True to the fundamentals of DJing a live set, NativeOrigin303 is a solid-house DJ as well as an entrepreneur, who is putting in hard work and seeing the fruits of his labor. As founder and label chief of Blue Records, NativeOrigin303 is on constant lookout for emerging and promising new talent. Climbing various DJ charts including Beatport, Blue Records shines and thrives with its fresh talent.
When he is not wearing his A&R hat, NativeOrigin303 can be found playing at the hottest parties in Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and other major cities. The DJ’s music has graced radio airwaves across the globe. His radio broadcasts have aired on leading radio stations including “ElectroCity” on Dash Radio, “Live from Hollywood,” and several others.
From the perfect lead-ins to the most radical 303’s, Brandon Lee discusses with OneEDM about his time-honored style, inspirations, personal beliefs, and excitement for the future.
OneEDM: What is the significance of the name, NativeOrigin303?
NativeOrigin303: A lot of people think it has to do solely with [the area code of] Colorado, but the ‘303’ part is more about the [Roland] 303 bass. That sound was really what drew me to dance music as a teenager in the late-‘90s. I was hooked from the minute I heard it.
That was really the beginning of my musical journey, thus the “origin” part. The “native” part does have to do with Denver, as I was born here and I am a product of all my life experiences while in the 303. So, the name holds a certain significance.
How does a DJ with the goal to keep classic house elements alive during a period of uniformed productions and live sets do it?
I try to create the best music possible and hope people respond to it. In my opinion, you do not need a ton of different elements in a track to make it good. I try to take house-music back to basics before all the fancy automation and focus more on making every element sound just the way I want. As far as DJing goes, I never pre-arrange my sets. This is largely because I have never been able to remember song titles/lyrics [laughs].
When I played [vinyl], I knew all of my tracks by the album art. I can always tell if I like a track within the first eight bars, so I always pick my next song based off of that. Everything should flow during a set, so to me, the lead-in is the essential part to keep the vibe going.
Your latest single off of Blue Records “It’s On Us” is dark and perfectly constructed. Can you tell us a little about your inspiration? Did any of the new fresh talent off Blue Records have anything to do with your motivation in creating the song?
Thank you for that. I was inspired by the direction Blue was headed. As a new label, there is a lot of work that happens in the background. Our tracks started charting really high and I got-off seeing all the hard work finally starting to pay off. Sam Harris has always been an inspiration to me, so I wanted to make something that paid my respects to him.
“It’s On Us” has lyrics regarding our responsibility as people with or without a God. What are your thoughts surrounding humanity’s purpose as a collective on this planet?
I grew up in a religious family, which I am very thankful for. But, I decided later in life that it was not for me. I feel like the key to our eventual success on this planet really comes down to acceptance. Accepting the way that others choose to experience life is the key. Religion may not be my cup of tea, but I do believe that we are each here to serve a higher purpose and faith is supposed to be something that gives people hope.
People need something to believe in. Otherwise, at least in my case, we often feel like we lack purpose. I firmly believe that it does not matter what or who you believe in, as long as your actions are driven by positive intentions. This generation seems to be getting a grip on this idea, which is cool to watch.
You have a strong talent for getting a beat just where it needs to be when working in the studio. How do you know when to pull away?
I have a rule that I only allow a certain amount of time for each step when creating a song. I start with my rough arrangement, then I shift focus to the dynamics, then effects, then adding those extra elements for variety. Finally, my mixdown which is where I will spend the majority of my time.
I usually work on three to four tracks at a time, so I get that same excitement when I go back and forth. As far as deciding when it is finished, I have three friends who will tell me hard truths about my tracks. If I get the approval from two of the three, I send it out for mastering.
What makes a house set a good? Any key factors or ingredients to pulling off a set where the audience does not stop moving?
There are a lot of factors! I grew up watching Bad Boy Bill and took a lot of notes from him. For me, the biggest one is not playing in key. It drives me nuts when I go to a show, and the DJ plays in the same key for most of their set.
Different keys bring out mixed emotions, and if you are going to take listeners on a journey, you need to bring out those emotions one by one leaving them wondering what just happened. A ‘4/4’ beat can be very repetitive. There are only so many drum loops you can create. The key is what gives house-music variety.
How do you see future sounds of dance-music relating to classic tech-house and progressive-house sounds? Is there a bright future for the old and the new to come together to make something even better?
I most certainly think the future looks bright. I listen to every kind of music as it is all just art to me. A song is a depiction of how a person was feeling at that exact moment, a way to communicate. For introverts like myself, it can be the purest form of self-expression. I do not listen to mumble rap for its lyrical content. However, I love the beats and if that is what this generation of rappers enjoy making then let them.
It is funny because when we are kids, we hate older people telling us about how our music is just noise. Yet, that is the person many of us become. I refuse to do that. As an artist who feels strongly about house-music and techno, it is my job to tell others why I love it and show them the way. If they receive it, then my job is done. But, it is not my place to tell them that my music is better than theirs. That represents everything wrong in this world.
When artists can drop their egos and respect the next man’s hustle, we can take this music thing back to its roots. With the emergence of festivals that are huge genre mashups, I think now is the best opportunity we have at that happening, and I am hopeful.
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