US DJ/producer Baltra has seen major success over the past couple of years due to his signature style of electronic music. Track’s like ‘Fade Away’ and ‘Never Let Go Of Me’ have combined over a million views on YouTube. We caught up with him during his busy touring schedule to chat NYC, how the city shaped him, upcoming projects and shows including a Four Four Magazine showcase.
Q. Hey thanks for answering our questions, how was your 2016?
A. Thanks for having me. 2016 was a great year for me music-wise. I released quite a bit of material and it seems to have been received pretty well. I signed on with booking agencies for North America (Palisade Agency) & ROW (TSA Artists) and have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit. I’m really hoping my music allows me to explore more parts of the world this year!
Q. For people that don’t know, tell us a bit about your musical background.
A. Besides having played the violin for 3 years until I was 12 years old, I don’t have much in the way of a musical background. I can handle myself on the piano and know some music theory, but I’m otherwise self-taught.
Q. You hail from Philly and you live in New York? How did they affect your taste and/or production style?
A. I feel lucky to have spent my life between two of the largest metropolitan cities in the United States. Both places expose you to a larger range of music while also instilling deep-rooted culture & taste. They’re very fast-paced, blue-collar towns that can be rough around the edges. I like to think that sincerity is expressed through the raw sounds in my music.
Q. You’ve lived in NY for over 10 years, how has the city changed musically/artistically?
A. It’s changed massively – unfortunately in many ways that do not support the working artist today. Many of the Brooklyn-based DIY venues that have hosted amazing shows have been squeezed out by the increasing cost of rent, code violations, etc. & replaced by high-rise condominiums and corporate businesses. There’s a new scene bubbling, just much deeper in Brooklyn. Over the past couple of years I’ve been fortunate enough to find a bunch of like-minded musicians/producers who support one another like family.
Q. Is it better or worse for electronic music now than when you first moved into the city?
A. I’d say it’s better as there is more attention being given to electronic music here than ever before. It used to be that house & techno music was pretty niche, but that’s not the case anymore. Albeit, there are many parties that now lack direction & quality as there is a superfluous amount of electronic music events happening at any one given time.
Q. You have a very distinct sound, where did you get your inspiration from to make such music?
A. My inspiration, musically speaking, comes from everything I’ve ever laid my ears on, essentially shaping my current tastes and who I am today. I feel like my music is an extension of myself, a summation of my conscious and subconscious feelings exposed for everyone to hear. I think that will explain why you’ll find such a wide range of emotions expressed in my productions.
Q. ‘Fade Away’ received massive success, with over hundreds of thousands of plays on Youtube. Did you ever expect it to get so big?
A. No, I never expected that at all but I am super grateful for all of the support! It’s one of my most heartfelt creations but also one of the fastest I’ve ever completed. I can send a massive thanks to ooUKFunkyoo, who’s become a great friend, for helping me out with such powerful visuals that I think elevated the track to another level entirely.
Q. You’ve said before you have lots of artistic friends and family, if you weren’t a musician what medium of art would you like to delve into? Or do you already create other forms of art?
A. Yes, my wife Angela is an amazing photographer, and my brother Peter is a brilliant fashion designer. I’ve dabbled here and there with drawing, painting, & photography but would like to dive into it quite a bit more this year, perhaps pairing my art with my music in an art gallery installation form.
Q. Your making your Dublin debut soon. Are you excited to visit the city?
A. I’ve never been before and have only heard incredible things. I’ve certainly heard you Dubliners know how to have a good time!
Q. What are the plans for 2017?
A. Amidst the touring, I have a lot of things lined up for release in the first half of 2017, with a few surprises sprinkled in. Over the next couple of months I have tracks featured on compilations via Neoviolence, House Running, Lit Level, & Step Rec. On top of that, I’ve got EP’s set for release on Tape Throb Records, Lost Palms, & a vinyl re-issue of my cassette tape ‘No Regrets’ through Of Paradise. I did a super-limited vinyl run of my most recent EP ‘Rearview’ which will actually see a larger press sometime soon with an extra bonus track that I think many people will be excited about. DJ Seinfeld and I have a little project we’re working on finishing up, too.