Jonny White and Kenny Glasgows brainchild Art Department
burst onto the scene in 2010 with their debut EP Vampire Nightclub/Without You
, making huge waves in the industry with their emotive and melancholic sound. Their first LP The Drawing Board
turned a new page in dance music history, further cementing the Canadian duos status as some of house music's fastest rising stars. The unique combination of Whites impeccable production skills and Glasgows Ian Curtis-resembling vocals made clubbers across the globe fall in love with that signature Art Department sound.
What was your first set-up as DJ like? How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
My first set up was a pair of Numark belt drive tables and a radio shack mixer that I took off my friends hands because his parents wouldnt allow the stuff in his house. I quickly replaced that garbage with two Technics and a Numark mixer when I realized his stuff was a joke. That was 20 years ago and it hasnt changed a whole lot. On the road and at home my set up is two 1200s, three CDJs and an Allen & Heath zone 92. I just use the CDJs the same way I use the tables so not much has changed in terms of my approach technically.
Where is the change most evident in the studio or behind the decks?
I dont think its a huge change in either one for us. I think were both still playing what we would have been playing, maybe with a few added songs we wouldnt play when were DJing together, because we knew the other one didnt like it, but what people dont realize is that with duos, or at least with us, we werent playing from a shared music collection. We have our own collections and the sound we had came from mixing our two catalogues together. Had either of us been playing on our own, it likely would have sounded a lot like what we just sound like on our own right now. It was actually evident in our sets during our last six months together when we were drifting off in different directions a bit musically. The sets werent as fluid or seamless as they had been. Our minds were in different places. You have to remember as with any relationship, you kind of have to grow together and in the same direction in order for things to keep working. Thats a rare thing, I think and maybe even more so with this kind of dynamic, because youre talking about what two separate people want to express through music. Two separate minds and souls who have different perspectives and different life experiences over time.
Having originated in Toronto, can you speak to how the Toronto scene has evolved from your early days as an artist/fan to now? How would you equate the underground scene of Toronto to other dance music meccas?
Its funny, I was sitting in a hotel room in Montreal early this morning with my partner in No.19 Nitin, and a few other old school heads from Toronto chatting about how things have changed from when we came up in the city 15-20 years ago. When I was coming up Toronto had an amazing scene that was as good if not better than any city Ive ever been to. I know thats a bold statement but having travelled extensively for the past 6 years and having been able to experience some of the best parties in the world, I can honestly say thats the truth.
Tell us a little bit about making the album, what are some of your personal favorite tracks from it and what are some of your fondest memories in the studio during the making?
We love the entire album... I don't know that we really like one or two best because they each represent a different idea and time in the writing process. I think my fondest memory of studio time spent while writing the Drawing Board was the five days we spent in the studio with Soul Clap at my place in Toronto... Five days, camped out around my living room off your head making music with Soul Clap.
How would you define the job and describe the influence of the DJ? How are the experience and the music transformed through your work?
I guess I just answered that. But ya, I dedicate my life to cherry picking music and finding a way to hopefully have people relate to the music Ive found in some way. I think that in our culture a key responsibility of a DJ is to influence peoples willingness to expand their musical world and just try to show them something they cant get anywhere else. And hopefully every DJ is giving people something a bit different and unique. Otherwise we only need one, and a recorder.
Why artists here who inspire you really wanted to see?
I made a good go of it last weekend and saw a ton of artists I really wanted to see. The highlight for me, was probably seeing Nas do illmatic, like the full album.
How do you think the style / direction of Art Department will change as a solo act?
A little bit less showmanship during shows
ok a lot. As for the music I honestly couldnt answer that. I can only say its pretty much a full boycott of anything that I dont consider to be house or techno in its truest form. I want nothing to do with anything that isnt representative of that when it comes to this project and I think thats an important idea right now. I feel like preserving the roots of this music is so important now with younger generations coming up, having not had what we had culturally and musically when we grew up on this music. Im just looking at this as an opportunity to use a great brand weve created to expose people to the music Im most interested in.
After six years producing in a collaborative project, producing as a solo artist again must throw up some challenges. How much time do you spend in the studioand how are you adapting to it?
To be honest, I can't say it really presents any challenges. I mean, if I was trying to write songs that sound like what we've been doing for the past five years, especially vocal stuff
then yeah, that would present a massive challenge because a lot of those ideas came from Kenny, and I can't fucking sing to save my life. But I'm not looking to replicate a sound that, quite frankly, cannot be duplicated without both of us. Right now, it just feels like freedom to make whatever I feel like making; I just haven't decided what I want the sound to be going forward and I'm not really trying to figure it out.
What, in your opinion, draws people to your music? It seems to cross musical tastes and age groups to find wide appeal. Few electronic music acts seem to enjoy that success without making pop music concessions so perhaps you can share some insights with us?
I think a lot of it is timing. I think that people are hungry for change and for the next sound and as a result also very open-minded.
Are you working on new Art Department material? Would you consider teaming up with other artists again?
Yeah, I am finally working on music for Art Department again. I hadnt really written anything last year, because I was apprehensive about what to do stylistically, going forward without Kenny. Am I going to keep making the same style of music? What are existing fans going to want? Will they hate me if I change things? What is everyone going to say if i do this or that? All thats gone now. Im back to not giving a fuck and thats part of that clarity I was talking about. That ego I was talking about can make you insecure and have you thinking in circles. Im about to release a collaboration with AD/D that we just finished before the end of the year. Im also just finishing up what will be the first official solo Art Department release, which should make it out this year as well, I hope. That record will likely be part of a new album Im working on as well for release early 2017, and that secret-becoming not so secret new project with AD/D that will drop mid/late 2017. By the end of this interview Ill have probably spilled the beans.
Looking back at all you achieved as a collaboration, you must be extremely proud. Do you see this as a fresh start for Art Department, or a just a continuation of the same project?
I'm very proud of what Kenny and I achieved with Art Department. We reached so many goals together with the music that, quite honestly, were far beyond what I ever hoped to achieve when I first got into this. It's impossible to really look at this as a fresh start now after all of these years. Musically speaking, I am sure it will change dramaticallybut I think its just more of trip back to how we were both doing it before we got together than it is a fresh start.
"In our culture a key responsibility of a DJ is to influence peoples willingness to expand their musical world and just try to show them something they cant get anywhere else."
Having already forged a solid reputation by releasing tracks and remixes as Pacemaker and June on Get Physical records, as well as on labels such as Drumcode, Sci + Tech, Cocoon Recordings and Soma, plus his own Quartz Records, he's DJed at some of the most influential clubs and events globally including Amnesia, Space, Pacha in Ibiza, Berghain and Watergate in Berlin, Rex Club (Paris), Melkweg (Amsterdam) and Womb.
What was the break through point in your career?
It was 6 month after Samba came out and I had made 2 or 3 more release on Resopal. 2007 for me was big year of release and almost everybody from house to Techno was playing the records. That`s was definitely the break through point of my career.
How do you work on your new sound? what is your starting point?
First and what was important to me in the process of this album in particular was to be in a place that will provoke a certain emotion, therefore I decided to go live in the familys house that is located in the east of France. It is an old farm surrounded by a forest. I took some of my equipments and went and stayed there for 2 months and luckily it was snowing which made my stay even more inspiring. While composing this album, I really played on the texture first to give it the atmosphere then I started putting the leads and finally creating the beat around it.
During performances and DJ sets, your energy is definitely mesmerizing. Elaborate on what some of your favourite aspects of performing live are, when being compared to a typical recording process?
There is a clear difference between the creative process of working in the studio and my live performances. Playing live allows me to interact with the crowd and my favourite aspect of performing live is when I have to think on the fly and modify my set to suit the energy of the crowd. Seeing peoples reactions to the countless hours that go into producing tracks is really what drives you to go back to studio to start the whole creative process over again. Performing live gives me that satisfaction of knowing that my work is well received.
Tell us about your new alias Kaczmarek. Where does the name come from and how will this be different to your output at Paul Ritch?
Kaczmarek is the Polish last name of my mother. With Kaczmarek I will mainly produce albums, the first one being on KCZMRK as I mentioned before. I decided to take another name to be more free about my production and to make all the music that you wouldn't expect from Paul Ritch's usual releases.
You launched a new label "KCZMRK" and created a new alias "Kaczmarek". How was it done and what were your inspirations? It comes from a need to create something new, to try a new field or a musical evolution where you will recognize yourself better?
I do not think this is a musical evolution because I always produce a techno more "dance floor" under the name of Paul Ritch with which I have a lot of maxis that will come out in 2018, but rather another facet of my personality. I listen a lot of electronica, more experimental music and I always wanted to produce an album in these sounds. That's why I created this alias Kaczmarek and the KCZMRK label to leave the field open for sound creation and experimentation.
How undegrond was Techno in France when you first started DJing? Where did you go partying?
When I first start DGing there was no meaning of what was undeground. I think this word aperead more when EDM showed up and people who were making house and Techno didn`t want to be associated with the same kind of music. I was living in Paris so when I was 18 years old the best Techno club to provide Techno was the Rex club, except that it was a huge scene for raves for the hardcore, hard Techno and Trance. I was going anywhere there was great house and Techno. So I was going to gay parties which were more decadent and the best parties in town, but also sometimes I was going to wild raves. I rememer going out to see Claude Young scratching with his eibow and Richie Hawtin throwing his vnyl on the floor right behind him after playing it. That was also the time when Laurent Garnier was doing his all nights sets at Rex.
Between the live and the DJset, where do you thrive the most?
There is a real difference between djjing and live. Playing live allows me to change the course of a song, mixing part of a piece with another ... You have a lot of subjects to work with but at the same time DJset the pleasure of playing a track that is not not yours is just as exciting. Mixing it with two or three pieces can give a crazy energy. I really blossom in both and I think it complements me as a techno artist.
How would you describe the sound you`re making these days?
I still continue in the same line it`s always groovy, the only thing that changed it`s that it`s probably a bit more dark and mantal than before.
What are some of your key influences in your music? Whether it be the sound created by others, imagery, films or any kind of art form.
My key influence has always been the dance floor. When Im producing, I always imagine myself in the middle, dancing, and what my reaction listening to it would be. With my new project Kaczmarek, the approach is different it really gets more mental and more cinematic. With this album the point was to make the listener take a journey from the beginning to the end.
Who is the non-electronic artist that inspires you the most?
I love Dr. Dre! I am a big fan of what he does and do in general.
"Break the rules and listen to yourself in what you want to undertake."
has always forged a path of his own, over the course of his career hes drawn from multiple influences to create a sound that is a unique combination of Techno, Progressive and Trance. From his signature emotive releases to his famed story telling dj sets he flawlessly fuses genres everywhere from globally renowned festivals like Tomorrowland to his trademark Open to Close sets in the best clubs in the world.
How did you get into DJing?
Originally, I started for only a year in 1985 as a "turntablist." I loved the whole scratching thing. I quit, then didn't get back into it until 1992. When looking for a job as a bartender I literally filled in for a no-show DJ, my mixing was horrendous but I could scratch, so I got the job. Originally, Jam Master J and other hip-hop guys influenced me. Second time around were locals like Trevor Walker, who really woke me up to mixing skills.
What would you attribute as your biggest influences in the evolution of your sound and you move more towards progressive techno?
I think its two fold. Ive always liked chunky bass and sexy grooves and as the style of Trance I play (128-130 clubby stuff) moved more towards electro as their influence, its become less appealing to me. I love melody, strings, pads and chord samples but I dont relate to the dry electro basslines and progressive mainstage influence in a lot of the Trance I hear now. Ive always mixed Techno into the Trance I play (producers like Alex Di Stefano). It just became a bigger part of my sets as I found less and less Trance that suited me. Also, Ive been finding more producers that are mixing the two like Richard Santana and Thomas Vink. Both making Techno grooves but not afraid to add some melody into it.
Could you tell us about your music production process? Also your equipment and the setup you use in your live shows.
For live shows, its a standard Pioneer Pro DJ mixer and CDJs. In the studio, I use Ableton on a Mac and Im completely inside the box (no outboard gear), which allows me to work while being mobile.
Describe to us your sound.
It's a combination of energy and emotion; it's gotta have some soul whether it's techno, trance, progressive or deeper stuff. I'm too diverse for my own good, which is another reason I really enjoy long sets as I try to weave between different styles. I feel like a trance breakdown after five chuggy techno tracks has ten times the impact of 8 trance breakdown tracks in a row. I definitely try to tell a story by combining different influences of music. Shopping for music takes me five times longer than some DJs because I go through every different style. Even though my manager might say, "stick to one marketable style," the artist in me won't allow it. I think though lately people are really opening up to so many different sounds and it's making it easier for me to branch out at a gig rather than keep it just trancey.
Do you have a favorite track? If so why?
Art of Noise Moments in Love. Hard to say why, I just really connect with it.
In your sets, how much of your own productions do you think that you play?
Probably about 10-15%. There are classics that I always play like Sun In The Winter, Nothing Else Matters, FYC, So Caught Up, and the new one with Jeza and a couple others. There are some sets where I might only play 2, it really depends on the mood that I am in that night. I dont have a preset list, but nowadays I almost have to throw in some of the classics because that is what people want to hear.
What is the most challenging part of the production process of your new compilation?
Tracking down the music, the actual mixing and programming (choosing what goes where) is quite natural to me after 15 years but finding those tracks in the first place is definitely the hard part.
If you weren't an artist what would you be?
I would love to own and run a hotel. After all the years of staying in them and seeing it done right and wrong Id love to open and run a small boutique hotel in some beautiful part of the world like Bali.
What is the greatest compliment you have ever received from a fan?
Oh wow, thats a tough one! People that have flown and driven long distances to a show always blow me away. Theres some real effort and love behind a 6 hour drive or a day of travel to come and catch a show somewhere. Ive had people make me Kandi and even a couple draw some cool art too. Theres also the messages you get that your song or a set has helped someone through a tough time in their lives, thats always pretty moving.
Have you ever thought about doing a project like that as more of a joke or a pseudonym?
I did, but that really isnt where my heart is and I always want to do what is comfortable. From a marketing and a business standpoint, I havent decided where I want to go, which is one of the reasons why I have had such a strange, topsy-turvy career. I have been going with whatever turns me on, whether it was techno in 2004, electro in 2005, the more techy stuff in 06 and 07, or rediscovering trance and progressive in 2010. I have been all over the place with that.
Whats coming next for you?
Im going out to Asia, working on more production. I want to try to have a new album done by the end of the year. I pretty much say that every year, but it never happens, ha. As soon as I make a track, I want to put it out. I dont want to wait for ten or twelve of them. Building the radio show, the Cycles brand. Doing more Cycles events. Honestly, just more of the same.
"I dont think I have a role, I just do my own thing."
(otherwise known as Michael Bella) is one of Dubsteps bright young things. The Belgian producer, who is exclusively signed to Never Say Die blasted onto the bass scene two years ago, causing quite a stir with his unique, weighty sound. His last EP Doom gathered great critical acclaim and rightly made serious impact on the Beatport charts. Currently, he has a new track Space Cats that will be featured on Never Say Die and UKFs Vol.3 compilation and he will be joining label-mate Zomboy on his Outbreak tour later this summer.
Where did the name Eptic come from?
Actually when I was like 15, I found the name DJ Epileptic, but a few months later I realized it was really wack. So I tried to cut it down and eventually I came to Eptic because its short and easy to remember, so I stick with that.
Congrats on hitting 200k on Facebook! Out of the massive amount that follow you, have you come across a #1 fan that stands out from the rest?
Thanks, Im still amazed by it! There are a few fans who have really amazed me, The one that still baffles me though is the guy who tattooed my lobster autograph on his side.
How did you get into dubstep?
Actually, at first I was really into drums and bass and then dubstep came along and I really didnt like it at first. For me it was too slow, and not aggressive enough. Eventually Rusko came along with cockney thug. Its like the classic story, its what everyone s
"Im still alive and kicking after all those years along with the whole dubstep genre."
You are about to embark on a hefty tour with Zomboy
What three tunes are a must in your set right now?
Gun Finga, Step Two & Tun Up (Diskord remix)
Can we expect an EP or any collabs after the compilation release?
Im cooking up a lot of things at the moment. Theres a sexy collab with Datsik Ive been working on for a while, which Im really excited about! Collecting and finishing lots of stuff for another release as well, cant leak the beans on that on yet though, just be sure to keep your eyes peeled!
Out of your three original tracks, do you have a favourite and why?
Definitely Jurassic, I just had so much fun writing it! The aggressive second drop seems to scare people at shows as well.
What do you think about the growing trap scene? Have you ever thought about messing around with trap?
I really like trap, well actually I like a few trap tunes. There is some really good ones, but to be honest there is so much crap as well. I finally started working on a trap tune, but I dont want to release it until I am completely satisfied with it. I dont want to be one of the multiple dubstep producers who hop on the trap band wagon, but Im quite happy with the one Im working on.
Did you have specific inspiration behind creating Immortal?
Some are claiming that dubstep is dying out or even dead. I wanted to make a solid EP to prove that its still alive and kicking, hence the title!
Ectoplasm sees you collaborate with MUST DIE! Talk us through how that track got made.
That was a fun one to do! I made it to serve as an intro for my shows, but I felt like it was missing something. I asked MUST DIE! to do a feature on it since hes one of my favorite bass peeps in the game, and he just smashed it out.
is one of the most experienced artists youll encounter in your exploration of techno. Hes been DJing for 34 yearssince the age of 14and has witnessed the evolution of techno, mixing, and production technology from his roots in northwestern Germany to the far reaches of the world. I had the pleasure of sitting down to talk with Oli at The BPM Festival right before his intimate back to back with Dubfire on the roof of Thompson.
Can you tell us about some of your bigger profile remixes. Youve worked on tracks for Underworld, Chemical Brothers and Depeche Mode. Does the stature of the band influence the amount of work you put into the remix itself?
Its an accolade getting asked to do a remix for Chemical Brothers and Depeche Mode. Since Im a big fan of both bands, I cant hide that Ive been more critical and excited while working on these remixes. I was given the opportunity to chose a classic Depeche Mode track by myself. This was one of the hardest decisions in my musical life but I guess it was a good idea grabbing Everything Counts.
"Music these days, especially electronic music, has become more and more of promo tool for an artist. But having said that, I still love delivering a good product in the shops."
How do you view the new generation of producers and DJs?
There are some guys who are inspired with our sound and I hear it when I get some demos, when theyve sampled a loop off one of my tracks or used a similar sound, but thats OK. The next step is to do their own thing and theres some outstanding young producers like John Dahlback out there doing their own thing.
Do you enjoy the latest technology when producing or are you an old school geek with vintage equipment?
I enjoy both, its about the balance but I have to admit most of the time I work with Native stuff in my Mac.
In addition of creating your new label, you also brought to birth Kontrast, your very own management agency, based in Hamburg. How do you combine being a Dj and a producer and keep being the boss of your labels and management agency?
I guess time-management and the right team is the key to successes here.
Are there one or two German artists you would like to introduce us, that has maybe been signed under your imprint recently or that you would like to sign?
Of course, there is artist who deserves to be introduced. His name is André Winter and he's my co-producer since seven years. He got the skills, fantastic ears and magic hands for the mixer. One of the most underrated artists so far but I'm sure he will get bigger attention soon. He already delivered part 1 of a new single series of 3 and it's a bomb. To be released end of the year on Ideal! Another artist I expect bigger things from soon is Sebrok from Berlin. A very talented producer and DJ. His last record on Ideal was produced alongside Tassilo from Pan-Pot and is one of my 2011 favourites so far.
Who were your top producers when you first got into music?
Laurent Garnier at the very beginning. And also as a DJ; he played so many styles. There was this electronic music before techno. Stuff like MARRS Pump Up The Volume. S`express. I always listened to electronic music, even when I was a young kid. I was never this rock and roll or glam rock type. I started with electrofunk. With breakdancing, when I was around 14. I still have this vibe in my productions, a little bit of this Egyptian Lovers in the basslines. I never liked rap so much. I was more into the beats and the 808 stuff.
You are appreciated by many big names out there, as you are a self-professed expert in techno music. This is mainly the result of your excellent producing skills. How did you start producing, and at what age?
I started DJ-ing when I was about fourteen years old, and started producing a few years later. I think I was around nineteen then, equipped with nothing more than a horrible Yamaha D5 synthesizer. Later on I met Gerret Frerichs at one of my first self-organised techno parties, who already owned a recording studio. We were immediately on the same wave and started working together. Additionally, Jazz musician H.G. Schmidt joined us and together we created our first demo CD, which we sent to MFS in Berlin. Thats how the story of Humate has started. Our second single, Love Stimulation, released on MFS in 1992 included a remix by a young at that time unknown DJ from Berlin, called Paul van Dyk. At that moment, we didnt anticipate that it would become a worldwide crossover hit.
Tell us about your DJing. I imagine your style has developed from early Trance and into Techno. As most DJs now use a sequencing based software, has the performance elements; the Art of DJing, changed in your opinion?
Sure it has changed but I dont mind. For me its absolutely not about the technical gadgets, its about the music you play. Get a connection with the crowd, send them on a journey, create a good dramaturgy. You can have magic equipment but beat sync doesnt make you a good DJ at all. In the end every artist has to find out which working material works best for them.
How do you fire up your production process and how long does it typically take for you to finish a song?
How do you regards DJ requests: have you ever had problems from over-pushy- or drunk- clubbers?
Of course. Once a drunken guest fell into the turntables, completely causing the needle to scratch across the record. The music stopped and the whole club started to hoot at him until he left the venue. But in general I dont have big problems with such guys. Normally I act with firmness but in a friendly way, that works most of the time.
What`s the secret to remaining relevant over 2 decades?
I never thought about if there is a secret to remain relevant in the scene, I just do what I like and feel. My unaltered passion for electronic music and arts and the volition to work hard to reach my goals helps a lot. Im still hungry setting my marks in the business and also finding special music for both my productions and DJ sets. Always when I reached one of my targeted objectives I set a new one on a possibly reachable level. I dont do things without a clear prospect.
Any advice for people wanting to build their own collection of records to sample and play?
Start with your dads record collection if it still exists. Listen carefully to every track and mark the ones you like most. You find samples often on records which are totally different to your style its just a sample and is waiting to be used by you, for you. After getting to know your new basic record collection (its now yours because your dad doesnt care anymore about the heavy, uncomfortable black shit and is more than happy to get it out of his house) you can do the next step and enter a hard-to-find record store.
I'm well prepared and have a clear idea in my mind of what I want to do before I start working in the studio. This helps me a lot to focus on where to start. Let's say it takes between three and seven days to finish a song, depending on the flow. Sometimes, it takes shorter or longer; sometimes I even change tracks after I play them out a few times. It's really important for me to release high quality music, so I don't worry about how much time it needs. Good things take time!
The leader of the German label Euphonic Records, Ronny Newman (Ronny Newman), more known to the progressive trance fans under the pseudonym Ronski Speed
, never stands still. In his passport for sure there is no place for the seals of the border services, because in his years he managed to travel almost the entire world, from Japan and China to the US and Mexico.
"Usually I'm searching the key idea the hook of a track an build everything else around."
You have played in over 80 countries of the world on all 5 continents. What was the best and the worst gig you ever played and what was the funniest thing ever occurred during any of your performances?
The worst was maybe when I got into a Police Border Control in Russia. I had to spend a whole night in a Russian Police Station. The gigs in Bangkok are definitely always Highlights on my way around the globe. Very good crowd and club.
You represent your vision of music not only in clubs, but also in your own radio show Euphonic Sessions. Your functions as a DJ there and then somehow differ?
Certainly. In clubs you are one on one with the public, you immediately see their reaction to the tracks that you put. Therefore, the music has to invest more energy, so that it passes to people on the dance floor. Here you talk with clubbers with the help of music, so that the conversation took place, you must guess the mood of the audience, at the right time to put the desired track. A radio program is different. Here, close attention should be paid, first of all, to the correct organization of the ether and the variety of tracks.
A large number of professionals and fans of progressive electronic music speak well of your latest compilation Positive Ways 5. What is so special about it?
The fifth part of the series Positive Ways contains 18 trance tracks, including the best releases of Euphonic label for the past year and some of my recent works. In my opinion, the compilation is an excursion for the listener on all shades of trance, which are now presented on Euphonic Records: from my melodic and tranquil track "Cubik 84" and the dense "Grrreat" from Marc Marberg and Kyau and Albert (Kyau & Albert) with his powerful bass line to a lengthy 7Skies remix on my track "Something Happened On The Way To Heaven" and a nostalgic reworking of Patrick Devere's "Chrystal Rain" track. Positive Ways 5 turned out to be the most complete and beautiful sounding of all the compilations I've released. On it you can immediately understand how unique the artists of our label are.
What essential things you need to have with you at all times when youre on tour?
I always need my Laptop for Music and Entertainment. Having my favorite new Movies and TV Series with me. As well another essential tool is my Samsung Galaxy. Who can live without his mobile?
The German trance scene is now on the rise. Do you think that in the near future you will compete with the Dutch?
It's nice to see that many DJs and electronic projects from Germany are currently entering the market with quality production. A few years ago I was one of the few musicians who began to revive the trance's popularity in their country. In fact, the Germans have long had very interesting trance projects: Cosmic Gate, Duderstadt, Wippenberg, Cressida, Stoneface & Terminal, Kyau & Albert and many others. And this is quality music, not ordinary rubbish, which is now in the market in bulk. I am pleased to see that Germany is not behind the current trends in electronic music. As for competition with the Dutch, it is virtually nonexistent. Everyone is engaged in his own business and does not interfere with each other. As they say, enough for all.
I noticed that you dont have your own radio show other than the one with Euphonic Sessions. Is there a reason for that?
I have my Radio Show True to Trance for 10 years now on DI.FM besides the euphonic sessions. Maybe TTT is one of the longest running shows besides ASOT but just monthly.
Youve been a major part of German based label Euphonic (Owned by trance legends Kyau & Albert ) since its establishment 14 years ago, how did this meeting come about?
A friend of us brought us together, they build up their label and were searching fr artists and a certain sound. So we started to build u the label together.
Is it possible to explain the process of producing any track? Which elements come first and from where you get the ideas for those unforgettable and highly memorable melodies?
The first step for me is the idea; the main melody of harmonies, the Main vocals or something. If the idea is really good, I do the beats and lead melodies etc. I.M.O. it just makes sense to work on an idea if it is 100% good and worthwhile - creating a whole track.
How do you envision trance and EDM scene evolving in the next 12 months?
I dont see a big change coming. More I see it is getting back to the roots of Trance. Faster and more Uplifting.
Having been on stages all around the world, where are the best and worst gigs youve ever played
There are so many good ones, like especially in eastern Europe also Asia and America as well. remembering love parade or nature one festivals which were big.I have had 1 specific gig in USA where the FBI was stopping the party, this was like in a movie. half an hour later the hall was empty and i played on my own with some dancers. later the audience got back. sounds like an American anti party movement.
Is it possible to pick the Top 5 artists/DJs that have inspired and influence your music productions and DJ style?
It should be acts like Chicane, Paul Van Dyk, BT, Ferry Corsten and Paul Oakenfold.
Big things are happening on Enhanced Recordings
this year. As the label showcases more and more emerging talent, its veterans continue to release quality EPs and even a studio length album. One of those veterans is Estiva
, a producer turned DJ who was had steady releases on Enhanced for over seven years. This humble and incredibly talented artist has a serious dedication to his craft; one that results in a constant fight for perfection on all levels. I had the honor of chatting with Estiva last week ahead of his stellar remix EP for Voices featuring The Spacies
, which drops today.
Your current single is called Feels Right with Sarah Russell . How did you work with Sarah on this track? Did you start with the vocal and then build the track around it, or did the vocal come after Sarah listened to your instrumental?
She sent me this demo and then I wrote the track around it. It was the easiest writing process Ive ever done, her voice is perfect.
"Creating the right atmosphere in a song is the most important thing. "
Who were your early musical inspirations as you were growing up and why did they influence you?
Tiesto is someone I look up to as no other. What he has accomplished is just unimaginable. Besides Tiesto, the duo Gabriel & Dresden were and still are one of my biggest musical inspirations. The sound of their music is very appealing to me. The techniques, the sounds, its just right.
Whats the one thing you enjoy about being older?
When youre grow older you or wiser and
thats about it. You get stronger? I honestly have no idea. What the hell is good about being old?! Maybe the younger people look up to you because youre older. But I dont know why anyone would look up to me just because of that.
Has anyone/anything ever inspired you to become who you are (to follow your dreams)? Have you ever inspired anyone directly?
No one in particular. I dont really have heros I guess. Of course I do respect people for their beliefs but I will always follow my dreams, even though I realize you have to adjust those dreams from time to time.
Have you done any major upgrades in your studio recently, and can you describe the kind of equipment and software you have at the moment?
Actually, Ive just bought a massive sound and instruments back called Komplete by Native Instruments! Its like buying 15 pianos, 35 guitars and a hangar full of samples!
I have KRK RP6 studio monitors and Im using FL Studio 9 and Ableton 7 respectively for production, mixing, edits and mashups.
What is your DJ Dubstep name on Hammarica.com?
DJ Faderlove Loop Bass Wobbler! Hilarious! I hope its still available.
Is it easier for you to produce music in the summer?
I wouldnt say its easier although I do have a lot more inspiration. But working on a million ideas at once is quite chaotic.
Do you have a certain way how you work in the studio or does it change from track to track? Some produces search for the bassline, melody or an atmosphere. How do you do it?
I tend to start with the beat, percussion and bass. With these elements I try to make the right atmosphere. After doing this I usually work on some melodies. When Im satisfied Im going to work out the structure. Thats basically the usual way I produce. Sometimes I start with creating melodies first.
Your biggest success?
Being able to live from DJing!
Toughest thing you had to overcome to do what you do? And what/who helped you?
Finding the right balance between my social life and my passion and seeing my passion from the business side of things. My friends and family are still helping me out, probably without even knowing it.
Whats the best piece of advice someone has given you about your career?
It wasnt just from one person, I kind of phrased it myself after collecting advice from several people. When it comes to creating music, the best things and the most creative things come out where youre having fun. Forcing things in a creative process can kill your inspiration. Ive found myself plenty of times in the position that I felt like I was forcing it. Dont pressure yourself, start creating exactly what your mind and gut tells you. Even though this doesnt help you immediately, it will bring back the joy of creating something from nothing. This puts you in a different mindset that allows you to do what you wanted to do in the first place, but couldnt because you were forcing it. As a bonus, youve learned so many things while doing crazy stuff in the studio that you often find out you can use some of it later on for the serious stuff!
As the sun set on Sherwood Forest in Michigan and warm hues began to glow bright in the sky, the Tripolee tent at Electric Forest glowed brighter. Chris Lee Marshall, better known by his stage name and nickname, Crizzly
, was cutting through the colorful atmosphere with an aggressive fusion of dubstep and hip-hop music. The product of both genres combined into one song was dubbed the name crunkstep by the young DJ/producer, whose branding consists almost entirely of his love for pizza. He has made his claim to fame by putting out dubstep remixes of popular rap and hip-hop songs like Chain Hang Low by Jibbs and Fuckin Problems by A$AP Rocky.
What`s your relationship with hip-hop?
I listen to hip-hop religiously. When I got to bed, when I wake up in the morning, coffee, when Im on the flight to the shows, when Im in the shuttle. If theres an aux cable and you give it to me, Im going to throw on some fire.
So what about the actual music? How would you describe the genre?
Its dubstep, its loud music, a lot hip-hop. I had really mixed taste while I grew up, I was listening to Depeche mode and Ramstein at the same time. Like it was nothing, I had a Ibiza CD too.
What do you think separates EDC from other events?
Quality. You get what you pay for and more. The lineup is stacked; you have Bassnectar, Borgore, Delta Heavy, Figure, and Krewella, all on one stage. And thats just all my friends (laughs) but the other stages are stacked too! Shout out to Tiesto!
Space jam, good burger, men in black, wu tang.
How would you classify your music?
Ive always played Trap or always played hip-hop or some type of element of rap and stuff, but I mean, when it comes down to it, its more like hyphy, more energy. I call it crunk-step just because its more about put your hands up, screaming, yelling, and getting rowdy.
Whats your usual pre-game ritual? Are there certain things you always do before a set to get yourself in the zone?
Man, theres almost always not enough time to do anything ritualistic besides shower and then get to the venue before I miss my set. I guess sometimes Ill do some push-ups, jumping jacks, suicides or whatever, just to get the heart rate up, because usually Ive been sleeping all day on a plane.
So far youve only done remixes, are there any plans to officially collaborate with rappers in the future?
Definitely. I met with this dude, a hip-hop DJ, in Texas. And hes been super open to the idea of hooking it up with a big time rapper because he knows everyone so hes all into that idea so its just a matter of time.
Do you prefer touring or producing?
I prefer producing, but touring is awesome in its own way. Yeah, I would much rather be at home naked, not having to worry about anything and just chilling, watching Netflix. Thats heaven to me. But coming out here every once in a while is awesome. I get bored of being home, but Im definitely not home enough. But when I am home, its just chill mode.
"I like experimenting with a lot of different things but I still play the same tracks that I made a while back and I still believe in those tracks."
Everyone already named. I could also shout out DJ Scout. Hes been killin it on Warped Tour. Nit Grit too. I mean all my friends end up being DJs, so if it could be any one it would just be someone Im friends with. If you can tour with any one it would just be awesome to tour with friends. They are all there and we keep in touch. Its one big EDM DJ family.
What do you have to say to some 15-year-old kid out there whos just starting to mess with beats? What kind of advice can you give them?
Just do what you love, thats all that matters. I think a lot of younger kids from this generation are used to seeing people on Facebook and Instagram posting how good theyre doing and that makes you jealous right off the bat. Its kind of a negative thing to see people posting all the time about their successes as it puts people in a position of looking up to other people and wishing they were there. I never started doing this because I saw other people and went, Oh, I want to be there. I just did it out of love and a lot of people lose sight of that. Its a labor of love and you got to fall in love with the work and not where its going to take you. Its about putting in and not expecting anything really.
Favorite story from your touring experiences?
One time the power went out and they kicked everyone out of the building, then the power came back and everyone rushed inside and got crunk. i broke someones nose crowd surfing that night too.
If you could put together your own festival or tour who would you put on that lineup?
As a waypoint for eclectic musicians perform as they blow through town, maybe on an international tour, maybe at a house party for friends, Los Angeles has certainly seen more than its share of talented music shows. Hailing from Spain, music producer and DJ David Tort
has been tearing up the charts the world over for years now
Could you let the readers know you as to how you began in House Music, and did you have musical experience before you began as a DJ or Producer?
"To make whatever type of music I like and not have to do something that everyone else is doing."
I began as a dj in the year 1988 when I just finished school, then I was playing acid house, new beat, ebm, tehcno and finally i was into house music around 1998 I was playing with some old drum machines and synths in an Atari based system during the 90s but I released my first record in 2000. when I got my first Apple computer with logic...my life changed completely!
What were you doing in the early '90s?
I was partying. I went to the club party when I was 14 years old and kept going. I first played acid house, which was big at the time, in 1988. From there I was investing.
Whats one of your most memorable live DJ sets/performances?
There are so many. But my Space Miami residency was very special to me. When I first played there, I was supposed to play a 2 hour set but they let me go for 4, the second time I had a 2 hour set again and I landed up playing for 7 I just couldnt stop and the crowd kept going. They gave me a residency for 6 years where I was doing 3-5 shows a year. We all became a family, with all the staff working there and the crowd too. I can now I can call it my Miami home.
Can you explain the similarities/contrast between Lost in Acid and Acid Rave Sex?
Yea its the same style as Acid, Rave, Sex. Earlier this year when I released it people really digged it as it was different than whats out now and Ive been wanting to do something similar but hadnt gotten around to doing it. It only felt right to do it with this remix as the style is Acid House and the name of the track is called Lost in Acid! Plus David Tort is the king of Acid House and Ive been doing a few Acid tracks this year so I knew he would dig.
Which do you prefer, performing live or working in the studio?
I cant live without either! Although they are totally different worlds, they are intrinsically connected. Its kind of like a singer who writes songs and then goes to perform them live: writing is a process, and playing is expression. I need to play shows to know what to do in the studio. How the crowd reacts and responds at a show will inform how I produce my next song. Playing live, expressing myself and having a connection with a crowd gives me the ultimate happiness I can experience and I really mean that. And then the studio is my sanctuary. I clean it every Monday myself otherwise it does not flow. Ill get a cup of coffee, take a walk around the neighborhood and then start making music smoothly and relaxed. Making a recording means creating something that will remain forever attached to your name. I dont tend to work slowly, but I dont like to rush either. Each piece of music is part of me, a segment in the story of my life.
That's Really Cool -- as for Luciano Ingrosso and Joia/Nero, how did they become aware of the song and what is it about Luciano and Joia/Nero that seperates them as a clear leader in House Music from other labels?
My music manager Cesar Lores (Blanco Y Negro) sent the track to Luciano, and he was totally in the track since the first time. i released my single "Lost In Acid" on Joia 2 years ago, and was one of the big steps that pushed my career to where i am right now, i know with Luciano we are in a good hands, he has a special ear for music, and we said straight "just go ahead with it!" -- you can see today it's number 4 on overall Beatport chart!
Whats one of your most memorable live DJ sets/performances?
There are so many. But my Space Miami residency was very special to me. When I first played there, I was supposed to play a 2 hour set but they let me go for 4, the second time I had a 2 hour set again and I landed up playing for 7 I just couldnt stop and the crowd kept going. They gave me a residency for 6 years where I was doing 3-5 shows a year. We all became a family, with all the staff working there and the crowd too. I can now I can call it my Miami home.
How do you see the state of electronic dance music?
I actually like where were going, besides the super comercial tracks topping the charts, Ive seen the Beatport top 100 changing a lot this year. Theres a demand again for Club music and less cheesy melodic stuff just made for festivals to be played by DJ super stars. What happens with the average DJ working hard to bring food home and pay the rent? This makes space for other DJs like me and many others that are between the main two scenes underground/mainstream to call it something. Why do we have to be black or white? I thought we were making music, so thats where I think were going even if the two main waves will keep their way. The crowd and labels have their ears and heart open again. I think theyre tired of just jumping and putting their hands up in the air. Its time to dance, its time for going to the club and forgetting about your problems and your fucking cell phone and just dancing. Close your eyes, hug the guy beside you that you dont know at all. Thats what Im talking about go out with friends or just alone because you know the night is gonna end up well, and unleash yourself to dance and let the DJ express himself. Let him experiment with our feelings, let him take us on a trip, but for that we need the DJ to feel free, to feel he does not need to play a 45 drop and then 3 minutes breakdown, if we can make it there in 2016 then our culture is gonna be in a very good place, because its amazing music out there finally, really amazing.
You said house music is taking over the world. What do you think the international appeal of house music is?
I dont know, man. Im just happy where we are right now. I discovered house music in 1998 and before that I was into house type techno and stuff. A lot of different types of music.
So being an international DJ, what country do you think shows you the most love?
I make the same kind of set worldwide, but I have to say United States and maybe Brazil are places I feel more love from the crowd. They are really into it.
In 2014 he founded Outburst Records, which has had releases supported by an abundance of a-list DJs within the dance music scene. On Saturday 14th November his label will host one of the rooms at Trance Sunctuary, so we quizzed the man himself about the label, productions and those classic tracks.
To be a DJ nowadays means to travel a lot around the globe. Beside it`s exciting it also can be very exhausting. How do you keep in the right balance of it?
I train very hard in the gym! I feel that keeping fit really helps me to stay focused in the studio and also really helps the bad effects of longhaul flights and jetlag etc. A good regime of cardio, weights and metafit based workouts really helps me. Healthy body = healthy mind
and all that..
Is there a person or persons , so that helped a lot ... you owe it to some degree and career?
There are several names that i worked with at the very start of my solo career, like my bro David Forbes and other big names like Matt Darey, Nick Sentiece and BK. They all asked me down to their studios in England to work with them for a few days, so that was an incredible experience..I learned LOADS from them! I have been heavily influenced by names like Mauro Picotto and Marco V (as I have already mentioned) but also Sander van Doorn is in his amazing techy days .
What do you think of trance productions, today?
There is a lot of very commercial trance around, which I absolutely hate..but at the same time there is also a lot of really good stuff, so its no problem I just ignore the crap stuff. Everyone has a different meaning for the word trance now, for me its the more uptempo and energetic stuff that I love..but at the same time I also love the slower/groovier tech-trance sound. I like to mix things up between both.
You are respected throughout the world by renowned DJs for your mixing and your DJ skills. Do you think the standardization of production structures has influenced mixing in a bad way? Did the standardized structures make electronic music, especially Trance, boring to mix for DJs, and predictable for fans when they stand in front of the DJ? Should we be able to predict everything or we should always let the mix surprise us?
Like explained above, during the preparation of my old school music recently, I did notice how varied the intros/outros of the music used to be back then. Not the generic format that most releases are these days ie 32 bar intro, 32 bar outro. But to be honest, the intros and outros arent really very important parts, its what happens in between these parts that count. I try and be creative when Im mixing by chopping up techno through trance etc. I really love doing this, gives me a real buzz when Im playing around with 3 or 4 decks and doing some beat juggling with live mashups... Ive done some intro mixes in my time, to break away from the boring 32 bar intro format, but Id say that most people want a no-brainer standard DJ intro at the end of the day.
"My music has always been very techy with lots of groove and percussive elements anyway, so it's not much different to be honest, just a lot less melody involved."
Being so busy with your own productions and touring, how do you manage to find time to balance that with Outburst Records and having a social life?
Social life? Sorry? What does that mean? I do still get the odd weekend off so the only thing I can do is make the most of any free time that I get. But it's quite a rare occurrence to be honest.
Youve got a wealth of original productions under your belt. When are we going to see you do the live thing?
I do the live thing with Public Domain as you know so Im not really interested in doing a live thing on my own. I love my DJing too much. Its just great having the chance to go out and play my own tracks when I DJ because I put so many man hours into my production in the studio.
When it comes to the business nowadays, what is the biggest innovation in your opinion for music producing?
You have to stay fresh or else you will go unnoticed, so its very important to stay open-minded and stay in touch with whats going on round about you, especially when it comes to checking out other producers/DJs etc etc. Im always listening to podcasts and DJ sets from right across all genres to try and come up with new ideas and sounds. I also keep all of my software up to date as much as i can, this can make a huge difference to your productions, it will keep you inspired.
How do you imagine the trance EDM big room sound in the next ten years?
It wont be here
hopefully. I cant stand EDM as Ive already said haha. For me it is the worst sound that there has ever been in dance music in the last 20 years!
What is a normal day for you when you arent on tour?
Record label work, emails, studio work, gym time, relaxing with my fiancée thats a typical day for me. I try and keep my weekdays as normal as possible within the usual office hours. This keeps me focused, productive, creative and most of all..SANE!
What is the future of tech-trance? What kind of sounds should we expect to come?
I predict that things will be going into a darker direction again, a lot more underground. This whole explosion of EDM releases can only last for so long. More and more of the trance/tech-trance producers like myself (I am sure anyway) will start to make a lot more music for the dark and sweaty nightclubs and raves
bring it on I say!!
Do you have any particular producers at the moment whos productions you are particularly liking?
I'm absolutely loving Alex Di Stefano, Signum, Tempo Giusto, Jamie Walker, Stephen Kirkwood and Paul Denton's productions at the minute. They are all currently doing stuff on Outburst for me. Plus Lostly, Adam Ellis and Vlind along with Paul Thomas & Shadow of Two also have some really tasty tech stuff coming up on the label next year too.
s journey started over two decades ago. The UK based electronic music trio were among the pioneers of the big beat sound that dominated the 90s and 2000s. Even in 2013, the band continues to deliver a matchless live show full of energy, punk vocals, and of course their no-nonsense approach to electronic instrumentation all of the elements that give The Prodigy their unique imprint in the music scene
How was it when you took Prodigy over there for the first time?
The thing with touring with a band is its a totally different thing to DJing. I dont really think they understood the band and where we came from. I think its only now that they really understand what dance music is, coming at the peak of the moment.
Coming from your background as an MC with tying in the hip hop with the electronic, what do you think the correlation is between hip hop and electronic based music?
Quite a lot. Im quite a traditionalist, I suppose is probably the word to use. I kind of know the history of music. Thats just me personally. I dont think a lot of kids in the electronic scene know the history of music and where certain things come from and certain styles. Dance music has been influenced by funk, reggae, [and] hip hop even the beats like funk and soul, rare groove, and blues as well. Its kind of like all those influences are in trap music [and] in electronic music. A lot of people dont see that. They just think electronic music was just born out of nothing. Its funny, I was just doing an interview the other day and I was trying to explain to the interviewer where specials, like dubplates, [come from]. For instance, say Skrillex has a track and he has a MC like I used Chuck D if he used Chuck D and said Yeah, this is Chuck D representing for Skrillex and he wrote that on a track and put that out. I had to explain where that came from. That came from reggae sound systems doing specials and dubplates. He didnt understand. He was like Oh, we just call that drops here. I said, Well, its got a foundation and that comes from reggae sound systems. A lot of people in electronic dance music dont understand where certain aspects of electronic music comes from. Those hip hop tracks, vocals, emceeing its all from hip hop. Actually, hip hop got it from back in the day when people were scatting, people were rapping, people were emceeing in Jamaica and on the streets of New York and so forth. So, its all got foundation.
Fans want to know, how long have you been DJing? When did you first start and is it something you did at home, parties, etc.
The first time on the decks was about 6 years ago, and the first gig I played was in Berlin 5 years ago.
I have decks at home so Im always on them but my kids hate it.
So, you went from touring with The Prodigy to doing a solo set behind the decks. What do you think will be your biggest hurdle DJing solo?
Lack of performance.
Do you see yourself doing more DJing or more with the band in the future?
The DJing fits around the band. The band will always come first. Im never sat around twiddling my thumbs, Im always doing something creative such as DJing, or painting, or art, but the band always comes first. DJing doesnt have the same kind of performance, that spontaneity of performing your own tracks and the energy that you create amongst yourselves. Its not the same as bouncing to your own tracks and watching the fans bounce to the tracks youve written.
How do you maintain your fitness? Youre always looking in great shape on stage. Do you train with Royce Gracie often?
Im at a stage where fitness is very important to me. Im all about mental and physical fitness. I work out regularly with a good friend called Toby Rowland. When Royce is over in the UK, then I might have a session with him. Hes a personal friend, so we hang out too.
Youre a British artist conquering the states as a DJ for the first time, how do you think theyll respond?
Im quite open minded really. I am playing a lot of Trap music. Trap music is going down well there, but I dont really know how receptive they are to people from the UK. Its quite a hard nut to crack over in the US, its down to the luck of the draw. I dont really understand the States to tell you the truth!
Trap is a new genre really, or rather a blend of other genres. What do you think the future holds for it?
I think at the moment its quite a good time for electronic music. There is a lot of creativity about where as 4 or 5 years ago it was a bit stagnant. I just like what ever comes about really, Im not into the names
Modestep, Brostep, all these different kind of steps. I just look for tracks that excite me. I dont care what genre it is, I just look for creativity in music. People always say Traps not going to last or Dubsteps not going to last, but I dont get caught up in Ive got to keep it. Music will always evolve and people will never stop going out and partying. There is always something new that everyone will listen to. Im not bothered about the next wave that comes a long, I just enjoy finding new tracks that excite me.
Electronic music has changed immensely over the past 20 years especially in accessibility. What would you say have been the pros and cons of that?
The pros are it gives kids and people the freedom to write their own music, to express themselves, [and] get their music out quicker people on Facebook or however. Its taken out of the hands of the record label. Thats the pros. The cons are you get so much shit out there. (Laughs) Good music always prevails and always comes through. Yeah, you get a lot of rubbish out there. I get sent quite a few tracks through companies and so forth and through friends. I get so much trash, like What is that? What is that? to sift through. You get one gem. Its got its pros and cons. Technology has helped feed the masses, but some rubbish as well.
Are you planning to do more paintings in future, any plans for more exhibitions? Some fans missed out on purchasing your work. Would you consider selling poster prints on The Prodigy Online Store?
Yeah! I love painting. Its a good release for me when Im not doing gigs or DJing. I will be doing another exhibition in London, hopefully, at the end of the year. I only sell the paintings now. I did do a few prints a while ago, but I didnt think they did my paintings justice so I stopped. The majority of my paintings are with MK gallery in L.A. at the moment, but check my website MM-Gallery.com to see the work!
"A DJ is someone who just plays other peoples music."
His name reminds us of his Italian origins though hes now settled in Barcelona. His music production is inspired by an interesting blend of genres, Detroit Techno gently sympathising with Spanish After Hours Tech House; but his dedication to making music doesnt prevent him from being an extremely skillful DJ, whos ability to create melody and incisive transitions is unsurpassed.
What made you decide to become a DJ? Who was your inspiration?
I dont think I ever decided it. Im not sure that it is something you really decide, it just becomes your way I think. Richie Hawtin has always been one of the guys that inspired me.
Do you think that DJs and dance music figures should be more political in their personas? Meaning, do you want to see more opinions coming out of artists and the music they make? I have heard many conflicting opinions on this matter.
Honestly, not really, but if you have an idea and your idea can help to make the world a better place then express yourself. We do have the power to move masses which can also be a risk.
But yes a lot of us are getting closer to energies, veganism, karma, yoga. I see them as first world problems.
Have you played with Joris Voorn or Craig Richards before? What are you looking forward to from sharing the bill with them here later this month?
Ive played with Joris a couple of times but not with Craig, Ive seen him playing but never shared the DJ booth with him. Ive been looking forward for a long time now to play at fabric on a Saturday, so Im really going there with nothing in my mind and to go with the flow. Id like to be swollen by the whole scene there and see what happens!!
How has your style evolved over the years and what are the artists that have inspired you the most?
I went from a footprint of more "physical" sounds, to more "ethereal" material, and slowly mixed them. Over the years you mature and gain more knowledge of the world around you, so this is definitely reflected in your music. Artists? Too many to name them all
It must be pretty challenging to balance all that out with your DJing, youve been resident at Circoloco for 6 years now whats it been like being part of a crew and representing their certain sound?
It has been nicely challenging. I see being part of Circoloco as a family affair, I think we are a range of DJs and producers that have their own sound and represent the brand in different ways. Circoloco and the DC10 experience has shaped my life on a personal level, which of course means that has had an effect also on everything else. Every experience in life makes you a slightly different person and this affects your music too.
Youve got residency at the huge Circo Loco. How do you find those parties? Hows it compare to your other shows?
Ok, its a simple thing Circo Loco is so good, that it messes you up for future gigs. This is because, even when youre playing a very good club with a great sound system, great environment and you have friends around, theres always a doubt as to if youre doing your job in the best way. Circo Loco is like home, thats the feeling I have.
Youre now travelling the world and a well-known respected DJ, but did you ever have any moments when you considered giving up?
Not sure really, I guess there are always those moments but I interpret them as a new start. I mean, it means Im a bit bored with what Im doing and its time to make a turn.
What has changed in club scene in the last 15 years?
The digital age - the people in the clubs are always changing, but those who never attend the clubs are still giving out misinformation.
With such an international following do you feel you have to alter your sets in the different countries you play? Or is the music a universal language.
Its not really the country that makes you play, its more the type of night that makes you decide which kind of music you want to play to a crowd. Sometimes emotion plays a strong part in how you play, like if youve had a bad day you go deep and dark.
Youve got your own label This and That which is proving highly successful. What sounds are you looking to push on your label? How do you find the artists?
I dont think we have a specific genre we want to push, its more about what mood we are in at the specific times of our lives. Mainly it goes from the 4/4 side of electronic music, it can be for darker days, happier days, after party vibes or a big festival. Were not very extremist in our views of music, we really dont want to be labelled in any particular genre. Finding the artist has always been a fairly random process, we buy a lot of music, of course, because we are all DJs. So when we hear someone we like, we might get in touch with them and ask if they want to do something with us.
Why did you decide to start your own label?
To stop having filters between what I was doing in the studio and what would be released.
"We are now living a moment where clubbing has been mixing sound and image for more than a decade."
Guy and Howard Lawrence, the brothers behind Disclosure
, are 22 and 19 years old (respectively), were born and raised in suburban Surrey, England, and self-identify very strongly as deep house artists. Since their debut album, Settle
dropped at the beginning of the summer, a lot of debate has centered on whether or not they really should. Its a genre with roots in the esoteric 1980s Chicago club scene, and its having a very big, mainstream moment on international radio, much to the chagrin of its old-school devotees. Disclosure, with four charting singles in the last year, is either house musics contemporary champion or the nail in its coffin.
"We would never work with someone who doesnt write their own songs. We need them to write with us and we want them to, more than anything, because then they feel what theyre singing about."
You guys started really, really young and theres no quick fix to success by getting someone else doing it for you. It would be like someone doing your homework for you, and you then getting busted.
Outside of the music you make together, do you think you and Howard have similar taste?
Yeah, its funny, when we were growing up we didnt have similar interests at all. I was into hip-hopAmerican hip-hop specifically, like J Dilla, A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, Gang Starr, all that kind of thingand I was listening to a lot of Motown and 80s pop. I was a drummer when I was growing up so I was just listening to anything with good drummingeven a lot of punk rock, because it all had really great music in it, even if some of it was a bit weird and a bit shit. So thats what I was listening to. Howard was more listening to soul and a lot of singer-songwriters like Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel. Not a lot of it was current, we just listened to anything musical. Id say now we have a lot more similar interests, especially in music. We still do disagree on some things, but yeah, not very often.
Whats your musical history?
At young ages, we both listened to a lot of what our parents listened to: Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Hall and Oatesproper mom and dad music. When we were teenagers, our tastes grew apart. Guy got into American hip-hop, A Tribe Called Quest and J Dilla, whereas I went the other way and got into singer-songwriters, like Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel. We really didnt have much to talk about. Then we heard weird dance music and thought, Lets listen to that.
I was wondering how you got your training in electronic music. Its a bit more advanced than, say, learning the clarinet in elementary school.
Yeah, maybe. I dont know actually, Ive never played the clarinet. It might be really hard.
It is quite like that. Its becoming a rare thing for an artist to write everything themselves. Part of the reason we picked most of the collaborators on this album is that theyre not only good singers but theyre really good writers as well. Someone like Lorde writes all of her own stuff and you can hear it in the music. The coherence between the tracks and the style of the lyrics is so strong. Shes got such identity in the music and in all other areas like her branding and her image but the music specifically, I just think its unbelievably coherent.
How do your collaborations with other artists work, do you give people a ready-made track to work to?
Well, it varies every time theres no formula but with songs like White Noise, Voices and Help Me Lose My Mind we actually wrote the music on the day. Ill make the basic chords patterns, bassline and beat, while Howard will sit with the singer and work on themes and lyrics. Over the day the whole track comes together. Weve never said, sing this! All the people we work with are great writers, so we like to build something from nothing.
Have you noticed in certain territories where your music gets played on radio that you have had more success?
Whats the difference for you between writing pop songs versus dance music?
I think the pop song is structured with verses and choruses. And I think the main idea is everything needs to be wrapped around a chorus, and that chorus is supposed to be catchy. But dance music is meant to make people dance in a club. Its designed that way. Certain parts make people react in a way, like, Oh wow, that beats good! Sometimes theres a drop or a buildup, but thats not really the case with pop music.
Absolutely, radio has been a quintessential part of our success as has social media. I think people really underestimate the importance of radio play until they get it. When we first started out we were like: Radio play? Who cares, we dont need radio. Then Annie Mac played one of our first songs. We were like, oh cool we didnt think it was going to affect our careers. And then suddenly there were like 500 more people than normal at the next gig and we were like: Oh right! Its actually really important! Radio 1 have been incredible for us. Theyve supported non-stop since the beginning.
Does the perfect song exist?
A song can be perfect for a mood, then suddenly be not perfect when your mood changes! Some people have come definitely close Stevie Wonder has a few times, Uptight, (Everythings Alright) and Superstition are two of my favourite songs ever they both make me happy and theyre fantastically written. So is Michael Jacksons Dont Stop Til You Get Enough. Marvin Gaye too. The best pop songs are from the classic Motown era and late 80s pop too, but sometimes even I hate that stuff. Then theres the perfect deep house and garage tracks like the Stanton Warriors mix of Zak Toms Bring Me Down that encapsulates everything you need to know about what garage was. Same goes for Saved My Life by Todd Edwards, or Neighbourhood by Zed Bias. Wookie too!
Youve had a show on Beats1. Whats been the impact of that show and how do you think that station as a whole is going to change the scene globally?
I wouldnt like to try and predict how its going to change the scene globally, I dont feel qualified enough. For us, its been really good, not only as a new way of getting music out and listening to music but also to open our eyes to the fact that we really enjoyed doing the show. It was just a really enjoyable experience to have a platform as big as that to show people not only music that weve made but also music that we love. To have that artistic control literally to play whatever we want was cool. We played some really weird stuff on that show and theres not many opportunities that artists get to do that, or at least there havent been. I think it can only be a good thing.
What five artists couldnt Disclosure exist without?
That would be J Dilla, Joy Orbison, Burial hes very important for me , DAngelo, because I think Voodoo is the greatest album ever made and Michael Jackson, who taught me an incredible amount about the structure of a pop song.
Having rarely listened to contemporary music since 1996, Kalkbrenner
has assured himself that outside influences will never over shadow his own internal creative force. But, marrying fellow techno force Simina Grigoriu in 2012, Kalkbrenner is never far removed from the underground community.
You're a live act today and not a DJ anymore. Did the DJ-existence at some point no longer irritate you?
My partner Sascha Funke and I started hanging up 16 years ago. And we wanted to be big DJs. But then at 18, where you have to remember to make some money and that did not work, I made a little dangling. I worked as a cutter for 2-3 years on TV, in newsrooms for ARD and ZDF, I took part in the party congress, sat in the Schnittmobil ... From the money, which I earned there, I bought equipment and made my first tracks , And there was already relatively clear to me: I prefer to play live.
What do you think of the evolution of techno in recent years?
The development is incredible. When I started, in the 90s, I heard stuff like "techno is dead" ... And what about fifteen years later? Techno is always on the rise, and can reach new heights. You only have to see the number of festivals devoted to it.
You haven't played other people's music in so long, do you think that if you end up performing this project live that it will feel like a completely different experience?
No, I was always very good DJ, technically, when I was young, but I was never very good in letting the record run and not doing something. But yeah, I don't know, I think pressing them on vinyl and making it into a vinyl-only, old school set would be the most probable way to perform it.
How do you arrange your music on stage?
All the work takes place on stage. I have broken my songs down into parts. It was normal for me to completely disassemble the studio and on stage except for a few external devices reassemble them. In this way I did all my earlier music. To press record on a DAT tape could take the whole thing to a new level. The same way I do play play live until today. This is how I learned to make music. If I would have done it with a computer, then I would still be ok, just only with a laptop and some controllers, but staring on the monitor like a pig onto a clockwork.
By now you are playing headlining at rock festivals or filling the Berlin open-air stage Wuhlheide with 20,000 spectators. To what extent does that actually change the music?
As far as the set-up is concerned, basically nothing changes. Actually, like ten years ago, I have 16 individual channels available and screw them around live. Except that I am doing this on a giant stage now.
"Im successful because I always do the same thing consistently and stick to that."
Knowing your own tastes, do you ever create music for your own personal pleasure? Like an ambient record, or something more experimental?
No, no. I have to use every second that Im in the music studio for something to be released under my own name. Theres no time, like when I was 17, for all this stuff. Theres so much touring and a child at home. I know what I can do, but when Im there, why would I waste time? Im very happy and proud with the way I can do it.
Playing exclusively as a live act, something that I think perhaps you dont get enough credit for is that essentially, you are developing and testing out new musical ideas in a very public fashion.
I had to be very patient about that, but now we can see at more and more festivals, there are even people recording me on their phones. For the visual side of the show next year, there will be less designs, graphics and visuals and more of a camera feed. Theyre so small now, you can put them everywhere. Tomorrowland, and many other festivals, are just streamed directly from their different stages on YouTube. The more this takes place, the more people see what I do, and maybe see how little other people do there. And theyre the rock stars of today, EDM artists, so I think in the next years, people will get a bit more interested in whos doing what on stage, and whos doing nothing.
What are your musical influences?
The older I get, the more I realize how many folk songs are floating inside me. Just that kind of music that you have noticed early on, even some pop songs on the radio, which, when they are played today, trigger something. Music from the age when you have not made a difference, and did not want to make a difference. Everything is equally good. Its just music.
How important are the reactions from the audience?
Of course it's great when the shop rocks, but for me other things are more important. Good monitoring, for example. It does not make any sense to me if a 3000-man-dandruff is upside down, but I do not hear anything because the sound is not properly picked - I prefer a club that is only half full, but where the monitoring is clean, where I stand, so to speak, in my own juice. If I am properly kicked by my own music, by the pressure, then the set also gets better in terms of content and art.
Have you changed by success?
I can already see certain divine features on me, for which I would have cut myself down ten years ago. For example, I wanted to postpone the interviews by three hours at short notice, simply because I would have been better off. Then I have to let me know that maybe this is not such a good idea. And Larmoyanz sometimes comes in, so a certain inclination to tearfulness.
In a world where almost anyone can become a superstar overnight, there are few in the big-room game that have risen with such subtlety and decorum as Syn Cole
. Avoiding the unscrupulous tactics of some of his contemporaries such as buying likes and hiring ghost producers, this Estonian DJ and producer (born Rene Pais), 26, has stepped out from beyond Ash and Aviciis shadow with only a few original tracks and a handful of big name remixes.
How old where you when you first heard the strains of dance music who were the artists that first got you interested?
I was about 10, back in 1998. Discovered the older-era production of Scooter and instantly fell in love with it. By then I already got my first keyboard synth and I liked to create simple cover/remixes of the tracks I liked the most, on the synth.
When it comes to production, were you starting with hardware or did you start using software?
Ive always used software with just a midi keyboard for recording melodies. Thats about it. I use plugins like Sylenth, ReFX Nexus, and Spectrasonics Omnisphere. My main DAW is Cubase. I use Omnisphere and Nexus somewhat rarely, but Sylenth is my main thing. Lots of processing with Sylenth. I use it for all bass lines and leads.
Describe your sound in three words.
Electro, funky & progressive.
What are some of your favorite tracks of the moment?
For inspiration, I actually often listen to film scores, because of my classical piano background. Composers like Hans Zimmer, John Williams, and the like are my favorites. But if Id name some of my current favorite electronic tracks, Id say Daft Punks Instant Crush, Mercer and DJ Snakes Lunatic, and Deorros "Five Hours".
What was your first big break in the music industry?
I would say playing on the mainstage of Creamfields last year, while having no tracks and remixes released yet. My first Syn Cole production (Silhouettes Remix) had just gone on promo week before.
In terms of collaborating with other artists, do you prefer to work alone in the studio? Or are you at this point more interested in working with others?
So far I only have my own solo releases. There are only three of those so far, but right now, I have three collabs going on. Its too early to name them, but theres going to be some big collaborations.
What kind of production software and hardware do you instantly lean towards when you start a new track or remix?
Ive always been a Cubase user myself and I love it. I just like how fast it is compared to some other DAWs. For synths, I mostly use Sylenth and Massive.
What was your 2017 highlight?
Getting the vocal version signed to Sony/RCA was definitely a highlight for me. Also my Spotify streaming did really well in 2017, exceeded 200 million total streams on my own songs and their remixes. The year-end Spotify stats climbed to 7 million hours of streams & 16 million fans I was really happy to see this
Whats the best part of being a DJ?
To be able to travel the world a lot, and to have the work as a hobby & vice versa.
Do you have any advice to share with newer music producers?
For me, its listening to different music than I produce, not to only listen to my own genre. For example, I listen to classical music like film scores and soundtracks, which have awesome melodies and chord progressions. So, thats my recommendation, to listen to something different than what youre going to make.
"It's much easier to come up with new melodies, while playing around with different chords & riffs on the keyboard
s love for music and community led her from a successful career as a promoter to becoming one of the most highly respected DJ and Music Producers in techno and house music today. An international figure, Nicole is also credited for being among the first to bring electronic dance music to Beirut, Lebanon.
In your relatively short producing career your sound has quickly spread across the world, and you possess the uncanny ability to bring the life out of your audience wherever you go. Regardless of background, race, sexuality, etc, there is an aspect about techno music, which allows it to transcend across social boundaries and bring people together. What, to you, makes techno different then any other genre of music?
I dont think you should just categorize it as just techno, I think you should categorize it as our dance culture. And that is the building foundation of our dance culture is to merge with anyone, from whoever you came from, whoever you are, whether you are rich, poor, black white, yellow, gay, non-gay, this is what we started the foundation with. Its just to join everybody under one roof and just enjoy the music, and love everybody the same way, and get out form all these stigmas and conventional lifestyles that people put upon us. This is what we started in the first place, and its continuing. Its not techno, it could be anything. The spirituality behind what we do, and the culture, and the basis of it, is that. Its to all be one and together with everyone a classless kind of vibe. This is what we do.
Are there any artists youre hoping to collaborate with that you havent yet?
Ive been in touch with Green Velvet we have plans to do a record together, as well as Chris Liebing Im doing a collaboration with him. Also, Carl Cox wants to do a an EP on my label, on his own, so Im waiting for him to deliver that. There are exciting names coming through, as well as new kids on the block like Matt Sassari. I just signed an EP with him. Another guy to look out for, his name is Alvaro AM. Its quite varied. As long as the records hit me and as long as I can play it, then its definitely a Mood sound.
"What we do, is more than bring people together you can say we bring people together but all music does that."
When you go to DJ in different territories, all over the world, how do you research what kinds of music the local audiences enjoy?
You know, this comes with experience. I don't tend to change too much. I play between house and techno and I read the crowd, see what they're into and build it from there.
You clearly are an expert at playing the computer as an instrument. How has the new technology PLAYdifferently developed by Richie Hawtin helped you grow as an artist this past year?
Actually, it was my first time using this new gear at Awakenings in mid-October so not long ago. I have to say it has turned my way of mixing around completely because the mixer encourages a totally different way of DJing. It looks nothing like the traditional mixers we are used to. Obviously, getting used to it takes a bit of time, as with any new set up, but I love what it can do for me. Using all six channels allows me to elaborate and go really wild with my semi-live DJ set. Thats what I would call it now, because there are a lot of live elements coming into play not just straight Djing and playing records in the traditional way. I normally have four decks on the go anyway and now having these additional channels allows me to go even further by firing samples that Ive gathered, one shot hits of any kind of sound or sample loops I have prepared and being able to be creative on the fly all night long. I am so excited now when I DJ and this is only the beginning. There is so much to learn and so much to do sonically with all the new gear and the software that I have at the moment!
How have you seen the American dance music audience grow and evolve since your rise to fame?
Absolutely, I mean Ive been doing this solid for 3 years now, and I`ve done many festivals in America. And I think the kids, who were probably 18 at the time, are 21 now, and they are allowed to go to clubs. Which means they are able to discover a whole new world, with whole new sounds, with all of these amazing djs who are coming to the states from all over. And definitely, this is where the shift is beginning now, because these people are exposed to a different kind of sound and music. I mean, EDM, what does that mean? You know, its pop, trash, commercial, Electro for the 1 IQ person out there, with a three note melody, like a Christmas carol common! Its just not clever at all! Its just so stupid. So thank god we have a shift, you know. Come and experience some intelligent and clever kind of sound, basically!
What has been one of your favourite career memories so far?
I would say the first time I did a b2b with Carl Cox at Space Ibiza. That was a moment for me, obviously because hes such a legend, and he came as a surprise. I was about to get on the decks, on his night, on the Tuesday for Revolution Continues in Ibiza. We were back in the office, I was ten minutes from getting on stage and he just said,well just play for half an hour, Im going to hop on and were going to do a b2b set together. I said,Oh My God!, so that was quite a moment for me. Obviously we did it again afterwards, but that was definitely a highlight.
Youve got Guti, Marino Canal, and Alex Tepper all billed on your upcoming Her Dub Material EP. Can you tell us a bit about the sound and what to expect?
This release is a bit different than what Im known for production wise. Its very deep its very dubby. And its the kind of style that Im really into, and that I play a lot on certain hours. Either on warm-up sets when I do long sets, or after-hours kind of vibe. Obviously Im a huge fan of Guti, Marino Canal, and Alex. I invited them to do their own interpretations of that single. And I think the package is very strong as it is. Marino Canal is a very very talented up and coming Spanish producer that I hooked up with recently. I invited him to play my Mood day party at Miami Music Week at The Raleigh Hotel pool party, and as well as when we took over Output the following week in New York. Hes definitely one to watch out for because hes super talented. Guti theres no need to introduce him; hes an amazing tech house producer, and I really love his style as well. Alex Tepper is an English based producer as well, and hes more on the tougher tech house vibe. So the package caters for different kind of floors and different sounds. Its exciting for me especially, because its a bit different than my normal big room sounding kind of tracks, if I may say.
Dalt Vila is a very unique and special venue overlooking the beautiful Ibiza Town. What do you love the most about this particular venue and why?
For me, Dalt Vila is very special. I have been living in Ibiza over the past 17 years now so I know a lot about the history of this island and Dalt Vila has an amazing history. It was discovered by the Phoenicians and the Phoenicians are Lebanese right now, Im a part of it and that is my connection, it is my part of my DNA. It is a magical place, it has a lot of energy, history and is managed by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre now. This year has provided another magical moment again like it has with all previous years.
What 3 tracks in your play list never fail to get the dance floors crazy across the world, and why you think they have such an effect?
Psyk The Eclipse its deep, hypnotic with a distinct deep stab, Ive been hammering this one just to get me in a deeper mood during my sets.
My remix of Carl Cox Kommen Zusammen (its deep and tough at the same time with a chunky deep kick with a vocal drop thrown in with tension, it has an interesting drum pattern midway through and it works every time in festivals and club shows alike when its pitched down.
Kazbah Zoo & OniWax New Era (its deep tech and melodic which I love. its perfect for sunrise moments or after hours)
Where do the audiences go the wildest?
Oh my! Holland, they really like their techno there. You can get really deep and meaningful. Glasgow and the north of England too. They like it really tough. They're really crazy up there, I love it. They just go off big, ha! In the States, it's deeper, more chunky. So, there's a bit of everything. You just follow the vibe, the energy. These days, everyone's really receptive. People are very clued up. Whatever you play for them, they get it. They've been clubbing for a while.
Finally, you run your own label, MOOD Records. What is the release schedule like for your label over the next couple of months and what kind of productions can we expect from MOOD?
I have tonnes of amazing up and coming artists on the label now. Im going slightly deep and melodic with the next collection of releases. Obviously, I like all kinds of music and want to showcase and play that. MOOD is really, really good at the moment. I am also planning on a remix package for my collaboration with Carl Cox which was my first release on the label. It was called See You Next Tuesday. Also, I am doing lots of random nights all over the world. I have my own big stage festival with the biggest North American festival organisers, EDC. Im doing MoodZONE for the second time last year I did one in New York, this year I am in Vegas. There will also be another one in California in October. I am also doing MoodZONE in Munich, this is another stage festival with Utopia so there is a lot going on its amazing!
is the most well-known pseudonym of Dave Leea DJ, producer, and one of dance music's most prolific remixers. Under a plethora of other monikers including Akabu, Doug Willis, The Sunburst Band, Sessomatto, and Z Factor, Lee was one of the first artists to incorporate disco samples in house music when he began his production career in 1988. Today, he remains widely regarded as one of the most credible and in-demand artists on the global scene.
What trends do you not understand at the moment?
I see things all the time in fashion I dont understand. One thing I really dont get is how far tattoos have gone but theyre a really personal thing and people take them very seriously, I guess thats a generational thing as well though. People didnt have tattoos like they do now when I was growing up. Im not sure how people where skinny jeans as tight as some people do as well, I like comfort. Some of these jeans just cant be comfortable. Weve all done silly things to look good though, Ive definitely worn shoes that were too small before, just because I thought they looked better smaller!
How do you find new music? Are you constantly digging through your old records? Whats the method to your song selection?
Its a terrible thing to say, but I get so many promos and I only occasionally look at them. But Im better off listening to 3 hours of music I might actually like on Traxsource, Juno, Beatport than 3 hours on promos. I also listen to music on Discogs, Ebay and YouTube I listen to a lot of old music that way. Sometimes Im just looking for new or old records and sometimes Ill listen to something like Gilles Peterson, and then maybe Ill listen to music that friends send me. I mean a lot of it isnt even stuff I play when I DJ its just new music. 20% of it is stuff I might play and the rest are just new tunes that are slow, jazzy things
Unless I DJ at a bar from 6 oclock in the evening until 3pm in the afternoon, its not stuff you can play at a club. You can get lost sometimes in getting so much new music. Really when youre playing, a lot of the time people dont want new music. People would just be happy to hear classics. Its not really what I want to play but a lot of the time you find that its what a lot of people respond to. Its not the new track the new track youre playing more for yourself. There may be a few people that are responsive to that but its not going to be the track that people are going to go home singing.
"When the DJ is playing what he actually wants to play and its just a few people there that are really into the music."
What influenced you to DJ predominantly disco music?
Just because I like it, obviously Im pretty old, probably older than your dad maybe
I suppose when I was at school most other people in my class liked heavy metal. Thats what everybody seemed to like. I didnt mind some heavy metal, I didnt mind Whitesnake and Saxon or whatever, but I just loved disco music, its not something I can really explain in a way, I just like it.
Youve been doing the music thing for quite a while. What else has been going in Joey/Daves world?
Well, I had a baby at the beginning of the year, so thats been quite dominant in my day. The day usually starts at around 6am with me getting up and looking after the baby for a few hours. Work-wise, I dont really do anything else. Obviously Im in the studio. Then on the weekend I have a couple of gigs, but I try not to DJ more than twice in one weekend.
One of my favorites is the Must be the Music. How did you rework that?
Its a remake of an old track I had out about 15 years ago, but the only thing that remains is the chorus backing vocals. All the drums, music and verse vocals are new. The original sounds pretty dated now: too fast and with that Subliminal Records filtered sound. However, it was a big hit here in the UK at the time, got into the Top 10 of the singles chart, so I often get asked to play it when I DJ. I thought it would be cool to do a radically different remake my own song, produce a new version I could play in my sets alongside original Disco. The idea was give it the vibe of Chic or Change.
Youve put together a lot of compilations over the years. What are your criteria for separating the good stuff from the okay stuff?
The way I look at it when I put something like this together, is would I like this track if I was hearing it for the first time now? I try to separate that from the memories that I associate with that track, whether I was having a good night or whatever. You just have to look at it purely as a piece of music. I rarely go on Discogs, but occasionally I'll see what records are worth, like this record is worth 50 quid and this one is worth five quid. But if I prefer the five-quid one, thats the one that goes on the compilation.
Which songs do you plan on having remixes done for? Who are some of the producers you may be enlisting?
Well, we have remixes in or coming from Ron Trent, Andres, Crackazat, Lay-Far. Im sure there will be others over the course of the next few months. Also Z Records has had quite a few of the remixers I rate already. Money-wise remixing isnt as lucrative as DJ work so prospective remixers have to really want to do it because they love the track and think its good exposure. You can always get someone to remix your release, but finding the right person isnt always that easy.
The years 1993, Take That Relight My Fire is at number one something you had a helping hand in. What were you wearing in those days?
I personally got lost in the 90s. I think I was spending so much time in the studio I just didnt pay attention to fashion. I think its a mixture of that and I just didnt really like what was fashionable back then so I sort of just kept replacing worn out clothes with something very similar. When I DJd in Italy I use to like buying something a little more unique, I used to have a really nice black jacket with elbow pads, I used to love that because it looked so different and Id never see anyone else wearing it. I guess I was more interested in music back then though.
Are you pretty hard on yourself when it comes to judging your sets?
You know sometimes as a DJ, some nights people will tell you that you were good and you dont think you were any good. Im pretty critical of myself and I think about how I should have played this song here and brought that song in then. And some nights to you it looks like its going somewhere you know (I hate the term taking people on a journey) but, you know, it kinda works in that you join the dots in a good way and you think it was wicked but then nobody tells you anything. I hate listening to my live mixes. I like listening to other peoples but Im just one of those people who prefers not to listen to their live mixes. Maybe Ill check them before I put them online but I just find it painful listening to myself. I prefer to just be in the moment. Do it live and forget about it!
What is the process for when you choose a track and make a remix out of it? Where do you store all of your samples?
Well it depends, if Im doing a remix like Im doing at the moment where Im doing it from the multitrack and whatever, I mean a lot of the thing is about finding the person who owns the track and seeing if theyve got the multitrack. Which most of the time, with independent releases, thats very difficult, and a lot of the time they havent got the multitrack. So, the major labels were better at storing their multitracks, but even then its probably only 50% of the song, 40% maybe, where theyve actually got the tapes. When I was starting doing some stuff with Sony, I went on Discogs and went through everything in the Sony catalogue, from like 1965 to 1985, and thought of any artists I might not have thought of, because its obviously Sony, Epic, Arista, theres lots of labels and then I presented them with this massive list and they didnt have quite a lot of it. So, once you find out they have got one, then you decide do I wanna pay a few hundred dollars to get that digitised. Sometimes you get the parts and its quite disappointing, sometimes its missing stuff like the lead vocals, the lead strings, or its got all the drums bounced down to two tracks so you cant do the things you wanted to do or the piano has got loads of spill on it which sounds okay in the track but not if you come out with it on its own.
So whats the secret to becoming a reputable DJ/producer?
It depends on what sort of music youre making, but Id say try and do something that is a bit more than just a DJ track. Try and get a consistent stream of music out. I have friends that are music makers and whatever, and sometimes they take too long to make something and release it. To really make an impact, you need to release maybe six things in a time period and try and get them on decent labels. Easier said than done, I know, but even if you just release it on your own label, try and get some half-decent artwork, and try to make a bit of a splash.
's artistic career has been growing up year after year which lead him to appear in many of the major techno festivals and parties worldwide, like Miami Utra Music Festival, Tomorrowland Belgium, Carl Cox The Revolution Ibiza, Pacha London, Aquasella Festival Spain, Space Ibiza Closing Party, Soul Tech festival Mexico, Rex Club Paris and Watergate Berlin.
As a teenager you were influenced a lot by Naples techno scene which also influenced a lot on Belgrade clubbing scene. How does something like that happened form your perspective? What does it take to create something regional and local that has World impact on music scene?
Well basically in my experience these kind of things you dont plan, they just happen, its some kind of strange coincidence were different things happen at the right place in the right moment, for example in Detroit the people that gave birth to Techno, I imagine they didnt plan things thinking we are going to change the music industry, it just happened and now we see all the great things that they made happen. Of course, together with the alignment of the starts there must be always a lot of talent and hard work behind. So as a teenager being part of the underground club scene in Naples was very inspirational, we had all these amazing artists flying in from all parts of Europe & US, people like Richie Hawtin, Luke Slater, Jeff Mills, Sven Vath, Robert Hood, Damon Wild, Robert Armani, Ben Sims, Paul Daley (ex Leftfield), Darren Emerson (ex Underworld). Every weekend was a packed party and by that time it was great fun believe me.
What do you think of the Spanish music scene at various levels: producers, clubs, DJs
I can say that Spain has made giant leaps at all levels, the are for sure a bunch of good talented producers. The clubs and the mentality are all well focused, so i can say its fine place to be.
When it comes to your Agile Recordings, most recent release was by Lewis Delay, right? What can we expect in near future?
Yes! We recently released lots of great music from Alex Mine, Lewis Delay, Landmark, receiving great responses both from the crowds and the artists. In the future we will keep focusing on quality and giving young artists a platform to showcase the talents. I will also be productive and keep up the pace with release.
You are Italian
. How is the electronic scene at home?
She is very interesting in Naples, Milan and Rome where she is well put forward. But there is still a lot to do.
Your most recent release was a collaborative EP with Mladen Tomic who has released solo tracks on labels ranging from Monika Kruses Terminal M to Sashaâs Last Night On Earth, how did you and Mladen Tomic meet?
Mladen and I have known each other for many years and we both have a mutual respect as artists and as friends. We have already collaborated in the past on my label Agile Recordings as well as shared the decks in many events around the globe. So as soon as the idea came up it was just a matter of time we would release a collaborative EP.
For you key and lock for the success in dance music industry are?
As an artist you should always be consistent with your work, one thing you should do as an artist is to believe in yourself, create your own musical direction and not care to much about the trend of the moment.
In my opinion something you should not do as a new coming artist is do try be \ copy someone else, influences are good but at the end the originality is what makes you stand out.
In which ways influenced you residency in London when you were a child? I think that your music sounds much more italian than anglosaxon., but maybe in the roots of all
It does not make much a difference in an early age, what i can say is that living in London in the 80s has made me hear & see a lot more different things, surly more if I was living in Italy.
Could you talk us through the creative process and list any specific equipment used to bring sounds to life?
Over the years my studio setup has always been changing and evolving; nowadays I like to have a live approach to producing music in a more spontaneous and at the same time, fun way. On this EP the setup used was based around Ableton live. Drums were laid down on Maschine, synths were made with the new Roland equipment that I like a lot these days. Compressor and EQs were both done on analogue and software.
Tell us something more about the starting idea and inspiration for Waking Up the Neighbours?
I also wanted to have something that was not just a collection of singles that would sound cool in that specific moment. The idea of the album was to have a record and a memory of something that will still be meaningful looking back in ten or twenty years.
How to describe your musical style, your sounds?
My musical style of the moment is a combination of everything that influences me. I enjoy producing techno sounds and at the same time I love creating funky tracks with distinct sounds. Everything is a question of inspiration.
Could you give some advice or words of wisdom to any aspiring producers who would look to your music for inspiration?
Id tell them that to get inspired by others is always good and the key to keep motivation high. Especially at the start its important for the learning process, but they should also work hard to find their own style and discover new forms to express their creativity.
"One thing you should do as an artist is to believe in yourself, create your own musical direction and not care to much about the trend of the moment."
Over the past two decades, Roger Shah
has produced beautiful music while also DJing around the world. His musical abilities are amazingly diverse, ranging from productions in Trance and House to even creating orchestral scores for Hollywood. His career accomplishments include being named in the DJ Mag Top 100 five times and having a discography of more than 600 releases, many of which have been played globally.
Youre Sunlounger pseudonym is possibly youre best known work, pioneering the Balearic island sound, fans all over the world have come to love, tell us a bit about the origin of this project, and what makes it stand out as much?
I think sunlounger is my best know alias besides I just tour as Roger Shah, especially th elast 2 years I focused more on releases under my real name. I think that people love sunounger because it's a unique sound, very chill, deep and atmospheric with chillout versions and cool club mixes on one album and we kept the format for all albums.
For years you have produced so many tracks that you could easily confuse yourself with Oliver Lieb, who was also known as a producer, who had countless project names and virtually produced on the assembly line. Is it difficult to produce so much music and still be credible as a producer?
For me it was very easy, because I am a workaholic and always writing songs and melodies, even on a plane. I have to say that between 2005 and 2006 I had a hard time with financial problems, and I thought about giving up everything. But I told myself, I will try again and produce as much as possible and publish on various international labels and see if my situation improves, or if I just stop. Luckily I had the big hit with Sunlounger-Alias ??with "White Sand" in 2006 as well as a number one album with I-Tunes. Everything has since developed into a better direction. During that time, I could see who my true friends were and who they were not. It is very good to go through such times because they make you stronger.
"I just produce the music that I feel and sometimes you hit the right track at the right moment and it becomes bigger and also sometimes you dont, which means it is more for the real lovers of that particular style of music that I am producing at that moment."
Your tracks White Sand and Lost have enjoyed huge success worldwide. Lost was awarded Single of 2008 on the ASOT radio show. What other tracks, remixes or mix-sets would you recommend to someone that is not yet familiar with your music?
Im very diverse with my music and every album ive done has been special for me but also for the people because it became huge success. So the easiest is to check out my Roger Shah album "Songbook" including the hits "Going wrong", "Back to you", "Who will find me", "Dont wake me up" or the album "Openminded" including the hits "Hide u", "Morning star", "One love", "Island and then also my 4 albums under my "Sunlounger" alias.
We know that you have been involved with the creation of Balearic Trance. How would you describe Balearic Trance?
Its like tribal house, bongos, percussions, but then adding the trance melodies and guitars to it. I couldnt label it tribal house and its not really trance, so thats just why I thought to name it Balearic Trance especially because of the fact that I always go to Ibiza to write music and Ibiza is a Balearic island so thats why the name came up. I dont really think that its a part of it. At the same time, you dont have to label it. Even though I do Balearic Trance, Im still also a trance, orchestral, electronic artist. My music is always between house and trance, somewhere in between. Thats why it doesnt really matter if Balearic Trance is a term that is very popular now or not. People sometimes need to label it and say, Okay, I love psytrance or I like this or that. I dont really think that Balearic Trance term is existing, but it doesnt really matter.
You have a radio show called Magic island: Music for Baleric people when did you decide to start this, and what was the idea behind the name and concept for this radio show?
The name of my label and brand is called Magic Island, so it was just a natural progression to have my own radio show under this name as well. I play a 2 hour set every week, first hour is more trance based and second hour is more balearic, pumpin and progressive house, once again a wide range of music.
Which remix are you most proud of?
I got the chance to put my personal touch on so many amazing tunes, great voices and even all time classics, so its very hard to pick one out, I worked for and with artists such as Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Sarah McLachlan, Moya Brennan, Kosheen, Bryan Adams, Ferry Corsten, just to name a few and this is what I am proud of in general.
What kind of relationship do you have with Talla 2XLC? He was already in business at the time you started, and a well-known name in the scene ...
He was the big man of the trance. I looked up at him and Diver and thought how great it would be to someday achieve something similar to these guys. Unfortunately, we never really had a relationship because he did his stuff and I tried to do mine, but I was always open to change that. Now I am very happy to finally hang out with him, and then also at the big Technoclub birthday.
Looking back on the last 2 decades, what were the most memorable & the most terrible gigs you played and what were the funniest things occurring during your performances?
Actually i never had really a terrible gig and can say overall this journey has been really amazing, better than i would have ever dreamed about it. Memorable are for sure all those big festivals I`ve played and some of my solo concerts.
Who would you consider to be your biggest inspiration in terms of music so far?
First of all, I have to say that I came from an orchestral background and I studied orchestral music. I accidentally made it into dance music and so my biggest influences and people I look up to are more like the Hollywood composers such as Hans Zimmer. Then I made it into Trance music and worked with all these big names (Armin, Tiesto, Paul van Dyk etc) and even then it didnt put me under pressure when meeting and working with these guys. I was a big follower of Tiesto and I have to say that even though now hes doing different kinds of music, we should not forget what he has done for Trance. The Trance family is generally very protective about the genre and they tend to forget that from the artists point of view, they want to try out different things. I mean, you as fans wouldnt want to go to the same club or eat the same food everyday and even as artists you are always thinking I made this, so whats next?, so sometimes you might want to go outside the box. I remember when Armin and I made Going Wrong and we received so much hate mail for it. People were asking what was the point of the best DJ in the world and the master of Balearic Trance collaborating on a rock influenced track and we received so much hate for it back then, even though it became a classic track at the end of the day.
What is your personal opinion on mixing up of different genres in electronic dance music, are you a purist or believe in the concept that at the end of the day all these sub-genres fall under electronic music, which is all that matters?
As it is quite clear from the fact that my artist album itself is named openminded, I most definitely prefer the mix of genres. I was never a purist or got stuck to one genre. Thats why I always had different aliases for different sounds, like for pure trance on a trance label like armada or anjunabeats, but I also had an alias for a very tribal house or progressive house track, even my balearic sound was always a fusion of house and trance, what I called balearic trance is now called the progressive house sound, its just a bit more pumpin and with less guitar riffs. So for me everything falls under EDM and EDM would be much bigger if people would not try to devide a genre into another hundred subgenres, whats the point in dividing dance must first into house, trance, techno and then again into deep house, tribal house, progressive house, vocal trance, uplifting trance etc. I dont get it. Dance music could be so much bigger!
Youve produced a lot of amazing collaborations in your career. Is there a particular artist that is your favorite that youve worked with?
No, its not really favorites. If I point out one favorite, it would be saying it wrong to all the others. When I work with people its because I respect them music-wise and what they do. The main reason for doing collabs is to get a different influence. For example, I work with Fadi from Aly & Fila. Fadi is also one of my closest friends from the industry. We always have this great vibe working back and forth. I work on melodies and he puts his uplifting touch to it and it always works out great. I think that is why we had the tune of the year last year together because we have great synergy together and it fits. We have different influences from different artists and different singers as well.
Many fans are probably not aware of this, but Must Die
, or Lee when hes being a civilian, was just in Seattle at the beginning of March and opened for Datsiks show at the Showbox Sodo. After his set he spent some time with his good friend KJ Sawka (of Destroid and Pendulum) immersing himself in the crowd to watch the show. Going to shows has a magic way of making us feel better when life or your day isnt going too great, and Lee knows this too. In his mind, you should see people because people make you feel better when youre feeling down, and it led to one of the coolest experiences Lee has had at a show.
"A lot of my ups and downs add dynamics and immersion to my music."
You have a new EP coming out, Fever Dream Part 2 (out November 4). From the teaser trailer, it sounds like you really are making a return back to original dubstep plus its already garnered a lot of support from your fans. How would you describe the EP in your own words and your thoughts on its positive feedback so far?
I really dont know how the EP will be received. I am hoping my fans will see that I am trying to end a chapter of MUST DIE! I am aiming to expand and broaden my musical field after this release, so its sort of a finale to the saga. I will be experimenting a lot in the coming months with new ideas and sounds.
Whats been the main goals for the LP? Did you have any preconceptions on how you wanted it to sound?
I foolishly wanted it to be my lifes masterpiece initially. But after realizing that in no way am I ready to write a masterpiece, it became less about ridiculously grand ideas and instead became a way to solidify what Id been trying to master and hopefully launch forward into new territory. Im very pleased with the final product and Im glad I focused on what really mattered: the song-writing.
Do you like to travel?
Now that I travel more I love to go to places that you wouldnt think I would, and Ill hear something really cool
Ill try to capture that feel, not the melodies because I dont think anyone should rip anyone off but that feel, like imagine youre in a speakeasy at 3am and theres a bluegrass duo but youll hear the twangy lonely sounds and say thats cool, I wonder if I can transform that to electronic music.
And if you could describe your sound as if explaining it to a toddler, what would you say?
Well, my music is pretty much geared towards toddlers so I think theyd understand. For the layman: Melodic, childish, and quirky.
Now, the DJ Mag Top 100 poll was dropped recently, and you said in a tweet Who even cares about the DJ Mag top 10? Congrats to those who are on it, of course. But I dont judge talent by an internet list. Could you elaborate on that tweet? What are your thoughts on this years winners?
I congratulate the winners, absolutely! I just dont think you can capture an entire movement in 100 slots. There is too much talent in the universe to slam it all into one popularity contest.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I do have pre-show rituals when I have the time! I love to eat somewhere Ive never eaten before and I also try to be alone or with a couple of friends in a quiet room before I have to meet a bunch of new people.
We hear you've been playing some shows over in Japan. How have those been as an experience?
Japan is an amazing place and an amazing fan base. Great experience, 10/10.
How would you say sound compares now to when you were new on the scene?
I think touring and shows have played a big part in how I write my songs now, and Its something I wish I could remove from the equation at this point. I feel like I could benefit from not caring about how something will go over live.
Any inspirational words for budding DJs/producers out there?
The best advice I can give you at the moment would be to work hard. At anything. Just put in effort.