EFEMEL: Exclusive Interview
David Veltri, a.k.a. EFEMEL, is a real renaissance man. Highly active in the Denver EDM scene, he is a producer, editor and photographer. His unmistakable pink hair has graced many stages around Denver, where his high-energy shows are punctuated by his love for heavy bass music. As a producer he’s dabbled into a variety of genres, most notably his most recent EP, OMNI, jumps around the sonic landscape in a style as eclectic as its creator.
I caught up with EFEMEL in between his busy schedule and got a chance to discuss the happenings in his world.
So David Veltri a.k.a. EFEMEL, tell us about yourself.
I guess this is the part where I need to make myself seem cool. But I’m just an ordinary dude that pushes a lot of buttons on keyboards, cameras, and laptops. All of my siblings are very talented musicians and I felt pressure to pick something up when I was a child. I bounced from drums, guitar, violin, and funny enough, the instrument I played the longest was the bass. I guess me deciding to make electronic music is somehow the revival of my failing childhood talent to play a physical instrument.
I was raised on computers and remember when YouTube first came around when I was 9. I’d be willing to bet a significant amount of money that I’ve spent more time on the Internet than sleeping. And for my job I’m editor-in-chief at Global Dance Music, which means more computer time. I have an awesome group of interns that work hard to make sure we have articles going up once a day. It’s a time consuming job, but the benefits are immense, and I’ve gotten to meet many of the people that originally got me into electronic music. Additionally I’m a photographer, and I bounce all around the states taking photos of DJs and I get to pretend I’m a rockstar when I’m onstage with my camera. It’s quite a tease. I’m deep in the Denver music scene in some way or another and it’s really exciting business.
You have so much passion onstage. What is it about this genre of music that captures your passion so much?
I would say the combination of how heavy bass music is and the excitement of performing in front of a crowd is what REALLY brings out the freak machine you witnessed on stage. Music like dubstep draws a lot of parallels with metal and has this primal drum pattern that just makes your upper-lip touch your nose. It’s nasty, it’s heavy, and I’m so attracted to it.
That translates to me going bananas on stage. Performing wouldn’t feel right unless I felt like my legs were going to give out afterwards. I’m so energetic and enthusiastic on stage because it feels right, and it helps guide the audience too. “Monkey see, monkey do.”
I last saw you play on the Ghost Academy stage at Hallowfreaknween, can you tell me a bit about that experience?
It was total free-hearted fun. Low pressure and enjoyable. I played the 90-minute set with another artist called T.O.C. who has been a friend of mine since high school. Tom and I have been friendly rivals for years and this is the first time we’ve worked together. Watching Tom perform is contagious, its very hard not to smile and dance, and considering my energy, there was this almost hilariously powerful presence we carried. Just two dudes on stage losing their f*cking minds, and I loved every minute of performing with him.[The show] went better than I imagined. Being a local performing artist, you learn to deal with uncertainty. Uncertainty about the crowd, the stage, the lighting, the sound, etc. I was very uncertain if we’d draw a crowd, and after 15 minutes I finally get the courage to look up and notice the dance floor was packed. It was definitely the most receptive crowd I’ve played to, I was able to throw some very different music at them with no issue.
What’s your approach to creating a setlist?
Well when I first get booked for a show, I consider the venue and setting I’ll be playing at. Different settings call for different song choice. I’ve opened up for bands before and made sure I appealed the specific audience in front of me and not the normal audience I pull. I love playing at heavier, darker events where I have the full ability to play a spectrum of music. I have this sick fascination with dynamics in my sets. I love playing Slayer and then switching to something very soft and feminine. That kind of duality grabs the attention of the audience and introduces a real “WTF” factor.
What got you into DJing and producing?
Easy! Bassnectar and Deadmau5, 100 percent. Once I found their music and watched videos of their live shows I fell down the rabbit hole and wanted to be a part of that. They both go about mixing live music in a very different way than most, and it’s a style I’ve latched onto. My mixing started off very slow and simple, just learning the basics of everything with software called Virtual DJ. I eventually moved on from standard 2-deck mixing into performing with Ableton. Ableton gives you unlimited control over what you want to do, which on some days is totally overwhelming. Every single song I play is remixed or edited in some way, and that’s the freedom Ableton gives you.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Good question! Well it’s a mixed bag. On the electronic side, lots of REZZ, Bassnectar, Levitate, Drezo, Big Wild, and violent Deadmau5 splurges.
How does that influence your producing? Or do you try to keep your work and interests separate?
I’ve become so invested in electronic music that sometimes it’s very hard to listen to it without trying to relate it back to my own music. I lose sight of enjoying the music and focus more on “how do you get percussion to sound like that?” Whenever I find myself losing enjoyment I run to my favorite bands for help. Bands like the Menzingers, Cage The Elephant, and The Bad Suns.
I also have a real soft spot for rap music. Might seem sacrilegious to put these names near one another in a sentence, but Chief Keef and Yung Lean slay.
What is the future looking like for EFEMEL?
I’m currently working on a song with GNAR GNAR. He’s had a couple collaborations with Bassnectar on his latest two albums. So it’s really f*cking exciting to see him reach out to me to make a song together. Additionally, I’m working my ass off right now to get booked for a least one show a month right now. I spent 9 months in my room putting together an EP, so I think a little stage time is deserved. The EP is titled “OMNI” which essentially translates to “in all ways or places”. the goal was to make a collection of music that was incredibly different in genre, sound, and style from one track to another. There are 6 songs on the EP and they’re 6 different genres. I guess I had something to prove. I have a perpetual need to do something different and I hope people notice it.
David, a.k.a. EFEMEL, thank you so much for joining me. Anything else to say to your fans and Mix 247 EDM listeners?
Keep an eye out for a tall dude with pink hair. I love meeting fans, and make sure to always look for the little guys on the line up.
And what are the best ways to find your music/you on social media?
EFEMEL’s Instagram: Instagram.com/Veltrida
EFEMEL’s Facebook: facebook.com/itsfml/
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