time asking this question, and I always respond with the same answer—justbe you. All too often—and certainly not just in music—people are far too concerned with trying to be the person people want them to be, and they lose track of who they actually are. If you’re out there being the best you that you can be, no one else can compete. It’s always better to be a first-rate version of yourself than a second-rate version of someone else.