Leroy Moreno has found himself caught up in a bit of a whirlwind these last 18 months. The fun-loving, death metal guitarist didn’t take music production too seriously until recently, but he’s got the talent and is poised to do something about it. Hailing from The Lone Star State, Leroy Moreno’s path to the Dance Music scene is a little unorthodox but lies entrenched within the influences of some of Trance music’s finest including Paul Oakenfold, early Tiesto, and Armin van Buuren. Since Leroy Moreno sent his first track, the eventually signed ‘Lux’, over to Paul van Dyk and the VANDIT Records team, the Texan has had a string of successful releases including ‘Celestia’ and ‘Eternal Now’ on the imprint leading up to his most recent single, ‘Malta’, released a couple weeks ago. As things begin to heat up for the talented producer, we got the chance to hang out with Leroy and ask a few questions regarding his story thus far.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! How has your new year been so far?
Such a pleasure to chat! It’s crazy, the first week of 2017 started out with my newest release on VANDIT Records titled ‘Malta.’ The track had such a positive response from fans and music blogs! Malta also reached the highest position than any previous track of mine on Beatport Top 100, which always puts a big smile on my face.
You’re currently located in Texas, correct? Is that where you were born/grew up?
Yep, born and raised in South Texas, but I’ve moved around within the last 10 years. It’s funny, when people who aren’t from Texas find out where I’m from they expect to hear a twangy Texas accent coming out of me, but I don’t seem to have picked it up. I do have a pretty good Matthew McConaughey impression though! That counts, right?
*laughs* Definitely! Texas isn’t exactly known as a beacon for Trance music, how did you first discover the sounds of Electronic Music, and more specifically Trance?
I’ve been interested in electronic music since the 90’s when I used to listen to the local radio play 90’s diva vocal house and top 40 dance hits. From there it wasn’t until my high school years that I really began to explore trance as a whole. I remember a friend of mine had brought a mix CD of trance tunes to class sometime during 2002-2003 and I gave it a listen. I knew this music meant something and I wanted more! That then led me to the local music shops to discover artists like Paul van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold, Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, and eventually seeing them at live shows.
I think a lot of those names were major influences for a lot of today’s Trance fans growing up. It’s nice to see their influences still run deep! Did you have any musical training growing up?
Never had one lesson! Looking back, I always had a cheap keyboard to play around with, but was never classically trained. I’ve been taking more time to study music theory online (check out Rick Beato’s Youtube channel. That guy is a genius!). I understand basic music theory and music scales, but so much of my music production is intuitive. Anytime I place my fingers on a keyboard they somehow just start moving themselves and hitting really interesting harmonies. I can’t explain how it happens or why it happens, but I’m just so glad it does.
Who were some of your major influences musically and just in general?
The influences are all over the place! It’s always so hard to narrow it down to just a few, but In this case I’ll be specific. It was when I first heard “For An Angel” by Paul van Dyk that I knew Trance was going to be a part of me for a long time. Paul put something special in that track that really stayed with me and I thank him for that. Then came Tiesto’s Nyana and In Search of Sunrise compilations, Armin’s A State of Trance 2004 compilation, and early 2000’s Global Underground and Creamfields compilations from Paul Oakenfold. All of these left a tremendous mark on me and I still go back and listen occasionally for inspiration for new tracks.
So, When did you decide to first pick up music production?
It wasn’t until 2010 that I decided I wanted to get serious about production. That creative fire inside wanted to come out somehow and I started producing everything from deep house, trance, drum n bass, dubstep, chillout, 90s inspired hip hop instrumentals, you name it. From there I got even more serious about trance production and focused on that. I’m a self-taught producer, but I’ll have a look at the occasional tutorial on Youtube if I get stuck on something. Hooray for the internetz!
What’s a day in the studio like for you? Do you have favorite plugins you like to rely on?
Oh man, this can get wild! You’ll hear all kinds of sounds including me cursing at the computer screen and then laughing like a mad scientist two seconds later because I fixed a tedious problem in Ableton. Other than that, I really enjoy building unique synth stacks and harmonies that I usually don’t hear in today’s Trance scene. Building an instantly recognizable sound is beyond crucial for any artist and sadly, most tend to overlook this. As far as plugins go, I’m a sucker for Spire!
Where do you typically turn to for inspiration when starting a new track?
Google image search is such a precious tool for me, no joke! For example, just Google image search “malta” and you’ll see what I’m talking about. That search result page provided every last drop of inspiration needed for that track. Let’s go to Malta!
Haven’t heard that one before, that’s great! What sorts of hobbies do you have outside of music and production?
If I’m not hidden away in the studio then I’m outside skateboarding while listening to 90’s hip hop or drawing super heroes in my sketchpad ‘til my fingers fall off. I’ve been doing both since I was a kid and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Over the last year you’ve found yourself a home on Paul van Dyk’s VANDIT Records, do you remember first being contacted by the label and your initial feeling?
This is a great story! It was early 2016 and I had just sent my track “Lux” to VANDIT a few weeks prior. After a few weeks of wondering if I’ll get a response, I wake up one morning and immediately grab my phone from my nightstand and open up my mail app. The app is still refreshing itself, loading new mail, and I’m wondering “is today the day?” Keep in mind I’m still lying down in bed, half asleep, and holding a bright screen to my blurry morning eyes. Suddenly, the new mail loads and I see a new message from the A&R manager at VANDIT Records saying that Paul wants to sign “Lux” for VANDIT! I immediately feel this rush of endorphins like never before and literally spring up out of bed as if I had just bounced off a trampoline. I had this happy yet shocked look on my face as if I had just won a gold medal in the Olympics and was looking around to tell someone even though there was nobody in the house. This overwhelming sense of accomplishment came over me and I realized I had fulfilled a teenage dream of mine to sign with VANDIT Records. It still hasn’t totally sunk in!
That’s an awesome story! Tell us something we may not know about you.
I used to train with a men’s competitive gymnastics team and those skills show themselves every once in awhile. There’s evidence of this on my Instagram @leroywinz. I also play guitar in a death metal band – more evidence of that on my Instagram as well.
Talented in several styles of music, I see! Ok, last question, what kinds of goals do you have for the rest of 2017?
2017 is already looking and feeling so right. If things are anything close to what 2016 was like for me, then WOW! I already have a majestic lineup of new tracks I’m working on that will hopefully see a release on VANDIT Records. You guys are gonna freak out with this new material – just gorgeous! I plan on pushing myself artistically out of any boundaries and be better than I was yesterday. Another major goal is playing live shows and touring, which has been on the “To Do List” for quite a while. Hopefully I can make this happen very soon and make 2017 one to remember.