Wax Motif at Ultra Music Festival, Miami 2022

Courtesy Ultra Worldwide

From Fan To Contributor: Wax Motif’s Ultra Debut

Jan 26, 2023

Austin Miller

2 min read

Music festivals have evolved over the years to become all-encompassing events. What once started as gatherings for large-scale consumption of live music have evolved into destinations for art, celebration, vacation, business, and of course, large-scale consumption of live music. The variety of reasons that draw people to festivals is as expansive as ever. For Wax Motif (né Danny Chien), one festival, Ultra Miami, has been more than a vacation for most of his career.

As an up-and-coming artist in Australia, Chien’s avenues of growth were limited. He and his mates would make the pilgrimage to the States every year to attend Miami Music Week, trying to gain exposure they would otherwise be without back in Australia.

“[Back then] There was no other way you could do it from Australia,” Wax admits. “Back then [the Australian scene] wasn’t even on the map… We used to come out every year from Australia. Just hustling, trying to get into parties [to give] the DJs a USB.”

Any artist who’s built from the ground up knows the grind that’s required to get so much as a toe in the door. But with persistence and consistency, progress is inevitable. Countless casts began yielding fish, and faithful demos eventually turned into first official releases on Nervous Records, Mad Decent, and Dim Mak.

Wax Motif has since become a name known by dance music fans the world over. He’s still making the pilgrimage to Miami Music Week, but he’s no longer in the crowd. Now, he’s in the booth.

“I can’t believe it now,” Chien airs. “I’m the one getting USBs, and I’m the one they got getting a boat here. It’s like a dream… I feel like I did it.”

Indeed one can’t help but smile when thinking about the triumph of this full-circle moment. It’s worth considering—might there have been another Danny Chien on the spirited dance floor of the Wax Motif Ultra debut? Another up-and-comer hustling with a pocket full of USBs? Keep your ear to the floor, and you might hear them coming.

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