12 Questions Episode 204: Jakhira

The 204th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer Jakhira.


1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?

– I’ve just turned 31 and I live in Welle, a village in Belgium. I’ve been producing for 17 years and DJ’ing for 15 years now.

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.”

– Music is literally part of my upbringing. I’m classically trained in harmony and piano. Electronic music started in the early 90’s for me, when I still lived in England. I was a very big fan of The Prodigy and lots of mainstream house and garage like Robin S, Kristine W, Livin’ Joy etc. My taste continued to develop and evolve once I had moved to Belgium in ‘94, particularly when I discoverd Bonzai. Through compilations (at first) I began to notice when reading the inlany that my favourite tracks were often made by the same people, under a different alias. For me then, who really stood out was Laurent Veronnez (aka Airwave) and Philippe Toutlemonde (aka Phi-Phi). To this day they are still the people I look up to more than anyone. Those two really inspired me to take music production seriously.

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?

– When I started producing my own tracks I was 14 years old. It was on software called Music, which was on PlayStation, and it belonged to a mate from school. I had already been writing music for a while then, on my workstation, but this was an entirely different approach. It had a sequel called Music 2000, also on PlayStation, which I bought for myself and I used it for quite a while until it basically couldn’t handle what I was trying to make. I tried several programs from then on, stepping over to computers, trying to find what suited me best. Fruity Loops, Reason, Cubase for a while… Now I’ve been using Ableton Live for years and years and I can’t imagine ever switching again. I have never had any specific training or classes when it comes to production. Collaborating with friends has been the only way of discovering something that I didn’t teach myself.

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?

– The hardest part is turning a basic idea into something substantial. Sometimes I just don’t know what direction to take it in. Though that’s got better over the last few years. The easiest is the writing. I don’t need anything to compose a melody, a piece of paper would be enough to remember it. And for me, the best way to solve a lack of inspiration is just doing something else for a while.

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?

– Like most people who live for music, I can’t live off it. Everybody has bills to pay. A lot of my time is spent looking after my son too. My favourite ways of relaxing are watching movies, binge watching TV shows and playing computer games. Mostly Grand Theft Auto Online and FIFA. Both under the name Jakhira, by the way.

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 listen to a lot of soul and hip hop, both old and new. I love J Dilla productions or a full on soul vocal more than most other music. It probably inspires me more than any electronic music too, if I’m honest.

7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc)  piece of music you bought?

– I bought loads of cassettes when I was little. Almost entirely dance music compilations, with generic names and flashy covers. The first artist album that I bought on CD was The Score by Fugees. I must’ve been about 12. The last was Rachel Claudio’s Claudiography. And I buy a lot of classic albums on Discogs all the time.

8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?

– I have an obsession with castles. I visit them all over the place and take hundreds of pictures.

9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?

– Sometimes I don’t understand why people like Robert R. Hardy, Manu Riga and Matias Chilano aren’t more of a big deal with the talent that they possess.

10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?

– When it comes to producers, it has to be Phi-Phi. Being that consist for such a time span is a big deal. Also: life. It could be anything… A person, a movie, a painting or a place.

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?

– Don’t copy anything, ever. Just go with your feeling and put the emphasis on wherever your talents lie. It doesn’t matter if it’s the harmony, the percussion or the sound design.

12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?

– Without hesitation: Mortar & Pestle – Itsachickthing (Luke Chable remix).

segment collected by Benjaminas Bagdonas

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