Emerging as the remixer of the moment in the U.K., Burns is the one-name wonder who’s rolling off the tongues of respected industry veterans and insatiable music bloggers alike.
With a recent project inventory that reads like the guest list at a sold-out Klaxons show, the 24-year-old Glaswegian has put his stamp on tracks for the Black Eyed Peas, Gossip, Kasabian, Dizzee Rascal, Wolfmother, and Ladyhawke, to name just a few, all the while releasing four of his own EPs in the aptly titled Burns 1, 2, 3, and 4 series.
Building on the buzz his remix work has generated, Burns says the rapid release schedule of the EPs—all four came out within a year—was a well-planned hype strategy.
“This was an idea we came up with—to release a series of EPs to begin with, and then just do a 1, 2, 3, 4 and put a corresponding number of tracks on each one,” says the DJ-producer, on the line from his home in Brighton, England. “The first one, Burns 1, had just had one track. The second one, Burns 2, had two tracks. I just thought it was a cool idea. Having a pattern in terms of the way things are done tends to work quite well because it makes it look like you’ve actually got a plan, instead of just making it up as you go along. It’s like an overall brand.”
To date, the Burns brand has been a reliable combination of electro-pop piano riffs, house standards, and clubland crowd pleasers with bulging bass lines and screeching synth stabs. It’s dance-floor-ready and credible, which explains his appeal as a remixer, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything predictable about a Burns track.
“I just try to keep things as diverse as possible, as far as the production work goes, so that I don’t end up repeating myself musically,” explains Burns, who’s known to his mom as Matthew. “Part of me knows that I would just get bored if I did the same thing over and over again. People kind of get excited when something new comes out because they don’t really know what to expect, whereas when an artist tends to have a formula and use it every time, I mean for me personally, it can get a little bit boring if you are always putting out stuff that sounds the same. That might be the difference between me and the next guy.”
His successes twiddling other people’s knobs in the studio and DJing nonstop—recently in support of Deadmau5 and currently on the Calvin Harris tour—have left Burns with little room for reflection, or working on his own full-length debut, scheduled for release this summer.
“I haven’t had time to let any of this go to my head, really. I’m just trying to keep my head down and try and work as much as possible. If I were to have a week off, I’d sit there and go over what I’ve been doing for the past year or so, and it would be a bit of a shock.”
Burns is the opening DJ for Calvin Harris at Gossip tonight (February 25) and Celebrities on Friday (February 26).