The 175th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer Janno Kekkonen.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Dj-ing?
I’m 31 years old and I live in a small town of Estonia named Kilingi-Nomme. I started to produce electronic music since 2006 and I’ve been playing records as a DJ since 2009.
2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”
If to hit from the very beginning, my musical roots go back to year 1996, when I started to play as a drummer in a punk band „Duff“, my first memories from electronic music come from 2002, when I accidentally happened to listen to Speedy J Techno mix and this was the moment I realized, that this is it – this is what I’ve been searching for my entire life! From that moment I dived into the electronic music and currently I’m very pleased, that I did that. Currently there are two main directions which I deal with – Deep House and Techno.
3. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?
Every beginning is quite a challenge and so it was for me too. Since I come from the punk scene, it was quite difficult to build up the tracks, the introduction and the ending at the beginning. I would like to believe, that I have overcome that problem by now.
What regards the training or educating myself on audio engineering, I’m pretty much as a self taught man. I’ve rather been fond of learning things on my own throughout the life.
4. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
In the process of production I find the most difficult to create the bass lines. The melodies come for me as the easiest. While having the creative block, this pushing hard has to be stopped and just quit producing the tracks. In order to get myself together, I go to parties and experience great atmosphere and collect positive energy. Also I listen to the music from my other favourite genres. This has helped me to get through the creative block so far.
5. What’s a normal day like for you? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?
When I’m not working on my music, I’m occupied in Environmental Inspectorate as a daily job, where I inspect the huntsman and fishermen, so that they wouldn’t violate the laws. Generally I have organized my doings so, that I don’t work on music during working week and all the producing happens in weekends.
6. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? And do these genres or artists have a direct effort on your own productions?
I’ve always been fond of old school rap and specially the 90’s theme, as well as punk music. What regards the rap, I would point out Afu-ra, Big-L, Da Youngstas, House of Pain, Cypress Hill, Fat Joe etc. From punk music there are The Exploited, The Casualties etc.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
The first Cassette I bought was Cypress Hill’s Black Sunday.The last one was 1DERL& by Estonian techno music producer on Vinyl.
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
People may be surprised by the fact, that I’ve been playing the drums in different bands already for 20 years by now.
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
In every day I become more and more convinced, that there a lot of them who get consistently overlooked. Since I like Deep House, it seems to me, that guys producing it, are played too little at parties. At the same time while buying the tracks, I’ll try to find producers, who are not well-known in the scene.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
I’ve always had a strong impact on Croatian musician YunnanSound, who produces very deep theme. I get inspired by Echofusion from Cyprus and Felipe-L from Spain as well. In addition, I like banging techno as well and I’d like to point out the following producers, that inspire me: Deh Noizer, Darpa, Amir Razanica, Disastar and Ronny Vergara. Also I get the inspiration from nature, people and the space.
11. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?
The most important is not to start copying the well-known producers’ sounds. It leads nowhere. Also you should forget about the idea of becoming famous by producing tracks, in that case the tracks wouldn’t come from your hart/soul. You should consistently try to do what your inner me tolds to. If you turn off the external influencers, the tracks become talking the “inner me”. Finally your own niche will develop.
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
That would be Riot Emotions by YunnanSound.
Finally, I would like to thank all labels, who have wished to work with me: the OLD SQL Recordings, BQ Recordings, PHW Elements, Stellar Fountain Deep, Clinique Recordings, Tohuwabohu Music, MUM etc.
Janno’s ‘African Connection EP’ is out now on OLD SQL Recordings, you can purchase the release: here