Mar 30, 2017
DJ Licious Talks Iconic Track "Calling"
“Calling” has been one of the most iconic dance music tracks over the last year. Played on festival stages, in clubs, and on the radio across the world, the track has been all over 1001Tracklists and we are excited to share the story behind it. We caught up with DJ Licious to discuss “Calling,” the just released vocal version, and the incredible journey the track has taken him on.
First of all, “Calling” is such an incredible track! Huge congrats on that! Can you talk a little bit about what life has been like for you since the track was first played by Pete Tong as an Essential Selection?
It has been an incredible journey! The DJs I’ve looked up to all of sudden wanted to play out my track. I received movies/snippets/tweets from all over the world from people saying, “Hey man I am here at Ushaïa Ibiza and Don Diablo is playing your track,” or “Lost Frequencies is rocking “Calling” in Brazil!” It was surreal. Remix requests came in and I have loads more bookings abroad than I’ve had before. So it is safe to say my professional life kind of changed after this.
Going back a bit, what was the initial inspiration and sketch of “Calling” like?
It was based on some strings section laying around in the studio of a friend of mine. We just took it from there, replayed everything and changed some notes to the song, added the brass and in just three or four hours “Calling” was there. It was all very organic.
Was the plan always for the track to have a vocal? Where did the vocal in the vocal version you are now releasing fit into the production process?
It never was, cause the hook was so strong I thought it was impossible to find vocals that could match this track. But after months of searching after the release of the instrumental and never giving up, we finally found a way to make it work. I was really strict about it because I love the instrumental so much and I wanted it to have the perfect vocal or no vocal at all. I am beyond happy with the result I have now!
Do you have a favorite memory playing “Calling” at a show?
My favorite moment must have been at Tomorrowland, the track had only been released for three weeks at that time and the reactions were insane. People from all over the world gathered and were already waiting for me to play this one out, I was over the moon.
And the artist support on “Calling” is incredible – is there anyone supporting your music that makes you feel particularly proud or surprised by?
Yeah, actually all of the EDM DJs that have supported the track surprised me the most cause I have been a full on house DJ for years and it was incredible to see a lot of love coming from that side as well. But I am particularly proud of Pete Tong playing it for the first time. I’ve been following Pete’s show for almost a decade now wondering if I could ever make it on his show, the moment I found out must have been one of the proudest moments I have had so far.
How did you approach your remix for Kungs? What elements of the original did you know you wanted to preserve and how do you feel you’ve made it your own?
I always have a lot of respect for the original, so most of the times I keep the vocals intact unless I really want a more clubby approach to the track. Then I just start from scratch building everything myself, cause when they ask me for a remix I reckon they want my sound and not their own coming back to them in a different form.
And you’ve recently hit another big milestone, 10 Years of SHOMI!! Can you reflect a little bit on that journey?
Funny story really, 10 years ago I was still in college trying to make my first steps as a DJ. I quickly found out that nobody gave me the chance to really play what I wanted to play, which was house music at the time. So I read this book, “How To Become A DJ,” saying that if you don’t succeed in finding an audience you should create an audience for your own, so I started the “SHOMI” nights. After a while it became a success and now we are almost always sold out with guests like Roger Sanchez, The Magician, Low Steppa, Simon Dunmore… And last summer we decided to expand and I started a music label under the same name, with “Calling” as the very first release.
How do you balance your role with SHOMI with your own producing and touring?
It is getting harder and harder, but I love the combination because it allows me to stay in touch with all aspects of the music scene, which I believe is very important. Luckily I have a lot of friends and colleagues supporting me, I can honestly say that “SHOMI” and everyone involved is practically family and producing/touring doesn’t feel like work to me since it’s my passion.
Any other big plans for 2017 that you can share with us?
Loads more to come, first of all the vocal version of “Calling” is coming out with some massive remixes. Then some remixes I cannot disclose yet unfortunately and loads more radio singles and more clubby tracks as well. 2017 is going to be mine if it’s up to me.
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