Wax Motif Came Full Circle at Ultra Miami
Wax Motif has a long history with Miami Music Week. The don of bass-forward house music has been coming to the infamous marathon of dance music events since before he signed his first official releases to Nervous Records and Mad Decent nearly ten years ago. So, his debut appearance on the Worldwide Stage at Ultra Music Festival on Saturday, March 26, was a potent full-circle moment.
When he took the stage early Saturday afternoon, the crowd stretched well beyond the confines of the massive structure that towered over the dance floor. And as the Australian-born LA-based artist breezed through his library of naughty, low-end slappers, the crowd only grew more frenetic. While certain artists' music is more conducive to a mellow two-step, the crowd for a Wax Motif set comes to get down. There's no parking on the dancefloor.
Born Danny Chien to immigrant parents near Sydney, Australia, Wax was imbued with a hustler's spirit. He watched his parents grind to build a home for their family. And they imprinted the entrepreneurial spirit upon him. Aside from his command of ripping basslines and technical DJing, his passion for innovation stretches into community building, label management, and technology.
He was among the first to recognize the power crypto holds to create unique direct-to-fan relationships. His WAX coin allows users to engage directly with him in various ways, from meet and greets to production workshops. And his ever-growing Discord has forever challenged the way he sees the community that coalesces around him. So much so that he is no longer comfortable calling them fans. Instead, they've become a vital part of his team.
We caught up with Wax Motif just after his Ultra Music Festival debut to chat about his love for Miami, his wildest nights out, and what it means to have come this far.
You've been coming to Miami for years since you were handing out USBs to DJs at shows. How does it feel to be on one of the biggest stages in the world in front of a crowd like that?
It's crazy because we used to come out every year from Australia. Just hustling, trying to get into parties [to give] the DJs a USB. I can't believe it now. I'm the one getting USBs, and I'm the one they got getting a boat here. It's like a dream. Like I was saying earlier to the boys. I was like, 'Yeah, you want the helicopter to EDC. You want the boat to Ultra.' So I feel like I did it.
What do you think sets Miami apart from other party cities in the world?
One. It's Miami! Even when I was coming from Australia, every time I landed here, and walked out of the airport, I felt that humidity and smelled the air. Something happens in your brain. And you could see it this week when everybody was landing they were all posting their photos on IG for Miami. Yeah, that's that feeling.
There's an energy here that's different than anywhere else in the world.
I'm living in LA. Everyone's done by two or midnight. So it's like that excitement of 'I don't know, shits going on all the time. There's never a downtime. You can probably go to leave [for the club] at 3 am, and it's crackin'.
So, you started your label in 2019. And I feel like it's inevitable for artists to start a label at some point. Why do you think it's essential to create an outlet for yourself and other artists?
I think the number one thing is speed. I think with the big labels, they have a lot of other artists, and there's a release schedule. And, you know, the process is a little longer. When you have your own label, you can be like, 'bang, bang, bang' and kind of run and gun a lot. Some things need to go out straight away. One of the biggest things is speed. And then the second thing I think is owning your own masters and retaining control over everything.
Let's talk about your label as a community, not just for you but for your artists too. How do you see that as being a community-building project?
So, I think I involve a lot of my fans in what I do as well. We have a really good Discord. For instance, I let them vote on the title of my album. And so I think it's the same thing when someone signs to the label to the label. Like with longstoryshort the other day, my next song is with him, and he dropped in my Discord. Everybody's chatting with him, and he's chatting back and getting that crossover with fans in a genuine way. Direct engagement goes a long way.
Yeah, it's a beautiful thing to see artists be able to be so direct to fan.
I love hanging with my fans. And I hate even calling them fans. That sounds cheap. I mean, half of them are my friends now. Lunar and X, for instance, are definitely two of the biggest fans. They've come to every show from east coast to west coast. They'll fly. And we'll tell them, 'hey, we're going to an after-party. Do you guys want to come?' I want to include all my people
I love to hear that. That's so awesome that you're really making friends in the process.
Yo! I've made shitloads of friends. My tour manager is my friend.
Are you serious?
Yeah, we became such good friends. I had other tour managers I was working with, but I just wanted to work with my boy. We met because of all that shit.
So fun fact, you put out the very first Dj Mix on Spotify a few years ago. I was working for the company that did that. And then you've also been an innovator in the crypto space. So I just got to ask, what is so impactful about you being one of the first to do something?
I'm pretty big on that. I'm not much of a procrastinator. If I have an idea, I'll want to do it like today, and you can ask my manager about that. He's laughing his ass off back there. Because the minute something gets in my head, I'm blowing his phone up, and I'm like, 'you gotta go now.' I'm not a waiter. I don't like waiting. He'll tell you too. If I can do it myself, I fucking will. I also just don't mind taking a risk. And if I fall on my ass, cool, but lately, every risk has paid off for me. So, I gotta keep going.
We also recorded a hilarious speed round with Wax Motif. You can check that out in the above video.
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