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A Conversation with DJ Flash Horton

Artist DJ Flash Horton on EDM, the South and recent show in LA.

Some of your tracks sound different from each other–is it trap, house, I am not sure, but I like it—what would you classify your music as—or do you?

Yes, in fact some of the tracks are under the Trap umbrella but I also make many forms of House music as well. I don’t particularly categorize my music as a whole because I believe I can make whatever genre of music I want to.

When did you first get exposed to EDM? 

I’ve always been exposed to EDM, problem was I didn’t know it. The real undeniable exposure happened when I went to Panama City Beach for spring break the first time. The moment my friends and I hit the Florida line, we kept hearing this song everywhere we went.  It didn’t matter whether we were in the lobby of our hotel, on the beach or at the club we heard this same song over and over. We loved the energy because it was so different from what we normally listen to. Turns out it was Animals by Martin Garrix. 

Did you feel a connection with it right away? 

Absolutely! I just had to understand how this song was playing everywhere with two words in it.  When it played at the foam party my friends and I went to, and I saw how happy and elated everyone was– even my friends who never even heard of EDM music were jumping and having a blast–I knew that was the music that I wanted to make. That’s what I wanted people to feel from my music.

You are in North Carolina, what is the music scene like there now?

The music scene is growing tremendously in the larger cities like Raleigh, where I’m from, and Charlotte.  Of course, we have acts like J. Cole, Little Brother, Da Baby and plenty of other talented people. Though there are a very small amount of EDM DJ/producers to come from North Carolina and make it big, there is certainly a growing scene that is helping young artists get to the next level.

For you personally, as a black EDM DJ, what is the vibe like at shows? 

People are definitely surprised to say the least. But I do like the fact that the crowd is focused on the music, if the music is hitting and the mix is right, they are going to be accepting of a dinosaur behind the decks. I have to be honest though, most people assume I don’t know what I’m doing because typically most black DJ’s only do hip-hop and RnB and typically they are pleasantly surprised by me.

“Hurricane” with Dani Cohn got a lot of hits, how did it feel, watching those numbers keep growing?

It was such a great feeling just to have people listen. I was at my night job when it released, and I can remember how excited I was that entire night watching the view count jump tremendously over and over again. 

How does creating work for you? Do you get a beat in your head and then run to make a track, or do you just play around with it until something starts to work?

I often put tracks together in my head and then try to get the idea out as complete as possible, but I also have a lot of tracks that came together just by goofing off with different sounds. It’s imperative that the process remains fun, that’s when the music is truly organic and not forced. I used to get frustrated but that was simply because I trying to force an idea instead of approaching like a kid would a new playground.

What do you want people to do and feel when they play your music? 

I want people to dance and feel the joy of freedom in my music. If people are dancing and letting go of what troubles them even if for just one drop, I feel that my work is not only justified, but effective.

You have a following in the Netherlands, how did it feel to know your music was gaining interest so far away?

I honestly felt like I was on my way. When I started scratching the surface of EDM, my favorite subgenre was Big Room and majority of the artist I listened to and made mixes with their music were from The Netherlands, so to know that my music is spreading where some of my favorite artists are from, was the sign I needed to keep going and get even better.

When we were first connected on a project last summer, your album, Rebirth, was just getting released in Japan. I enjoyed that. What inspired the music on that album? 

I have to say it was certainly inspired by everything I was going through or feeling. I was working two full time jobs so I rarely got to hang out with my friends or see my family, so I had plenty of time to myself while making music. This album expresses what I feel is a spectrum of emotions I was feeling or wanted to feel during production, while also showing a spectrum of the EDM umbrella while involving newer subgenres like Hybrid, Trap and Hard Trap, as well as more established subgenres like Future House and Big Room. 

We finally met when in person when you were out here in LA for a show. What did you think of LA, the music scene and people?

I loved it!!! I met a lot of great people and I felt welcomed everywhere I went. I love the way the city is accepting of artists coming from all over the place. Even meeting other producers in LAX going through the TSA checkpoints was cool. In a strange sense I almost felt at home. I’d love to make it my new home.

Do you plan to do more touring soon? And if so—what cities would make your dream itinerary? 

Absolutely! Expeditiously at that! Of course, every touring DJ or DJ looking to tour would want hit all of the major cities but the three places I want to perform the most may seem odd. I want to perform in Frankfurt, Germany where I was born, mainly cause I haven’t been back since my family moved to the states. Raleigh, North Carolina, because that’s mainly where I grew up, but Greensboro, North Carolina is a definite. Without the encouragement I got from the people there in Greensboro, there’s no telling what I’d be doing right now. That’s where I taught myself how to DJ, had my first free and paying gigs. It would be a crime for me never to play there again.

What are you working on next? What can we look forward to?

I have a ton of new music ready… new genres I’ve started producing along with new music from the others I’ve previously done. I feel like I’ve really progressed and some may say even growth hacked my skills ,so I cant wait to show the world what I have been up to. My upcoming single “Capricorn” will be released this month and I’m really excited to put festival style music out as the season is beginning. The premise behind “Capricorn” is that as much as us Capricorns seem reserved and modest, we also know how to party (laughs) .And I believe from intro to outro the people will get a feel for who I am as an artist and make them want more.

Interview by Stephanie Michelle.

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