Artist Spotlight – Greg Downey
Alias: Greg Downey
Real Name: Greg Downey
Edgy and staying in his own lane
DJ, producer, radio show host, and label owner, Greg Downey makes it look easy. He did not follow the trend but found his own lane which made him successful with his edgy hard-hitting trance. Taking on more titles and new ventures throughout the years; Greg has a game plan and the desire to execute. Staying ahead of the curve, he is a decade ahead of setting a new trend in this scene. He shall be around for years to come, taking chances that others are too afraid to make. As he continues to blend styles and build his legacy, he is definitely making noise in the trance scene.
Welcome back to LA! You have been in the scene for a very long time, since you were 13. What do you do so you don’t get burnt out? How do you stay original?
Try not to party. As long as I keep exercising and keep fit and stay away from partying that keeps me from burning out. I guess what also keeps me from burning out is that I am always focused on my next goals, my next track, my next vision that I have. That keeps me original as well, because I am always thinking 6.5 months down the road and beyond. So I have never found that part difficult, because I am always subconsciously thinking about it like everyday.
Skullduggery – What exactly does it mean, and where did this concept come from?
The whole concept of Skullduggery is just I always felt that I had an edge in trance, like I always made edgy music. I feel like the trance scene; a lot of the labels play it quite safe and I don’t play a lot of the stuff that is on quite a few trance labels. I won’t mention any, but there are a handful that I do love, but I just wanted something that I could push. Like a newer take on driving trance. Something with a bit of an edge to it and a bit not quite playing by the rules, so to speak. Something that has an impact to it. Everything from the brand into the music. And my DJ performances, I want them to be like that too, which they always have been, so I just feel that the label and the brand, along with my DJing is all aligned together now.
You recently rebrand your radio show to Skullduggery, although the format has remained similar. What is your process for picking tracks for the show?
Over the years, I had a 2 hour radio show, and I toyed with the possibility of doing a weekly show, but I decided not to. I find that even doing a 2 hour show, I was playing a lot of tracks that I wouldn’t feature in a live set, so this time around for the radio show, if you listen to each show, it is almost like what would happen when I am at a gig. There is no radio tracks anymore, but not saying that I didn’t like these tricks, because I did, and say if I was playing a 4 or 6 hour set, those tracks might be featured. But everything with the show now varies, and having it from the offset. So the main difference would be that there is no real filler stuff. It doesn’t have to be hard, but I would play every one of those tracks in a set. When I was doing more shows, and if I did one for every week, I would be scrapping for records and I rather not do that. I rather just do one show, once a month for one hour, maybe there will be sometime to do 2 hours but it will just be as I would want it rather than scraping around.
You have a beautiful way of blending trance and techno in your productions. Does this blend give you more range in your production? Do you feel more producers should step out of their comfort zone?
I definitely feel they should. There are so many producers that when I listen to new music and it is like the ‘thing’ that is a lot of the drive in the trance made now. The reason why I wouldn’t play it is because the stuff that me and a handful of others were making 10 years ago, when we were breaking through was stronger and it had more to it then. So I feel like this template trance for me just doesn’t work. I am not saying you have to change your style, but listen to different types of music, take influences and try to combine different things with your stuff. And I think I have always done that as a DJ and a producer. So I think it stands by you because if you can do that and spend the time researching and getting your stuff totally nailed, you will be making something which people will wonder how did you do that. And that is what you want as an artist. You want to be doing something that you are in own lane, and that is what I have always tried to be.
You have held many titles, DJ, producer, radio host, and label owner. If you could only do one, what would it be and why?
If I could only do one, and they weren’t independent on each other, I would be a DJ. That is from when I was a kid that is what I was. Although as much as I find producing very testing and difficult, I do love creating tracks and I love going through the process to get to the end result. Sometimes, you make a track 5 months or 6 months, and I want to give up 20 times during that, but when it is done, and it is right there it is worth it. But if I had to pick one, it would be DJing, because I had to learn production because without that I couldn’t DJ. But i have grown to love it too.
Finally, if you could only live by one motto, what would it be?
“Don’t be afraid to take a leap”
Every time I have taken a big leap, as much as I was shit scared and people thought I was crazy. Things worked out, so many people get stuck, or have these ideas or whatever and they don’t move. But sometimes when you take a big leap, you don’t know how it will work out, but you have a vision of things, and sometimes it aligns better for you. So always do that.
Courtesy of Greg Downey