The Rise of the Vegas House Mafia Part Two: Uknew
Article by: Jessica Duncan
Missed part one? Check it out here!
If you were a raver in Las Vegas prior to 2012, you most likely attended at least one
Sound of the Underground (SOTU) event. You might have experienced a set from a young Uknew (pronounced you-knew, not you-canoe or UK-new) who was DJing as Hagarty at the time, dropping some electro house and early big room.
He learned how to DJ on vinyl in 2010 from his neighbor Jose and started playing shows in January 2011. The name Uknew came about during a conversation with some friends. They used to be made fun of for liking electronic music and one of his friends said “one day you’re gonna make it and they’re gonna know. You knew that you were gonna make it.”
At one of the SOTU shows, he met Type3 who invited him to hang out. “Ever since that day we just clicked, I was at his house every single day for two years straight.” Type3 was already producing back then but didn’t know how to DJ yet. Uknew showed him how to DJ. In return Type3 showed him the basics of producing on Ableton, since Uknew was using Logic Pro at the time.
Shelco Garcia was also a huge help, mentored them on a lot of different production techniques. In his opinion, the Vegas House Mafia (Sebastian Knight, Type3, and Uknew) started as three friends who were always hanging out and constantly working on music. “It was two, three songs every day, always sending out emails, just grinding” since 2011.
The artists that got him into dance music were Kaskade, Deadmau5, Crookers, The Bloody Beetroots, and Justice. The first DJ he saw live that changed everything for him was Tommy Trash at EDC 2012 and the first electronic song that really inspired him to want to make music was the Adam K & Soha remix of Kaskade’s “4AM” - “I don’t know how they do it, or what they use, but I need to do it.”
These days he’s inspired by Kage, Tony Romera, and Bellecour. But in his free time he doesn’t listen to a lot of dance music, he listens to rap instead like Mick Jenkins, Wiz Khalifa, Jack Harlow, Paul Wall, and Slim Thug. “A lot of my sound comes from 808 patterns, how gritty and aggressive and driven they are.” The only electronic artist he listens to now is Kaytranada.
Uknew has always produced house music, ranging from big room and electro to groove and tech house. From 2011 to 2015 he spent a lot of time in the studio finding his sound and learning how to perfect his mixdowns. “Mixdowns are what make a track. If you don’t have a good mixdown, the track is just lifeless.” This is what he thinks sets the Vegas House Mafia apart from other artists, “We always send our tracks to each other.”
Lately, Uknew has been making more fidget and electro house music, as well as future house and even drum and bass. He describes his sound as “Anti Up vibes mixed with Matroda. Techy and really good vocals, but very heavy.” He’s influenced by multiple genres of music that aren’t dance related. He listened to a lot of metal and reggae when he was younger and believes it helps keep his sounds fresh and different. If he could collaborate with anyone on a song, he would like to work with Wolfgang Gartner, Koos, and Ekonovah.
One of the big moments in his music career was when Jewelz & Sparks played his track “Toma” on their Rush Hour Radio show in 2015, after that Simon De Jano and Unity Brothers dropped it on their shows as well. Another big moment was getting his collab with Type3, “Android,” signed to Chuckie’s Dirty Dutch Digital in 2016. He has released tracks on Botnek’s World Famous HQ, Gold Digger, and House Views.
Uknew would love to have releases on Spinnin, Don Diablo’s Hexagon, Bingo Player’s Hysteria, AC Slater’s Night Bass, and Koos’ Noir Sur Blanc. About getting tracks signed by labels, he says “You have to be very consistent to get eyes on you. It shows labels you’re dedicated.” He plans on releasing the third installment of his Knew Fundamentals series sometime this summer.
Some big shows he has played include: opening for Stooki Sound with Type3 in 2017; getting brought on stage with Type3 for Tchami and Malaa’s No Redemption show in 2017; Malaa’s Illegal Tour in 2018 and 2019; and the Collective Zoo takeover at the Vegas festival Life is Beautiful in 2019. LIB was the first time he had an artist pass for a festival and he was excited to hang out backstage when he wasn’t performing. He has also performed in San Diego at PB Avenue and at Sound Nightclub in Los Angeles with
His goal is to be the first Vegas artist to play Allegiant Stadium and ultimately Madison Square Garden. As a local Las Vegas artist, he would of course love to play EDC. He is also interested in branching out to neighboring states to play shows in Arizona and New Mexico as well.
Outside of producing, Uknew enjoys taking photos of Downtown Las Vegas with a film camera and just hanging out at bars with friends, but not really drinking. The message he likes to portray to his fans is to “Just have a good time, have fun, don’t think about everyday problems. Just escape.”
Something he wants people to know about the Vegas House Mafia is “Our goal is to bring up the people that come after us.” They want to share their knowledge and put on upcoming artists the way Shelco Garcia did for them.
Stay up to date with Uknew and check out his music using the links below. Be on the lookout for the last part of the Vegas House Mafia series featuring Sebastian Knight next week.
CONNECT with Uknew:
LISTEN to Uknew: