With four worldwide premieres, Neo Fresco‘s outdone himself with the 100% Fresco 2016 Mix for PressPlay. Our 15th guest mix in the series features a slew of remixes and originals from Neo Fresco’s extensive, booty-shaking catalogue. About the mix, he says, “I’ve never done a mix of all my material together before, so this was exciting. It’s meant to be a sort of introduction to Neo Fresco, but if you like anything in the mix, it’s all available in long form via http://neofres.co.”
Neo Fresco is one of my favorite DJs I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing spin, so I’m absolutely thrilled to present this mix to our readers! Stream the mix, peep the interview, and be sure to let us know what you think on Twitter.
Hey, thanks for chatting with us! How was the IHeartComix Grammys party in LA?
No worries, thanks for having me. The party was cool. Shout out to iHeartComix for having me back. Also shout out to my boys at Brownies and Lemonade and Shifty Rhythms. There are so many creative people here in this city, doing awesome things.
I think the underground dance scene is really going through a revival right now in LA, and these are just a few of the communities that I’ve been able to be a part of, growing up here over the last decade. Also, big love to all the family at Mad Decent and Teamwork that have really supported me over the years as well.
2016 has already been a great year for music. I’m excited to see what else is in store.
You’re the founder of Shifty Rhythms, an LA based collective and record label. What was your driving force behind creating this collective?
Well if you really want to go back to the origins, Shifty Rhythms actually started as a music blog in December 2008. I was living with my friend – the dude who taught me how to DJ – Danny Parra. We were just blog house nerds and were downloading and listening to so much music that we wanted to share with everyone. This was right before the whole music blog thing really popped off, so it was still really the Wild West of online file sharing, and we would just write articles and post any music that we found and really liked. As everyone knows now, that time came and went. The internet police did their thing, and we really were getting tired of consistently keeping up a blog. We really weren’t the best journalists.
Even back in 2009 a lot of my friends and I were making our first songs, and really just falling in love with the actual production side of things. I still love digging for tracks, and never will stop looking for new music. I’m so inspired by other people’s art, but the idea of making and DJing my own just started to seem more and more appealing. Eventually it wasn’t a choice… we just had to make music every day. So we made a bunch of music and started DJing college parties and little underground functions in LA, but we wanted to take it to the next level.
In a pretty short amount of time, we started throwing live shows all over the city with names like GET SHIFTY and THE SHIFT, and it became our thing. We would bring in outside guys to headline and then pretty much just fill the rest of the lineup with local producers and DJs that were just looking for exposure. I remember booking Dillon Francis for $400 when he first started doing his thing. One time we even had a secret show with Diplo. The club pretty much functioned as a steam room that night.
2012 was when I partnered up with my great friend (and one of my favorite DJs) Chad Kenney aka DJ GOJ!RA and we decided to make this an actual company, by releasing music in a more official capacity and presenting ourselves as professionals. We had so many friends making great music, but we were young and didn’t have a lot of connections at the time. Labels and managers and agents weren’t reaching out. So we wanted to build our own collective to be the sort of mothership for everything that we all did individually.
Eventually Soundcloud became the place where the community really thrived online, and we met so many new producers through the site, who went on to release through our label. That pretty much brings us up to the present moment. It’s all been slow and organic, and not until this last year have I really felt like our artists are starting to get the spins that they deserve. There were a lot of times when I didn’t see the point of continuing to foster the community, but now it feels really cool to have this collective made up of real friends, really helping each other out. I think people have started to realize the value of this, and that’s why the idea of collectives have become so popular these days.
Regardless, I’m thankful and inspired looking back on what we’ve built so far.
As both an artist and a label head, do you find that the music you release through Shifty Rhythms tends to influence or inspire your own sound?
Absolutely. Every single one of our artists that we’ve released with, that we’ve gotten a mix from, that we’ve done a show with – everyone inspires me. I wouldn’t give them the platform if I didn’t believe in each of these artists individually.
I think we linked with Hex Cougar when he had 35 followers, and now he’s become one of the craziest producers I know and has an audience 20k deep. Also, I take a ton of inspiration from this young producer that we linked with a couple years ago named AYA. He’s just started releasing music, but already makes some of the most mind bending club tracks I’ve ever heard.
We have a lot of young guns that work their ass off just because they love this shit. And it’s been crazy to see everyone’s improvement through the years. Shout out all my other Shifty fam too – no way I can list all of you, but you know who you are. Thanks for inspiring me.
Along with Shifty Rhythms, you work as an accomplished videographer and film director for many artists, including Mad Decent founder Diplo. Though they’re both different art forms, do you ever find that there’s an overlap in your creative process with directing and producing?
Of course, there are so many similarities. Perhaps the most obvious is producing vs video editing. Whether you’re working on Ableton, Premiere, or even After Effects, the process is actually very similar technically. However, the bad side of that is that it makes it really hard for me to spend a whole day editing video, and then switch over and edit music all night after that.
But beyond the technical side of things, I find a lot of inspiration for music through both narrative and documentary video that I direct, and I find a lot of inspiration for video and design ideas through the music I listen to.
Being a DJ and producer myself has really helped me understand how best to capture artists that I’m filming on stage or shooting in a music video, and how to approach the situation as well. Some times as a film guy in the music world, the best talent to have is knowing when to just shut up and give artists space, and when it’s okay to be interactive and shoot. I think what a lot of videographers forget is that this isn’t the film industry, so the video is always going to come second to the music. If you don’t like it, you should be working in television or on features.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
Well, my parents always told me to stay out of debt. I think that’s probably the best piece of professional advice I’ve ever heard… but I’m assuming you meant music advice… that’s a hard one.
I’m thankful to have been able to work very closely with some of the biggest DJs in the world, and I’ve already learned so many invaluable life lessons of both what and what not to do. I don’t know who told me this first, but my girlfriend Taylour Paige told me this very special insight last. This applies to everyone, but particularly regarding people that choose a career in the entertainment industry: always keep a close group of friends and loved ones who you completely trust, and who you know have your back if anything goes wrong.
There are a lot of “yes men” and people in this world who are attracted to the wrong things, and who will take advantage of you. But if you have a solid community around you, I believe you can avoid a lot of that bullshit.
Neo Fresco – Soundcloud Celebrity (AYA Remix)
Neo Fresco – Can’t Stop (Wine Pon) ft. SPLURT [EXCLUSIVE]
SPLURT – OMW2SYG (Neo Fresco Remix)
Neo Fresco – Spandex [EXCLUSIVE]
Major Lazer – Bubble Butt (Neo Fresco Remix)
Neo Fresco – Sublimation [EXCLUSIVE]
Sabzi – The Woods (Neo Fresco Remix)
Neo Fresco – Red Pyramid X [EXCLUSIVE]
Neo Fresco – Reaper
Madeaux & Neo Fresco – Ego Death
Boys Noize & Pilo – Cerebral (Neo Fresco Remix)