English artist Steven De Koda is an emerging talent who already worked with the established label Renesanz, which is run by Balthazar & JackRock.
Steven De Koda’s new release is Opaque which is a new record label with roots in Chicago, USA. Run by DJ and production duo Dominus, the imprint is still in its infancy but has already made bold strides.
Like all of the other releases on Opaque, Steven De Koda’s release features a solo track, and it’s a vigorous cut with a rumbling low end and aggressive energy.
Excited to learn more about this emerging talent, we decided to invite Steven De Koda for this interview…
> For the people reading this who have not heard your music before, how would you describe your style and the key elements that define it?
My style can vary depending on the feel I want the track to have. Although I would say most of the time my style aims to push driving techno with heavy drums, euphoric synthesizers and hypnotic progressions. I want it to feel like a journey from beginning to end. Big heavy drums bring an almost industrial feel with a peak time driving structure I like to create an atmosphere with subtle percussion.
> Your most recent release is on Chicago based label Opaque, could you tell us about the concept of the release?
The concept for this release for me was to push a dark atmospheric driving techno track that suitably showcases my style in many ways. From the heavy kick and rumble right to the hypnotically progressing arp throughout the track. I am happy to be working with Opaque Records for this because I feel they really see the vision I had for this track.
> Could you talk us through the creative process of putting a track together, and list any specific equipment used to bring your sound to life?
I think every track has its own process depending on the idea and feel I want to achieve. With Do You Know it started as an idea of experimenting with techniques I wouldn’t normally use, such as sampling synths to creating samples to distort and stretch out. Mainly I was trying to create an atmospheric intro which later inspired the feel of the rest of the track.
I produced the basis of the track on my laptop on my kitchen counter with a set of headphones, as far as hardware goes I guess the only hardware I used for this track was my iPhone to record the vocals. As the vocals are spoken word I didn’t feel I needed an amazing microphone to capture my voice. I completed the track within a few days although spent a month or so refining and changing subtle things to achieve the sound I wanted. I remember spending a lot of time on the drums trying to achieve the right balance of rumble to kicking bass.
> I spotted on your Soundcloud page that you have done a few techno edits of Hip-Hop/Grime tracks, what are the qualities that you look for in a track when deciding what to rework?
If I see potential in a track I will look into reworking it. With my free downloads, my main focus was to give myself a break from more serious work such as my own independent releases or work I have with labels. Most of the time the tracks only took a week or so to complete depending on the track and because of the simplicity of some of the tracks just being vocals and drums and a few effects, it paved the way for them to be very mixable when it came to playing a set.
> Who are some of the artists and DJs that inspire you?
The artist that pushed me to pursue techno were; Amelie Lens, Enrico Sangiuliano, Adam Beyer, Alex Lentini, ASYS, Airod, Regal and I Hate Models. These artists all brought something different to the table which inspired so many ideas for me. More recently I enjoy the work of; Sara Landry, JKS, Alignment, Chlar, Perc, DYEN and Bours
> What is coming up next in your music schedule, do you have any other releases in the pipeline?
My next release will be an Ep on Renesanz Records focusing more on my current style which pushes a darker harder form of techno full of energy. I also have a few reworks/free downloads I’m working on. Other than that I’m focusing on another future release with Opaque with a track that follows up from Do You Know.
> Could you give some advice or words of wisdom to any aspiring producers who might look to your music for inspiration?
My main advice is something that helped me majorly in my early days was to focus mainly on one or two tracks so you don’t overdo it for yourself. If you wanna get past not being able to finish tracks cut your focus down to something manageable. I used to jump between projects when my ideas weren’t flowing which in turn unmotivated me. Since then, with everything I’ve learned, I can now work on multiple projects at a time and still get the results I desire.
> Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today, we like to finish our interviews with a couple of questions that are a little bit light-hearted… without getting too personal, could you tell us something many don’t know about you?
I originally started out making progressive dance music. My main inspiration was Tim Bergling also known as Avicii he inspired me when I was younger to peruse a career in the music industry. His production value and raw talent really inspired me. From his old school tracks he released under “Tim Berg” such as “Alcoholic” and “Before This Night Is Through” all the way through to his last ever release.
> You don’t need to mention names, but what’s the most “outrageous” thing you’ve ever seen happen in a club… was it something outrageously brilliant, like a blindfolded DJ mixing seamlessly and scratching with their elbows, or something outrageously cringe-worthy, like some embarrassing drunk person urinating on the dance floor?
A while ago my friends set up a rave in a forest around my area. The track playing at the time was Mark Dekoda’s “Higher Self” and specifically the intense build-up to the second drop we noticed one of our friends had climbed up to the top of a tree and was going crazy for the drop. It was definitely a memorable experience.
> Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, is there anything extra you want to add before we wrap up the conversation?
There is not much more I can say, but I would like to thank you for your time and your interest in my music. And also I would like to thank Opaque Records for really helping push my sound, I am extremely grateful to them and their vision for their label.
> You can pick up a copy of Steven De Koda’s single ‘Do You Know’ on Opaque from HERE