“Hanabi” is a study in tension and release, push and pull, melody and distortion. A collaboration between Florian Picasso (who happens to be the great grandson of Pablo Picasso) and Raiden from Korea, the track showcases the potential of a shared idea. Released via Protocol Recordings, the label’s A& R and Creative Director Jorik van de Pol says the record is exactly what the label is looking for with their new artists, “to seek the opportunity to explore yourself musically and create something amazing with likeminded artists."
Raiden and Florian performed on the mainstage at both Ultra Music Festival Miami and Korea this year, and will next be seen together on the Protocol stage at Balaton Sound in Hungary. “Hanabi” will most likely be making appearances this summer at festivals around the world. Check out the premiere below, as well as an interview with both Florian Picasso and Raiden.
How did you discover dance music? What was one of your earliest experiences with electronic? I started mixing Hip Hop records on vinyl’s for fun when I was 13 and I then switch to dance music and started to produce my own music later on.
Tell me about the collaboration on Hanabi. It's a drop idea I did a while ago, and a few months ago Raiden came down to my studio in Cannes and when I showed to him. He loved it, and we started working on a break to finish the record together. So it's more of Raiden's style in the break and more of my 'Origami' style in the drop.
What is it about dance music that is so special? It's the way you can express yourself without any boundaries and I love it because of that. I just feel that when it comes to expressing emotions, music is better than words.
What is your music selection process like when you are preparing for a set? Of course I have my “classics,” but I'm always looking for new music. I receive a lot of demos and I also search myself and when I find something that I love, I most of the time edit it and add it to my playlist or my radio show.
Is there a gig that has proven to be particularly special? There's been a few actually but I think headlining NYE this year in Vietnam in front of 80,000 people was something really special.
What is the scene like in Switzerland and/or growing up in Cannes (Florian)? I love to play in both Switzerland and France, I just feel like home. The crowd is really great, but unfortunately I am not playing as much as I would like to.
Is there a song that you are excited to play out this summer, or that you think will be one of the best tracks this summer? Yes of course, I have so much new music I am looking forward to finishing and playing the whole summer.
Is there a track you find consistently works on the dance floor? My first record on Protocol Rec 'Origami' was released 2 years ago and it still works so well in all of my sets.
Any producers/djs that should be on our radar at the moment? I think Francis Novotny and Tom Tyger should really be on your radar.
What are some of the challenges facing the dance scene at the moment? Everything sounds a bit the same at the moment and I think it's a major challenge to find a new fresh sound that will stand out the gate.
Any interests other than dance music? Yes of course I'm listening to a lot of different music genres, especially Hip Hop. And I am also doing a lot of sport (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). I think if I wasn't a dj and music producer I would be a chef.
How did you discover dance music? What was one of your earliest experiences with electronic? I was a rock guitarist in a band back in Japan before I started my career as a DJ. I used to listen to electronic music that related to rock for example, stuff like the Chemical brothers, Prodigy. That’s what brought my attention to electronic dance music.
Tell me about the collaboration on Hanabi? How did you wind up in the studio together? How do you balance each others styles? Florian and I always talked about collaborating together. When I visited Cannes in France, Florian invited me to come over to his studio and we talked and shared loads of musical ideas. That's how we started the process. I mainly focused on the Break down and Vocal chop parts, then when we combined the different parts we had been working on it became this fully formed track, Hanabi!
What is it about dance music that is so special? Why are you so passionate about it? I think it’s the one genre of music that always has a really positive and happy energy attached to it and I love how it brings people together. I also dreamed of playing solo when I was playing guitar in the band back when I was Japan. I still love that powerful energy of group sound, but I have to admit I get chills when I hear an audience cheering just for me. Those factors are definitely a part of how and why I started to fall in love with dance music.
What is your music selection process like, when you are preparing to curate a new show? It completely depends on where I perform, different crowds and different stages/venues/set times warrant different selections. Although, I try not to change my musical style too much!
Is there a gig that has proven to be particularly special? It has to be when Florian and I were invited to the stage during Nicky Romero's set at UMF this year. I still get chills thinking about that moment!
What is the scene like in Korea? EDM is constantly getting bigger and more popular in Asia. To be honest, the EDM scene started to change here in Korea when Ultra Music Festival first arrived. Being able to watch superstar DJs perform right in front you was this whole new experience that people had never had before. After Ultra Korea, loads of big-name festivals started to come to Korea and EDM became the mainstream musical genre.
Is there a song that you are excited to play out this summer, or that you think will be one of the best tracks this summer? Heart of Steel - my first original track with Bright Lights! And I have another solo track that will be coming out very soon, which I can't wait to get playing in my sets.
Is there a track you find consistently works on the dance floor? “Vindaloo Bounce”, which is a collab between me, Florian Picasso and Tom Tyger, because it has a lot of energy to make people go crazy.
Any producers/djs that should be on our radar at the moment? D.O.D. - I was surprised that he released so many different musical genre tracks on so many different labels. I love his unique and groovy rhythmic style.
What are some of the challenges facing the dance scene at the moment? I think one of the major challenges is how oversaturated the dance scene is at the moment. Though I think it is an amazing thing to see so many talented artists and producers around, it also means that there are so many others that don't ever manage to get their productions heard, which is a shame. As a DJ, I think it's crucial that we always focus on fresh new music, trying to shine a light on new music and to help lead musical trends in the scene.
Any interests other than dance music? Delicious food? (haha) Florian and I love to go and eat something nice at fancy restaurants!