Dan Giffin, currently living in Indianapolis, IN, is one of the two co-founders of Live Producers Online, a website dedicated to connecting Ableton producers from all around the world. Giffin is a full-time producer and has worked with multi-platinum and grammy audio engineers.
He emphasizes a focus on brotherly love – hence his official stage name, Philia, which is one of the four Ancient Greek words for love meaning “friendship-love”. The Philia project includes a unique blend of live drums, guitar and DJing. His live shows are definitely worth checking out.
I recently got to sit down the Giffin and ask him a few questions about his musical journey.
When did you know you wanted to make music?
Probably when I was born (laughs). No, so my mom was really musical growing up, and I came from a long history of musicians. So it was kind of in my DNA, you could say. But my music really started taking off as far as me putting a lot of time and energy into practicing after my dad passed away when I was thirteen. He bought me a drum set a month before he died, and it was super unexpected. And that really forced me to put a lot of my energy into music, and I just beat the crap out of the drums everyday. It was a really good outlet for me. Before that, I was taking percussions lessons in band. I was like a “band geek” growing up, basically. I wore all the ugly hats and the uniforms. And then I quit my sophomore year of high school, because I hated band camp, and it just wasn’t for me. I ended up growing up in church, playing a lot of music. I’ve played drums most of my life. And then I really started getting interested in electronic music after moving to New York city and studying the music software Ableton Live and audio engineering
What inspires you the most to create music?
I would say like 3 things. Number 1 is my faith in God. He gives me the creative capacity to make music, which is influenced by circumstances and relationships. I feel His love really strong in the midst of the good and the bad that I experience in life, so for me He is the center of it all.
I’m also inspired by bands like Lettuce, Odesza, or Griz. Those are some of my favorite bands; like jam bands, mixed with electronic. A lot of electronic artists these days are button smashers, but I feel way more energy in a performance with live instrumentals. I think it’s fun for people to DJ, but I don’t consider myself a DJ because I grew up playing live instruments. It’s really organic if you marry instruments with midi-controllers.
I also get inspired taking different ideas of different genres of music and blending them together. I never really just want to marry myself to one sound or genre. In my opinion, a good artist evolves, and their music should be an interpretation of their experiences. As I draw inspiration from God, other people, and experiences in life, I never want to limit myself.
When did you start using Ableton?
I started using Ableton about seven years ago. When I was 15 I began using GarageBand, and after awhile was like, “This just kind of sucks, I want to do more with it,” and I ended up moving to ProTools, then I went from ProTools to Logic Pro, and got certified in Logic. I wanted to learn how to play live, and Ableton Live is made for that, and a ton more. I didn’t realize how much of a nerd I was until I started using Ableton. Haha. I get way to excited about LFO’s and playing with filters and such.
What inspired you to start LiveProducersOnline.com?
I’ve always believed in being part of a community, and that’s essentially what the website is. Members on LiveProducersOnline.com can connect with any professional producers (called Teachers) to learn from around the world.
I’ve been blessed to learn from several incredible Platinum and Grammy audio engineers that have taught me alot, specifically Corey Miller and Danny Wyatt. I had a lot of friends asking me for private lessons or to “hangout” and teach them how to produce, mix, and perform in Ableton Live. After I became the Ableton User Group Organizer for the city of Indianapolis, I was asked by Ableton Corporate to schedule events around the city that Ableton themselves would help promote. I also had people in other cities who wanted to learn, so I began developing online video tutorials and courses, and that’s how LiveProducersOnline.com began.
My dad and grandpa were both teachers, so I naturally enjoy teaching. No matter who you are, I feel like artists can learn from each other. The co-founder Ben Spilker and I started contacting Ableton Certified Trainers around the world asking if they wanted to join our website to teach Private Lessons, and create courses for people to learn from. We’re planning on continuing to have more professional artists create courses on what they know, and allow members to schedule 1-on-1 private lessons with them.
The idea is just connecting people who want to take their music to the next level with people who are already at that next level.
The first Philia album, Miracles Happen, a series of volumes of other albums with the same name, comes out on November 1, 2018.