Chicago-based DJ/Producer tandem Jerry Kurty and Brandon Levinson, known as X5IGHT, performed at the 1st annual WheelHouse Festival, a two-day electronic dance music event held outdoors at Opti Park with after-parties indoors at The Vogue in Broad Ripple on Friday, September 13th and Saturday, September 14th, 2013. X5IGHT delivered a strong, solid set featuring progressive house/electro tracks during WheelHouse Festival on Saturday afternoon in Opti Park. Unfortunately, X5IGHT's 1:00pm start-time meant they went unnoticed as very few fans had yet to arrive. Their passion was evident, though, and they showed a true love of their profession and a complete dedication to their craft in their 35 minute showcase...the show must definitely go on.
X5IGHT released their debut EP entitled, 'The Radiance' on iTunes and Beatport in July 2013 and are about to release a new single entitled, 'Riot Kings' with Chicago-based Producer named Teriszega. X5IGHT received support from Chicago-based EDM act Krewella, as they debuted X5IGHT's 'Riot Kings' during their set at 'Life In Color Festival' at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana in April 2013.
William Kelly Milionis: Thank you for taking a moment after your WheelHouse Festival set to be interviewed.
X5IGHT: [Kurty] Thank you.
Kelly: Who is X5IGHT:
X5IGHT: [Jerry Kurty] Jerry Kurty, from Slovakia, but I live in Chicago right now. [Brandon Levinson] My name is Brandon Levinson and I am from Chicago.
Kelly: Were you born and raised in Chicago?
X5IGHT: [Levinson] I was born and raised in Chicago.
Kelly: So, no ties to Indianapolis?
X5IGHT: [Levinson] No specific ties...no. [Kurty] No.
Kelly: How long have you been DJing and Producing?
X5IGHT: [Kurty] I have been DJing for 5 years and producing, making my own music, for three and one half years.
Kelly: Do you go out and look for male and female vocalists to take into the studio or do you mash-up with vocal acapella's?
X5IGHT: [Kurty] We do both, but as of now we are starting on our first vocal track, so that's pretty exciting. [Levinson] yeah, we just recorded vocals yesterday, well at least half of them, she's still not done but she was in the studio. We're really excited. We've been doing a lot of original instrumental work, but it's a lot more fun when you get to work with a vocalist and you get to write harmonies, and all that stuff.
Kelly: Do you play any musical instruments?
X5IGHT: [Kurty] I do not. [Levinson] Drums, a little bit, but that's not helping me now [laughing] [more laughing].
Kelly: You mentioned working with a female vocalist on an original track?
X5IGHT: [Levinson] Her name is Alexa Lusader, she's out of Michigan [born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and raised in metro Detroit]. I wouldn't say she is a huge, well established singer, but she is really, really, talented. I am probably one of the pickiest guys when it comes to vocalists. I mean, we probably sorted through a hundred, two hundred different people that we either looked at or they sent us stuff. We just didn't like anyone. We found her and we just had a connection and it worked.
Kelly: Having looked at so many vocalists, would you ever consider approaching Nadia Ali?
X5IGHT: [Levinson] Yes, actually she [pointing to manager Kiera Miller] has ties with her [Nadia Ali's] management and she is one of the best singer's in the EDM scene right now. And, it would be so hard to say, no I can't work with Nadia Ali. I couldn't say that!
Kelly: Is there a release date set for your new material?
X5IGHT: [Levinson] Well, we have the current vocal track we're working on. We're going to send that off to a bunch of labels. That's kind of up in the air but we are working on that now. We have some other songs that aren't vocal tracks but just our own instrumentals that we're going to release just ourselves for free download. I know we have one coming out September 25th, which is 'Riot Kings' and we did that with an awesome producer from Chicago; his name is Teriszega. We've got a couple other ones coming out. Actually, a couple of individual tracks we have been working on and they're good. I think we try to keep a pretty diverse style. You want to get a sound for yourself but you also don't want to corner yourself. We try to switch things up. If we release a really hard, aggressive track, the next track released will be a bit more mellow and more melodic.
Kelly: What are your feelings on iTunes vs Beatport?
X5IGHT: [Levinson] This past July we released our debut EP [The Radiance] that was for sale on iTunes and Beatport. I think for dance music in general, we probably value Beatport a little bit more than iTunes right now, although, we don't have the sales report, that's probably in a couple of months we will get that. But I am curious to see where it sold better, on iTunes or Beatport. I know it's more expensive on Beatport, which, if you were smart you would go to iTunes to buy it. But, we try to do a mix between for sale releases and free releases, because the nice thing about free releases is, now with social media and Facebook, you can actually 'like' for a download. You're still getting the exposure with Facebook 'likes' and all the things that you need to grow and you are getting that just by releasing music.
Kelly: As you [Kurty] are from Slovakia, have you toured there?
X5IGHT: [Kurty] No, but I was just there on a family vacation. I visited Croatia, Budapest, I went all over the place but have not played there.
Kelly: You have just completed your set here at WheelHouse Festival 2013. What other festivals have you performed at?
X5IGHT: [Levinson] We've done actually recently quite a few. We did 'Life In Color Festival' which is a big EDM one. We did that back in April at Purdue [Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana]. We just got back from doing a show in Louisville, KY. And, we've done two shows in Cincinnati, Foam N' Glow, which is kind of a big national one and right on par with 'Life In Color'.
Kelly: Have you performed in Las Vegas, or Chicago, or Miami yet?
X5IGHT: [Levinson] No, that's our goal. You got to keep working towards that. But, we are right now trying to really focus on a nice Midwestern base to kind of help us get to a point where we become really attractive to those venues in those areas.
Kelly: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me here at WheelHouse Festival 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
X5IGHT: [Kurty] Thanks. [Levinson] Thank you.