Morten Breum is a diamond in the rough. One of the most overlooked producers and DJs in the United States, Morten has already achieved huge success overseas and in his native home of Denmark.
At 14 years old, Morten Breum began to DJ and from that point on, his love for music and DJing became the catalyst for his career in the electronic music industry. Just like some of the biggest names in EDM, Breum starting his career DJing in many locals venues around his home town of Aarhus, Denmark. At 19, Breum turned pro. From that point on his career took an meteoric rise, becoming one of the most sought after DJ in Scandinavia due to his exhilarating stage presence and unique productions.
Morten Breum began to play at some of the most celebrated international events along with headlining at ID&T’s Sensation Europe in 2009. Breum reached critical acclaim after dropping his debut album DROP!, which included the single Domestic, a single that got him international recognition along with becoming certified gold. On It, Breum’s second single was selected for Pacha’s annual compilation album, a noteworthy achievement from the most prominent figure for house music.
In the summer of 2011, Morten Breum took his talents to the west coast and moved to Los Angeles, playing alongside some the the biggest names in the EDM industry including Axwell, Diplo, and Avicii. Breum has been traveling all over the America headlining some of the biggest venues including LIV in Miami, Playhouse in LA, and Surrender Las Vegas.
I got a chance to sit down and talk to the Danish sensation before he went on to perform at LAVO in NYC. I got some insight on what makes Morten Breum the producer and DJ that he is along with some news on what we have to expect from Breum in 2013…
X: You have been traveling a lot during 2012, and 2012 is coming to a close soon, so what was your personal highlight from 2012? The one moment that really stands out for you?
M: There is this very special old venue in Coppenhegan, I did a show there in April, and I sold out the show… 20 days before I even got there. That was very special for me. But, I actually played here in New York , Last year for New Years Eve at Pacha and that was an amazing night! That was one to remember. I played at Ushuaia in Ibiza this summer, I opened up for Avicii and that was also something really special. You know playing at LIV in Miami is always fun, XS in Las Vegas and of course playing at LAVO in New York…. It’s been a good year
X: What do we, as listeners, have to look forwards to from you in 2013? Do you have any big remix, singles, collaborations, albums, etc. coming out?
M: Yea, we are working on so many tracks right now… last time I checked, I had like 50-60 tracks ready, but it needs to be the right track and it needs to be the right label…. I don’t know exactly, right now, where we are going, but I believe good things are coming… I’m working on big remixes right now.
X: By the way, I just heard your remix to Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and I’ve got to say that it’s probably my favorite of the “Diamonds” remixes that I’ve heard.
M:Oooo thank you, thanks a lot.
X: Speaking of that remix, the Rihanna remix, that you did, and your single “Every Time You Look At Me,” they both have a trap influence in them. So what about the trap sound do you really like?
M: Well, right now I’m all about trap… I’m just very afraid of it because trap right now feels a little bit like reggaeton, every body is remixing it, it’s a vibe coming in and it dies out eventually. People turn out old classic hits and are making them into trap mixes right now and that kind of takes away from the whole trap feel for me and So, its like a love hate relationship, I like it, I like the rhythm, I like the beats but I’m a little afraid of it For me it’s house music. trap is fun….And I don’t like when you take R&B and hip-hop artists and put them upbeat….when you hear them rap fast…. I don’t like that… they deserve to be down tempo, where they are suppose to be, I like that better….that’s why the Rihanna vocal fit better there. And I thought the production for “Diamonds” was very boring, such a boring production, it s very simple beat but the vocals. made the song… I think the production that I did put a lot more energy to it.
X:2011 was about the moombahton, 2012 was about the trap, so what do you think the new sound for 2013 is going to be? Is it something that we are already familiar with or is it something that we haven’t heard yet?
M: I said it a long time ago, that tech house and deep house are going to blow up in the United States, because everyone knows what it is, but it just needs the right environment, and I don’t see that environment right now. It needs something…. It needs a beach haha…. Its not super clubs, its not the hardcore NY, its not the bars in LA or the Super clubs in Miami or Las Vegas. It something else, but I believe tech house will get its era, if its going to be in 2013, I don’t know…. I lived in LA for 2 in a half years now, and just being away from Europe for one and a half, two years, I can see how much its growing… in Ibiza now, its really growing, the big guys like Luciano are really pushing it.
X: How does doing shows overseas, compare to doing shows in a city like NYC?
M: Well, first of all personally, people know who I am in northern Europe and Scandinavia so there is a recognizable thing that makes it very nostalgic, they know my records when I spin there. Clubs are clubs, I think the difference when you traveled like 10 years ago was more extreme, regarding the music, but now with the Internet, people can follow the movement of the music, like a hit is a hit worldwide now. But I think New York is like….. New York is like the Europe of the US, I don’t see the big difference between playing here and playing in a place like London, New york is kind of its own, its had it old gay techno clubs back in the day, its not like house music is new here, its only new in the commercial scene.
X: So, how would you describe your sound? Because I can’t put into words exactly what your sound is, it’s not progressive house, or deep house, its something different.
M: The thing is that people from back home who have been listening to me for years, they know exactly what the sound is, the sound I have…. But I know what you mean, because I wouldn’t say I’m progressive, I’m not this, I’m not that, right now I’m all over the place, I living in L.A. now, I used to live in cold Europe and I’m just inspired, I just want to make good music. Its different, there are so many clubs hits, progressive hits, and I want to make something a little different.
X: What are you biggest influences that made you the producer that you are?
M: Well my background, when I started, I used to listen to a lot gangster rap actually, like all the west coast gangster rap like NWA. I think that the whole way that I was mixing back then with the records was an aggressive way of mixing it wasn’t like mixing house music. House music is more with a flow whereas hip-hop is more aggressive, and I think your going to hear that tonight because when I mix house music I do it aggressively, very high energy level. I’ve been DJing since a very earlier age, in Denmark the clubs open at 10 and close at 6 in the morning, so I’ve had a lot of nights, DJing and DJing and DJing….and I listen to a lot of different music and not just house music, my ears are very open.
X:So, being born and raised in Denmark is a huge influence for you?
M: Definitely, 100%, , in Denmark we have a very strong underground subcultures scene, and it really gave me a big vision of other kinds of music that aren’t just the hits and the “chart” music
X:If you could work with anyone in the industry right now, anyone at all, who would you choose?
M: I love Axwell, I have a lot of respect for him, he is an amazing producer and an amazing DJ, and I just have a lot of respect for him, he is one of my favorites. Tiesto Deadmau5 as well…… I remember the old Scott Storch , Timberland productions, I loved that too that was cool. But Axwell for sure, I’m a big fan.
X:What is your favorite track to play that isn’t yours?
M: Well the song is getting old, but I love to play the Swedish House Mafia “Grey Hound”, I love that song. That song is like, I don’t know, when you play that song the party is on. It’s just a very well produced song, it sounds good. It’s one of my all time favorites, it’s a new song here, but it’s a song that I’ve had for years. I kind of have a crush on Burns – Lies (Otto Knows Remix) and I’m Going to play a little bit of trap tonight, as well.
X:What do you really enjoy listening to when you have some time off, traveling, relaxing, etc?
M: I like to listen to hip-hop, I like to listen to the old soul, Marvin Gaye type of music… I try not to listen to the music that I play, I want to hear it fresh when I play it. I don’t want to get tired of the tunes that I play because I perform a lot. But yea, I like to listen to a lot of music, all different types of music; the only music I don’t listen to is heavy metal.
X:I’ve read and heard that a lot of DJs prepare their sets before a show, using tools like Mixed In Key, etc. Do you have a set plan when your about to start spinning, or do you just feel it out as you go?
M: I prepare myself, I make sure I have new tracks, and I make sure that I have music I like. I never go anywhere unprepared. But at the same time, I don’t know what I’m going to play. I just kind of see how the crowd feels, and throw out different stuff, the more errors I make the more fun it is. I’m jamming, I’mDJing.
X:2013 is around the corner, so is there anything in particular that you are really excited for? Is there something your going to be doing that your looking forward to the most?
M: Yea, I’m excited for Miami, Miami music week, I was there last year, and did like 6 different pool parties. For sure I’m looking forward to Miami again. I’m also just excited to just get some of this new music that I have out. I have some compilations that I have done that I think are going to be really fun. Right now I have a track that I’m working on with Betatraxx, I call it “ Juliette Lewis”, she’s an actress, and we are just putting our last touches on it and I think it is a huge tune. Should be coming out soon, hopefully before February.
I got the pleasure to witness Morten Breum DJ at LAVO that night and I have to say, it was definitely a night to remember. Jonathan Schwartz of LAVO NYC has said “Morten Breum is probably one of EDM’s biggest hidden gems. Never a dull moment during his set, owning the audience from the moment he gets behind the decks…” And quite frankly there is no way to dispute that comment. Breum’s entire set from start to finish was high energy, the crowd was on the floor dancing the night away, not given a chance to rest. Like Diplo and LaidBack Luke, Morton Breum is not afraid to go outside the box and throw in some curveballs into his set. While he did play songs that we would all expect from him, such as some of his singles, SHM’s “Greyhound” and Avicii’s “Silhouettes.” He also played songs like the Flosstradamus remix to “Original Don” and the summer anthem “Pop That” that really elevated the club’s atmosphere to another level. Morten Breum is someone that no one should ever overlook, if you ever get a chance to see him spin, by all means, go see him because he is someone that does not disappoint.
Take a look at Morten Breum’s Trap remix of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and make sure to follow him for more updates on his live shows and music.
Morten Breum’s Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud
***Special thanks to Morten Breum and Justin Lubliner for the interview