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Interview with Chicago DJ/Producer, Browntown

by The Hot Six on June 22, 2011

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from? Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?

I grew up in Orland Park – southwest suburb about 30 minutes from city – went away for college at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where I also had the opportunity to live in Florence, Italy for some time…graduated college and lived in London until August 2008 until relocating back to Chicago where I currently live – in Bucktown.

Q: When did you start getting into electronic dance music? Were you a clubber who turned into a DJ and then producer? Did you come to it by way of being a musician?

I’ve been into music my whole life – have always listened to all genres, grew up teaching myself how to play guitar, played in a few bands, etc. but even with all my interest changes in genres – from hip hop to rock to indie to punk/emo…yes, I said it – EMO! – I always had a constant ear on house music and because of that incorporated a lot of electronic drums, samples, and such in the bands that I played – we recorded everything ourselves on an 8 track recorder and I mixed and mastered it all myself. This was probably my first stab at any type of electronic music production. From there my interest in production and DJ’ing grew and I started focusing more of my time on it in hopes to one day take it outside my bedroom…success!

Q: Who were some of the DJ and producers you listened to when you first got into dance music?

Oh man this list could go on and on…I think my wide range of taste in “traditional” music spread to my taste in dance music as I never really was on 1 genre of DJs or producers – everyone from Frankie Knuckles, Paul Johnson to Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin, to local bigger names such as Bad Boy Bill, Steve Smooth, to commercial names such as ATB and everything in between…if I went over to my parents house I’m sure I could find stacks of DJ Markski Ski Mix CDs from wayyy back

Q: Who are some of your current favorite DJs and influences?

Well I’ve kept up with my wide taste in genres – been real heavy into the deep/tech scene – love what Jamie Jones/Lee Foss (hot natured) are doing…some of their friends Seth Troxler, Benoit and Sergio, Tale of Us – all creating a lot of fresh new sounds.
Current favorites would also include – Nicolas Jaar (if you don’t know who he is, google it now!), Joris Voorn, Nic Fanciulli, Maya Jane Coles, Luciano.

On the more commercial side – Chuckie, Roger Sanchez, Avicii, Fedde Le Grand – all doing big things

Non electronic – Adele, Florence and the Machine – a solid female vocalist always gets me…and Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens I’m a big fan of.

Q: How does your background influence your music, your sound?

Having lived and traveled all over the globe has definitely shaped and influenced my sound as well as my personal taste in music. I’m Pakistani and have traveled back there since I was a child – my father’s side is pretty involved in classical music over there and I think that prompted my interest in such a wide variety of music. That’s kept up with me to present day and I’d like to think it filters through my sound.

Q: What is the dance music scene like in Chicago? Is there a supportive electronic music scene supportive of DJs and producers?

If you had asked me this question a year or so ago, I probably would have had the opposite answer that I’m about to give, but Chicago’s house scene is BLOWING UP! With underground parties thrown by 2RedBelts, MiM, Varsity Allstars, clubs like Spybar programming some of the BEST house music out there to the more commercial success of clubs like The Mid – the city that gave birth to house music is finally shaking the mashup craze for some real tunes.

Like any major city there are loads of DJs playing all kinds of music but the one thing that I think most are catching on to (including myself) – production is KEY if you want to take it to the next level. So while DJs/Producers can still at times get clicky, I think the collaboration you see in a big city like Chicago is one that other cities should embrace. I’ve personally found that I can make a nice track alone but with one or two other minds that might hear and see things different, that nice track can become AMAZING.

Loads of great DJs/Producers both old and new across all genres doing big things in Chicago right now – so keep an eye out, because we are coming!

Q: Tell us a little about this track you’re featuring, and how it came together?

John Dahlback is always putting out great tracks and remixes and this one of Sweden’s own Nause was no different…Adele is amazing and my guess is she will be around for a longgg time – Rolling in the Deep has made its rounds in the EDM world so I figured it was only appropriate to throw one down myself. Its been a getting a lot of support from my DJ friends which has been awesome as well as some love from everyone else – so anyone out there, feel free to download this track and BUMP IT

Q: What are some of your favorite spots in your country or around the globe to party or play a set?

Some of my favorite spots would include – some of which I’ve played and others that I’d dream of playing…not in any order

Chicago – Spybar
NYC – Lavo
Miami – Electric Pickle, Set, and The Wall @ W
Florence – Tenax
London – Fabric
Ibiza – Pacha, Space, and DC10

Q; What are the six hottest tracks you’re listening to right now?

Marvin Zeyss – Next to You (Maya Jane Coles Remix)
Joris Voorn, Nic Fanciulli – Together
John Dahlback – Work It Out
Hot Natured feat Ali Love – Forward Motion
Motor City Drum Ensemble – L.O.V.E. (DJ-Kicks)
Nadia Ali, Starkillers – Pressure (Alesso Remix)

Q: If fans want to learn more about you, where can they go online to get more Browntown?

If you dig what I’m doing check me out at –

Or come check me out live sometime…coming up – July 1 @ Stone Lotus, July 8 @ Spybar – hope to see you on the dance floor :)

Q: Where can we expect to see Browntown on the DJ/producer scene in the next five years?

I’ve only been playing out in Chicago for a little over a year and think that I’ve caught some good steam…none of which I could have done w out the support of my friends, family, and fellow DJs (you know who you are!) in 5 years I hope to have continued down this path a little further with some solid production work under my belt and hopefully still making people move and groove.

Adele vs Nause – Made of Deep (browntown bootleg) by browntownmusic


Jose Rodriguez June 22, 2011 at 10:05 pm

What up browntown, It was a pleasure attending his first gig @ motel bar, @ least I think it was. Anyhow when are you going to start tearing up the Detroit electronic scene? Holla!

Mickey January 8, 2012 at 7:24 am

I am SOOO looking to get copies of the old DJ Markski Ski Mix CD’s from the late 90’s. Any suggestions? Thanks!!

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