We had the incredible honor of sitting down and chatting with the legend with a handlebar mustache otherwise known as Valentino Khan. Fresh off his single ‘Gold’ featuring Sean Paul, the Los Angeles native looks to cap off what has been an amazing 2017 by keeping his head high as he prepares to move forward to the new year. Arriving in San Francisco where he would also call home ground, we caught up with the Mad Decent/OWSLA alumni for a couple of questions. Here’s what resulted in a night of chaos!
What was your first experience with electronic music?
My first experience with electronic music was probably when I got CD’s of The Prodigy and Crystal Method. But then what really got me into it was my brother played me Justice and that’s what made me really want to produce and jump into that world. -Valentino Khan
You have deep roots, you’ve been doing this for a while, making tracks from moombahton to trap to house to hip-hop. Are there any artists that have inspired you to be so versatile?
No, I think it was almost the opposite. I think almost everyone has inspired me in a way. I’m inspired by all these different sounds and that’s why I want to approach them all and do my own unique take on them. -Valentino Khan
You never miss a beat. Your name never fades away as you continue to push the boundary for yourself, for making the next festival anthem. How do you continue to stay on the mountaintop?
I just try to look for that next sound, which can be difficult at certain times. But I just try to always remain forward thinking and do my own thing rather than follow the rest of the pack. I think that’s where people get caught up in, just trying to stay afloat by following what everyone else is doing. -Valentino Khan
You recently worked with Sean Paul and ‘Gold’ has over two million streams on Spotify. Can you tell us a bit about how you two met and now the track came about?
We got put in a studio session together. Before Sean got there, I was at the studio and made the basis of the beat in an hour. And then Sean got into the studio and absolutely killed it and really spit everything out at the top of the head which was really impressive. It was really cool to work with an artist like Sean who is a good dude and knows exactly what he wants to get out of a track. We were all on the same page from the start to the finish so it was a really cool process. -Valentino Khan
Yeah, it must’ve been really amazing to work with such a legend. Considering you started off with Market Price, making moombahton, now you have the ability to work with anybody you’d like, is that a goal you had in mind?
Yeah of course, to be able to have collaborative freedom like that is definitely a goal, for any artist I think. Everybody has their dream collaborations or their own inspiration that they want to bring into their music. So I think that’s a goal of everybody. -Valentino Khan
What legacy do you want to leave behind with your name in music?
To push music forward, and to do it in a great and meaningful way. -Valentino Khan
When people think of your name they think there’s a party. Before you go on stage, what are your rituals you have?
I don’t have anything crazy that I do. I kind of just stretch out. I’m pretty active and mobile when I’m on stage. I’m moving around a lot, so I just stretch out and pretend that I’m an athlete for an hour. -Valentino Khan
You’re in the Bay Area, land of the hyphy. Do you have any memorable moments from here?
A lot of what I grew up listening to was hyphy shit, like E-40, Keak Da Sneak, Mac Dre, everybody from the Bay. I grew up in L.A. but we always traded music whether it was Too Short or Tupac, there was always a mutual respect musically between northern California and southern California. I think my most memorable moment was being able to play those hyphy records out there, the Bay classics, and everybody will go off. -Valentino Khan
To end in cliché fashion, is there anything you can share from your end regarding 2018?
Yeah, I’m doing a bunch of cool festivals and I’m going to be going back to Europe. I’m gonna be doing Holy Ship which is going to be really fun. It’s one of my favorite things to ever play. Musically, I’m wrapping up a bunch of new big singles and some collaborations, so be on the lookout for those. -Valentino Khan