Wait… Isn’t Venice a city in Italy? It is, but it also a progressive house DJ duo that is making a move to the top of the charts. They just released a single titled “Always Here” featuring Anki on AVA Recordings and in an effort to help promote this release, I decided to interview them. For a DJ I wasn’t familiar with last week, it was fun to learn more about them. Without further adieu, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Venice. Oh, and I am also on Expedia right researching a trip to Italy. Thanks, guys!
Tell me more about your relationship with AVA Recordings.
Ricky, thank you for taking out the time to interview us!
(Alex) Around June of this year we ended up producing two demos with Anki that represented a new sound we wanted to go into. We have always been fans of Andy Moor and Somna (label owner and A&R) and the music they release on AVA Recordings! A lot of our favorite artists have had releases on AVA, and the sounds they have curated over the years have been a big influence in our productions. We sent them the demos as soon as we finished them – “Always Here” and another song featuring Anki called “Another Like You” (out at the end of 2015) – and they signed them both!
(Gino) For us, it was interesting getting to the point of working with a record label because we have been doing free releases since we started Venice back in 2014. We had opportunities with some other labels, but we wanted to work with a label that truly believed in us and really gave us creative freedom. Andy Moor and his team have a really defined vision for what they want to release and our style fits right in with what they are putting out. We are glad to be a part of the team and to be backed by a legend that has influenced our music in so many ways.
I’m not familiar with Anki. Who is she and how did you guys first connect?
(Alex0) Our meeting with her was very interesting. She has been releasing music for a few years under the alias Lokka Vox and has also done some work as Anki. She has been featured on a lot of huge dance songs and has released on almost every big dance label imaginable (Armada Music, Black Hole Recordings, Enhanced, etc.) She is such a talented singer, composer and song writer. We first came across her when we produced our first demo as Venice! We were looking for a singer and found her music online. Our first song with her was titled “Go Away.” We released the song for free on SoundCloud and ended up creating a lot of buzz with the song! We did not expect such a reaction from our first release! The feedback was insane. We started working on new songs immediately and have not stopped since!
(Gino) When we asked her to come to the studio and work with us, we found out that she was living in South Africa the entire time! Little did we know that this super talented singer was breaking into the music scene from such a distant market. Her story is just so crazy and inspiring to us! She recently moved to the United States and has a ton of huge collaborations and projects coming for 2015/2016 along with some new songs with us! We have never worked with anybody like her! Rumor has it that she also has a solo project in the works. We are so glad to be a part of everything she is accomplishing and it’s a ton of fun to do these shows and events together with one of our closest friends.
I recently interviewed WSTLNDR. He also works with Black Hole Recordings. Their book just continues to grow. Tell me about your experience working with them.
(Alex) A lot of the new listeners of dance music and supporters of the EDM scene do not really know the history behind Black Hole Recordings. Black Hole was founded in the mid 90s by Tiësto and Arny Bink and is responsible for a lot of the dance classics that we grew up listening to. Working with Black Hole Recordings and AVA Recordings has been great! Being a part of such iconic labels and seeing how much they all believe in our music has been very humbling and has really pushed us to continue to improve as artists. We are very fortunate to be a part of such a huge roster of talented musicians from around the world.
You guys will be performing at EDC Orlando. Are you more nervous or excited about that performance?
(Gino) For us, EDC Orlando 2015 represents so much more beyond the performance itself! We both grew up in Orlando before moving to Los Angeles earlier this year. We have been attending EDC Orlando as guests ever since Insomniac brought the festival to Florida a few years ago. Given that a lot of friends and family will be there, we are kind of nervous, but that always translates to excitement as soon as we get on stage!
(Alex) Last year we were both in the crowd talking about how cool it would be to play EDC Orlando someday… And well… That day is here! We are so grateful for the opportunity Pasquale and his team at Insomniac is giving us. It is one of those moments we will never forget.
Speaking of festivals, do you prefer to play festivals or do you enjoy more intimate clubs?
(Alex ) We have had the opportunity to play quite a few festivals and a lot of clubs since we started Venice. Festivals are something special because people go with an expectation to celebrate the music that we all love and the energy is always there. Most of the time you know what you are going to get walking into a festival set. With clubs, you never know what is going to happen… You never know what the vibe will be or what the crowd energy is like… There are so many variables… It’s a great opportunity to test your DJ skills.
(Gino) Reading a crowd and playing the right song at the right time is always a challenge we enjoy taking on. Clubs are also a great place to test new tracks and it gives us a chance to let loose and experiment a bit. A good club show can always turn into a festive environment. We have built ourselves up as DJs playing in clubs, so we would have to choose clubs. It feels like home.
Safe to assume you’ve been to Italy? I mean… Would be hard to be called Venice and not visit Venice! On that hand, where did the name come from?
(Alex) Ironically, neither of us has traveled to Italy yet! The name is actually about Venice Beach in California. We were already in the process of creating the group and we did not have a name yet. We are both into 80s themed stuff and instead of using something related to ourselves, we wanted to name the group after a fictitious 80s character. One of our good friends suggested the name “Jay Venice,” we envisioned Jay Venice as this suave mustached guy from Venice beach who makes kick ass music on a KORG synthesizer. I guess he was my spirit animal or something. (Laughs.) I am sure he exists somewhere.
(Gino) After talking it over for a few days we decided it made more sense to drop the Jay and just stick with Venice. Our management liked the idea and it grew on us after some time. Maybe we’ll use the “Jay Venice” alias for a side project. (Laughs.)
Does it ever get crowded in the DJ booth?
(Alex) It depends on the booth! For the smaller booths I usually don’t like people around because it can get messy, but somehow, a mini party always ends up taking place, so we just go with the flow! As long as we aren’t getting song requests it doesn’t really bother.
(Gino) We can get really crazy back there, a lot of jumping, a lot dancing… We get lost in the music sometimes. Having people join the fun is always cool, but I like to sit back and get into the groove and focus on delivering a good mix. It already gets crowded enough with Alex and all of his jumping around. (Laughs.)
Tell me more about “Always Here” and what it was like working with Anki on that track.
(Alex) “Always Here” is a very special song to all of us and our entire circle. Musically it is one of the best pieces we have produced… When we sent the instrumental to Anki she sent a mixed demo back the same day… She is like some kind of musical machine! The lyrics she wrote and the way she sung on it turned this song into something transcendental.
(Gino) We love this song so much because it is something that everyone can really relate to. We all have a weak side and some sort of support that we resort to during a difficult time and on the opposite end, we have loved ones/friends/family members that we can celebrate things with and always count on. The song is very inspiring and it induces hope each time you listen to it. Anki’s writing and singing on it is so euphoric. It is one of my favorite songs to play at shows.
There are a lot to choose from… Who are some of your favorite DJs?
(Alex) BT is my favorite artist; the things he has accomplished musically are truly innovative. Some of the first songs that got me into electronic music as I was growing up were by him. He always seems to be ahead of his time and continues to reinvent himself and it is truly amazing. I can say the same thing for deadmau5 as well. We are also huge fans of tyDi, Tritonal, Andy Moor, Somna, Tiësto, Armin van Burren, Cosmic Gate and a lot of the trance/progressive guys. Outside of that genre, I have to say… Wiwek has been tearing up festivals lately. We have also been following a guy from California named Drezo for a while, his sound is starting to catch on a lot as well.
(Gino) We had the opportunity to play a festival with BT in Orlando when we first started Venice. We also saw him perform his “Electronic Opus” show with a live orchestra in Miami for Miami Music Week 2015. It was something we will never forget. Like Alex, I grew up listening to Tiësto, Armin, Paul van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold and a lot of the classic trance. I am always going to be a big Hardwell fan and we always jam out to the W&W festival tracks when the mood calls for it.
You guys recently took over the AVA Instagram account. Fun! How many photos did you guys end up posting and did you know what you were going to post before you got access?
(Alex) That was a really fun experience! Our manager told us about it a few days prior to our music video shoot for “Always Here.” The Instagram takeover coincided with the music video shoot days so we collected the best photos from the day as we went and posted them to kind of give our supporters a behind the scenes look into what we were working on. The pictures only tell half the story, it was quite a crazy day; we had Anki and our crew out in the Southern California desert in 105 degree weather! Luckily we survived and walked away with a pretty cool video!
What’s next for Venice?
We just released our new single “Always Here” and the support has been great! Andy Moor, Lange, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Andi Durrant and many other top DJs from around the world have been giving us support and amazing feedback on this song. We released a really cool lyric video that is up on YouTube right now and will be releasing the official music video this month. We are also going to be making our EDC debut in Orlando this November and have a ton of cool music for you guys planned for that event. We also have another release with Anki titled “Another Like You” coming up at the end of the year and a video that is going to go along with it.
In between all of this, we are hard at work in the studio crafting some new tunes for everyone that follows our music. 2015 has been great to us and we are looking forward to what 2016 has to offer.