What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
First of all, thanks for interview! I started DJing at local clubs a long time ago, learning how to beat match and playing with vinyl. Just at the moment I got that under control, the technology had evolved and the CDJs came with a sync button, which made the art of beatmatching less relevant. To be able to stand out again I thought it was the right time to start making my own music and so bought FL Studio (this was in 2007), which after a while I switched for Logic Pro.
I got hooked on dance music through the music from Switch, Herve and Crookers with their weird jackin’ electro sounds. Also Justice and later Axwell, Ingrosso and Steve Angello were a big inspiration for me.
At one point I met Martijn Kouwen and we started Volt & State where we got signed to Nicky Romero’s Protocol Recordings. We made a track with Nicky and did worldwide tours such as Tomorrowland, Sziget, Bootshaus, Airbeat One. Our music got supported by Martin Garrix, BBC Radio 1, got into many charts and we did remixes for artists like Tegan & Sara, Enrique Iglesias and A-Trak, gaining over 100 Million streams with our music.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
After we parted Volt & State in 2016, I wanted to focus on making music without looking at what label to release on or what would be the right move to do career-wise. With Volt & State we did lots of shows, what made me adjust all music we made into playable versions for the crowd to enjoy live. The music I make now, still has the progressive house melodies but is not 100% for clubs or festivals, but also very suitable for listening.
When I’m in the studio I always start with writing a melody as a base, and I’m super picky about that. Sometimes I can spend 3 months straight, only writing hundreds of melodies on a piano preset. If they don’t completely blow me away, I don’t finish them and just continue searching for perfect loop that exactly brings me the emotions I’m looking for.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
As an example, one of my inspirations is the mountain/woods scenery of movies like The Revenant or series like Vikings by Jeff Woolnough. My family moved to Norway in 2007, but also as a kid we used to go on long holidays in Scandinavia. Spending a lot of time there created a strong connection with this country and beauty of the nature. I especially enjoy being alone in the mountains and going places where nobody lives. It triggers your mind to question things in life. The intense silence and impressive views get me daydreaming to a place where everything is possible. I always seek to put this emotion into my music.
Also documentaries like ‘Terra’ (about the earth) or ‘Cosmos ‘ A Space Odyssey’ (theories about time and space) fascinate me. I like to get lost in these small-making thoughts, where nothing we do seems to matter, but at the same time they matter everything. While writing music I imagine my own universe of sounds, layers and melodies with endless possibilities.
The elusiveness/ inexplicableness of space inspires me and I also find this incomprehensiveness in writing melodies. I’m fascinated how they can trigger all these different emotions just through a few notes.
One of the inspirations that I often use in my music would be best described by a specific scene from an action movie. Think about this typical part where the enemy is most likely to win, but, against all (viewers) expectations, a plot twist occurs and thanks to a brilliant master plan the enemy turns out to be the good guy.
Music wise my current inspirations are Cobra Man, Metronomy, Still Corners, Vargas & Lagola, Thomas Azier, Luttrell, Solomon Grey, Apparat, Justice, Klahr, M83, Tame Impala, CHVRCHES, Miike Snow, Axwell, Steve Angello, Eric Prydz.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
With my music and my label Enroute Records we focus on music that makes you feel you’re in a movie, cruising at night or daydreaming at a party. It’s right in that space between indie-bands and electronic club music – often influenced by the 80’s.
I want to build that bridge between Indie bands and EDM, genre wise it could be described as Synthpop, Indietronica, Electropop, Indie Dance but I’m not sure there really is a name for this genre yet.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Apparat – LP5
Metronomy – The English Rivera
Cobra Man – Toxic Planet
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (Author)
Drive by Nicolas Winding Refn
Into The Wild by Sean Penn
The Revenant – Quentin Tarantino
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Can’t choose, the moment in the studio when I find the perfect melody makes me so hyped and I can be happy for a day, dancing around like a kid in the studio. Performing for the right crowd can be the award of making music. Seeing the crowd singing along to all your tracks, doing mosh pits and sit-downs, as we experienced with Volt & State, is the most incredible feeling!
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Funfact not everybody knows: beside making music I also work at STMPD RCRDS / Martin Garrix (Marketing and A&R). We have this habit at the office that every time I release a track myself, I have to bring cake. So I might have been lucky with the timing (as we’re not in the office due to the current lockdown situation), just having released 19 tracks.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
That would be ‘Origin’, there’s a strong storytelling involved. Most proud of that one and also most personal.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
’First we’re going to release remixes from my album tracks. I’m very excited about this as the remixers will be J.Laser (toured and collaborated with M83), Big Data, Roisto and Anoraak. After this I have some collaborations lines up with Lodola, Pikes, Antoine Larsen, Kashika and Andrew Shier. Some of these tracks will even be more indie band influenced. Also super excited we’re going to release Josha Daniel’s second album on Enroute Records, I think his album is really outstanding!
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Artist I think you should definitely check out: Josha Daniel.
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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