Electronic music fans might not yet have heard the name Michael Brun, but his stock is definitely on the rise. The Haitian-born DJ who now lives in Miami has toured and collaborated with Grammy-winning DJ Dirty South and has scored several Beatport Top 15 hits, including “Rise,” “Burn Forever,” “Synergy” and “Rift.”
Brun’s lively, uplifting sound also attracted the attention of superstar DJ Calvin Harris, who asked him to remix his track “Thinking About You”; plus, he remixed Alicia Keys’ song with Maxwell, “Fire We Make.” Not bad for a 21-year-old med student who has – for the moment – chosen to follow his musical dreams before fully committing to becoming a doctor.
Check out Brun’s unique sound Saturday night (Sept. 21), where he’s headlining at LIV. He talked to Miami.com about his journey to impending stardom, what led him to pick music over medicine, and just how he hooked up with Dirty South and then Calvin Harris.
So what got you into DJing and producing in the first place?
Well, I played piano and guitar when I was young – I started when I was 6 – and my dad used to be in a band called Scandal, and I guess I was always around music my entire life. When I was 15 or 16, I really liked house music – I thought it was so fresh, and I loved it. So I wanted to try to produce it, so I transitioned from playing it to making it.
Who were some of your favorite house-music artists?
There’s so many – I really like Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and I also like underground stuff a lot.
How did you hook up with Dirty South?
He contacted me last year, when I was in school, and he was looking for a track for his record label, Phazing. And I didn’t think it was a real email, so I discarded it, and about a week later I got a follow-up email about it, and I was like, Oh man, this is serious. So I sent the track over and it ended up being my first signing on his label – it was called “Rise.” And then from there we just kept in touch and he invited me down to Miami for Winter Music Conference last year, and I played some shows with him and we ended up making another track together. So it’s a good relationship, and he’s been helping me a lot.
And how did you start working with Calvin Harris?
I met Calvin in February, because we played Fashion Week together in New York, and he was really nice. And I got to remix his track “Thinking About You,” and he really liked it and ended up releasing it, so we’ve been keeping in touch since then.
How would you describe your sound?
I would say it’s very melodic, but energetic, and also I try to keep rhythm in the mix, because I’m from Haiti and I try to incorporate some of that, like tribal sound into my music. Not directly, but more subtly. And at LIV, I’m gonna play a lot of new music, from my new EP, lots of remixes, and also just tracks that I love.
You’ve remixed tracks from some pretty diverse artists. Do you always apply the “Michael Brun” sound to them, or do you approach each one differently?
I think every remix – it gives me a different feeling when I approach the original. And I guess I always end up adding, I don’t even know what the “Michael Brun” sound would be exactly, but I end up sounding like there’s some component of it that can relate to each other, even though they don’t have the exact same structure or types of melodies. So I give it my own touch.
Is your new EP original material?
It’s an artist EP, and it’s three tracks. It’s coming out Sept. 23 on Phazing Records, and I’ve been working on it for awhile, a few months. And I’ve done my first vocal track – I was kind of holding back from doing that because I wanted to make it really special, but I met this girl named Cashanel who’s Miami-based as well, and her voice is incredible. And I’m really happy with the result, and I hope people enjoy it.
You left Haiti when you were only 16 – was that to support your music career?
No, I went to military school in Indiana – I was pre-med, because I knew I wanted to be a doctor since I was a little kid. Music was just for fun, but once I met Dirty South and started playing some shows, basically everything got real and I had to make a decision.
DJ Michael Brun