10 Good Questions with DFRNT

Posted: March 9, 2014 by Jonny in The Rocking Chair Blog

1) You were born in Scotland. How did you come to be based in Riga, and what is the Electronic Music scene like?

I lived in Scotland for 29 years, and met a Latvian girl – she had been living in Scotland for some years but had decided it was time she returned to her home, so I felt it was a good opportunity to experience something new, and moved over to be here in Riga. The music scene is a little different over here. There are less parties happening, but because of that, they tend to be a bit busier. That said – Latvia i a very small country both geographically and in terms of population, so we’re probably never going to have a crazy bustling scene. It’s always likely to be smaller than big cities like London, Manchester or even, closer to us Tallinn – they have lots of bigger acts coming through.

2) How old were you when you started to create music, and what were you listening to at the time that inspired you?

I suppose technically I started making music when I was a child, at primary school – I was taking piano lessons and played brass instruments, however that stopped when I got to university. I then got in to mashups and remixes in my final year at university, but it wasn’t till a couple of years after I left that I really found a sound I could put out there, which scored me my first release. Since university I had been listening to a huge range of music – in fact, since high school I had been going to the internet cafes in town, installing Napster, and grabbing lots of music as a means to finding more – at the same time I was using my weekend job to buy stacks of CDs. I was consuming all sorts of genres, styles, old and new. That said, it wasn’t really till dubstep came along tat I felt I could consider producing some. That then led on to the other genres which I work in now.

3) What is your production method? Do you have any sort of ritual to get you into the proper mindset to create music?

I wish I did. I generally have to produce just when I feel like it. It’s not always asy – sometimes I’ll open tracks, play them once, then close them and go back to them at a later day – Sometimes when I think I’m ready to produce, it doesn’t work out – and sometimes when I think “I’ll just take 5 minutes and check a track or two” that turns in to a really productive session.

4) The sound of DFRNT flirts with many different styles of Electronic Music but always manages to dart in and out of styles with one never overwhelming the other. Do you consciously choose which style to lean on as you are producing or is it more the feel of how a track is developing?

I often have a goal in mind when I start – genre, or feeling or something like that – but it doesn’t always end up like that – it can change during the production process – and you just have to go with it – see where it takes you. I think because I listen to such a wide range of music, that comes through when I produce. I sometimes wish I could stick to one genre, but I don’t know if that would do me any favours. I’d probably get bored.

5) Your most recent album Patience is the softest and most expansive release of your career so far. Can you talk about the story the album is telling, and how it was to create?

Well it’s more of a reflection on the amount of dub-techno I was listening to. I put the tracks together with an album of this sort of stuff in mind, and it was really important to me that this was music you had to sit and really listen to – not just something you could chuck on any time for a dance or whatever. It required “Patience” hence the album title.

6) In addition to your own music you manage 2 labels, Tell us a little bit about Echodub and some of the artists you feature on that label.

Echodub was originally a little collective of people putting out music – but a few years back I switched to a regular label format, since it was alot of work trying to pull together releases from an increasingly disparate group of producer,s most of whom went on to do their own (better) thing.

I’ve only really put out a handful of releases since making that switch, because I don’t have a release schedule, and I don’t want the pressure of having to release on the label. It was home for my second album and the El Spirito EP, and I might look at doing some more physical releases in future, but so much of the music I get sent is temporary these days – it doesn’t ever feel like it has staying power, and I’d want to sign tracks that had longevity if I was to take a financial risk on a release again.

7) Cut records is a place for free music. What are the challenges of promoting a free label versus one ?

Interestingly it still costs me money to release on Cut – mastering costs, and promotional emails to a 13,000 strong email list end up costing about as much as we make from those people kind enough to donate to the releases – but it’s often touch and go, so I don’t release on Cut till I have a couple of hundred pounds to spare, so that I can put the music out there.

It’s been great since lots of blogs and people pick it up without too much hype required – I like that we have a relatively hype-free environment to release in to – it feels like people are genuinely listening.

8) Your podcast insight is a place for underground Electronic music. It seems that there is an endless stream of music out there to choose from. How do you find tracks to feature on the show?

Luckily I gt sent a lot of music from labels, and so there’s never a shortage of music to release – it can be overwhelming at times and there have been a few months where I’ve had the next 4 or 5 podcasts lined up, there was so much to showcase – but it’s just about spending time sorting through all the crap I get sent to find the stuff that I really like.

It’s nice though – having the podcast forces me to check everything I’ve been sent – it keeps me on top of all the music to a degree.

9) What is coming up for DFRNT in 2014?

I’m not really sure yet – so far I’ve just had an EP released on Amadeus records – the Flow EP, which the title track was a collaboration with a good friend Fault Lines – who is doing very well with another of his collaborations “Klient” (just signed to Trouble & Bass). I had the small EP with Stunna right at the start of the year on Cut – but so far, I’ve not got anything else lined up – I’m just making music really – if a release comes together, then I’ll look at the options – maybe an album, maybe another EP – maybe something under one of my other aliases. We’ll see.

10) Finally, your three favorite movies.

I used to be able to answer this easily – Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel – a trilogy themselves, and all revolving around the number 3. Lost in Translation was always a close fourth – but nowadays I’m less concerned with films in that way – I just like a film to entertain me. Nothing too deep. I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries lately – but I’m not sure I’ve really got a top 3 any more. I don’t feel like my favourite movies really define me in any way these days.

For more information:

DFRNT – http://dfrnt.co.uk/

Echodub – http://echodub.co.uk/

Cut – http://cutmusic.org/

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