Denver-based artist UnderLux swung by to chat about his beginnings in the scene, his recent EP, working with Maddy O’Neal, and more.
Colorado has been a hotbed of talent in the electronic music scene over the years, bringing the community artists who have explored a range of genres from dubstep to house and everything in between. One producer from Denver who has truly embraced the dynamic nature of the dance music scene is none other than UnderLux. This rising artist has released everything from indie dance and breaks to dubstep and progressive house since the project began, and he’s clearly not stopping anytime soon.
This year has seen UnderLux continue his rise through the ranks of the scene. He dropped off self-released tracks like “Where Are You At” and “Tequila Tasting” and a remix of Maddy O’Neal and Rodrick Malone’s “Follow Me” before teaming up with the two artists for “Here’s to You” in the midst of the summer. A quick trip to the indie dance realm on “Cry Star” led UnderLux to explore the trance and progressive house realms on his latest EP, Hacking The Circuits.
UnderLux wasn’t just focused on studio work this year either, as he consistently took the stage throughout Denver and other reaches of North America to play some impressive sets. Now, as the year begins to wind down, we had the chance to catch up with him to discuss the past, present, and future of his career. Listen to his exclusive guest mix and read on for the conversation.
Stream EDMID Guest Mix 398 || UnderLux on SoundCloud:
Hi UnderLux. Thanks so much for chatting with us today. Let’s dig into your history before we dig into your recent work! Who were some of your earliest musical influences and favorite artists? What pushed you to the electronic side of the spectrum?
Hi! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. My influences come from every corner of the world. My family is full of musicians, artists, and creatives, so music has always been in my life. My uncle was the conductor for the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, and my oldest living relative just turned 98, so my musical influences date back to the era of Beethoven and contemporary music as far back as the 1920s.
Personally, the first album I ever bought myself was Gorillaz’s debut album. I also have lyrics from Clint Eastwood tattooed on my chest so that I’m reminded every day “Rhythm, you have it or you don’t. That’s a fallacy.” I switched from bands to rap to electronic music because I felt that, at the time, EDM was the most authentic way to express myself as an artist. I didn’t need band members or a persona to create it. I could compose what was in my heart and leave it up to the listener to find their own meaning in the melodies and songs I released.
You recently began your adventure into the melodic house, techno, and bass house realms with the release of Hacking The Circuits. Can you tell us more about what drove you to explore these genres for this release?
Hacking The Circuits was created as a way to express what has been exciting me most in music recently. I am surrounded by extremely talented artists who all make amazing music in various genres. I found that over the years, I tend to make things to impress my friends or to fit in alongside what I think is appropriate for the shows I play.
After a lot of meditation and experimentation in the studio, I found this style of music reigns most true to myself and what I would make without the outside world’s influence. I wanted to challenge myself to make something I was proud of without the influence of show bookings or concern over how receptive the current music scene I am associated with would be.
Before that release, you also worked with Maddy O’Neal and Rodrick Malone on “Here’s To You” after remixing their track “Follow Me.” Did you approach this collaboration differently than your solo releases? What’s the story behind how this tune came about?
Collaborations are always a different beast than self-released songs. Working with Maddy was an honor and the most fun I have had in a long time. We re-wrote the song six to eight times, depending on who’s counting, and it was all done with a very open and humble mindset. It was multiple sessions where there was no such thing as a bad idea, and every suggestion was tried, and then kept or deleted. [Laughs]
Having someone like Maddy, whom I trust and have great respect for, was essential to making that track. It was something neither of us had really done before, and being able to use each other as a springboard for ideas was essential to the final outcome. With self-released songs, you don’t always have the security of another individual confirming your decisions. With “Here’s To You,” Maddy and I had each other to guarantee that every stanza was exactly how we wanted it.
Back in August, you had the chance to play the Other Side stage during the Pretty Lights Pre-Party at Cervantes. What was that experience like?
Playing with my friends for the Pretty Lights pre-party was a dream come true. PL was the first electronic artist I really based my style off of, and coming from Boston all the way to Denver and eventually being able to be a part of his tour was amazing. Not only do I idolize the management, artists, and crews that work at Cervantes and for Pretty Lights, but I also have the honor of calling them my friends. Without my manager, Phil Digiacomo of Mammoth Music Group, the amazing crew at Cervantes, and the Pretty Lights family, I would not be where I am today.
Speaking of shows, you frequently play in Denver but have also taken the stage in other reaches of the planet, like Colombia. Where has been your favorite city to play in so far, and is there a place you want to play but haven’t yet?
It’s impossible to have a favorite city. Every experience and every fan has been so unique and fun. I have too many stories of amazing people from all over the globe, and pinpointing one city would just be unfair to all the amazing souls who have attended shows I’ve played. I would, however, love to play in Europe. I have been to France and London, and I think all of Europe is beautiful, friendly, and very receptive to good people, fun nights, and great music.
Denver has been put on the map as the bass capital of the US, but there are thriving communities for other genres as well. What do you love most about the local scene? On the flip side, is there anything you’d like to change?
Something I love most is how collaborative this community is. The reason why I moved here is that so many artists in the area are incredibly supportive of smaller artists and helping each other improve their music skills. Regarding what I would change, I would like AVS tickets to be cheaper and for the Broncos to get a new Quarterback.
Just for fun, where are you taking us for a night out on the town when we come to visit you in Denver?
When you come to visit me, you are more than welcome to play in my lacrosse league if you can. After, we’re going to Uncle Ramen for Dinner, hitting a show at Cervantes and Vinyl, and finishing the night at Knew Conscious. If we stay up too late and need a boost the next day, a smoothie from Tropical Smoothie Cafe always does the trick.
Finally, with most of 2023 in the rearview mirror, what goals do you hope to achieve in 2024 and beyond with this project?
In 2024, I hope to smash my New Year set with Marvel Years and Since JulEYE in Steamboat and to slay my sets for SunSquabi at Mission Ballroom on March 9. I’d love to play more shows across the country, make more collaborations with all my friends, and continue my fitness journey. The future of artists is a balance of late-night sets paired with a healthy week of reading, cold plunges, and physical activities. Being able to run, jump, and play as much music in as many styles as possible will make me a happy individual in the coming year.