Since hitting #1 on Traxsource’s Top 100 in 2017 for his remix “Come With Me,” Bryan Fein, who goes by the stage name Mafia B, has co-founded the techno party series Origins Underground, to bring underground techno music to Manhattan.
Bryan Fein led me up the stairs of the office building. The halls were lined with glass offices and red brick walls that offered a modern rustic vibe. I plopped onto the couch, and he sat on the chair next to me.
From watching his social media stories, I knew Fein didn’t get much sleep: between working out and working on his upcoming album, there was hardly a day or a night when Fein wasn’t hustling. But now he was leaning forward attentively, hands clasped, ready.
Fein began telling his story. He grew up in Manhattan, and was fully immersed in music from a young age, whether he was attending classic rock-and-roll concerts with his father to see legends, like the Rolling Stones and AC/DC, or with his mom listening to classical music at home. Fein attended Turtle Bay Music School as a teenager, learning piano and guitar. He was advised in his growing interest in electronic music by his martial arts instructor, who was himself a DJ, and would later become Fein’s mentor.
“I was taking taekwondo at the time. That explains my figure,” the 26-year-old joked. His instructor played old house music during their training sessions. “It resonated well with me,” Fein said.
Curious to start mixing, Fein downloaded a DJ software to mix tacks from the likes of Benny Benassi and the Ministry of Sound label. “I thought I was awesome at it. I sent my mixes to all of my friends and got some good feedback. In high school, I started djing karaoke parties and small loft parties my friends rented out,” he said.
Fein was all about house music. He started going to clubs in the Meatpacking District, wanting to DJ more seriously. Around 2010, mainstream artists, like David Guetta and Avicii, made house music more popular, which gave Fein the perfect niche to break into. Fein’s mentor—the martial arts instructor—let him play opening and closing sets at places, such as Ajna Bar, Veranda, and the Hudson Terrace, allowing him to perfect his craft in mixing while reading the energy of the crowd.
Still, Fein yearned for more—producing. He started dabbling in Ableton Live, a production software, learning to create electronic music. “The first year, I was the most discouraged person on the face of the planet just because I didn’t know how to do anything. It was just opening my laptop, turning on the software, and closing my laptop for a year,” he said.
But Fein kept going. He began producing simple beats, influenced by the tribal sounds of Roger Sanchez or Dennis Ferrer, and adding his own “electronic flavor,” looking to the styles of masters Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz.
In 2013, Fein attended a renown music festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, where seeing Mark Knight live brought Fein into the world of techno for the first time. Since then, Fein has been obsessed with tech house, deep house, and techno.
Fein released his first album on Soundcloud in 2016. It garnered international attention from Italian label Elektrobeats Records, for which Fein released some widely successful remixes, including “Come With Me” in 2017, which hit #1 on Traxsource’s Top 100.
In 2017, Fein co-founded the party series Origins Underground with high school classmate Dylan Farrugia (otherwise known as Dysco). The idea behind the series was simple: to bring underground techno back to Manhattan. These parties happen once every month.
Fein explains that techno is in right now, but the scene in New York City isn’t doing well. EDM peaked and fell off in 2014, leaving a hole where electronic music should be. “The scene is really strong in Brooklyn, and we want to bring some of that flavor to the city. Not everyone has the privilege to commute to Brooklyn for an event.”
As far as new music from Mafia B—Fein’s upcoming 12-track album explores progressive house and techno while showcasing melodic motifs and underground vibes. One track will be released every month.
As a die-hard techno fan, I am always burning to know what DJs think of the genre. While I know my answer, I closed with—what sets techno apart from other genres?
“Community. Everyone’s like, ‘Hey, you want to DJ at my party?’ No one is there for the money. If you’re trying to get your name out there…everyone is helping each other. Techno is for people who are open-minded.”
Catch Mafia B’s latest tunes here: https://soundcloud.com/mafiab