When Daniel Warren moved to South Florida five years ago, he was a total music freak looking for a way to channel his energy and passion. What better way to use it than to enrich the community and help other local artists? Now his massive entertainment conglomerate, Audioplayground, supports all types of artists, books big names and runs festival stages. Have you been to Aura Music Festival? Warren's crew performed at the silent disco. Gotten weird at Moonfest recently? Audioplayground ran an entire stage.
With so much going on behind the scenes, it's wild to think that Warren still has time to be his own artist. But when music is all you do, you make time for the projects that make you happy. With ongoing shows at local hot spots like Respectable Street and Propaganda, it's about time for Warren to hop off the stage and into the studio to record a track under the name Mind Blown, that is sure to do just that. We chatted with Warren to get the scoop on all things music, only to learn that his roots are in trumpet and his new album might feature the sound of water dripping.
New Times: You are super heavily involved in music. Can you remember when that passion first hit?
Daniel Warren: I guess I was about 15 or 16 and that's when I started really getting into underground music that wasn't on the radio. Whether it was punk, ska, reggae.
At what point did you realize you could parlay that into a career?
It wasn't until I dropped out of high school to pursue my future in production. Music recording was my passion. My first passion. I always knew how to read and write music and I was in bands growing up, so I learned music theory and all that stuff.
My original love was the trumpet, and that brought me into jazz. But in high school, they made you do marching band, but I wanted to do jazz, and I had a big problem with that. So I ended up dropping out and just doing my own thing because I felt like it was holding me back. I went to Orlando to try and get with some friends and learn how to record and produce music.
Do you ever still pick up the trumpet?
You know, I want to. I can still play basically anything brass. It takes a while though to get my chops back. But yeah, I can still pick up a trumpet every now and then and rock some tunes and I expect to do that in the studio soon on the new album.
Reading about Audioplayground, it sounds like there is so much going on. How would you describe it to someone in a simple way?
I guess we are resources for entertainers. We have the connections to bring everything from booking to last minute sounds to lasers or graphics and printing or ideas and concepts.
You are involved with lots of festivals. Are you mostly behind the scenes when working with festivals or at the front of the line?
A little bit of both. I guess I am a fan first. My love from festivals came from back in the day when I actually got to be involved and play at the Zen festivals in Central Florida. It was a huge rave but I try to stray from that term. I like to think more of underground.
Besides music artists, you also try to work with material artists, right?
At all of our events, we try to incorporate live art and local community arts and crafts. People that create their own. We help each other build on our local art community. It adds that fifth element to a show.
What do you look for in an artist before they become involved in Audioplayground? Is it their sound, their style, if they have a following?
I don't think it is any of those things. It's more if they have a certain element or vibe. You definitely have to be creative and poetic in the things you love to do, whether it's set design or video mapping or music production or even DJing, as long as you have that passion and that right mindset.
What you do could be welcomed in any state, let alone anywhere in Florida. What about the Broward and Palm Beach area makes it home?
I don't know, we have met a lot of cool people since we have been down here and it just kind of spread like a virus. But in a good way. We might not be able to pay artists what they are worth all the time but hopefully the network that we establish within that will promote them in the future with whatever path they choose.
Tell me about the upcoming album. Is it your first album?
It's my first album that hasn't been released on vinyl.
So is this going to be more of a mix or original tunes?
For shows, we mash up of all these cool, different underground songs and then incorporate them into a live music in front of a crowd. The album is going to be in a totally different direction.
We are changing the name. It's a collaboration between me and my friend Garrett Phillips-- we came up with the name M!NDBLOWN. It's going to be drum and bass beats but we are looking to create a new sound but still keep that drum and bass feel to the production. We will be using a lot of my own vocals. And different sounds. Like different things we hear if we are out and about like we hear an air conditioner or a car wheel squeaking or the sound of water dripping. We will record it and mess with the sounds and incorporate them into this organic album.
When can we expect it?
We are hoping to push it out at the end of December.
Check out Daniel and his crew at their next event and shop local at the ultimate anti-Black Friday. The First Annual Northwood Art & Music Festival. Friday, November 29 from 1 to 10 p.m. in Northwood Village.