The young DJ from Haiti is taking the dance music world by storm. In this first edition of our Selector series the house wunderkind tackles that all-important object of fascination: The Remix
Words and Interview by DJ Pangburn
Growing up in Haiti, Michael Brun didn’t have access to the type of clubs that dot the rest of the globe. There were no clubs in his home country. Instead, raves and clubs would pop up in old parks converted into makeshift venues. It was, as Brun remembers, a very, very small scene. But, in 2009, Haitian club promoters took a risk: they wanted to see what would happen if they brought a top-flight international DJ to the country. That DJ was Steve Angello; who, as Brun says, changed the entire fabric of Haiti’s club culture. A number of the country’s DJs shifted toward house music, a genre that Brun was already into thanks to a close friend’s older brother.
Even before his entrance into house music, Brun was always musically-inclined. He grew up playing piano and guitar, and singing. As far as musical tastes were concerned, Brun listened to a lot of ’80s New Wave before he got into house music. What ultimately attracted him to house more than any other genres was its sense of rhythm and melody. Eventually, Brun dove deeper into the sound, developing his own brand of progressive house, a sub-genre known for its energy and more dynamic arrangements. By 2011, in what must have been a surreal twist, Brun returned to Haiti to play a set with Avicii.
2012 was a banner year for Brun. His tracks “Rise,” “Burn Forever,” and “Synergy” all charted on Beatport’s Progressive Top 15. “Rift,” a collaboration with his mentor Dirty South, sat for two weeks atop Beatport’s overall charts. Aside from playing with Avicii and Dirty South, Brun also DJ’d alongside An21, Max Vangeli and Tommy Trash. Brun is currently prepping his Gravity EP for a September 23 release. And he’s done all of this while pursuing pre-med studies at Davidson College.
Seeing as how Brun cemented his name with remixes of Calvin Harris “Thinking of You,” Dirty South’s “Your Heart,” and, more recently, Alicia Keys’ “Fire We Make” (feat. Maxwell), I asked him to put together his five favorite progressive house remixes for MTV Iggy. We later spoke over the phone about why he considers each remix a current and future classic, opening up a window into the mind of an up-and-coming DJ and producer.
As Brun says, he favors these cuts for their melodicism, simplicity, and elegance. “The elements really come together in a special way,” says Brun. “If one little thing was changed, it would shift the whole vibe of the track.”
Temper Trap – “Sweet Disposition” (Axwell & Dirty South Remix)
Three seconds into the remix I was like, “Whoa, what is going on here?” It’s really cool how Axwell and Dirty South loop the vocal right at the beginning. With a lot of electronic music, the intro is gotten out of the way quickly. It’s kind of like, “Okay, I’ve got to have an intro ’cause a DJ is going to be mixing this.” But, from the first second you could tell that Axwell & Dirty South put so much time into it. It changed the entire feel of the track. The original is pretty sad. It’s in a minor key and it’s much slower. The remix is a complete transformation.
Coldplay – “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” (Swedish House Mafia Remix)
As opposed to the “Sweet Disposition” remix, Swedish House Mafia added a slow transformation into a build before the drop. It just hits you. You can feel it. You feel the song moving away from the original into the remix, and it’s done so well. It’s like the remix pulling you in the direction that it has to go. It’s so masterfully done.
Florence and The Machine – “You’ve Got the Love” (Mark Knight Remix)
I heard this remix at a party, but I can’t remember which one. At the time I wasn’t really big into non-progressive big room tracks. But this one is dancier and had more soul, like real house music instead of progressive house. It has amazing vocals and a very emotional break. When the drop comes in it’s tech-y and dance-y. I’ve never heard anything like it.
Armin Van Buuren – “Drowning” (Avicii Remix)
This remix came out around the time that Avicii was really getting popular. I had heard about him on some blogs or something. I saw the evolution from when he first started until he got popular, and this track showed how he had moved on from bedroom production into something more serious. I love it. It’s so emotional but still energetic. It’s epic, and it also ended up influencing a lot of people in progressive house
Morgan Page – “Longest Road” (Deadmau5 Remix)
I really like DeadMau5. He’s an artist I listen to all the time. His “Longest Road” remix is really simple: it’s one chord progression throughout the entire track with very few variations. Every little sound is right. DeadMau5 changed the way the track moves and the way it feels. I think the way that he organized the remix has never been done before. I was trying to do something like it at one point, but it is so well done that it couldn’t be touched.