Creating an idea, a product or an artwork from the bottom might be the most charming specialty of human begins. Having the ability to tell stories, reflecting emotions or sometimes provoking people with those forms of production could count as more glamorous and more genius. We asked questions to the musicians who live in Berlin and create unusual, minimalistic worlds with their electronic rhythms and melodies. We wanted to understand how they created those worlds that invite people for timeless experience from the bottom. So we decided to ask about their beginnings of the musical productions, inspirations and of course, their pieces of advice in general for music making.

Nicolas Bougaïeff

We are in the studio of French-Canadian electronic musician Nicolas Bougaïeff in Berlin, who previously worked at the prestigious organizations like Norberg and Sónar Festival.Musician, who also holds a doctorate on minimal techno from the University of Huddersfield had just released his sec-ond album “Les Sauvageries”.Before the interview, he shows us the tracks that he was working and also some songs from his marvelous album “Principle of Newspeak”. The sound of wall that he created amazes us deeply. After listening to the tracks and talk about his oncoming Berghain gig, we start to ask our questions.

How did you start making and producing music?

First, I started music when I was six years old. My parents wanted me to start me with piano. Which also my brother and sister did. Just after two weeks of piano, I demanded a violin since I saw the neighbor playing. I thought it was the greatest thing. I wanted to play the violin because with the piano I didn’t have enough control on the sound. Even from the beginning, I was fascinated by having control over how the sound is made with the violin. I like the bow and the direct contact with the strings.

Fotoğraf / Photography by STEPHANIE ELIZABETH THIRD
And how did you move to electronic beats?

I took violin lessons from age 6 to 12. I started making music with computers around the same age. I was teaching myself to program. One of the things you could do with the very primitive computers, programming the speaker to do sine tones. You could specify the frequency and the length of the tone. You could do a series of these.
So I programmed sine tone melodies and that was it with computer music until we got an IBM PC. Then I discovered these really primitive sorts of sequences sampler software called Tracker: soft-ware that existed in the late 80s and 90s. I started making tunes with it. I discovered rave music maybe age 15 or 16. A few years later, I started making rave tunes again with tracker software. One thing led to another eventually got some proper gear.

How do you get motivated for your creation?

I need to get it done. Making music gives me a sense of fulfillment and a sense of purpose, a sense of meaningfulness. If I’m in this routine, that I’m making music every day, I feel good. Life makes sense if I don’t feel bad. It’s sleeping, eating, exercising, music making… Just one of the basic activities.

What would you like to advise the people who just started to make music?

Work on it every day! Like if we’re just talking about the craft, if we’re not talking on the scene, we’re not talking about bookings, are not talking about fame… That is super simple. It’s working it every day and feed yourself. It doesn’t really matter how long as you work every day. When you get bored of something this is where you explore something new. But as long as you work every day… That’s all, I promise. The biggest lesson I learned from my instrument teachers when I was a kid, they said it doesn’t matter it’s 20 minutes or two hours. I mean more concentrated is better than less distracted. But more important than anything, routine every day. So that’s in terms of the craft. In terms of connect-ing with other people, because that’s what we mean when we talk about success. It’s the funny hy-brid thing it’s about quality and craft
but it’s also about connection within the scene. Fame is just a connection to a whole bunch of people. Well, I used to say the only key besides working music every day… I
had this joke I would tell peo-ple, I teach the students and sometimes production composition, and they asked me that sort of questions. I can see them struggling and say “Brother, don’t worry! If you want to succeed with the music just focus on two things: get famous, get lucky! They say “wow”. I figured out, I forgot the next step to that actually working every day buys more tickets to the get lucky lottery. Both in terms of connecting with the scene or having a pragmatic like traditional successes. But also in terms of the aesthetic discoveries the more you work every day to discover a new cool stuff. So it’s not this cynical thing about just relying on luck for a premature award.It’s the joy foundation finding new aesthetic directions and you can only do that by trying new stuff every day.

Emika

Anglo-Czech producer, singer, songwriter, DJ, and composer; Emika. In her music, it is impossible to miss her Daedalian hybrid of the classical and electronic composition. Her music has been used at the London 2012 Olympics, in adverts by Gucci, McLaren, and by NBC. After 7 albums, 5 EP’s, numbers of singles and launching her own label “Emika Records” in 2014 she has now signed to Berlin-based Melt Bookings that we are familiar with the names such as The XX, Flume, andBonobo. She will present her new projects, including a brand new live show with drummer Ran Levari very soon! We were so happy to listen to her answers from her silky voice.

How did Emika start to compose music?

I had a piano as a kid and I didn’t like to play it very much. But my mum and dad convinced me to keep trying. Then I had a really great music teacher at school who recognized that I liked to write my own music and I didn’t really want to perform other people’s music. I wanted to make my own and so he helped me a lot in school. I started working at my friend’s studio and develop ideas when I was 14. He was working with a lot of different rappers, vocalists, singers, and bands. I used to play my cello
there and I learned how to do a recording. Afterward, I was introduced to Logic Music Software. When I worked with him as a teenager I was also doing classical music
in school which I loved. But it was also kind of boring for me. I decided at university then I would go and study creative music technology so that I could learn how to be a producer and how to use a studio properly, how to do sound design and do something different to classical music.

Fotoğraf / Photography by KAREN VANDENBERGHE
How did classical compositions feed the electronic beats?

I think that they are connected. Classical music came first and then the electronic music came after. I think that, if you look at the history of synthesizers, when they were first being created they were trying to copy acoustic instruments. So if you look on a synth you will always find a string sound, you know a pad that sounds like a string. People that were developing synthesizers were modeling them on orchestral instruments. Violins, trumpets and the sound that you create from acoustic instruments was the inspiration for a lot of synthesizers. So one evolved from the other and to me, they’re the same thing. It’s just that one is old and one is new. But for me, it’s a continua-tion of music. And yeah, in my ear my understanding of the music they are very much connected.

Besides your musical compositions, you also write sincere lyrics! Is it difficult to share personal experiences or emotions to the public?

No. What’s beautiful about music and singing and lyrics is that, if I had to sit here and talk to people about my life, we’ve just talked. It would be really dry and it would be really difficult. But when you have music somehow it’s like the perfect world to be free and express yourself and I love being able to share my life with people. I think that music is one of the best ways you can do that. I don’t think sharing your life with photographs and tweets is something that is beautiful. I think that sharing your life through music and storytelling and vibrations. That’s the best, the best art form that there is. It vibrates and everything is a vibration the universe is vibrating everyone’s cells are vibrating thought vibration. The heart has a frequency. And for me, it’s totally normal and beautiful to work in this way.

What would you like to advise the people who just started to make music?

Be brave! Don’t be afraid to stand out and do something different. Don’t try to fit in. That’s not what you’re supposed to be doing. Find a way to really express what’s in your heart and share your life and nobody has the life that you have. Find something that’s unique to share and inspire people and share perspectives that maybe other people don’t have or challenge people and think about being an artist. Don’t think about having a career thinking and think about how to be an artist. And think about making music and put all your energy into making a special sound and work on having a special sound done. Just don’t worry about the music industry just focus on your craft and your work and your vision and your skills and the rest will happen on its own. If you have good music. So put all your energy into your sound and your music.

BNJMN

Having released on such acclaimed labels as Delsin, Tresor and Rush Hour, it’s clear BNJMN has a knack for making music that stands out and at the same time works on the floor. English producer and DJ, BNJMN opened his studios’ doors for us. Besides his warm welcome, he performed almost thirty minutes of amazing jam for us to describe his sound. After talking about his new EP which will be released in the May “final network” we started to ask our questions.

How did you start making beats and melodies?

I started playing guitar when I was 6 years old. Five or six I was really young. I was think-ing about it the other day, that’s pretty much the way I make music now is I’ve been doing it since then. Because I was never really interested in making songs, writing songs or lyrics. It was always about like the way the guitar sounded itself. Put in the guitar to pedals, putting amplifiers and trying to get the most messed up way it sounds I could. I think I’m still doing that now and just like experi-menting until I get something that sounds unique.

Fotoğraf / Photography by OZAN TEZVARAN
When we check your EP’s and albums as an audience, they sound quite ambient but the last album is more different! For the next projects should we expect more ambient or more floor sound?

Well, the two EPs added on Tresor. Just now they were all quite experimental and ambient because I was planning that, they would be an album. It ended up as two EPs but the ones I’ve been releasing on my own label, they’re out there for the floor. Hopefully for people to play. Quite a lot of people, which I really look up to, have been playing the most recent track of mine. About the next projects, I want to mix both ambient and floor sound. I feel like I’ve had two separate identities at the same time. The ambient side and stuff I’m trying to make for the floor. But I really want to try and combine the two but I wanted to have kind of a story to make one long track. One that there are no gaps. It will be separate tracks too but that it will all work because of one continuous piece of music.

What would you like to advise the people who just started to make music?

I would say don’t worry too much about the equipment. I know, I have quite a lot of stuff here, in the studio. But this is quite a new thing for me to have all this stuff combined with the guy I’m sharing the studio with. For a long time, I just used a laptop with a midi-keyboard. The first two al-bums were just a laptop and a midi keyboard. I had no synthesizers, drum machines. Even when you dive into Ableton or another a piece of software, I would say don’t worry too much about doing things in the right way or the wrong way. Because I don’t think there is the right or wrong way to do things. Just go with what feels good to you and what sounds good to you and don’t worry about like there are no rules to do what feels good.

Jamaica Suk

A lifelong musician and experimenter, Jamaica Suk has fused her jazz and metal roots from the Bay Area California with a feel for soulful techno, a combination that makes her at home leading driving dancefloor workouts across Europe. While she is getting ready for Feel and Milkshake Festival in Amsterdam, she invited us to her amazing studio in the building of Wilde Renate, Berlin. After watch-ing and listening to her work for her new tracks which will be published as Gradient 002 for Fall 2018 we started to ask our questions.

How did you start to make music and how did you decide to make it as a profession?

I started with music pretty young about 5-6 years old I was forced to play piano by my grandparents and I am half Korean, culture is like “they really like you to play piano really young”. I remember that I really hated it because you need to sit straight perfect posture! To make it into a profession, that was not by choice, but by pure indulgence.

Fotoğraf / Photography by GIOVANNI DOMINICE
How did you move to electronic beats?

After piano, I started playing flute but when I got into High School there was no space for me in the flute section. I had picked up the bass guitar in the summer, and told the director I was still learning, but he signed me up for the full program, jazz ensemble, symphony, concert, the full deal. So this gave me a lot to practice, especially switching from reading treble clef to bass clef immediately as a freshman in High School. Eventually I auditioned for my college jazz ensemble and played in various rock bands. I really fell in love with this heavier distorted sound through band practice. With love for some sludgy more psychedelic kind of math-rock/grind-core kind of bands. When I move to San Francisco I started to go to more clubs and bay area raves and that’s where I was introduced to electronic music. It took time to just making
electronic music and I was still play-ing bass and into a band practice a few times in a week and then I started organizing this monthly party at 222 Hyde- Street , a few underground events and began DJing and brought different artists out with a friend of mine from Audio School, Pyramind, his name was Dheeraj and yeah somehow this happened…

How do you stay motivated and what is your guide to follow?

Music motivates me through life. It gives me a paint brush to express myself through all emotions. I’m constantly changing my color palate & tones, but the voice is always there. It’s al-ways evolving, loving, hating, self-criticizing, wanting something more. It’s something I feel the most natural with through musical expression, even more that than through words. My guide is to take good care of your body and your mind. They go hand in hand. Never underes-timate the power of your own mind…

What would you like to advise the people who just started to make music?

I would advice to just practice every day, even twenty minutes of the day is fine but practice every day and really try to find your voice. As an artist and producer don’t try to get caught up too much on updates, upgrades, or buying new gear. I think in the end you use what you have or find inspiration in what you lack.

 

Ashes

American producer and DJ Ashes is one of the rising names of underground raves. His inspiration for Industrial music leads him to explore techno music by combining his earlier experiences in Drum and Bass and Trance music. After releasing hissecond EP “Dirty Sex Machine” in March he describes his aspect of techno again. The raw bass lines and delayed kicks that we also experienced in his studio makes us wonder about his new projects!

Who is Ashes and how did he start to make music?

Ashes was a product of my environment. Really! I came to Berlin with a different music background than what I’m creating now. Back in the L.A., I was really into jungle or drum and bass, industrial music way back in the day Goth music. The name “Ashes” basically from the myth of the Phoenix. I just felt like it. A part of me died and I was reborn in ashes felt like the right name. And it also sounds bigger than one person. It sounds like an Entourage movie. I started to learn the rules of techno. That was like the first stop. Some of my earlier stuff that was released, I was still playing with the rules. Even up to my first release to NOX was still played with the rules but I added some other influences. Drum and Bass, Jungle breaks, I snuck them in there. I want it to be a little different. It wasn’t until after that press release. I realized that I actually want to be much different.Maybe I don’t want to do just for the floor but now techno is just the umbrella. It’s like electronic music is the umbrella even to techno. Techno which is for me anything that can make you dance. So now I am putting from all genres. Ever been inspired by and even some that I’m dis-covering they don’t even new to me. And just trying to really push it to go outside the comfort zone as well as to go outside of what is accepted not necessarily always hard or dark but something that makes you move in whatever direction you want to move with it.

How do you describe your musical elements?

Okay, so the past EP “Going Forward” also with a few of the remixes. I’ve been dabbling in the audio phenomenon. Pirate stations, binaural beats, audio hallucinations and sharper tone sounds. These are all things I like to experiment with because they create some kind of magic. At least this is how I feel. So I’d like to incorporate this into the music.

What would you like to advise the people who just started to make music?

Attack the questions of self-doubt and faith. Both are equally great mistresses; Faith will bind you and slip through your fingers by the end of the night, while doubt can prevent anything from ever beginning yet and still be there the next morning when you wake.” multiple chords hitting which are created like a third sound. That’s actually not even better but your brain interpreted that. These are something that I like to use in music.