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A Sit Down With DJ Robbie Rivera

27.12.2017


Robbie Rivera is an artist that has led a very strong career in electronic music. From the mega hits that he has produced to his energetic live DJ sets he has proven himself as a top tier artist. Beyond his own artistic influence, he has founded Juicy Records, that has released tracks and supported the careers of many of electronic music\’s biggest names. Prior to his performance at Studio Paris we sat down to discuss his views on the music and look back at his successful career.

 

 "If you can rock a crowd and have some originality to you set then go for it – not just opening your set in Ableton and pressing play and throwing your hands in the air, which is a bit pathetic."


 

You grew up in Puerto Rico. Was there a house music culture when you were learning to spin and make beats, or were you dabbling in other music such as hip-hop?

No, I was definitely into dance music from the start. On the radio, jocks would play a lot of European house tunes and British electronic music, like Depeche Mode. Other stations would play Latin freestyle music from New York City. It was a mixture. There was a lot of dance music over there. Put it this way: If you listened to dance music, you were cool. If you listened to Latin or meringue or salsa, you were not cool.

Your intro to electronic music and the DJ culture came at a young age when you were still living in Puerto Rico. What was the culture like in Puerto Rico like at the time and what kind of an impact do you think it had on you as an artist?

Man in Puerto Rico back in the day when I started was very different. A lot of the music was coming from Europe so there was a lot of Euro vibe kind of music mixed in with all of the freestyle from Miami, New York and Chicago, so it was a mixture of everything, along with the Latin music too. I think it really was that whole mixture that had influenced me a lot when I produce music. There is always a little Latin vibe in there.

What does house music mean to you?

It’s all about the groove and the beats mixed in with the uplifting vibe that it creates. People dance and smile to house music.

Looking at electronic music as a whole, Do you think the music has gone in a positive direction?

Right now we are in a great moment. There is a lot of great music coming out – especially in House, Techno, Tech House, and Deep House. All of those genres of music have been fantastic. Over the last few years all of the Electro and progressive house just got saturated, you know, I do like that style of music, but everything has started to sound the same so I just stopped paying attention to it, and I think a lot of people did. That is why so many people are looking for new tracks and people are loving house music again, which is great.

What inspired you to to begin your journey with DJing and the electronic dance music world? 

I was very young!  My first DJ gig was in 6th grade in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The first time I mixed two tracks together on beat I was hooked and I started to think a lot about music production. Then in 2001, performing my music to fans and seeing the reaction with my early releases really inspired me to make this a full time career.

Aside from dance music, what other styles of music or artists do you enjoy listening to? 

I listen to a lot of 90’s track and late 80’s mixed with today’s . A mix of latin, pop, electronic and alternative.  Examples: Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, Disclosure, New Order, Netsky, Metric, Imagine Dragons, The Killers, Walk the Moon, Robin Schulz,  Coldplay, Gorgon City.

You have traveled all over the world playing dance music for screaming fans for many years. In all of your travels, what are some of your favorite places to visit?

I would say Spain is on the top of my list. Ibiza and Barcelona are always huge for me, but also so many cities in the U.S. It is hard to choose. I love rocking Miami!
What has been your most memorable Juicy Beach experience throughout all of your events?


The feeling when I take the stage on Juicy Beach Miami and NY is overwhelming sometimes. I don’t throw champagne or cake at anybody, so for the new generation a real DJ might be odd, but I always get the best feedback and loads of new fans. I have had people asking me on Twitter after Juicy Beach “Robbie were you really mixing live?” I mix live, I screw up sometimes–it’s all part of a live show. I feed off the energy during the party; nothing is pre-programmed except for the intro and first 2 tracks.

You’ve produced a vast amount of music over the years, can you recall one of your earliest tracks that is really special to you? 

Yes the track is called “feel this”. I was inspired by Danny Tenaglia’s dark tribal grooves so after laying down the grooves and finishing the track I knew I had something special. It’s a track that is still played this day specially with the techno DJs.  I remember speaking to Danny about this track after is was released on Strictly Rhythm. It was a great chat.

Who are your role models in the music industry?


When I started producing music I was influenced by artists like Armand Van Helden, DJ Sneak, Daft Punk. In the current industry I don’t have any role models cause this biz has become a crazy nasty one!


What advice would you give to someone new to this genre, who hasn't heard your music before? How would you ‘sell it'?

Well I don't want to sell myself here. I would say just listen to the music, maybe check out the scene at a live event, and decide what speaks to you.

https://soundcloud.com/djrobbierivera/addictive-preview

A Sit Down With DJ Basement Jaxx

27.12.2017


Basement Jaxx are a British electronic music duo who have had a long and exciting career in the music industry. The two men behind songs like ‘Where’s Your Head At?’, ‘Romeo’, ‘Raindrops’ and so many more, they’ve been in the game for over a decade, and have wowed crowds all over the world with their thrilling live shows and jam-packed DJ sets.

The band have rarely let up on the pace ever since they first came to prominence via their infamous Brixton DJ nights in the nineties. In the supposed down time between these latest records they worked on a soundtrack for Brit flick Attack the Blockthe Basement Jaxx vs. Metropole Orkest orchestral record as well as their new full length material.

 

"We’re saying yes to more interesting gigs, because you see bands who get fed up and tired of doing the same gigs, and it’s like ‘you don’t have to do it, so shut up – you’re lucky to be doing this, and we don’t want to see you moan."


 

Why did you call yourselves Basement Jaxx?

When we started, our first name was ‘Underground Oasis’ that was the name we were thinking of naming ourselves. But there was a friend of mine who was involved in the music scene and he said that there was this rock band called ‘Oasis’ and he reckoned they might get big so it might be a bit dodgy, people might get confused. He was right! So that’s how we became Basement Jaxx.


You have had a long career with many hits under your belt, how do you choose what goes into your DJ sets?


Well, it’s an element of pleasing yourself and an element of giving people what they want and to take them on a journey. Being artistic about it without being cheesy; making it work without going to the lowest common denominator. Hopefully giving people something moving in the mental, spiritual and artistic sense.


When you write music, do you often just hear something in your head so that a helmet like that would be perfect for you, or do you more often sit down and tinker with melodies until you have something?

Both, really. Sometimes you’re just playing around, something comes along and you just persist with it. Other times you have a very clear idea of what you think it should be, and it might be a bass line or a melody or a beat or rhythm, and you start with that.

How did you get involved in the London Without Limits project?

I’m always up for anything charity-related and the idea of working with a contemporary choir really appealed. I thought it’d be great while it also tied in very nicely with the Power to the People project we’re doing. This involves people from across the world performing different versions of our Power to the People song in different styles and languages, demonstrating that music can break down boundaries and connect people from all creeds and cultures. The song is on our new album but we’ve let it have its own life outside the record. It’s about people having a voice.

What do you think about London as clubbing centre?

I don’t think that exists now. Vegas and Ibiza have concentrated centres. The access to information means you can get as good a night as anywhere in the UK as London. Before London had the keys to the information and musical access. Now everything is more widespread.

Over the years, what is the biggest thing you`ve learnt?


All the ideas of celebrity and fame that people learn are definitely shallow and empty. I never really intended to get to know that world but I’ve gotten to see it. When I was a student, all my cynicism about celebrity culture was all absolutely bang on and I’m right back to where I was as a student – it’s all a load of nonsense. Please, all you students: don’t waste your time on it. Go and make your own things and to a certain extent just ignore the media. It leads to dissatisfaction, envy, just loads of things that don’t make you happier and life can be amazing.


Enjoyment is a big part of creating music, do you feel satisfaction with how far you’ve taken your music career?


I feel blessed and lucky to do something I enjoy, and the fact that the music is still being played on the radio means that people still want to hear it. If that stays for another 50 years, remains to be seen. I think everything is about the journey and experiencing life. There’s a great song by Kamasi Washington called ‘Rhythm Changes,’ that’s just saying that our genius and our success is only temporary and will fade away anyway, so don’t get too hung up on them, and all we have is the moment we are in. One day, you might climb Mt Everest. The next, something tragic happens. I dunno, we are all just experiencing this rich tapestry of being alive. People are wrapped up in celebrity culture and fame at the moment, like that’s a way out to bring happiness. I’ve gotten to see that first hand and feel the same way before I started Basement Jaxx; the things that are important have nothing to do with your success. Yeah it’s nice to get a Christmas bonus or whatever, and that’s good, but that’s all surface stuff.


When you are working in the studio, do each of you gravitate toward your own roles, or do you both work on everything?

With Simon, he gets two bars to sound like a track. For me, I’ll do the whole thing, and I’ll play it to Simon, and he’s like, “I can’t hear a thing of what’s going on.” I can hear a whole song that’s all in there, but it sounds like a mess. So it’s kind of like the elements are more important to me than the way it sounds. Obviously it has to sound good, but that’s the way my mind works.

Do you think money or class has anything to do with music?


A lot of the middle classes embrace (popular) music and it’s kind of become their thing. Pop music used to come a lot from the working class. I think that’s just the way society works. I think anyone can make music. You don’t need music. We had no money when we started out. Creativity is not about having cash.


What are your top tips for new producers?

Generally in a world where there is so much corporate entertainment, give us something more honest and artistic. It’s about ignoring what other people are doing, do your own thing and stop worrying and tweeting about what you haven’t done yet.

https://soundcloud.com/basement-jaxx/rendez-vu-jesse-garcia-tribal

A Sit Down With DJ Sabrina Terence

19.12.2017


Sabrina Terence is a world famous artist, DJ, model and TV host.  Sabrina’s passion for art was born in 1998 when she had her first painting lesson whilst living in Germany.  Her passion developed further as she began exploring some of the world’s best art exhibitions, including Art Basel, Art Berlin and Art Fair Singapore.  Sabrina Terence attributes her inspiration as an artist to abstract art, and she seeks to utilise a bend of acrylic and oil on canvas, allowing her to create her signature work which usually includes big bold colours.

Sabrina’s professional DJ career and passion for music have taken her all over the world including popular destinations within Asia, Africa, USA, Europe, Middle East, and Brazil. Her musical journeys have enabled her to share her unique vibe at major events around the globe while working with notable artists/celebrities such as Neyo, 50Cent, Nelly, Taio Cruz, Jay Sean, Paris Hilton, Akon, Akcent, Nicholas Cage, John Travolta and many more.

 

"Of The main Thing is to have an Interaction with the people and to give Them a good time."


 

How did you get started with Djing and that one thing that made you want to become a LIVE PAINTER?

Well DJing happened back in 2006, after being a model in Germany and moving to the Middle East. I started doing the Live painting since 2016 as a new project to inspire more people during corporate events. today, i could not only be dj and paint in a nightclub, but at any bar venue, car show etc. this is a great new concept! There are many live painters, speedpainters but none of them do paintig besides Djing.

You were born in Germany, but reside in Dubai. What can you tell us about clubbing and nightlife Dubai? Do you have any nightlife related suggestions for first-time visitors?


Dubai is so different from most places in the world, you find everything deep house places and very commercial R&B clubs. But I love it and whatever you like you can go for... I would say, definitely check out the 360 club lounge at Burj Al Arab, amazing view and good for warm ups. Then if you wanna go in a bigger Club go to Sensation Crowne Plaza, mostly R&B but I do Saturdays there if I am in town and people love it!

What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?

My biggest dream was always, traveling around the world, which I did and still doing. Then building a family besides my career. My last goal was becoming a well known DJ in the region ( Middle East , Dubai) which I successfully achieved. My next goal is becoming a well known artist and painter.

Everybody always thinks being a DJ means drinking a lot of Alcohol. Is it true please tell us more about this rumor?

Well I have 2 alcoholic drinks at max. I focus on drinking a lot of water in order to perform well. If I am drunk I’m scared to fall while I’m dancing lol and also drunken DJs are unacceptable. I do prefer vodka tonic even though I am German I do hate beer.

What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?

Meeting nice people from different cultures & seeing the world, getting flowers and travelling with my asian agent Cecilia from BCBG, always fun.

What was the best and the worst gig you ever played and what was the funniest thing ever occurred during any of your performances?


My best gig, hmm there are so many I cant really tell each place is unique.
The worst one was when the stage crashed down during an festival, but thank god I was lucky and kept on playing as nothing happen.

Do you think producing your own track is a key success factor in order to be a number one DJ?

Yes, of course it is very important to have your own tracks. I try to produce new songs every 2 to 3 years. My new song “Higher” is coming out very soon you can listen to it on my Facebook page (female.dj).  I will be back in Thailand every 2 to 3 month, as Illuzion club in Patong will promote me further. This is where I played my new song as well while dancing on the DJ booth.

You are first female Live Painter DJ. What are your other hidden talents?

I can cook. Would love to open my own restaurant or cafe one day with my own art and music maybe. 

You had a successful career as a model, what led you from the catwalk to the DJ booth and how did you get in touch with electronic dance music in the first place?


I always were in touch with music due my model jobs, and then back in 2006 I moved to Dubai because of love, then I got bored of just being a housewife and model so I decided to start DJing, 2008 I had my first gig in a club and it was amazing! 800 people and I was so nervous... from there everything has begun.... I am very thankful for everyone who believed in me!

You travel a lot. What countries or cities do you like most of all and why? Is there any place in the world you was impressed greatly? 

Thailand, actually all Asia is my favourite, but also Africa, South America , North Amercia, Europe, ofocurse I love my base in the middle east. I am very grateful that I have so many followers from all over the world, I love every single one because without them I wouldnt travel so much or having in my up and downs "privately" a reason to not give up! 

Sabrina its no secret that you look exceptional so please tell us what is your secret to stay in such a good shape?

Oh, thank you. Actually since I stopped modeling, I gained around 10 kgs. As a model, I used to be the slim type with no curves at all. Now I got at least woman curves which I like. I feel comfortable and sexy with it and I think it suits me better.

Do you think that «DJ world» is men's world? In your opinion is it harder for girl to become famous DJ? 

It's hard for every DJ! Every ARTIST! You need to be at the right time at the right place and you do need to know how to market yourself out there, I do all the marketing alone, Sometimes people ask me how many employees I got for all social media. Just my mum and me.

https://soundcloud.com/djsabrinaterence/liveatblends

A Sit Down With DJ Alex Metric

09.01.2018


After experimenting with the sounds of UK’s big beat scene, London based producer and DJ Alex Metric began crafting his own style, drawing influences from soulful indie rock and french electro sounds.

Over the last five years, he’s built up a massive collection of remixes for artists like PhoenixGorillaz and Depeche Mode, and original releases (Head StraightOpen Your EyesAmmunition Pt. 1-3), securing him a spot as one of the most in-demand artists of the moment.

With a plethora of productions and left field remixes, Alex Metric’s creativity is as vivid as his vibrant personality.  He’s the bloke who can make cool synth-pop, disco house, Electro, or progressive and determine which is the right sound for the song as well as what he is feeling.

 

"They seem to really love what I do and get what I do… I don’t think that I’ll have to feel like I have to do anything other than just play what I want, and play the music I love."


 

Why do you think your music has such broad appeal?

My love has always been chucking everything in the pot, the first thing I really got into was the big beat days, Skint and Wall of Sound, and then the French house thing, Super Discount and Etienne de Crecy, and I think that throwing everything into the blender is definitely something I try to do in my tracks, to have all these different influences. I love going out and not knowing what you're gonna hear next, you're never sure which direction it's gonna go in. That's the exciting thing about going out, the music that surprises.

You don’t do a lot of remixes like the other guys do, how do you choose which remixes you go for?

I turn down about 4 times as many remixes as I do. I tend to only remix songs with lyrics, which is my general rule. I don’t really like doing club remixes of club records because all you are doing is just moving some sounds around to make another rhythm. If I choose a song, 9 times out of 10 it will be because there is a lyric in that song that actually has a fucking meaning to me. Although it is a remix I do sometimes feel like I am writing another song with their lyrics. For example I am splitting up with a girlfriend at the moment, and in the “DNA” song there were some lyrics that I could relate to and made me feel like I had an emotional connection to their song. That was the reason why I did it, if I can tweak those lyrics and make it feel like it has a meaning to me then you flip it on its head and it is going to mean something to someone else. I think that all of the best remixes that I have done in my career have always happened at times when I have had personal things going on and have related the songs to my life. It sounds like a weird way of doing it, but 90% of the time that’s the reason because it means something to me. The “take me away” part was perfect, because I was literally feeling like “get me the fuck out of this situation.” I think that is a good way of doing it and it gives an extra depth to the remixes and feels less like fucking with someone else’s song and more like something that you feel and is real to you.

What do you think about the dance music explosion that’s happening in America right now? 

I think as a British DJ who comes over to America quite a lot now, my attitude towards it is, there’s a fucking amazing opportunity in America at the moment to shape the tastes and opinions of a generation kids. I don’t see what the point is in sitting in the studio and being snotty about it. Fucking get on a plane, go to America and play them some different music and you can have a part in changing things and showing them other stuff, you know? I think it’s a crazy exciting time in America at the moment! And I certainly think from my last tour there, Miami was a real eye opener, in that everyone was really open to different sounds. I played more disco sets there than banging club sets. I enjoy the challenge of going over to the states and doing shows where I kind of play music on my terms and still hopefully capture the imaginations of an audience.

Writing, producing and singing – have you always been D.I.Y. and independent in your attitude towards music?

The reason I got into production is that I used to just be purely a singer, and having to rely on flaky producers wasn't much fun. So I decided to take it upon myself to do it all myself, and as I got into production I kind of stopped singing for four years or something. My music didn't fit having my vocal on it, until I really discovered what the music that I wanted underneath it was. But now I feel that I've come to a point where I'm happy with the style I've got, so it made sense to get back on the mic again.

How do you keep a record playing and keep promoting it in a way that people don’t lose interest in it and still buy it the first week? How do you keep that balance going?

Ministry knows what they are doing in that respect. They have been drip-feeding different mixes of it, the video and the Mind Vortex remix. We still have the Marcus Marr from DFA remix to drop as well. Keep in mind that at the moment we are still only working the UK, you guys are getting this via the internet and there isn’t even an American release date set at the moment.  We are talking to who we are licensing it to, but I feel like the record has a long shelf life and that it is going to be a gradual record as all the different territories come on.

Your music has been compared to the likes of Ed Banger's output. Do you feel an affinity to the new French electro crew?

That sound has come back round again. I guess I feel an affinity more with the first round of it, I guess my sound is similar to those guys but with a bit more of an English twist. I don't want to be deemed as doing a pastiche of those guys, I think that the whole French and '80s thing is something I've always been into, and a lot of people like it again.

When the two of you work in the studio do you fight over the keyboard, how does that work?

No, not at all. I know that Stuart is a much better keyboard player than me, so I let him play it quite a lot. I think that when you work with someone that you have so much respect for, you could feel like you have to let them be right all the time and feel a bit conscious of their status and their talent, but the refreshing thing about working with Stuart was that there was none of that. Stuart would send me some ideas for the track when we were working remotely, and the fact that I was comfortable being able to tell him that I didn’t like something helped me learn a lot. I think the best and most interesting thing about working with him was that there was no pretension and no bullshit, just two creative people making a record together.

What do you think of RAM so far?

I think it’s… FUCKING incredible! Madeon put it really well when I was speaking to him the other day. He said Duft Punk have attempted to make a masterpiece and that should be applauded. It’s gonna make people think about what they do. Even if they don’t like it but still react to it, it’s doing a good job.

Any advice for producers who are just now getting into music?

I think the main thing to say to them is, do your own thing. Be brave enough to stand apart from the crowd. That’s how you’ll get your head above everyone else. Don’t make music based on what is popular or what you think is gonna get you somewhere quick. Work out what it is you love and make those records.

https://soundcloud.com/alexmetric/sets/ammunition-pt-4-remixes

A Sit Down With DJ D. Ramirez

08.12.2017


The D Ramirez name has been synonymous with cutting edge, forward thinking sound since the release of ‘that’ genre defining remix of Bodyrox’s 'Yeah Yeah' Top 40 #1 in the mid-noughties, but it’s the rich tapestry of production that followed that continues to make tidal waves across the industry. From Space Ibiza, Womb in Tokyo to Avalon in LA; or smashing sets at iconic festivals Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Global Gathering and Australia Day in Sydney; D Ramirez is a definitive crowd puller across the globe.

As well as commercial success with high chart positioning hits and even an appearance on the famous BBC television music show, Top Of The Pops, D. Ramirez has also received a number of illustrious industry awards throughout his career as a producer, from places DJ Magazine (Best Producer and Best Remix 2007), iDJ (Player of the Year) and even an Ivor Novello nomination for his now classic remix of Bodyrox ‘Yeah Yeah’. With his remixes of Roger Sanchez – Lost (D.Ramirez Lost In Rave Remix), which was named as Pete Tong’s Essential new tune, Plump DJ’s – Electric Disco (D.Ramirez Mix), also an Essential New Tune along with Max Linen – The Soulshaker (D.Ramirez Mix), D. Ramirez had his industry peers tipping their hats to him.

 

 "Being just a DJ isn’t enough these days - you need to bring something new to the table and impress people with a different skill set. "


 

Tell us about your musical background.

My real name is Dean Marriot. We might as well get the real name out of the way first. I’ve been producing music for the last 30 years. Making music was always a hobby for me, and I started when I was about 10 years old. Eventually I had some recognition for a track when I was producing with another guy under the name The Lisa Marie Experience. The track, ‘Keep on Jumping’ was what we became most famous for. That was in 1996 and went to number 5 in the UK charts. Later on in the 90s after doing hundreds of remixes and tracks I decided I wanted to make more techno-influenced House music and this is where the D.Ramirez moniker came from. I wanted to start again without any connotations as the Lisa Marie Experience was quite a commercial project, really. I wanted to do something dark, underground and dirty, and I didn’t want anyone to know it was me. I wanted people to think it was a Spanish dude, you know! Though I couldn’t look anything less like one actually. So, I’ve been doing the D.Ramirez project now since about 1999 and it’s going strong.

Talk us through your typical workflow from idea development to conception.

I always start by finding the right hook - whether it be a sample or a riff and i build it from there. I used to start with drums and percussion and add the hooks in later but now i get the hook first. Basically if i can have something sounding great with just a kick drum alone, i know i'm onto a winner. I'll then start by throwing some loops (that i've collected over the years) around the hook in Ableton. Once i'm satisfied with the way things are sounding i'll bounce everything out from Ableton and export into Logic Pro. I prefer to arrange in Logic as it's just what i'm used to. Here i start to sketch out the track. This method is very much in keeping with the 'left brain/ Right brain' theory where i'll play around with ideas first and then i'll go into arrange mode later - it splits the 2 processes up.

You have been a firm fixture on the house and techno scene for many years, what do you feel is the secret to your continued success as a DJ and Producer? 

I think my secret is sheer tenacity-I'm a hard worker and I absolutely adore what I do. I love being in the studio, it's all I need in life and making music is my number one pleasure. I'll continue to keep doing this while ever I possibly can.

What kind of sound and what musical trend has inspired you most?

I have to say I was inspired the most as a child when the New Romantic scene broke in the early eighties. Bands like The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, ABC, Depeche Mode, and Heaven 17 were my favourites. I even had the infamous asymmetric hair cut that Phil Oakey from the Human League had!

So, your music style has transitioned from upbeat, Electro House to underground Techno. Where do you feel your music is at now?

Well, I’ve had big moments in my career from the time of The Lisa Marie Experience. Ironically, I began making more underground music afterwards because I didn’t like the success and commercial nature that led to the expectancy of playing only a certain style of music. But then in 2006 the same thing happened: I released an experimental wonky-electro track that happened to go to number 1 in the charts. It was amazing but it kind of went against everything I wanted to do, because then everybody was looking at what I was doing, booking me for big concerts and festivals—which was brilliant—but with that came the expectation that I must play commercial music.  After that I decided I didn’t want to make that kind of music anymore, especially as a lot of other artists copied that sound I had started. So, I’d be hearing stuff and think, "Hang on a minute, that sounds familiar!" It wasn’t just that the style was copied, it got to the point where that genre got watered down and was being overdone. So I decided to start making minimal Techno which I think was a total shock to my fans, but I carved a little niche out doing that. Now I’m making more House-oriented music; Tech-House, and I’m signed to Toolroom who are purveyors of that sound. 

What part of the production process do you find the most challenging?

I currently struggle with getting my mix downs sounding fat enough. I've got to the point now where i don't even attempt the mix anymore - i just pass it over to a mix engineer...

How do you think the technology affects the music producers release?

The kids now have the ability to make fully produced tracks entirely on a laptop from start to finish. You can produce and master a track using the best, professional plug-in's on the market so it's an open playing field out there at the moment technology wise. Although, just because there is all this technology available doesn't necessarily mean that the track produced will be any good.

Recently, you have changed your musical direction and have been greatly influenced by Deep House and Techno, would you agree?

I have always loved house, deep house and the more underground techno sound. So I was really happy when I started to hear this music trickling back through the underground again; especially the old school sound that I grew up with.

Not only a label owner, producer and DJ, you are also a regular contributor to the academic side of things through your work with Toolroom Academy, SubBass DJ Academy and various online tutorials. What made you decide to give back?  Any further plans in this area? 

Teaching is something I really like, mainly because I get to talk about all the things that most people generally don't want to listen to. I’m really passionate about music production and all the technology that goes with it, i love to learn new techniques and i love being able to share those techniques with others. I’ve recently become one of the main advisors for the Toolroom Academy and i’ve just completed a 6 hour long, Tech House Masterclass for Fader pro which is out now which i’m already getting loads of props for. Teaching is something a see a lot in my future as i’ll always want to give back.

What about hardware in studio and live?

I used to play with vinyl and then I got heavily into the laptop generation and started off with Serato Scratch and Traktor which I was using with the S4. But it was pretty big so I’ve gone back to using CDJs and USB sticks when DJing. Of course I use all my hardware to produce the tracks first and then play it live the easy way when I get to the gig. I’ve been collecting stuff for my studio for the last 25 years. I’ve got my SH1, Prophets, Jupiters and lots of stuff! I started getting into nice preamps. For example, I’ve got a Universal Audio 610 preamps, Culture Vulture stuff, and the Thermionic Culture Fat Bustard Summing Valve Mixer. So I’ve got all of this hardware mainly under dust sheets because I don’t get a chance to be in the studio much now. 

https://soundcloud.com/slaverecordings/sets/d-ramirez-guy-williams-solid

A Sit Down With DJ Aphex Twin

20.12.2017


It's hard not to praise someone who's a pioneer and a star in techno/electronica- that's just Richard D. James (aka Aphex Twin) for you. His music stretches from calmness and medatative sounds to jarring noise and jungle- a pretty fertile and (by his own admission) restless mind who busies himself with other projects under different names. His music is as well-known as his antics- owns and drives a tank around, played sandpaper and a food mixer at a gig, loves to throw out outrageous statements that keep people scratching their heads (you'll find some doozies below). And there he is leering at you with evil grins from the covers of his CD's. All of this would lead you to think the worst about him as a person but believe me, it ain't true. He's a really nice guy despite all of his efforts to appear otherwise.

In 2005, he released 11 EPs of gritty acid techno via his Analord series. A pair of 2007 releases by an artist named the Tuss, on James' own Rephlex label, were generally acknowledged to be his work. And he has continued to perform, including a string of live appearances in 2011 and 2012, along with a DJ set under his AFX alias at this year's Glastonbury. But as the years went on with no new proper Aphex Twin album, it became easy to wonder if Drukqs would turn out to be his last. Perhaps he preferred taunting his fans with all those alleged unreleased songs to actually releasing music.

 

"When I bought my first synthesizer I really didn’t like it, l thought it was a piece of shit and I really didn’t have any money to buy anything better so I had to go about tweaking it."


 

What was the first musical experience that really touched you?

Nature sounds have always been way more intense for me than music, especially when I was a little kid. I can remember as a kid, if you run up to a big wall, you get this flange effect. It’s just a constant noise, it works like wind. I remember that one from when I was really young. I still hear it now, sometimes I see a wall and then I hear this sound from when I was kid.

Do you do a lot of clubbing?

Yeah, now and again. I've been doing a lot this year, going with my mates to see my mates playing. It's the same sort of thing again and again. I'm not really bored at all so I don't really need to look outside although I do. I'm at the maximum capacity of what I listen to I think. I'm not completely obsessed about listening to other peoples' music. I just deal with the gaps as much as possible.

In most of your compositions there is an interest in frustrated sounds and trembling, fragile, inter-harmony harmonies. Do you remember the moment when you first discovered these sounds?


I do not remember exactly, but I always liked these strange scales and construction. For quite some time I have been using my own scales, starting with "Selected Ambient Works Volume II". This album uses my own scales, I developed my own system and composed from it. I hear the same tone in each ear the same way, while most people hear it with a slight difference. Thus, the brain is oriented in space. In my case it is closed. I do not know what the problem is - apparently, it's at the level of physiology.


You said that you do not like to share your music and prefer to keep it for personal use. How much is the publication of the material for your nervous system?


Not at all, in truth, because when I start work on something new, I am motivated by the fact that I have not heard anything like that from the others. Usually this is the main inspiration. Therefore, if today I started working on new material and this first experiment, I feel great enthusiasm, because I have not heard anything like it before. But it's only the next day to put the release on the Internet, as my interest in continuing to dry up, because people will hear the material, start copying it, it will lose all the novelty and attractiveness. I will independently deal with the logical development of the project that has been started, and at the moment when it will take the completed form, I will present it in general access.


A lot of performers don't bother and they all use the same equipment though. You think that leads to a lot of monotony and sameness with music?

Yeah, sort of but then I'd reckon that I'd still be happy to work with shit equipment. I'd reckon that you'd still be able to squeeze out good things from it. A lot on today's equipment is wicked even though I wouldn't buy a lot of it. You can still give me any piece of equipment, any keyboard and I can do something nice with it. It's peoples' ideas and motivation behind it that makes it boring and monotonous. It just exaggerates it more if you do build your own stuff or write your own software. Then it's going to be even more personalized. 

Is it true that you are equally a sound artist and musician?


Yes. It's about sound, people forget about it. They think "oh, I want to hear a pleasant melody". But you really want to hear a certain combination of frequencies that will lead you into a certain state. More exciting, our musical experience boils down to the search for new frequencies and oscillations. A lot of composers long before me wanted to change the world, having left from a uniformly tempered system  - and I inherit their mission. Western culture has brainwashed all of us with this system - the people of the academic warehouse who like to adhere to the rules, it's difficult to go beyond this established harmony, to realize your true potential and challenges. But I like it when a person does not know the exact location of the notes, because then he goes to the intuitive level of music making. Develops a new language - in fact, the new rules. And when these new rules are applied in practice, the physiology of the brain changes. Thus, the brain itself has to change its configuration in order to adapt to new realities.


Are you ambitious? If so, towards what ends?

I’m trying to do the best thing imaginable – that’s my ambition. And I try this by making music. When you make music and you listen to it, it changes you and then it gives you an idea of something new to do. It’s a constantly evolving process. Everytime you make music, if you’re on form, you should be imaging what you want to hear, which is basically how you want it to be.

Where does the inspiration for your work come from?

I don't know really. I never really worked that out. If I'm not in the mood to do something, I'm not going to do it. I'll just go and do something else. When I just get something new, I just want to get something out of my system. I know that when I'm feeling in that mood, it's going to be good and I'm going to enjoy it later. Then I can listen back to it and appreciate it afterwards. 

Do you mostly make music just for yourself or do you make it for others?

Well, the people come into your mind when you’re doing stuff. Sometimes people kind of flow past you. Sometimes you fixate on a person. Most of the time you’re not thinking about it, it just comes in. People just come into your head. Because when you’re making music it’s like meditating, when it’s good, when you’re really good. Sometimes, if I like the taste of a person, I try to make music I imagine this person really likes. Which is quite interesting. I don’t even think I want to play it to them.

https://soundcloud.com/richarddjames/5-diskprept4

 

A Sit Down With DJ Ritmo

20.12.2017


Dubi Dagan, aka Ritmo, has managed to formulate a unique technique that captures moments in life and translates them to an addictive rhythmic Progressive Trance creation.

His most ambitious project to date is his current new album - "Adventures" - which comes out in 2016. This magical soundscape captures and modulates the diverse rhythms Dagan absorbed during his tours across the world. "Adventures" shows Ritmo's sonic versatility, where he also collaborates with major acts such as Astrix, Ace Ventura and Liquid Soul. Tune in and join the adventure while blending in the rhythm and make it your own.

 

"I must admit that I am not really the “fastest” producer, it takes me a long time to get inside a track, shape it and then finish it."


 

Israel is known for its strong diversity and has no shortage of psychedelic music. What was it about Japan, the U.S.A and India that influenced you so strongly early on in your career?

As a whole I would say I was extremely influenced by the Israeli scene, which was slightly more underground than these days, but kicking in all the right places. As for Japan and India these are non-Western regimes which I was fascinated about, it was a totally different experience than anything I have known before, culture and music wise. Naturally it had an effect on me, hard to pinpoint exactly what but I always love to meet new cultures!

Do you remember the first psytrance track you’ve heard and really got you hooked on it?

It’s pretty hard for me to point exactly what was the first track because there were so many great tracks back in the day, but around 1991-1992 I heard “Phantasia – Inner Light”. Although it’s not exactly what would be considered a psytrance track today, for me that’s where it all started…

Tell us a bit about your journey from those moments to become a psytrance producer.

Well I’ll go way back to 1994 when I first started to go to psychedelic trance parties in Israel – it was a real magical time. Then in 1998 I began traveling quite a lot to places such as Japan, USA and India where I also spent some time exploring the local party scenes. In 2001 I was given the opportunity to take my first steps as a resident DJ at the Luna Club in the city of Haifa, and I ended up staying there for approximately 3 years. I think it was all of those experiences over the years- traveling in all of those exotic locations as well as the skills I developed as a DJ- that made me want to produce my own music.

How you got into the psytrance world and what is the meaning behind the name Ritmo?

I’m doing great, thanks! Well, I go way back to 1994, where I first started to go to psychedelic trance parties in Israel. It was a real magical time. Then, in 1998, I started to travel quite a lot to places such as Japan, USA and India where I spent some time going to parties as well. In 2001 I made my first steps as a resident DJ, at the Luna Club in the city of Haifa for approximately 3 years. I think it was all the experiences I absorbed along the years, in all those exotic locations combined with the expertise I developed as a DJ, that made me want to make my own music. Ritmo means rhythm in Spanish or Portuguese and it represents what I find to be one of the most important features in a track.

In your opinion, what is it about progressive music that makes it so danceable? Do you think it has the potential to break into the mainstream?

Well there is no doubt that progressive is becoming much more popular these past few years. I think it has to do with the fact that it fits perfectly to the human body; it is not too fast, not too slow, and it contains many other genres, so many people can find something they like in it. For example there is dark progressive and off beat, so each genre is different. Another point is that it is not too aggressive or dull, I actually find myself playing it to people who never hear this kind of music and they love it! You could say it becomes a bit more mainstream, but I think there is still a long way before it will be declared as the new Lady Gaga!

You collaborate with a lot of top producers on this album – Astrix, Ace Ventura, Liquid Soul – can you share with us something from the work with them, best if it is juicy.

Yes. In this album I collaborated with six different top producers who also are great people and close friends. It was really important for me to have all of them on the album, first because I am a big fan of their music, but also because of the individual friendships we have. I am happy that they were able to be a part of this creation. Juicy stories.

Ever use Live instruments in your sets/ would you?

During my live set I use Chaos Oscillator, and samples that I made before handed I activate with the help of Midi Controller.

You play festivals around the globe in faraway locations. Are these kind of trips something you just get used to over time?

What a wonderful question! Ok, so the past few years have been totally hectic and crazy, I do get to go to many places around the world, and being on a plane is not that easy when it is so frequent. However, I just love what I do, the satisfaction I get from the smiling people, and the energy I absorb from the wonderful people across the world functions as a charger that keeps me going. So it was quite easy to get used to this unusual life style when you feel such a fulfillment.

What is it about Progressive Trance for you that just makes a party happen?

Well, personally I love the way this genre appeals to people who are not necessarily Trance fanatics. Progressive Trance manages to sweep a wider variety of crowd and it’s amazing to see different people dance to it.

https://soundcloud.com/ritmomusic/ritmo-lifeforms-orchid-sample

A Sit Down With DJ Spectre

19.12.2017


SPEKTRE weaves an intrepid, complex web amongst underground dance music’s elite. The techno brainchild of DJs/producers Filthy Rich and Paul Maddox, the dark duo was formed through a shared passion for driving electronic music and a mutual desire to push sound boundaries using the most cutting edge technology available. The fusion of their combined experience in the studio allows them to construct dark, sinister sounds mixed with twisted, haunting vocals and unnerving, atmospheric foundations.

As performers, Spektre’s unique sound has taken them to some of the biggest and most highly regarded venues worldwide, with frequent bookings by the likes of Space Ibiza, Exit Festival, Pacha Buenos Aires and Burning Man. On stage, their long-standing chemistry and constant desire to experiment always results in an exciting spectacle. Their live exploits are also documented alongside guest slots from esteemed cohorts in a fortnightly Mutual Respekt Podcast, which is syndicated across the globe.

 

"We’ve both played different genres of music along the way but I definitely think this has benefited us."


 

Could you please tell us how did you meet each other at the beginning of your career? Is there any story behind it?

We were introduced by a mutual friend - despite having spent many hours on the same dance floors we’d somehow managed never to cross paths. But we moved in similar circles and it was very easy to hook up and start a project together. I (Rich) in particular had reached a point with my music where I really wanted to experiment with something new and start a project that was a lot more underground than the music I was known for. Paul was the perfect partner for this project and as soon as we started in the studio the chemistry and flow of ideas we had together soon became apparent! We knew we were on to a good thing when our first three tracks got signed to Oliver Huntemann’s ‘Dance Electric’ label.

Are there any artists that you feel have had a particularly significant influence on you as producers?


Going back to my earlier days, BT was always the benchmark I aimed for in terms of production quality and inventiveness. I never got close, but it’s good to have goals!


You live in Sheffield, what are your thoughts on the club scene at the moment?

It’s got a lot better. Around 2 years ago it was absolutely dead but now there’s quite a few people putting nights on. In Leeds and Manchester you get a lot of people putting on nights on the same night as each other and it creates competition which makes people strive to put on better nights. A bit of competition is definitely a good thing.

Let's talk a bit about your sound, which is pretty distinctive. Did it come together naturally or was it part of what you wanted to establish when you started releasing as Spektre?


Yeah we try not to limit ourselves to a particular direction. We love to experiment with vocals, melodies, percussion, synths etc. but always aim to give it our own stamp.


Concerning the music you’ve done along the years since 2006, which track do you think help you to win credibility and open some doors?

Our remix of Marc de Pulse’s “PS, You Rock” was the first time we managed to hit the top of the beatport charts, which gave us a lot of exposure we hadn’t had previously. Then we had our first Beatport number one with the Uto Karem Remix of our track ‘Cheyenne.’ Despite this being another artists remix this got a lot of support from the big techno artists and gave us big boost! The other big moment would have to be getting the chance to remix Fever Ray “Triangle Walks” – we always like opportunities to fuse our music with other styles so getting a full track of Karin from The Knife’s vocals to work with was a dream come true!

What’s your favourite techno tune?

Of all time? Anything by Hardfloor, Acperience being one of the best. Difficult to fit into any of our sets because the sound is so old school. When we played Space we dropped Golden Girls “Kinetic” which is one of the guys from Orbital and another of my favourite ever tunes.

What’s going on in the world of Spektre?

The new album which is out at the end of the summer. It’s all done now and we’re in the process of sorting out a launch party, probably in London. It’s coming out on Toolroom who I guess are best known for their more mainstream and house stuff, but they recently released a techno series called Rhythm District which has become kind of like a sub label. Umek also released an album on there but I reckon our new album will be the most full-on techno album on Toolroom so far!

What’s the craziest gig you’ve ever played?

Probably Juarez in Mexico a few years ago – the then murder capital of the world! We had bodyguards walking us to the dj booth from the car and sticking around afterwards while we were playing and we saw armed police on the back of pick up trucks on the way to gigs. Nothing kicked off though and the crowd were really up for it. We actually went back there more recently though and things have calmed down a lot.

Do you have any tips for people who are just starting to DJ or produce?


A top one for producers would be to always sit on your tracks for a while before sending them out; having a bit of a break from them, then listening again will usually reveal at least a couple of things you could improve.


https://soundcloud.com/spektrelive/nasqueron-original-mix-drumcode

A Sit Down With DJ Uner

15.12.2017


UNER is one of the most important names of the new generation of Spanish electronic music producers. His musical training allowed him to develop at a very early age a different dance music concept, based on the pleasure for harmony and the search for a unique, personal sound.

Apart from traveling around the world as a Dj, in 2012 UNER is still developing the live performance act, an audiovisual concept in which he uses state-of-the-art software and hardware (from iPads to mini midi keyboards) to explore his most solid, personal side. The artistic expansion of the Catalonian producer will go on during the following months with the release of his debut album where he'll express his way of understanding electronic music from a musical point of view and from the center of the dancefloor. UNER's bound to reach higher tops with the only limit of his music... so there's still loads to see, listen and dance.

 

"Silence still inspires me, because it’s when I can be totally connected with myself and it’s where I find my inspiration."


 

Best 2012 Producer at Vicious Awards, Newcomer of the year at Ibiza’s 2013 DJ Awards, three more Vicious Awards , and also a fantastic 2014. How do you see the Spanish scene from your position? Where would you place the “national” product comparing it with Europe and the rest of the world?

We are still babies if we compare ourselves with scenes like the British or German one, but we are getting better and better. We could not forget the economic crisis here in Spain which has beaten hard artists and promoters and has just made hardest the fight. But thanks to the strength and the faith of the people and artists we are getting better. I don’t mean better artist than the old ones, I mean that we are working better, we have more artists with different styles and we are getting out, to the international scene. Also we have to consider that people wants electronic music and it’s not anymore only the underground scene.

You play live and you DJ, right? Which do you prefer though? Do you keeping DJing so you can keep things fresh?

I only play live about 8 or 9 times a year, in special events or big festivals. I want every time I play live to be new and exclusive for the venue, so it’s very difficult to have that every week. Also, logistics get harder, it can sometimes be tough to travel with a lot of equipment. I’ve been DJing since 2004 and so I travel every weekend. It’s something exciting for me because I try to reconstruct each track I play and for me, it’s like creating music through other people’s minds. What I do now is, I blend both sides and include a live part in my DJ set to play live my own tracks. But all year long, I’m 80% DJ and maybe 20% live.

You are known for experimenting with your gig setup. Do you see live performances as important to the ‘UNER’ experience?

For me, both my DJ sets and my live sets are equally important. Everything has its moment and its magic, so a year ago I decided to blend it all and mix my DJset with my live set (for my own tracks and to be able to dismount tracks of other artists). In addition to being more fun for me, you give music a different point of view: your own point of view. And that allows people to reach deeper into your world.

You played in a live band growing up.  What was the name of your band, how did you guys form, and what kind of music did you play?

Yes, I’ve been doing live sets with electronic bands from a young age. The first band (well, it wasn’t really a band, it was a duo) was called Real Dream and we used to do electronic pop from that era (around about 1994/1995). It sounds a bit cheesy now, but we were 16 years old and our dream was just to be able to play live to people. But that’s not the only type of band that I’ve been in. I’ve played every type of music from classical concerts to music for dancing halls. It was an incredible era because being able to play such different types of music taught me to respect every musician, every style and especially to be inspired by many different formats, even seeing the real side of the music scene, not only about electronic music, but how hard it is to make a name for yourself in any type of music and how easy it is to be mislead by other artists who control the market. A great learning curve.

What do you think has been most important in developing your unique sound?

Staying true to yourself without giving in to trends or the temptation of wanting to be always in the tops and charts of the most sold tracks. I think that’s a very common mistake these days, where digital sales have grown so rapidly. The personality of an artist is very important, and making or copying what another artist creates, turns you into exactly that: an undefined copycat. In my case, I’ve always wanted to make the music I like, timeless and aiming at nothing but enjoying it and express myself.

If you would like to pick anyone, whether its a musician, producer, singer or artist to work with, who would it be?

If we speak about electronics, Laurent Garnier now and always without any doubt. If we talk about musicians, Paco de Lucía (impossible) or Bebo Valdés this would have been an authentic honor.

You released a bunch of great and successful tracks so what’s your favorite thing when it comes to producing your own track?

The most important for me is try to do something different with every track. Of course I have my „own“ sound and personality but I’m trying to find a new direction and approach to producing all tracks, atmospheric with feelings and emotions, layers, and harmonies. For me it’s not about just making music for a club dancefloor, it’s about what I am going through at that time of my life and how that transcends into my musical output.

Your track “Pallene” served as an absolute hit for you.  Where did you produce it and what was the process like?  

Yes, “Pallene” was a turning point in my career, but I have to admit that a few times I got quite sick of it. LOL
When a track gets so popular, everybody asks for it, everybody wants you to play it, even a few times in the same night and it gets to a point when you want to move on. It was insane. Haha. However I’m really happy that it’s part of my life because, in the end, it allowed me to meet those who are now part of my team, my manager and my friend/brother Alex Montoya and all those who have and are accompanying me on this crazy journey. And, obviously, my reputation changed in the music scene and it got me to places I hadn’t been before and it allowed me to meet artists that I now work with. But especially, it taught us a lot about this business.

The genres of music are continually evolving, what’s your prediction for the next new musical style?

It is complicated to predict what will happen tomorrow especially if the fans make their choice, their way, but I think the organic vocal deep sounds could be a next step. Even so most of the new sounds have been awaken from their influences from the subgenres of music.

What are some significant developments you see in electronic music right now?

Everything is much faster and easier when it comes to producing. Even DJing, or access to music. At the same time it has also provoked a frequent loss of that humanization factor, making everything monotonous and sound alike, sometimes even boring. I believe we should look for the real sense of everything, the technological advances are there to allow us to create better things every time, not to work less and become robots that just repeat an equation.

What do you think about the music scene in South America? Is it true that the North American festivals and parties are winning positions against the European ones?

The truth is that we are allways wellcome in the American continent. In both South and North America. They are very different places and there are also lots of differences between the East and the West in North America. It’s an incredible territory which is growing so fast and there’s a lot of people willing to discover and enjoy new kinds of music. As I said before I don’t like to compare but what I can tell you for sure is that the power you feel there is awesome. Lots o clubs are promoting the electronic music with really good answers from the public.

What we can say is that there are incredible festivals like the “Burning Man” that won’t be possible to perform here in Europe, because of the logistics and because of the licenses. And it is an special experience that I think everyone should enjoy at least once in a lifetime.

https://soundcloud.com/uner/sets/uner-live

A Sit Down With DJ Binary Finary

15.12.2017


Alongside A-leaguers like Ferry Corsten and Paul van Dyk, UK’s Binary Finary is among the true veterans of the trance genre. Nearly 20 years ago—when the sound was reaching its first zenith—they penned the all-time classic anthem “1998.” The record encapsulated the heightened emotions that resonated through the early trance scene and have stayed strong to this day.

Binary Finary teamed up with DJ Ernesto to set up their own record label called ‘Future Focus Recordings’. The label very quickly managed to become a firm favourite in the Trance scene, and their releases are simply magnificent. Their remix for Alpha Duo’s featuring Fisher – ‘Fight For Love’, was a huge success followed by Binary Finary vs Pulse & Sphere – ‘High Stress’ and their latest one ‘Flight of Life’. Of course they release remixes and tracks on other labels also, including their very hot-at-the-moment collaboration with Genix on Digital Society recordings, called, Smoking Gun.  As it seems the Binary Finary beloved project is back in full force with a series of must-have future trance classics.

 

 "The one thing I keep going back to as the defining point for me personally was that when I changed the mindset of producing and creating music from something that needs to be played out."


 
Is it possible to tell us how the Binary Finary project started and why you chose that particular name for your project? Does this name signify something special for you?


Prior to the reforming of Binary Finary (Stuart and Sasha), I met Matt in a music shop in 1997, when I was looking to buy some hardware. He told me about a keyboard that wasn’t in the shop, but he had one at home I was welcome to come and check out. I went along to check it and heard the basics of 1998 (then called 1997) and things pretty much formed quickly after that. The scene at the time was so powerful; we just kind of got pulled together.

The name Binary was used because at it’s root the synths and computer were pushing binary numbers around to make the sounds, Finary because nothing else rhymes with Binary?



Seeing Binary Finary on the lineup for Dreamstate SoCal 2016 & Dreamstate SF 2017 was a dream come true for many fans. What were those experiences like, and how do they compare to trance events in Europe?


There is a really beautiful and lovely feeling around the trance scene in the USA. It was very telling to see it in San Francisco. It reminded me of how the scene was in the UK in the mid 90’s. Everyone there for the music, united by it and sharing the experience together. All ego’s set aside, promoters working together, to the benefit of the scene in general. That’s the biggest thing to take away from the Dreamstate SF experience. It was just wonderful. The production for the event was utterly amazing. I’ve not witnessed anything like this before. From the quality of the sound (high power without ringing your ears) to the incredible visuals, the moving lighting rig… It really was next level stuff.

Which style of performing do you anticipate doing more frequently, and why?

Well currently we are focusing on the Live side of things. I’m more of a producer than a DJ so it suits me better. However that’s where Sasha comes in, as he is primarily a DJ, so we have all basses for live covered.

It’s been around a decade since you guys relaunched with the new live show (I was there at your NYE show at Sensation in Melbourne). How has this evolved?

That was an amazing show. Funny, because I was being hassled by [Australian DJ and promoter] Sasha Vatoff in 2010 to come back and do events. I wasn’t really that interested, but he bugged and bugged me until I said, “Okay, but only if you come and join me.” Within a few days, he came back with Sensation White for a gig. In terms of the show nowadays, we now DJ the tracks out, but they are mostly our tracks, remakes and edits. We decided to do this to increase the production value of the tracks, because there were some compromises that had to be made to get the whole live angle working. We find the way it works now is better for overall productions. In saying that, it would be good to do the whole live show again; utilizing newer technology than we had back then could really make the live shows work.

How do you feel the Trance genre has changed in the past two decades?

For us, trance hasn’t changed. It’s still driven by solid melody and driving basslines. Generally, commercialism wrecked it after the 2000’s and it never really recovered. Artists who were writing trance music and performing it suddenly didn’t want to call their music trance music. The word ‘trance’ became a dirty word. I can’t count the number of times I heard on everyday radio people saying the one main genre of music they hated was trance. It was like it was fashionable and trendy to bag it out. So strange. The ones who count, the real purveyors of the sound kept to their roots and they have our total respect. The ones that went off to EDM and whatever else, are welcome to stay there. It would seem trance has become a bit more trendy these days, so it’s interesting to see these people come back. It’s based on money and commercialism, so when I say interesting, I’m just being as polite as possible…

Do you believe that you can bring back some of the old school magic back to Trance music? 

You know good music, is good music. It doesn’t matter when it was written or who wrote it, if people enjoy it, then that’s the main thing. If we can inspire anyone in anyway to start writing music, or just to go out and have fun, then we’ll sit back quite contented.

Can you describe what equipment you use while performing live on stage?

We use 2 MacBook pros, networked up with 2 JazzMutant Lemurs and a keyboard, all plugged into a traditional dj mixer. Clips are triggered live from the Lemur’s as well as the control of filters and effects.

Binary Finary’s presence has had a serious impact on trance scene over the years. What has been your favorite part about this journey as artists?

All of it!. The journey itself has been incredible. There have been some serious lows, but that just makes the highs that much more special. With something that’s so personal, in writing and producing music, it really does make the emotion of it so strong. We feel humbled and honoured that we are still able to play our tracks out to this day, and still able to perform out. We are truly lucky.

What inspired you to get back in the scene and what was your approach for doing so ?

Being honest again, when the option for Sensation come about, I thought, well it’s worth a go for a bit of fun. After the reaction we got, I was blown away, so decided it was time to put a bit more focus into making those types of events happen a bit more frequently. It’s all for fun and enjoyment, sure we take our music seriously, but this is just for the buzz of throwing some creative’s out loud, and watching the feedback.
You started the record label with Ernesto ‘Future Focus Recordings’, and already the first two releases include remixes from your side that follow the groovy progressive trance style. Are you going to abandon the fast paced uplifting trance tracks in favour of a more clubby progressive trance sound?


No we won’t go completely away from that type of sound. That sound is part of our DNA. It is good to branch out into slightly different styles, it just so happened that those tracks got released. We’d written a few around that time, of various styles etc. We are actually at the moment working on a 140 BPM driving Trance track. If we could make it faster we would but we always keep in mind and people tend to overlook this that as a producer you need to be aware of your market. Yes Trance has slowed down but it has also opened the doors to allow us to take this sound to the masses. There will always be haters out there who want the old trance tempo and sound back, but with every genre of music an artist’s sound changes over time.

https://soundcloud.com/binaryfinary/1998-original-mix

A Sit Down With DJ Dieselboy

14.12.2017


Dieselboy - The Destroyer - stand out as a rare virtuoso of the art and craft of live DJing. His complex, high voltage, take-no-prisoners sets. Arguably no other DJ mixes live - on four decks - with more precision, imagination, intensity, energy and finesse. In the history of electronic dance music, no one comes even close to matching his legacy of epic dramatic mixes, each a timeless star in his signature constellation. Dieselboy - one of the world's finest technical DJs - has, in fact, elevated the themed DJ mix to the realm of fine art.

Dieselboy is also a passionate connoisseur of books, film and food. He has written about and been interviewed about his obsession with the food, and since 2014 his cooking skills have been displayed in the professional kitchens around the world including pop-up hamburger events at restaurants in the Netherlands. He has collaborated on an artisan beer and a gourmet hot dog, and has a cocktail published in Robert Simonson's (New York Times cocktail writer) new book "The Old-Fashioned."


An inspiration for generations of DJs, Dieselboy's longevity and relevance in a mercurial industry is a tribute to his relentless drive to create "amazing" experiences for his fans in their iPods and at his infamously explosive live shows.

 

"I’m old school and I like “concepts” and high levels of detail. I want to make the best mixes, period. I set the bar high for myself."


 

Who were some of your influences musically when you started out?

My segue into dance music comes from a blended interest in r&b, synth pop and industrial (in that order). Early dance music that I gravitated towards combined elements of all three of these genres. Nowadays I mostly listen to indie rock and metal in my downtime.


How about your dabbles with dubstep? Wasn’t Beyond Thunderdome dubstep?

That was drumstep. I’ve never done a 140BPM track. But I got to a point playing here in the states where I felt I couldn’t get away without playing some dubstep. And that got me round to thinking if I played a few dubstep tunes I could get on those line-ups and Trojan Horse the shit out of the scene, get in with a few dubstep tunes then smash it and expose dubstep kids to drum & bass. It kinda worked for a while – but I felt that a lot of fans were annoyed. Purists couldn’t get their heads around 140 beats per minute difference. If you like a type of sound the BPM range shouldn’t matter. It’s ridiculous.

You’ve also got this dope collab with Damascus that just came out. Talk about how this came about and how you see your personality surfacing in the finished product.

A few years ago I was put in touch with Nate from Damascus via my friend Dino. I was familiar with his stuff and respected his aesthetic, but I wanted to make sure that this collaboration would actually be a true collaboration, not me just lending him my name and having him bang something out for me on his own. I had a concept: what if you were a graphic designer in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s doom metal scene, a fan of old-school horror and fantasy comics, and had the aesthetic “density” of what Nate was doing in the modern day today? I wanted to push Nate outside of his boundaries a bit. We worked side-by-side coming up with the hand-drawn elements that we would need to have made for the shirt. The front of the shirt almost looks like a movie poster for something called DEATHWOLVES. The sleeves are meant to reflect metal vest patches with various bands on them, and the back is another reference to wolves with a giant rib cage, blood, etcetera. I was in charge of coming up with all of the text on the shirt. When it came time to print them up Nate went the extra step and had the shirt acid distressed to make it feel aged. He also made cool enamel DIESELBOY pins that come with each shirt. It was a fun project to be a part of and I hope we can work on some more stuff in the future.

Your first release came on a UK label, Tech Itch. That’s pretty significant for an international artist at the time. It was a tight scene to enter from outside the UK back then wasn’t it?

I got shit on pretty hard, yes. Back in the DOA days especially. But the reason it came out on a UK label was because my roommate started this online romance with a guy who was best mates with Tech Itch in Manchester. I made a pilgrimage to the UK in 1995 and he hooked me up with Tech Itch to meet while I was there and we became mates during my vacation and worked on a track together. It was completely random. But that’s what got me into production and it happened to be via a UK connection.

Are there any original productions in there we should be looking out for?

I have never been much of a consistent producer. From time to time I work on stuff, either remixes or original tunes, but never more than a couple a year. I recently did a track with Mark The Beast called “Angel Dust” that is coming out early 2017 and is featured in the mix. I also have a collaboration in the works with Mark and Mayhem called “Stagediver” that has Mark playing live guitar and beats / sounds that remind me of Ed Rush and Optical’s “Wormhole”-era stuff. And I have a new collaboration with Mark and Bare called “Demolition” that features Armanni on vocals. It’s a super crazy halftime thing; can’t wait to finish it. Once those are done, Mark and I are set to remix an older tune by Apashe called “Battle Royale.” I recently started focusing more time on my record labels Human Imprint and Subhuman, so expect plenty of music coming out soon.

What are your thoughts on the whole paradigm shift that it’s caused in US electronic music and how that affects drum & bass?

Years ago I used to dream of how life might be if electronic music was eventually accepted by the mainstream as a real source of creativity and culture. Now I know. And I wish I didn’t. Drum & bass is founded on being an aficionado and getting super into something you love and really digging deep into it. Of course the drawback of that type of spirit are dickhead trainspotters who would look down their nose if you weren’t playing the newest tunes, but I prefer that to mainstream kids getting into the scene without any sense of history or why it is what it is. EDM doesn’t require any digging, it is just fast-food music… Up goes the build, then comes the drop like some hit of drugs then an epic breakdown. DJs play a trillion drops a set – like doses. There’s no patience for DJs to learn the craft or for new fans who want instant impact and don’t appreciate the art of mixing and creating whole new tunes between two records. And yeah some of that behaviour has found its way into drum & bass over here. EDM has dumbed down the mindset of DJ culture. It’s frustrating. I am not sure we can turn things back around.

Speaking of the future, how has the bass scene evolved this past year?

The quality of drum & bass is better than it has ever been; globally the scene is very strong. I will say that it is a bit troubling that the same support isn’t mirrored here in the States. Yes, there is some support here and there but overall there should be more—A LOT more. You are seeing less and less drum & bass artists being booked at big shows and festivals. The bass stages are mostly just dubstep with some trap thrown in. I would have thought at some point the dubstep kids would evolve and maybe shift to something like drum & bass but it hasn’t seemed to have happened. I have such a passion for this music and to see it get short shrift overall in the States is somewhat disheartening. 

Where did the inspiration for doing cinematic type mixes come from? It’s so rare to see theatricality nowadays in music.

The cinematic intro has pretty much been my bread and butter for the past 15+ years. The first proper programmed intro I ever made was for a mixtape called “The Directors Cut” from 1998. And since then, I have kept trying to outdo myself. I am a huge movie fanatic. I love movie trailers. I like the drama. When I started doing my intros there was literally no one else out there in dance music doing anything like them. I really feel like I own that sound at this point.

What’s your favourite mix of all time?

Good question. There was a Green Velvet Sessions mix for Ministry Of Sound. I loved the music on it and the overall story of it. It wasn’t intense, it was just a really immersive vibe. Also the first James Lavelle Global Underground mix. I’ve been a huge fan of his since Mo’ Wax. He has such a cinematic take on mixes. I listened to that one hundreds of times. Plus loads of old rave mixtapes from the UK that we’d try and get our hands on. I remember some really inspirational Grooverider mixes.

What are the future plans for Dieselboy? 

I have some touring coming up with my crew PLANET OF THE DRUMS. i have some new music coming out under my new project with mark the beast called FACES OF DEF. have some potential collabs in the works with phace, spktrm and a few others. next year will see another BLOOD SWEAT AND BASS tour with my man downlink and some special guests. and then another mix DESTROYER II. and possibly a mix with DMC champion shiftee which would be quite cool and different. also more music forthcoming on my labels SUBHUMAN and HUMAN IMPRINT. and clothes from my new clothing line i am doing in conjunction with NIGHTBRAND called SUBKULT.


https://soundcloud.com/dieselboy/planet-of-the-drums-awakening

A Sit Down With DJ Kutski

18.12.2017


When we think about the free birds in hard dance, many think no further than the multi-talented Kutski. This legendary DJ and producer has been around for yonks, piloting the hard dance scene in the United Kingdom as well as spreading his ‘Keeping The Rave Alive’ concept worldwide. Aiming to showcase all genres in the harder styles, Kutski not only approaches KTRA with an open-mind but his performances are filled with diverse sounds and are always exciting!

In a short time he’s upheld many successful residencies as well as regular appearances for a number of well reputed brands such as Tasty, Hardcore ‘Til I Die, Hardcore Heaven, Fusion, Resonate, Defqon 1 (both Dutch AND Australian events), Creamfields, Global Gathering, Dance Valley, Escape Into The Park, Planet Love and has managed this string of whole scale performances at hugely respected events in a number of countries that include the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Tenerife and many more besides.

 

"I’d like to think in 100 years time someone could listen back to any year of my shows and get a true reflective representation of the grander picture of hard music was like during that period."


 

What does your name mean?

You probably understand that I am a huge player and the ladies are coming to me as bees on honey, so it was not difficult to choose that name haha! No, that is faint, I am even the opposite of a player. Equally serious: in the time that I was busy learning about turntablism, I listened to DJs who had names like Cutmaster Swift, Mixmaster Mike, Jam Master Jay and so on. I used to call myself 'Kutmaster J', where the J stands for John. I made it a sport to scratch and cut a lot (use pieces and samples from records) when I was mixing. I turned one night in a local bar, where an organizer heard me play and wanted to book me for his event. He wanted my phone number to book me, but telephones were a little less advanced than they are now. The name 'Kutmaster J' did not fit into the memory of his phone and so it becameKutski . That name also appeared on the flyer, which was also the first flyer I was on, and that is how that name came about. 

You are one of the most all-round DJs I have ever heard. I've heard you play Hardtrance, Hardstyle, Harddance, Hardcore and even Dubstep. How did it come about that you started to run that 'broad'?

It has always felt very natural to me to run and control multiple styles. Many DJs nowadays start as producers and due to their popular sound they are more or less forced to turn. That was totally different for me. When I was very young, I was always busy with records and tapes and everything that has to do with it. I was obsessed with the DJ culture and I did not get enough of mixing records, scratching, learning how turntablism works, making mixtapes. In addition, I have a general love for music, I like almost everything, as long as it sounds good. Because of that I thought it strange to have to put myself in a musical box and to have to choose one style. I think it's always great when I see a DJ at work who combines all kinds of different styles into one larger whole. It is about making fun, that is all that music is ever meant for, I think. And of course you can not mix everything just like that, but I have created my own genre with which I can basically do everything I want. It really has become my style.

When did you discover your passion for technical mixing?

Right from the start to be honest! The first CD that I heard that was mixed was Hixxy’s CD on the first Bonkers album. It was a three deck mix with tons of scratching. I was about 14 at the time and knew nothing about DJ’ing at all, I was listening to it and thinking I knew these tracks but they’re kind of all blended together. It was at that point I knew I wanted to DJ myself and it was that technical mix that set me on my way. From there I discovered things like the DMC championships and the rest, as they say, is history!

You’ve been an artist since you were 15 years old. And few even use the term “rave” anymore. Can you explain the vibe of the parties when you first entered compared to now?

As I mentioned earlier, the music has evolved greatly, but the vibe has always remained pretty constant.  In the 80’s people’s fashion, skin colour, lifestyle and so forth lead people to a scene where they would be accepted by people of the same ethnicity, sexuality and so on. When the rave scene came along in the early 90’s it was a melting pot of cultures. Bi/straight/gay and even punks, skinheads and rasters all in the same clubs together. I think if you look at the cross section of people at raves today, I still think this holds true.

Who is your favorite artist from EDM outside your own specific genre?



I really listen to a lot of different music, all kinds of different styles. As I mentioned earlier, I’m very interested in what’s going on with trap music at the moment, as this is so heavily influenced by hardstyle production at the moment, but also the early hip hop movement with the whole 808 thing. I’m obviously from the hardstyle scene, but as you can guess from my DJ’ing style, I have a great appreciation for the early hip hop sound and culture. So this seemingly unlike fusion of sounds is very interesting to me, and I’m currently listening to a lot of stuff from Baauer, Luminox, Yellow Claw, Flosstradamus.



What is your fondest memory involving music throughout your lifetime?

Probably the happy hardcore of the mid 90’s. This is when I had just got my first belt drive turntables and was so obsessed with the music. Listening to music from this period always takes me back to doing my paper round and not being concerned with hour early in the morning, or how cold it was, because that money was going to buy me more records at the weekend.

You’ve provided legendary mixtapes over the years, including your most recent Origins Mixtape. Do you think it is important to document and preserve the sounds of past eras?

Yeah for sure. It’s not like making mixes of early influential rave tracks from the late 80’s is going further to my career. These things are just passion projects that I do for myself but want to share with other like-minded people who are interested. I’ve always been obsessive about music, reading, listening and researching as much as I can. When I find out all this stuff I find super interesting, I guess it’s only natural that I would want to share it with others. I guess I’m just short of documentary making at this stage, and I’d be lying if I said that hadn’t crossed my mind also haha!

What is the most difficult thing you had to deal with surrounding your career?

Balancing a personal life along with this career is always a difficult one. You have to spend so much time dedicated to what you do as an artist. You are always traveling, and when you’re not traveling for gigs you need to be in the studio, presenting radio shows, and working on a million other things, so this doesn’t leave much time for anything else! Relationships are difficult etc, but there is so much I love about what I do, any negativity gets washed away!

The Hard Dance scene seems to be close knit and banded together compared to other electronic music genres out there. Do you think there is an underlying reason for this?

I guess because it’s an underground movement. You find that with anything like this, any niche scene. Fashion, sport, etc… Also, the nature of the music can be quite polarising, it’s not something you kind of don’t mind. If you like it, you fucking love it which is why the fans are so passionate, and obviously that generates a strong community between like-minded people.

Is there a difference you could point out between UK and US producers?

I don’t think there are any general differences that could be held up across all styles. It’s tempting to look at the explosion of trap music at the moment, Flosstradamus etc, and say this is the result of producers that are making EDM, but have grown up with the hip hop culture in America. But at the same time you have acts like Atmozfears from LA, who are making straight up hardstyle, with the same production style as the Dutch. So I think there are differences, but it varies from act to act, and no more so than any two countries!

https://soundcloud.com/keepingtheravealive/ktra-glasgow-promo-show-mstr

A Sit Down With DJ Manufactured Superstars

18.12.2017


The high-energy DJ duo Manufactured Superstars make sure their priorities are always in place. Priority number one, a staple of their career and the reason for their success, is to have as much fun as humanly possible.

Bradley Roulier and Shawn Sabo comprise the Manufactured Superstars, and they’ve been electrifying stages for over a decade as they’ve brought their eccentric show to countries all over the globe. An emphasis on theatrics and mash-ups have created a captivating live show where just about anything can happen.

 

"To live this lifestyle and get along you have to be appreciative of everything that is going on around you."


 

When you’re in the studio, what do you primarily use to produce and what are your favorite studio gadgets or plugins?

For plugins, we love the new Waves bundle. We use Sylinth and all of the Native Instruments Komplete. We produce in Ableton Live. We try to sit down with ideas and bang stuff out and production is always important. We both have studios in our homes and we use a professional studio for mixing and mastering and vocals.

You played EDC recently – how was that for you?

Wow, there are so many amazing projects going on right now! To start, our firstsingle with Magik Muzik, “Take Me Over” featuring Scarlett Quinn is climbing charts all over theglobe. Being added to radio, including the influential radio station, “Power 106 FM” inL.A., Sirius XM, BPM-TV. Our second single, “Serious” featuring Selina Albright, just hit and will be on Beatport next week, then iTunes and all music retailers. That’s got a massive remix package with Calvin Harris, Sunnery James & Ryan Maricano, Ed Rush & Optical, and more. Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and Texas were both epic! It’s so much fun to be able to play the music we make and love to so many house music-lovers. Insomniac Events did an amazing job with the production. We have to say, it’s probably the best event in the world — it’s completely mind blowing.

What do you think about mashup culture?

Our style is a little bit mashup, but we’re really more house DJs. Every DJ edits, especially on the international circuit, who just plays regular songs unedited. Manipulating music is part of DJ culture and the skill set will continue to evolve. That’s what we like to focus on with Manufactured Superstars, to try to keep people on their toes and put two, three, four songs together, or two or three different remixes of a song to make things a little bit different.

Not everyone is aware that you guys are also the founders of Beatport.com. Are you guys still involved or focused purely on Manufactured Superstars?

Brad was a co-founder of Beatport and he is currently a founding member. I was an original employee of Beatport in charge of marketing, and I am a current member. We are not as involved in the day-to-day at Beatport since we’ve formed Manufactured Superstars and are devoting all of our time to touring, DJing live, producing our own music and releasing new singles, doing remixes for other labels, shooting music videos, traveling, etc. But we do attend the monthly meetings at Beatport so we are involved to some extent. There is an excellent team running Beatport day-to-day. Brad is also co-owner of Beta Nightclub in Denver, one of the best clubs in America which was also voted #1 by fans.

Do you guys have unlimited free downloads from Beatport for life?

No! We — just like all other DJs — buy our music on Beatport. We love and support dance music, and are happy to pay for legal downloads. We have both been in the scene for 15+ years as DJ’s, producers, promoters and club owners. We will always support the other artists. We know how much work goes into making music, and all artists deserve to get paid for their time and efforts. Plus, it’s only $1.49 per track! [laughs] Thanks so much. We love the name of your site, Dancing Astronaut, and we really are humbled by the support! See you and your crew on a dancefloor soon!

You have some really hot singles out, but the latest one happens to be a bootleg you did, Manufactured Superstars vs ANNIE LENNOX, “Little Bird.” Great tune. What’s the story behind that track?

It was an acapella that we had that Brad loved. We wrote a beat to and we were gonna try to clear it, but the [original] label wouldn’t clear it. So we let a few friends have it and soon ERICK MORILLO and SHARAM and other DJs started playing it for a while, so we figured, let DJs have fun with it. Our next two singles are official releases on Black Hole Recordings and they are Manufactured Superstars featuring Arianne Celeste, “Top Of The World,” and “Calling All The Lovers” with Luciana.

What is the greatest threat to the EDM industry nowadays?
From my perspective, I’m a bit concerned that the mainstream songs are getting played out way too fast. I think that’s what happened to hip-hop, where you go to a club and you can only stand hearing Jay-Z’s Empire State Of Mind so many times. Nowadays, you can go to a club and only stand hearing a big EDM song so many times. Some DJs are overusing popular EDM tracks. However, there are so many diverse sounds being spun by DJs around the world that I don’t think it’s really that big of a threat or problem. As long as artists keep pushing the boundaries and making quality music, EDM will continue to stay as the mainstream throughout the world and in North America for many years to come.

The music video for “Take Me Over” is right up our alley. How much creative control did you assert over its production?

We have total control over all of our tracks. The song itself started in the home production studio, where we wrote the beat, loops, chords and melody. Then, we sent the demo to a songwriting team in the UK we’ve been working with. They wrote a demo vocal and we went back and forth until it was right. Then, we had the very talented Scarlett Quinn lay down the actual track. We re-edited the vocal to add in a few loops, like, “Work my freak on you,” and, “Take, take, take, take / take me over,” mixed it, and sent it to the label. We also had some very talented EDM producers on the remix tip, including Ferry Corsten, Bingo Players, R3hab and more. The video was a group effort between the label, us, and director. But in the end, we control our brand and make all of the final decisions. It was a really fun video to shoot, with thanks again to all the girls in spacesuits and to our amazing director. 
What would you recommend for aspiring artists trying to make it big in today`s age?


It takes a little bit of wealth and some big media cannons. A lot of people who’ve broken out fast like Avicii and Alesso got up that way. Some of the guys who have been around for awhile like the Bingo Players broke out by having a unique sound. You got to make good quality productions, try to do remixes, and again, just keep doing the hustle. The biggest thing is to do something that’ll make yourself stand out. Whether you’re a sexy girl and that’s your look, or you’re a serious guy or a kooky guy, you’ve got to come up with your own unique image. Everyone that’s breaking out has their own look and sound. I would say that’s the most important thing. After that, it’s a 24 hour hustle for everyone, including world touring DJs like Tiesto. I recommend taking every interview, every gig, every e-mail, as well as replying to every post on Facebook and just really give it your 100%.

https://soundcloud.com/onetriller/like-this

A Sit Down With DJ Party Favor

13.12.2017


Dylan Ragland, known by most as Party Favor, has cultivated an edgy, exhilarating and thrilling style that has helped pioneer the festival trap genre. With anthems such as “Bap U,” “Booty Loose,” and his latest release, “Caskets,” the young artist has garnered support for his signature trap style that infuses different musical elements in each release, creating a diverse lineup of tracks in his arsenal of original music. The Mad Decent regular delivers an energetic, innately danceable sound, and his high-energy live performances, are exhilarating and unforgettable.

 

 "I don't have any set goals because so far I've broken all my goals. So I just want to keep going."


 

Tell us a little bit about where you’re from and what kind of music you listened to growing up?

I was born in Manhattan so I was a city-boy but I grew up in Park city; it was a great snow town and I loved it. Then I came out here to Chapman in Orange County for film school and then through some connections I made there I met Alex…  we started this project as a duo and it kind of evolved into me. Music: I consider myself a connoisseur of a lot of genres, when I was younger I used to listen to a ton of metal… when I’m not listing to house music I listen to a lot of reggae, that type of stuff.

How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you before?


Hectic, in a good way. I like to say that just because I love stuff that has a lot of energy, I love dance music because it makes me feel a certain way and it makes me feel happy and energized, you don’t even need coffee or a Redbull when you have those heavy beats. I think for me I like when people can come and they can get a little bit of twerk, get some trap vibes, some house, some poppier throwback elements all in one, and for me I try to mash everything up together.



You’ve gone from playing opening slots at tiny Hollywood nightclubs and Chapman FIJI parties to playing the biggest festivals in the world. How has that journey influenced your production style?

It’s definitely still surreal to be on those super big stages. I was working towards this for so many countless years that it’s always a pinch me moment when Im on stage. But I think because I started from playing to literally five people and then onto more intimate clubs I have always had a special place for the club vibe. I feel like my roots have always stuck with me. I have always used sampling pretty heavily in my tracks. Taking weird animal sounds or my voice or whatever and turning it into my sounds. But I like to think i’m adapting to the changing musical climate while still being true to myself. In my EP I think you will see that variety a little more.

If you weren’t making music what would you be doing with your life?

Probably be still in the film industry editing reality tv shows and blurring out boobs.

You don’t set out to create a particular genre of music when you get in the studio?

I mean, I don’t think so. I think as I’m getting bigger, I’m still trying to find my sound and where I fit… I do a little bit of house, I do a little bit of big room trap, I do some of the twerk stuff… in this day and age there’s just so much stuff that bridges genres… there are no real genres anymore, you know? I mean, you  can listen to trap and say how its part hip hop but it’s like, so EDM now and its got these dubstep elements and synths… its really just a melting pot, which I think is the best part about it. But I think that calling it trap is kind of funny because trap is not anywhere near what [artists] are representing… EDM trap is the white term for it…. Trap music originated in the dirty south, you know? People sharing their actual struggles in the Trap. Now trap is more of a blanket term… it’s been taken over by white kids.

You starred in the HARD Summer Music Festival trailer which was the center of some controversy. It is true, that 97% of producers in DJ Mag’s top 100 are men. How do you think we can achieve equal representation of men and women at big festivals?

I think creating a place where women feel more comfortable, where women can get out there and make their voices heard in terms of what their making music wise. There’s a lot of talented female producers out there, but a lot of times they aren’t heard or get chosen over by a man. A lot of times women get discouraged because if you look out it’s kind of man’s game, in a lot of music genres as well, its not just a problem in Electronic music, I think creating a dialogue and creating more opportunities for women to be able to showcase their skill, because obviously they have just as much talent as men do, I think the trailer is what they were trying to push, and it pushed some buttons but that’s what the directed (who was a female)’s goal was to get the conversation started. And Its never going to be an easy cakewalk.

Who or what inspired you to become a DJ?

The music itself did. I fell in love with electronic music first, and it was the first time a genre of music really made me want to make it. Then I wanted to try to find a way to make my mark on it.

If you could choose one rapper to collaborate with, who would it be?

I absolutely love Chance The Rapper, Future & Anderson Paak right now so I would love to work with them at some point!

What’s the most memorable show you’ve played in the last year and why? 

I would say the festival I just played in Myanmar which is a country that just opened their borders 5 or 6 years ago and they have such a love of music and it as one of the biggest crowds I’ve seen, they weee going crazy non stop and knew all the lyrics to my songs.

When traveling around the world, you’re being exposed to a plethora of cultures and people. Do you take these changes and experiences into account when playing out a set?

I’m always winging my sets so that allows me to adapt to wherever I am, whether that’s a song that’s specific to that area or a certain genre like hyphy music in the Bay Area. I want people to see that I respect where they are from! I also take elements from these genres and places and incorporate them into my music.

When did music become more than a hobby for you?

Probably the first time I played here… maybe a year ago? I opened so I was early on in the night but I remember thinking “this is THE venue in LA” whether you’re opening or not, you’re playing crowd that knows and lives and eats and breathes this music so you can’t **** up. So I think for me, when I played a couple of my tracks and people were responding, I knew I was doing something right. And then hearing my one remix I did a long time ago —  over a year ago– my Swedish House remix— I heard that on the radio for the first time and it still gets played on KISS FM (one of the biggest radio stations in LA)… that was huge. People say you can sell out and what not but I think for any artist to hear their music on their music on the radio be it remixed or whatever… there’s nothing better than that.

https://soundcloud.com/partyfavormusic/party-favor-bad-royale-bury-richie-loop

A Sit Down With DJ Wasted Penguinz

13.12.2017


Wasted Penguinz is an EDM group that has been – in our opinion – underplayed. The Wasted Penguinz consists of two artists; Pontuz Bergman & Jon Brandt-Cederhäll. These guys have given us great beatz and do not seem to get enough airwaves over the U.S. Their first Scantraxx release was on June 18, 2010, “I’m Free” and “Anxiety”, Their second release on Scantraxx Silver was in October 2010, containing the tracks “Hate Mondayz” and “Resistance”.

As they were improving their productions together, they got more knowledge of the hardstyle music itself. In 2009 the time had come to take the next step. Sending some of their tracks to various labels they got an answer from a smaller label called Bazz Implant Recordings. Their first release called 'A Next Generation' was a fact and got picked up by the bigger names in the scene. Not long after, the biggest hardstyle label in the world, Scantraxx Recordz, recognized their talent and signed the Wasted Penguinz. In 2010 the first two Wasted Penguinz were released on Scantraxx Silver 015 'Anxiety' and 'I'm Free' where released. Their upcoming release 'Hate Mondayz' and 'Resistance' is about to be released on Scantraxx Silver 019.

 

"We’re not listening to hard style that much at all; we just make it and take inspiration from other music styles."


 

Where comes the name Wasted Penguinz?

Our name comes from a beer-brainstorming session back in 2008 in the studio, haha.

How did you met each other?

We met each other on an internet forum. We we're living in the same city back in Sweden and we we're rivals on the forum trying to out do eachothers tracks. It was a battle who made the best tracks. But then we decided to meet up instead and start making music together. This is where WP was born.

Your track ‘Inner Peace’ is out. For a Hardstyle track, it’s something different. Can you give us some insights on how this track was born?

This track was born with the purpose of having no boundaries at all and to just make a track packed with our personal experiences portrayed throughout the music. No rules, like: no this part has to be this long or else the crowd will stop dancing, this has to be this bla bla. As a producer and DJ you have two different perspectives. From the producer point of view you just want to listen to a track and enjoy all the details and just get lost in the music and appreciate the quality of a composition. From a DJ point of view there are certain “unwritten-rules” while making a Hardstyle track. The more you travel and play around the world you know what works and what doesn’t on the dance floor and you can build your tracks around the things you have learned and experienced on the road. When it comes to ‘Inner Peace’ we just wanted to do a track meant for listening purposes. No rules, no specific buildups, just creating a piece of music.

In terms of your sound, it’s evident that “rawstyle” is a huge thing in Hardstyle. Does this affect your euphoric productions?

"Rawstyle" is the thing that’s in nowadays. This will change as hypes come and go. We like a few tracks, especially the ridiculously raw tracks; they go off hard on events, haha! We’re experimenting a lot nowadays since we’re a bit bored of making the same kind of stuff and we want to explore as an artist to evolve our sound."FuckYeah"together with Rebourne is one of those tracks. We also have a lot more coming up that’s a bit out of our comfort zone which is really fun. What they all have in common though is that they’re all packed with emotions which is what we stand for.

What are you trying to tell the world through your music/ what do you want people to feel and think about when they hear you?

It's different from song to song, but we want people to relate to something whether it's a party track or it's a euphoric banger. They all serve different purposes for people. Music speaks louder than words as they say. There's nothing no one can tell you or help you with that will affect you the same way as a piece of art will.

What is the biggest fuck up you guys have had during a performance?

We haven’t really had that much fuck-ups. The mistakes we have made are probably mixing in the same track we just played and also missed or forgot to mix sometimes but we always managed to save it in the last seconds. Pontuz had a funny experience in Australia a few years ago – he had to play a gig by himself and had some friends on the stage with him and one girl fell and her boob made the music stop.

When you guys first started out, did you think that your sound would spread so far over the world?

We had a unique sound from the beginning. Hardstyle as a genre was already going more towards the melodic way back when we started, but when we entered the scene with our first releases like “Anxiety” for example we’d like to think we brought some more euphoric trance elements into it. We have seen that a lot of newcomers have been inspired by our sound which is amazing to know.

What has been your most memorable party so far?

Defqon.1 Holland Main stage last year was a big moment for us, as well as Hard Bass. These are stages that we’ve wanted to play since we’ve entered the Hardstyle Scene. There’s plenty of more memorable gigs also, but there’s too many to count on one hand.

You guys have seen a lot of success over the years, playing at Hard Bass, Defqon, Decibel, and many more. Was that a goal from the beginning or just an added bonus of your passion for making music?

You always have new goals you want to achieve. These events were major Milestones in our career.

What is the biggest goal of the Wasted Penguinz career?

That's a hard one. As an artist you're always reaching for bigger goals, we have a lot of them it's too hard to just pick one.

https://soundcloud.com/wasted-penguinz/heaven

A Sit Down With DJ Mightyfools

12.12.2017


Ever since the brainchild of Dutch DJ/Producers Jelle Keizer and Andy Samin's Mightyfools was born in 2008, they've been topping the Beatport Top 10. Tracks gained support by some of the greatest names in the industry like HardwellDavid GuettaAfrojackCalvin HarrisNicky RomeroKnife PartyDimitri Vegas & Like MikeBingo PlayersDiploFedde le GrandLaidback LukeTiëstoMartin Garrix and Steve Aoki. Quickly they got recognized and picked up by the world's biggest dance label, Spinnin' Records.

Promoters and festival organizers praise Mightyfools for their catchy sound and energetic stage performance. Their impressive tour schedule includes playing at some of the most wanted international festivals and highly respected venues such as TomorrowlandCreamfieldsMysterylandmain stage in Chile/USA/NL, World DJ Festival South Korea main stage, Ushuaïa Ibiza, Hard Rock Las Vegas, Avalon Hollywood, Webster hall NYC, Heineken Music Hall Amsterdam, Pacha Sydney, Skygarden Bali and Cubic Club Macau.

 

"We've survived some hypes and got better in production, but the essence of all our tracks still is the same as day one."


 

Tell us a little bit about how you got started as a DJ / Producer? Who was your biggest inspiration

Both of us started as solo Dj's, experimenting with different sounds. We were both playing various clubs, Andy around our hometown and Jelle around the country. When we met, it was in an empty club and we enjoyed eachothers sounds so we decided to jump in the studio. Everything went superfast from there and we decided to keep working together as Mightyfools!

You're both known for being party junkies; c'mon, give us the most outrageous stunt/antic you've done whilst performing?

We don't do our own stunts, we got Jackie Chan and Chuck Norris for that. Crowd surfing is very dangerous. Don't do it kids!

What’s been your favorite international gig?

Mysterylands Chile!  We’ve seen a lot of crazy crowds because we’ve been doing 100 shows a year for five years straight but Mysterlands was just next level.  I could see maybe 20,000 people out in front of me.  From the first track at every single break, every single drop everyone was just screaming.  They were all on top of each other with all the flags like the TomorrowLand crowd during Hardwell and that was the crowd the whole time.

You guys recently remixed Britney Spears, what was the first reaction when you got the call on that?

We were so honored to remix such a huge pop star. It was a huge challenge to remix because you know Britney is not the most popular girl in the EDM scene. It was a challenge to make it sound party-proof so we took a raw, dark energy approach.  The vocals were really usable to do that since it was already in an EDM vibe.  It was a good challenge because it could of gone terribly wrong but it came out how we wanted it to be.  We didn’t want to upset ourselves and we wanted to be able to play it in our DJ sets.  We are mainly DJs and then we started producing so we make our tracks for our DJ sets like “Footrocker” for example.  In the studio we don’t think about the other stuff like what label it should be on and stuff.  We make music that we would play out and would work on a dance-floor.  If we can’t dance in the stdio then the record goes no-where and to the trash can.

What is the weirdest thing that you’ve seen from the DJ booth?

We've been through a lot of crazy stuff all over the world, from shootouts to puking party people to passing out girls to basically everything. More recently last weekend in Bali, a guy undressed himself on the dancefloor and danced around naked for atleast 15 minutes straight. Humping other people and shit. We took a picture to prove it. Girls started joining in and our booth was flooded by male and female underwear. Crazy.

Can you pick 1 or 2 of your favourite dance artists at the moment?


Laidback Luke is and always will be one of our favourite artist ever. He’s an amazing person who makes amazing music. Next to Luke we have the same feeling with Skrillex. 2 iconic dance artists who we look up to a lot. 


If you were given free reign to select any classic pop track to remix, what would you select?

Difficult question. Maybe Cameos and Candy; we dig that smooth, classic shit. The lyrics are too good to be true!.She's like Candy! We'd probably turn it into the hardest club banger! Romantic vocals go great with crazy synths and a loud-ass kickdrum.

Where does all that energy come from?

They told us that because in Chile there aren’t many raves, people save up for that one festival.  There’s nothing else going on there with international DJs. It’s their one chance to experience what TomnorrowLand people and Ultra people experience.  We were the first DJs that played that day with EDM.  We played “Booyah” first and everyone just lost it and stayed at that same energy level for 90 minutes straight.  It was probably the craziest show we have ever done and we have done a lot of great shows the past year with an average crowd size of maybe 5,000 people.  The past year has been insane.  It took a lot of hard work but it’s paying off now.

How do you feel that DJing and producing has changed over the last few years?

It moved from dark studios in basements to interaction with fans through social media. It's so easy to reach everyone at once these days, and also to set-up new contacts with other DJ's through twitter and such. The DJing itself remained the same in our opinion, or we might just be old-fashioned DJ's by now who just do their craft like we learnt. Producing has a lot of competition these days. A few years ago a release would last for a few months, nowadays it's old within a week! The pressure is definitely higher!

https://soundcloud.com/mightyfools/mightyfools-live-at-tomorrowland-2017

 

A Sit Down With DJ Technasia

12.12.2017


Despite the change, Siegling has always been the ‘front man’ in terms of DJing and performing live, so Technasia is as thrilling and full-bodied a live experience as ever. If anything, Siegling is even more determined to infuse every aspect of Technasia with his utter absorption in sound, the passion born of 25 years engrossed in electronic music. ?Born in Paris and raised in an 11th century chateau, Charles grew up listening to everything from Depeche Mode, Jimi Hendrix to Legendary Pink Dots and Einstuerzende Neubauten. His music-loving dad even introduced him to early British rave tunes. As a university student he continued his musical education the clubs of Paris listening to the likes of Derrick May and Robert Owens; and taking note of the records Laurent Garnier and DJ Deep played on their radio shows.

The performance aspect of Technasia is complemented by artist albums ‘Future Mix’ and ‘Popsoda’ – which are modern classics. Siegling is also an outspoken promoter of young talent, using the Sino imprint as a launch pad for talent including Joris Voorn, Renato Cohen, Steve Rachmad and young Catalan producer Dosem. He has straightforward criteria for what makes a Sino artist: talent and individuality. Charles is refreshingly direct – he has no patience for industry politics – and he seeks out musicians who have a similar strength of character and clarity of purpose.

 

 "You can come from anywhere on this planet, even from the far deep ass-hole of the world, be of any colour, any culture or any political or religious mind, skilled musician or not, and yet become very successful at it."


 

 

How was Technasia formed? And did you two have any musical training or experience in music production prior to the collaboration?

Technasia was formed back in 1996. Charles Siegling and myself had met by chance through a mutual friend in Paris and had met up in a club. It was funny because we got along very well right away.  He had just came out of Film school and i had graduated from university. We were both from completely different backgrounds but it was the music that had brought us together. Charles had suggested that we work together and come up with a label. At that time, i thought it wasn't going to be as easily said then done, however there was a feeling of confidence we both had. We were really hungry for music back then, and in some ways even angry because at the time there wasn't any much emotional sounding techno out there. It was then that we decided to start putting material out. As for your second question, Charles and I had something in common: we both loved going clubbing! At the time Charles was experiencing with vintage synths and keyboards. I was doing a bit of that too, but i was DJ'ing a lot more at the time.

You have been a key figure in the rise of the Spanish electronic music scene for a long time now and the Spanish scene has been going from strength to strength in recent years. Give us a bit of insight – do Spanish producers and DJs tend to work with one another, and do you see things continuing to grow as they have? 

I am very pleased that our scene is continuing to grow and doing very well. Everyday there are new and surprising artists. There are geniuses, even though some are still hiding out there, waiting for someone to give them a chance. As regards to music, the fact is that the work is excellent. The only problem is that being a relatively young scene there are still things to improve on, such as the relationship between artists. There are still too many gaps, but things are definitely getting better.

The album title "Popsoda" has a strong 'Pop' image and is also an alias you sometimes release under, what is the background behind this title? Can you tell us a bit about the concept of the album


Pop as in music yes it sounds like we are talking Britney Spears, but when you Pop a soda or Pop a question it can be a refreshing, and even a reinvigorating feeling because one would be expecting a burst of this, that and the other of which you never would have thought would happen if you didn`t pop it initially. The concept and thematic style is simple, the album has to stand the test of time and has to be a fresh take to the long standing techno genre. The typical Technasia sound design consists of an importance to the flow of the album that has to be energetic and the necessity of the story board from which the listener can dream and dance to.


What do you look for in another artist that makes you want to collaborate with them? Do you go for things in common or enjoy an artist who sees and hears things completely differently? 

The most important is that each artist can share a common place with the music and DJ style of the other. What you do can be very different, but because you have that space in common, you can always get back to it and fuse with the other guy. I think this is what we’ve been able to achieve so far, UNER and I. Manu (UNER) likes to play a deep and darker sound with long epic breaks, and I’ve always been into the funkier techno sound, but we are always able to keep a nice energetic flow to our show. We don’t speak much about what we’re going to play and all, we just like to read the crowd and decide on a general direction and we let the magic happen after that. Things can’t be too prepared anyway. You need to keep that spontaneous feel to be able to surprise yourself and appreciate what you do as much as the public in front of you, and of course, you need to be in collusion with your partner in crime. Friendship really helps in a back-to-back project, and Manu and I have no problem on that end.

With techno exploding in Europe now and with big named DJ's giving you and Charles heavy rotation, what are your thoughts in the possibility of techno becoming more mainstream and less underground?

Mainstream vs. underground has always been a touchy subject in electronic music. In a way the media has taken a big part in this segregation. For example, Daft Punk when they first released their debut album they signed with a major label and brought underground house music to the "overground". The people who had supported them before were basically saying "hey these guys are selling out." I like to stay away from this whole issue because at the end of the day if people continue to listen to our music and keep giving us the motivation to continue this, we will be there. In terms of techno being bigger than what it is now, the people that attend the big parties out in Europe are just average everyday people that want to get away from the city and enjoy themselves at an event. We play them hard techno, we play them emotional techno and they enjoy it very much. But as for Hong Kong and China, i think it will take a bit of time.Everything needs time.

Do you still set yourself goals, do you have things you would like to achieve?

Making your way in this music world is a goal in itself, and a pretty tough one I would say. The market has become highly competitive amongst DJs because everybody think they can be one. The wrong approach is always to take the electronic music world as a hobby, forgetting that it’s above all a work.

With the explosion of digital culture and computer software plugins, how has Technasia adapted to this change in technology?

It`s funny because when we first started, many of the software guys like Steinberg were coming out with plugins and this was fairly new to a lot of the producers. During the years, we have made many friends around the world who make techno music and we often talked about this subject. Everbody pretty much did the same thing. Starting out with a sampler as the main outboard, and then running a few synths through Cubase. In the early days, there were not many people who were actually making good of the harddrive. They would be mixing down directly from the Mackie into ADAT. We went through the computer route and did all the mastering and effects on the computer. To be quite honest, i didnt quite like it at first. But then as time went on, there were more interesting plugins being released on the market and we almost felt we had to at least experiment. Now we do alot of the stuff through a computer based setup rather then a vintage based setup.

What’s the thing you are most proud of in your career?

To still be here kicking it 20 years after I started!To be honest, I think it’s quite easy to make a breakthrough in the electronic music world, as long as you have a certain talent for DJing or music production. The most difficult part is to be there to stay and grow. That is not given to everybody I think. It requires a lot of hard work, to be surrounded by a good team, and being able to reinvent yourself from time to time.

What key advice do you usually give to young and talented producers and DJs?

It’s not easy to start a career today. There’s a lot of bullshit going on, with lots of new pretty faces with no talent at all literally buying their spot on the market, with proper PR and managers. And when you’re a talented young guy and you start out in this jungle, things can be quite frustrating and destabilising. At any point you can get lost quite easily. I think it’s important to always work hard and do what you really believe in. What people enjoy one day, they can dislike the next, so you just need to be 100 percent ready when the change comes because it comes only once or twice.

Some people tried to burry me during the late 00’s because I was playing techno and minimal was the shit that was making them jerk off at the time. Now, all these dudes would bend over for Klock or Dettmann if they could, and all because techno is trendy again. It’s a shame but the scene is just like that. Once you understand how it works, you need to keep your focus on what you do, and things will pay off sooner or later.

https://soundcloud.com/technasia/technasia-extrema-outdoor-belgium-2017

A Sit Down With DJ Armand Van Helden

08.12.2017









Few DJs have ridden the wild waves of club-land as long as Armand Van Helden has and still survived with their careers intact. The New York spinner's anchor is soul, disco and hip-hop, and no matter how far dance music drifts from its roots, he's in the mix, a buoyant reminder of where it all comes from and what it all comes down to.







Armand Van Helden will preform alongside the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra this January 2018.  Armand Van Helden and MSO’s 70-piece orchestra will breathe new life into his long list of house anthems, including the likes of “U Don’t Know Me,” “My My My,” “Bonkers” (feat. Dizzee Rascal), “I Want Your Soul,” his legendary remix of Tori Amos’ “Professional Widow,” and certified bangers as part of Duck Sauce including “Barbra Streisand.” This is not even touching on the dozen odd underground club anthems that Armand has to his name. Undoubtably, it will be an unforgettable experience.

 

"I don’t know music; how I have a career in it, I really don’t know. So when I say my songs are childlike, they are built in a childlike mind."


 

Where did you grow up?


My father was in the military. I lived in various bases in the States and in Europe. I was 18 when I moved to Boston, in 1988. I went there for college. I lived in Italy before Boston, and the nightclub scene in Italy was not that remarkable, at least in the area that I lived.


Do you prefer working with edits and bootlegs or do you like to build from the ground up?


Usually if I’m making music, which is rare these days, it’s either remixing or making an attempt at an original… but really… I don’t think I’ve released an original since Bonkers in 2008.


Did you play any raves?


I was going to the raves originally as a fan. I liked the music but I wasn’t a DJ of that sound. Tom Mellow booked me at my first rave. He was like, “The cool thing is to play House.” I was like, “They are not going to go for what I do.” His raves were called the Primary raves- Red, Blue, Yellow. I think it was Frankie Bones and Lenny Dee on the main floor of this big huge warehouse out in the middle of the suburbs of Massachusetts. He put me in a tented-off side room indoors. I played house a couple hundred people. It wasn’t the norm. He was one of the first guys to do house on the side, and that became the norm. Tom Mellow threw ten or so raves a year in the New England area. In the New England area, you get Providence, Rhode Island, all of Boston, New Hampshire, all the colleges, Hartford, Connecticut, and even Montreal. When I went to my first rave, the organization involved blew my mind. In hindsight, it was quite randomly thrown together by some kids – but they had people videotaping it, they had smart bars, people selling T-shirts. I had never seen people organizing so much, getting together and making it all work. I remember telling people, “This is the future.” The house people were more of-the-moment clubbers. Nobody was organizing it like the ravers were.


Are you tempted to revisit some of your own hip-house flavors?

When I make music, it's more of a flow with me. There is a subconscious template. I know better than to remake a 'Funk Phenomena' or a 'Witch Doktor,' or do speed garage. Once I've done it, I can't go back. People want that from you, but in your head, you're like, I can't do that. You have to go into experiment mode and come up with something fresh. It doesn't work all the time but occasionally you hit it right. I have the past templates in my head, and I try to avoid them.

What do you think about the 90s resurgence?

I mean fashion, music and art all roll through the same cycle and we’re in that cycle. It’s funny because we lived through that era and there were finite details that were really important and whenever something gets retro, there’s always these little things right that people that lived in that time can break down and be like ‘no, that’s wrong. Just because you put bell-bottoms on with those types of shoes, those are from two totally different eras. You’re thinking, ‘Hey, it’s all 70s, it must work,’ but it doesn’t. Every time there’s a resurgence from the past, a past that I have been through, it’s never exactly the same. There’s always a ton of details missed. Little things like you weren’t supposed to do that type of record with that section, because that section was three years late. They don’t know that because the kids making the records are just like it’s all 90s, it’s all good.

Do you still get the opportunity to bring your records with you to gigs?


I never want to bring records. I carried records for around 15 years, so I don’t need to carry them anymore. I love records, but I really don’t want to carry them all over the world. Back in the day the sets used to be a lot longer too. 3 hours minimum. So you’d have to bring like 4 record boxes which is just crazy.


Which studios did you use to record your tracks?


I’ve never used professional studios. The only time I did was on my very first release in ‘91, when Gladys Pizarro from Strictly Rhythm had heard my demo and was like, “You should come to New York and we’ll mix it at the studio we usually work out of and then we’ll release it.” I’ve always been the guy at home making the beats from start to finish. The only thing that I don’t do is mastering. I never learned keyboards, I don’t know how to play piano, but I play everything. If everything is just one note or two notes, you can make ten songs a day. The form of music I was making was meant to be primal, intuitive. That’s my connection with house music. It’s a very felt thing.


If music wasn't your priority, what would you be working on instead?

Honestly, music isn’t my priority lol, unless your talking about listening and enjoying music. I love having friends over and watching a wide variety old music videos. Outside of music entirely, I enjoy reading, archeology, conversations about ideas, inventions, theories, hidden truths, controversies and mysteries. So I guess my work these days is making sure I’m not working much lol.

What artists/movies/books/art inspires you the most when creating music? 

Anything esoteric. Ancient Alien Theory, Theoretical Physics, Cryptology, Science Fiction, Spirituality and Intergalactic Councils. Since I was young I have always felt like there's a big universe out there yet to be discovered and anything is possible.

What would you advise the upcoming stars on our Talent Pool?

When making a track, keep it simple, all classics are simple, almost childlike and it should only take a few hours to complete, unmixed of course. Lastly, don’t fight it, if its not hitting you in the first hour or so, move on! drag it to a “folder of possibilities” and start fresh.

https://soundcloud.com/armandvanhelden/clap-your-hands-armand-van-helden-vasta-remix-1

A Sit Down With DJ Beltek

11.12.2017


Beltek (AKA Martin Bijelic), the eclectic DJ/Producer from Slovenia, has just joined the Morgan Page 3D experience tour bus last week and is ready to start the 2nd Canadian leg of the tour starting tomorrow in Calgary. Beltek's first big break happened in 2007 when he won the Producer of the Year competition organized by Pete Tong.

Although he's one of the hottest young artists on the scene and seriously considered the next big thing in the global EDM milieu by some of the leading opinion makers on the scene, Martin Beltek Bijeli isn't just another kid becoming international DJ based merely on heavy brand management and promotion. His success rests upon unique ability to turn everything he touches into gold, a decade of hard labor as well his string of chart topping artists releases and remixes championed by the deejays such as Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Sander van Doorn, Gareth Emery, Dada Life, Thomas Gold, Mark Knight, Umek and many others. It's been only four years since his first international release and he became darling producer of leading EDM labels in a very short time.

 

"I'm never satisfied with my work as I always try to evolve and discover new things and better myself. It's a struggle but that's what keeps me going."


 

Describe the Beltek style.

My main goal is to always evolve. My current style is a mixture between electro and progressive house. So something in between and everything out of the box as well. I like all sorts of music and not just EDM. Sometimes I'd mix in some drum and bass track at the end of my set so I'm not bound to just one genre. A good track is a good track, right?
At the very beginning did you feel that your parents were supportive of you in pursuing your musical career as DJ and producer?


My parents didn’t ever learn to play an instrument or take any musical lessons, so I’m the only one in my family who has something to do with music. At first, my parents weren’t very supportive of my music production beginnings, but later on, as the electronic music got more popular, and I was played more and more on the radio, they started to understand and support what I’m doing.

Tell about your first-ever experience of Ultra Music Festival.

Ultra was mind-blowing. This year I played 3 Ultra Music Festivals actually. One in Argentina, one in Chile and of course the big daddy of them all, Miami in US. All of them were a huge experience for me. I’ve never played before for more than 15.000 people like I did at these festivals. It was also cool to meet a lot the big guys from the music industry. 

How did you get started as a DJ/Producer? Did you become a DJ or Producer First?

It all started maybe 10 years ago when my brother brought home mixtapes from various DJs. At first I didn't understand electronic music because it all sounded the same to me. Back in the day it wasn't so much vocal or melodic, it was pretty harsh in Europe as it was more techno and hard house. After a while I started picking it up, especially hard house and progressive from the UK. So I started listening to that and checking out all sorts of DJs. I also wanted to produce but at the beginning it was really a hard struggle especially because at that time I was still in school and later on I had gotten a job so I wasn't a full time producer. I would say that I've been a professional producer for the last 4-5 years. At first I had become a producer and secondly I became a DJ when I started with vinyl at that time.
Did you have the opportunity to get through any professional training in music, or are you totally self-taught? Do you think its very important and crucial for a young producer to attend music composition courses? 


Well I started making my first beats when there weren’t many YouTube music production tutorials around haha. So yes, I’m self-taught. Regarding music composition courses, I think it depends on what music you are making. If you are producing more or less melodic stuff, you should definitely take some musical lessons. I think they can improve, or make it a bit easier for you to make good melodies in your tracks. If you want to make more percussive music, like tech house, techno, etc... then I think you really don’t need any music lessons.

What you can say about the moment of making the album "Eric Goes To Disco"?

It’s always an amazing feeling to produce a track that you love so much and then get huge support from the big guys.

You have a lot of diversity in your discography from trance, techno, electro house, and progressive house – have you purposely tried to create different styled tracks or have you created them based on inspiration at the time?

Just based on inspiration. When I start to produce a track in my studio it's never like “oh wow this style is popular or this guy is popular, let's do a copy of that track!”, it's not like that at all as I create tracks based on what I feel. I like to play some melodic tracks, hard tracks, breaks, so it all depends on my current inspiration. Techno was a big part of my life, especially in the beginning. I am Slovenian and we have a very successful techno DJ named UMEK. He was one of the biggest influences when I started.
Please take us on a virtual tour in your home studio and tell the kind of hardware and software that you use to produce your club bombs.  Do you have any favourite music composition software that you like to use and experiment with that you can recommend wholeheartedly to other artists?


My studio is mainly software based. I just moved my studio to a new location, and I’m rebuilding it at the moment. Currently it only consists of my Adam monitors, RME Foreface sound card, CM6 midi keyboard, and a bunch of midi controllers from Evolution, Akai, Korg and Native Instruments. My music production software is FL Studio. I have been using it now for many years, and its an amazing piece of software, very easy to use and has a lot of unique features. I can really recommend FL to all producer-beginners to try and buy it.


Can you please choose for us the Top 5 of your original productions, and Top 5 of your remixes for other artists?


My top 5 originals would be:

1. Par

2. Party Voice
3. Go!
4. Belina
5. Running Backwards

My top 5 remixes would be:

1. Morgan Page - Fight For You (Beltek Remix)
2. Faithless - Tweak Your Nipple (Beltek Remix)
3. Gareth Emery - Full Tilt (Beltek Remix)
4. Alan Connor & Mike Melange - I Love The Sunshine (Beltek Remix)
5. The Henchmen feat. Tiff Lacey - As We Ride (Beltek Disco Remix)


https://soundcloud.com/beltek/sets/tracks-158

A Sit Down With DJ Far Too Loud

11.12.2017


Far Too Loud, AKA Oli Cash, has gained quite a reputation for hi-tech, dancefloor-destroying music that makes people throw their hands in the air and go crazy. Think high-energy, aggressive funk, big basslines, crazy edits, intricate production and you’ll know the sound.

Since the first release, back in 2005, things have gone from strength to strength. Winning “Best Single” at the Breakspoll Awards in 2007 followed later that year by the huge FTL anthem “Play It Loud” which saw a move from breakbeat into big, dirty electro-house grooves, receiving a massive response and remaining a firm crowd-pleaser to this day. More recently, chart smashers like “Megaloud”, “Wake Up LA” and remixes for the likes of Lily Allen and The Crystal Method have confirmed Far Too Loud's place among the big guns of electro-house.

 

"Do not expect immediate results and be ready to invest in work. Attention to detail and hard work can really make you stand out from others."


 

When and why did you start making music?

We have both had musical upbringings. I started playing saxophone when I was 10 and Dom played cello from an early age. We have both played drums too and so before we started writing dance music we both had a wealth of musical training. We met on the Tonmeister sound recording course at the University of Surrey and a shared interest in dance music led us to start producing tracks together. At that time breaks was growing fast and there were a lot of great tracks getting released which caught our ears so that is the route we went down.

According to you, what are the main qualities to be known?

It's hard to answer because it really depends on whether your ultimate goal is to become famous or not. For me, it's not. I think it's very important to have a clear idea of ??what you want to become in life and to focus on it to succeed. Personally, my goal is to make music. I will be happy as long as I can continue to make and live. My level of notoriety is not one of my priorities.

Where do you gather inspiration for creating the music you make?

My inspiration for creating music comes through a process of of poking at stuff until I find something I like. I think of the raves I’ve been to in the past; when I have raves coming up like this weekend, for example, I think of what would be really sick to play, whatever I’d enjoy getting down to, so my inspiration is creating something that I’d genuinely enjoy myself. 

Please guide us through the general process how you make a track?

It generally starts with a beat and bassline. Once these are sounding extremely fat we’ll start to play around with lead sounds and other ideas on top. As these develop the tune starts to take a structure and then its a case of working out the different sections of the tune. We try to make our tracks go on a journey so that they hold the listeners interest right the way through. The ideas need to keep coming and developing throughout the track to achieve this.

How long have you been producing?

I think that it’s been around 11 years. 

Your brand of electro house is definitely unique and that fits with Never Say Die's business model. Which acts initially got you to say to yourself, "This is something that I really want to do?”

I mentioned the breakbeat days above.  From around 2005 to 2008 that is the only style I was producing.  Miles Dyson was the name that principally got me experimenting with electro house.  Wolfgang Gartner a close second.  I still love their tracks from that era.

Do you prefer to DJ or playing live at the club?

I think both have their merits and that it is best to be able to do both. Playing live is rewarding because it is all original material and we can have control over elements of the music that are pre-determined when just DJing tracks. The way tracks blend together is different when playing live. We can play bits of one track over another and really play about with the arrangement. DJing can be just as rewarding when you have spent a load of time finding tracks that really go well together and that you think will take the dancefloor on a journey.


You released your Faster Than Light EP on No Tomorrow Recordings, Never Say Die's sister label. How does it feel to finally release with arguably one of the biggest labels in the game right now?

I’d met Tommy way before he even started the label, back in the breakbeat days, and I’ve seen it grow from the beginning.  I love the musical taste, image, and how down-to-earth they are.  It feels a bit long overdue, but regardless of time I’m very happy to see it happen.

What are your top favorite artists that motivate you?

Far Too Loud: The Protégé and The Chemical Brothers – classic British acts – they’re still my top.

How does travel affect the creative process? Do you need to be in the studio, do you manage to get any work done in the air?

I tend not to work on tracks whilst I’m away as I really do prefer being in the studio. If I have spare time when I’m travelling I use it to make DJ edits and mashups. Travelling a lot generally does have a negative impact on productivity, but sometimes it’s useful to have that time to leave an idea and come back to it with some fresh inspiration. When it comes to being on planes, I probably spend most of my time asleep!

https://soundcloud.com/far-too-loud/100k-free-downloads

 

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