Ansel Elgort Talks Making 'Groovy House Music' as a DJ and Battling With Credibility

Courtesy of Warren Whitmore
Ansel Elgort AKA DJ Ansolo at RPM's Pier of Fear on Nov. 1, 2014 at Pier 94.

Ansel Elgort may be famous for making hearts race in The Fault in Our Stars and Divergent (and being named one of GQ's 2014 Men of the Year), but the actor's skills go beyond film. Known to the EDM circuit as DJ-producer Ansolo, the 20-year-old New Yorker has played Electric Zoo, scaled the Beatport charts with debut single "Unite" in 2014 and released remixes through Swedish House Mafia alum Steven Angello's Size Records. Elgort breaks down his musical side hustle.

He knows not everyone will take him seriously as a musician -- yet. "I'm going to battle with credibility my whole career as Ansolo, because people will just say I'm an actor trying to get into this. But I have no need to get into this. My acting is going great. I don't want to make more money. If I did, I wouldn't be making groovy house music."

He only recently found his own beat. "There's old stuff I'm desperately trying to get off the Internet because it's so bad. It wasn't until a year ago that my production was up to my songwriting. Now, I'm pushing my sound toward Earth, Wind & Fire, made more modern."

He thinks his sound is just what EDM needs. "Some of the harder music doesn't make any sense to dance to. What's not being made enough is this groovier house mix."

Don't count on him selling out. "I'm making music because I love to, not because it needs to do well, and that's a great advantage. I will never sign with a label that tells me what music to make."

This story first appeared in the Jan. 17 issue of Billboard.