[INTERVIEW] Deorro Recalls Inspirations Behind His Music & Production Process Ahead of Debut Ultra Miami Music Festival 2023 Performance
Raised in the EDM hub of LA, Deorro has taken the music industry by storm since emerging as an artist. For over a decade, this innovative DJ and producer has been breaking down cultural barriers and through the walls of genre with his infectious sound design. Stemming from the mind of Erick Orrosquieta, Deorro's career shot off to the moon when he released "Five Hours", which was proceeded by the global sensation "Five More Hours" with Chris Brown.
Just when you think you've seen it all, Deorro puts out something entirely new and jaw-dropping, like his 2022 debut Latin LP, Orro. After unveiling the album, Deorro embarked on his 60-date worldwide Tour De ORRO, lighting up dance floors wherever he wants. In 2023, he has started off the year strong with multiple addictive tunes such as his recent four-track EP Reflect and new electrifying single with Valentino Khan, "iMAS CRAZY!”. As Deorro gears up for his debut set at Ultra Miami Festival 2023, iEDM inquired about his latest releases and collaborations before this new milestone.
Check out iEDM's exclusive interview with Deorro below.
iEDM: What role has your Mexican background played in your taste in music? How did growing up in Los Angeles impact your mixing and production style?
Deorro: Well, lately, I've been incorporating a lot of my background because it's an easy thing to do! Raised in LA, I have always incorporated that Western sound, and the culture has really impacted my production style. I've grown up with it so it comes natural to me.
iEDM: What is your favorite venue to play at in LA and why? Outside of music, what are a few of your top locations and activities around the city?
Deorro: If I go all the way back to the beginning of my career, I used to play venues out in the streets that were like underground raves! Today, Exchange is pretty fun and Academy is dope! Outside of music I like Coney Sushi and love checking out new posts to eat in the city!
iEDM: Last year, you released your debut Latin album, ORRO, which featured 18 different collaborators. What does it mean to you to be able to include so many artists on this project and how does this huge amount of collaboration contribute to the album’s success?
Deorro: I think one of the most important things about collaborating with artists is that it opens a lot of avenues for both me and the other artists. It’s so inspiring to collaborate with other artists and evolve new sounds with them. And yeah, it's great when you have big names like Los Tucanes De Tijuana and Elvis Crespo. For them to also promote the music in their world is huge. Like I said, it opens a lot of doors for everyone.
iEDM: How did you prepare yourself physically and mentally for the massive 60-date "Tour De ORRO" you went on in 2022? Besides eating chicken wings at the Hard Rock, what are some of your other pre or post set rituals?
Deorro: It's funny. It's something that I think I can prepare for, but you kind of just fall into it. The first couple of shows, you start to realize, oh shit, I'm on tour and then after every show it just gets better and better! When you're with a group of guys that you on tour with you, the sets start to form into a more official sets. So I would say the best shows that I did are the last shows of the tour, because that's when we perfected everything between all of us!
We're big Yelpers and big foodies, it usually takes anywhere from two to four hours to find somewhere to eat. Because we're so picky! But we tend to stick to more of the hole in the wall type of spots. Sometimes we’ll hit up taco trucks and stuff like that, but yes food before sets are a must!
iEDM: What were the highlights from your EDC Mexico set? Which tracks do you think resulted in the best crowd reaction?
Deorro: The one thing that I love to do is play “No Rompas Mas” and “Payaso De Rodeo”, which are some of our traditional line dancing songs that we do at our family parties. To see that many people dance together in unison, it's a beautiful reminder of how vibrant our Mexican culture is. To have everyone participate in something together as one, there's just no words to explain the feeling!
iEDM: What is the overall theme that your 2023 EP Reflect embodies? How does each track contribute to this theme and drive home the compilation’s message?
Deorro: Each song is literally a reflection of my career. I opened up a lot of old sessions that are 7 years old and even 10 years old! Opening these songs is like opening a diary that I used to write into and seeing how I used to set up my music. I also get to see what I was thinking and feeling in those times. So I got to reflect on the past when tapping back into this music, and I think Reflect was a perfect name for the EP, because that's exactly what I did.
iEDM: In a recent radio interview, you said that “Mirrors” brings you back to your first house party, being drunk, and looking at yourself in the mirror. How do the lyrics, soundscapes, and general vibe of the track align with this moment?
Deorro: So you can picture Project X, right? It was my first party and for the sake of law enforcement let's just say I was older than 21! Well, because it was my first time getting drunk, everybody wanted to feed me drinks! It was one of those experiences when you take someone to their first rave, you just want them to have a blast. I was the innocent one in the group so everybody wanted to give me my first drink. There was this moment that I recall and I've had it a couple of times, but I walked into the restroom, looked in the mirror, and thought, man I'm having such a good time right now! If you can do that at any given moment and look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, “man, life is good”, that's a great feeling!
iEDM: What emotions and thoughts do you have when listening to “Nobody Like You”? What production techniques did you use to structure the instrumental around Lost Boy’s vocals? If the instrumental came first, how did you search for and find the perfect voice to fit it?
Deorro: “Nobody Like You” is definitely one of the older tracks and was born in 2012. It was a song that Madeleine Jayne and I made. She and I spent an entire day in the studio and wrote like six songs. It was one of her songs she played on the acoustic and I remember telling her let me produce this, please. And so that song was made first. Then, Lostboy added his touch to it. There wasn't really much I needed to do. Lostboy crushed it. He has an incredible voice. So it was easy, and he's so talented.
iEDM: From Reflect, “Help Me” is a feel-good collaboration with NIIKO X SWAE and Kiiara that seems to fall into the electro-pop category. Since this is a bit different from your usual releases, how did this collab come about?
Deorro: I love Niiko x Swae, they did a couple of shows with me and I really vibe with them. Since then ,we’ve wanted to work together, so I jumped on the opportunity to be on this track with them. I love the message and I think it was really powerful to be part of that feeling in bringing hope to people. I love that it has more of an impact than just from the music side, but also on the emotional side where you connect with people on that level. That’s the best thing about music and they gave me the opportunity to be involved with the song.
iEDM: Your new single with Valentino Khan, “iMAS CRAZY!”, is a high energy dance anthem with a bassline to match. How do your signature sounds complement each other throughout the track? In your opinion, which part of “iMAS CRAZY!” reflects your identity as an artist and why?
Deorro: First of all, Valentino Khan is one of the most talented producers I know, his mixes and his mix downs are insane. I was so stoked when he was down to work with me because I was like, “hell yeah”, one of my songs gets to sound like his! We opened up my laptop. He liked this idea that I had already started and then he took off with it. I love how he really kept it half me and half him. The first drop is more him the second drop is more me, it's like we both had our own moment. I think definitely because we are both high energies, we found a middle ground between those two and that's why the track really worked and fell into place. It was so easy to work with him.
iEDM: The second buildup in “iMAS CRAZY!” fits the title of the song perfectly. In regard to adding a ton of hype before the drop, what was the process behind creating this buildup and layering it with effects?
Deorro: You know, it's funny because I remember that being Valentino's biggest compliment on the track. He kept telling me this is one of the greatest buildups he's ever heard! And I was like, wait, I thought we both did that! He then applied his mixing in the sounds to it but I do remember I wasn't happy with it until he told me. I started listening to him and thinking oh, this is pretty good! But yeah, that's our main goal when it comes to these buildups to really, really, start getting the crowd prepared for what's coming. The more and more I play it, I'm just like, wow, man, this is really good!
iEDM: What vision and ideas do you have for the future of electronic and Latin music? In what ways do you think we can bridge these genres even closer together?
Deorro: So my next project is going to be along the lines of indie rock in Espanol, EDM, I'm even throwing in some ska (a genre that originated in Jamaica and is the precursor to rocksteady and reggae)! I will be singing a lot of it in Spanish. The main world that I'm mashing these genres together are going to be with EDM, each song will be 50/50. Like I said, continue opening doors for not just me, but for other artists I work with and for those that can be inspired by this new music. As long as I keep applying my culture, I feel like this will always be easy for me and it will always be fun. I've been having the most fun in music this past year than I have in the last 10 years because of me embracing my culture. And that's a game changer for me.
iEDM: How does it feel to finally be making your Ultra Festival debut? What are you most looking forward to at Ultra and are there any surprises for your set to hint at for your fans to get excited about?
Deorro: It's a huge honor, obviously! It's something I think every artist adds to their bucket list. I haven't been this nervous for a show in a long time. I get nervous for every show but Ultra is a whole different level of nervousness and excitement. I got a little taste when Cheat Codes brought me on stage and I was like, oh, yeah, this is serious. I definitely got some surprises for my debut!
Photos Courtesy of Deorro
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