Behind The Beat | REL Interview

New York City’s underground EDM scene has been known to be full with unbelievable talented DJ’s and producers who are on the verge of greatness. Any night of the week you can enter a club or venue in “the city”, and witness an individual you’ve never heard of playing an incredible set. Furthermore, there are certain DJ/Producers who play in these clubs that deserve some recognition for the phenomenal sets and shows they put on. One of these people who is on the rise in this industry and is a staple at many of the venues and clubs in the NYC EDM underground is REL (Ariel Blum).

REL is one of NYC’s undergrounds premier DJ/Producers. He has played at all types of clubs and major venues such as Marquee, Lavo, Pacha, Santos, Tenjune and Hudson Terrace. He was recently signed as a DJ and has been setting up some major events in the near future. On Saturday June 8th, he will be playing alongside Ummet Ozcan, further validating his role and place within the NYC EDM scene. Recently, REL was nice enough to sit down with OTB for an interview and we got to learn a little more about his many talents, unbelievable work ethic and passion for music.

OTB: So REL where and how did you get started with DJing and Producing?

REL: When I was 16 I got introduced to house music artists Infected Mushroom, Darude and a bunch of other artists and instantly I became hooked. It was at that moment that I realized I wanted to DJ. One night a couple years later I was at a party and they needed a DJ so I just decided to go up and start spinning. From that moment I knew I was made for this so I just kept growing getting better and refining my craft

 

OTB: That first gig in college must have been amazing. After those college gigs where did you find yourself and when did you start performing in the New York EDM clubs and venues?

REL: Well I started very simple and after school I actually got a 9-5 job, but I always knew that DJing/Producing was my life and passion. As a result, I was always practicing and just getting better at DJing. One of the things that I did was I used to go to the DJ Scratch Academy and watch people scratch just to learn and digest the multiple skills it takes to really become a great DJ. After all that hard-work and practice I finally got a break and performed at XVI and Hudson Terrace, and from there my whole world opened up and I began playing at many more places.

 

OTB: NYC is filled with venues that host DJ’s and the EDM scene, knowing that you’ve played at many of them, what would you say your favorite performances have been? Where? Why?

REL: Honestly it’s tough to say, but I would have to go with my shows at Marquee and Pacha. When I played at Marquee it was a blast and everyone there was dancing until closing. Also the stage just pumped me with so much more adrenaline because of how amazing it was. Pacha was my other favorite set because everyone was just raging all night. The crowd was amazing, wonderful, and so energetic. The management at Pacha actually had to ask me to close it down because we were going strong into the wee hours of the morning.

OTB: Recently, you were just signed. How does it feel to be signed?

REL: It’s a validation of some sorts. It shows that what I am doing and all the hard work I have put in is paying off. It also proves to me that I do belong doing this and I should continue going strong. Also, although I am signed I love the personal feeling that a DJ experiences between themselves and the crowd/fans and I will never lose that even though I’m signed.

 

OTB: That’s refreshing to hear! So after playing at these venues and being signed what are your goals in the future?

REL: Well one of my main goals is to make a living doing what I love to do and making other people happy/have a good time doing it.  My biggest goals is to have an event that can help people. Bring this community together and volunteer our time to make this world a better place. For example, I want to have a bunch of DJ’s come together for a benefit rave that can help a philanthropic organization like The Red Cross, or Hurricane Sandy Relief. I feel like we are in a position to make a difference and we should act on that.

 

OTB: That is something that definitely should be done and it’s great to hear that you are striving for something like that. Finally, what advise do you have for any up and coming DJ’s/Producers?

REL: Keep on practicing and put in the work because it pays off. When I was first starting out as a DJ, I would go door to door and just ask people if they needed a DJ or something so I can get experience and continue doing what I love. That perseverance is key in making it in this industry and in fact anything in life. Also, one should have complete hope and belief in themselves and their abilities. If you don’t believe in yourself than why should anyone believe in you? Finally, find what motivates and pushes you and run with it. For me when people said that I couldn’t have it, it just drove me more and pushed me harder. Those people really helped me because they made me go the extra mile so I could be where I am today.

 

OTB: Thanks so much for you time REL; it was a pleasure and amazing talking to you!

 

Connect with REL through.

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Sam Storch

A recent grad from Rutgers University, Sam has been involved with DJing and music production since the age of 16!
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