Milwaukee-born DJ Melvv has worked with artists like Louis the Child and Whethan, but now he’s bringing his very own “Stress Relief” tour to venues and music festivals across the country.
Inspired by the musical community around the Miramar Theatre in Milwaukee, Melvv began to open shows at the age of 17. The music he heard at local shows influenced his unique sound — a mix of indie-electronic, electronic-pop with alternative tones and hip-hop. Another experience influenced Melvv’s sound: A year of undergrad at the University of Wisconsin.
He was assigned a single dorm room after deciding last minute to attend UW — though he credits the single to his finesse skills after he alerted the university of a peanut allergy. This privacy allowed Melvv to produce at all times of the day, from morning to night. When he wasn’t producing, he was experiencing Madison’s vibrant music scene.
“I just like the college environment in terms of making music in general,” Melvv said. “I don’t know how to even describe it. I went to a lot of shows there too at Liquid and Majestic and a bunch of other stuff — I think I went to the Orpheum or something.”
But one year of Madison was enough for Melvv, who dropped out after his first year to pursue his musical career in Los Angeles. He built his craft, leading him to tour with big-name acts like Hippie Sabotage. After successfully networking with people on the internet and in-person, he’s now prepared for a tour of his own.
Though he won’t play large venues, he finds the smaller venues to be a more intimate experience. He frequently jumps down to the security barricade to get as close to the audience as possible — something that’s hard to do at a music festival.
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A small venue won’t get in the way of delivering a memorable show. The team is trying to bring specialized production for certain cities, making each show a unique experience of its own, Melvv said.
Melvv’s live shows aren’t like other performers’, who solely perform music from their albums. With Melvv, you don’t know what to expect. A diverse music taste leads to a diverse set list. The music is a mix of many different songs, Melvv said.
“I edit tons of songs that I only play live and never release,” Melvv said. “I don’t want to just play the same old records … what’s the point of going to something when you already know exactly what you’re going to see?”
Having a history of going to Lollapalooza himself, Melvv plans to put in a lot of effort for the Aug. 4 performance. Normally Melvv gauges the audience to determine which songs to play next, but a show as big as Lollapalooza requires a planned setlist.
The goal is to get on stage without worrying about the performance and have the most fun as possible, and of course play the best songs, Melvv said.
For Badgers looking to follow in Melvv’s footsteps and get involved with the music industry, there are a few things Melvv recommends. Work on what you do and spend as many hours as possible, Melvv said. But once you have a sound that stands out, you have to market it. Melvv successfully networked with people in person and online.
“Just networking both locally and on the internet. You can only get so far with either one individually,” Melvv said. “If you’re just on the internet, you’re not going to have that many hard ticket sales and real human interaction. But if you’re just local, you can’t really tour worldwide …”
In addition to his new single “Babe” which features Austrian singer-rapper Mavi Phoenix, Melvv plans on release new music in the next few weeks, but if you want to see him mix unique tracks, you’ll have to see him on his “Stress Relief Tour.”