Born in Staten Island, NY and now living in Austin, TX for the last few years, Boogietraxx, is helmed by producer/DJ Brandon Keeks who’s also ½ of Hot Fun. And he brings an array of influences in his soundscapes that feature filter house, French touch, and filter funk.
Brought up on a nutritious diet of Prince, Kashif, George Benson, Daft Punk, DJ Falcon, Romanthony, and countless others, Boogietraxx’s sound is rooted in the future with accentuated basslines and laser-guided melodies.
With his new track Pass My Way out now as part of RVDIOVCTIVE Vol.3, we caught up with him for a chat.
Connect with Boogietraxx on Soundcloud
Thanks for talking to us today – how has the year been for you so far?
The year has been good! A lot of big life changes have been happening to me. I recently moved so I spent the late 2021 and the first half of this year packing and moving. But as of last month, I’ve been getting back in the swing of things and getting back to producing regularly!
First of all, we want to get to know you “from the beginning”. How did your history with music begin?
Growing up in New York City…I was introduced to music at an early age! My grandfather (Donald Keeks Sr.) was a jazz drummer in Harlem and he always pushed me and my siblings to learn an instrument. Because of his influence and the band program at my elementary school, I got my start playing bass drum in my 4th-grade orchestra.
I couldn’t afford a drum set growing up, so I learned how to play the drum kit at my church. I stumbled through playing for my youth group until eventually Alex the music director took me under his wing to show me how to take my musicianship to the next level.
My introduction to house music came from my brother and I stumble upon the music video for “One More Time” on Galavisión at my grandfather’s apartment. From the moment I heard the track and saw the Interstellar 5555 paired with the anime music video, we knew we had to have that record…so we bugged my dad to buy the Discovery album that same day and we all instantly became Daft Punk fans that night.
Through the course of the years, I’ve had the pleasure of releasing my music on several labels that I look up to, and met some incredible friends, collaborators, and peers who are on this journey. It’s been an adventure that has led to some incredible opportunities in the Austin music community such as opening for Purple Disco Machine at The Concourse Project and even opening up for one of my long-time musical heroes Roosevelt. I’m happy where I am today, but I still have so much to share as I continue working on what I would consider my passion project.
For you, what is the magic of music? The thing that makes it such a big part of your life?
Music has always been one of the things that made the most sense to me in life. I have a lot of friends who excel in their careers, academics, athletics, art, and even social skills. For me, ever since 4th Grade band, music always clicked with me. I feel like as a kid I spent so much time trying to figure out what I was good at, and when it came down to music, I felt like I finally had something that I can be good at.
I feel like as a kid I spent so much time trying to figure out what I was good at, and when it came down to music, I felt like I finally had something that I can be good at.
Are there any artists in particular who you are finding inspiring at the moment?
It’s been amazing to see my heroes Alan Braxe and DJ Falcon back at it again and staying true to their sound with their “Step By Step” release. Clavette, an artist I’ve collaborated with on a few occasions, is one that’s pushing the French house sound in a modern way that has been really well received, so I’m pretty in tune with his releases. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Fred Falke lately, and also Street Player’s latest tune “Nothing You Can Do” has been an incredible release that’s heavy in my rotation!
Your new track on the RVDIOVCTIVE compilation seems to take inspiration from the classic French touch sound. Is that an era you find a lot of inspiration from?
I’m glad you noticed! That’s honestly where I find my authentic self when it comes to production. A lot of my music draws inspiration from that era. Emotionally, I think whenever I approach a production, my true north has always been the French touch sound. I remember when I first put my head down and started working on stuff, I was trying to produce what everyone else was making (Tech House, Bass House, etc.) but it never felt quite right. So I quickly made a change to produce the tracks that I love to hear when I’m out dancing and all I kept going back to was the nostalgia and the love for that French Touch sound.
Which are the tracks from that particular era that you feel have really stood the test of time?
Gah… there are so many! There are of course the obvious choices, but the ones that come to mind are:
Together by DJ Falcon and Thomas Bangalter:
This song will always be my true north whenever I write something. Is my track hitting as raw as this? Is my track as aggressive as this? Is my track as groovy as this? Often times it’s a no as I think this track is absolute perfection but I always use it as a reference and play it out every chance that I get. I’m getting giddy just writing about this one.
Chérie D’Amoure by Le Knight Club:
This is another great one that I feel needs no introduction. I feel like I could just melt away while dancing to this track. But this is another one where I listen to it and every time I hear a new element in it. Whenever I hear this, it’s like visiting an old friend.
So Much Love To Give by Together (DJ Falcon and Thomas Bangalter)
Another classic and direct inspiration for my track ‘Pass My Way’ coming out on RVADIOVACTIVE’s Vol 3 Comp! I love this one and quite frankly I don’t play it enough. But the energy of this track is timeless. This one always felt like a time capsule, when I listen to this…I feel like I’m brought back to my grandpa’s apartment again, experiencing this style of music for the very first time.
How did you hook up with the RVDIOVCTIVE crew for the release?
I actually contacted Devon James (co-founder of RVDIOVCTIVE) through a mutual friend Rufus (@rufusbeats). One weekend in Austin, I saw that Devon came through, played a couple of gigs, etc. I spent some time digging through his catalog and then saw that his collective was looking for music for their new label! So I spent some time sending some promo tunes his way and once I had a free agent to sign, he went ahead and picked up “Pass My Way’”
How important is it that you find the right label to support your music?
It’s incredibly important these days. I value labels that don’t view your release as disposable and only a means for their label to remain relevant. When I was first releasing music, I didn’t really take much issue here as I wanted to get my music out, but as I grow…I’m really pushing myself to release on labels that spend the time and resources to promote your release. Also, I love when a label is excited to release your track. Seeing that someone else is just as excited about your release as you are making a world of a difference.
I value labels that don’t view your release as disposable and only a means for their label to remain relevant.
What does your current studio set-up look like? Lots of hardware, or are you a mainly ‘out of the box’ type producer?
The majority of my studio set-up is all on my computer. I don’t have any fancy hardware or anything. However, I do track most of my guitar and bass work live through Guitar Rig Pro straight into my interface. I will say, I recently picked up Serato Sampler after chatting with PINTO (@pintomusicnyc) and it’s been absolutely life-changing on how I approach sampling and production.
What is the best advice you ever received as an artist?
I think one of the things that get overlooked is this: no matter what, music is a people business. Along the way, I’ve had the pleasure of really connecting with the Austin community over music. From trading music to playing each other’s records, to even introducing artists to labels…we must never forget to be kind to one another, and that has opened so many doors for me.
I think one of the things that get overlooked is this: no matter what, music is a people business.
When I was booking artists at my college over 10 years ago (oof), I was chatting with one of the band’s touring guitarists and he said this: “It’s never the good guitar players that have massive egos who get the gig. It will always be the person that’s fun to be around, teachable, and kind who will always get the gig 100%. Besides, who wants to be on the road 150 days out of the year with an asshole.” (haha).
All that to say, being kind would be the best advice I received as an artist and as a human being. I feel like in an industry full of inflated egos (I’ve got an ego too, let’s keep it real) when you’re a genuinely kind person, doors start to open and you stand out from your peers in your local scene.
What do you have coming up for the rest of 2022?
My mantra for the rest of this year is “Quality Control”. One artist here in Austin named The Silver Rider (@thesilverrider) pushed me not to release everything that I finish.
I need to spend more time sitting with my tracks and shelving ones that just aren’t at the standard I need to deliver at. While that’s been a tough pill to swallow, my goal for the rest of the year is to push for more exciting opening slots locally (I’ll be opening for The Knocks on 9/29 here in Austin), produce higher-quality tracks for 2023 release dates, play shows outside of my local scene, and collaborate with some other talented folks across the world.
Thanks for the time Tanzgemeinschaft! I appreciate the opportunity 🙂