Techno Tuesday: Avision tells a tale of techno and working hard for success
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Passion, patience, and persistence are three especially crucial ideas when it comes to making it in the music industry; especially during a time where the market is more saturated than ever, and less friendly overall to creators. Most musicians don’t become overnight superstars, and for most, the process of transitioning into music full time takes years on end. But, when that goal is accomplished, it’s worth the effort.
Avision is intimately familiar with passion, patience, and persistence, imbuing this principal into his everyday life and career. He is quite the prodigious talent, having first stepped behind the decks at the young age of 12 and scoring his first residency by age 16. Over a decade-and-a-half after making his entrance into the scene and moving with intense drive and desire, he is finally breaking through the surface. Furthermore, he made himself an internationally-recognized talent while staying based in the United States — a rare feat in electronica, where artists often move to Europe to advance their career and receive higher amounts of support and income.
We got him to open up a bit and tell his artistic story — from the trials and tribulations, to the triumphs. Additionally, Avision just released a dark, scintillating new EP on Matter+ titled Free Your Mind. Its three originals are bursting with soul and hints of funk, capturing what made early techno great and tossing this sound into a modern ambiance. Let it provide a background as he tells the tale of his comeup.
I started out DJ’ing around New York & New Jersey 10 years ago when I was 14. My first residency was at Club Abyss in New Jersey, which was the hottest club night for teens in that area of the U.S. and it would average at least 1500 kids per night. I also started producing around that time; working on remixes first and then original tracks. When I was about 16, I went to Electric Zoo festival in New York. It was the first time I realized who my cousin (Victor Calderone) really was, and also the first time I heard Techno and Tech House. It changed everything for me, and I started digging deeper into those genres and began finding new tracks and artists that I really liked.
After that, I started to change my sound and began making tech house and techno, which led to me going out a lot in the NY scene. The first real night club I went to was District 36 when I was 17 to see Victor, and it got me to see how everything worked outside of the teen clubs I had been playing. Then I started going to Pacha NYC when I was 18, and those nights really helped me learn everything, how to go through certain tracks throughout the course of a night and control a crowd. That’s when I started DJ’ing at 21+ clubs when I was 18.
Before I started releasing music as Avision, I hadn’t really found my sound yet. I had been releasing music on a bunch of labels under my real name, but I was really just finding my sound and experimenting on who I was as an artist. Once I finished around a hundred tracks, I really figured out what my sound was and the direction I wanted to take with my music. The first Avision release was just over 2 years ago on Victor’s Waveform label, and it went over really well. There was pretty strong feedback from a lot of DJ’s that I respect, and Carl Cox and Joseph Capriati played my track “Conception” at Awakenings in 2016.
After that first Avision release, I sent Mark Broom a Facebook message saying that I was a fan of his and his label Beardman, and sent him an EP that same week. He ended up signing it and he remixed a track from it as well, and this release really kicked things off for me. Mark is such a highly respected figure in techno, and the release on his label really helped give my name credibility in the scene. Ben Sims, Truncate, and many more DJ’s were playing that EP. Having top techno artists supporting my music has been a big foundation of my career so far. I had a release on Carl Cox’s Intec label last year which was a highlight, as videos started popping up of Carl playing my track all over the world (he opened his set at Movement Detroit last year with my “Mind Of The Man” track). I’ve also released on Carlo Lio’s On Edge Society (and have a follow up planned for later this year), another release on Beardman, and also an EP on Ben Sims’ Hardgroove label up next (which will be my first vinyl release).
One of the most challenging things for me has been patience when it comes to gigging. I first started playing at Pacha NYC and building my name in the NY area, and at that point I was taking pretty much any gig that came my way. In NYC, there’s enough parties going on where I could probably be spinning somewhere every week, but since I’ve been releasing as Avision, I’ve really been picky on how many gigs I’ve taken as my goal is to be touring globally in the very near future. Now in NY I probably spin every couple of months or so, and I try for the most part to make sure that the gig is with a bigger DJ I respect and/or with one of the leading promoters and venues in the area so that I’m able to keep building my name up. Lately, I’ve been able to tour more around North America, and have crossed off some key gigs at venues like Stereo Montreal, Space in Miami and The BPM Festival in Mexico.
In the U.S., the techno scene keeps growing and getting larger, but a lot of the people that go out in the U.S. pay attention to what’s going on overseas, and what artists are big there. As an American artist in Techno, in a way it feels like you really need to “make it” and have that stamp of approval by the right clubs and fans overseas in order to breakthrough as a bigger artist here in the States. The club culture in Europe is highly respected, and over here it feels like a new cycle of that club culture has started only in the past decade (with the current wave of electronic music). My focus next is on breaking through in Europe, and I’m working on my first dates there for later this year.
Some key things that have helped me so far in my career:
Mentors: I think it’s really important to have mentors to learn from, and I’ve been lucky to have one right in my family. Victor has been a great mentor to me, and when I started producing I would constantly send him big groups of tracks at a time. He would always give me constructive feedback, but in a positive way so that I was never discouraged.
Networking: Building relationships is something that takes time to create, and I think it’s important to take advantage of any opportunity that comes to you. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gone to see a DJ that plays my music, and from that have built a connection and now have an amazing relationship. Everyone likes to put a face to a name. I like to try and take advantage of any opportunity I can to say thank you to a DJ for playing my music, or ask them where I can send new music to, etc.
Work Ethic: I’ve been doing this for 10 years now, and I haven’t taken a day off since. What you put in is what you get out of it. If you’re not in it for the long run, there’s no point in starting. It’s important to take pride in your work and know how to change and evolve over time. Really focus on your strengths and improve your weaknesses.
Team: Having a team behind you is a big aspect in having & building a career – you can’t do everything alone. It’s important to have people in your life that care about you & your career, and to help you build and grow as an artist.
Love: Lastly, it’s important to just love what you do, and to recognize that things will be up & down, and not everything will be sunshine & rainbows all of the time. Keep your focus on the big picture and your long-term goals!
Order a copy of ‘Free Your Mind’ here