The 241st episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer Kobana.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
I’m 30 years old, I am living in a small and picturesque town in Poland called Zielona Gora.
I have started my musical journey in 2005. Initially it was just for fun, although with time it became my passion and way of life! This is what I do for living 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.”
Since I remember I always had that “thing” which was and still is pushing me towards world of music. Back in early 90’s when I was 7 or 8 years old I was huge fan of Jean Michel Jarre. I had quite a few of his albums – all of them on tapes of course! I do remember that his music was able to transfer me in reality – from my “real” life into worlds created by JM Jarre. Each album was quite different and unique. I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland – just press the play button and then walk through the looking glass. It was amazing I have to say! When I got a bit older I have found a German radio station with out-of-this-world electronic music. Again, it was like a dream, just different as the beats were really setting the scenery. Back then it wasn’t that easy to get hold of good electronic music in Poland – most folks were visiting nearby German towns to buy cds or vinyl with quality sound. What was on the radio or on TV isn’t really worth mentioning (with few exceptions though). For me it felt like “Christmas came early” with every new musical find regardless of whether it was foreign radio station or quality cd or tape.
Fast forward to 2005 – this is when I really got into music production. When I started playing more and more with audio workstation software I thought: “Wow! This is what I want to do!”. Well, the beginning wasn’t that easy though – it’s the opposite in fact. Audio software seemed incredibly complex and I had no manual on how to use it or list of what are “the tricks” of music production. I have spent lots of time analyzing tracks or dj mixes of artists I admired – it was like reverse engineering what someone else has put together. Finally, I’ve met Janusz (yane3dots) and my musical journey has really accelerated!
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?
It was really hard – it really was. I haven’t had money to buy expensive equipment nor clue really where to look for help. I did my own research though and found a lot of interesting hints or simple how to’s on the web – including the famous video website later on. Unlike today, there was no one-stop-shop tutorial which could instruct young producer: “okay, now you need to do this and that to get the kick right…”. I have followed trial and error path and trust me: there were just errors initially. You also need someone who can help and set a direction when going gets tough. I am very glad Janusz was there to fill that role.
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?
Actually I enjoy the entire process, from the start to the end. When my creativity takes a break I just simply take a day off and go for a walk in the forest or to the gym to stretch and exercise. Sometimes all I have to do to bring the creativity back is to play some “strange” 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 get up every day at 9 am, check emails and other stuff with cup of coffee in hand. Next are promos and some other music/artists I follow. When all these are done I begin the work in the studio. Sometimes I go for a walk in the forest with my audio recorder to find some extra sound for my productions. Music production is my full time job hence why sourcing new sounds is essential for me. I have to admit that such a job is very unique and I do feel extremely happy and proud that I can do what I love. When I’m not in the studio I meet friends or take bicycle for a spin in the forest. I often attend crossfit classes as that helps me to balance my lifestyle: long hours in front of pc require equal amount of exercise.
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 effect on your own productions?
I really like motion picture music, my fav is the one where electronic instruments are used – Tron soundtrack is a great example here. I actively follow many artists but here are just a few that I greatly admire: BINKBEATS, Hans Zimmer, The Cinematic Orchestra.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
First was Jean Michel Jarre on tape – can’t remember now which album
My last purchase is Trevino on vinyl just two days ago in HardWax Berlin 🙂
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
I hate chocolate ice creams 🙂 odd isn’t it?
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
Too many names to remember! World is full of talented people. It’s the biggest weakness of music industry that names that are promoted are not necessarily the ones that deserve the most credit for their work.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
There are lots of producers who constantly surprise me with every new production. Seriously – the number of producers these days is astonishing and the fact that music production tools are easily accessible just makes this number bigger with every passing week. This is great as it allows people to expose their talents. There is also plenty of small and good labels – not that all big labels are bad!
Hard to say where from my inspiration comes. Sometimes it’s just random sound of nature, other music or just feelings! You know what I mean!
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?
Close your laptop and go outside! Focus on what you can hear around you. A very good exercise is to take a sound recorder with you if you have one – plug your headphones in and listen in…. You will be surprised to find so many different sounds previously unnoticed. Then focus again and pick the one you like the most. That’s what I do! I’m always after sound that I can use in my productions!
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
Form & Function – Wonderland
‘Drive’ is out now on Dopamine Music, you can purchase the release: here