PUZL Records alum and LAMP family member Damon Steele drops his debut mix for us this week. It’s full of all the right vibes to get you in mood for that trip to the desert. Sun soaked, dripping with luscious laid back sound all you need to do is plug in, close your eyes and get ready to be transported to another frequency.
MR PUZL: Mr. Steele, welcome to the mix series. We know it’s been long overdue. This being your debut mixtape for LAMP what did you want to try and achieve with the vibe, message etc.?
Damon Steele: This is a special weekend for me with Coachella starting on Friday. This is my 6th year in a row and I’ve always found these trips to Indio to be extremely inspiring and a major catalyst to my artistic growth. I wanted to make a mix that encapsulated some of the festival’s energy as well as pay homage to some of the amazing artists gracing the stage this year.
MP: For those that aren’t familiar with you yet, tell our audience a bit about your journey into music and how you ended up in LA and ultimately as part of our family.
DS: I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and was lucky to have a lot of friends that turned me on to new and more progressive music, especially when it came to hip-hop and electronic music. I bought my first turntables at 16, started playing local shows and festivals and haven’t stopped. In 2011 I moved to study at the University of Oregon. I continued to DJ and find my sound playing at underground parties, nightclubs, and headlining events for Red Bull and the university itself. I moved again to LA in January 2015 to study music production at Point Blank music school and pursue my music career full time. It was there that I was fortunate enough to meet the founders of LAMP and land an internship working for LAMP.
MP: As we continue to expand our sounds here at LAMP we always look to the newer members for some guidance navigating the massive genre landscape that electronic music has to offer. Who are some artists and labels that are inspiring you at the moment?
DS: Some of my favorite artists right now are KAYTRANADA, Mura Masa, Anderson .Paak, James Blake, The Kount, FKJ, ZHU, and SG Lewis. As far as labels go, I’m a big fan of HW&W, Future Classic out of Sydney, Next Wave, Stones Throw, and Mind of a Genius
MP: To further that point, what do you hope to continue to bring to LAMP and PUZL Records as far as your own style?
DS: I just want to continue to make music that innovates and pushes boundaries regardless of the style. I’ve never been somebody who attaches their artistic identity to a single genre or scene and my goal is to make more of the music that inspires me whether it’s house, hip-hop, future bass, neo-soul, nu-disco, or pop.
MP: Your debut EP on PUZL Records definitely revealed an eclectic aspect to your music. You’re working on some new music as well as a remix for us. What can you tell us about the direction you’re heading in this year.
DS: I’m currently working on a few remixes as well as a full length LP I plan on releasing later this year. These projects will be just as eclectic as my first release but while my first project was more of a musical exploration based on other records that inspired me, these new projects are more dialed in to an aesthetic I’ve been building over the last year as I’ve vastly expanded my production knowledge, combined with collaborative efforts from other young and talented singers, rappers, live musicians and producers. Expect harder hitting beats, groovier rhythms, and more euphoric melodies and progressions.
MP: How do you see the changing landscape of electronic music evolving as more producers are looking to perform hybrid, or live sets of their work? Are you looking to explore those avenues as well?
DS: I see it as electronic music finally coming full circle. I think there’s something undeniably powerful about somebody performing live music whether alone or in a band. When you combine that with all that music technology offers in 2017, there really is no limit as to where it can go. That being said, I’ve been working hard to develop a custom live set for my own shows and plan to roll it out later this year, so stay tuned!
MP: When confronted with a creative block during a studio session what do you usually do to clear your mind and come back with a fresh perspective on things?
DS: I’m lucky enough to live about 1 minute from the beach in Playa Del Rey so every time I find myself getting really stuck I just hop on my bike or skateboard and take a cruise down the bike path. That always helps me come back feeling refreshed.
MP: As Coachella is only a few short days away people are directing lineups and sharing some of their favorite acts they hope to catch over the weekend. Who are you looking forward to seeing while you’re there?
DS: So many artists, but a few of my favorites this year are, The xx, Crystal Castles, Sam Gellaitry, Francis and the Lights, Bon Iver, Tycho, Mura Masa, Solumun, Floating Points, Autograf, Justice, Porter Robinson & Madeon, Kaytranada, Skepta, Tale of Us, GoldLink, and of course Kendrick Lamar.
1. When I Get There – Big Wild
2. Lush Life (feat. Dani Poppitt) – Leo Islo
3. Oh Devil – Electric Guest
4. Thousand Words (feat. Kaleem Taylor) – Memeb
5. Terrified (Zikomo Remix) – Childish Gambino
6. So Clear (feat. Meeka Kates) – Kraak & Smaak
7. Beautiful Mind – Moods
8. Dazed – Jafunk
9. All Night (KAYTRANADA Extended Joint) – Chance The Rapper & Knox Fortune
10. Feel4U – Sunni Colón
11. Lov U – Daze
12. The Hero – Moods
13. Meditation (feat. Jazmine Sullivan & KAYTRANADA) – GoldLink
14. Sunrice – Sndwvs
15. Just Friends (Wantigga Flip) – Musiq Soulchild
16. Contact! – The Kount
17. Holding On (A-Trak, Promnite & starRo Remix) – Black Atlass
18. Sun – BLOWSOM