The whole thing… it’s more than just writing and performing. It’s engineering and producing. It’s magical. It’s something on your computer you can do all by yourself. It’s the same thing as piano and voice, but now you have tracks that are 70 channels. You can write lines for all these different synthesizers and make unique things. With a piano, everyone’s heard what a piano sounds like, but with dance music, every month there’s a new track with a sound that everyone’s like, “What is that sound? How did he do it?” That’s so exciting to me. That was like Avicii and Skrillex early on, and now it’s all these other guys.
“Everyone’s heard what a piano sounds like, but with dance music, every month there’s a new track with a sound that everyone’s like, ‘What is that sound? How did he do it?'”
All these songs are so epic and beautiful, but they also make you dance. It’s euphoric. Then I went to a festival and was like, “Forget it — this is incredible!”
Then my life sort of came together. I was in school for acting. Obviously, I’ve had such amazing success, and I’ve been so lucky to do so well in that. But I was always making music. It’s something I loved doing since I was 12. Now I’ve come this far in music. With this new track, “To Life,” every DJ I’ve played it for is really excited by it. To me, it’s the best thing in the world when Axwell and Ingrosso or Steve Angello are playing my record. These are people I look up to, and my goal was to have one of them play my record. Now they’re playing the music I’m creating for thousands of people, and they’re all going nuts. That’s the best feeling. Now I’m the one who will actually be DJ’ing. I’m not playing the headlining slot yet, but with the energy and kids here, I’m so stoked. There’s playing other people’s music, then playing your own music, music you’ve spent so long in the studio working on. It’s a new sound, and if they like it and are excited by it, that’s the same thing Avicii and Skrillex did to me years ago.
But you’ve also been playing a lot over the last year, from your first headlining gig at Pacha on your 21st birthday to Electric Zoo last year. Where else have you had the opportunity to DJ?
I’ve played a lot of opening shows. I played a lot of shows with Ansolo as the last guy on the block. I played Pacha in March and EZoo last summer, but I played the first 45 minutes to nobody because I played the first slot. Our goal is really to make sure we weren’t abusing me as an actor to get slots. The last thing I want to be is a joke or to not be credible. I want to enter the music industry and be respected as a musician, not just as a celebrity trying to become a musician. So I played a lot of shows but was always opening. I didn’t headline until I knew that I had a fan base. I wanted people to care about the music and not just say, “Oh, the kid from The Fault in Our Stars is DJ’ing.” That’s the last thing I want in the world. That’s why I started Ansolo, started different social medias and kept them separate. There are crossover fans, and I love that, too. But it’s really important to have core fans who care about the music.