Artist to Watch: Valorous

He’s relatively unknown, except in D.C. and some parts of Chicago, but he’s been making waves on Beatport’s top 10 charts for moombahton as he starts to get his barrings as a DJ and producer. He first grabbed our attention by rocking our “Fuck to Moombahton” tee to a Zedd’s Dead Lolla after party and then he grabbed our attention a second time after he sent us a copy of his EP. His heavy hitting tracks like “Danger” show a dark and glitchy side to the moombah movement and push the elements of sound.

To learn more about this newbie, we asked him a few questions.

Q: Who is Valorous?
A: I am 21 year old Sebastian Ziernicki of Chicago, IL. By day I am a full time student at Dominican University in River Forest and by night I produce and DJ as Valorous. I am most known for my Moombahton tracks, but I have recently begun expanding my horizons into genres like dubstep, kuduro, and electro. My main goal in all of this is to help spread good music to Chicago and help people have a fun time. Music is one of the most important things in my life that gets me through every day so I thought why not learn to make it myself?

Q: When did you start DJing / producing?
A: I actually started off with producing on Ableton in early 2009. I literally knew nothing about the program and I decided that I was going to teach myself. This was a really extensive process and needless to say my first few productions were not all that amazing. I toyed around with dubstep and hip hop beats and shortly after decided to try out djing with a Torq Xponent. The biggest gig I got was playing at Peacefest in 2010, which first introduced dubstep to that festival and people really got into it. I really wanted to get more into producing after that though, so I put all my energy towards it and disappeared off the radar for a bit.

Q: What prompted you to start producing moombahton?
A: My first semester of my senior year in college (August-December 2011) I was living in Washington, DC to intern there as a means of getting some experience in the legal field as well as to get some college credit. Not too long before I left Chicago to go there I looked up the music scene to see what was going on. I immediately found a bunch of info on Dave Nada, Billy the Gent, etc. and this genre called Moombahton. I instantly looked it up and downloaded the summer and winter of Moombahton compilations to check them out. I fell in love with the sound and decided I would try producing a song. My first track ended up on the Moombah-thong blog and I felt really at home making it so I figured I’d continue. I spent pretty much all of my free time in DC producing and this is how my EP came to be.

Q: Who are your biggest influences and how does that influence your music?
A: I would say that Munchi is definitely my biggest influence in terms of Moombahton. All of his tracks are just so original sounding and they’re all really fun to groove to. As much as everyone hates him, I really look up to Skrillex as well. I think he has done a phenomenal job in creating his own sound as well as making music of super high quality. I feel like that’s one of the main obstacles in becoming a successful producer, getting your songs to sound as professional as possible. You will also hear influence from bands that I like in my music since I listen to just about anything and everything. I try not to let my music sound too similar to any one person, but as a whole I gain a lot of my inspiration from other musicians. I really hope that when people hear my work they hear my sound instead of comparing it to other producers.

Q: What are your thoughts on the moombahton scene in LA, NY, DC vs. Chicago (because it’s pretty much non-existant)
A: Well, first and foremost, I’m really jealous. When I was living in DC I would head out to the Moombahton Massives and they were honestly the funnest parties I had ever been to. The vibe is just amazing and everyone is there to have a good time. Dave Nada would just walk around U Street Music Hall and he was always down to talk music or give me feedback on my tracks. I keep seeing events taking place in LA, NY, and DC now and I really wish that I could possibly play a show like that or even just attend. The Moombahton Massacre show at the beginning of the year was really great when Nadastrom headlined.  I hope to help spread Moombahton a bit more in Chicago and I have started a group called the Chicago Moombahton Collective. Not sure how things are going to go with it yet, but maybe in the future we will be able to hold shows or at least have our artists play at shows like the Moombahton Massacre. I have a strong feeling that Moombahton will pick up here. More and more artists are coming about and you have artists like Willy Joy and Team Bayside High promoting it. Team Bayside’s set when they opened up for Paper Diamond was literally all Moombah and people were dancing like crazy, I think that says a lot.

Q: What would you like the listeners of your EP to know about you and/or about your music?
A: The main thing I would want them to know is that each track on the EP is a different style. Everyone that has listened to it has a different track that they enjoy most. I was trying my best to show my versatility and to provide an adventure in listening to the EP. Some of the tracks were produced on only a Macbook Air while I was in DC. That was a huge challenge and a lot a lot a lot of work went into it before it was finished. I still learn crazy amounts about producing every day and I am always implementing these new things so even if people don’t like my Moombah they might end up enjoying my dubstep tunes or vice versa. I hope to provide music that is ever changing and developing into something new/different.

Q: Regarding your age, what advantages do you think you have over others, and what disadvantages do you think you’ll face because you are quite young?
A: I really feel that my age offers me more advantages than disadvantages. You look at people like Skrillex, Porter Robinson, and Dillon Francis and they are all really young. They are also some of the most talented producers too! I learned decently early on so hopefully I can make a decent name for myself by the time I’m 23 or 24. To be honest I actually feel like I could have started earlier and been an even better musician by now. In terms of disadvantages I definitely feel like people don’t take me as seriously because I am new and younger. I have definitely had promoters kind of act like I’m invisible because they think I’m just some kid pestering them and I have no clue what I’m doing. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I talk to someone at a show or bar and they give me a positive reaction and tell me to send them my stuff on facebook and then they deliberately just ignore me.

Q: What are you currently working on? What’s next?
A: After the EP came out I decided to try out some other genres. I just put up this transitional dubstep track last week and this week I am finishing up a kuduro track and a jump up track. I am collaborating with several artists like Mountblood and Tolgar in Chicago. You can actually expect a huge tune from Mountblood and myself to be played this weekend so make sure you come out to the show. Otherwise, for now I want to concentrate on getting gigs. I have a remix EP coming out through Noiseporn Records, but there is no release date yet. 2 of the remixes by D-V3kz and Kovary are already done and sound amazing so people should keep a look out for that. As far as another EP from me, it will probably be a while. I want to get the attention of Mad Decent or Dim Mak for the next one. I’m most definitely keeping busy so keep an eye out for me, I can guarantee some really awesome tracks in the near future!
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We wish Sebastian the best of luck and hope he goes far in his career. Listen to “Danger,” one of his most popular songs from his latest EP, which you can buy now on Beatport.com.

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