We could have chosen any of the big-name electronic DJ/producers playing New Year’s Eve to profile, but in our minds there was only one name. Well, one very talented Swede who goes by many names. In a rare interview, Eric Prydz (a.k.a. Pryda and Cirez D, among others) gives Vegas Seven an exclusive look into his world and dishes about his move to L.A., his Epic Radio podcast, and if he’ll be singing live anytime soon. Prydz, who just received his second Grammy nomination, promises to challenge the norm Dec. 31 at Surrender with a three hour-minimum set.
On the three-disc Eric Prydz Presents Pryda album you actually sing on the track “You” with respectable results. Have you considered singing live while spinning?
No! [Laughs.] Never! How would that look? That would be silly. To be honest with you, I can’t sing. I know how I want it to sound, and I will sit at that mic and do retakes and retakes and retakes until I get what I want, but I would never do that live. I’m not a singer. I’m a true producer and a studio geek; I can make stuff sound good, but I would never be able to do that live. I would sound like someone was trying to strangle a rooster or something.
There are also two retrospective discs. Looking back on 2012, what’s your take on the year in electronic music?
A lot of producers have gotten very, very lazy. Very little original music is coming out. I think everyone is just copying each other and all the tracks—I’m not saying all the tracks—but the tracks that you see in the Top 10s and the tracks that all the DJs are playing are very generic, and [if] you’ve heard one, you’ve heard them all sort of thing. That’s kind of sad. People need to put a bit more effort into trying to be original.
Making music is almost like writing a book. Why would I want to write a book that’s already been written? I want to tell my own story. It’s the same with music—or at least it used to be. But that’s just one side of the music of 2012. If you look at the underground scene, the deep-house wave is really, really good now. So many talented producers are pushing deep house in new directions.
You’re six episodes into your Epic Radio show. What prompted you to start a podcast, and what do you feel sets Epic apart from the others in the industry?
I can only speak for my own podcast. Epic Radio is such a great way for me to reach people where I normally don’t go DJ because I hate flying. South Asia, South Africa, Australia ... there’s so many places that I never go to and can’t really hear me DJ. Now they can just download the podcast and tune in to the radio and listen to the music that I’m really into at the moment and the new releases coming up on my label. On Epic Radio I always play unreleased and super-up-front material, my special private edits and stuff. If you like what I do, Epic Radio is a must.
Your fear of flying has caused some issues for you. Now you’ve relocated to L.A. Was that part of the reason?
I’m originally from Stockholm. About eight years ago I decided to move to London because I was fed up with [Sweden’s] weather and only having two months of summer every year. And because I travel by train to my shows, London was so much better. I lived in the U.K. for eight years; I wanted to try something new and obviously the sunny West Coast—the weather is always great, great people, good food and it’d give me a chance to concentrate on touring in North and South America for a bit. It’s funny, I was playing in the pool yesterday with my girlfriend and my little daughter, and I was reading the Swedish newspaper online, and there was this headline about this big snowstorm and it’s 18 degrees below zero, and I was like, “OK, I made the right decision.”
With multiple production monikers, do you take on different personas in the studio?
No, it doesn’t really work like that. First of all, it’s nice to hide behind another name that’s not your own, because whenever I release an “Eric Prydz” record, there’s so much pressure on me. I could give you an example: There was one record—I don’t remember what it was—but this comment that this person made really stuck in my head. It was a YouTube clip of one of my new tracks, people were discussing whether they liked it, this one guy said, “Yeah, I really like it, but it’s not groundbreaking.” And I’m like, “Hang on a second. Does every new track I release have to be groundbreaking? Do I need to reinvent dance music with one track every time I have a release?” It’s silly.
That’s kind of the perception that people have of me, that it needs to be something so good that it will change the industry with one track, that’s just stupid. That’s one of the reasons it could be nice to have another name, where I can do what the fuck I want. I don’t have to be worried that people will start thinking, “Oh, but this is not going to sell 10 million copies.” No, it’s not, it’s underground dance music. Maybe it will sell 10 copies, I don’t care. That’s why it’s nice to have different names, but also because I like so many different styles of electronic dance music and if I released everything, all the different styles under one name, I think it would be a bit confusing for people. So that’s why you’ve got ‘Cirez D’ for the more techno dark stuff, ‘Pryda’ has always been that big, melodic progressive sound, and the ‘Eric Prydz’ music tracks have sometimes started out as ‘Pryda’ tracks, but it’s always been those tracks that have kind of crossed over and they become the chart-topping hits.
How often do you check to see what people are chatting about on your website’s message board and YouTube comments? Does what’s there influence what you’re working on?
I’m in there every now and then, not as much as I should I guess. Whenever I have the time, I go in and sometimes on the live chat I talk to people, see what’s up. Having your own message board is a good tool for people who are into what you do to come and meet other people that like your tunes.
What will the New Year bring for you?
I have a lot of things that are going to come out in 2013—a lot of ‘Eric Prydz’ stuff, more ‘Pryda’ releases, more ‘Cirez D’ stuff as well. There are a few new remixes that I’m still working on. This whole move to L.A. has kind of set me back a little bit time-wise; I need to get into my new studio, I need to set it up before I can start working again.
You live practically down the road. Will Las Vegas get to see more of you?
I’m doing the New Year’s Eve show [at Surrender], and I’m going to be back a few more times during the year.