If you're under 21 like me, it probably feels like there isn't many late night merrymaking options in the land of endless opportunities, aka Los Angeles. Even though being restricted on what shows, venues, and of course bars I can go to has been a rub for a few years now, my saving grace is Control Fridays at the Avalon. Opening its doors to those 19 and up for the past four years, (happy belated anniversary), I know I can always count on a good time and that my musical needs will be met.
A few weeks back I was a lady on a mission at Control. As both a reporter for Magnetic and equal part EDM lover, I was determined to have a night to add to the books... and the lineup was definitely stacked in my favor. With DJs like GTA, Crookers, and Valentino Khan performing, I was anticipating a killer soundtrack for my night. It also didn't hurt that my first in-person interview would happen later that night with Valentino Khan, which despite my efforts to play it cool… I was bursting with crazy nerves on the inside.
Doing what I could to quell my pre-interview anxiety, I exchanged some texts with Valentino to confirm the details and make sure all was good to go. Getting through the front door was a breeze. With my ticket in hand, I made a b-line for the stage.
By the time I got to the stage and handed over my ID, my special press like glow had worn off. To my disappointment, I discovered a cute smile and a planned interview wasn't what one needed to get on stage. Again, my age had come between me and what could have been. But wait...this story has a happy ending.
Dont sell yourself short. Be patient. I still have a problem with being patient myself. but its a good thing.
After messaging Valentino and jumping through a few logistical hoops, we decided we would just wing it. Super understanding of my rather mortifying situation of being too young, we ended up going downstairs to the dressing room for our chat. Walking down the steps while trying to keep my nerves in check, the dressing room, bright red and quiet, ended up being much better option than trying to do something on stage in the midst of its all around bunch of revelers. Spotting a nice cushy seat in the corner and getting settled... it was finally time to get on with it.
Valentino Khan has done it all... from producing music for himself to making music for others like B.o.B and 2 Chainz. This Los Angeles native was born with musical running through his genes. Not only is he musically talented, but he is also charming, and one of the most outgoing people I have ever met. He is humble and can talk a mean conversation about food (check his tumblr). That being said I could not have asked for a better person to do my first face-to-face interview with.
I hear you're a big food connoisseur.
I am. That's what my Instagram feed is full of. I'll be on Tumblr late at night when I'm hungry and just look at other people's food porn.
What's your favorite meal? Do you cook too? If yes, what do you make best?
It's way too hard to pick a favorite food since I'm pretty adventurous with what I eat. I make the illest macaroni salad ever though.
I did also see that you have a snapchat. What's the weirdest thing you've gotten on that?
A penis. But only because I posted my snapchat on Tumblr so there's a lot of perverts lurking my Tumblr. I get a lot of cat videos and pictures. I don't have any cats or own any cats, but I do enjoy seeing a cool cat video as much as the next person.
Do you have any pets? If not, what is your ideal pet and what would you want it to do in an ideal world?
I don't have any pets but if I had one in an ideal world it definitely would be a bald eagle that could bring me food on command.
I know we are in the 6th week of Trap Thursdays... How about moombahton Monday or something like that?
No, I think I've put out a lot of Moombahton, and Trap Thursdays is just a cool way to pay back everyone who has supported me over the past year. Everything happened really fast, I thought let's just give it away once a week for free and do it that way.
Is it difficult coming out with a new track every week?
Some of them I had stored, some from self. I think what makes it easier, which is weird, is the fact that they all sound very different from one another. I think that if they were all the same track over and over... I think things would get stale. It would probably be difficult to do something new, but like for example I just released "Firepower" and that was very jungle, breakbeat and drum n bass influence. That was cool to put my twist on it and get feedback on it from old Drum n Bass heads. It was cool to hear like, "Oh, I like how you flipped that into a trap song."
There was a disclaimer on one your songs that read, only for thugs. What is the story behind that?
I released something with gun shots on the beat called "Who U Wit" and I just wanted to make it clear to not emulate the song and that that song is strictly for my thug audience. I have two audiences. I have my mainstream audience and then my thug audience and I love them both equally.
Do you consider yourself a thug?
I am a thug in certain ways... I am a thug, but Im also a lover.
Cause I know that in some of your pictures you're in a bath tub filled with gold and your mustache going on…
I think that that's not my my thug side though, I think that's my lover side because girls love gold.
They do… Would you say there is a difference between Valentino Khan on stage and Valentino Khan off stage?
Ironically, I probably cuss more in person then on stage and I cuss a lot on stage. I like to yell at people.
Is that how you keep up the vibe?
Yeah, it's cool. I wouldn't yell at people if I didn't think they enjoyed it and enjoyed me yelling at them to, "Put their fucking hands up."
Is there a difference between producing songs for other people and then when you are doing your own tracks?
Totally, yeah. When I made those hi- hop beats for like T.I, B.o.B, and 2 chainz, I was intentionally making it more loop based, which means it probably has to be a little more melodic to keep the listeners interested. I'm also making sure I leave space for a vocalist. That's really important. On paper it might seem like it's easy, but there's a craft to it and knowing what's going to be too much and totally drown out a vocalist. You have to be prepared and conscious of that.
And with yourself?
The EDM scene? Yeah, that's what I love about it. I don't have to wait for anybody to like the stuff. If I make something yesterday, I can put it out today. I can literally get as crazy as I want to. It's like complete freedom.
Did working on "Firepower" give you this sense of freedom?
That might be the most energetic track that I have put out so far. It's really cool, like granted it has vocals in it, but there's no way a guy could rap over it. It'd be a little too crazy.
If you had to put your life at a BPM what would it?
I'd put it at 128 because it's not too slow and it's not too fast. I like to chill a lot when I'm not doing this. I don't really think I ask for too much in life. I like to chill, but when I like to party, I know how to party.
How did you get into the EDM scene?
The first thing that caught my ear in electronic dance music was my brother playing me "Waters of Nazareth" by Justice. He was also listening to a lot of Benny Benassi stuff. I would walk by his room and be like, "Oh that's cool" and finally I heard the "Waters of Nazareth" track and realized that this is what I wanted and from then on I continued to make music and song structure and just the overall vibe of it.
I know you're from LA so what does it mean to you to get to play the Avalon?
It means a lot because I'm still growing as an artist. I grew up in terms of playing shows here at a bar in Santa Monica called the Central, that's where I sort of grew up as a performer and a DJ. Getting to play here—especially since I'm traveling a lot—you learn to value these shows a lot more. It's my hometown, I love this city and I can't see myself leaving; it means a great deal to me. I'm grateful to this city and I'm grateful I grew up in this city. When you're on the come up, it's different when you're established. When you're on the come up there's a lot more opportunities—not even just to play, but to go out and see other people playing and experience cool things and watch some cool people perform.
Any advice for up-and-coming producers/DJs trying to make it?
I would just say to be honest with yourself and if you really believe in yourself and think you're talented at what you do then pursue it at all costs and don't let anything else get in the way. Be the best you can possibly be. I know it's kind of a cliché, but that's what I would do. Don't sell yourself short. Be patient. I still have a problem with being patient myself, but it's a good thing.
Are there any local DJ or producers you think I should have an eye on, who's impressing you at the moment?
There's too many to name, but in terms of guys that are on the come up, I'd say keep an eye on Jay Fay. He's young and talented and his productions keep getting better every time.
Any specific track your excited to play tonight to see the audiences reaction?
I'm going to play a couple of Rick Ross songs. I like to throw a little bit of hip-hop in there. I've got a whole bunch of unreleased stuff from myself and from my friends and I'm always excited to play stuff no one has heard because then you know the reaction is genuine.
And then, I went back upstairs to Crookers playing, and danced until I couldn't feel my feet anymore. I should also probably mention that Valentino absolutely killed it, maintaining absolute dancing mayhem the entire set and even had friend Carnage make a small appearance. Some tracks included, Valentino's remix of Sidney Samson's "World is Yours,", A$AP's "I'm Different, and even some Ol' Dirty Bastard to close out the night. So while being under 21 is a huge bummer, my advice would be to change your perspective... it all depends on what you make of it. I lived up to my expectations and can definitely add this night as one for the books.