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Q&A with Michael Brun
Michael Brun talks to Joonbug about his journey as a new and upcoming DJ

How did you get started DJing?

I guess when I was around 15 I started producing music. Then I started making mash-ups on my computer for fun. It was just a hobby of mine in high school. Since there was no clubbing age in Haiti, I played my first show when I was 16 and have just continued pursuing it since. I still want to pursue my pre-med degree, I’m just focusing on my music right now. Maybe in a few years, but who knows. It seems like I’m living in the moment but there’s so much planning that goes into everything. I got to visit my family in Haiti for a few days last month and that was great. Davidson has been really cool about this opportunity for me, and I still keep in touch with the faculty. I’m just so happy that they trusted me enough to let me take the leave.

What was it about DJing that sucked you in?

It was pretty cool to be able to play different music and see people's reactions to it. When I started creating my own original tracks and seeing that people really liked them, it was the best feeling in the world. It is so rewarding and satisfying that I can give people that feeling!

Who or what are your greatest influences? 

I had a lot of exposure to music growing up. My parents both played instruments and my dad was in a band so that was a great thing for me. I listened to disco and 80’s music, like Earth, Wind & Fire when I was little, and sometimes those influences come out in my music. With house music and EDM, I’ve been inspired by Axwell, Dirty South, several Swedish DJs, not to mention so many other people. Everyone is unique so I get inspired by all sorts of sounds and ideas.

You’ve had the opportunity to learn by being alongside Dirty South.  What did you learn from him and how does that shape the way you spin? 

Over the last year and a half, I’ve been mentored by him and he’s been incredible. He has helped me with refining and giving feedback on my tracks. The tracks I’ve worked on with him have definitely been the best quality work I have. He’s taught me how to make a show crowd-specific, meaning what works and what doesn’t. Watching him has showed me what I should and shouldn’t do and it has been an incredible learning experience, and fun too!

How did Dirty South discover you?

I don’t know how he found out about me in the first place, but I got an email in January of 2012 from him asking if I wanted to sign my tracks. I didn’t think it was real so I ignored it; I was like come on, I’m a Davidson student obviously Dirty South is not emailing my college email. But then I got a follow-up email being like, so are you interested…what’s the deal. I couldn’t believe it, I freaked out, and just like that my track was signed. I was also 19 at the time and he was so surprised by that, he couldn’t believe it. That Spring I went to Ultra Music Festival in Miami with him, and I met my manager who is a good friend of his, and everything just fell into place. It has all just organically built up to what it is now. I’m so happy!

Where are the most exciting places you have traveled to DJ?

I played the Summerburst festival in Sweden a few weeks ago and that was really cool. It was huge, around 25,000 people. I played with several other artists including Sebastian Ingrosso and it was so cool to be on the main stage at a festival for my first time. I also played in Guatemala with Dirty South like a month ago. I didn’t know anything about Guatemala before going there. It is such a beautiful place and it was incredible to see. The venue was an old movie theater turned event space and the crowd was nuts. I had such a great time!

How do the crowds differentiate from venue to venue? 

I think what I’ve noticed is that nightclubs tend to be more VIP, so it takes a little more to get them going. At festivals there is a younger crowd and it seems like they’re a little more enthusiastic. I love playing at both of them and experiencing the different vibes.

Do you adjust your set to appeal to different crowds depending on location/age? 

Depending on where you’re playing it’s definitely important to cater to the crowd. I have my staples, but there are always differences in the way I build up. With the bigger crowds you have more freedom in what you can do. With the VIP clubs, I think they’re expecting a few things so you have to give that to them, but I never play the same set.

We saw you did a remix to Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble”. How do you chose which tracks you want to make remixes of?

Basically in the last 6 or 7 months, I’ve been mixing stuff I’ve been contacted for. I used to make a lot of bootleg tracks just for fun, but now I have more of a structured production schedule to work with. With Taylor Swift’s song, I wanted to experience mixing a pop song; I’m building a base of knowledge. I just recently did a remix of "Thinking About You" by Calvin Harris as well, and I have a lot of new production remixes coming out in August. I can’t say much more about it though—don’t want to give it all away!

What gig are you most proud of, or makes you feel the most accomplished? 

It was the first one I did in America at LIV in Miami. I’d been there a few times before but actually headlining it on my own was terrifying and amazing at the same time. My nerves calmed after the first few tracks and it turned into a night I will never forget.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the business?

If you’re a producer, be focused on making your music special. At first, you want to rush and get your music out on the web to gain exposure, but the most important thing is make your music memorable. Focus as much time on it as possible and pay attention to every detail. When you’re finally sick of it, then it’s time to release it. It’s also really important to get critical feedback on your tracks from someone else. It can be difficult to take criticism from other artists because sometimes you may not agree, but you’ll be able to learn something and ultimately make it better. Also, don’t spam! A lot of people tend to spam their music on people's walls, or send out a million emails. Keep it simple, polite and brief—you’ll present yourself better.

What are the next steps for you?

I have a new EP coming out in the next few weeks with 3 original tracks. The main song called “Halfway” was done with singer Zashanell who has such an incredible voice. It’s all finished, there are just some details to be taken care of before the release. I am super excited and can’t wait for it to come out. I’ve also got several productions that I’m working on, like I mentioned earlier. I have a few shows coming up in July, including this Sunday, July 7 at Governors Beach Club, and I have bookings through December!

Be sure to checkout Michael Brun and Dirty South this Sunday, July 7th at Governors Beach Club - See you there!