A Sit Down With DJ Jon O`bir
In terms of his own productions, Jons 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 DJs and fans alike. The single Promise I Made produced with Airwave, one of Jons 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 Buurens 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 Stevensons 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! Im also really getting into my cooking. Recently purchased quite a few cook books and Im starting to add my own touch to certain recipes, its 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. Its always held an amazing atmosphere; many DJs will back me up on this. Its 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 wont 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 Im watching a film or doing something where I cant 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 wasnt 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 dont 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. Theres nothing worse than having to do a remix that you agreed to do months and months earlier when youre already pretty busy. I still need to develop my work evaluation skills. Now and again Ill still take on tracks that I really shouldnt.
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?
Im 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 doesnt have to have a big riff or really anything particularly memorable. A perfect example would be Armins Sunburn. Its a blinding track, absolutely superb production, but doesnt have a big riff. If you tried to sing it to someone who didnt know what it was, youd 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 its the oldest advice in the book but.. Practice, practice and practice! I have had my share of luck on the way, but DONT GIVE IN! Keep at it, maybe sacrifice some things like I did? But only do that if you LOVE the music you play.
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