Category Archives for Interviews

Nicola Baldacci On The Move

Nicola Baldacci returns to the blog with some news!  While there's a bit of a language barrier, I love Nicola's passion for the music.  Thanks for stopping by again, congrats on your latest news and best wishes.

How was your Summer?

Good Good Good Summer, we did my fourth party NICOLA BALDACCI & FRIENDS in my country Magione (Pg)

it was really nice to share moments with my friends a 100% tech house party (Guest Dj MARCO PAS From Reverse Party)

now I'm waiting to return to my second home ME CANCUN where I expect two beach party I love Mexico there is nothing to do.

and my calendar is always open for the winter season.


What are your thoughts on the present and future of electronic music?

The future of electronic music is moving fast; There are many producers and lots of excellent music.

It’s hard to stand out from so many real people.


I noticed you signed to a booking agency - how did that work?
After much work the booking agencies arrivedI new entry on booking agency in brazil

SUBSOLO BOOKINGS they sell nicola baldacci in brazil on festival club ecc

now I'm also closing with a French  agent Lyone,I'm really happy about this..


How is the music coming?

Me and my bro Francesco lately we have focused on techno music, we're working on tracks both techouse and techno

we have had the support of so many artists techouse and techno as JORIS VOORN / NEVERDOGS / MARKANTONIO / RICHIE HAWTIN

AND MORE....so it means things work fine I also have to thank my promotion agency POOL PROXY (GR)

you can find our productions: www.soundcloud.com/nicolabaldacci / https://soundcloud.com/kecko93

Are you now part of a production Duo - Baldacci/Romano? What made you stop flying solo?

My project is always active,I'm also working singly in my projects Gigs and Track.

the union with Francesco Romano serves to be more complete as far as the tracks are concerned.

we are inside the family NERVOUS REC / ADUNANZA REC / and we decided to join in to aim higher.
so we can create everything

What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
We have several track is outpot an ep on Be Color Music 2 track Techouse and an ep on Ride Music
containing 3 tracks and remix pack by joshua puerta artist by Music On.

One ep and one single track on Nervous Records a track has been supported by Neverdogs @ music on party.

and our calender is always open.

Do you have any upcoming collaborations, or is there anyone with whom you would like to work in the future?

I have several open collaborations, but I will not say anything until they are finished (LOL).

Meet Simon Watkins aka Saffaboy

Who are you?  I have been a DJ for well over 25 years now. I started producing my own stuff about two years ago and have not looked back since! I spend as much time as I can producing- on the train, during my lunch hour, over the weekends basically whenever I have a few minutes spare you will find me plugged in.  

Tell us about your and your background in dance music? I originally started out as a radio presenter back in the mid 90's in South Africa. Rave had just hit the scene and I covered (for the radio station) most of the big parties that took place at that time. I had the privilege of interviewing Tony De Vit watching Carl Cox mix on 3 decks up close, met Frankie Knuckles and many other great memories from that time.

 I decided to move to the UK in 1998 but could not find any work as a radio presenter. So I decided to lock myself in a friends basement in London for 4 months and teach myself to mix using vinyl and an old Gemini 626 mixer. In those days it was all about hard house! Following that I left the UK to go travelling and ended up playing in Thailand - Indonesia and Australia. I landed up back in the UK where I played professionally and promoted gigs in one of the best towns in the U.K. For dance culture and live music: Brighton that is where I find myself today- not playing professionally any more but I do get out at least once a month - the DJ bug never lets go 🙂  

 Describe your skill level as a producer? I would say that I am at an intermediate level. My skill set improves all the time. To quote one of my favorite producers: Maceo Plex: " Make a lot of shit music and you will eventually start to make good music" I have made a lot of crap music! I am happy to say that I have started to turn a corner and every next tune I make is better than the last one! 

 Where did you look for production related tips and tutorials before finding the Underground Elite course and ItsTheDJ.com? I am a course junky! I have used : Producer Tech / Sonic Academy / Fader Pro and loads of you tube videos in the past. 

 What was/is your #1 sticking point? My number one sticking point was moving away from what I call clip based production and using midi to create my own sounds and patterns. 

 How has the course helped you over come it? The course cut through the noise and uncertainty by being a no BS one stop shop to finishing music quickly whilst achieving great sound. 

 How long did it used to take you to complete a track? It used to take ages to finish tunes mostly because of procrastination and self doubt. 

 How long are tracks taking you now? I knock them out super quick now. I have a six month release schedule of tunes all ready to go. With at least 3 more in the pipeline. My main focus right now is getting the social media stuff in order to increase my followers and fan base. 

 How has the course save you time, money, or frustration? The price was super reasonable and Eric is always on hand to answer any questions and feedback that I have. Being on hand to discuss is what sets this course aside. I haven't done another course since this one and have completed at least 4 records in a couple of months. 

 Can you name 3 other things, good, bad about your experience? Good: very informative and easy to understand. Bad: not having access to all of the plugins! 

 Is there anything that stands out that you'd want others to know? Do the course spend a little money and you will get so much more in return! Hands on help and weekly updates with plenty of useful free stuff that will assist you to make better music quicker! 

 ---

Here's a track Simon recently finished. Check it out.

 

5 Questions with (Dj) Agent Orange from New York City

Big thanks to (DJ) Agent Orange for dropping by to discuss his influences, workflow, and his new "Overshadow" EP out May 22nd on Bitten.  Ara (aka Agent Orange) and I have been connected on Facebook for a little while now.  We're both Maschine users and he supported my track "Friction" that was released late last year, dropping it during an after hours set on New Year's Day.

Agent Orange has an impressive resume and long history behind the decks.  From his bio, "He has had over 40 releases and tracks land the Beatport Techno Top100 – two of which rose to #1 – for labels such as Tronic, Toolroom, Bitten, Nervous, Deeperfect, and Terminal M."

Since NYC is close to home and near and dear to my heart, feel free to explain how the scene influenced your work over the years

I was born in NYC and grew up here. In the 80’s it was a really exciting time for the new music genres of House, Rap and Latin Freestyle. They all really struck a chord with me as a kid as far back as I can remember, from around ’84-’88. I really fell in love with this music. Then in ’89 at 12 years old I started to collect records and practice as a DJ. I started to play parties all over Queens and then eventually Manhattan. Over the next few years I got to experience many clubs, crowds and venues in the city. Also as a clubber, I was lucky enough to catch the early 90’s era of clubbing and raving, which was probably the greatest dance music moment this city had to offer, only second to the previous Studio 54, Paradise Garage days of Disco. In New York we were exposed to a lot of great music so basically I would go play raves on Fridays, go to underground house clubs on Saturday and Body & Soul on Sundays. I did this for many years. All these influences and amazing DJs like Louie Vega, Todd Terry, Roger S, Joey Beltram, countless Rave DJs, Francois K and co., taught me a lot about both the music and DJing.

You have a massive catalog on Beatport, but the volume really ramped up in the past couple years, while moving away from house/tech house. What do you attribute that to?

Since I began to make my own music in the mid 90s, I was always making Tech-House, House and Techno. Things started picking up with my Tech-House productions around 2013 when I got signed to UMEK’s 1605 label. It really opened a lot of doors for me. I continued with that sound for a while until I got kinda bored with it, as a lot of stuff started to sound very similar because of lazy producers that were over using loop packs. I found darker sounds more interesting again and decided to mix a more groovy sound into darker Techno and that seemed to gain a lot of fans and labels that liked that sound.

What advice do you have for people who are not beginners, but don’t have any releases out but want to - aside from the handling the basic do’s and don’ts, what’s the best approach for newer producers - send demos?  Network?  Make connections?

All of the above! You have to do a bit of everything in the business. Def do what you are best at and enjoy, the most. There are some things that should take priority, like focus on things that are part of the global scene, releasing music, trying to meet bigger artists and labels, even if you don’t have music ready to shop around. The DJing part is fun but in reality if spending all of your time working on getting small gig it won’t give you so much exposure, so go for things that make a big impact and also get some gigs here and there to stay relevant in you local scene. Travel around as much as you can too. The main thing about this business/lifestyle is the way it can bring so many awesome people together.

What was your approach to this EP and what inspired it?

I’m feeling really dark grooves with some tribal/latin influences and some nice vocals here and there, at the moment. I just love the way those elements come together on a big sound system in a nice dark room. So I start with putting a good groove together and take it from there.

Joey Beltram on the remix? That’s huge, how’d that happen? Once I finished the track I sent it to Sandy Huner at Bitten records and he felt Joey would like it being that he charted my previous release on Bitten and since we came from the same scene in NYC absorbing the same influences.

Listen to the full EP Here

 

 

Young talent on the rise - Interview with Connor Skidmore

Connor Skidmore (aka Mikronaut) and I connected on Soundcloud several years ago, then Facebook, and he signed one of my tracks for a compilation last year.

His music is techno, very polished, melodic and high energy.  You can find his stuff on labels like Funk'n Deep and 2 of his own imprints.

All seemed to be on the up and up for the young producer & label owner and then I saw a status on Facebook that read,

"2 more remixes, 3 more EPs, and 1 more compilation, and then I'm out.

Thanks, everyone, for all of your support. It has made me realize that I still have a long way to go to become the artist I truly want to be. Until then, I'm locking myself in the studio and working day and night, you probably won't be hearing much from me, and you won't hear a trace of what I'm working on before it's ready. Thanks again! Mikronaut signing off."

So I figured I'd reach out to learn more about his planned hiatus, and studies abroad. That's right, Connor has produced a lot and isn't even 21 yet.

So Connor, congrats on what you’ve accomplished so far, to me you’ve got a lot under your belt, what do you want the world to know about IQ140 & Soul Storm and did I miss other notable accomplishments?

Thanks for inviting me to do this interview! I have a lot in store for both iq140 and SoulStorm. First, iq140 is the label I’ve been managing since the end of 2014, and I’m already very happy with where it is going. It has recently undergone some big changes. Originally we had a “sublabel” called iq140 Ltd. for more underground and experimental releases, but we recently decided to merge the two, so from now on releases on the label will go out every two or three weeks, and they will be much more of a mixed bag. I’m not trying to make this label into anything huge, so I intend always to release whatever I want, from whoever I want, no matter whether it’ll help the label to grow. That has been one of my biggest joys in running this label, discovering new talent who produce some really special music, but haven’t gotten any exposure because they’re music breaks the norm.

SoulStorm is a bit different in that it will only feature a very specific style of music, club-oriented melodic techno. I’m also using this name to brand my events, and I intend to evolve the name over the next few years (since I’m a college student, as time/money permits) to become a label, event platform, and booking agency. Releases for this label might even be as infrequent as 4-5 per year at this point, because I want to be sure every release is as close to being perfect as possible, both the music and the artwork. I am also very hyped for what’s in store for this label, as already we’re working on EPs with some of my favorite producers, and a lot of the tracks I’ve been sent are ridiculously huge.

You’re just getting back to the States from a semester abroad. Mostly in Italy, or where else did you stay?

Yeah, I spent three and a half months in Rome. At the time of writing I’ve only been back in the States for just over a month, but I already greatly miss Italy, and Rome feels like a second home to me. I did some traveling on the weekends as well, mostly within Italy, but also in London.

So you’re from Minnesota, what is the scene like there and what have you experienced?

The scene in the Twin Cities is great, full of many extremely talented and devoted DJs and producers. Techno legends like DVS1, Dustin Zahn, and Woody McBride have helped to shape the scene. I haven’t experienced a lot since I’m too young to get into the 21+ events, but the few events I’ve attended have been very special, very high energy and great vibes. My only regret with the scene here is that my production and mixing style is quite different from what most people are playing and producing here, but in a way it’s nice because it means that I’m surrounded by lots of diverse sources of inspiration. A couple of years ago I’d say I was striving for pretty much a straight festival/peak-time sound, something like the mainstage of Awakenings, and since hearing a wonderful techno radio show here which keeps things chill most weeks, I’ve been inspired to try to keep those underground, chill, and psychedelic vibes in everything I produce. You can hear that in most tracks I’ve released if you listen closely, but it’s most prominent in tunes like “Pandora’s Box,” “Acid Machine,” and “Delusion.”

I see you on the socials and you’re a devoted Drumcode fan, what was the party like that you went to, it was at Gashouder in Amsterdam right?

Oh, I wish it was the Gashouder, but I couldn’t make it out to that unfortunately because of a conflicting visit to Naples that weekend. I ended up going to Drumcode Halloween the next weekend, and it was incredible. That venue is honestly probably my favorite so far, and Boxia’s set in particular just blew my mind. I also loved being able to hear some of my favorite tunes played over a great sound system. When Marco Faraone played he dropped his tracks “Replace,” “Boost,” and “Over The Clouds” back to back, and hearing them in that context it was clear that every element of these tracks was built to work well in a club.

I’m sure this party was unreal. I’m curious, compared to what you’ve experienced in the states, what is the scene across the pond like?

There is a great scene in Italy, and I’d say techno is far better known there. The crowd felt a bit more rowdy than at a typical night in the Twin Cities. (Maybe that’s our Minnesota nice!) But my favorite thing about the scene in Rome was that it’s a big enough city that my favorite DJs came through pretty much every two weeks, and that’s something that never happens in Minnesota.

Did you have a chance to play any parties?

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to play there, though. I was working with a couple of buddies and promoters to put together a SoulStorm label night, but the scene is very competitive and I had limited funding, so it fell through.

And now on to the meaty stuff. I’ve heard your tracks and bought a few from IQ 140. You have a hard yet melodic sound and your tracks sound very clean and open. How did you develop your sound as it is right now?

. I’d say my sound started from a different angle than that of a lot of techno producers. I grew up listening to early works from Philip Glass, and I loved his melodic soundscapes that slowly evolved over the course of sometimes up to an hour. I also really enjoyed the music of Shpongle, a psychedelic duo that is still one of my favorite groups today. So when I began to produce music it was very eclectic and psychedelic.

And then I was introduced to deadmau5 and began to produce some progressive house. By the time I became serious about production I was still very much influenced by these sounds, and as a result I have a very hard time producing anything without melody. On the other side of things, when I discovered techno music it was through Adam Beyer’s Drumcode radio show, so naturally I fell in love with the heavy peak-time-style beats of his productions and label. I try to balance these two elements in all of my productions, and even have them in mind when I try to produce something softer or more minimal. Finally, as I mentioned before, particularly in the past year I’ve been taking influence for some more underground sounds. I see Drumcode techno and underground “true” techno as two fundamentally different genres.

The former has breaks and drops, just like forms of EDM and tech house. The latter is more about hypnotizing the listener rather than building and releasing the energy to keep things interesting, or it relies on the DJ to do that. I want my productions to have the hypnotic effect of the underground, but I still love breaks, builds, and drops too much to get rid of them.

What about the projects you have lined up, that’s not a small under taking. Can you share details and when can we expect them to be released?

As you mentioned, I don’t have a lot lined up anymore, but I do have three more things lined up. First, at the end of the month I’ll be releasing a remix of Disco Dirt’s “Colony” on bubblejam. The original is a track that I really love, and I’m sure you’ll hear it in my sets for months or years to come, because it’s very deep and almost has some tech trance vibes. I have one more remix coming out eventually, no date planned yet.

Finally, as my way of “going out with a bang,” I’ll be releasing an 8-track EP (four originals and four remixes from a few of my favorite artists) on the midwest-based label Kinetic Records. 3 of the 4 remixes are nearly finished, and all of them have exceeded my wildest expectations.

After that, I go into full studio mode. In the past couple of months of focusing on my sound and style I think I’ve already found the elements that I love to use most in my music. I don’t want to limit myself to using these elements in every track, so instead I’m working to make them as strong and unique as possible. That way, when these sounds inevitably show up in my productions they sound unique and interesting.

For these last tracks will you be bringing something different to the table or will you be putting your current mark on it? So the hiatus…what prompted it, why the break and what do you want to accomplish?

I’d say most of these tunes have that signature Mikronaut sound, however, bubblejam and Kinesis both have very diverse styles, so they’ve allowed me to experiment far more than many other labels would. I’m definitely branching out for my final EP, a couple of the tunes are quite different than anything I’ve tried before, and I think it’s a small taste of the major experimentation that’s going to take place during this hiatus.

Thanks Connor we look forward to what you have in store.

In the mean time check out Connor's Music Here

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