BLVCKOUTS, Big Slap & Major Lazer – An Interview w/ Joey Massa

*written by Crystal Garcia for Electronica Life
Swedish DJ and producer Joey Massa received his big break early on in his sprouting career when Major Lazer premiered his debut release track “BLVCK” on the Diplo & Friends BBC Radio 1 show. The future only looks bright for this rising young star as he continues to work on new music while developing a web miniseries and plans for a North America/ Europe tour. We caught up with the DJ known for wearing all black to discuss his claim to fame and the foreseeable future.

Crystal –  I read that growing up you dreamed of becoming a master pianist, but once you were introduced to the local club scene, you realized that DJ’ing better suited you. What was it about the music that prompted you to pursue a drastically different musical outlet?

Joey Massa – Yes! That’s true. I’ve been playing the piano since I was a very young boy, but as I grew up & started to listen to electronic dance music like Daft Punk at the age that I could go clubbing, and I discovered a whole new world. It just felt so right at the time for me. It seemed like I could entertain more people in this generation age by DJing rather than playing the piano. I liked the whole uptempo lifestyle & the amazing techniques some DJ’s exemplified.

Crystal – Considering that you’ve had a passion and love for music since early childhood, did you grow up in a musical household or was anyone in your family a musician?

Joey Massa – Actually, No. I grew up in a tough household where education & typical 9-5 jobs was the top goal in life. The reason that I started playing the piano was mostly because I was a thin, weird kid and I wasn’t suited for sports etc. My parents  weren’t very supportive of the whole DJ idea at first, actually no one was. Which is what makes me so motivated, it’s the strive to prove people wrong. Thankfully, today my parents are one of my biggest supporters.

Crystal –  Who are your biggest electronic and also non-electronic musical influences?

Joey Massa – My biggest electronic musical influences are artists who like to stay out of the box. Artists like Eric Prydz, Diplo & Steve Angello. With them it’s not just music, it’s all about making a whole concept that stands out.

My non-electronic musical influences can vary from time to time and the kind of mood I’m in. I like to listen to everything but electronic music during my free time. Right now I’m hooked on artists like James Blake, A$AP Rocky, Banks, Fever Ray & many more.

Crystal –  Recently your first single release “BLVCK” was played on Diplo & Friends BBC Radio1 XTRA. How did it feel finding out that your track was supported by Diplo and played on such a well respected radio show heard by millions of people around the world?

Joey Massa – It was unbelievable. I was actually listening to the BBC show randomly as a regular fan. When my track came on I literally jumped up and down like a 5 year old kid high on cocaine on Christmas eve. I could never imagine getting my music supported by Major Lazer & Diplo, let alone being played on BBC Radio 1 at this point in my career. This was something I expected to happen in a year or two, at least.

Crystal –  How did it come about that Diplo got a hold of your tracks?

Joey Massa – It all started randomly when I was at Amsterdam airport on my way home from ADE last year and I got an email from Jillionaire ( Major Lazer) with the remix stems to “Jet Blue Jet.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading, that I actually emailed back asking what I was supposed to do with that pack. After that remix I was invited to Major Lazers show in Copenhagen. Everything else took a pretty natural course after that.

Crystal –  What was it like performing in your hometown of Malmo, Sweden this past summer at Big Slap Festival with headlining DJ’s such as Afrojack, Steve Aoki, and Arty?

Joey Massa – Performing in my hometown is always something special. It’s extra special when I haven’t played there in a while & get to do it at such a big festival in front of 15.000 people. I rarely get nervous, but when I saw the crowd during Afrojacks set I almost s*** my pants knowing I was next. It was incredible!

Crystal –  The first episode of your new mini series entitled “BLVCKOUTS”, which follows you backstage and on stage at Big Slap Festival,  is only a short minute and a half. It left me thinking “that’s it?” While also wanting to see more. So I have to ask, was that the point? haha

Joey Massa – That’s exactly the feeling I’m trying to achieve with the series. When you think of a typical DJ Aftermovie you see a big house track, some cool effects, some cool talking before going on stage & stuff like that. I wanted to do something else. My idea is based on the name basically. BLVCKOUTS. It’s built like a big blackout. short frames, dark music & just an unclear vibe of the whole thing. Leaving you with the feeling of wanting more.

Crystal –  What was the inspiration behind “BLVCKOUTS”, and what else can we expect to see in the series?

Joey Massa – The inspiration is basically from every big DJs after movie. Taking one cool idea from here and another from there to build my own thing. But mostly the whole inspiration comes from the name itself & the vibe I wanna give away as an artist.

Crystal –  Where did the name behind the series come from?

Joey Massa – Easy! It came from my track BLVCK. Pretty convenient actually. I’m trying to build my concept as an artist around that.

Crystal –  Can we expect any tour dates in the US and/or LA anytime soon?

Joey Massa – Hopefully yes! We’re trying to sort everything out with the visa & promoters etc. So Yes! BLVCKOUTS TOUR is coming to the US & the rest of Europe!

Crystal –  What are your plans for the rest of the year, and the new year?

Joey Massa – Just to make as much music as I can for now! So you can expect a couple of hot releases in the near future.

Crystal –  Tell me one thing that you haven’t told anyone else in an interview that you think people should know.

Joey Massa – Everything I do is ghost produced. Including this interview. It’s actually not even me on the photos of me. It’s my black evil Siamese twin!

Crystal’s final words…

It’s clear that Joey Massa is an upcoming force to be reckoned within the industry and I’m very excited to see what the future has in store for this inspiring talent and his brilliant “BLVCKOUTS” brand.
Connect with Joey Massa: SoundCloud | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram