Everyone’s posting some introspective novel about their decade, so I guess I’ll do the same thing.
In 2009, I tried to kill myself. One day later, I met the two loves of my life and became a stepdad, trapping me on this planet forever (joking). I became an artist on Velcro City Records, which gained the attention of local promoters and saw me performing at increasingly noteworthy shows, including opening for ATB, which I still consider one of the greatest memories of my life, as it was one of the first times I got to play my music on a world-class sound system for a packed audience.
In 2010, I began to make international waves when I was selected as a top-10 semifinalist in a deadmau5 competition through Beatport with over 800 submissions. It was from this contest that I met J. Scott G. (formerly of the trance group Deepsky) and began to collaborate with him on some pretty big projects. We did an official remix of Celldweller ‘s “The Best It’s Gonna Get” that ended up in the TV show How I Met Your Mother, as well as an official remix of Shiny Toy Guns’ “Speaking Japanese” that ended up on the UK version of their album “III.”
I started out 2011 with a collaboration with Colorado producer Jontron called “Ghostbusters” (a reference to deadmau5’s “Ghosts & Stuff,” a similar sounding Electro House track) that got released on Manufactured Music, the home label of Manufactured Superstars. I released a few more originals and remixes, most notably my remix of Daft Punk’s “The Grid” from the Tron soundtrack, which received the most user votes in the remix competition for which it was made. Unfortunately, I was disqualified for using a clip from the movie that wasn’t included in the remix stems. Nevertheless, I dominated the competition and got a fair amount of exposure from it.
My world changed in 2012 when, for no particular reason other than I loved It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I remixed the “Dayman” song into “Daymanstep,” a Dubstep parody video. The video and track went instantly viral, making it onto Adult Swim‘s “Top 10 Internet Trends of the Week” list, virtually every EDM publication and, finally, the social media profiles of multiple cast members, including Glenn Howerton and series creator Rob McElhenney. Inadvertently, I found my way onto the main stage at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, where I got to play “Daymanstep” at GLOBAL DANCE FESTIVAL COLORADO, one of the largest festivals in the country.
In 2013, I once again made it to Red Rocks for Global Dance Fest. I also collaborated with Florida artist Mezo on a semi-viral Dubstep remix of his track “Connected.” As a huge Halo fan, I decided to participate in the remix contest for the song “Awakening” from the Halo 4 soundtrack. Once again, my remix was voted #1 by users, but I was disqualified for enabling downloads on Soundcloud. I did, however, win Insomniac Events’ “Discovery Project” contest, and thus was booked to perform at Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Las Vegas. Lastly but most certainly not least, I remixed the Animotion song “Obsession” from the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack. The track/video found its way onto the official Rockstar Games blog, where it gained the attention of Animotion frontman Bill Wadhams. Bill and I became friends, and I ended up collaborating with the band on multiple tracks for their new album “Raise Your Expectations.” Years later, I joined them on-stage for “Lost 80’s Live” at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre.
I continued to release originals and remixes through 2014, but a hefty chunk of my time was devoted to producing sample packs for Beatport. This was when I developed a working relationship with my friend Jim Stout (formerly 1/2 of Nebula 9), who was the CEO of Beatport’s Sounds to Sample at the time. I released “New Dimensions” through Manufactured Music, and got to play it a few times at Beta Nightclub, opening for some more major acts.
Three years after releasing “Daymanstep,” I decided to take a shot at another It’s Always Sunny remix in 2015 (per the encouragemaent of a staff member at FXX), this time of the “Paddy’s Pub” theme. My “Paddy’s Theme: Ultimate Edition” track and video got some traction, and it was through talks with someone at FXX that Daymanstep found its way onto the official It’s Always Sunny social media pages. Professionally, “Paddy’s Theme: Ultimate Edition” sat in the doldrums for a while. That changed later. In the meantime, I released “High Fidelity,” a collaboration with Lea Luna on Tiësto‘s former label Black Hole Recordings that took the #1 spot in Beatport’s front page Pulse charts. Somewhat less notably (but certainly not un-notably), my girlfriend (and photographer) and I burned our fair share of bridges when we lampooned the trailer for the EDM-based Hollywood film, “We Are Your Friends.” The parody trailer made the rounds all over EDM culture, and, much to my delight, pissed off a whole lot of people who deserved it.
To put it lightly, in 2016, the country went to complete shit. In a lot of ways, so did my personal life and, consequently, my mental health. I got dragged into becoming a political activist against my will because I simply could not sit idly by and watch the country go to complete shit. Little did I know, I’d been viewing the country through rose-tinted glasses anyway (it’s not like Trump and the modern GOP fell out of the sky, after all) and, as a result, have only continued to go further left politically. This has alienated people, as it has for everyone. But more than anything, it showed people’s true colors. I no longer lament the loss of those relationships. And I no longer contemplate how the worst atrocities in modern human history have happened. But you guys already know where I stand on that stuff, no need to repeat it all in this post. It has only been through therapy that I have been able to navigate the new “normal,” where facts are irrelevant and empathy is seen as weakness. I was bullied mercilessly in grade school, so to basically have to relive a lot of that as an adult has been especially hard for me. But I will never assimilate.
Even still, I managed to put out a remix of R.E.M.’s “The One I Love” that year, which ended up on the band’s blog and social media pages. Squeezed in a few great gigs at Beta before it finally closed its doors.
I was in the depths of self-destruction in 2017 and I’d rather not revisit it that much. I dragged myself through some paid projects; the one that turned out the best was a theme song I produced for popular Twitch streamer thethiliacraft. I released my album “Aperture” and, beyond the release party at Beta (my first live P.A. performance and hardly a perfect one), nobody cared.
In 2018, I dropped “Ragnarok” on Noel Sanger‘s “Dissident” record label. The release held steady at the #1 spot in the Progressive House releases for a few weeks. I also held a remix competition on Metapop for my track “Outta the Dark,” which received nearly 200 submissions. I awarded Ukrainian producer Drumliar first prize.
2019 has honestly been the closest thing to a redeeming year for me. I started the year by doing what I had to do for myself; I quit my gig as a radio host at KUHS Radio/TV Denver; despite having a great relationship with the staff, my mind and soul just couldn’t take it anymore. I was tired of being angry all the time, and interviewing people whose opinions frankly didn’t deserve the air time. I felt like I was doing more harm than good, so I walked. I also kind of let go of the whole idea of being a “hometown hero,” though, it wasn’t entirely my choice. Again, for my own sake, I determined that anywhere I’m not wanted, I won’t be.
Remember that “Paddy’s Theme” mix I mentioned? Well, in August, it caught the attention of It’s Always Sunny creator and cast member Rob McElhenney, he posted it on his Instagram with a direct shout-out to me, Taylor Kampa Olson and her husband Bryan found me as a result, more Sunny-themed collaborations ensued, Glenn Howerton took notice, Charlie Day took notice and, well, whatever ultimately happens from that, it’s been a hell of an affirmation, and a damn good reason to keep hustling.
So there you have it. There’s my decade in a nutshell. I’m far from where I want to be. Like anybody else, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Some of them, I’ll probably regret for the rest of my life. But fuck, after writing this, I’d say I made out pretty damn well. I’m glad I sat down and took the time to put this together. Sometimes, the only person who can remind you that you matter is you.