EDM Maniac Interview: aboywithabag On Dim Mak And His Chicago Roots

Free your day on Thursday, June 9 because from 10-12 AM PST on, EDM Maniac and Insomniac will be hosting a livestream takeover by Dim Mak.

Isaac Santos from Dim Mak records stated “from fresh talent to new music and intricate 3D stages, EDM Maniac / Insomniac have created a one-of-a-kind experience that helps push artists and their music to new reaches of the world.” The first artist is the one and only aboywithabag.

aboywithabag is a tech-house artist from Chicago who is known for his deep basslines and vibey percussion and synths. He has been featured on Space Yacht’s Tech My House Volume 3 and recently released the song “Chicago Handshake” with Sherm. His unofficial remix of “Jumpin” by CID & Westend has received massive support from Diplo’s Revolution and CID’s Night Service Only Radio. He also runs House Techno Authority where he highlights great talent and new releases via the label.

EDM Maniac got the chance to interview aboywithabag and talk about his experience with Dim Mak, live streams, and how his Chicago roots have affected his music style. Read it below and we can’t wait for you to check him out on Insomniac TV.

EDM Maniac: As a native of Chicago, you grew up surrounded by the history and culture of house and techno. Do you think that has contributed to your sound or influenced you in any way?

aboywithabag: As the birthplace of house music, many legends have roots in Chicago like Green Velvet, Marshall Jefferson, and more recently, John Summit. They have all gone on to do amazing things and are an influence on my current sound.

Also, the city itself is so beautifully inspiring that I can just sit down at a city park or lakefront trail and work on music and be inspired. I’m inspired by the people walking by, the architecture, and the good vibes of the city.

EDM Maniac: You are about to perform at the Montreal Grand Prix alongside Dim Mak label boss Steve Aoki. How does it feel to get to perform on the same stage as such a prominent artist who has been so pivotal in your career?

aboywithabag: It’s so unreal, to say the least, and it’s only right to make my Canadian debut at such a prestigious event with a label that I had my debut label release with last year. Much love to Dim Mak for putting me on and for the constant support! I’ve been following Steve Aoki’s music and his label since the #SELFIE and Delirious aka Boneless days, so this is going to be a full-circle moment to perform with him on stage.

EDM Maniac: You currently run House Techno Authority, where you highlight new talent and new releases. What’s it like getting to showcase new artists in the scene and help them to achieve success?

aboywithabag: As an emerging artist, I’ve noticed a lot of talent that is just not highlighted for many reasons. So, my goal with the label is to generate attention for my own music career and share that attention with other emerging artists in the industry that I enjoy listening to. I’ve had a lot of amazing guests on the label’s mix series so far with a mix of established acts like Westend, DJ Amy Lauren, and amazingly talented newcomers like Cody Kirby and LaurasAllLike.

I also love the nitty-gritty of creating and executing a marketing plan for my own music so this allowed me to take a step back and help other artists’ music reach a wider audience. I’m also learning along the way and always improving my processes for the label. Some great news: the label had our first song cross 10,000 streams on Spotify thanks to Chris Maze and his edit of my track “Don’t Trip”. The track has also received support from many DJs across the world thanks to 1001 Tracklists. I’m celebrating these wins as the label grows and taking it day by day.

EDM Maniac: Your unofficial remix of “Jumpin” by CID & Westend was the jumpstart to your success. Have bootlegs and unofficial remixes been an important part of your career or influence?

aboywithabag: That was one of my favorite edits I’ve made. The second breakdown was specifically created to be a nostalgic bit and to be played at a festival during a sunset. I’m a huge fan of the Vibrancy label and Cloverdale, so I was really happy when he told me he loved this flip of the track when we met IRL in San Diego earlier this year.

Bootlegs and unofficial remixes have absolutely been an important part of my career. In fact, my music career started off by making mashups/bootleg edits of popular Bollywood, American Dance, and hip hop music back in college as part of a South Asian dance organization called Desi Dance Network. I learned a lot about blending sounds together from various cultures and genres and I’ve brought along those learnings to my original productions in house music.

EDM Maniac: You are joining EDM Maniac and Insomniac TV for a Dim Mak label takeover livestream Thursday, June 9 from 10-12 AM PST. What are your thoughts on the importance of livestreams during the pandemic and currently, as we transition out?

aboywithabag: I cannot wait for this to drop! It was the first time I was invited to do a livestream with heavy hitters like EDM Maniac, DIM MAK, and Insomniac. Over the quarantine, I watched livestreams religiously, so this is also a full-circle moment for me.

Taking a second to acknowledge the broad range of dance music fans across the world, there are many people who cannot attend a live event in person whether it’s due to health, high cost, travel restrictions, etc. But they still love the artists and their music. These live streams that EDM Maniac and Insomniac put on allows fans to enjoy the experience from the comfort of their home, and I think that’s an immaculate thing. These streams bring everyone together where we can forget our worries and immerse ourselves in some amazing dance music. I heard that dancing to a livestream a day keeps bad vibes away. *laughs*

All images from aboywithabag

Written by
Danielle Levy

Danielle Levy is an MBA with a concentration in Corporate Social Responsibility. Danielle has several years of experience in the sustainability education world and has held various positions in human resources and intern management. Danielle is passionate about the ties between sustainability and social impact.

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