As it is with interviewing pro athletes, a simple Q&A with musicians has the same likelihood of turning into a cliché "What got you into DJing in the first place?" followed with a response of "Bro, I have just always had music in my blood, ever since I first sat at a piano as a newborn."
Adeptness in interviewing any subject, even for the most highly-skilled and intrusive journalists (such as myself, obviously), is something that tends to allude most writers. That said, I'm pretty sure I hit the jackpot in speaking with Atlanta native Dylan Eiland. You'd likely know him better as Le Castle Vania (and yes, that DJ name is pulled directly from the cult-fave Nintendo classic).
"I tried sneaking into a club when I was like 15, and failed miserably," says Eiland, of a less-than-successful attempt at using a fake ID to catch a DJ set that he was desperate to see, well before he was of legal age. "I had to sit in the car while my friends went in and partied."
While that's an über-bummer, what happened next – and it's so matter-of-fact it's hilarious – shaped how and why Eiland would continue down his path towards EDM rad-ness.
As he watched the opening acts come and go through the back door, without so much as being stopped to check their credentials or ID, Eiland made a decision. "I wanted to be that guy who could play and get in anywhere."
That's exactly what he became – starting with a monthly party (aptly titled Fuck Yesss) at a small venue in his hometown of Atlanta, which admittedly, isn't exactly a hotbed of EDM notoriety. "Atlanta is really, finally starting to blossom into a strong electronic town now," Eiland says.
What started as a 200-person party has grown to a monthly that brings in over 1200 folks, with plans to expand to a larger venue in the meantime. And although he currently also owns a home in Los Angeles, Eiland will forever consider Atlanta home – even though there's likely more out in LA to further his career.
"There's a lot going on out here," he says. "There's always stuff going on, events, a lot more artists around." Undoubtedly, that mecca of creativity has helped grow Eiland as a musician.
"I've been using a lot more live instruments," he says of his newer material. "I've got a full string section for some of the songs."
Fortunately for Eiland, he's adept at both remixes and originals – it's just that he feels more accomplished making his own music from start to finish. "An original is yours," he says. "You created it, it's your baby in a way. With remixes, they're easier, and you already have an idea of where it's going to go. Creating music that didn't exist before is cool to me."
If you haven't taken a listen to Le Castle Vania as of yet, make sure to prep yourself before seeing him at ID Fest. It isn't the traditional EDM that you're envisioning. With an obvious indie backbone, lots of moodiness and a strong rock presence – tons of distortion, a heavy bassline and lots of percussion – it's truly a breath of fresh air and a creative spin on what you'd expect from something labeled within the EDM umbrella.
"My whole goal is to make something that's going to have a real high-energy impact to the audience," says Eiland. "I take influence from all across the board – very strong rock, indie, I started out spinning drum & bass, obviously stuff like Daft Punk was very influential in my sound."
Known for building a wild party around his unique audio experience, Le Castle Vania is an energy-bringing act unlike any other. "I quit using actual turntables a couple years ago," Eiland explains. "My shows are really known for getting crazy – people going apeshit – and, you know, needles skip. I needed something more reliable."
Well, anyone whose parties are titled Fuck Yesss and often attract people going apeshit are more than welcome in metro Detroit. Bring on Le Castle Vania! | RDW
IDentity Festival • 7/20, 2 p.m. • Elektricity Festival Grounds • idfestival.com • All Ages • $40-$60 (VIP Also Available)