Getting in to clubs when you’re underage really isn’t that hard – all you have to do is become the headliner DJ.

At least that’s the approach Danny Avila’s taken, and it’s worked out pretty well for him thus far.

Although he’s now legal and 21 years old, he’s been touring as a headliner DJ since he was 16 and playing in some of the world’s biggest clubs – even though technically/legally he wasn’t allowed in to.

But ya know…whatever.

Danny Avila

Now, you’d assume that any 21 year old with a successful music career and worldwide fame would be a cocky little bastard. But that’s simply not the case with Danny, who remains remarkably down-to-earth and just plain….NICE.

I mean, how many world-renowned DJs or musicians get off a 13-hour flight from China to Germany, go straight from the airport to their next show, then proceed to be ridiculously nice and polite to EVERYONE in the backstage area before the show?!?!

But in any event, that was exactly the case at Danny’s latest show at Bootshaus in Cologne, Germany. Fresh off a 13-hour flight from Shanghai, we caught up with him backstage over some delightfully classy vodka red bulls in shitty red plastic party cups…

“I’ve been playing shows on every continent for about 6 or 7 years now, and seeing the different reactions from people all around the world – in different cities, countries, clubs, festivals, is actually one of the most amazing parts of my job. For example, in going from one country in Europe to the one right next to it, you already see differences. I think that’s one of the most interesting things in my career, and I think I’m lucky to get to experience that and learn from that. Over time, I’ve definitely learned from it – I know what to expect from particular places and I adjust my set or style based on that. „

Danny Avila

Anyone who’s done some travelling in their life would probably agree with that sentiment. On the other hand, opening up oneself to new places also opens oneself up to new challenges – something that Danny seems to welcome with open arms.

“The first time I went to America was particularly tough. I remember my English sucked, and I had a bit of a hard time. That was back in 2013. I suppose the reason why it stands out for me is because it was particularly tough, but a life without challenge is a life without growth. Another point is that I personally consider myself to be very European; the way I act, the way I dress, the way I speak etc. So seeing this foreign, North American culture and way of life was pretty exciting for me, and even challenging in a way.”

Danny Avila

“Going to Asia (and particularly China) for the first time is something I will also always remember. Just seeing the different way in which that society works was mind-blowing. Literally everything was different. Seeing a culture and a way of life that is so opposed to your own really makes you re-examine and rethink your own culture. Doing so can be tough, but I think it’s necessary. „

And just as many Europeans do, Danny takes particular care of the way he dresses, and to the general way in which he presents himself.

“I think as an artist and as a musician, it’s incredibly important to have and develop your own style. Speaking from my own experience as a musician, I’m constantly meeting new people and going around to different places. But no matter who you are, we’re all surrounded by so many external influences on a daily basis. That makes it so easy to lose ourselves; lose control of our lives, lose our individual desires, and lose parts of our individuality in general. And those external influences always make us question oursleves ‚Am I doing this right? What should I do? What will others think?’. But I think at the end of the day, you just gotta do you. Because as soon as you try to copy others or do something just because it is expected of you, that’s when you start to lose yourself. It’s a kind of suicide. You’ll become inauthentic because you’re coming from a place that’s fake – it won’t be you.”

Danny spent the last few minutes of our conversation really emphasizing that point. Because for him, style, music, art and so forth aren’t separate things. They’re one and the same – forms of expression.

“Ultimately, style represents who you are – it’s an expression of who you are. And like I mentioned before, your personal style needs to work with who you are as a person. I’ve seen a lot of people – other musicians, artists, and so on – who try to wear something really avant-garde or high-fashion, for example, and you can just tell that they feel uncomfortable with what they’re wearing because it doesn’t match who they are.

They’re trying too hard. They try to force it. Nothing good comes out of forcing things like that. You just gotta do you….dude. „