Rarely do I ever come across an artist where I forget that they're an artist to begin with and really, truly connect. Here's a story of a discovery that turned strangers into friends and the immense power that music has over us.
From one house head to another, it took one video of a shuffler with the latest bop "FootWork" to start a spark that is bound to turn into a life long friendship. Notably a song for dancers and shufflers everywhere, you wouldn't believe the humility, kind-hearted demeanor of the mastermind behind it.
David Cervantes-Guzman coined the moniker Mr Stilo to formally step into the world of electronic dance music. Metal, emo, and alternative kids can attest to the fact that it only takes one festival, one kickass show to realize where you belong. Many of us rockers have morphed into kandi wearing electronic music lovers digesting various sub genres and figuring out which one we resonate with the most. Fortunately, the EDM community is no stranger to adopting stray "cool cats and kittens" and so David, slowly metamorphosing into Mr Stilo, felt that he needed to be a part of this once he experienced EDC Music Festival for the very first time. He often wondered how does one go from listening to something heavy like Exodus to Green Velvet. In hindsight, both genres of these artists seem so different, but they're not.
"There's music you listen to and then there's music you feel" Mr Stilo says.
"People listen to Eminem (lyricism). You sit there and you analyze what he’s saying. With metal, there’s screaming. Most of the time, you don’t know what they’re talking about, but you feel the energy. [House music] is the music genre that you feel...it’s for you to dance all night at the club, it’s something that you really feel, it’s a feeling. Metal and house may seem very different, but they’re on the same spectrum."
At this moment in time, Mr Stilo and I connected more than I could have imagined. The electronic dance music scene is scarcely misunderstood because people associate this style with heavy partying, binge drinking, molly popping and the works. For me? There's no better feeling than standing underneath the strobe lights, Fashion Nova skimpy dress or skirt on, sun-kissed from the day at the beach and shimmering body glitter cascading off of the club lights and in sync with the music. House music, in particular, brings out an existential goddess in me that I fully cannot grasp myself.
So now...we know the inspiration for Mr Stilo came from EDC, but beginnings weren't easy:
"It actually took me a while to gain motivation. When I started out, it was hard. A lot of people give up early on. I had the privilege to go to school, graduated college, I’m working a full time job, and I was able to afford one-on-one private classes to learn Ableton with an instructor from my old DJ school."
This sparked a conversation about the validity of investing in oneself, keeping a day job to sustain a hobby or a passion and keep the fuel of that fire within alive.
"I just wanted to make music because I like to party. I like to go out to the clubs. I got to a certain point where that wasn’t enough motivation. So I asked myself, why am I really doing this? Why am I putting in all this work? It can’t just be for that. That’s where I think my love just doubled for the music, appreciating how it’s made.
If you’re just doing it for popularity, it’s not going to take you very far because at the end of the day, I make music for people to enjoy. I’m a DJ and producer for people. I like making people happy."
Making music for Mr Stilo is a selfless act because he's not just a fan, but he's also contributing to the electronic community as a whole. He's constantly growing, constantly connecting with people to hone in on what do people really like. He is the friendly house head that wants to show you some good tunes and have a shot at the bar. That's kind of what house music exudes.
At first, I was trying to be that funny guy like Fisher, but that’s not me. So I took a break from social media to rebrand myself. My brand is I am just that house music fan. I’m just that house snob, but a friendly one. I’ll always reply, I’ll show you some good music. I engage with everyone that follows me. I’m so social.
I don’t think I have a particular thing. I’m the typical PLUR candy kid.
In terms of artwork, a lot of the artwork is just quirky, random
If we were to personify house music and give it an identity, it'd be Mr Stilo.
"I always say I’m a DJ before I’m a producer because I love sharing music. I produce, but half the time I hate it. I want to go out there and show you some UK style music. I’m heavily influenced by the European house scene and the UK/Spain Ibiza type stuff."
Ibiza being the epicenter of electronic dance music fandom and partying is the perfect inspiration for house heads everywhere. Although I've personally never been, it's always been high on my list of places to go and experience all it has to offer. After all, it brought us house producers like Carl Cox, David Pearce, Luciano and many others who keep spinning and pumping the house hearts full of adrenaline.
[We’re collectively thankful for the bedroom DJs because] We need to keep the house scene alive during COVID, especially people who live for the nightlife. It’s a whole different world where we can be ourselves. I would love to do a livestream at a viewpoint and put out good content. I’ve also been really engaging on my social media. I love talking to people. I’m always on my phone. When I post things, I try to make it as engaging as possible. When I’m on Instagram, making music or DJing, the last thing I want people to do is [show off]. I’m asking my followers to send me playlists or songs and I actually listen to them.
Amidst this ongoing nightmare of a pandemic, we have to keep each other's spirits alive. Music is inevitably the antidote to all of the people currently missing the nightlife, going out and being with friends. Sure, there's more to life than partying, but 2am is the time where we really get to know the most purest version of anyone. Sitting on a rocking chair on a porch somewhere warm reminiscing the wonder years, these are the memories that are going to be the most meaningful.
Essentially Mr Stilo cannot stress two things enough: As an artist, remember to make music for fans, not producers and keep in mind that team work makes the dream work. A lot of people, albeit entrepreneurs or creatives, think that they have to do everything on their own, when in actuality it is the first step towards burning yourself out and essentially failing. Collaborating with experts who are experienced in something that can be an asset to the brand, such as photography or marketing, can make or break a brand. For Mr Stilo? The most enticing part of "FootWork" was the artwork because it drove attention. The cover art was done by @3rdeyeimage featuring model @klmags.
So what are you waiting for? I know the week has just started, but as of this moment, the hardest day has passed. It's time to hit the dance floor and let loose because this song is in dedication to all the dancers, lovers, clubbers, and shufflers out there with the listener's ear in mind; for all the workaholics who want to get away from the home office and feel alive, for all the students cramming and studying extra hard, for all the music enthusiasts everywhere who want to groove, this one's for you.