If you attended the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy concert on Peak 8 during Breckenridge Spring Fever in mid-April, you may have noticed something out of the ordinary about the opening act, DJ Maphix. It wasn’t the skill with which he transitioned from beat to beat or his ability to pump up the crowd — it was his age.
“I opened up the big stage at Peak 8 for about an hour, and toward the end, the crowd got pretty big, pretty cool,” Maphix said. “It was my first time on an actual stage.”
Maphix, aka Connor Maphies, is a 15-year-old freshman at Summit High School, and this ski season, when he wasn’t opening for internationally touring bands, he could be found spinning at Riperoo’s Mascot Olympics, the GoPro Big Mountain Challenge on Peak 6 and a handful of Breck 5 til 5 Terrain Park Happy Hours.
“My friend Jeff Meyer introduced me into DJing for Vail Resorts for ski competitions and stuff — rail jams, big mountain competitions,” Maphix said “He had an opportunity to MC the opening act for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and he wanted me to DJ for it.”
The young musician’s first public performance was during spring break last year outside his parents’ store, Marigold’s Farmhouse Funk & Junk, on Main Street in Breckenridge. His mother, Lori Maphies, said her son attracted huge crowds on the sidewalk.
“People were taking pictures of him, and the ladies love him; all the college girls were taking pictures of him,” Lori said as Maphix, sitting next to her, looked slightly embarrassed. “Our friend Jeff Meyer had some connections on the mountain and thought of Connor immediately when they needed musical talent.”
Meyer first heard Maphix perform on the Fourth of July, again outside the shops on Main.
“He played the Fourth of July at my wife’s store, which is called Vintage Sweet & Chic on Main Street in Breckenridge, and he drew this huge crowd,” said Meyer, a snowboarding event announcer with Vail Resorts. “I think Vail needed both an announcer and music, and I didn’t really have the music experience, so he was kind of the logical choice.”
The next gig for Maphix will be a kids’ night out at The Barkley Ballroom on Saturday, May 17, where he will spin for the teen crowd. Todd Altschuler, owner of The Barkley, said parents would be chaperoning the event, which is for people under 21, and he would just be there slinging sodas and generally keeping an eye on the place.
“For me, having a young person interested in music is just awesome,” Altschuler said. “It’s such a great thing, and I’ll always support that. … I think that it’s cool that a young kid wants to make his own music, do his own beats. It’s offseason, so we have some free time in the schedule and I think it’s a cool thing.”
Maphix said he got started with DJing when he was 11 or 12 years old and started mixing on a controller of his sister’s that she had gotten for Christmas but never used.
“I found it and picked it up one day and started DJing and got really into it,” he said. “Pretty soon, I worked myself up to a better DJ controller and started DJing outside our store, Marigold’s here, and got tips and liked playing in front of the crowd. I kept working my way up to the equipment that I have now.”
Maphix’s first interest in music came a few years before that when he was in fifth grade and said he wanted to play the bass, Lori said, followed by the guitar.
“He’d show me the different notes in the song that were just the bass guitar,” Lori said. “His room is very musical, and he’s taken over his sister’s room since she’s gone off to college, so he has a studio set up upstairs, instruments everywhere.”
“And now I’m kind of playing the piano a little bit for producing music,” Maphix added. “I also play the drums, too.”
‘A rave every night’
Maphix describes his sound as electro-house and big-room house, “kind of like club music, except it has a kicking bass and a big synth.” Meyer said the music is dance-driven with a house vibe.
“I notice a lot of people would get up, all ages, and move. The beats are very conducive to getting you up and moving,” Meyer said. “I’m really excited for him because he’s so young and I think he has a lot of talent. His music is really original, he has a unique sound, and people really, really were receptive to his style. It’s kind of an aggressive house, borders on that dubstep line, but it’s not truly dubstep.
“He’s also really confident in his music; he’s really confident in what he plays. He wasn’t afraid to play his music to the entire Ski Hill Grill village in Breckenridge.”
Maphix said Daft Punk first inspired him, but now he’s more into the electronic dance music scene. He still likes to play other instruments, but he’s most attracted to the bass lines — and the big crowds.
“I hope to get popular and start playing at big festivals around the world, such as Ultra Music Festival or Tomorrowland,” he said. “I’m thinking about going to music production school, see where it takes me.”
“He wants to go straight to New York and play the nightclubs,” Lori said. “My house is like a rave every night. Good thing we live in Park County — we have a rave for all the moose and the bears. But I love it, we love it, we encourage it.”
Lori said her son is a man of small words and would rather stand behind and play his music.
“He’s really quiet,” Meyer said. “He kind of lets his music do the talking, so to say.”