Eco announced retirement as a DJ
"Even the sun goes down,
heroes eventually die,
horoscopes often lie,
and sometimes "why?"
Nothin' is for sure,
nothin' is for certain,
nothin' lasts forever,
But until they close the curtain..."
My music has been the backdrop for many smiles, millions of people's good nights while in the club or driving or listening at home on a rainy day; the drive to the festival, the voyage home on an empty train at 5am. My music has played in the background of a marriage proposal, it was the backing soundtrack while multiple people decided not to end their lives, decided that the rest of their pained existence was still worth living. They played my songs looking for something to change their mind, and it did. My music has fueled people's fight to conquer their cancer, provided the soundtrack for the joyous ride from the hospital once they did. Someone once told me that the anticipation for my "Wolves" album caused him to hold on and beat his cancer after 2 years of treatment (it came out the month he found out he was cancer free). My music has also been the music people play to cheer up moments before they left this world, or to heal while grieving over a lost loved one. My music has helped soldiers cope with the horrors of war in faraway lands, helped them befriend kids in the countries they were stationed in. My music has inspired other kids to realize that they did not need expensive equipment or knowledge of music theory to embark on their own musical careers, and has inspired kids from working class cities and suburbs near and far to see themselves in me and write their own story. My own music has helped me through some hard times too, while both making it and listening to it. These are just a fraction of the myriad of messages I've received from fans over the last 10 years. Real stories, real lives, and some of you reading this right now know who you are.
10 years is a long time and I'm blessed to have had this impact on so many people's lives through the melodies I compose in my small bedroom "studio", for lack of a better word. Once you get past the pressure of trying to chart on Beaport or get support from all the major DJs, there's a certain zen attained in stepping back and realizing the timelessness of what you've done. My songs are here to stay. Some kid 20 or 50 years from now will grow up and find his parents'/grandparents' old CD collection or iPod in a dusty dark corner of the attic or basement, and stumble onto "Tonight Is Forever" or "And We Flew Away." His dad will tell him about the "glory days" of when he used to go to festivals and dance late nights away in dark rooms to the music his kid just discovered. His mom will tell the kid about the time she met his father at one of these parties; the love they both had for the music, the culture, and the road that would lead them on that led to his birth. That's legacy. The music and experiences I've been able to craft for millions of people over a decade, it will never die. Even the most obscure records from the 20s, 50s, and 60s live on in their glory in the minds of the people who continue to seek them out. How many starving artists 50, 80 years ago could've imagined the internet, and how it would be a vehicle for their songs to eventually get shared around the globe between hundreds or millions of people long after they were dead? Where will my music travel and be accessible from long after I'm gone?
Once upon a time, I wrote a song called "The Light In Your Eyes Went Out." I guess I didn't know it at the time, but in many ways it was a foreboding of the feeling I've felt for a while now as a DJ. In the process of writing "Wolves" I realized how much my heart and mind was dependent on songwriting and producing, in contrast to my waning feelings about traveling the world and playing that music live as a DJ. Czech Republic was the first country I ever played in internationally (Fabric in Ostrava, CZ in 2008), and the roots of my career are so firmly planted in the Netherlands and the Dutch trance music scene and the DJs/record labels/fans there that have pushed me so consistently since the beginning. So it's quite poetic that these are the final two countries I will ever play in outside of New York. I certainly didn't plan it that way, but sometimes life catches up; most leaves change colors at some point. And in the end, the universe tends to unfold as it should.
The good news is I will continue to produce music. I will continue to write songs and paint the backdrop to more people's lives. It's a drug that I can never quit, and my dependence on it has only gotten stronger over these years. There will be more bootlegs and collaborations; there will be more albums. My podcast, although operating on a quirky non-schedule for many years now, will continue during moments of the year I feel like putting them together. I will continue the rare guest mixes here and there on shows and networks I enjoy and am invited to. And there will be the odd New York City gigs once or twice a year when I'm dying to test my new music out in front of the hometown crowd that's had my back since I was 15 (half my life ago). I'm just... saying goodbye to the DJ life, something that's been on my mind for a couple years now. It's not for me and while I've been told by many I'm pretty good at it, it never has been fully for me. I'm meant to create.
So that being said, I hope to see my fans in Prague on 6.17 and at Luminosity Beach in the Netherlands on 6.24. If you live less than half a day's drive away, I hope you'll choose to spend one of those nights with me and my music. The moment my last song plays at Luminosity will mark the end of a 10+ year long journey, one that has taken me from Malaysia to El Salvador, from Montreal to Amsterdam, from Guatemala City to Los Angeles, from Edmonton to Miami, Atlanta, D.C. Indianapolis, Phoenix, and everywhere in between on my eternal way always back to New York City, my home, my heart. I know it will be an emotional two final gigs, but I can hold my head proudly for staying so consistently true to my roots, my mentors (Martin Roth, Breakfast, Armin van Buuren, Ruben de Ronde, among many others) that have had my back along the way, and for putting music out that I was always proud of and never ever anything I wasn't. I approached every gig as professionally as the last, with my intention of bringing you into my world, even if just for an hour (or six), being what fueled me.
And I can't write a post like this without thanking a few people (and a lot more who, I'm sorry if I miss): Matthew Felner of Esscala Events for always understanding my vision as a DJ and making it a reality consistently here in the New York scene and beyond since we were teenagers, Martin Roth for showing me the ropes very early on and showing me how to progress in the game while staying true to your sound, Armin van Buuren and Ruben de Ronde for your eternal support since day one, my manager David Wright for working so hard to push me internationally even at times during droughts I didn't give him much in the way of releases or hype to work with, my longtime fans like Jurica from Croatia or Ilya from Minnesota or Chris from Atlanta or Anissa from France or Brendan from Australia or way too many more fans to name who have remained in touch all these years since the start and reminded me why I make music, and last but not least, my friends in New York who've been to all my gigs these last 13 or so years, from when I was playing teen clubs to my first 3, then 6, then 7 hour sets to now. We'll have more adventures yet. Everything I do I do from a position of having grown up in the New York City scene and I hope I've made it proud.
Goodbye, it's been great, and I will never ever forget the memories we've shared.