Beyond the Grammy: How CID Swapped Spreadsheets for CDJ’s

Sep 12, 2023

Photo of Michela Iosipov

Michela Iosipov

10 min read

From the hustle and bustle of New York City to the grandeur of the Grammy stage, CID has carved a unique path in the music industry. Once an accounting student, CID's passion for the art of sound led him away from the ledgers and into the studio. Despite the potential comforts his educational background might have provided, CID ventured into uncharted waters, making history by remixing Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness" to Grammy-winning acclaim. But his journey didn’t stop there.

His transition from producing for others to establishing his unmistakable sound has been both stirring and brilliant. CID’s ability to turn any song into a club anthem showcases his innate talent, and his continuous evolution promises that the best is yet to come. His venture, Night Service Only, demonstrates his oath to spotlight emerging talent, further solidifying his reputation as not just a master producer, but as an industry vanguard. Dive deeper into the world of CID, as we explore his musical journey, the influences that have shaped him, and his vision for the future.

How has your musical journey evolved since your Grammy win in 2014?

That was a real turning point for me as an artist. At the time I was producing mostly for other people, and still not very confident in myself as a producer. After winning the Grammy, I said to myself, ‘Okay, I’m good enough, and I’m going to make it back to the Grammys.’ I was able to do just that in 2017 for my remix of LSD (Labrinth, Sia, Diplo) - “Audio”.

CID at the 2019 Grammy's

Being a good producer is only part of the puzzle. Trying to find yourself as an artist is a lot harder. Early on I had a lot of success producing specific styles for other people, but when I made it for myself even though it was just as good, it just didn't have the same impact. It took me a few years of trying different stuff to finally figure out the sound I wanted to make and play live in my DJ sets.

How do you think your academic background has influenced your approach to your music career?

Specifically, from an academic point of view, I don't think my degree in accounting has helped my career much haha. I did it mostly because as a first-generation American, it was important to my parents for me and my brothers to get our degrees. I don’t regret it, and in the back of my head having something to fall back on alleviated some stress early on in my journey.

CID in his early days of production

Could you elaborate on the current projects that you're working on?

I’m always making new music and have some exciting tracks I’ve been teasing out. My focus is still club tracks, but I’ve got a few that are a bit more vocal-driven coming soon, that I’m excited about. Other than that, I’ve been really focused on growing my label Night Service Only. There are so many amazing producers out there, and I feel like I’ve finally gotten myself, and the label to a point where I can give artists a real platform for their music!

Since founding Night Service Only, what has been the most rewarding aspect of running your own label? What has been the most challenging?

The most rewarding is discovering someone who might be a smaller artist, giving them a platform, and watching them grow. The most challenging is for sure the time it takes to really run a label and handle all the admin things that come along with it. Luckily now I’ve hired someone to handle some admin stuff and that lets me focus more on the A&R side, listening and signing the music.

What advice would you give to aspiring house artists?

I tell everyone who's starting out to BE PATIENT and not rush into things. Perfect your craft, find something in your sound that makes you stand out from everyone else. When I was starting to get noticed, there weren't as many producers as there are today and it wasn't as easy to make things sound good. At the time, that’s what helped me stand out.

CID as a kid

But now, everyone has figured out how to make it sound good from a technical point, so the actual idea is way more important. I listen to hundreds of demos and music for my radio show every week, and the number of tracks that follow the same formula and jump on the next trend quickly is crazy. They all start to sound the same. BE UNIQUE BE DIFFERENT, but also make sure there’s an audience for it and a group of bigger DJs who can champion your music and play it in their sets.

How has your Spanish heritage and the diverse musical influences of your upbringing continued to shape your music style?

I grew up engulfed in Spanish culture. I spent my childhood going to Spain every summer, and that opened me up early to what was happening in Europe musically. I think the best example of how it directly shaped my music came later in life haha. There’s this chant drinking song my friends and I would sing during fiestas in our town.

It goes ‘alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, hemos venido a emborracharnos el resultado nos da igual.’ During the pandemic, I missed my friends in Spain and thought they would get a kick out of it if I sampled that melody for a track. That turned into my track “Carnaval De Paris” which came out on Fisher’s label.

I had no idea that it was a song that was chanted at futbol games in every country in Europe, and seeing the reactions and people singing to the melody in so many different languages was really special.

Could you talk about your creative process when it comes to producing a new track? Has it changed over the years?

As the touring and DJing has gotten busier, being able to stay focused in the studio has gotten harder. There is a lot of pressure to consistently deliver great music, but I always try to remember why I started doing this in the first part, and to just have fun in the studio while I'm making music. If it's something that I'm genuinely excited about, that usually shows when I’m playing it out and usually has a better chance of resonating with other people.

My focus the last couple of years has been ‘Is this something I will want to play in my live sets?’ As a producer, you sit in a room alone for countless hours, trying to stay confident in an idea, but also doubting if people are going to like it. There's no better feeling than playing an idea out for the first time and seeing the crowd reacting to it.

What was the most memorable moment for you during a live set?

There have been a lot of amazing moments over the years. Do Lab at Coachella last year was really special. Knowing how many amazing artists were playing at the festival at the same time, and seeing that stage fill up for my set gave me goosebumps.

Can you tell us a memorable moment you have shared with a fan?

It’s always special to show up at a set and see a fan out in the crowd who took the time to make a totem, banner, or bracelet specific to me. I played Electric Forest earlier this summer and did a set at the Honeycomb stage which had a 360 DJ booth, and the whole set people kept handing me bracelets and pins and it was amazing! Also, to the fans who made and gifted me a pin with my dog Quincy’s face on it haha..I was blown away.

Are there any artists, producers, or industry figures who have significantly influenced your career in recent years?

I’ve been lucky to get the support of a lot of big DJs over the years. Kaskade really gave me my first shot and opened the doors for me to stand on my own two feet as a touring DJ. More recently I would have to say, Lee Foss. I made a conscious effort to focus on a clubbier house/tech house sound in 2019. Lee really gave me a platform to showcase my music on Repopulate Mars which really helped things grow for me post-pandemic.

How do you approach collaborations with other artists? Are there any dream collaborations on your list?

I think collaborations are a great way to grow and not only open yourself up to new fans, but also push yourself and learn new things in the studio. The key for me has always been. If I am the smaller artist trying to get a collab with a bigger artist, first, having some kind of relationship with them (even if it’s just over DM’s) makes things easier and more personal.

Also, if you are the smaller artist, make sure you are coming up with a great idea that they will get excited about. On the flip side, if I am collaborating with a smaller artist, I am looking for a standout idea that I can build off and help make better. As far as dream collaborations, I would love to get in the studio with Jamie Jones. He’s been my favorite DJ for a long time, and he just has an incredible ear for music as a DJ, producer, and A&R.

Outside of music, what are your passions or hobbies?

This is always a hard one to answer! Music has been my main passion my entire life, I was just one of the lucky ones able to make a career out of it. It's tough to have a balanced life outside of music, but I really enjoy spending time with friends, loved ones, and my dog Quincy when I am home. When I have the time, I am an avid gamer. There’s still nothing like it to really get my mind off things and the chaos going on around me haha.

CID with his wife and his dog Quincy

What's the strangest or funniest thing you've seen a crowd do while you're on stage?

What happens at a CID show stays there haha. There's definitely been some outrageous things that happen at shows. Sometimes it's the crowd, sometimes I drink more than I should and I'm the culprit haha.

Imagine you're in a high-speed car chase. What track are you blasting in the car to fuel the adrenaline rush?

I’d probably crank Firestarter by The Prodigy.

If you had to create a dance track inspired by your favorite food, what would the track be called and what kind of vibes would it have?

Well, my favorite food is Pulpo a la Gallega which is octopus. So, it would probably have to have a summer vibe and be super vibey.

If your favorite sports team was heading into a championship game and they asked you to write their hype-up song, what would it sound like?

Well, I guess I kind of already did! My favorite team is Deportivo de la Coruña. Even though they are terrible now haha, but I would love to see the crowd getting pumped up to “Carnaval De Paris.”

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