We sat down with Calcium to chat about his favorite original tracks, prepping for festival sets, and more!
In the dubstep world today, plenty of the most raw and innovative sounds spawn from budding young producers. At only 22 years old, Houston-based DJ and producer Calcium has already graced mainstages and landed releases on Never Say Die, WAKAAN, and more. His production journey began at merely 14 years old when he acquired his first DAW and began making music, drawing inspiration from revered dubstep icons such as 50 Carrot and Requake.
After spending years honing his craft, Calcium debuted his first label release with the To The Bone EP on Bassweight Records. Cracking skulls with bone-splintering standouts like “F.W.Y.S.” and “Ballin’,” the producer unsurprisingly gained traction with dubstep fanbases and peers alike. Continuously evolving a delectably deviant sound, it wasn’t long before Calcium found his way onto A-list imprints Circus Records, Black Label, Welcome Records, and more.
While Calcium’s trajectory is nowhere close to reaching its finish, he’s already seen quite the influx of notoriety. Supported by an array of industry powerhouses such as Excision and NGHTMRE, Calcium has obliterated stages around the world with his cinematic soundscapes and hard-hitting bass – and he has no intention of hitting the brakes.
After having the pleasure of catching his set at the Lost Lands mainstage, we knew we had to sit down with the artist to discuss his latest EP Deep Streets, up-and-comers his radar, and his choice of milk. Check out his newest single “Let You Know” on your preferred platform and read on for a closer look at Calcium!
Stream Calcium – Let You Know on Spotify:
Thanks for taking the time to chat today! Congrats on yet another incredible Lost Lands set under your belt! How was it performing this year versus 2019?
Lost Lands was amazing! Everything I could’ve asked for in a festival set, they delivered. It felt so surreal being on the mainstage this year. The biggest difference for me was production. Instead of playing a typical DJ set, as I did in 2019, I played a majority of originals and it felt so good to display all the new music I had in stock.
I can imagine creating sets for large-scale festivals versus club shows might look different. What does your creative process look like when you’re making a set for the biggest bass event in America?
For bigger shows, I try to make big edits with long and suspenseful build-ups and very exciting drops! I’m always thinking big for those, versus playing a club where I do mostly surprising drops with minimal build-ups. Both are very different but very effective, in my opinion.
You’ve got standout releases on Never Say Die Black Label (RIP), Disciple, Welcome Recs, WAKAAN, etc. Through listening to your discography, you’ve got a super diverse sound! Do you approach releasing on some labels differently than others?
Honestly, no! [Laughs] I typically just put together a playlist with literally every single thing I make regardless of the genre and I let them pick out what they want. I do get surprised and very excited when a label picks out my non-dubstep stuff. I’m like yes! A switch-up is always nice. Shout out Disciple for taking my midtempo stuff – aka my song “Blessed.”
If you could pick two songs of yours that you feel best encapsulate your range, which would they be?
My two picks that really describe my current sound would have to be “Dissolve” (Disciple) and “Deep Streets” (NSD). The reason behind that is because those are the two songs that I am currently the proudest of. I still go back and casually listen to the two all the time. They capture so much emotion in both of them. “Dissolve” is about disassociating during quarantine and watching time fly by in a weird way, and “Deep Streets” was about me testing my limits on one singular song and pushing my sound to an absolute limit before my computer takes a shit on me lol.
I checked out the breakdown of your track “Dissolve” and you mentioned Phiso showing you a ton of helpful production tricks. Are there any other artists who have given you helpful tips, or any you would like to learn from if you had the chance?
Yes! Shout out Phiso for real. My guy made me rethink my whole technique. But over the past couple of years, I would say Phiso, Maddubz, Phonon, and a few others really gave me solid critique on my sound and helped me advance even further when I felt I was at my cap. So shout out to them for real!
You’ve already taken 2021 by storm with the release of your Deep Streets EP earlier this year. What was your favorite track to make on the EP?
Easily “Deep Streets.” That was single-handedly the most fun I’ve ever had making a tune. I don’t think I’ve ever jammed out harder by myself in my room to any other song I’ve made. And I still do! [Laughs]
In a scene where there’s a constant, almost overwhelming flurry of new music, I’ve seen a lot of discourse about churning out singles versus releasing less and placing greater emphasis on larger projects. Being that you have your fair share of both single releases and larger works, do you have a preference between the two?
Honestly, I enjoy doing it all! I had a hiatus on releasing EPs for a while because I felt as if the tunes I had didn’t go well together in an EP. Then I started writing tunes in groups again and found a new appreciation towards that. But I always wanted them to all have their own release, and it was a smart move for a while in my opinion! Each song has its own little journey, but it’s really fun to make songs that match the same mood for EPs and stuff.
You once said Peekaboo is an artist people should look out for. Now that he’s been gaining significant traction over the years, what other emerging artists do you think people should have on their radar?
Finally, with a name like Calcium, I have to ask – what kind of milk do you drink?
OAT MILK BABY! I have a lactose issue. It’s not intolerance, it just makes my stomach feel weird – specifically for milk only. Oat milk is also 9000x tastier than any other milk and I refuse to think there’s better milk out there! Anyways thanks for the questions y’all! This was really fun!