It was a nice sunny day at Citi Field a few Fridays ago when EDC NY began shaking the grounds with bass for miles. It’s normally a much calmer scene in the earlier parts of the festival because many attendees haven’t arrived yet, and many of the ones who have are still “warming up,” for lack of a better phrase. There was no warming up at the Circuit Grounds stage because Milkman had the crowd losing their minds right away. He dropped a killer dance set with some electro funk to get everyone grooving. With NERVO out last minute there were some set time changes and I couldn’t help some people saying “Who is this!?” If they didn’t know then, they definitely know now. Gregg Luskin, A.K.A. Milkman, tore up the stage at EDC NY with some awesome mash-ups and incredibly energetic tracks. After the chaos took place, he sat down with us to talk about what he’s got going on and to inform some new fans who Milkman is.
When he was playing sets, you have to admire his energy and how much fun he’s having on stage. And What did he think about the set?
One of the best sets of my life. I’ve been working so many years to get to this point in my life and, for some reason, this has been my breakout year. Got EDC, Movement Festival, Electric Forest, and some other big gigs this summer. This was the first festival of the summer for me and it couldn’t of been better. It was beyond the most fun I’ve ever had on stage.
Although EDC was his first festival of this summer season, he has participated in festivals in the past.
My first big festival was the first Jay-Z Made In America Festival. I got really lucky and I got put into that line up and, at the time, that was the most amazing experience of my life. I met Jay-Z and he gave me a gift bag. You can only imagine being an up and coming artist, meeting Jay-Z, and having him give you a bottle of champagne. That was the point where I was like “This is what I was working towards and I’d be a fool not to appreciate it.” That opened a lot of doors.
If you’re sitting there thinking to yourself “This is all we need just another new ‘DJ’ trying to break into the scene,” allow me to put your minds at ease. Milkman was, and is, a musician before DJ.
I started playing piano when I was five. Then I learned guitar, bass, drums and a spectrum of instruments up until I graduated high school. In high school I was a lead guitarist in a punk rock band and I loved it. Then I got to college and it was so hard to find people to jam with, or to start a band. So I just started making music. Not even electronic music at first. I was just playing around with my keyboard and stuff and making mash-ups and that just turned into me getting big at UC ,Santa Barbara. I would play every party I could at UCSB and that became my home base. With Facebook emerging at that point, everyone was sending my tracks to their friends in college. Other colleges, like Bucknell, became other hubs for me as well while I was going to the studio and making my own productions. A few years later this is where I’m at!
As you can see, this recent success of his was paved by hard work and years of practice. In a world of shortcuts, hard work is something that people are forgetting about nowadays. His roots in electronic music are definitely mash-ups, which becomes very apparent in his sets. He mixes in some unbelievable mash-ups that you won’t hear anywhere other than his sets, or maybe his After Hours podcast.
He’s also bene working on getting his own label off the ground to help support some aspiring producers who just need to get their music out there. He knows some of the lesser known talents out there and wants to do what he can in getting their music out to the world.
Once you’ve reached some milestones in your career, where do you you go from there? Are goals in order? Not necessarily.
I’m not really the kind of guy who sets milestones or goals. I’ve already surpassed things that I never thought we possible. I was a Computer Science major so I just thought I was going to get a job and have a 9-5. So the fact that I’m at this point where I’m just enjoying being a musician, enjoying making music, and can play it for people who appreciate listening to it; that’s already surpassed everything I’ve ever dreamt about.
Don’t worry if you thought he was going to flake out since he made it this far.
If I had to set a goal… my last dance album, Fragments, did #2 on the dance charts on iTunes. I’m just finishing an album and we’re in the process of getting ready to release it. #2 was obviously more than I was ever expecting, but when you get #2 you have that drive and that thought of “Well shit! I was 1 spot away from being #1.”
With Milkman, it’s not about the sales, but just the fact that people are listening to it. With his last album he gave the option of buying it, or downloading it for free. We’ve seen other artists promote free downloads and it’s great. When Flux Pavillion did an AMA on reddit, he was talking about his new album and basically said if you can afford it, buy it, and if you can’t, torrent it. Artists that want their music out there are what fans and musicians respect.
WIth his mentality of being a musician, he really wants the genre to start having more live performances. More guitars, drums, keyboards, vocals, and other instruments on stage putting on a real live show for everyone.
I think it’s time to start bringing back some live musicianship. It’s time for some experimental material. I was touring and got lucky enough to stop by a Modestep set. Granted it’s not my particular style of EDM, it’s still a lot of fun. They had a DJ, a drummer, a guitarist, a singer and it was such a kick ass set because it brought it back to “Here’s a band and they’re rocking shit!”
We’re starting to see a lot more of this, particularly thinking of Destroid‘s live performance tour. With all the attention EDM has received recently, it would be a great time for musicians to start getting back to their roots to give the world the best music they can produce, not necessarily Top 40 tracks.
This is a genre that’s actually established and people recognize. It’s not just a sub genre of some kids on drugs anymore. It’s something people listen to and it’s fun music. I think live original material is the future of EDM.