The system works!

With four residencies, a collection of releases and a bass-heavy sound that’s very much his own, WEMC EDM champion Darku J had reached a stage in his career where he felt ready for a management deal…

Researching hard to ensure he contacted the right person, he spent the last year studying managers who specialized in electronic dance music and found TSG, a company he felt confident he could work with. When he checked their Facebook page he saw an announcement of our very first WEMC EDM contest… Now the Tulsa, Oklahoma based artist, is about to sign a two year contract with them.

Naturally, it didn’t go without a lot of hard work. His personal tactic was campaigning for votes on Facebook. Not just public shout outs, but direct messages to as many friends and family as possible. Explaining how he’d go to bed at first place and wake up in third place, he dug deeper and deeper into his contacts as the contest progressed.

“There was A LOT of Facebook messaging,” he explains. “I went through a lot of my close friends earlier on in the competitions. By the end I was reaching out to friends I hadn’t spoken to for a quite a while!”

The hard work has paid off. But that’s only the surface of the story. Dig deeper and you’ll find a 24-year-old who’s 100 per cent dedicated to his craft… And has been since he got his first turntable for Christmas when he was 13 (he had to save up for the second one).

“As long as I can remember I’ve been playing with records,” he explains. “My parents had a turntable in my room so I’d play all their records. I was fascinated with the mechanics of playing music. I started collecting records of my own as soon as I could afford to. Then I saw an old video of Craze and A-Trak doing some crazy turntablism and thought ‘oh, I’ve got a record player. I can do that too!'”

Scratching his parent’s Beatles and Toto records all the way to the trash, Darku’s own collection was built on hip hop and drum & bass before he settled around the robust 130 mark. Still retaining a raw sense of eclecticism (he can drop anything from classic funk and traditional Chicago house to floor-slapping electro and butt-shaking trap) and precision turntablism, Darku is a refreshingly far cry from the perceived EDM stereotype.

Echoing Gosteffects’s thoughts on EDM being a constantly evolving, mutating genre, Darku’s sound isn’t a reflection of what’s hot at the moment… It’s the sound of a man who has a vision and enjoys particular characteristics in his music. It’s the sound of a man who’s carving his own path. And he’s carving it with his sleeves rolled up: instead of waiting for opportunities to come to him, he’s created them with four regular events in Tulsa and Oklahoma City which he promotes and runs and performs at himself. (See details on each party below)

“It’s all about development,” he agrees. “At first it’s like ‘wouldn’t it be cool if I played some local shows’. Then you play those shows and wonder what you can do next. So then I started doing regional shows. Then I started taking planes for shows down in Texas and New Mexico. Then production starts to come into the plan.”

Identifying the likes of A-Trak as an inspiration, Darku’s discography is starting to develop its own momentum and character. Conjuring butt-shaking beats for Robot Dance Records, he produces on Ableton, a Moog Slim Phatty and Native Instruments Machine… A tool that he may eventually take to the stage for live performances.

“I have been playing with the idea of live performance with the Maschine,” he admits. “But not at a level I can take this to a stage… Yet!”

‘Yet’ being the operative word. Darku’s mission is only just beginning… And right now, with the careful guidance of TSG, everything is possible. We’ll be watching (and reporting) Darku’s development closely over the next two years. It seems like we won’t have to wait long before his next endeavour… He’s giving away a track to celebrate winning WEMC EDM and making a video for it. Stay tuned and we’ll let you know when it’s ready.

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