Falcons is one of new DJs that’s changing the game by creating different sounds and techniques. Influenced by Southern hip-hop and a hard-work ethic, he’s played at clubs and festivals around the world.
After playing at Coachella in 2015, Falcons is returning to play at the Coachella-affiliated Day Club, on Friday, April 15, at the Hilton Palm Springs with Mr. Carmack, Tokimonsta and others.
Falcons (aka Michael Graham) grew up in Texas and Oklahoma, and has said many times that the music of the South gave him a lot of inspiration.
“I feel like growing up with that stuff has given me more of an emphasis on soul music, and songwriting is really different there,” Falcons said. “My family is quite musical, and … blues music, soul music and things like that sneak into my sound palette naturally. I think growing up with the radio down there inspired me a lot, too.”
Falcons also cites Southern hip-hop as a big influence—and it’s evident when you listen to his remixes and production work.
“I think the South, in general, musically, is all about the Americana sound,” he said. “That’s where the real roots of American music developed from, especially in R&B and hip-hop. I like that a lot. I was really into U2K, OutKast and a lot of people from Texas and Atlanta. At the time when I was in high school, it was all about Mike Jones and Paul Wall. All that stuff was really influential to me when I started making music.”
Originally, Falcons was focused on producing; DJing was something he never thought he would be doing.
“I started first with producing, so I was making music before I even knew how to DJ,” he said. “I didn’t plan on it and was just into it for fun. I ended up getting offers to do things, and I thought about how to make live shows more interesting. It was a bit of a learning curve at the beginning, but it was a lot of fun.”
A fair number of artists have found success in both DJing and producing records or songs for others.
“Nowadays, you can be a producer and be in the forefront—headlining Coachella or festivals around the world—or you can be in the studio, making music for somebody, and you don’t even need to have your name attached to it, but you’re still getting credit and getting paid for it. A lot of people do both, and I think if you’re going to be in the spotlight, you have to be able to be yourself and make something that’s authentic and cool. I think the trick with anything in art is being yourself and not trying to emulate other people. … The trick to being a background producer is being versatile and doing stuff quick and on the fly.”
Falcons explained that it’s almost a necessity for modern DJs to be writing their own music, or at least have some knowledge of production work.
“It’s really hard to just be a DJ these days, and you have to have something like a trick to make it,” he said.
Falcons, who now lives in Los Angeles, said he’s not generally a fan of the big-club atmosphere.
“My favorite place to play is in warehouse parties and in the underground scene,” he said. “… Los Angeles can be very Hollywood at times, and can be very high-production and high-budget. But I just love the stuff that’s underground in warehouses. I think most people in Los Angeles would say (they love performing at) something like Avalon or some places like that. I love to play those places too, but what sums me up the best are those underground spaces. They’re a lot more DIY.”
Falcons continues to stay busy, he said.
“Right now, I’m just putting out as much music as I can,” he said. “I’ve got some international tours coming up: I’m going back to Asia, and I’m going back to Europe at the end of the summer. I’m mostly just releasing music, and I have an EP coming out with two of my friends.”
Falcons will perform with Mr. Carmack and Tokimonsta on Friday, April 15, during Day Club Palm Springs. Doors open at noon, and the party goes until 6 p.m., at the Hilton Palm Springs. 400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way. Tickets are $20 for one day, or $50 for a three-day weekend pass. For tickets or more information, visit www.dayclub.ps.