Despite being the man behind world-renowned EDM act LA Riots, resident DJ at XS Nightclub in Las Vegas and co-owner of lifestyle brand Massiv Daniel Linton has one thing in common with pretty much everyone in the world; he still spends a lot of time worrying about what his mother will think of his actions. More specifically, Linton was very concerned about how his mother would react to his decision to tattoo his neck. He figured that throwing in a little flattery would help him win her approval.
“My mom loves my tattoos but she’s older, she doesn’t think I’m going to be able to get a job with them,” Linton said. “She doesn’t understand that this is my job. She never wanted me to get my neck tattooed. So, one day I was just sitting at home thinking about how much I wanted to get my neck done but also how I didn’t want to offend my mom.
“I went down to the tattoo shop to see one of my friends and I got him to tattoo my mom’s name on my neck,” Linton continued. “I knew I was having a gig the next week that my mom would be at in Tampa. I just showed up to take her out to dinner with her name tattooed on my neck and she was totally down with me getting neck tattoos after that.”
While Linton may not have a traditional job like his mother envisioned for him you certainly can’t accuse him of lying on his haunches, the man is a bit of a workaholic as he has launched dual careers creating music and designing clothing. By splitting his time between two demanding industries that require constant innovation Linton knows that he must constantly evolve.
As the taste of the public has changed toward favoring tracks with vocals so too has the music Linton makes. While the writing and creation of LA Riots’ music may take place in an isolated studio Linton understands that he isn’t creating music to be enjoyed in solitude.
“I make my tunes strictly for the dance floor,” Linton said. “I test things out on the dance floor when I’m out playing and (vocal tracks) seem to go over really well. It’s something that people can immediately identify with. When I am writing it’s all about getting something that you can picture a crowd singing back to you when you are at a festival playing it.
“Before I was more interested in doing big, non-vocally, banger tracks,” Linton continues. “Lately my focus has shifted to doing stuff with vocals and working with a lot of people.”
“I’d heard a bunch of stuff that (Polina) had done,” Linton said. “So I just hit her up directly through some sort of social media, like Twitter or something. She puts out a lot of stuff on Steve Aoki’s label, Dim Mak, and I have put out stuff on Dim Mak. We run in the same circles so we got together.”
Tastes in Electronic Dance Music evolve at a lightning-quick pace but when compared to the fashion world EDM seems to change at a lackadaisical rate; remarkably Linton is able to stay ahead of the trends in both. In order to keep that edge as a co-owner of lifestyle brand Massiv Linton has used the tactic of collaborating with others to create clothing. His most recent project has been an LA Riots leather jacket created with TAVIK. By collaborating alongside a friend of his and with TAVIK Linton was able to produce a sick looking jacket. The input of his collaborators may have also helped him avoid a potential altercation.
“It’s cool, on the inside of the jacket lining it has the LA Riots motorcycle rocker,” Linton said. “When I originally designed the jacket that was on the outside. I think the whole thing is cool but I didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes and get my ass beat when I’m out wearing it one day because I’m crossing some line that I didn’t know I was crossing.
“When they sent the samples back to me they said that they had decided to put the logo on the inner lining,” Linton continued. “I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world. It’s cool because now there are people wearing it inside out, people have posted pictures of themselves wearing it inside out so it serves its purpose, it works.”
Designing tattoos to cover your body is in many ways a similar process to designing clothes. The key difference is that you can always take clothes off and start anew when they have gone out of style, you don’t have that luxury with tattoos. Linton, who is of Malaysian and Chinese descent, has chosen to cover most of his body with an Asian motif but has never been afraid to color outside the lines and stray from tradition when it suited his aesthetic.
“Normally you get the chest plate if you are super traditional, although my chest plate isn’t strictly traditional,” Linton said. “It’s a samurai with his head cut off and a knife going through the back of his head and out of his cheek. The knife actually juts out past the chest plate so that in and of itself is pretty non-traditional.
“When I think about it the important thing for me is to make sure my (tattoos) flow since I go to a lot of different artists,” Linton said. “I feel like everything on my body flows except for now that I’m starting to do my neck and my throat; that’s a total departure from the Asian inspired stuff.”
The one thing that is holding Linton back from getting more ink is an inability to find the free time; it turns out that being a resident DJ in Las Vegas, creating music and designing clothes really eats up the hours. Thankfully for Linton tattoo artist Matt Bagwell is more than willing to squeeze in his buddy for a late night appointment from time to time. When it came time to tattoo Linton’s neck Bagwell gave him the ultimate five-star experience; he tattooed him from the comfort of Linton’s bedroom.
“It’s so cool to not have to leave the house,” Linton said. “I’ve been tattooed on tour buses and backstage after a fest but having someone come to my house kinda rules, especially for a tattoo like that. The tattoo is from my Adam’s apple down. When I got my mom’s name tattooed on me that didn’t hurt at all, that’s on the side of my neck. This time got me a little bit closer to God.”