Nikki Beach resident DJ/producer, Armand Pena popularly known for "Welcome To Miami"- WMC's kickoff party- released his latest collaborative effort, "Blow" alongside Harry Romero, Alex Alicea and Crystal Waters last week. Released on Erick Morillo's highly acclaimed record label, Subliminal Recordings, the two tracker package comprises of a club mix and a keylow mix. The track's energetic bassline and vocals by Crystal Waters makes it one kickass summer groove ready for the Ibiza season. Armand Pena is one of Miami's most reputable house DJs. He is known for his Latin-influenced groove productions that have garnered much love from the likes of other house legends such as Roger Sanchez, Oscar G and Robbie Rivera. With a number of releases under his belt on various record labels, Pena is also the the founder of Nikki Beach Music. With Ibiza season now off in full flex, Magnetic caught up with the house aficionado to see what he's been upto these days.
What are you most excited about this season in Ibiza?
Ibiza has always had a special place in my heart as I've played there numerous times. Now I can feel a little bit more at home with the new Nikki Beach Ibiza which as you may know I've had a long relationship with… [It’s a] great way to catch new tunes and see beautiful people in the island.
How Could you identify certain differences and similarities between Ibiza and Miami dance culture?
Miami’s Dance culture I believe is at an all time high with dance taking over airwaves. The best thing about Ibiza is, that’s where new records are and have always been broken. Mega clubs take you to the wee hours giving you a surreal experience with your fav acts in the white island. Miami also gives you that with all our hot venues and mega clubs like LIV, STORY, MANSION, NIKKI BEACH and SPACE which has the 24 hour liquor license. Giving you the option to catch your favorite artists which are in rotation on a weekly basis. Treating you to a surreal experience as well so I think they are both very similar. I tend to enjoy the dry Ibiza heat than Miami's humid heat but gotta love them both!
Growing up as a kid, what got you into house music, Miami dance culture etc.?
Well my father was a DJ back in the day doing hall parties. Once he was done, I saw the equipment in a corner so I went to the local record store and purchase my first few records which was a Michael Jackson’s album, Young MC and a few others. The rest is history! I was hooked!
Who would you say influenced you the most and how did that impact you to go in this direction?
I can say that listen to dance back in the day was quite the experience in the late 80’s and 90’s. I enjoyed listening to, C&C, Reel to Reel, Crystal Waters (haha), Blackbox, Robin S and what did it for me was when I heard the mix comp Junior Vasquez Live Vol 2. That was it!! Sickiest CD I had ever purchased.
Nikki Beach music is known to put out some of the best compilations mix CDs. Which one is your favorite from all of the compilations in recent years?
Well I had put 2 compilations out with them (Nikki Beach Music) which one was called late night sessions and the other was record live from WMC week at Nikki Beach. Those 2 cds were really fun to compile. Adding some of my originals and remixes calling my producer friends to give me records. It was a lot of fun.
.Is there a new one in the works?
No I’m actually working on original productions with labels as Erick Morillo’s Subliminal Records and now Steve Angello’s SIZE X.
Name three emerging DJs that you are currently listening to?
Prok & Fitch are doing some nasty beats these days, Dannic & Pena Brothers- All on my playlist.
Your latest summer jam, “Blow” released a few days ago on Subliminal Records, Erick Morillo’s record label. What’s your relationship with Erick like?
My relationship with Erick has always been great. All respect and when he wants and gives creative input all you can do is listen, learn and do them. It’s ERICK! Haha I respect him very much.
How do you feel about his hiatus from dance music?
Well I see it like this, Erick is not a machine he works a lot! I remember Erick calling me in the middle of the night to change something on a record I was doing at the time (TONIGHT) made me think does he even sleep? An artist at that level at one point or another needs a break. Nonstop touring, planes, music, going through admin stuff you’ll want to take a lil break. But I do know this you’ll see him back on tour soon.
You are known for your lively performances. Do you prefer playing at night or during the day?
I love both! Each one is different day parties can be a riot especially if in a beach or pool setting lovely and sloppy!
How do you plan sets?
I just recently started using USBs again. I love the whole computer thing and own every gadget, but what I found is that you lose creativity in pushing yourself (That’s just my opinion when on 4 cdjs). That live feel is unique and I just felt it was best for me. So I use Pioneer's Rekordbox. Drop in all my new tracks in the folders I have organized and go! Once playing shit’s on the fly! Loops, Accapellas, Effects, Sounds, Tweakin and manipulating the CDJS love it all.
Life at the beach, house music, parties and women are very exciting components of your life, but what is it outside of the dance music space that you do and enjoy?
I love being with my family and kids. They keep me so busy that besides work the rest of the time belongs to them.
You seem to constantly reinvent your sound, yet you stay true to your style and roots. Tell us does character define style or style invent character?
I guess it’s like wine, As you start to understand where you want to go with your sound you start to get so creative that you want to invent. Its like I live on earth but how can I make it to Saturn and then twist it with another planet and screw up where you find that sound that you weren’t even planning for. That is my mission and this will define my character which reflects through my music.
What do you have in plan for your future projects?
I’m about to release a few other mixes with subliminal and now with Size X which I’m really excited about. Steve has picked up one of my new originals ft Roland Clark which will be released in the summer. So I’m going to stay in the studio the rest of the summer working on vocal original’s and some house jackin shit and hit some clubs along the way.
Armand Pena will join Erick and Robbie Rivera for the Independance Music Festival at Sun Life Stadium, Miami on July 21st. Tickets are available here.
Follow ARMAND PENA on Facebook | Twitter