Behind the Beat: Valentino Khan
If you went to any electronic music festival or show in the last year, you heard the track “Deep Down Low“. Valentino Khan is credited for that 2015 hit. The hip-hop turned cross-genre producer and DJ had a huge year. Khan produced hip-hop for multi-platinum and Grammy award-winning artists before hitting it big in dance music circles. He wants to push music forward and hopes to continue to have no bounds when it comes to genres or styles.
He started 2016 on tour as direct support for Carnage and Jauz and has been playing festivals all over the country including Moonrise Festival in Baltimore where Only The Beat caught up with him for an interview.
Only The Beat: When did you start Djing/producing? Where was your first official gig?
Valentino Khan: I used to play in this little bar called The Central in Santa Monica, California when I was growing up in Los Angeles. That is when I started really started to take off. Before that I was producing for hip-hop artists like B.o.B., T.I., Bruno Mars, 2 Chainz, Iggy Azalea, Tyga and Kid Sister.
OTB: So you started as a hip-hop producer. Who influenced your sound and how has it changed over time?
VK: Probably Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Pharrell and a few others definitely influence me. They were doing something very different at the time that I hadn’t heard before. I wanted to follow them because my mantra is always pushing music forward.
OTB: How would you personally describe your sound and style?
VK: It isn’t really relegated to one sound or style. I try to do a bit of everything a put it all together.
OTB: Take us back to 2015 when “Deep Down Low” took off and it was the most played track DJs that year. At what point did you know that is was going to be a worldwide hit?
VK: I think the turning point was when acts like Calvin Harris, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Afrojack and Avicii started playing it. That was really surprising to me and took the song to a whole new level.
OTB: Last week must have been a great week for you with the release of “Slam Dunk” with Skrillex. Are you satisfied with the track’s reception and are you planning any remixes?
VK: Yeah, it has been dope. Remixes are not out of the question. I am really glad that Sonny and I were able to get this song out.
Valentino Khan & Skrillex – Slam Dunk (feat. Kstylis)
OTB: What are your top three favorite tracks of all time?
VK: Oh my gosh. That’s such a hard question. I will give you one. “It Was A Good Day” by Ice Cube.
OTB: What advice do you have for aspiring DJs/producers?
VK: Be original and work your ass off.
OTB: What is the top milestone in your career so far?
VK: That is also a tough question. Anytime I am able to play for my hometown and the people of Los Angeles it means a lot to me. It also means a lot to get to play a crazy festival for thousands of people. That is really special.
OTB: Outside of DJing/producing, what are your other interests or hobbies?
VK: Basketball. I am a diehard Lakers fan.
OTB: What can we expect from you for the rest of this year? Any new track or collaborations coming up?
VK: New tracks. New sounds. A lot of new stuff coming up.