The 214th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer Sapiens.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
I am 42, living in Tel Aviv, Israel. Djing since 2006, producing since 2008, officially releasing from 2012.
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.”
I started to play piano at age of 5 and received my early musical education and performance skills in piano, my childhood was all about classic music. I have always been a real fanatic of psychedelic and progressive rock, early dark new wave, grown on YES and Mike Oldfield, Rush, Gary Numan and Grace Jones. In early 90-s listened to Jean Michele Jarre, The Orb and Kraftwerk and later on to R.Miles, St. Germain and Kruder & Dorfmeister. I cannot recall exactly the moment of realising that it’s my new serious activity, I guess I was captured as a kid, astonished from the first chance to listen, play and mix quality electronic sounds turning it into one long composition and that experience took me to a long trip to what I am now.
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?
Well, it started mostly from constant self learning, experimenting with sounds and beats, listening to, spinning and analysing thousands of tracks. It wasn’t so easy at the beginning, I had plenty of musical ideas in my head, but had no experience to properly create a tune. Step by step I began revealing the secrets of synthesis and production craft and gained more skills and understanding as I practiced more and more. Later on I took Synthesis and Mixing courses in BPM school of electronic production in Tel Aviv and Master classes from professional and experienced producers.
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?
It really depends on the project and what I start with. Sometimes the composing goes fast, and the mixing and production can take a lot of time and efforts to bring it to the wanted, satisfactory level of “yes, it’s there”. But could be the opposite thing to happen to other projects. Creative blocks? Never really experienced them, and hope not to meet them in the future. But if it feels like me or the project has to rest for while, I lay it aside and return to it with some fresh mood and willingness to continue.
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?
My days are divided to two shifts – first one is a regular job for living and the second one is studio time. Besides I like good parties, festivals in Europe, go to clubs with friends to listen to good music and watching quality movies.
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.
Well, it’ s constantly changing and a sort of circulating through the genres. Recently listening to amazing steampunk music of Paul Shapera, fond of Yann Tiersen and Chilly Gonzales, Gotan Project, Bon Iver, Robots Don’t Sleep, sometimes go back to Glam rock of early David Bowie and Alice Cooper and even earlier to conceptual and theatrical Emerson Lake and Palmer , Marillion and early psy rock of Jefferson Airplane or Strawberry Alarm Clock. Very fond of Baroque and Chamber music since my childhood. Sure each of those directions has its own impact on my music production.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
The first one was a vinyl of Queen – The Game and the last CDs I bought were of of US3 – Broadway and 52nd and St. Germain’s Boulevard.
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
I quit PhD program for the sake of dedicating myself more to making music, and I do not regret. Nevertheless I am a Data Scientist in a hi-tech start-up.
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
Overlooking is a natural phase of all new producers, but those that insist to enhance their productions and improve their abilities finally get the proper exposure and attention.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
Oh, there are many of them, the constant inspirers are Bookashade, M.A.N.D.Y, Tale of us, Trentemoller, Stephan Bodzin, Marc Romboy. Recently I can mention Samuel Dan, Hot Since 82, Ramon Tapia, Ryan Davis, Boss Axis, Sam Paganini, Oliver Giacomotto and Andre Sobota. As to inspiration, it might come from any source, for me it works fine when I simply listen to new music or mixes, playing with sounds and random loops from my libraries, improvising on my piano.
I can feel it inside me, so I start and flow with the randomness. That usually works fine for me and converges to some musical sequence.
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?
Never try to adjust yourself to the scene, genre. Just produce what your ear likes, and it will converge to uniqueness
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
Without thinking too much, I’d choose Solee, Box Axis, Yoachim – Still Here ( Boss Axis Full Vocal Edit) – it’s an epic one.
‘Downtown Homies’ is out now on Baroque Records, you can purchase the release: here