The 238th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer Harmon Ikka.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
Hello. I’m 23, and I’m currently living outside of Lisbon, Portugal. I’ve started producing as “Harmon Ikka” in 2010.
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.”
My musical roots lie in the late 90’s/early 2000’s Trip hop music, as well as some hip hop music, although my first memories of electronic music came from groups such as Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim.
It was when I started to dig for new electronic music that I realised that I wanted to be part of this culture. I can’t name a particular production that made me think that this was what I wanted to do, but when I started to listen some proper electronic music, I found that it was this what I wanted to do.
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?
I’m pretty much self taught. When we really want to do something we end up finding out how to do it by ourselves, but I acknowledge the importance of proper engineering knowledge when it comes to musical production.
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 creative block comes when I realise that the sound that I’m crafting starts sounding purely mechanic, with no emotions attached, or when I feel that I’m repeating myself in some previous production that I’ve made. How to overcome it? It depends from producer to producer. For me, spending some days without listening music (or at least the same usual tunes) helps. I also believe that art is made of what we live, and sometimes we need to live more in order to have more memories and sensations from which we can craft new music.
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?
I’m currently finishing my Master’s Degree in Geological Engineering and working on some side projects. When it comes to fun, I really like to try out some new things, especially when it comes to travel.
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?
Most of the music I listen is somehow electronic related. My favorites are undoubtedly connected to trip hop music (Massive Attack, Lamb, Portishead, Unkle). I also like some experimental and industrial music, especially Nine Inch Nails.
When it comes to trip hop, I think that these acts are masters in creating dense and colorful atmospheres supported by a great amount of groove, and in this sense, it kind of affects my way of producing.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
The first one I can’t honestly remember, but the first one I remember buying (and it wasn’t a very long time ago), was Morning Factory – Anna Logue’s Sleepover
The last physical Piece of music that I’ve bought was a CD from Lamb (fear of fours), bought on last record store day.
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
When I was 9 or 10 years old, when by some reason people around me talked about Dj’s, electronic music and nightclubs, I would always say that I hated them all. I didn’t understand the true value of electronic music by then, and the culture around it. It would be a few years later, when I realised the importance of electronic in the music that I loved, that I would fully embrace it.
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
Difficult question. There’s a ton of good producers being overlooked either because they haven’t good connections, a good network, thousands of friend on Facebook and so on… I would recommend on checking Brando Lupi’s music for example.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
I’m very inspired from the work of Floating Points, Four Tet, Inigo Kennedy, Vakula, Levon Vincent, Lucy, Youandewan and much more… They’re music is quite different from each other but they all share a common thing (On my opinion), which is extreme attention to details and a giant load of freshness. This is the inspiration that these artists (and some more) give me to always seek for something new, to not repeat myself in each track.
In another way, my inspiration comes from the moments of pure serenity. It comes when I’m empty. When I don’t feel joy, sorrow, excitement, anxiety and so on, is when I find the perfect moment to produce my music, and my ultimate inspiration is to portrait pure concepts that strike my unconscious.
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?
Be yourself. Don’t try to climb the stairs only based on hype. Nowadays it’s important to manage your social media, but before thinking on managing something, you should worry about doing the music that YOU like.
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
Very very hard choice. I’m leaning to Rennie Foster – Falling Skyward.
Segment collected by Suffused.