Peep the OWSLA hotshot's 30 minute "Fall Collection" mix.
How far would you go to chase a dream? Would you drop out of school and move 2,400 miles to a new city you've never been to, all for a shot you couldn't even be sure of?
Kevin Durante did.
"I'm a super in-the-moment person, and I try to be present wherever I am in full effect," he tells THUMP. "I just went on Holy Ship!!! and then moved to LA the day after with two suitcases and a backpack. Left everything else behind. I think it's easier to pick up and leave like that. It's kind of like the difference from diving into a pool headfirst versus sticking in your toes to make sure the temperature is right."
To be fair, he didn't have absolutely no idea what he was doing. He had just landed a job as Product Manager at OWSLA. It's not quite the same as being an official artist on the label, but it's not exactly the bottom rung of the industry, either.
"I'm around so many producers where the bar is so high," he says. "It's just really inspiring seeing so many creative people in one spot. Also, working during the day has definitely cut down the time I'm able to produce, so it's important that I use my time wisely."
At 21 years old, Durante is still pretty young, but his sound as a producer and DJ is decidedly mature. Even as a kid in piano lessons, he learned to let his creativity take the wheel. "I was always supposed to be practicing songs my teacher gave me, but I'd put my own spin on them and sorta make them my own," he remembers. "My piano teacher was usually upset about it but I thought it was pretty cool."
Durante lived in Italy until he was about five, but even at such a young age, the exposure to local dance culture made an impression.
"I think I was actually 14 or 15 when I really got into it," he says. "My cousins gave me Cocoon Compilation G, they had it ripped from vinyl, which had legends like Jamie Jones, Tiefshwarz, Audion and so many other greats. It really opened me up to the world of electronic music. I didn't even know what I was listening to because it was so weird, I just thought it was some of the coolest stuff I had heard."
Durante's "Fall Collection," exclusively through THUMP.
"As a DJ, I feel that's your job, to make sure people are having fun," he says. "Finding the balance between records that make people dance and records that I like was the biggest problem when creating my set for EDC. I took a risk and it definitely paid off." It impressed THUMP in particular.
Whether it's putting himself out into a new city, a new mix, or a new sound in the studio, risks like that are what Durante is all about.
"If you're not taking risks, what's the point?" he says. "Expressing individuality is a big part of my music, but also being able to play them in my sets is another factor I have to take into account. I don't really think about it too much when I'm in the studio though. The music just flows out naturally."
He put together the above exclusive 30-minute mix so THUMP readers can further get a sense of his groovy, sophisticated style. It includes his recent release "Slow Burn" feat. Chuck Ellis, which you can hear around the 22-minute mark and cop as a free download via NestHQ.