Dar.Ra has been referred to as a “Rock and Roll diamond in the rough” by the media. Currently, this talented British artist has his eyes on the U.S. market. He talks about this subject and much more in this exclusive interview. Scroll down and learn a bit more about him.
1 — First of all, does your artistic name have a special meaning?
My actual full name is Darragh, an Irish name.
Growing up in England with an Irish name was always a challenge as people could never say it properly or they would knock it because it was different from Jack or John, so I got a lot of stick at school and didn’t really fit in. It did me a favour as I found a friend in Music.
I ended up making it shorter to Dar.Ra to make it easier for people to get their heads around.
2 — At this moment, what stage are you in your music career?
An exciting stage of the journey. Making bigger and better-sounding recordings than ever before. Singing stronger, playing better and writing material that I hear in my head clearer.
I also have an amazing team around me from Harvey Summers who co-produces the releases, to HIP agency in NYC who help get the message out to the good people of America.
3 — We all know you have made a name for yourself in your homeland. Are you currently willing to expand your music into the American market?
America is where its at for most people with ambition. I have always looked at working in the States. I love the way Americans think. They always seem to see the bigger picture and are open to new ideas. That’s why its the biggest country on earth, it sees new ideas and runs with them. A lot of places do not think like that and do not support their homegrown talent, that’s why the biggest ideas find there way across the pond. Like the internet, television, fashion, music.
There has been a feedback loop from the US to the world. Like say Rock n Roll which is an American invention, which the Brits took on and re-shaped it and sold it back with a new package, which the UK did well for a few years. America has the biggest potential because of that openness to new ideas even the reshaping of their own ideas. As long as it carries on doing that it will always be the vanguard. God Bless America for that.
4 — How would you describe the lyrics of your new singles “Heart Shaped Pill” and “Night-Stepper” to someone who hasn’t listened to them yet?
“Heart Shaped Pill” is about redemption from excess. The main character has everything but is living with a hole in his soul, and is crying out for something or someone to show him the way to something more than sex, drugs, and whatever kind of vibe you drop.
“Night-Stepper” is basically about someone who only comes alive at night.
It’s based on the lifestyle of a musician, when you’re touring you sleep a lot of the days away and live your days at night. Its hard to switch to a normal routine when you have lived your life like that. When you get into a relationship with someone who has a day job, they think your from another planet cause your awake all night making music in the studio while they are crashed out. Then you’re saying goodbye when they leave for work in the morning. It’s hard to keep those relationships going when you’re wired up like that.
5 — Do you believe Rock music is still relevant despite the EDM boom in America?
As long as Rock Music can reinvent itself, with vibes like what we’re doing then yes I do believe it will remain relevant. The thing about Rock music is it can take many forms, its organic which means it will always sound fresh, unlike a lot of EDM which let’s be honest has a sell-by date. A live drummer can switch the feel change the tempo, accent the groove, whereas a 909 ain’t going anywhere other than the 4 on the floor.
You put on “Rubber Soul” by The Beatles or “My Generation” by The Who and it will sound fresh to anyone who turns it up loud and allows themselves to go beyond the need to fit in with what everyone else is saying is dope.
The same rule applies for EDM as it does Rock it has to reinvent itself and dare to go to other places otherwise it will eat itself.
6 — Are you interested in experimenting with different styles or genres in the future?
Always experimenting, that’s what we do at Kusha Deep Music which is my label. The sound I create for my releases at the moment is what we are calling Rock Step which is a mixture of Rock music and dance grooves.
I grew up in the Era where House music exploded in England but was aways into the Mod vibe. If you look at a band like the Small Faces they did the same kind of thing but mix guitars with classic RnB. In a track like “Night-Stepper” I was jamming a House music bassline with a distorted electric guitar and that’s how that track was born.
I will finish off this album which will comprise of the Three EPs and some extra remixes and then move on to something else. I am looking to make a more Ambient record with more space and less pace, something that just floats around in the air a bit. Like Sex After Cigarettes who are my favourite band at the moment. They featured on the Killing Eve soundtrack and just knocked me out when I heard them. I thought the singer was a girl, so it blew me away when I found out he was a guy with a beard.
7 — You have recently released two amazing music videos. Which one is your favourite?
That’s like asking a mother who is her favourite child.
I love them both for different reasons.
“Heart Shape Pill” is a search for some kind of meaning in someone’s life who has everything and nothing. It’s the pull to find something that makes your mind ask that eternal question what is this thing we call life really all about. Once you have everything and there is still a void inside you, eventually you have to go deeper into what we are here for. Once you start going deeper and looking at spirituality then the journey begins. The only real freedom in this life we will ever find is through a connection with a higher way of thinking. Going beyond just yourself and what you can have and rising into a place some call the divine. I read the Tibetan Book Of the Dead when I was 16 and it changed the way I looked at things. One of the things that stood out for me was the statement if you limit your material wants you limit your suffering. Basically the less you desire the freer you become. It kind of goes against human nature though and that’s why a lot of people can’t go there, they see having everything is the goal, and to tell them that all they become is slaves to material things makes a lot of humans think you’re mad.
8 — What do you want people to take away from your visuals?
It’s all about going on a journey with the music and films, I love concepts so every song works on a different theme that I think might say something about life as that’s what an artist should do is reflect what they see or hear and put it into some kind of context that might shine a light on a certain situation. I do think its best though to leave people to put their own spin on what its about and get whatever they can out of it. If whatever that makes someone feel something about what they see or hear or moves an emotion inside then its job done.
9 – Are you currently working on new music or planning upcoming live shows?
The Next EP titled ‘New Kinda Normal’ has just been mastered and we are planning some killer new films to go with the two lead tracks “The Beat” and “Diamonds In The Shadows”.
That should be out in Jan 2019 with the next EP in production now. Expect big epic tunes as you heard with ‘Dirty Lil Secrets’.
I am in a constant state of writing and if I’m not writing I’m thinking about what I’m going to write about.
10 — Finally, what’s the best moment you remember in your life as an artist?
Doing this interview with you of course.
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Feather Talks About His Music Career And Latest Song, “Fixing Me”
1 – How long did it take you to become a music producer?
Haha, man some days it feels like I haven’t quite made it yet to that official title! But I guess there are many days where I do feel like it fits. I would say it’s taken me about 5 years to get to a point where I feel somewhat confident in my ability to create a workable idea. Although one time the artist and producer Blanke told me it takes about 8 years until you really feel confident!
2 – Where do you get the motivation to keep going?
This is a great question because I don’t totally know. My friends have always told me I’m a bit of a relentless maniac with my work ethic, but it’s just always been some component of who I am – overly passionate and hardworking. I prefer to be proactive in life as it helps me feel more in control of my situation instead of being a victim of circumstance.
Actually, I think the collaborative album project I just finished might be one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. There were so many moving parts and components between artists, collaborators, and teams from the conception of the song to finally getting it released, and as an independent artist specifically who is rather involved personally in the process it was a lot of work at times.
4 – What do you prefer producing or performing live? Why?
I prefer performing, hands down. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been a performer. I’ve been involved in some sort of performance art since I was young so it’s rather ingrained in my being. I feel very comfortable and natural up there and it’s one of the few places that I don’t think too much and I’m able to just be in the moment.
5 – What gives you satisfaction in your career?
I’ve gotten a lot of satisfaction and actually cultivated a lot of respect for myself through the process of conceptualizing an idea for the project and then going through the (often frustrating and exhausting) process of attempting to execute the idea and eventually ending with a finished product. That entire process teaches you a lot about yourself and many other avenues involved, and in the end, you feel really capable and proud.
6 – How would you interpret the lyrics of your latest song “Fixing Me”?
To me, it’s really about the ability someone can have to completely change your perspective around, whether it be about life, love, yourself, etc. But their influence helps shift your energy back to a positive or optimistic feel-good vibe.
7 – What new things did you learn from this collaboration with SEGØ and Rajiv Dhall?
One of the coolest things that I felt happened through making this song was really a profound connection of being understood by other people. We often spent a lot of time in our sessions having these group therapy-type talks and I was blown away by how similar a lot of my personal issues ended up being to others’ problems! Through the process of talking and sharing and venting I think we all left feeling a little more understood and seen by another person and ultimately I think that leads to more happiness, better art, and a better life.
8 – Is there anything you would like to highlight about its creative process?
I could go on and on about so many things with the creative process, but I think one of the biggest things is how everyone creates differently and hears music differently. Each person contributes in a different way and it was really cool to see how we all filled in the gaps of everyone’s abilities. But it takes a lot of trust, understanding, and compromise so it’s not without effort but that’s why it’s so great that we all got along and were able to share personal things – it really helps the creative process feel smoother.
9 – How do you deal with self-criticism when it comes to creating new music?
Hmmm… I really am not the best when it comes to this as my internal dialog can be a little negative at times. I am constantly working on this and lately, it’s been focused on not thinking too much and just creating. Not worrying about what it sounds like or what it’s for, just let it come out and figure it out later. The thinking brain is not the creative brain so the more you can turn that part off through the many stages of the process, the better you’ll feel as you won’t really have the time or bandwidth to criticize what it is you’re making!
10 – What are your future plans for the rest of 2022?
I’m looking forward to getting this album out and then I really hope I can find some opportunities to perform and play some shows for people. As I said, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I really feel that I thrive up there and I want to show people what this project means to me in a live environment!
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The Reactivitz Shares Thoughts On Techno And “Todo En La Vida”
“Todo En La Vida” is one of the latest club bangers from French Producer The Reactivitz. He has releases on Suara, Filth On Acid, Octopus Recordings, and more. In this exclusive interview, he shares his thoughts on Techno and, of course, the new single.
1 — What’s the story behind your artistic name?
Hey Guys, thanks for having me on your interview series. My name is Jonathan, a 29-year-old French DJ, and producer living in Lyon, France. I started producing and playing music under the name of ‘The Reactivitz’ about 10 years ago. At the start, I was producing different sounding music, more like Deep House, House, and Electro. Therefore, it took time to find my own style as I have always enjoyed many genres of music. The underground scene always gave me a buzz and I felt a strong connection with Techno in particular. For years now I have been releasing and playing Techno and Tech House. I love creating dark and powerful tracks with melodic elements, peak time energy, and cool vocal samples.
2 — How do you genuinely feel about the current state of the Techno scene as a whole?
Besides COVID-19 which put the whole scene at a standstill for 2 years, in my opinion, the Techno scene is at the same time full of opportunities yet really closed.
Indeed, we hear more and more amazing music from upcoming talented Techno artists. Every week, I listen to music on different platforms, and I am always amazed by all the new tracks I find from artists I never heard before. With social media, streaming platforms, and Beatport, we have now the opportunity to discover more music than before and it’s a really good point as we have a lot of choices. These ways of communication are helping a lot of the artists to showcase their tracks, even if sometimes DJs and producers spend more time on social media taking off their image than music.
Regarding festivals and parties, we are seeing more and more big Techno events worldwide. Many people enjoy Techno and it’s a good thing for the future of underground music. Nevertheless, I would deplore the fact that we can’t see new names on lines-up. We have so many talents out there, but I am always disappointed to always see the same names when I go to a party. I really think that a lot of truly talented producers and DJs would have their places at the top of the scene, but politics and connections are blocking them. As an artist, even if you are talented, you will need patience and a lot of hard work to get to the top.
3 — Where do you get inspiration for your Techno tracks?
Most of my inspiration comes from what I listen to every day. I listen to many artists in different genres and it’s helpful to give me some ideas for my tracks. I can spend days listening to house, techno, rap or even pop music to find interesting new sonorities. I really like to see how artists structure their tracks and how they make them sound, whatever the genre is. When I am producing, I am trying to mix elements from different genres to have a unique sound. It means that I am not putting up barriers, I produce what I feel when I am in the studio as I love to explore new things. Sometimes producing outside the box allows getting amazing results.
4 — As a producer, does it matter if music is commercial or underground?
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter as long as the music is good. Personally, commercial music is not something that I really enjoy as I prefer producing and playing underground music, but I am not against adding a bit of commercial sonorities into my tracks from time to time. Today, we can see a trend in both genres: a lot of the former commercial artists are getting into the underground scene and also underground artists are adding more commercial elements into their tracks. Is underground becoming the new commercial? The future will speak.
5 — What prompted you to take this Latin-influenced approach for your new single “Todo En La Vida”?
“Todo En La Vida” has a special meaning to me. It’s been a while since I have wanted to produce a track with some Latin vocals because my family is born in the south of Spain, so I wanted to do something related to my origins. Also, as I said before, I wanted to explore new things and I thought that the summertime was the best time to offer something different, more groovy and housey.
6 — “Todo En La Vida” is translated into English as “Everything In Life,” that being said, what’s the most important thing in your life?
The most important thing in my life is my family and my friends. I spent a lot of time with them. They give me advice and support me every day with what I am doing. I am happy knowing that I have their support whatever happens.
7 — Would you consider remixing this track? If so, what producers come to mind?
At the moment, I don’t think that it would be necessary to have another remix done on this track as Luke Andy made a stunning remix already. But maybe it could be a good idea to have some more remixes in the future. I am always interested to hear what other artists can do with my tracks.
8 — What do you think about this collaboration with Luke Andy as a remixer?
After having sent “Todo En La Vida” to There Is A Light, they suggested me to have Luke Andy as a remixer. I thought that it was a good idea as his style perfectly matches the vibe of the track. He did something different with his own vision and I really love it. Can’t wait to play his remix at my next few shows.
9 — What’s next in your schedule?
After “Todo En La Vida,” I will release a new collaboration track with djseanEboy on my label Immersion called “Strange,” followed by a two-tracker EP on Unity in August. I have also planned to release some tracks on Immersion further this year. This week, a new EP with Mauro Somm has been confirmed on FORM which will be released on September 2nd. During the next weeks, I plan to keep producing a lot of new songs and I have many tracks that I’m excited to release.
10 — How do you plan to keep your music style so innovative?
Listening to more music helps me to keep my music style innovative. As I said before, I love to hear many genres to get inspired for my next tracks. Traveling and discovering new amazing places is also a good opportunity to innovate. When I come back to the studio, I have a head full of new ideas and it’s always a good thing! Another important thing is to collaborate with other artists. I love sending and receiving new projects, so we can both share our visions and come up with something completely different from what we did at the beginning.
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Niko The Kid Talks Career + EDM-Driven Single “Fine” — Interview
Niko The Kid dove into 2022 with rapid fire. Upcoming releases on Toolroom, At Night, Sony, UMG, and more were all scheduled for this year. With this interview, you can learn more about his career and his recent EDM-driven single “Fine.”
1 – How would you describe your sound to someone listening to you for the very first time?
I’d say my sound is pretty versatile. It’s definitely very synth-driven. I love pulling inspiration from older dance records, Disco, Hip-Hop, and combining them with these modern sounds. I think I land somewhere between House and EDM.
2 – What do you enjoy the most about your artistic career?
I think my favorite part is DJing. There’s no better feeling than playing music out live and seeing people enjoying themselves to music you created yourself.
I would say Throttle, Oliver Heldens, and CID. I love these guys and they’ve been a tremendous help to me coming up.
4 – Did you ever imagine yourself creating beats for Akon, Young Thug, and Gucci Mane, among other heavyweight talents?
Never in a million years. It’s been a wild journey so far. Coming up in Atlanta and spending 6 years or so in LA, I found myself in these situations to be able to work with some incredible people. I’m super grateful.
5 – What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?
I would say navigating the ever-changing landscape of social media and streaming. It’s definitely a challenge getting new people to hear about you and grinding to create content while also making music. It’s definitely tough juggling all these things without losing your mind.
6 – Where did you get the inspiration to drop your single “Fine”?
I’ve been listening to a lot of melodic stuff like Rufus Du Sol and Camelphat. I’ve always loved these dark brooding synths and melodies. When we wrote the original demo I had these inspirations in the back of my mind.
7 – With this new release do you think your music has grown since you first started?
Absolutely. When I first started releasing music, I think I was still figuring things out. One of the hardest things about being an artist is honing in on a direction. It’s easy to get lost when you have such a passion for many types of music.
8 – What do you hope your listeners take from “Fine”?
The idea of the song is that we all tend to have self-destructive tendencies; big or small and that it’s okay to acknowledge that and move on.
9 – What’s your philosophy towards work while being at the recording studio?
My thing is to just always be creating, whether it’s music or visuals. Just making something. I also found a passion for 3D art during the beginning of the pandemic. It’s nice having another outlet. I find it helps recharge my creative juices for music to sit and create artwork or animations.
10 – Can we expect more songs to be released soon?
For sure! I’ve got a ton of new music on the way. I’m considering dropping an EP by the end of the year so definitely stay tuned for that.