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A Sit Down With DJ Arno Cost

01.04.2018


With his musical sensibilities residing within the realms of electronica, disco and house, Arnos’ production and remix work has attracted praise from some of dance music’s most formidable figures. Arno Cost’s talent has stemmed from exposure to music at an early age. Brought up on a diet of pop music, Italo-Disco and later, the innovations of the seminal ‘French Touch’ such as Daft Punk, Arno’s appreciation turned into creation as he took his hand to production in 1999.

 

"Make sure your music is unique and create an own style. Try to be different then what is already out on the market."


 

How do you feel your music has evolved since you first started?


It's amazing to see that so many people from all over the world are being moved by electronic dance music and that this genre got so big. On the other hand it is sad to see that money buys a lot of stuff nowadays, including DJ careers. There is so much music released everyday, sometimes I have the feeling people are a bit lost. 


 I like when DJ’s really start their own tracks because that is what you can identify with. What do you want to be remembered for?

If I have to pick one thing, I want my music to speak for me as a person. It’s all about marketing and branding, but sometimes I just want my music to speak. If people have to remember me by my tracks when I am 80, it is going to be one of my biggest tracks ever, “Magenta” from 2006.

Do you prefer DJing or producing songs?

That’s a though question. I like to produce music, create new content and spend hours in the studio, but it’s also really cool to see people go totally crazy when they hear my music when I play.

I always like to find out DJ’s musical inspirations… anyone who has inspired you to start making music in your bedroom?

Yeah, before I started making house music, I liked to produce some down-tempo stuff like Moby back in the day. When he released the album Play, I was like “WOW!”- it was something special to me. A new life was beginning in music. Before that, I liked Muse and Radiohead as well. And when Daft Punk went with their “One More Time” track, I said "I want to do this, I want to do this French-Dutch music."

What are your top five tunes at the moment?


Arno Cost & Arias - The Days To Come


Chris Lake - Cross The Line


Thomas Gold - Agora


Daft Punk - Technologic (Sebjack Edit)


Marco V - Reaver


How would you describe your sound?

Progressive. I like to take time on the tracks and to build it up. I love the melodies; I love to spread emotions. It’s hard to describe your sound but people have said my music is emotional and melodic. That’s my main goal. Your questions are very tough… It’s hard to say.

Do you think the French house music scene still has a really strong influence on your style? And what music did you grow up listening to and is that an influence now?

Yes for sure. I am mostly inspired from the French Touch. When i was a kid i listened to Daft Punk, Bob Sinclar, Phoenix, Air, Cassius. I aslo really like Eric Prydz and Deadmau5 stuff. But i think it’s important to be very open minded…I take my inspiration from a lot of genres, from downtempo (Moby, Portishead to pop rock music (Serges Gainsbourg, Coldplay, Muse.

Arno, will you ever go into any other genre of music?

You can see people are progressing back to their roots, towards house and pop. That is the kind of music I love to play and will keep playing.

What do you think the future of house music will be?

That’s a very tough question. You don’t really know what’s going to happen but at least you can see the that EDM is going down. The hard sound and hot style of house music which we call EDM – I think people want more sound, more melodies in their music. That’s very exciting for me because my roots are there. I’m not a real hot style guy, I’m more into the melodies, the vocals, and the emotion. I think in ten years that will still be going on. I think music can evolve in a way where people will want to feel the emotions and melodies. Over the last two to four years, it wasn’t the case. People just wanted to jump… There’s no emotion in a jump. So, I’m very happy that “EDM” is going down and emotion is rising.

What advice do you have to offer to new producers and DJs that are just getting started that can help them progress in their careers?

The competition is very strong. It is hard to stand out among the rest. I think the number one thing is to be passionate about what you do and love the music for the music. It’s not only about getting easy money. It’s about putting in the hard work and is being passionate about what you do. You have to think out of the box. There are so many people out there doing the same thing. You have to be different in my opinion.

https://soundcloud.com/arno-cost/sets/coming-alive-ep-march-14th

A Sit Down With DJ Bryan Kearney

01.04.2018


Over the years, Bryan Kearney has honed his DJing skills by taking his experiences from the Dancefloor into the DJ box. His current demand is at an all-time high; this is evident from the diversity in location of his appearances. He has performed at massive events such as Electronic Daisy Carnival, Electric Zoo, Tomorrowland, Stereosonic, Cream Ibiza and many more.

 

"Appreciate what you receive and know that you have to earn what you get."



 

Describe your early musical background. What are some of your past influences, as well as current producers?

To be honest, I have no musical background with regards to learning how to play an instrument or anything like that. Basically, I’ve learned my trade from the dancefloor as a clubber and taken what I think works into the DJ Box. I’ve been clubbing for around 13 years and DJing for around the same. My biggest influences are Mauro Picottoand all of the Italian DJ’s from the BXR era, such as Carl CoxPaul van DykChris LiebingArmin van BuurenJohn O’CallaghanJohn Askew and many more. Current producers that are really pushing my buttons would be AstrixComing SoonSneijderSonic Sense and loads of others.

What differences do you see in comparison for the preparation for a liveset?

Well on a compilation I can only use music that has been fully cleared by the labels whereas in a live set I have more freedom to play what I want.

You yourself are renowned for your remarkably technical remixes of some hugely successful productions. From your collection, do you have a favourite track that you enjoyed working on? 


Probably my remix of Plumb - 'Need You Now'. I had a lot of fun transforming it from a Christian Rock track into a club anthem. It still gets requested at every gig I play. Digital Society was the first place I ever played the track out at, the May 2014 event with Gareth Emery. I've done my best to sort of phase it out from my sets but it seems to keep sneaking back in. How Many Times have I played that track? I've no idea at this stage. 


 

Your time as a producer has seen you complete many fantastic remixes of original ideas, from the likes of John O’Callaghan, Aly & Fila and Armin van Buuren. Do you have any plans to work with other artists on future collaborations and remix projects? 


2017 is going to see the Key4050 project between myself and John O'Callaghan taken on to the next level. I don't really want to say too much more on it but it's something we are both extremely excited about. I'm always up for collaborations with the right people, where we can both bring something to the table rather than one person doing nothing and the other all the work. 


What do you think of the whole trouse hype and the dance scene blowing in The United States? Is 'Who's Afraid Of 138?!' a statement for the more 'classic' sound of trance?

Obviously people have seen the commercial success that that type of music has brought to people performing in the US and they want a part of it which is completely understandable coming from a business point of view. Personally it's not my type of music, all the best to people who want to play it but it's not for me. With regards to statements for the more classic sound of trance I don't agree with this either. I think one of the main problems within the scene right now is the amount of labeling, segregation and general hatred that seems to be everywhere. Everything is given a label or a name and people seem to have lost touch that the music is meant to be enjoyed. 

You are certainly very busy with your label, producing and live gigs. How do you relax so that you have the power for all this?

I get up every morning at 7 a.m and go to the gym for 90 minutes to start the day off in an energetic way. I then work up until 6 p.m and I don’t do any music related work after that. It’s important to try and switch off and be a normal human being instead of just being the artist.

You have been on tip of everyone's tongue in recent times as one of the hottest DJ's to watch and have become a valuable addition to most trance events, particularly in the UK. Can you describe what that's like and tell us your secret?

I'm don't think there's any real secret to my success really, I just have a lot of passion for what I do and I work extremely hard. I play a highly energetic diverse sound so I think that appeals to a lot of different people. I'm extremely happy that I've become quite a regular fixture at the big nights in the UK, particularly closing their events. My type of music really does work well at that time of the night/morning so maybe that's one of the reasons. I also record a lot of my sets as a way of seeing how well I performed on the night. This means that I can continuously analyze my performances, what worked well, how certain tracks worked together and indeed how I can improve in the future. I am always refining my sound, adding new sounds or tracks and also removing stuff that doesn't seem to work on the dance floor. To be honest I am really on the energetic trance buzz at the moment and I can see myself really bringing more and more of this to my sets. 

You have traveled around the world with your music. Which country has the greatest crowds and most energy?

South America is my favorite continent to play in and Argentina is the best place in the world with the most enthusiastic, respectful, open minded and responsive crowds in the world. Every DJ says the same.

How many demos do you get sent and what is the process you go through to actually release a track?


A lot. I'd say I have signed about 1% of what I've been sent over the past few years. I've turned down a lot of tracks that have then appeared on other labels and that have done well, but I don't regret not signing any track at any stage. I know myself within two seconds if I want to sign the track. There have been times when I like something particular about the track and I will go back to the producer with suggestions on what to focus on. At times, I'll ask for the midi files for the main melody, work a little on it and send it back to them so they can take it from there. After I sign a track, I play it as I.D in my own sets for a while. I then send to a handful of people in advance of release.


Do you have any advice for any DJs planning on collaborating with other artists following your experience in this way of working?


Do it. Go in with an open mind. It's amazing how much you can learn from other people when you sit down and see how they work and do things in their own way. 


https://soundcloud.com/bryankearney/key4050-live-edc-mexico-2018

A Sit Down With DJ Moguai

12.04.2018


One of the highly respected DJ/producer in dance music scene for a long time, Moguai is coming to Tokyo. He has been producing sounds that can only be done with his talent and skills and contributed heavily in creating the foundation of this industry. He has been doing over 120 gigs around the world in a year not only in clubs  such as the well known Pacha but of course at big festivals making the crowd go wild every time.

 

"The most important thing is to never stop living the life, never give up on your wish to come into this music scene – never lose the dream. "



 

How did you get started in the music industry?

I started off doing my own parties in the NRU area of Germany – an area of Germany with a really high population, over 11 million people within an hour of each other. I was studying law and started to do my own parties to help pay for my course. I started to DJ more and more and started to earn more money, then Raveline magazine, which was new on the scene at that point, decided they wanted to do their own parties, and asked me to be the official Raveline DJ. This was all so exciting, things started to really take off and I started to produce music too – and eventually I gave up my law course!

What has been the biggest contributor to your current success?

Persistence.
Who was your biggest influence back then?


Sven Väth from Frankfurt influenced me a lot at that time because I recorded every radio show he did and I loved his versatile style. That helped me to find my own style and encouraged me to be open to all kinds of electronic music. I still live and play with that vibe.

Has German techno music followed a pretty clear path from Kraftwerk? They still seem very relevant in today's acts.

If you listen to some of the Kraftwerk productions you could think that it was produced in Berlin or the Rhine-Ruhr Area in 2007. History is resonating for sure, but more unconscious, because most of the new acts didn't grow up with Kraftwerk directly.

You have been traveling all over the world for your gigs. What is the biggest change in dance music for you?

The biggest change in dance music came with the internet. From then on, everyone was able to promote themselves. But it was not only the masses who were now able to spread their music through Soundcloud, Facebook and so on… Dance music changed through all these talented bedroom producers and their new influences and ideas. I can’t remember when we had so my new genres in the electronic music scene. I see this as a plus and the electronic music future will be great, cause it will never stop this way.

Is there any piece of technology you can’t wait for to hit the market?

I haven’t yet checked out Abelton 9. I know it’s been on the market for a few weeks and I’m keen on to check out the new features.

How do you know that your DJ set works?


That's like having a good conversation. If you talk to each other, enter the other one and get up a bit, then the spark jumps on both sides. And that's exactly how it is on the floor.


Which recently released dance tracks should definitely be added to New Dance Music Friday?

MOGUAI & AKA AKA – 'Satisfield' (Me & My Tootbrush Remix)
MOGUAI & Younotus ft. Nico Santos – 'Lessons' (Zonderling Remix)
Tinlicker – 'Donderdag' (MOGUAI Remix)
Kendrick Lamar - 'Humble' (Skrillex Remix)
MOGUAI - 'Smyles'
Camelphat - 'Drop It'
Mark Knight feat. The Ragga Twins - 'Move On'

How would you describe your sound?

Emotional, vintage, Electro, punk rock.

What's important to you in your work?

It's important first of all, that if my name is on a Production is, no other herumwerkelt it. Come in addition, I though times adapting something, but only if the track and what he says, does not change. As I let myself also not reinreden majors. When in doubt, I make the track then not at all, and let it be. I like to listen to criticism, but only conditionally. I just learned that it is better because to listen to me and my gut feeling, I to trust yourself and to see me as the best indicator. If I So find something good, usually many other people find also good. Maybe find then in return the same number of people not so good. But that is part of the creation and creating them. You
never meet the tastes of all - no matter if you make music or cars build.

You have a close working relationship with mau5trap. How is your relationship with deadmau5 himself?


We have fun when we play shows together and I appreciate his feedback when he hears new tracks or remixes, but it’s not that we work closely togehter.

You have played clubs and festivals all around the world. What was the best and the worst gig you ever played and what was the funniest thing ever occurred during any of your performances?


Playing in front of 750.000 People at the closing rally of the Love Parade in Berlin. Money can’t buy that. Once they announce your name and you step out there on stage with that view on the “Siegessäule” in Berlin, in your homecountry in front of that crowd...incredible.

What is it you think has made you so successful, what advice would you give to someone starting their career?


Moguai — I still think the most important thing today is authenticity. You need to live your style and your music. Everything you do then becomes so much more credible and people will see that. I stayed loyal to my style and my music even when I sometimes thought there might be something else out there. I do think it’s the right step to implement new styles in your music but you should still try to keep your sound unique. I mean, this is what I built up over so many years. I would never want to through that away just to fit into a current trend. Those things pass, but you will be there after that and then you still need to stick out of the group.

https://soundcloud.com/djmoguai/sets/moguai-releases

A Sit Down With DJ Robert Babicz

06.04.2018


Robert Babicz is a Polish producer who grew up in the hardcore German techno scene and began by making his own path under the alias Rob Acid. Throughout his nearly 25 year career, Babicz has shifted and evolved continuously to become not only an internationally renowned producer, but also a sound designer, a label owner, and an avid photographer.

 

"I make music that creates it`s own world, so you can just listen and look around."



 

How did you get in touch with electronic dance music in the first place?


When the first house music came to Germany, i was in love with this new sound. especially the acid house wave finally really got me on it. around 1991 i had my first time with some electronic instruments, and released my first record in 1992.

You really tap into the conscious aspects of how electronic music can allow you to grow spiritually and emotionally. Do you think artists should make this a part of their vision when creating music?

Well, I can only speak for myself, that from my perspective, when I am traveling and doing my shows, I am doing magical rituals. That’s how I can describe this, it’s a magical ritual where I am getting in contact with the subcultures of the people.

You offer mastering as a service. Which tools do you work with?

At Mastering I'm a bit old fashioned and work with the exception of the limiter rather only with hardware. I put a lot of effort into using a Dangerous MS matrix decoder and send the frequency bands through different stages of processing. In addition, I use a self-made 1176 Compressor with dry / wet control to put some dirt under the mix. At the end of the chain is the Curve Bender to adjust the whole thing. In the calculator itself, I actually only use low and hi-cut equalizers and a limiter at the end.

You see music in 3D, describing tracks as « geometrical poem… sculptures in time. » What is your method of production?

For me every track is telling a story, so when i start a track, i feel already were it should go, but i just don`t have the right structure yet, so i try find it, i want see the beauty of the sculptures of sound.

I saw you constantly making new music (from your SoundCloud snippets and ideas) – any info on your upcoming stuff and what the feedback is from other DJs/artists on your music?

Oh there is a lot to come, did a full new ambient album for TRAUM, and also new tunes for my own label. Also will start to work on my next album for Systematic.

During tours, what equipments follow you to produce your music?

I feel lonely on my tours without my studio, i really don`t like to produce at the hotelroom just with a laptop. At the moment i have a little synth called OP1 that is cool and on every travel with me.

You are somewhat notorious for filming your travels. You have an amazing Flickr account. How would you explain your connection between film and music and this parallel passion that you have for each of them?

I ask myself this a lot. I think it has something to do with the rules that both pictures and music follow. In a way they both have a geometrical beauty. That's how I would describe it. Looking at it the other way around, I can see music—so when I listen to music I see geometrical structures in time. When I look at things at the same time, I can imagine how they sound.

How did Babiczstyle evolve?

I started it, because it was boring to explain that I do all kind of styles in electronic music, as I really love sound. It started as a joke when people asked me what kind of music I play, then later I wanted my own platform for this music.

How did that turn around for you? The music must have been one of those moments that helped..


I never planned to be musician. It was amazing that this happened to me. I mean I loved music a lot, of course. And there were a few key moments in my life. Now I understand it, after many years. One of them was when I was 9 years old or something. I had a small radio, like a ghetto blaster, and every night I was listening to music in bed when I had to sleep. At the same time, I was always a fan of science fiction and spaceships and flying to space. One day I caught a radio show that was playing electronic ambient music, but I’d never heard this music before. When I heard this kind of sound and music, I personally thought I got a transmission from a space ship. (Laughter) And I was super, amazed and afraid like, listening to these sounds because I thought Wow, this is from another world (laughing). So I think this was one of the key elements. And then later on, I was 16 when this acid music came along. When I heard this abstract music, I had again in a way this, Wow, this is so different! So, abstract. And then again two years later I had the chance to play around with some instruments from a friend and I recorded a few tracks on a cassette. Really I had no clue what I was doing, I just had fun.


You have the rare gift of synesthesia, which turns the world into a continuous interplay of colour, shape and sound.

How does this influence both your time in the studio and your live sets?
It helps me being fast, I think, because mistakes in music are somehow a broken geometry in sound; for me, every sound has a texture and a form.

Do you have any advice to producers who want to resist the temptation of making tunes on a laptop, and use analogue gear instead?

I’m not a pure analogue freak! I’m working 50/50 analogue digital. For me, they are equal. There are some digital things that are really impossible in the analogue world, and the other way around. It’s the combination of both that makes the sound of today. If you just stay analogue, you will sound like the past. When my colleagues and I started here in Cologne in the 90s, I had the feeling we were making the music of the future. This was one of the really important feelings. And now we are twenty years later. I am still hoping we do this kind of soundtrack. 

https://soundcloud.com/robbabicz/sets/little-fairy

A Sit Down With DJ Merk & Kremont

06.04.2018


Merk & Kremont need no introduction in the house music scene. Hailing from Italy, the boys have worked vigorously to establish themselves as a top talent in the dance music industry. Their signature groovy basslines and catchy melodies energize and captivate listeners worldwide! Tracks such as Get Get Down and their remix of Clean Bandit‘s Rather Be have been streamed millions of times and are played at festivals all around the globe!

 

 

 "We prefer to use real sounds in our productions!"



 

 

You are from Milan - the second-most populous city in Italy. What can you tell us about clubbing and nightlife there? Do you have any nightlife related suggestions for first-time visitors?


Milan is a very cool city right now, we have a lot clubs and a lot of emerging DJs/producers. If it’s your first time you definitely want to go to Fabrique.

How do you feel about club scene in the United States compared to the club scene in Italy?

It is different. We learned a lot from the US scene! You need to play with cuts and fast mixes. In Italy, this style of mixing is now getting popular and has been getting good reaction from all the crowds!

We know both of you originally produced your own records separately, how has combining forces helped you excel in this industry?

We come from different worlds: Merk is more from the more Electro side of House music and Kremont stems more from UK Deep House… it actually did not take long to start collaborating since we both love and respect the kind of music that shows originality and refinement of the details–our combination of styles really complement each other well which has resulted in great tunes!

Additionally, you guys have been making some great remixes, your remix of Years & Years’ ‘King’ is one of our favorites; do you have any additional remixes in the works?

2015 for us was about remixes; we made five, ranging from the more happier sounds to the more experimental. It’s a good opportunity to show your skills and to challenge yourself, we are happy with the outcome but for this year we are planning to give less space to remixes and to make more room to original mixes.

How was it to play Ultra Music Festival Miami for your first festival in the United States?

A dream come true! Since we started this journey in the music scene, playing at Ultra Music Festival was something we wished for! It was so much fun, we uploaded our set on Soundcloud and it has since got thousands of streams!

In January you produced the free download "41 Days". What's behind the title?

"41 Days" is a video that we have published to promote the track: In the video we show how we have produced the track in 41 days and explain in detail how the track was created.

What are some things you like to do in spare time when not making music?

We recently launched our own fashion brand, we have a new logo and the project is a mix between merchandise and an actual new clothing line. We've always been into fashion and this felt right, hopefully people will like it too.
Who's the DJ that's a favorite of yours until finally you really decided to become a professional DJ like him?



We really like the Swedish House Mafia because according to us they are very cool both in making songs until every appearance is very remarkable.


What do you like to include in your sets? How do you cater for different scenes?

We love to experiment a lot with new tracks in our sets, we play at least three or four tracks every time and it is always nice to see the reactions. As we said, our sets are mostly based on tracks that feature lot of energy and intense grooves –  so that’s what you should expect!

Do you manage to produce whilst on tour? How do you juggle the workload? It must be tiring!

It is indeed tiring to face the workload –  when you are touring (especially during summer), gigs take a lot of energy away. Even if it doesn’t seem so, you have to stay healthy and fresh when you are making music.

https://soundcloud.com/merkandkremont/sets/merk-kremont-fire

A Sit Down With DJ Dennis Sheperd

05.04.2018


Sharing his original works is one of things that drives Dennis to travel the globe and meet his fans. Spinning his unique blend of Progressive Trance in no less than 30 countries, he has been able to play at many of the best festivals and clubs around the world including Ministry Of Sound in London, Exchange Club in Los Angeles and the A State Of Trance festivals.

 

"Free yourself from your own creative chains that you might have put on is the biggest challenge ever."



 

Who influenced your passion for music?

First, it was my best friend. He brought me into Trance music at the end of the 90's.
Then of course the great producers and DJ's like Kyau & Albert, Cosmic Gate, Nic Chagall and also Dirty South, Axwell and others influenced my passion for music. If they wouldn't have done such great songs in the past, who knows if I would have stayed in this scene.

You’ve collaborated with vocalists such as Christina Novelli and JES. Do you have plans to work alongside additional vocalists in the future?

Definitely! I love to work with vocalists! It’s always a great experience and I think vocals also add something to a production!

From your experience, how do you think music producers and DJs can make a living out of this passion?

It’s not really easy, but if you have the willpower and put the effort and determination into it, it’s possible to make a living out of it. You also have to get in contact with the right people obviously and need to convince them in regards to your talent. So work hard, surround yourself with the right people and believe in yourself, then it will definitely be possible!

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in the industry thus far?

The biggest challenge is definitely your own creativity. Free yourself from your own creative chains that you might have put on is the biggest challenge ever. And even not only in terms of creativity but for life in general. Another big challenge is the workload you will face if you do it fulltime. Travelling, playing gigs, producing music in the studio, doing the administration. Basically as an artist in the electronic music scene nowadays you have to be a DJ, a music producer, video designer, a graphic designer, a promoter, a marketing specialist, an accountant & a manager!

At what age did you become aware of the strains of dance music…Germany alongside the UK and The Netherlands was one of the first countries getting the club bug…who were the early artists you enjoyed?

I’ve already answered the first part of the question above. The artists I’ve enjoyed were definitely Paul van Dyk, ATB, Blank & Jones, Flutlicht, Kai Tracid but also people like Moguai and Westbam.
I notice that you are interested very much for the social media and particularly on YouTube you are always uploading music videos for your tracks. Why do you believe music videos are so important and are you happy about the video of Bring You Home?


I am very happy about the music video of ‘Bring You Home’. I love to give my releases a bit more of a lifetime through music videos. Usually people forget about tracks quite soon. I try to work against that. I also want to show my love for music through music videos and people should get to know me better through the videos too. I love doing that!

What is A Tribute To Life?

A Tribute To Life is my own brand. Basically it stands for the message that you shall appreciate what you have and be thankful! It’s my thank you to life for how it’s treated me so far. I’m a very happy person! There is an “A Tribute To Life” radio show, label, and soon I will also do a compilation called A Tribute To Life.
Summer music festivals like Tomorrowland & Nature One are become very successful and it seems that the big crowds from all over the world adore them. What is your opinion about summer festivals in general and the music is played on the mainstage?


It’s nice party music that is played on those mainstages. I could see myself enjoying it while being a guest on those festivals. When it comes to personal taste, I would rather not listen to this music at home, but tastes and opinions are different.

How do you manage to stay so grounded and down to earth with your “star”-like status?

I do not feel like I have a star-like status but maybe I will never feel like that no matter how popular I become. I guess that’s just part of my personality. But one thing definitely helps: Always ask yourself what is really important in life. Is it money, popularity, social status or is it friends, passion, love & satisfaction?

The whole world fell in love with you thanks to your ‘Fallen Angel’ anthem you have just mentioned. Did you know on completion you were sitting on something rather special? 

No, actually I was more like: ‘I don’t give a shit if someone supports this or not, I like it as it is.’ I even didn’t get any feedback by anyone for that track, I just produced it how I thought it should sound like.

Where do you see Dennis Sheperd five years from now?

Playing more shows all around the world and making more people’s life happier with my music!

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

A Sit Down With DJ The Bloody Beetroots

05.04.2018


Since the early days, The Bloody Beetroots have viciously evolved, like a demonic possession in the soul of EDM, collaborating with the likes of Steve Aoki and Congorock and injecting themselves into remixes that range from Groove Armada to Britney Spears along the way. Expanding on the duo format he had created with Tommy Tea, Rifo took the concept to new grounds and introduced The Death Crew 77, a full live band who also featured Denis Lyxzén of Refused as part of the monstrous collaboration.

 

"This time the show will feel much more organic and a lot more fun."



 

Tell us a little bit about each other?

We still haven’t been formally introduced so we don’t talk to each other out of respect.

People seem to either love or hate The Bloody Beetroots. Why do you think what you do is so polarizing?


The [Beetroots] concept is pretty extreme. When you do something extreme, it’s pretty common. It’s good to know [the naysayers] hate me for some reason. I want to know the reason. I’m evolving the Bloody Beetroots because I love what I do. When you find something that works, you don’t want to change it. I can be a DJ for the rest of my life, but I don’t need money or a house or a car. If I have money, I prefer to put it on the evolution of my project. I want to show the people that there’s a different way to see things. But I’m not teaching, just showing.


You work closely with Steve Aoki over at Dim Mak. How did you hook up with the label?

Steve reached out to me two years ago on Myspace and we?re like brothers now. You toured the US together too right, how was that? Sold out!! 

You are a cultured man. Can you please tell us your most favorite piece of music, artwork and literature, and a brief reason why for each?

Music: Wendy Carlos – Switched-on Bach. Wendy aka Walter opened the doors of musical experimentation to me.

Artwork: Tanino Liberatore – Ranx. He is the Michelangelo of the post-modern era, a friend and a true artist.

Literature: Cesare Pavese – 'Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi' [Death will come and have your eyes]. Pavese is my most favourite poet of all time. I would like you to understand Italian because that poem, recited by Vittorio Gassman, is a masterpiece.

Do the lyrics come first or do the music and the beats come first, and then you add the lyrics to fit the sound?

The story comes first. It’s always been that way. The more I live, the more I’m able to tell a story. And I can always tell from the title. If I have a good title, I have a good story to tell. Then I can relate to the song where I go, “OK, this is what I want to say and this is the title of the story, so can we translate the words into music?” That’s pretty much my creative process. After I have the title, then I can deliver on all the rest with the music, which is the other side of the story.

You\’ve called yourself a lover of Chopin. How does a love of classical music translate into the music you make?

A lot of The Beetroots\’ work was inspired by classical music, not only Chopin, but Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Stravinsky, and Wagner…If you listen to \”The Furious\”, from my last Beetroots album Hide there\’s a very Wagner-ian aspect to the song. The Beetroots project itself brings all of the classical elements together. With SBCR it\’s less evident, but still, my music skills are there, my harmonies are there. I\’m just not going to do any Bach arpeggio with SBCR music at the moment because I feel it\’s not as proper as with The Beetroots.

Do you think SBCR is the entry point into your scene where fans can better appreciate your Beetroots work after having first listened to SBCR?

I hope so, we have some new kids coming to SBCR shows who are curious and have no idea what The Bloody Beetroots is, or what I used to do with them. Lots of them have questions, but now I have the ability to show them what Beetroots is all about.

Although the Bloody Beetroots began playing out as a DJ duo and are now a multi-member live band, you continue to be the “face” (albeit masked) and “voice” of the group. Is that intentional?  


I compose the music and I use Death Crew ‘77 as an arm of expression, so they play what I compose. I think my composition is really intimate – I can’t share the kind of process I have in my mind, [but] I can share the lyrics. I was limited when I DJ’d – I had a good feeling, but as a musician I have to press myself. That’s why I built DC77. I’m working on some new songs have Dennis Lyxzén from [seminal Swedish hardcore punk band] Refused. I’m writing music, he’s writing lyrics. He has something really cool to say.


Tell us about your new mask and the idea behind the new mask and cape? What does concealing your personal identity mean to you? Why do you prefer to keep your music separate from your personal persona? 

First of all I want to say that I’d hate to become or be famous. My private life is too precious to be ruined by that hunger and I know that being a celebrity can take away the freedom I have to be able to do the things I like the most. Music is my expressive medium, nothing more than that. The mask is just the way I protect myself.

What can we expect in the near future from both SBCR and the Beetroots in the near future?

Now that the two projects are well established, SBCR is going to continue its own journey to the collaborative music. It\’s going to be my DJ aspect, but I am first and foremost a musician. The Beetroots are going to play as a live band because we have decided after many, many years to step out of the DJ scene and make the Beetroots a live band. What I\’m going to do is compose music functional for the live aspect of the band.

The word “energy” is probably an understatement for what you do onstage, since you are a very physical performer. Wouldn’t you agree?

Yes, I am a very physical performer, because that’s how I want to translate the music. We have very big installations with big screens that show big images, but I want the performance of the music to be as human as possible. That’s how we want to communicate. We want the message to be clear and clean, and be accessed by the biggest amount of people.

https://soundcloud.com/thebloodybeetroots/sets/sbcr-twntymls-back-to-the-top

A Sit Down With DJ Abel Ramos

03.04.2018


A true legend of the hardcore scene, Abel Ramos is a pioneering producer who paved the way for the early happy hardcore scene and, in turn, drum & bass. Without the input of Ramos, Supreme and Sunset Regime the early ‘hands in the air’ anthems that drove ravers directly to rush central may well have taken a different direction.

 

 

"Make your own original music, that's the only way now to make it big!"



 

 

What was the first event you ever played at/put on?

The first main event was Fantazia along time ago way back in the early rave days that went on to Dreamscapes and Helter Skelter, Die Hard and all the rest of the raves in the 1990’s.

Can you tell us the differences between the Spanish and US dance scenes?

Musically there is none. Maybe the festivals in the US are more massive and above all in the US, they know how to sell a big festival and they definitely know how to make a great show production.

Where did the name come from?

Well before I started Djing and when I used to go to the top rank I used to be a bit of a tear away and me and few of me mates used to have a little drink before we went in and when i used to stagger around a little bit drunk my mate said I acted and spoke like a pirate so he came up with the name Ramos the pirate. Now to all you youngun’s out there I don’t condone drinking in anyway, I was young and stooped, so don’t do it, it isn't cool!

What does your "workflow" look like? What software do you use to produce and are there any rituals? For example, light candles or something?

I work with Logic Pro X - I do mashups with Ableton Live. I do not have proper rituals in the studio right now but I always need a lot of sweets and soft drinks to get into the work routine.

So how is the scene in your eyes at the moment?

Very divided but still rocking!

You've always had a more "housigeren" sound, which is also very present in current songs. How do you see the development of house music? 

Since I was young I've heard house music - and I've always been able to express that in my productions. I think House is evolving with new sounds, without losing his livelihood. New producers are always inspired by the classical "hymns" of house music and I think that's a good thing.
What song is your favorite to be heard and played this last?


Haha I love all the songs that I created actually. If I choose, I like the songs Axwell & Angelo, I prefer the songs

Which artists and styles inspired and influenced you?

When I started there weren´t many artists of influence, but my first contact with music was with acid house, Fast Eddie with his Acid Thunder track, I liked it since the first day I Heard it.

What are currently your main challenges as a DJ?

My only goal now is to carry on enjoying my work like the first day. That is what I wish the most.
In addition to being a DJ , you also turn out to be a host on one of the radio in Spain. How to handle these two jobs?


Yes, my other job besides DJ is an announcer! I work at one of the Madrid radio stations called Fun Radio with the name of the show is Party Fun. I will play less for 1 hour every weekend, on Saturday. This work is my favorite.



What do you love most about your country?


What I love most about Spain is the club in Madrid! Madrid has a signal, vibe, and also its passionate and enthusiastic people.



https://soundcloud.com/revealed-recordings/abel-ramos-revolution-drums

A Sit Down With DJ Alan Fitzpatrick

02.04.2018


As techno producers go, Alan Fitzpatrick is a modern-day major leaguer. His output is consistently high and features hard-hitting, big room techno infused with references to the rave culture and the vintage London clubbing scene. With multiple releases on the likes of Drumcode, Hotflush and Cocoon, Fitzpatrick also heads up his own London-based imprint, We Are The Brave.

 

"Sometimes I look at the whole scene and think that it’s just like a machine, going in this direction then that."



 

 How did you first get into techno and why has it remained an obsession for so long, do you think?

It first started for me when I began going to clubs when I was 17, but the fact of the matter is back then I was so into the experience of going to raves that details like who the DJ was or what music was going to be played wasn’t really the first consideration. It was simply about partying with my mates and enjoying this totally new and exciting experience. I’d mainly go to Slinky in Bournemouth where they’d have all sorts of DJs playing from right across the dance music genre, but I caught the techno bug from guys like Carl Cox and Jim Masters who played this very energetic, rave-influenced UK style of techno which I really liked. It had a familiarity about the sounds but presented in a new way and I found that really resonated with me. It sounded cool but still fun. We’d occasionally be more adventurous though and go to these raves in Portsmouth which had guys like Chris Liberator and Dave The Drummer playing a more European sound that was more underground and all about acid lines and really sick percussion.

Tell us a bit about your music. You're a definitive techno master but you worked on many dub sessions as well. The common feature seems to be the presence of embracing deep and dark sounds. If so, what's your attraction to them?


I just like hypnotic stuff when it comes to electronic music. But to be honest my taste is very broad. I love making really energetic club tracks and also trippier, dubby stuff. On other days I’ll make more sexy, after hour bits it just depends on my mood.

In your long-standing career, you have played the biggest festivals in the world. Do you remember your first show in front of 10,000 people? What did it feel like? Could you describe it in one word?

The show of that size that comes to mind immedietly would be a huge outdoor event in Buenos Aires called Mandarine Park that I performed at in October 2015. It was crazy to walk up on stage and see the crowd stretching back as far as the eye could see. Just an enormous sea of people smiling, jumping up and down and waving flags and banners with an energy that is very unique to South American fans. These are the most unfortgettable moments for me and there is only one word for it: Vibes!

Do you prefer to play small intimate clubs, or big outdoor festivals? 

As a performer you need a balance. If I played all small clubs I’d be aching to do bigger stages and if I only ever got to do the bigger shows I would really miss the more intimate gigs.

How important is a good social media game to your career? Do you like that aspect of the modern business?

I’m not really a natural fan of social media so far as the whole “look at me! look what I’m doing!” vibe goes, but I really enjoy being connected directly to fans – that’s really important for me and something that I am very thankful to social media for. It very easy to become detached from what really matters in this business but I think always having your fans just a touch of a button away is a great reminder of what it is actually all about.

Did it take much work to get the tracks together for the mix?

Yeah it did actually. I wanted to make sure that the music was current, or exclusive, and the deadline is actually three months before the release date. So to make sure the music is fresh is quite a challenge. I didn’t want to put out a mix that was full of music that’s already released by the time people can buy it, I wanted people to listen to it and hear the music for the first time, not to have heard the tracks on other podcasts. There are a couple of remixes of my stuff on there that will never be released, they’re only on that CD… it makes it a bit special. 

What are your hobbies? What contributes to your musicality?

I guess I live this double life. Outside of music I find myself doing something that is way more chill, or away from hectic city life; so I go paddle boarding out in the lakes by me and mountain biking, tennis, football, and tinkering with cars. But me and my wife, we paddle board a lot which is a good way of getting away from everything hiding in the forest or something.

You're a big fan of Prince. Which tracks of his have you been able to play out in tribute to him since his sad passing?


'Controversy', '1999', 'When Doves Cry', 'Erotic City'. I have two portraits of Prince on my right calf. Most of the bottom half of my leg is Prince portraits, done by a fairly famous portrait artist. The guy's a legend. I'm planning on getting Bowie on the other leg, he's another one of my heroes.


What are your top five remixes of all time?

This changes almost daily, but today these are the tracks that come to mind:

1. Matthew Herbert - Its Only (DJ Koze mix)
2. Josh Wink - Higher State Of Consciousness (Tweekin' Acid Funk mix)
3. Mory Kante - Yeke Yeke (Hardfloor Remix)
4. Depeche Mode - I Feel Loved - (Danny Tenaglia Remix)
5. Madonna - Lucky Star (12” Extended Remix)

How did you get in touch with Drumcode and Adam Beyer the first time?

Adam was playing a remix of mine on other labels, I had messaged him to thank him for the support. We chatted about me doing something for Drumcode and so I started working on music for the label. A few years on and we are now good friends and Drumcode is a home for my music. Especially Face Of Recjection was hammered in all clubs all over the techno-world. Nearly all big names like Sven Väth, Chris Liebing, Adam Beyer and many many more played and supported that track. How does it feel, if you know that most of all important Techno-Heads are supporting and playing a  track of you?  People all over the world are dancing to your beats… Yes its a great feeling and its very nice to see your hard work in the studio pay off. It pushes you on to do more tracks and inspires you to want to write more music. There is nothing better than seeing and hearing your track played by your peers!

How do you keep yourself sane on the road with the grueling schedules and lack of sleep?

Balance… it’s all about balance! Over the years I have worked out that certain simple things make a world of difference when it comes to not letting touring become a stress. For example, I always try and travel with someone -- my tour manager or my manager or my wife or a friend. Having someone to share the time and experience with removes all negativity that comes with basically being alone or at least surrounded by strangers all weekend. It’s maybe not something that people consider about our work, but it can be a lonely experience despite actually been surrounded by people from the moment you get to the airport to when you are in the club. However, the big secret I discovered to coping with the stressful parts of the job is finding time to do normal stuff away from work with family and friends, or making the effort to explore my hobbies. I’ve recently got really into fishing again having not done it since I was a kid and it’s made a huge difference to my state of mind. I can escape everything and just be on my own and put all my energy into something other than work.
What is your motivation for making music?



Music is my passion. Always has been. Not just techno or electronic music but all sorts of stuff from funk and soul to rock and pop. I grew up in a very music-orientated family. Music was always being played at home or in the car. My uncles and aunts would talk tome about music. My friends at school were all really into music. Its pretty much the one thing that connects everyone I know and it’s something that I feel very personally. Music in general, but also making and playing music fulfils me. It makes me happy. That’s the motivation.


In 2018 you’ll be celebrating ten years of DJing. Are there any special performances your fans in Germany can expect?

I am not making a big deal out of 2018 marking 10 years, but I am of course very proud and greatful to reach this milestone. I already have shows planned for the first half of 2018 in Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart plus I will be doing some German festivals over the summer. If people keep an eye on my social media channels they will be the first to find out when and where.

https://soundcloud.com/alanfitzpatrick/sets/we-are-the-brave-releases-1

A Sit Down With DJ Jordy Dazz

02.04.2018


Jordy Dazz, a once college drop out turned DJ/Producer has conquered a long and winding road enroute to his global accession. He continues to shine with his original productions, remixes and ‘Dazz-ups' that truly set him apart from other DJ's and producers with his signature sound and style. He also puts out a ‘Dope & Dirty' monthly podcast, along with touring the globe, keeping him busy at all times.

 

"I’m working on something new that will give everyone a peek into my studio and how I make music."



 

You've worked with EDM stars like Dannic or Bassjackers in your career . What was it like to produce a track with them?

Workingwith Dannic on "Fuego" was fun! We did the track within two days. On the first day we gathered good ideas and structured them and finished the production on the second day. Making Bass Battle with Battlejackers has also been a lot of fun. Marlon and I have known each other for years and have had the ideatogether forsome time to make a track. Marlon had a clear vision of what kind of track we could do, and after a few days we had put all the components together.

You travel a lot. What are the essential things you need to have with you at all times and what are the things you miss when you are on tour?


My Beats Executive Headphones are always with me, and my Macbook of course. The things I miss the most when on tour is probably some normal sleep!
What makes you want to be a DJ?


Actually I do not know, because from small I actually like music to buy a lot of CDs. I was just about 9 or 10 years old when I got my first mixer CD from my dad for my birthday. Music is always there for me, so that's what helped me decide to become a DJ.

When your creating a track on logic are you drawing the melody out?

Yup. I am also playing with the keyboard as well. To me normally i make a lead sound first and come up with the melody that matches the lead sound. There is a track coming out on ‘WOLV’, Dyro’s label later this year I made that melody and the break I made in an airport when my flight was delayed in England about three years ago. I made a drop with it that I didn’t like so it laid on the shelf for a while. I still thought it was cool it just needed a proper drop one day and I finished it earlier this year.

What was the most embarrassing moment for you?

When I was about 19 years old, I was resident in one of the clubs in my hometown. I overslept so badly, that I missed the full gig. I had over 40 missed calls, and I just didn't hear it, since I sleep like a solid rock. Gladly I never missed a gig since.
Who is your greatest inspiration in music?


I think the DJ who inspired me while young was Marco V. I was among his biggest fans because I bought all of his Vynil . I also had the opportunity to meet him when I was 15 years old. We both became close friends and I had time to stop by his studio and it was really cool!

Who do you wish to collaborate with in the future?

Throughout my career I have collaborated with big artists and smaller artists. For me a collaboration is about the project and the vibe, and how we compliment each other in the studio. I am always open to collaborations if it feels right.

How do you find time to relax?

Summer time is a busy time for me, I am really looking forward to Tomorrowland in Belgium. There isn’t much spare time in the summer, but when I need to relax I like to game, I am a big gamer. I have a projection screen at my place that makes me feel like I am playing video games in a movie theater. It’s a nice way to decompress and take your mind away from music and touring.

What your dream festival to play at?

I can’t wait to play at Tomorrowland in Belgium this year, I have heard so many stories about the festival and I have never attended myself. I can’t wait to step foot on the festival site not only to play myself but to see the all of the other DJs playing there.

Do you feel that your musical background playing drums has benefited you when producing this type of genre?

I always spend quite sometime programing drums on my tracks because I like rhythm and i think drums to me are the most important part of the whole track.

https://soundcloud.com/jordydazz/hyb001

A Sit Down With DJ Andrew Rayel

01.04.2018


What a year the trance producer Andrew Rayel had so far. Among his activities,  the young Moldovan has released incredible tracks and traveled all over the world to perform at some of the greatest festivals known to trance. He is the definition of a dream come true, who’s last 2-3 years have seen him being compared to one of the most imposing figures in trance.

 

"I wanted to create something special. I really wanted to create a history, so every song has a history behind it. I did a special intro and a special outro."



 

What is your usual workflow process in the studio?

There is no workflow to be honest, well other than always having my tea next to me! Haha, But I mean it’s not like I walk in to the studio and follow steps, I just go for what’s on my mind, my heart…have fun, u know…

Talking about your label, you have worked on it for so many years! What made you decide that you were ready to fully pursue it?

I finished my second studio album this year this past May called Moments, I was working on that for the past two years and I was very busy with the album, it was my sole focus at the time. About a month after I finished it I also put together three new tracks. At that point I realized I didn’t want to release straightaway because it would be too much music and confusing for the fans. So I realized I was feeling very productive and good about my work and so I decided this is the moment I would put all that new music on the album and also get new artists and start promoting them and creating the in Harmony music family and growing together.

Were there any underlying personal inspirations that went into producing "Find Your Harmony?" How much of your personal-self did you have to commit to the music in order to give it life?

Of course! The entire album is all about the journey of life in which every track has a story and feeling behind it, and my main inspirations to the album are from life experiences as well as touring experiences and the love I get from my fans.

If you had the chance to sign any artist to your label, who would it be?

Of course I would love to have Armin, but since in Harmony is on his label, it cannot be. We are all one big family over there but I respect and enjoy so much more music then just big names. I would love to have David Gravell, William de Roo, ending up with Dash Berlin, W&W, everybody! I have a very wide spectrum of musical tastes and aspirations.

A little bird told us that you are preparing something huge – you are planning to launch your own label. Is that true?

Yes it is. It will be launched by the end of this summer and we already have the first three tracks (all mine) and the name of the label. I am thrilled by this because it’s a new stage in my musical career. Now I can help other artists to be promoted not just promote myself. Maykel Piron – Armada Music director – has been saying this to me for two years now and I was always telling him that I don’t have the time, or that I don’t feel like I am ready for this. But now I am, I have an amazing team beside me so I can’t wait to do it. We already have a few names confirmed, like David Gravell. It’s very exciting!

You are fairly fresh to the commercial Trance scene, yet even as a rookie you took the industry by storm and nearly overnight had an impressive following. What was your call to fame? What catapulted you from DJing as a hobby to DJing as a profession?

Well, music is something that I grew up on, I took classical musical classes when I was a kid which has helped me a lot for my background as an artist, and I used to listen to the radio to names such as Armin Van Buuren, ATB, and more which also inspired me more to produce trance music, and well as they say the rest was history. And I’m so humbled how the entire process has worked out.

You had a busy 2017 with your new label, new music and your “Moments” tour; what are you bringing to us for 2018?

Next year, my main focus will be the label. We just finished the Moments tour, which was very intense. I'm gonna make things a little easier for me next year and do more normal shows and catch up on the festivals that I missed this year because I was focused on the tour.

Describe to us your sound.

Well, my sound is something in which harmony, melodies, euphoria, and most important is to have a journey in the track, is what my sound is all about it. I like to make sure that my track can connect with my fans with their emotions on a higher ground, so they can have a story to remember or someone to remember when listening to that track, to make it even more desirable.

Your favourite tracks...

I actually have two favorite tracks that I’ve been involved in this past year. The first was Daylight with Jonny Rose, it’s a vocal track that has been really well received, and the second being Chased with Mark Sixma, which has a great, pure energy to it. We did a really unique music video for it as well, which was shot in LA. When the video people sent me the first version of the video, I though “this is pretty different and unique compared to what other people doing their videos. After a few times watching it, it really grew on me because of that.

What would you say to a youngster that wants to be successful in this industry?

It’s pretty simple really. In order to succeed in this business, you need to create something new and unique. Create and inspire yourself from other artists work until the point when you feel ready to go on your own. But careful! Inspiration doesn’t mean copying someone, you must think outside the box which sometimes is easy and sometimes is very, very hard. There is a lot of electronic music on the market today, basically each 15-year-old kid with a laptop can create a track, but most them are just copying. To get away from the crowd you need to create something new and beautiful.

https://soundcloud.com/andrewrayel/andrew-rayel-feat-lola-blanc

A Sit Down With DJ Eco

01.04.2018


With consistent support from DJ's like Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, Markus Schulz and many more, Eco managed to make his name as one of the most promising producers of today. 'Light At The End', 'Tonight Is Forever', 'And We Flew Away', 'Borealis' and 'Lost Angeles', each of his productions are original pieces of whatever dance style inspires him at that very moment. It's time to outgrow that talent tag and take the next step in his musical career: 'M(You)sic'.

 

 "I find experimenting a lot of fun, but really tying it all together and cleaning things up on the production and sound end, may be my weakness, if I’m being honest."



 

What is DJ Eco signature sound?

My sound… people describe it as very emotional. I listened to a lot of progressive rock and psychedelic rock. So I like to put that into my music. Very experimental melody.

How does it feel to always receive such positive feedback and continued support from a musical icon such as Armin?

Huge. It cannot be understated how much Armin’s support has helped turn millions of people onto my music. Without even just half of the enthusiasm and support he’s given me over the years, I’d be another unknown bedroom producer somewhere on SoundCloud and probably not being asked to give this interview, about an album that 10% of my current fans would have heard. There exists an alternate reality where Armin doesn’t support my music 10 years ago, and I just kind of fly under the radar making music for myself and my friends and that’s it. Luckily, that’s not how it all played out this time.

Your new album has just been released and is called M sic. What's behind that name? 

Everyone interprets music differently and feels differently, just like with a book or with art. That is what M (you) sic stands for, the personal touch to music. My website is called The Sound of Youth, which you will return to, but which also stands for young, refreshing and approaching a different way of trance. I also really feel like a young man, a newcomer in the trance world. 
Do you remember the kind of music that you were listening in your childhood and do you remember when you came across to EDM music and particularly trance and progressive?


My dad used to drive me to school for more than a decade of my life. Even at the age of 3 or 4, he was playing a lot of interesting music on the ride to school: Pink Floyd, Santana, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix. I was a rock and roll kid, then a ghetto hip hop kid, and then a trance teen once I heard my first CDs from Ferry Corsten and Tiesto.




“Wolves” takes listeners on an emotional journey, making it apparent that you aren’t producing music to appease the masses. What were some of the similarities and differences you found during the creative process between “Wolves” and your debut album, “M(you)sic?”

I’ve talked a lot about having “creative control” and free reign by the label Black Hole Recordings. To Armada’s credit, with “M(you)sic”, I was given much of the same. Both labels were fans of what I bring to the table and both gave me creative control to come up with whatever I wanted to. However, in 2011/2012 while I was writing “M(you)sic”, I was at a crossroads in my career. I still had it in my mind that I should shoot for things like global tours and festival gigs and chart success; I was still even pushing myself for DJ Mag voting at that point too! So musically, while Armada didn’t really put any shackles on how I should produce, I did have that in the back of my mind: things like, “I should make a big vocal tune!” or “I need the big anthemic melody in this track!”, etc. Now I’m 4-5 years older and wiser, and to put it frankly, I don’t really give a f**k anymore about a “DJ career”. I take that side of things as it comes, and like I said before, I really just produced this album in my own bubble. I wanted to make something that I could finish and still want to listen to myself. So I had zero regard for which songs “would be a hit” or not, and I think it shows.


Do you have professional training in music or are you self-taught? Do you think is very important for a young producer to attend music composition classes or you feel as many people that formal training kills creativity and innovation and nowadays it’s easier to learn to produce with amateur video tutorials from you tube?


I’ve only had classical piano training but for 14 years, I did it mostly by ear. After all that playing piano, I still can’t read musical notes! You may be able to hear that in the style of music I produce, the songs lack a sort of strict composition that maybe some other producers maintain. However, many other producers rely too much on notation and midi files and stuff like that which ends up comprising music that some of the critics call “cookie-cutter trance”. I don’t think producers need formal training and I always caution young kids just starting that they SHOULDN’T quit their school and go to music school, it’s a waste of time and money. Music should start out as a hobby and if you’re good, then you make the jump. You should never throw all your eggs into that basket, as we say in America.


From which track of yourself do you get goose bumps? 


Well, the track that I have the most with is 'Tonight is forever', this is an older track, ever released under that German label. This is my personal favorite, the track is very melodic and the audience always goes crazy! 
Hellovators has a special place in my heart of this new album, this track consists of two parts that contain 4 mini tracks. It is actually the whole album summarized in a track, in terms of emotions. Cheerful, hopeful, sad, everything is in it. 


Which of the tracks on the new LP would you say holds the most meaning to you personally and why?



Probably the closing track, “The Lonely Soldier”. When I first thought about incorporating guitar into my music, I did it while inspired by one of my favorite rock bands Explosions In The Sky. That was the sound I envisioned trying to mash up with the emotion of progressive trance, and when I finished that track, I realized I accomplished it. That song really tells a story in itself and encapsulates the whole point of the album I think.


What has been the most memorable gig of your career thus far?

Hands down, it has to be A State Of Trance 450 in New York, at the Roseland Ballroom; not only because of the sheer size of that gig at that early point in my career (a good 6000-7000 people crammed into there?), but that, and I didn’t know it at the time, it would be demolished years later. So, it exists now only in my memory, all the parties I enjoyed going to over there, but most importantly, that one night that I felt like I was on top of the world. Every dog has its day…

https://soundcloud.com/thesoundofeco/sets/tsoy

A Sit Down With DJ Jon O`bir

03.04.2018


In terms of his own productions, Jon’s first few projects were collaborations alongside Gareth Emery and Airwave. ‘Escapade’, ‘Bouncebackability’ and ‘No Way Back’, produced with Gareth Emery, gained plenty of support from top DJ’s and fans alike. The single ‘Promise I Made’ produced with Airwave, one of Jon’s favourite artists, was also a well supported release. With the knowledge gained from the collaborations, Jon hit the studio to create his first solo production, ‘Effectual’ and soon to follow was ‘Ascendancy’. He also worked on a number of remixes, including the massive ‘Jose Amnesia – Louder’ released on Armin van Buuren’s label, Armada.

 

"I sacrificed a lot of things to concentrate on my music, and 
now it seems to be paying off for me."



 

When did you start producing your own music?


I was not really interested in making my own music until about 2 years after I took up djing. I had been to college to work on a music production course but this really did not help that much. The only thing that came out of it was how to use Logic Audio. I am just starting to get somewhere with my productions. I wish I had taken more interest in the production side of things earlier in my career. I have some catching up to do but expect to hear a lot more from me over the next few years.


You have pushed out a number of blinding productions under different names, including Solar Movement, Mekk, Substate, Force One, Aira Force, CMR, Eluna and Activa. Please describe the sound of each briefly and which one would you rate as Rob Stevenson’s favourite?

To be honest most of the names came about after dealing with different labels rather than trying to do different styles. Activa, Solar Movement and Force One are pretty much the same and only really exist to allow me to release on more than one label in a shorter space of time. I have tried to keep the Solar Movement stuff trancier than the more pumping Activa tracks, but they definitely cross over. Mekk was a project that was specifically started so I could release harder, darker tracks on Discover Dark. That has now turned into a techno project and will be dipping into tech trance depending on my mood. CMR and Substate are both with Matt and Chris Kidd. CMR is older hard trance and Substate is techier sounding trance.

What led you to set up your own record label Conspiracy Recordings?


Rob Stevenson and I came up with the idea of creating a small digital label after we had bad experiences of dealing with other labels. We wanted to care for the artists first and foremost. From a small digital label it has grown bigger than we expected in a short time with us now doing plenty of vinyl as well as the digital side, plus 2 off-shoot labels (Deep and Limited).


Outside of your studio schedule and gig's what do you get up to in your spare time?

I love sports, on Tuesday I don my boots and get stuck into 5-a-side football, really enjoy letting off steam on Tues evenings! I attend the gym quite often as well, quite a fitness geek! I’m also really getting into my cooking. Recently purchased quite a few cook books and I’m starting to add my own touch to certain recipes, it’s getting very addictive!

Passion hold a special place in your heart?

JOB - Yeah of course it does, I hold some very special memories from the competition itself to the night warming up for J00F. It’s always held an amazing atmosphere; many DJ’s will back me up on this. It’s the place where it all started for me, so it will always have a special place in my heart.

How did you get your breakthrough? 

Jon O'Bir My first breakthrough was given to me by my good friend now St John earlier this year, I sent him a CD he liked it and after hearing me a few times he gave me my first gig experience and also my 1st residency John has turned me into a much more confident person and I cannot thank enough for the help John, Jamo and the m.o.tion crew have given me. My 2nd big break was winning the PaSSion & M8 Mag DJ 
competition, big thanks go out to Dan Platten and all the guys that judged the final! And the recent breakthrough has been Godskitchen. I sent a CD off to them and received a reply from James Algate @ Gods 
telling me he liked my CD and that he wanted to meet me! Again massive thanks to James for all he has offered me, I won’t let you down. 

The creative process is different for every artist. Would you say the initial idea for an original track starts with something you see or hear, or is it a thought that gradually develops over time?

It really depends to be honest. Sometimes a track can pop into my head while I’m watching a film or doing something where I can’t get to my studio or a keyboard to test it out. If I can remember the track they usually turn out okay. Remember on Vandit and This World on Discover were both tracks where I wasn’t anywhere near a keyboard or studio when I thought of it. Other tracks can be sat on my hard drive as a groove or a quick melody idea and take months to finish. Some don’t get finished. I find I am spending more time on tracks now, which I suppose is a good thing. There was a point I got a bit overexcited and was making track and remix after track and remix and even agreed to do things like remix swaps. And having those remixes come back when you least expect them, can be hard to get into. There’s nothing worse than having to do a remix that you agreed to do months and months earlier when you’re already pretty busy. I still need to develop my work evaluation skills. Now and again I’ll still take on tracks that I really shouldn’t.

You've been DJ'ing all over the Globe recently, what's the 1 track that's been getting a huge reaction from the dancefloor?

I’m still playing out the massive JOC remix of my track ‘Found A Way’, such a great feeling to see people singing this back to me at events ever since Armin gave it a huge push. John did such a great job on the remix, top man!

What, according to you, are the most important elements that set brilliant productions apart from ordinary tracks?

I suppose in my opinion the production quality of the track is the most important thing. A brilliant track for me doesn’t have to have a big riff or really anything particularly memorable. A perfect example would be Armin’s Sunburn. It’s a blinding track, absolutely superb production, but doesn’t have a big riff. If you tried to sing it to someone who didn’t know what it was, you’d have trouble!

There are thousands of bedroom DJs like you started out as, do you have any advice on them, for commitment and techniques and the likes?

I know it’s the oldest advice in the book but.. Practice, practice and practice! I have had my share of luck on the way, but DON’T GIVE IN! Keep at it, maybe sacrifice some things like I did? But only do that if you LOVE the music you play. 

https://soundcloud.com/neil-ribbens/jonobir_godskitchen_resident_set

A Sit Down With DJ Tiga

29.03.2018


Having spent part of his childhood in India, Tiga was introduced to the party scene early, beginning his career as a teenaged DJ. Developing into a club owner and founder of his own label, Turbo Recordings, his influence has only continued to grow. Fifteen years after the 2001 release of his breakout single, an aggressively modernized update of Corey Hart’s 1984 synth-pop smash “Sunglasses At Night,” he has provided remixes for the xx and LCD Soundsystem, collaborated with Soulwax and Hudson Mohawke, and produced three albums of his own: 2006’s Sexor, 2009’s Ciao!, and now, No Fantasy Required, released March 4.

 

"When I started making music I was just getting something finished and wasn’t so uptight…"



 

What was the first dance music experience that really stuck with you?

I’m not sure. It was the Haitian music, or Carnival in Haiti. As far as Jersey goes, block parties & meeting Tameil when I was 11. Got to chill with Diplo backstage at Mad Decent Block Party in High school.

You have an album in the pipeline. What can you tell me about that?

I’m looking forward to the day that I know exactly what to say to that. I would say…it’s started. I haven’t hit that critical mass yet, where I know exactly where it’s going. But I do have a bunch of songs written, and it’s going pretty well. There’s a target to have it finished in the summer, and I’ve taken some time off touring in order to make that happen. I have a long list of collaborators, some of them real and some potential. As usual, I’m wrestling with the song-versus-track thing, like I always do—but this time, I’m hoping to resolve it. And I really want to have an album right now, which sounds obvious, but isn’t always the case. I’m having more trouble than usual in finding music to play, and that’s usually a good time to make stuff. You can fill your own needs.

?ou’ve talked in previous interviews about how you initially feared singing on stage, but that when you did it, it came very naturally.

My whole life I’ve wanted to be a performer. The idea of being on stage and performing is something I like. It doesn’t make me less stage-shy, but once I actually got up there, it felt quite natural. After so many years of DJing, it’s not exactly an alien concept, being in front of so many people. It’s just part of my personality — something I wrestle with. I have no regrets about my life or career, but I would have started [singing] earlier. Every show you get a little bit better. For me, the main thing is that it feels nice when you’ve built something up in your head, and you conquer it. It’s liberating to just be playing your own music.

Your favourite style of music.

I have quite eclectic tastes. There are all these different things that I really love – I kind of love simple pop music, I love techno; I love kind of deep dance, kind of dark dance music and acid. I like all these things that don’t necessarily fit together, and I feel like in albums of my work I’ve kind of always been trying to fit them together, and I don’t feel like I’ve ever really gotten it totally right.

How has techno and the Montreal scene changed since then? You are still the man behind Turbo, and you owned a nightclub at one point.

Well, 15 years is a lifetime. Things have changed in a million different ways, and they can even change back. I kind of lost track of all the different phases, to be honest. For me, a big shift was that, starting around 2002, I began traveling a lot. My “connection” to and my focus on my hometown switched a little bit after that. Before, I was very much about building things at home. “Sunglasses At Night” ended up being the invitation to join the club, so to speak. My first international show was at a restaurant for ten people in Munich. I knew I had made it. I was at the Miami Music Conference [in 2002], and DJ Hell and some of the people from the German label, Gigolo, which put out “Sunglasses At Night,” were there. I met my first agent — that was a big step. Then I did three shows: Frankfurt, Munich, and this little city called Regensburg, which is in the south of Germany.

How does online communication and social media play into your music/performance practice? Can these tools be used for community building?

Honestly I’m getting better at the online communication thing. I’ve had to because I like to build a friendship beyond music. Before, my DMs consisted mostly of messages like “Can I get tracks?” or “Send me a zip!” then once I would send shit to people, you never hear back from cats. When you have a friendship with someone, you’re going to communicate. I would happen to be in some of these guys town, and would try to go out to support their event and I wouldn’t hear back, until I drop another gem and people wanted something from me. It’s more genuine when you develop a real connection and have a relationship with someone. What I do now is lock in numbers and text my main friends regularly, push a few tweets to support my brothers and sisters.

What are your inspirations right now?

Right now’s a little bit of a low period, which for me always happens after an album is finished. I’ve used a lot of my ideas over the past little while. Basically all I want to do right now is just read books, listen to records, and watch movies. Just fill up again with ideas. My brother’s just discovered, like, 500 more Aphex Twin tracks, which should keep me busy for a few weeks. I’ve been listening to more hip-hop than I have ever before. I’m pretty obsessed with Young Thug, mostly Atlanta stuff. It doesn’t directly inspire me, musically, but it excites me.

How did you get less one-dimensional? OK...less annoying.

A lot of that is the age. I was 18 and finishing school, and I had this passion. At that age, you want to be identified with the things you love. It also felt like we were riding the wave of something quite revolutionary. It could be my perspective, but it definitely didn't feel like now, where things are more spread out and there isn't this same kind of singularity of a movement. Or, for that matter, a drug that sweeps a nation. I also became much more interested in the craft, the artistic side of making things and less the more social and business side of pushing and preaching it. The other thing was, at a certain point, the battle was won. It became a case of preaching to the converted. When everyone I knew was either a DJ or at the record store, what was I going to do? Going around whining that techno was the future? 

What does it mean for you to be a real DJ?

Real DJing is about something that can’t be packaged or replicated: it’s about timing. It’s like stand-up comedy: you’re only as good as the connections you make and the speed with which you make them. DJing is wit. Oscar Wilde said that. Sometimes you have seconds to make a good decision. It’s style (your choices) versus fashion (your collection), and no amount of money can change that. Although if you can afford a pheromone mist to spray on the crowd that can paper over a questionable call to “go hip-hop”, that helps. I’m a romantic at heart. I believe that all DJs who deeply love what they play are doing things the right way. It doesn’t matter if people are pointing and broadcasting the set on the web for people to mock without pity. If you’re really feeling it, then you’re the luckiest laughing-stock in the world.

Your day-to-day interaction with the label over the years has seemed to ebb and flow, depending on what you're working on elsewhere. Where are you now?

Now I'm entering into a more hands-on phase. Originally, it was all me. All the minutiae. I was making rubber stamps, running to the post office, doing royalty reports. But I was lucky, as my younger brother came along and he's been managing the label for the past couple of years. Between him and my career going great—especially with traveling in Europe—it was easy to take a hands-off approach for a while. But now I'm getting back into it, being more involved with the artists, more involved with the release schedules. It's really a bizarre time to be running a record label. There's no business model. It's just a weird soup. The past two years have been so depressing. I've been spared because my own personal career has been on the up, but the model of an independent record label has become murder. It's such a challenge now, though, that I'm getting really interested. You're really problem solving. Not figuring out how to get people to like your music, because we've had great response. But more how do you actually earn money for the artist? How do you transfer Facebook action into something concrete for the label? It's not easy, but it's a super exciting time. 

https://soundcloud.com/tiga/sets/radio-turbo-015-tiga

A Sit Down With DJ Art Department

10.03.2018


Jonny White and Kenny Glasgow’s brainchild Art Department burst onto the scene in 2010 with their debut EP Vampire Nightclub/Without You, making huge waves in the industry with their emotive and melancholic sound. Their first LP The Drawing Board turned a new page in dance music history, further cementing the Canadian duo’s status as some of house music's fastest rising stars. The unique combination of White’s impeccable production skills and Glasgow’s Ian Curtis-resembling vocals made clubbers across the globe fall in love with that signature Art Department sound.

 

"In our culture a key responsibility of a DJ is to influence people’s willingness to expand their musical world and just try to show them something they can’t get anywhere else."



 

What was your first set-up as DJ like? How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?

My first set up was a pair of Numark belt drive tables and a radio shack mixer that I took off my friend’s hands because his parents wouldn’t allow the stuff in his house. I quickly replaced that garbage with two Technics and a Numark mixer when I realized his stuff was a joke. That was 20 years ago and it hasn’t changed a whole lot. On the road and at home my set up is two 1200’s, three CDJs and an Allen & Heath zone 92. I just use the CDJs the same way I use the tables so not much has changed in terms of my approach technically.

Where is the change most evident – in the studio or behind the decks?

I don’t think it’s a huge change in either one for us. I think we’re both still playing what we would have been playing, maybe with a few added songs we wouldn’t play when we’re DJing together, because we knew the other one didn’t like it, but what people don’t realize is that with duos, or at least with us, we weren’t playing from a shared music collection. We have our own collections and the sound we had came from mixing our two catalogues together. Had either of us been playing on our own, it likely would have sounded a lot like what we just sound like on our own right now. It was actually evident in our sets during our last six months together when we were drifting off in different directions a bit musically. The sets weren’t as fluid or seamless as they had been. Our minds were in different places. You have to remember as with any relationship, you kind of have to grow together and in the same direction in order for things to keep working. That’s a rare thing, I think and maybe even more so with this kind of dynamic, because you’re talking about what two separate people want to express through music. Two separate minds and souls who have different perspectives and different life experiences over time. 

Having originated in Toronto, can you speak to how the Toronto scene has evolved from your early days as an artist/fan to now? How would you equate the underground scene of Toronto to other dance music meccas?

It’s funny, I was sitting in a hotel room in Montreal early this morning with my partner in No.19 – Nitin, and a few other old school heads from Toronto chatting about how things have changed from when we came up in the city 15-20 years ago. When I was coming up Toronto had an amazing scene that was as good if not better than any city I’ve ever been to. I know thats a bold statement but having travelled extensively for the past 6 years and having been able to experience some of the best parties in the world, I can honestly say that’s the truth.

Tell us a little bit about making the album, what are some of your personal favorite tracks from it and what are some of your fondest memories in the studio during the making?

We love the entire album... I don't know that we really like one or two best because they each represent a different idea and time in the writing process. I think my fondest memory of studio time spent while writing the Drawing Board was the five days we spent in the studio with Soul Clap at my place in Toronto... Five days, camped out around my living room off your head making music with Soul Clap.

How would you define the job and describe the influence of the DJ? How are the experience and the music transformed through your work?

I guess I just answered that. But ya, I dedicate my life to cherry picking music and finding a way to hopefully have people relate to the music I’ve found in some way. I think that in our culture a key responsibility of a DJ is to influence people’s willingness to expand their musical world and just try to show them something they can’t get anywhere else. And hopefully every DJ is giving people something a bit different and unique. Otherwise we only need one, and a recorder.

Why artists here who inspire you really wanted to see?

I made a good go of it last weekend and saw a ton of artists I really wanted to see. The highlight for me, was probably seeing Nas do illmatic, like the full album.

How do you think the style / direction of Art Department will change as a solo act?

A little bit less showmanship during shows… ok a lot. As for the music I honestly couldn’t answer that. I can only say it’s pretty much a full boycott of anything that I don’t consider to be house or techno in its truest form. I want nothing to do with anything that isn’t representative of that when it comes to this project and I think thats an important idea right now. I feel like preserving the roots of this music is so important now with younger generations coming up, having not had what we had culturally and musically when we grew up on this music. I’m just looking at this as an opportunity to use a great brand we’ve created to expose people to the music I’m most interested in.

After six years producing in a collaborative project, producing as a solo artist again must throw up some challenges. How much time do you spend in the studio—and how are you adapting to it?

To be honest, I can't say it really presents any challenges. I mean, if I was trying to write songs that sound like what we've been doing for the past five years, especially vocal stuff…then yeah, that would present a massive challenge because a lot of those ideas came from Kenny, and I can't fucking sing to save my life. But I'm not looking to replicate a sound that, quite frankly, cannot be duplicated without both of us. Right now, it just feels like freedom to make whatever I feel like making; I just haven't decided what I want the sound to be going forward and I'm not really trying to figure it out.

What, in your opinion, draws people to your music? It seems to cross musical tastes and age groups to find wide appeal. Few electronic music acts seem to enjoy that success without making pop music concessions so perhaps you can share some insights with us?

I think a lot of it is timing. I think that people are hungry for change and for the next sound and as a result also very open-minded.

Are you working on new Art Department material? Would you consider teaming up with other artists again?

Yeah, I am finally working on music for Art Department again. I hadn’t really written anything last year, because I was apprehensive about what to do stylistically, going forward without Kenny. Am I going to keep making the same style of music? What are existing fans going to want? Will they hate me if I change things? What is everyone going to say if i do this or that? All that’s gone now. I’m back to not giving a fuck and that’s part of that clarity I was talking about. That ego I was talking about can make you insecure and have you thinking in circles. I’m about to release a collaboration with AD/D that we just finished before the end of the year. I’m also just finishing up what will be the first official solo Art Department release, which should make it out this year as well, I hope. That record will likely be part of a new album I’m working on as well for release early 2017, and that secret-becoming not so secret new project with AD/D that will drop mid/late 2017. By the end of this interview I’ll have probably spilled the beans.

Looking back at all you achieved as a collaboration, you must be extremely proud. Do you see this as a fresh start for Art Department, or a just a continuation of the same project?

I'm very proud of what Kenny and I achieved with Art Department. We reached so many goals together with the music that, quite honestly, were far beyond what I ever hoped to achieve when I first got into this. It's impossible to really look at this as a fresh start now after all of these years. Musically speaking, I am sure it will change dramatically—but I think its just more of trip back to how we were both doing it before we got together than it is a fresh start.

https://soundcloud.com/artdepartment/sets/se008

A Sit Down With DJ Paul Ritch

10.03.2018


Having already forged a solid reputation by releasing tracks and remixes as Pacemaker and June on Get Physical records, as well as on labels such as Drumcode, Sci + Tech, Cocoon Recordings and Soma, plus his own Quartz Records, he's DJed at some of the most influential clubs and events globally including Amnesia, Space, Pacha in Ibiza, Berghain and Watergate in Berlin, Rex Club (Paris), Melkweg (Amsterdam) and Womb.

 

"Break the rules and listen to yourself in what you want to undertake."



 

What was the break through point in your  career?

It was 6 month after Samba came out and I had made 2 or 3 more release on Resopal. 2007 for me was big year of release and almost everybody from house to Techno was playing the records. That`s was definitely the break through point of my career.

How do you work on your new sound? what is your starting point?

First and what was important to me in the process of this album in particular was to be in a place that will provoke a certain emotion, therefore I decided to go live in the family’s house that is located in the east of France. It is an old farm surrounded by a forest. I took some of my equipments and went and stayed there for 2 months and luckily it was snowing which made my stay even more inspiring. While composing this album, I really played on the texture first to give it the atmosphere then I started putting the leads and finally creating the beat around it.

During performances and DJ sets, your energy is definitely mesmerizing. Elaborate on what some of your favourite aspects of performing live are, when being compared to a typical recording process?

There is a clear difference between the creative process of working in the studio and my live performances. Playing live allows me to interact with the crowd and my favourite aspect of performing live is when I have to think on the fly and modify my set to suit the energy of the crowd. Seeing people’s reactions to the countless hours that go into producing tracks is really what drives you to go back to studio to start the whole creative process over again. Performing live gives me that satisfaction of knowing that my work is well received.

Tell us about your new alias Kaczmarek. Where does the name come from and how will this be different to your output at Paul Ritch?

Kaczmarek is the Polish last name of my mother. With Kaczmarek I will mainly produce albums, the first one being on KCZMRK as I mentioned before. I decided to take another name to be more free about my production and to make all the music that you wouldn't expect from Paul Ritch's usual releases.

You launched a new label "KCZMRK" and created a new alias "Kaczmarek". How was it done and what were your inspirations? It comes from a need to create something new, to try a new field or a musical evolution where you will recognize yourself better?

I do not think this is a musical evolution because I always produce a techno more "dance floor" under the name of Paul Ritch with which I have a lot of maxis that will come out in 2018, but rather another facet of my personality. I listen a lot of electronica, more experimental music and I always wanted to produce an album in these sounds. That's why I created this alias Kaczmarek and the KCZMRK label to leave the field open for sound creation and experimentation.

How undegrond was Techno in France when you first started DJing? Where did you go partying?

When I first start DGing there was no meaning of what was undeground. I think this word aperead more when EDM showed up and people who were making house and Techno didn`t want to be associated with the same kind of music. I was living in Paris so when I was 18 years old the best Techno club to provide Techno was the Rex club, except that it was a huge scene for raves for the hardcore, hard Techno and Trance. I was going anywhere there was great house and Techno. So I was going to gay parties which were more decadent and the best parties in town, but also sometimes I was going to wild raves. I rememer going out to see Claude Young scratching with his eibow and Richie Hawtin throwing his vnyl on the floor right behind him after playing it. That was also the time when Laurent Garnier was doing his all nights sets at Rex.

Between the live and the DJset, where do you thrive the most?

There is a real difference between djjing and live. Playing live allows me to change the course of a song, mixing part of a piece with another ... You have a lot of subjects to work with but at the same time DJset the pleasure of playing a track that is not not yours is just as exciting. Mixing it with two or three pieces can give a crazy energy. I really blossom in both and I think it complements me as a techno artist.

How would you describe the sound you`re making these days?

I still continue in the same line it`s always groovy, the only thing that changed it`s that it`s probably a bit more dark and mantal than before.

What are some of your key influences in your music? Whether it be the sound created by others, imagery, films or any kind of art form.

My key influence has always been the dance floor. When I’m producing, I always imagine myself in the middle, dancing, and what my reaction listening to it would be. With my new project Kaczmarek, the approach is different – it really gets more mental and more cinematic. With this album the point was to make the listener take a journey from the beginning to the end.

Who is the non-electronic artist that inspires you the most?

I love Dr. Dre! I am a big fan of what he does and do in general.

https://soundcloud.com/paulritch/acid-forest

A Sit Down With DJ Faruk Sabanci

29.03.2018


Turkish dance music authority Faruk Sabanci is back with a mammoth dance floor creation, 'Home' Ft. Sabrina Signs - out now via Sony Music Turkey. Exhibiting Faruk's immense musical skills and melodic feel, 'Home' is a festival-ready cut that is built up around Sabrina Signs soaring vocals. Combining strings, stabbing synths and frenetic snares, 'Home' hits the senses hard, while Signs' touching vocals juxtapose the heavy instrumental arrangement. Exploring immersive drops and an explosive finale, 'Home' is destined to be heard at the world's most in-demand festivals, played by some of the biggest names in the industry over the next few months.

 

 "My production and DJ style can be best described as big room, diverse and euphoric."



 

You started your career as DJ/Producer at a very young age. How did you got involved with Electronic Dance Music, DJing and Producing?

My passion for DJ’ing started long before I got into producing. Dance music was not very accessible in Turkey at the time when Tiesto’s concert DVD’s came out and seeing how a DJ can control a large crowd musically was very inspiring so I thought I’d have a go. I never could’ve imagined I would be sharing stage with him a couple of years later.

Who are some of the up and coming producers we should be looking out for coming out of Turkey?

You should definitely keep an eye on Nurettin Colak, an extremely talented multi-genre producer, as well as upcoming Trance producer Arman Aydin and Sezer Uysal who has been making waves in Deep House for a while already.

Beside your work as a DJ/Producer you’re also a label owner. Why did you start this label?

Indeed, I run the Arisa Audio label group together with my business partner Joseph Arias. We established this label in order to create an outlet for what we consider quality music as well as a platform for talented new artists. What started out as more of a hobby has turned into one of the stable brands in the industry, we can’t thank our supporters enough!
What artists have influenced you the most in regards to your productions?


In the early days when I had just started out I was heavily inspired by Trance music artists such as Ferry Corsten, Armin van Buuren, Above & Beyond and Paul van Dyk. Nowadays I could be inspired by any artist; from anything to a new Major Lazer record to non-dance artists like Drake or Lorde, sky is the limit!

Can you mention your biggest personal life achievements in 2017 that make you extremely proud

This changed my life forever... losing 95KG's (yes, 95) hence becoming a completely different person

 A lot of Dj/Producers have a recognizable sound. How would you describe the typical Sabanci sound?

I have a slightly different approach on having an own sound, I prefer having a recognisable theme and structure in my music while the sound itself keeps evolving track by track, ranging from deeper tracks at 128BPM to 140BPM up-tempo Trancers. For me it’s all about being versatile and keeping it fresh while maintaining the core elements of my music instead of sticking to the same sound after a successful record.
Best Dj equipment (software or hardware): 


Software: Ableton Live, Hardware: Pioneer Products

What are the biggest changes in the record industry you have noticed since you became a label boss?

Well I’m not a veteran in the label business yet so I won’t be telling you about how sad it is that vinyl is no longer there or anything like that. What I did witness however, is the takeover of Streaming. Streaming is the future and will grow beyond the point of making digital sales irrelevant, especially for new artists.
Best music composition software:


Each to his own, but for me it has to be Logic Pro X.


What has been your greatest accomplishment so far in your career?


I'd rather not pick and choose, I'm just blessed to have accomplished some of my childhood dreams but we're just getting started with a long way to go!

https://soundcloud.com/faruksabanci/fs_home

A Sit Down With DJ Khomha

27.03.2018


Coldharbour Recordings are proud to present the first compilation from EDM young gun and Schulz Music Group wunderkind, KhoMha. Since bursting onto the scene just 18 months back, the Columbian sound-slinger has seen his productions ignite the playlists of DJs as diverse as Armin, Axwell, Eric Prydz and Above & Beyond. The prot?g? of the Coldharbour master himself, Markus Schulz, KhoMha is now set to make his first strike on your mix-comp collection.

 

"Keep working on your sound make it unique, fresh and professional."



 

Were you a producer or a DJ first?

I was a producer first.

You come from Columbia. Is it possible to tell us how the EDM scene is at the moment in your country? Do you have many good clubs and great events that allow the space for young talent to come up?

The EDM scene is in a growth process right now, it is getting bigger. There are some clubs, maybe not the biggest ones, but there is room for new talent to show their skills.

What was the first step you took to make yourself heard as a DJ?

I started playing in small places and opening for DJs at clubs in Medellin, Colombia. Then as my career began to grow I started to play in bigger venues and further afield.

Have you attended any music school or workshops to learn how to produce EDM or you are 100% self-taught?

I learned a lot of it by myself, but I also learnt some techniques when I was studying sound engineering. It was there that I became more professional in my tracks.

I have controversial question, in your DJ sets how much of your own productions do you usually play?

I would say that 80% is my own music and the other 20% are mash-ups so it is very unique.

You are closely associated with Markus Schulz, his label Coldharbour recordings and his agency Schulz Music Group. Is it possible to tell which one of your tracks was the one that attracted Markus attention, and how did you feel when he asked you to sign your first track to his label?

The first track that I sent to Coldharbour was “Rainy in the Night”, and Markus loved it. From that point, any track that I sent him, he would play, which was fantastic. Then he asked me if I was interested in working with him and ever since my career changed.

What is one of the most memorable performances you’ve had and why?

Well I think it’s a tie at the moment between ASOT 600 in Den Bosch and Transmission—The Spiritual Gateway in Prague. Those gigs mean a lot for me because I've been following these events since I started and I’ve always really wanted to play there. So it was like a dream come true!

Did you move into DJing to play your own tracks?

Yeah, at the beginning when people started hearing my music they would ask me why I didn’t DJ and play my own music. From there I learned to be a DJ and I started playing, it was a success. That is more or less my history.

If you had to pick one DJ to collaborate with, who would it be?

I’m sure it would be with Duft Punk. They are my biggest inspiration. I really can’t explain the degree to which I admire them.

Do you currently have another daytime job as well, or are you 100% a music producer and DJ and make a leaving out of it?

Well, I do music full-time. I'm not only an Electronic music producer, I also do audio for TV, radio commercials, and I was a teacher at a music school too. I also made some music for short films.

https://soundcloud.com/khomha/khomha-live-dreamstate-2017

A Sit Down With DJ Max Graham

05.03.2018


Max Graham has always forged a path of his own, over the course of his career he’s drawn from multiple influences to create a sound that is a unique combination of Techno, Progressive and Trance. From his signature emotive releases to his famed story telling dj sets he flawlessly fuses genres everywhere from globally renowned festivals like Tomorrowland to his trademark ‘Open to Close’ sets in the best clubs in the world.

 

"I don’t think I have a role, I just do my own thing."



 

How did you get into DJing? 

Originally, I started for only a year in 1985 as a "turntablist." I loved the whole scratching thing. I quit, then didn't get back into it until 1992. When looking for a job as a bartender I literally filled in for a no-show DJ, my mixing was horrendous but I could scratch, so I got the job. Originally, Jam Master J and other hip-hop guys influenced me. Second time around were locals like Trevor Walker, who really woke me up to mixing skills.

What would you attribute as your biggest influences in the evolution of your sound and you move more towards ‘progressive techno?’

I think it’s two fold. I’ve always liked chunky bass and sexy grooves and as the style of Trance I play (128-130 clubby stuff) moved more towards electro as their influence, it’s become less appealing to me. I love melody, strings, pads and chord samples but I don’t relate to the dry electro basslines and progressive mainstage influence in a lot of the Trance I hear now. I’ve always mixed Techno into the Trance I play (producers like Alex Di Stefano). It just became a bigger part of my sets as I found less and less Trance that suited me. Also, I’ve been finding more producers that are mixing the two like Richard Santana and Thomas Vink. Both making Techno grooves but not afraid to add some melody into it.

Could you tell us about your music production process? Also your equipment and the setup you use in your live shows.

For live shows, it’s a standard Pioneer Pro DJ mixer and CDJs. In the studio, I use Ableton on a Mac and I’m completely inside the box (no outboard gear), which allows me to work while being mobile.

Describe to us your sound.

It's a combination of energy and emotion; it's gotta have some soul whether it's techno, trance, progressive or deeper stuff. I'm too diverse for my own good, which is another reason I really enjoy long sets as I try to weave between different styles. I feel like a trance breakdown after five chuggy techno tracks has ten times the impact of 8 trance breakdown tracks in a row. I definitely try to tell a story by combining different influences of music. Shopping for music takes me five times longer than some DJs because I go through every different style. Even though my manager might say, "stick to one marketable style," the artist in me won't allow it. I think though lately people are really opening up to so many different sounds and it's making it easier for me to branch out at a gig rather than keep it just trancey.

Do you have a favorite track? If so why?

Art of Noise – Moments in Love. Hard to say why, I just really connect with it.

In your sets, how much of your own productions do you think that you play?

Probably about 10-15%. There are classics that I always play like “Sun In The Winter,” “Nothing Else Matters,” “FYC,” “So Caught Up,” and the new one with Jeza and a couple others. There are some sets where I might only play 2, it really depends on the mood that I am in that night. I don’t have a preset list, but nowadays I almost have to throw in some of the classics because that is what people want to hear.

What is the most challenging part of the production process of your new compilation?

Tracking down the music, the actual mixing and programming (choosing what goes where) is quite natural to me after 15 years but finding those tracks in the first place is definitely the hard part.

If you weren't an artist what would you be?

I would love to own and run a hotel. After all the years of staying in them and seeing it done right and wrong I’d love to open and run a small boutique hotel in some beautiful part of the world like Bali.

What is the greatest compliment you have ever received from a fan?

Oh wow, that’s a tough one! People that have flown and driven long distances to a show always blow me away. There’s some real effort and love behind a 6 hour drive or a day of travel to come and catch a show somewhere. I’ve had people make me Kandi and even a couple draw some cool art too. There’s also the messages you get that your song or a set has helped someone through a tough time in their lives, that’s always pretty moving.

Have you ever thought about doing a project like that as more of a joke or a pseudonym?

I did, but that really isn’t where my heart is and I always want to do what is comfortable. From a marketing and a business standpoint, I haven’t decided where I want to go, which is one of the reasons why I have had such a strange, topsy-turvy career. I have been going with whatever turns me on, whether it was techno in 2004, electro in 2005, the more techy stuff in ‘06 and ’07, or rediscovering trance and progressive in 2010. I have been all over the place with that.

What’s coming next for you?

I’m going out to Asia, working on more production. I want to try to have a new album done by the end of the year. I pretty much say that every year, but it never happens, ha. As soon as I make a track, I want to put it out. I don’t want to wait for ten or twelve of them. Building the radio show, the Cycles brand. Doing more Cycles events. Honestly, just more of the same.

https://soundcloud.com/maxgraham/sets/max-graham-production-2015

A Sit Down With DJ Eptic

05.03.2018


Eptic (otherwise known as Michael Bella) is one of Dubstep’s bright young things. The Belgian producer, who is exclusively signed to Never Say Die blasted onto the bass scene two years ago, causing quite a stir with his unique, weighty sound. His last EP ‘Doom’ gathered great critical acclaim and rightly made serious impact on the Beatport charts. Currently, he has a new track ‘Space Cats’ that will be featured on Never Say Die and UKF’s ‘Vol.3’ compilation and he will be joining label-mate Zomboy on his Outbreak tour later this summer.

 

"I’m still alive and kicking after all those years along with the whole dubstep genre."



 

Where did the name Eptic come from?

Actually when I was like 15, I found the name DJ Epileptic, but a few months later I realized it was really wack. So I tried to cut it down and eventually I came to Eptic because it’s short and easy to remember, so I stick with that.

Congrats on hitting 200k on Facebook! Out of the massive amount that follow you, have you come across a #1 fan that stands out from the rest?

Thanks, I’m still amazed by it! There are a few fans who have really amazed me, The one that still baffles me though is the guy who tattooed my lobster autograph on his side. 

 How did you get into dubstep?

Actually, at first I was really into drums and bass and then dubstep came along and I really didn’t like it at first. For me it was too slow, and not aggressive enough. Eventually Rusko came along with cockney thug. It’s like the classic story, it’s what everyone says.

You are about to embark on a hefty tour with Zomboy… What three tunes are a must in your set right now?

‘Gun Finga’, ‘Step Two’ &  ‘Tun Up’ (Diskord remix)

Can we expect an EP or any collabs after the compilation release?

I’m cooking up a lot of things at the moment. There’s a sexy collab with Datsik I’ve been working on for a while, which I’m really excited about! Collecting and finishing lots of stuff for another release as well, can’t leak the beans on that on yet though, just be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

Out of your three original tracks, do you have a favourite and why?


Definitely “Jurassic”, I just had so much fun writing it! The aggressive second drop seems to scare people at shows as well. 

What do you think about the growing trap scene? Have you ever thought about messing around with trap?

I really like trap, well actually I like a few trap tunes. There is some really good ones, but to be honest there is so much crap as well. I finally started working on a trap tune, but I don’t want to release it until I am completely satisfied with it. I don’t want to be one of the multiple dubstep producers who hop on the trap band wagon, but I’m quite happy with the one I’m working on.

Did you have specific inspiration behind creating “Immortal”?


Some are claiming that dubstep is dying out or even dead. I wanted to make a solid EP to prove that it’s still alive and kicking, hence the title!

Ectoplasm” sees you collaborate with MUST DIE! Talk us through how that track got made.


That was a fun one to do! I made it to serve as an intro for my shows, but I felt like it was missing something. I asked MUST DIE! to do a feature on it since he’s one of my favorite bass peeps in the game, and he just smashed it out. 

https://soundcloud.com/eptic/say-less-remix

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