Artist Name: DFRNT
DFRNT (real name Alex Cowles) is a music producer, DJ and designer. He produces deep dub-techno, house, bass, chill-out and electronic music. His DJ sets are best described as deep, but danceable.
DFRNT hosts the fortnightly Insight podcast where he showcases music that he enjoys. He also runs the Echodub label putting out select releases from a vareity of producers. DFRNT’s latest project is Cut. A netlabel specialising in free music done properly. Alex also writes the SittingOvation blog, a regularly updated site focusing on the best of deeper dubstep, bass, dub-techno and electronic music downloads, reviews, mixes, tutorials, events and articles.
Currently living in Edinburgh, Scotland; Alex also works full-time as lead designer and web developer for a search engine marketing company.
To date, DFRNT has played on the same bill as Scuba, Sepalcure, Distal, Julio Bashmore, Oneman, Synkro, Kahn, Joker, Dorian Concept, Africa Hitech, Harmonic 313, Rob Sparx, Ruckspin, Indigo, Forsaken, Stenchman, Teeth, Antiserum, Deville, Hellfire Machina, Paranoise, Mermaids, SGNL and Desto to name a few. His DJing has also taken him to Boston, Burlington, NYC, Philly, Baltimore, Washington DC, Orlando, Puerto Rico, San Francisco, Portland, Belgium, Poland and all over the UK. Prior to DJing as DFRNT, Alex has also supported and DJed alongside Mylo, Pendulum, Tim Deluxe, Dave Clarke, Krafty Kuts, A Skillz, Dan Greenpeace, Utah Saints, Vicious Circle and more.
01. How did you approached to the dj profession?
I used to DJ with a friend in his bedroom. We used to do that for years playing trance and house music. I also moved on to drum and bass after inheriting his decks at university. I was then friends with another DJ at university and we approached the university with an idea for a booking, with the condition that we would be able to do the support slot. We ended up getting the booking and the university enjoyed our support so much that they gave us a regular slot in the student’s union.
We did that for a while, and I also secured a small residency at a bar playing funk, soul and jazz.
I moved back down to Edinburgh and played a few gigs through friends and contacts – by this time I was playing electro, but it wasn’t bigtime, and I stopped enjoying the tracks I was playing, so I stopped.
I then started producing dubstep and once I had a couple of small releases I ended up getting a few small-time DJ gigs locally, and from there I’ve had a few more elsewhere in the world.
I’m not really a big touring DJ, and I don’t get booked very often. There are so many other DJs who play more regularly. Right now I don’t even play 1 gig per month on average.
02. Tell us of your first time playing in a in club.
It was back in the student union, and my friend and I were playing mashups and remixes of well known tracks – it went down pretty well and we both had fun, but it wasn’t ground-breaking in any respect.
03. What about your new album “Fading”?
Well the funding term has now been completed and I managed to raise more than my target amount – so I’m in the process of sorting out the manufacturing of the vinyl and CD products – then the long and difficult process of promotion will follow and finally it should see a release in a few months, depending on how long the manufacture and distribution takes!
04. Until today you have raised plenty of funds on Indiegogo.com for this project, did you expected so much support?
No, I was worried that I had aimed too high. I thought that $5000 was too much to ask for – even though it was what I needed. I pushed the project really hard though, and I guess my hard work in trying to promote it paid off. I ended up with so much more than I expected!
05. What lead you to found labels like Cut and Echodub?
So many things – other interviews have highlighted both labels, but ultimately I just wanted to put out music that I enjoyed and provide a platform for those producers who I think deserve to be heard. A stepping stone for them. I also like to start projects and i enjoy staying busy – so there’s always something new on the horizon.
06. What are your favorite records label?
It’s so hard to choose labels – because I find there are not many labels that have consistency within their output. I enjoy most of the output from labels like Hotflush, Aus, Tectonic, and smaller labels like Loodma Recordings or DewTone, but there is so much music being sent to me all the time that I enjoy – that it’s very hard to keep up with all the labels and their releases.
07. In your opinion how will electronic music change in the next 10 years?
In the next 10 years!! I can’t even begin to fathom what will change in 2 years!! Things move so fast and the industry changes quickly – I have trouble predicting anything at the moment, because there is so much fluctuation. Every week someone declares vinyl dead or CDs dead – but then the next week somebody says vinyl is still selling strong, or there is a market for CDs. Some people are pushing new ways of distributing and selling, some still stick to the traditional methods. There is so much happening that it’s impossible to predict.
08. What you love and what you hate in dj’s life?
I don’t have a DJs life, so I can’t really comment. The few gigs that I get – I love the travelling, and i love to see new places. But I hate being on a plane, and I don’t like to have too many late nights. I love my own bed too much!
09. We like your eclecticism that ranges from graphic design to music production, how can you manage so many different commitments?
I drink lots of energy drinks to keep my concentration levels up, and I also hate sitting doing nothing – so I am always working. Every day, every evening – I have a full time job too – so when I am not doing that – I am working on other projects. Evenings, weekends, when I travel – all the time. I love it – I love to be busy.
10. What would you suggest to a beginner dj?
Choose a different career. Music will not bring you fame or fortune, and it will not make you rich. There are too many people doing it badly. Make sure that you get a job doing something that you enjoy – but DJing should really just be a hobby – something you do to relax.