Henry Johnstone, Sydney - Australia - on 1/6/12
Desyn Masiello is kicking off his Faciendo collective concept with Tom Morgan in Australia this weekend. Though what is Faciendo? Earlier this week we spoke to the English DJ where he filled us in on the concept as well how the dance scene has changed dramatically over the last five years and the effects this has had on his and many of his contemporaries' careers.
Pulse: You’ve arrived in Australia quite early before your first gig. What are you planning on getting up to? Desyn Masiello: Well I’ve been outside the hotel once to go for a jog because I’m a bit fat and I need to get rid of some of the blubber on my belly. Other than that I’ve just been in bed being a sloth.
Oh there’s nothing better than slothing. It’s the best. Yes, slothing is the best. I’m a real sloth but even after two days I was starting to get really agitated. It’s hard to stay in bed longer than that – I was in bed for like 40 hours! After that you start getting back aches and the like.
So what’s the plan before your gig in Melbourne on Friday? Well this is the first real Faciendo tour. We’ve had a few dates before, but we’ve all played separately. This is the first one where we [Tom Morgan] bring our concept together, where we rub out the fact that we’re individual DJs and that DJs don’t typically like sharing music with each other. This is where we’re going to put our best music together and actually try and play one set together. Not back to back, but a single set from both our music collections. So because of that we’re actually going to be playing from Traktor, which of course a lot of DJs use these days, and I’ve been converting about 20 years of my music collection to work in Traktor for this weekend. It’s a huge process, so that’s really all I’ve been doing! I’m still only 30-40% of the way through, but hopefully I’ll have it all done by Thursday night so I can have a breather before the gig.
From what I’ve read about the Faciendo concept there seems to be a lot of emphasis on mixing and the magic that can come from the marriage of different tracks. That must mean there’s a lot preparing and planning that goes into a Faciendo live set, right? Yeah a lot goes in. We try and melodically mix across many different styles from minimal to house and tech and a bit of progressive. For one of our radio mixes recently we even did a drum and bass mix. We kind of have a belief that there’s a difference between a real DJ mix and just anyone putting records together. The advent of laptop DJing has meant that a lot of the people who were only DJs are being forgotten about. A lot of producers I used to know could never mix, but it’s not like that anymore, all the producers now – and good on them, they’ve been stuck in studios for a long time – they’re all out there now, they’re the DJs now.
So all of us [Faciendo] dabble in production, but none of us are known as producers because we’ve all come from DJing, which we all look upon as something completely separate from production. We see DJing as creating a one, two or twelve hour piece of music where the transitions between the records can create something even more magical than the records themselves. And I think that maybe that’s getting a little bit forgotten with how quickly things are evolving in the music scene.
So that’s definitely one side of us – we are in love with the art of DJing and we spend crazy amounts of time on it. I could tell you some crazy stories, like for instance around four or five years ago I wrote this little program, as I used to be in IT, and downloaded about a million record samples off Juno, and Tom [Morgan] spent six months listening to all those samples, because he wanted to find all those secret records – he had such an enthusiasm for it. Another guy in Faciendo, Balaeric - he listens to every single release on Beatport and Juno that comes out every week…that’s between five and ten thousand! I mean these guys are dedicated. They could be spending that time in the studio making music, but they actually think that DJing is an artform in itself.
So the idea behind Faciendo is that we want to program a whole night and build it from beginning to end with a huge range of different music. It’s kind of going back to the days when really clued up promoters would book a really good warm up DJ and then have a different kind of DJ after that and so on, so as there would be a musical flow to the night. We want to take care of the whole night in that kind of way by bringing all our music together.
You seem to have a thing for collectives - one recalls SOS not too long ago. Do you prefer DJing with others as opposed to on your own? I love DJing on my own. DJing is the one thing I care about and love the most in my life, aside from my family. So not really! [laughs] But DJing with others is a really cool thing to be able to do as well. It’s really nice to be able to bond with other people through music. I guess it’s sort of akin to being in a band and also playing solo – a lot of people do both and enjoy them both equally.
You kind of went off the radar for a little while a few years back and disappeared from the scene. What happened there? Well I think I stopped working with SOS in 2010. Since then I had certain offers to do things like CDs and I wasn’t really feeling it. You can’t do something just because the mechanics of the industry require you to do it, you have to feel it inside. I knew that if I did a CD it just wouldn’t have turned out to be something that I would have been really proud of. And also music has been in such a big transition. Music is always evolving and in the past ten years I’ve seen it go from progressive house being the top dance music of the world, to the minimal DJs coming through, and now DJs are playing more housey stuff. There’s been a big change and I wasn’t really prepared to stick my head out there and make a statement about what I was playing at that time. I was just working hard and listening to as much music as I could, setting up a studio at home and working in that. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and work on yourself before you go back out there.
And to be honest Faciendo has taken two years – it’s something I’ve been developing with the other guys that whole time. It’s quite a big project to get so many people together; there’s nearly 30 DJs involved in the collective. Our radio show goes out to 18 stations across the world and that took a long time to set up; there’s a lot of contacts and relationships you have to develop. Then there is the staff that has come on board to organise the business model moving forward and organise all the DJs. I mean Faciendo has taken a long time from planting the seed to where it is now putting on our first real gigs. So that’s what I’ve been doing, basically working in the background preparing to relaunch myself and all the people I’m now connected to.
Going back to you talking about mix CDs before, I spoke with James Zabiela not too long ago and he mentioned that he will probably never record another mix CD, that podcasts and online mixes are far more worthwhile. How do you feel? Would you ever record another one? Yeah I’d love to do another CD. I think with a podcast you don’t put quite as much of yourself into them, because there’s so many of them and it’s so diluted, they’re now a tool for getting your latest tracks out or whatever. Whereas a CD is something that because people want to buy it – and obviously that’s far fewer people now than there was – you have to put so much more effort into it to make it worthwhile. I think that whole process now has made the quality control go up even more, which actually suits my ethos completely, because I’ve always thought that a DJ mix is a piece of art that should affect people. It shouldn’t just be something that people listen to once and then they’re onto the next thing. I do see what James is saying, completely, but personally I love the fact that you have to make something really special now for it to be worthwhile, because that’s what it’s all about.
When I heard that you were touring it reminded me of another name, Luke Fair, who I’ve not heard too much from of late. Do you guys still keep in touch? Yeah I do occasionally. Luke’s a bit of a rogue man, out there on his own. He’s a funny guy, Luke. As everyone is fully aware, the whole progressive scene has been quite humbled with what’s happened over the last five or six years and the change that’s happened in the industry. A lot of DJs who had huge bookings and a big demand, it’s not the same for them anymore. And that’s the big guys, so imagine the little guys like myself and Luke – we were never huge DJs really, we just did our thing, got lucky and managed to land a few mix CDs. So for people like us it’s been really tough the last three or four years. I know that Luke actually survived for a couple of years through online professional poker.
Wow, that’s awesome! Isn’t it? I’m actually in awe of that! I think he’s an absolute legend, I was quite impressed when he told me that.
Are you really finding it a lot more competitive nowadays? Having a well established name must be something you can rely on? I’ve managed to maintain my career from the last ten years through the connections I’ve had and the word of mouth that I’ve established in certain cities where I have a strong following. Yes I’m not as busy as I used to be, but I think that’s good for me as well because I was kind of working too hard at one point and never had time for anything else in my life. And now having some free time I’ve managed to set up Faciendo with the other six residents who are involved. I never would have had the time to do that a few years ago. But I don’t look at it like anything’s been lost or gained really. Everything’s changing all the time, you’ve just got to go with it.
Faciendo Australia Tour 2012 Dates
01.06.12 Melbourne, Fluiflife @ Onesixone
02.06.12 Sydney, Deeper Sounds @ One22
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