NEXT 2 Otto Knows [Exclusive Interview]

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On Friday, September 19th, Otto Knows made the final stop on his #NEXT2ME North American Tour. WhySoChi had the pleasure and opportunity to sit with Otto as he kicked off the tour on Thursday, September 3rd, at Studio Paris here in Chicago.

If his name sounds familiar it should, his new single “Next To Me” has been climbing the charts since its release.  Chances are you have heard his previous work as his single “Million Voices” released back in 2012 was played at every major festival that year. His catchy melodies and flawless production is putting the young artist up with the best in the industry.

The complete interview could be found below.

WSC: Before you became the international Dj/Producer you are now, what were you doing? ( in terms of work/studies)

OK: I finished school and I was really hooked on this house music. I wasn’t big back then, back when EDM exploded here (US). I saw Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso play, and I was hooked from the beginning. Then I tried making my own music and now we are here.

WSC: Did you study music?

OK: No, not at all. Music has always been a big part of my life. I played instruments so it was natural.

WSC: How did you transition from playing instruments to EDM?

OK: I went to a club and I saw how people reacted, and how I reacted. It was an overnight moment, I would say. I was blessed that day. Then I got to know Sebastian Ingrosso he mentored me. I traveled with him and got to see what it was all about. I saw the scene, started making music. It was all organic.

WSC: You’re connected to Sebastian Ingrosso through your work with Refune Music (Swedish independent record label) tell us a bit about how it is to work with one of the biggest names in Dance Music History.

OK: I was really good friends with his cousin. We met by accident, ran into each other at dinner. We liked each other from the beginning. He asked us if we would come to Ibiza to see him play. For us this was uncommon. He asked if I can help him out with some stuff in the office and I got his keys to the studio. I wouldn’t be here without him. He is a lovely guy with a big heart. He always told me nothing comes for free, you always have to work hard to get places because no one will care more about your career than yourself. I always saw him work hard, and there was no other option.

WSC: Take us through your creative process when creating a song. Do you have a melody that you start with and expand or do you have a theme or sounds you want to focus on and go from there?

OK: There is no certain road to get a song done. You can start with a melody or sound, or inspiration from another song. Everything is based around melody. For me, music is based around melody. That is what makes me feel something. I think that is pretty typical Swedish.

WSC: You’ve worked with Britney Spears on her single “Work Bitch” are there any other artists you’d love to work with on song?

OK: I respect so many people. I think it is cool to collaborate with not so famous artists that are very talented to see what they can bring to the table. Everyone has their own techniques and midst with what they want to do. When it comes to people, I would say Quincy Jones. A legendary producer. It would be great to see if I could add something to a project, or if I would just sit back.

WSC: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In music career /personal life?

OK: I just figured out what I wanted to do a year back. I have a vision of doing my own show with my own music only. To have a show I am really proud of, with a lot of different elements, would be interesting to watch. I am working towards that every day, trying to make new songs. I have so many songs I want to release but you have to wait. It is going to take time, but I am aiming for that.

WSC: Anything we should keep our eyes out for (new releases etc?)

OK: My last song, “Next to Me”, I am really proud of. It is a song I wrote the lyrics to. My next single is already done, and is coming in the end of October I hope. I am so excited for people to hear it. It is special to release music because once you do, you can’t really take it back. The one coming in October is slower than my usual songs. I think people will not be super surprised about it, but it is a step from EDM. There are not so many electronic elements to it. It is up to the listener to judge it, and I don’t want to put thoughts in their head. There are live strings, I am playing guitar. It is hard to describe it.

WSC: You made Chicago your first tour stop, have you had a chance to explore the city?

OK: This is my third time in Chicago. I have played The MiD a couple of times. It is a unique city, with house music, which I fell in love with. I have so much respect, and I want to turn the clock back and watch those crazy factory parties I always read about. It is something I would really like to experience. It is really one of the cities I really need to dig into.

Be sure to follow Otto Knows on the following social media:



Rock to Electronic Music: Tom Swoon [Interview]

 On August 15, 2015 Tom Swoon made his appearance at Time Nightclub in Chicago. Tom was born in 1993, in a small town in Poland. When he was 14, he began playing guitar in a rock band with his friends. Little did he know, that he would discover electronic music artists shortly after, and begin teaching himself how to DJ. Within 6 months of doing so, Tom Swoon started gaining interest from international artists such as Gareth Emery and Laidback Luke. In 2011, one of his remixed reached the Beatport 100. This launched his career. Now he is touring all over the world!
Tom Swoon Behind The Decks
WSC: Lets start form the beginning. How does a young man from a small town of Goleniow, Poland go from rock to electronic music? Your website profile states you discovered EDM, can you elaborate on that discovery?
– Basically it was a long process because I was starting as a guitar player in a rock band and we jammed in a garage, without any gigs. I was into alternative/electronic acts such as Clarksons and Justice. Somehow this way I was able to find out about people like Daft Punk and Deadmau5, and it went from there.
WSC: Besides Deadmau5 and Daft Punk, who else could you call an inspiration in electronic music? (could be answered in question one)
– Not only as a DJs and producers, but as a people too- the way of living and promoting themselves,  I would call Laidback Luke and Avicii my areas of inspiration. I was a big fan since day one.
WSC: What was your first show/performance?
-The first one, still as Pixel Cheese, was in Norway at a High School graduation party for 2-3,000 kids. That was pretty cool. It was three years ago.
WSC: Your official remix of Gareth Emery’s “Tokyo” first put you on the charts. How did you get notified about your achievement?
-It was my first official remix because I put up one song of his before, and he noticed it. When he previewed it on YouTube, I messages him and asked if I can remix it officially and he agreed. Then I was checking BeatPort every day and then I saw it going up in the charts.
WSC:  Isn’t one of your bootlegs one of most popular on YouTube?
-Oh, that was for David Guetta and Avicii. I used the vocals from Laidback Luke as well. And then it got support from Laidback Luke. He opened with it at SuperSonic in Australia.
WSC: That being said, it seems like the next few years have been extremely busy with remixes, tour dates, music videos and  your weekly radio show/podcast. How do you keep up with life as a DJ/Producer and your family life in Poland?
-It is pretty tough. The way to sustain and maintain both things is to have both sides understand that I have to be outside of home all the time and work really hard. Back home I have very little time for my family and friends whatsoever. I am basically working and my family is aware that I need my quiet zone. Of course, sometimes they get annoyed because sometimes they want me to do something for them or the house – just to be a part of the family. Some days I am not really able to do that. We can compromise to make both parties happy.
WSC: Polish parents tend to set the bar high for their kids with career choices. What did your parents think when you first told them you have become a DJ? How do they feel now given your success?
-That’s a tricky one. They were not really sure in the beginning. They were telling me to get a real job. They thought DJing wasn’t really a job. Their attitude changed when I brought them with me to Sunrise Festivals in Poland. It the biggest festival in Poland and brings 10,000+ people. To have them see me in the crowd, thats when they understood this is what I love and I don’t want a real job. It became some kind of responsibility for me.
WSC: We’re not in tune with the Polish Electronic Dance Music scene, could you name a few artists from back home that are on the rise that you feel we should look into?
1. Ak9
2. Blinders
3. Levito
WSC: After your tour wraps up in September, what is next up for Tom Swoon? What can we expect? (collaborations, new music, EP or LP)
-After this tour, for sure there will be another tour. I have a couple of remixes lined up for Steve Aoki, Matthew Koma, and some other I can’t reveal yet. But, it is definitely something to look out for.
Tom Swoon With WhySoChi

Chicago’s Rising Talent: SMIIRK [Interview]


Chances are you have already heard of Avery Delgado aka SMIIRK before reading this interview. That’s because over the past year this 16 year old DJ has performed at North Coast Music Festival, a pool party in Miami for Miami Music Week, several Trinium Events parties at Mojoe’s as well as Bass Therapy for OPM Presents with The Trap House.

We had a chance to catch up with him over the past week via email to get to know him a little. Below is the complete interview.

1)Take us back to last year or even before that. What made you decide to pursue a DJing career and what motivated you to enter in  React’s North Coast DJ Competition, which you ultimately won?

I became interested in DJing after seeing Deadmau5 at Lolla when I was 11. I really fell in love with the idea of becoming a DJ. My parents bought me for Christmas a simple DJ controller from Discover Music. It literally had one function which was one control, a cross fader. I got bored and over the next summer I asked my parents to pay for half of a better controller as long as I paid the other half.  As far as why I entered NCMF DJ contest that was my third entry in a contest. The one previous was for Spring Awakening and in that contest I placed 2nd but they picked another winner as they changed the rules a couple of weeks before and requested us to own our own music that we mixed. I did not change my mix and so they picked someone else. I’m happy for those winners (Dionysus) as we became friends and do a lot of shows together now. After that loss, I said to myself that I was not going to enter another contest. It takes a lot of time promoting and I did not want that burden on me again. When NCMF contest came out, my Dad said that I should never quit and that I should try this one last time. I entered the contest and this time around I submitted an original song called “Paradise”. I was surprised to find out that I was chosen as one of four finalist over 500 entries and that we had to Battle each other at the Concord Music Hall. We each had 15 minute sets and they where looking for crowd response and song selection. I was a little nervous as I only performed live one time at Medusa’s 3 months prior for 30 minutes. I had put the practice in my basement for years but did not know how to read the crowd. The other contestants had residencies and more years of experience. I was surprised when they announced my name at the end as the winner. It was a surreal moment for me.

2)Seeing that you’re only 16 what would you say your biggest obstacle has been so far to get your name out there, in what seems to be a very saturated yet very big EDM scene in Chicago? (And if you have, how did you overcome that obstacle?)

My biggest obstacle is my age. Most of the promoters know that my friends are not old enough to go to my shows, since most are 18+, so as far as selling tickets they are skeptical. The way I overcome that is that I promote very heavily and I am very active with my followers. I am seeing that more and more shows that I am doing my followers are starting to really support me and come to my shows.

Right, we’ve heard that from other local DJs as well, that promoters seem to care a lot about how many people each performer can bring in rather than focusing on if the music is good or matches the show. Regardless your following has been growing and you should be complimented for that. You wouldn’t be winning competitions and Djing in Miami, portage theater or mojoes if it wasn’t.

3)That being said. What venue in Chicago and beyond would you like to play but haven’t yet?

In Chicago, I would love to play at the Mid. I’ve heard there sound system is really good and from the pictures the venue is not too big or too small. It would feel very intimate. Also, the Aragon would be great as it holds a bigger crowd.  I played at Concord when I had to battle the other DJ’s for North Coast Music Festival. I would love to go back there. My goal is to one day play Madison Square Garden. I love to dream big!

That’s great. It always good to aim high. Aragon and the mid are definitely good venues to for.

4) Looking at your SoundCloud, it looks like you don’t stick to one genre of electronic music when creating original tracks or mixes. Is this by design or does it just happen that you like to put together different types of sounds?

In my mixes, I love to play all sort of genres together. I try not to stick to let’s say Trap for an hour. To me that would seem boring and not very appealing. People really enjoy my sets because I try to cater to all, because I love all types of EDM music. As far as my own originals and remixes. I have done it all from Trap to Tropical and everything in between. I am still experimenting with all types of sounds and genres and trying to find SMIIRK’s sound. I really find inspiration in Skrillex, he is so talented and does cross genres with his music.

Smiirk at Portage Theater for OPM Presents Bass Therapy, (photo credit: KnM Media)

Smiirk at Portage Theater for OPM Presents Bass Therapy, (photo credit: K&N Media)

5) So Skrillex and Deadmau5 are your big name inspirations and idols. Any local DJs or producers that you follow or keep track off?

The Local DJ’s that I look up to are The Trap House and JSquared. I love that they have a great following and have really pushed there brands as DJ’s. As far as Producers I dig Louis The Child. I love that they are young producers and that there quality of music and sound is unique.

6) We saw you were on the lineup for a festival in Wisconsin dells, you’re also on the DayTrip Fest lineup. Are you playing any other festivals this summer that we should know about?

I am in talks with one other festival right now that I can’t really discuss until it is confirmed. Let’s just say, that’s where it all started from.

7) What’s next for SMIIRK musically? Any new releases we should keep an eye out for? Any collaborations?

I can say that I wont have any collaborations soon because in all I am stopping DJing for a little while to focus on my music production. I want to perfect my craft and truly find my SMIIRK sound. I will though be releasing a bunch of new music while at the same time really mastering my work.

8) Are there any DJs or artists that you’d like us and our audience to know about that haven’t shared in your success but that you think should be recognized?

Yeah most definitely. I think there are a lot but I will name two that stand out to me. Zeelaa is an up incoming trap artist who is supported by big name artists but doesn’t perform much as a DJ, I think Chicago should keep an eye on him. Another artist that I see has a lot of potential is Solstis. That duo produces Future Bass and has a ever growing SoundCloud. That style of music is really growing in the edm scene and I know they will be successful.

Enough music talk. Let’s get to know you a little. Real quick

Favorite sport? Soccer.
Hobbies you like to do when not djing? Make music haha.
Favorite junk food? Potato Chips.
Favorite vacation spot? South Beach Miami, Florida.
Least favorite subject in school? English.
Dream job (If not DJing)? Entrepreneur, Shark Tank is hands down my favorite show.

Be sure to follow SMIIRK on the following social media to show him support:


Post SnowStorm Music Fest: Figgy [Interview]

WhySoChi: How did it feel to open up Snowstorm MusicFest – Chicago’s first winter music and arts festival?
Figgy: It was a lot of fun. I think Chicago is rad and I love playing here.
WhySoChi: Is this your first time performing in Chicago?
Figgy: I was here last summer for Sin Label’s boat party, Shipwrecked. That was awesome, it was right on the water over here. So, this was my second time.
WhySoChi: Follow up to question— What do you think of Chicago? Comparable to the east coast?
Figgy: I want to spend more time here (Chicago). Every time I come here I have a great time. I feel like the friends I have met in the few trips I have made, could be friends I have forever. (laughs) Got a little emo there.
WhySoChi: Where are you from originally?
Figgy: Massachusetts
WhySoChi: Why the name “Figgy”?
Figgy: That was a nickname I had as a kid. When I started making music, I just stuck with it.
WhySoChi: How did you start DJing and booking shows?
Figgy: I used to play in bands, and I opened up for them. Later I started putting music up on SoundCloud, and things slowly took off from there. Also a friend of mine started a party (Broke City) in Brooklyn and I have been a resident DJ there for the last 3 years.
WhySoChi: How did you transition from jazz trombone to DJing and electronic music?
Figgy: It was something I always liked. I went to school in Miami and I started getting into dance music then. I took a class my senior year of college on how to use ProTools. It opened my eyes to the world of production. DJing was a natural step in order to play out my tunes.
WhySoChi: What are your musical influences? Artists/genres’
Figgy: Mostly a mix of classic house music, disco and r&b.
WhySoChi: What motivates you to continue DJing?
Figgy: Its the music. I wouldn’t know how to NOT to do it. I have always played instruments.
WhySoChi: Is this soulful house/ r&b blend of music popular on the east coast?
Figgy: There are some guys doing it, but it’s definitely not as popular as say trap or “deep house”.
WhySoChi: Do you have a go to song?
Figgy: Hmm, tough question…To me there’s a time and place for everything right. A certain track can go off like crazy at one club and get a meh at another.
WhySoChi: Who is your dream artist to work with ( that you haven’t worked with already) ?
Figgy: This is super dream, but it would be Miguel, The Dream, Frank Ocean, Drake, Banks, Shura oh and obviously Beyonce.
WhySoChi: Any DJs?
Figgy: Todd Terje
WhySoChi: As a musician, any piece of advice to give people pursuing a similar career/passion?
Figgy: Be nice. Be positive. Focus on the music. That is the biggest thing. Other stuff will come into place.
WhySoChi: Anything we should keep an eye out for in the near future from Figgy?
Figgy: Le Youth remix that has come out (Purchase it HERE from iTunes/ Listen to it HERE). My first track with a featured vocalist should be out in April and I have lots of unreleased bootlegs I’m sitting on.
Check him out!
Twitter: @Figgy_

Post SnowStorm Music Fest: Win & Woo [Interview]


WSC: How did it feel to Play at Snowstorm music Festival?

Nick: It’s cool, we had an idea in mind to change the way we DJ to play more of the stuff we make, the style we make; and tonight was probably the first time we went all out THAT way, playing whatever we wanted in the style were going for.

Austin: Yea, because we used to be the “Drezzos” of the DJ world because we played heavy dark stuff. We don’t make that music, so playing here was our first opportunity to shift our DJ skills towards our brand.

WSC: How long have you guys been Djing/Performing in Chicago?

Nick: We’ve been playing here for about 3/4 years, we started in 2010. Our very first show was at Max Bar.

Austin: Our very first “big” club show was The Mid.

WSC: Oh cool, who did you guys open up for?

Nick: I think it was a local night on a Thursday. We just killed it. ISU homies came out in support, and actually an ISU homie hooked it up. He was like “Hey I can get you in the MiD on a Thursday” And were like “Cool”. We brought a ton of people.

WSC: What’s your favorite club in the city?

Austin: Honestly it’s the mid, between the main room and the century room, they always take care of us.

Nick: Its home. It’s always going to be home. They bring the best DJs.

WSC: That’s not the first time we heard that. But It’s the crowd too right?

Austin: The crowd is always responsive, it’s always packed. No matter what show were opening up at the mid at this stage in our career it’s always packed.


WSC: When did you guys first start thinking about doing this?

Nick: Its crazy because I’ve been around music my whole life but I dropped it all when I started college. I stopped playing guitar (I used to be in bands and stuff) and started partying. And then I picked up DJing… But its weird because we lived 20 minutes away from each other never knew each other. He (Austin) lived in a small 20 person town. We played beer pong..

Austin: I’m from Danforth,IL. Literally, the middle of nowhere.

Nick: So we met and I’ve started djing on a mini controller at parties.

Austin: good ol’ virtual DJ

Nick: Austin wanted to learn so I taught him. He played at some frat parties I played at, I was in the frat. We did our first event together at a sorority barn dance. ISU barn dance. We played all country songs and popular songs, but the last song we played was the country edit of “Where’s Your head At” . at the time no one heard that shit, it was before Bassnectar came to ISU and if eel that shit changed everything. Bassnectar at ISU enlightened the whole campus. He did that everywhere.

Austin: We started around then 2010 doing sorority gigs to make some money. Then we decided to take it to the next level and came back to Chicago.

WSC: What are your musical influences?

Austin: Crazy as it sounds we’ve always followed the Chainsmokers really closely. They’re like a brand and musicians that we idolize because we see each other like that.

Nick: They’re always pushing the boundaries. You can tell when someone is trying out different styles. Even though ChainSmokers came out with something super commercial (“Selfie”). We have been following them since before that. They developed a brand and did it right.

Austin: They kept true to themselves. Haven’t changed since they started.

Nick: But there are more people as well. I couldn’t just say one name.

Austin: We have our homies Doctor Fresh, Bentley-Dean. We all hang out and make music together.

WSC: Who are your favorite local DJs?

Austin: Tsunami, Inphinity & Kalendr, Trentino, Freak Island, Zebo, Phenom

Nick: They’re just really cool dudes that know how to work a room and have been doing it forever. Everyone in the Chicago Industry is pretty nice.

Austin: This is a big city, but a small community. We all try to help each other out.

WSC: What keeps you going every day? What motivates you?

Nick: It took us a long time for us to get to where we are now. There was a big learning curve. There is so much to keep up with. Even though we knew we could do it, it was hard to get up every day and start doing it. We didn’t have a studio. We just got one a year ago and it has been life changing. Now we just go there every day.

Austin: It is a make it or break it kind of thing.

Nick: It has been a dream to travel the world.

Austin: Our collective dream was to travel the world even before we started DJing. This is the way we can do it and express our talents at the same time.

WSC: Dream artists to work with?

Nick: EDX is our favorite right now. His music helped us understand what were making and what we are DJing, and how to do them both.

Austin: We make happy stuff and clubby darker stuff. And he is in between that. He is not a huge name but he is very well known.

WSC: Deep dish or thin crust?

Nick: Thin crust

Austin: Thin crust. Shout out to Monacle’s Pizza! It’s a local chain in central Illinois. The sickest thing crust.

WSC: Cubs or Sox?

Nick & Austin: Sox

WSC: Win or Woo?

Nick: Win!

Austin: Woo!

WSC: Anything you would like to tell your fans?

Austin: Honestly, thank you!

Nick: Especially in the past year. We shifted and we rebranded. Our music was so well received. It is all about confidence. Knowing that you can make whatever you like and everyone will like it, THAT is what keeps us going. Everyone giving us this support, is what makes us.

WSC: Anything we need to keep an eye out?

Austin: First initial remix coming out in March with Pompeya. They are a large rock band in Russia. They are really good. Their initial remixes had some big artists on them.

Nick: There are some other things we are currently working on that we can’t talk about yet.

Austin: We’re sitting on like 3-4 remixes.



Check them out!!

Twitter: @WinandWoo



Instagram: @WinandWoo