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DJ Spotlight: Q&A with Anthony Attalla

With just a week left before we hit the slopes of South Lake Tahoe for A.W.O.L. Snow Feb. 24-27th, we’re busy with last minute preparations. You can find us reading up on the top talent, like Cedric Gervais, headlining the experience, securing our tickets and hotel packages, picking out the perfect snow ‘fit, stocking up on sleep, and one last step: getting some advice from a true A.W.O.L. alumni.

Anthony Attalla showed Cabo San Lucas that he’s more than ready to party A.W.O.L. style last October. Now, he’s returning for the chillier side of things and sharing his best tips for surviving Another Way of Life.

Discover this electronic dance DJ’s advice for A.W.O.L. Snow, the story that launched his musical career, and what propelled him to be an international hit. Then, check him out live headlining Friday, Feb. 24th at Blu Nightclub in Mont Bleu Resort & Casino.

DiscoverSD: Why is A.W.O.L. unique from the other music festivals you’ve experienced?

Anthony Attalla: AWOL is special because of two primary reasons… The MUSIC and the PEOPLE.  Rarely do you have an event where the populous is adorned with such high-energy, gregarious individuals.   Everyone is there to have an amazing time and to share a common spiritual journey of positive energy amongst other like-minded partygoers.  I’ve walked away from every AWOL event with friends that have become some of the closest people in my life.  It truly is unlike any other event I play on… Oh yeah, there are some pretty amazing artists/beats on each AWOL as well... forgot to mention that!

DSD: What are your favorite memories from 2011 A.W.O.L. Sun?

AA: To be honest there are so many amazing memories… the great thing about AWOL is how they combine amazing people, great music, in an unreal setting… During AWOL Sun we are rocking to stellar music, on the beach in 90 degree weather!  Who could ask for more??? I recall being in the booth with Dirty South and a full moon shining down and him saying, “this is one of the coolest gigs I’ve ever had.”  That’s the kind of vibe AWOL brings to the table.

DSD: What are you most excited for at A.W.O.L. Snow?

AA: In true AWOL fashion they are bringing something new and interesting to the table.  Matt Martinez (head organizer of AWOL) is such a creative individual… who would think to combine EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and winter sports, especially in a setting as magical as Lake Tahoe.  AWOL taps into multiple sensory outlets that isn’t your basic clubbing experience.  AWOL Snow is no exception and just being up in the mountains, boarding during the day, and rocking to great beats at night will be a truly original experience!

DSD: What is your advice for an A.W.O.L. virgin?

AA: GET SOME REST BEFORE YOU COME!  AWOL is not for the faint of heart… it’s a high-intensity experience so come well-rested cause you definitely will leave exhausted (in the best way possible lol).

DSD: Tell us how you got started in your career. How did you start making music and DJing?

AA: It’s quite a long story, but the abbreviated version goes like this… I was a college grad that landed a great job in Detroit with a mega telecommunications company.  This is what originally brought me to that city… while I was becoming a successful corporate suit, I had been a long-time fan of electronic music.  I was the first kid in high school that I knew who was listening to this music and the same goes for college.  I was responsible to turning all my friends on to this sound and I was obsessed with it.  Naturally, I wanted to “understand” how to dj just as a hobby, so as I became financially stable in my day job it seemed only proper that I purchase turn tables and a mixer just to “play around”.  A year later I landed my first gig on NYE and word spread of my live sets.   I started getting offers to play all over and soon I was moonlighting as a corporate shark during the week and a dj playing techno on the weekends.  In 2007 I had lunch with my father (my best friend) and he asked what I needed to do to make this my profession, not just a hobby.  I told him I needed to start making my own music, not just dj’ing other peoples music, if I really wanted to make it “big”.  He told me to “quit my job” and take the chance on happiness… SO I DID!  Four years later is has been a crazy journey compiled with lots of twists and turns and a TON of hard work but I can truly say it is all finally starting to pay off.  I own a burgeoning Techno/House label, called Incorrect Music and I’ve had a string of success in the last two years that includes over 25 tracks that have hit the Top 100 Charts on the ever popular Beatport.com (basically the iTunes for EDM), and I’m performing all over the world!  I still have a lot to accomplish but I can surely see the fruits of my labor and honestly, it feels amazing!

DSD: Tell us more about Incorrect Music and what kinds of success you’ve experienced with the label.

AA: Incorrect is my baby… my labor of love if you will.  I started the label in September of 2009 as a side project to release some of my music.  I had made a concept album at the time and wanted people to hear it but also I was an “up-and-coming” artist and many of those in the same position can attest that it’s not always the easiest task getting your music out there.  Thus, I knew my education, and business expertise in the field of marketing and advertising, could benefit me in this industry as well.  So I spawned the idea in the winter of 2009 and launched the label the following September as previously mentioned.  Since that time the label has had over 50 Top 100 Tracks from artists in over 25 countries.  It’s a label that taps into multiple aesthetics because I also throw events under the “Incorrect Presents…” brand name and recently was sponsored by VitaminWater.  The sponsorship has really allowed me to flex my creative muscles and draw back on my corporate successes while managing and producing events.  Lots of even bigger projects coming in 2012!!!

DSD: Where do you find your musical inspiration? What producers and musicians are you inspired by?

AA: Growing up I was incredibly inspired by soul music such as Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Little Richard and pretty much anything from Motown.  I also am in love with rock music... mainly the stuff I grew up with like Smashing Pumpkins and other bands from the Alternative Generation.  I love listening to other successful artists from my industry but I’m really inspired the most when I hear things outside the box since I’m so inundated on a daily basis with EDM music.

DSD: How would you describe your style?

AA: If I had to put my style in words I’d describe it as “Soulful Techno”.  I play more underground and a slightly darker style but it all has an underlying soulful feel.  It’s not too tragically hip like some of the techno you hear out there.  I get really sick of the elitist assholes that think if you don’t play/listen to their style then you aren’t as “cool” as they are.  We aren’t curing cancer here… we’re making techno… so the music should reflect that.  You can still stay “true” to the underground and have fun while doing it.

 

DSD: What tracks and remixes are you most proud of to date?

AA: Oh that’s a tough one… all the tracks are like my babies.  It’s such a special process making music… full of joyous moments and times of incredible frustration.  I actually told my friend the other day, “Production is like a daily dose of insecurity” haha.  Consequently, when you are finished it’s such an uplifting feeling of accomplishment so I try not to judge one track against another.  I’ve had a ton of success the past couple years with a great deal of my tracks charting but oddly enough I’ll have a track I worked my ass off on for over a month that barely hits the charts and then have one I made in 2 days hit Top 10!  It’s always interesting to see what tracks people connect with but you can’t judge your tracks based on their success.  I more so think of the nostalgic feeling I got from each individual piece of music and try to reflect on how it made me feel whist in the process… good or bad.

DSD: What have been your greatest professional achievements so far?

AA: The whole experience of what I do truly makes me happy… especially being able to travel the world and get paid to do it.  Every time I get on a plane to fly to a city to perform it’s a constant reminder that I’m “doing it” but to be completely honest I think my greatest accomplishments are yet to come.  Not to sound morbid but if I were to die today I’d be drastically unimpressed with what I’ve achieved to date… not because I haven’t done some great stuff, cause I have… more because I know what my potential for greatness is and I won’t accept anything but accomplishing those goals.  This must be why I’m such an insane workaholic! lol

DSD: You’ve been touring all over the world. How will playing in Lake Tahoe at A.W.O.L. Snow compare?

AA: Well to begin, I’ve never been to Tahoe so the experience in and of itself will be fun and amazing as it always is going somewhere new for the first time.  The AWOL events are just so special to me that I’m super excited to see those familiar faces and new ones too.  On top of it all I’m looking forward to seeing how bad I hurt myself on the slopes lmao!

DSD: What new projects are you working on in the coming year?

AA: Besides traveling the globe I have some really special events coming up in association with VitaminWater, that I’m uber excited about (stay tuned).  Also, I already have a couple bookings scheduled in Ibiza, trips to Austria, Belgium, Amsterdam, Spain and a slew of other cool places.  Studio work is a constant and I’ve got some amazing collabs coming up with my partner in crime Tone Depth as well as some follow-up projects with my good friend Dave Nash (Cytric) , Jaceo, Kill Your Tv and Filthy Rich.  Incorrect will take the “next step” this year; the release schedule is packed well into the summer of 2012 and it’s one heavy-hitting release after another.  I’ll be doing my annual Incorrect label party in Miami for WMC (Winter Music Conference) at legendary club, Tantra on Thursday, March 22nd and also plan on doing another Incorrect night in Amsterdam for ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event) to follow up to last years ultra-successful event.  Basically it looks to be a huge year; one that I can’t wait to take by the horns and see what new adventures it shall take me on!

Love Anthony Attalla? So do we! See him live at A.W.O.L. Snow, February 24-27th in South Lake Tahoe. Ticket prices have been lowered to $100 and they’re going fast, so buy yours now. Find out more details on entertainment, hotel and ticket packages and pricing at snow.tryawol.com or email snow@tryawol.com.

See for Yourself: View our album of 2011 A.W.O.L. Sun photos at the ME by Melia in Cabo San Lucas.

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