Production Not Required

24 May 2012 | 2:15 pm | Troy Mutton

You’d be hard pressed to find a DJ more dedicated to his craft than Desyn Masiello – sometimes 20-hours-a-day dedicated, as Troy Mutton discovers.

The production string is one many touring DJs have had to increasingly add to their bows – if they weren't already doing it – in recent times. You almost can't expect to end up on a festival line-up these days without at least having a few remixes to your name. It hasn't slowed British master selector Desyn Masiello down, though. Sure, the DJ has released a few sneaky underground co-productions over his career, but it's a career that has been almost solely on Masiello's ability to craft epic sets.

“It's true – today it's very rare to have a career in music unless you have the backbone of productions,” Masiello begins. “I never built my career on that though so I'm still maintaining a career from the reputation I made from solely DJing over the last 10 years… I always felt it was a DJ's job to listen to everything wide and far and piece it together in his own vision, and that's still what I do. It does require sometimes that I listen to many thousands of tracks a week, and sometimes I embark on special projects to broaden my scope of sound.” Special projects like listening to 23,000 track samples downloaded from an Internet record store in just over 10 days, things that give him an edge in the EDM community. “Things like that might be what makes someone who is focused purely on DJing different from a producer/DJ. Both have something unique to offer though.”

So what started this obsession? One that stems back some two decades: “Money, food, girls, mates have all been irrelevant when it comes down to getting my mitts dirty in an old, dusty second-hand record store. That's how it began. Now it's an online obsession, with red eyes and a sore back from lurching over a computer all day and night. It's an obsession because my brain has been altered by a mind-blowing DJ set I heard 20 years ago, and now there is really no going back…

“DJing is about energy and the flow of energy – my brain was changed a long time ago by a good friend who made a mixtape that 20 years on I've still not heard anything close. So I have him to thank (or blame) really for my obsession… I'm still driven to create that perfect DJ set. And the funny thing is that once you nail it, then you need to do it all over again as people want a new one!”

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Primarily known as a DJ, his commercial output has mainly been via mix compilations, including crackers for the Balance series, Bedrock and Yoshitoshi, and the time he spends researching and finding tracks can get a little crazy. Masiello used to say he'd pick one out of 100 tracks to put into a set; not anymore. “It's more like one in 1,000 tracks these days as the scene is so much more diluted, but I haven't stopped looking for music for 20 years… sometimes 20 hours a day, sometimes just a few hours… When I did the Balance 008 CD a long while ago now, I even remember loading up my iPod and going through tracks while I was riding my bike around Thailand on holiday, just so I made use of every second. Now you might be getting an idea of what obsessed really means!”

Understandably, it doesn't seem like Masiello has any plans on slowing down soon, and he may yet play around in the producer's sandbox in the future. “I'm a dreamer, and if I can carry on DJing till I'm 60 I'd love that. Another would be running my own events and putting into them the best things I've seen in the events I've been to in the last 25 years, and most importantly producing an original track one day that gets across some of the feelings I have locked away in my mind.”