Let me give you a little backstory – I was at a show in June, there to see Crywolf & Fractal. To my surprise, I saw someone that powerfully resembled Dylan Eiland, aka Le Castle Vania, up on stage. I was tempted to call out to him, but my shyness held me back. Then I saw his tweet the next day and had to speak up!
— sour apple (@mnmedia13) June 14, 2014
Soon after that, I was reviewing his new EP, Feels Like Fire for the site and then for months it was a back-and-forth via email trying to set something up. The life of a producer on tour and label owner is a hectic one, and I found myself just giving up on ever getting anything going. But soon enough, I saw that he was announced as support on Feed Me’s “Psychedelic Journey Tour” and I saw my window.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I’m outside of the Yost Theater in Santa Ana, waiting for my press pass to get in. (The original venue, The Shrine in LA, was cancelled due Nocturnal Wonderland’s return to SoCal.) I notice Dylan and Gigantor (of Evol Intent, a good friend of mine) outside and call out to them, cutting the line. We go into the venue, back behind the stage, and sit down in the tiny dressing rooms reserved for the supporting acts. It wasn’t until this point that I realized that I hadn’t really prepared any questions — all of the stress of trying to set up the actual interview had led me to forget to prepare any actual questions. “Fret not,” I thought to myself. “For you know your shit.”
The interview itself was a very pleasant experience, and the lack of a strict set of questions actually proved to be advantageous — I might not have learned that Dylan recently scored a movie starring Keanu Reeves, or that he’s a huge fan of sci-fi (but not Star Trek, that’s only a temporary Netflix obsession). Nor would I have learned that he is very close to and looks up to Steve Duda, or that he basically discovered Must Die! from numerous Twitter conversations.
For how long have you been producing as Le Castle Vania?
The first song/remix I ever released as Le Castle Vania came out in 2006. It was remix for this band called Snowden. That’s kind of where it all started.
Had you worked on mau5trap yet back then?
No I didn’t sign anything to mau5trap until last year. I’ve been friends with Joel and toured with him and stuff, but [Prophication EP] was the first one that was signed. Then they also released the remixes.
How long has your label Always Never been going on?
I started Always Never a long time ago, it was essentially started as a label just to release my own music on. Then, I meet a lot of friends on the road and hear a lot of good music from producers that I meet while touring and I feel very fortunate to be able to make music and do what I do, so I wanted to use Always Never as a way to help other people who are up-and-coming to get their music heard. I’m not trying to be the next Dim Mak, I just want to put out good music that sounds rad.
So you did Prophication EP, and you just released your Feels Like Fire EP. Would you say there’s been any kind of difference in the way you approach the EP, anything you tried to do differently or improve upon?
Well, it’s telling a different story, there’s a different tone to the feel. When I do an EP, I want each one to have a certain feel to it, so stylistically it’s still Le Castle Vania sound, but there’s a slightly different style to each EP. I’m starting to work on a new one right now which is also going to be different. I like each one to tell its own story.
You worked with one of your friends, Justin [Crywolf] and also Must Die! on the last EP. How was working with those two?
They’re both really good friends of mine. Me and Must Die! have written music together for years and years, so it was a really natural process. Actually, it’s not really known but I kind of discovered Must Die!. He was living in Mississippi and he would blow me up on Twitter and send me demos and music, so I invited him to come to Atlanta and he actually slept on my couch for several months. We would write little ideas and riffs together. He’s always been a great songwriter.
Great. I signed him to Always Never, we released his past two EPs, Angels and Ghosts. He’s a homie, so it just made sense that we’d write something together.
As far as touring goes, would you say there are any advantages or disadvantages to touring under a much bigger name?
Yeah, I’ve toured with deadmau5, and now Feed Me. The obvious advantage is getting to tap into their fanbase and getting your music heard by a new audience. The only disadvantage, which isn’t really an issue… I’ve played as a headliner, and I would get to bring my whole production. So as a support act, you don’t get to do that because the main act brings theirs. But I mean, I don’t have any complaints about that. The music speaks for itself.
You’ve been really busy lately, with the tour and label —
I also just scored a movie.
Yeah. I just wrote a bunch of original music for a new movie called John Wick. It’s coming out in October, it’s starring Keanu Reeves, it’s an action/shoot-em-up/revenge-type film. That was an awesome, awesome experience.
This was the first time you scored a movie?
Yeah, first time.
Would you do it again?
Oh yeah. I’ve got bit by the bug. I mean, while I was doing it, it was really stressing me out because there are hardcore deadlines and so I would stay up all night and get no sleep and have to go to a meeting about the movie the next day. But then as soon as I walked in the Arclight, saw it on the big screen, and heard my music, I was like “This is awesome!! I gotta do this more!” I’m a huge cinema fan, I go to the movies all the time. So for the first time, getting to sit in the theater and getting to hear my music coming through the speakers and watching the film set to my music — it’s also cool getting to see how big a part the music is in terms of affecting the feeling. The whole scene changes depending on the music. I’ll be working on something and see, “Okay, this is making the scene really dark” and you change it and change the whole scene.
Are there any producers you hang out with on a regular basis that you really like to bounce ideas off of?
My main guy that I’ll always bounce music off of is Steve Duda. He’s an amazing sound engineer, and he’s best friends with Joel [deadmau5]. He actually does a little side project with him called BSOD. I always play stuff for Steve.
You said you’re working on a new EP, any idea what the theme is going to be?
It’s still preliminary, still circling in on the feel.
Do you write while you’re on the road?
It’s hard to really get songs to fruition on the road, but I write a lot of melodies and ideas.
Dylan continues with the “Psychedelic Journey Tour” through to the end of the tour this weekend in Edmonton, AB at the Encore at WEM. His set at the Yost Theater was heavy and dirty, and contained a lot of tracks that exemplified Dylan’s emphasis on metal-infused electro-house. I might even go so far as to say that I liked his set more than Feed Me’s. But that’s really just a subjective opinion among many. Bottom-line, if Le Castle Vania is every in your neck of the woods — go see him. You will not regret it.