Aris Has his Voice on the Pulse of Some Hot Tunes

I’m always honored to be asked to review the work of my artist friends. ESPECIALLY when I’m already a fan of their work. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been listening to Aris Ziagos’ new album Pulse on repeat since it came out last month. To be honest, it has been on repeat in a mix that includes Donna summer, Lady Gaga, and Tina Turner.

The moment I heard clips of the songs and a few full songs in a car ride with Aris, I immediately thought of Donna Summer. This actually began my renewed desire to throw on a few of my favorite Donna hits. The first single from Pulse has been out for a while now and it has been making me want to move since first hearing it. I have said that I’m almost embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve probably listened to it but I am someone who has at least one ear bud in my ear even while I’m working. A good beat keeps me going and in a good mood no matter how much work I have to do or how intense it is.

I listen to very few albums all the way through without pushing past a few songs, even from my favorite mainstream artists so when I can thrown on one album and listen all the way through that is saying a lot. Pulse is definitely a collection of songs that is good for a long car ride, a hike, a workout, or just while you are cleaning and cooking.

The first song, Love (Thank you) features artist Paula Cole. It remind me immediately of Donna Summer’s hit I Feel Love with it’s sexy, breathy repetition and underlying sexy rhythm. Rain is a storm of emotion, desire, passion, and pain. I’ve said I felt like he was in my diary at some point, especially when I hear this one. It just feels that personal and I think it will to many people.

Speaking of Donna Summer, the title track has a sample of I Feel Love and I can actually hear Donna performing this one with approval. Handle It is definitely for anyone who has been wronged by a lover or just not appreciated for who they are. To me, it sounds like a dare to handle me in all my fabulousness if you think you can. But if you can’t, well the hell with you. It is reminiscent of a Beyonce empowerment piece. Basically, take me for what I am or everything you own will be in a box to the left.

Next, I want to talk about the Reborn remix. I do enjoy a good remix, especially when it is different version of the song that brings a new way to enjoy it. This remix does that for me by giving it a new beat. Make sure you check it all out for yourself at Aris’ website and follow him on social media because you are also going to want to check out his covers.

Steven Geller, THIS DJ Should Be Seen And Heard

Steven Geller knew what he wanted to be at the early age of 8.  While the rest of us were playing in the schoolyard, he was making mix tapes.  This lead him to start his own mobile disco company at age 11 and then go on to become the youngest ever DJ to secure full time residency at superclubs FIRE and AREA in London.  He has a fresh approach to remixing the songs he works on and has a unique respect for music in general.  While researching him for this article, I came across many reviews that said he is a DJ that you have to see to believe.  Not such a bad thing, once you see him, he’s quite a looker as well.

Steven is an award winning House DJ, Remixer, Producer, and promoter but when you get to talk to him, he is just as down to earth as he can be.  I found his story to be quite interesting, he has done so much so early on and he even met the King of Pop, Michael Jackson!  Color me impressed but not only by that, I was equally impressed with the man Steven is both in what he does and how he handles himself.  He likes to have fun with his work but is always mindful of his audience.  He aims to bring you along on his musical journey each and every time he takes to the DJ booth or stage.  To me, this is what any artist is supposed to do, no matter what his or her chosen form of expression is.

Please take some time to get to know Steven Geller and check out his website for his music.  Do tell him that I sent you :) If you are lucky enough to live in an area where you can see him live, run out to see him and tell him I said Hi!  Although, I have a feeling I will be able to do that in person soon enough.

Q: At 8 years old, you made your first mix tape and not in a simple way. You used 2 tape players, combined beat-boxing and singing too.  How did you already know what to do at such a young age?

A: I have been performing since a very early age. I was a child actor and got my first agent when I as 8 years old. Singing and acting brought me to life. Music has always been such an integral part since I can remember. I was always into technology, and loved making mix tapes on my 2 deck karaoke machine! It was my pride and joy!

Q: To continue your accomplishments and not let too many years go by, you only waited until you were 11 years old to start a mobile disco company.  Why did you wait so long? haha… But really, how did that come about?

A: Haha. Weirdly in those days it was more about the lighting and the visual effects than mixing. I turned up to play at kids parties/weddings/bar mitzvahs with equipment that took 4 hours to set up. More lights/pyrotechnics and smoke than a Pink Floyd concert. A bit ridiculous but I loved putting on a show! The serious passion for house music came later when I made DJing a full time career and got into the club circuit. But to this day, the performance element of what I do is just as important.

Q:  Your professional resume is very impressive.  Awards, acknowledgments, and praise. What has been the best one for you so far?

A: That’s a tough question. Awards and praise are good for your career and great fun. I was lucky enough in my acting days to collect 2 BAFTAs for projects I was in plus my video company has won several short corporate film awards. The best has to have been in 2009 when I won Best New DJ in the BOYZ London Scene Awards. As well as boosting my career it was also an amazing feeling because it was voted for by the public. To be honest though, I get the same great feeling any time someone comes up and says they liked my set and even more so if I get compliments on my remixes or production.

Q: Speaking of impressive, you actually met the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.  What was that like for you?

A: Meeting Michael Jackson was such a surreal experience.  I have been fortunate enough in my professional career to meet some big stars such as Nicole Kidman and Simon Cowell.  I am not easily starstruck, but Jackson was such a legend and inspiration, I feel very lucky. 

Q: Remixes have become as popular, if not more popular (especially in clubs) than original versions of songs.  How do you retain the integrity of a song when remixing it?

A: I always start a remix by re-playing every part I can hear on the piano. I re-create everything as close as I can get to the original track so that I have it all in a MIDI digital format. I can then use the parts as inspiration to build on and add my own flare. I then always have the essence of the original track in whatever I’m doing. I don’t know how other people work, but that’s the joy of teaching yourself. You can make up the rules.

Q:  The Internet and social media have become a huge factor in the success of anyone in entertainment. How do you think that has changed the playing field for your craft?

A: Wow. It has completely turned it on it’s head. Within a click or a Tweet you are communicating with the world. Mix CDs heard by close fans are now Podcasts heard by thousand across the globe. People no longer have to walk into a music store to buy your track. Now it’s just a click away from people you would never before have access to.

Q: Has it become easier to connect with artists about projects through tools like Twitter, Facebook, etc?

A: Absolutely. I get lost in it. You can just send a blind message out and see what comes back. I love hooking up with singers and songwriters to collaborate or bounce ideas off of. It makes it so simple to send a track to other djs and get their response or better still if they play it out, the response of the crowd in whatever nightclub and country they are in. I love getting musicians and performers (however quirky) to come and accompany my sets or perform at my nights.

Q: Speaking of Facebook and Twitter, where can we find you and your music online?

A: The simplest way is to log on to my website: www.stevengeller.com All my links, music and info are on there.

Q:  Who are some artists you would like to work with in the future?

A: There are so many amazing artists I love, admire and take inspiration from. There are too many to name. I like artists who create drama in their music. Big voices, big chords…goose bumps!

Q: What songs (past and present) are you most interested in remixing? What attracts you to a song?

A: Music that evokes an emotion appeals to me. I’m a huge Queen fan. Would love to tackle a track like One Vision. But I would have to find an amazing lead guitarist…synthesizers wouldn’t do it justice. I’m guilty of loving the anthems. HOWEVER some tracks are better left alone!

Q:  What’s up next for Steven Geller? Any plans to come to the US?

A: Big plans in the pipeline. I’m really excited about the upcoming release of STARFIRE by Kris Searle. My remix is getting a really good response so far in the UK. As for America…who knows?! Make me an offer! ;)

Thank you, Steven for taking the time to work with me on this refreshing interview! I wish you all the luck in the world and hope to see you in the US soon.