In a diverse city so renowned for hedonism, it’s hardly a surprise that Miami has long been one of the US’s most fertile breeding grounds for quality electronic music. From Space Miami to its long-standing Winter Music Conference, the Florida city continues to punch above its weight when it comes to all things electronic music. One such man to emerge from the city’s scene in recent times is Deku. Born in Colombia but raised in Miami, his far-reaching sound epitomises the city’s penchant for diversity.
Slowly but surely building a name for himself, we first encountered him through his track, ‘Sinti’, a heads-down minimal anthem that speaks to his love for stripped-back tones. A real musical obsessive, he’s played at clubs in Miami, Madrid, Cluj, Brooklyn, El Paso, Tijuana and more, and is sure to be someone you’re hearing more from soon. We caught up with him recently, as he gave us a glimpse into his world…
Great to chat to you, Deku. Can you please start a bit by telling us a bit about your history with electronic music? What are your earliest memories of enjoying it?
It all started with a unmarked CD that my mom gave me. It was full of electronic music and she would tell me about raves and after parties she attended in the mid 90’s. After that, I went through a rabbit hole and found myself looking, digging through records (whenever I had the chance) at the age of 13. When I came across Ricardo Villalobos productions alongside Los Updates and his Dependent and Happy series on Perlon, I was hooked. Next thing you know, I was looking for forward-thinking Minimal like Radiq, Fumiya Tanaka, Rhadoo, Pheek and bunch of other great producers. I was losing sleep and became obsessed with that sound. Becoming aware of it was probably one of the happiest days of my life.
What parties, clubs and labels influenced you both back then? Was there one stage where you decided to take it seriously?
There was so much going on back in the day, WMC, the early Un_mute parties, illegal after hours at an abandoned bank in Miami. I was getting booked to play since I was 16 years old at Miami clubs, illegally but it wasn’t until Christian Bijoux (Gray Area) and Un_mute gave me the opportunity to play with some of my favourite artists, such as Audio Werner, Radiq, Losoul, Stefny, Horror Inc, Losoul, Martinez, etc. This helped me expand my sound as an artist, everything kind of just snowballed from there.
What was it about what they were doing that really inspired you to start yourself?
Prior to everything I mentioned, not what but who inspired me to start producing was a link of really special friendships throughout the years. Idana(Uvar), Rojid(Dahlia), Lulla (Cedesciu Wax) and ,most recently, ALKMST, really pushed me to break my boundaries and go beyond of what I thought I was capable of doing. It’s all love, really.
At what stage did you begin to feel truly comfortable as a producer? Or do you ever get to that stage?
I don’t think I’ll ever be truly comfortable as a producer, I’m constantly evolving and learning. I feel like this is a great thing! I’m always getting out of my comfort zone and trying new techniques to apply into my creative and technical process.
Tell us about your time under your alias, Seia. What did that alias stand for in your eyes? Is it musically different to what you’re doing now?
During my time as Seia, I was devoted to the nightlife and everything that came with it. It was a liberating experience. Musically, it is way different I would say a lot more mature and way more devoted to the craft now than I ever was.
How does the production process with you – do you generally have a plan in mind for when you get into the studio each day?
I usually start by trying to capture a moment in time or a feeling. Then I try to create or recreate around that. It’s a form of therapy and a healing process for me.
You’ve released on some killer labels, such as Inwave and Archipel under different aliases. Why was now the time to emerge again as Deku? Is this a new sound? Or just a new direction for you?
It is both a new sound and a new direction. Deku emerged from a really dark past to try and heal with deep and soulful sounds, music that makes you think. We’ve all gone through shit and I want my music to let people know that they are not alone, I’ve gone through it as well and maybe we can all heal on that same frequency.
Can you talk us through your setup a bit? Are you a gear freak or more of a digital man?
I was a gear freak but because of the pandemic I had to get rid of all my equipment. My set up now consists of a Macbook Pro and pair of headphones. I can’t complain. I’m making some of my best music within the box. I do see a modular rack in the near future.
You’ve been involved in the Miami scene for a while. What parties really stand out over the years?
There was this one party where Idana, Rojid, Camelia and I went b2b2b2b2b for about 5 hours at Treehouse in South Beach. It was probably one of the best parties to ever be held in there. We still talk about that night and try to piece it together haha.
I also noticed a lot of Miami clubs stayed open during the pandemic. Was this very divisive in the scene there? What was your take on it?
One thing about Miami is that its people will always do whatever they want. It was definitely not divisive. In fact, I think it made the scene stronger and more loyal than it ever was. I mean it became the main party-hub of the USA during the pandemic, it was unreal.
From the outside looking in, Miami seems quite similar to Ibiza in that it’s home to a lot of commercial events but also some really great and discerning ones. So what parties would you really recommend to a visitor of the city?
Honestly, shout out to Blkmarket, Bunker Bliss, Intimet, Melodie, Planeta Rave, Tripping Project and Un_Mute for keeping this city alive with the underground music they provide to our beloved city. If you ever come to Miami, hit up any of these parties, you will not be disappointed.
There seems to be a real “Miami sound” these days, mainly centred around melodic, progressive bits. Would you think it’s fair to say? Are more minimal parties on the agenda now?
It’s really hard to pinpoint what the “Miami Sound” really is. There’s so much talent and diversity. Everyone is just creating different style and combining them and it’s all beautifully chaotic.
If you’d to recommend your music in one track, what Deku tune would you pick?
I would recommend “Seroussi.” It represents me as an artist and where I’m going with my style. It is a very melancholic track with a minimal rhythm and hypnotic and somewhat soothing soundscape. It was made and finished during a very difficult point in my life. Free download available 🙂
What’s your ultimate ambition as a DJ and producer? Do you set yourself goals like this?
As of now, I’m finishing some releases for next year and getting ready for what it’s about to come my way, the universe will provide.
Is there one person you’d love to collaborate with ahead of others? Why do you think it’d work great?
Oh this is a hard one. There are too many but I would love to collaborate with Diogo from Pandilla LTD. I think we would make great music together. His style is so proper, really inspiring music. I have so much admiration for his Tanto Amor release on Pluie/Noir.
Keep up with Deku on Soundcloud
Grab a free download of Deku’s Seroussi from our Soundcloud below