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SALT-3_DIESELBOYHeading to Villa on Saturday, December 14 for an Inhibit event also featuring XKore & Dose, Damian Higgins aka Dieselboy, gave TOM KITSON his views on the art of DJing, technological changes in music and the importance of self-motivation.

Through his career as a prominent US DJ/producer across multiple genres, Higgins was the first drum’n’bass artist to break into the Billboard’s dance chart with his tune, Invid in 2000. Since then he founded the Human Imprint label, has written tracks for film and video games and continued releasing singles, remixes and mixtapes.

His passion for DJing itself has been his most important endeavour of late, utilising his skill and advances in technology to add complexity to his sets.

“Right now I am focused on dialling in my DJ game even further than what I’ve previously been capable of,” he says. “I recently made the switch to playing with flash drives and that’s enabled me to put together more detailed, textured and layered sets. Beyond that, I’m working on a new project of 175 BPM music, though not directly drum’n’bass, under a new name,” he says. “The name Dieselboy carries with it a certain d’n’b weight, and I want to be able to explore other experiments without that stigma.”

Dividing his time evenly between making music and running his label, Higgins finds his musical drive and purpose when in solitude.

“I get most inspired when I am alone in my own thoughts, in the shower, staring out plane windows,” he says. “I feel that space and quiet help inform my creative process. I make music to explore certain artistic elements within myself but also because in today’s market you have to produce music in order to continue having opportunities to DJ, which is somewhat ridiculous in my opinion.”

Despite often mixing electro and dubstep elements into his live sets, his love of d’n’b seems to always draw him back.

“For a while I experimented with playing different tempo music styles in my sets in order to mix it up more, but in the past year I have returned to just playing 175 BPM drum’n’bass/drumstep,” he says. “At the end of the day, it’s my favourite type of music to play.”

Letting go of a bunch of analog studio equipment in favour of a simple computer and monitor set up, he still uses traditional live mixing techniques and multiple decks when performing.

“Nothing is pre-determined however, and the entire experience is, in fact, live,” he says. “My push is on DJing and less on crowd surfing, Jesus posing or basically anything that takes me away from actually DJing.”
Unaffected by the pressure that comes with topping charts and best DJ lists; it’s enabled a fierce attitude to produce work that reaches his own standards. “I always make music that inspires me, given my tastes at that moment,” he says. “The only pressure I feel is from myself and I’m my worst critic.”


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