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Feature: SOAME [Interview]

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SOAME is a recognized name in Switzerland’s electronic culture, with more than fifteen years of organizing events such as the Arosa Electronica Festival and Backyard Hype @ Street Parade, he is also on the road as a DJ and Resident DJ at the famous Hive Club in Zürich. Also a highly regarded producer, SOAME’s unique style of deep, musical house and techno has found a home on Hive Audio, EIN2, Colour Series and HMWL. With his first full length album ‘Diffusion’ now available on Inspired By Trees we had a chance to catch up with the Zurich resident in this exclusive interview. Enjoy!

Hi SOAME, thanks for sitting with us today! Tell us where in the world you are today and what your plans for the week are.

I’m in Zürich where I live. I have plenty of office stuff to do next week for the Festival Arosa Electronica. It’s the last couple of weeks before the festival starts and so my Inbox is on fire. Then, on the weekend I will play in Bern at Kapitel Bollwerk.

Tell us more about your story. How did you discover electronic music and what led you down the path of wanting to be a producer and DJ?

I was always a big music nerd. I was listening to Hip Hop in my early days then I discovered Trip Hop and Drum&Bass from there the music took me more and more into electronic music like House, Deep House and Melodic Techno. Because I loved all those sounds and feelings I had listening to music I was always interested in creating my own music.

Tell us about your record/music collection, where do some of your early influences live? Or can you name few tracks that were influential in your musical development?

I have so many records, that I collected. From so many different styles of music. I love music in all it’s variations. One of my absolute favorite musicians is Prince. I love all his stuff. Then I also couldn’t get enough of music by Grand Central Records, a label based in Manchester years ago. Probably one of the labels I own every single release they ever had. Sadly the label doesn’t exist anymore. But there is plenty of other good music out there to find.

Your first album “Diffusion” was recently released on Inspired By Trees Records. It’s a stunning collection of music. Tell us how it began to take shape? Was there an initial goal of writing an album from the beginning or did this happen organically in a way?

I always do music with the flow. I let the music take me on a flow and journey. So when you listen to my music there are also different styles within electronic music and certainly different moods. But a lot of times you focus on good music for the dancefloor. So at a certain point I just wanted to create some music that is not in the first place for the dancefloor. An Album was for me the best way to follow this idea and create something that stands for the music itself.

I get a timeless sensibility from the album. From a compositional perspective and also design wise. Tell us what studio tools featured heavily on the LP.

I work with Logic. Then I always love to work with some of my favourite Plug-Ins like Trillian, Sylenth or Diva. For the album and for other music projects I usually also like to work with some samples here and there. I also worked with some analog synths on the album. The highlight for the album was work with Hannes Bieger on his Modular.

You collaborated with a few artists on album, Hannes Bieger, Solok and Tschan. Tell us why you chose to work those producers and what the creative process was like.

I didn’t work with them as a fix idea of having something on the album with them. They are all friends of me and we do studio work together here and there. All three collaboration tracks were individual projects that turned out great and I just felt they fit on the album and it makes sense to also have some collaborations on the album because I always like to do not just music for myself but also have a lot of studio session together with friends. I love to make music with friends.

How did you end up with the final track selection and how did you go about cutting stuff out? There must be a point where it becomes quite difficult letting go of certain pieces?

This is a hard thing for me. I had to learn over the years that not every track you make is there where the track needs to be to hit the spot for listeners or for me. But I always struggled to let a project go and put it in the archive folder. I have the problem that I always hear something nice in a track, some elements that I like and I can see its potential. But as I said it’s a learning process. For the album it was actually not that hard because not all of the potential tracks landed in the archive folder. Some of the tracks we didn’t choose will be on a future EP. We just tried to have an album that could tell a story and that the tracks on it fit together to tell this story.

How difficult was it deciding on the flow from a listener’s perspective?

For me this is the story that I mentioned before. I tried to tell a story on the album and reach the flow form the story side. As a DJ you also try to tell a story in your set and when I’m playing in a club a like to take the people on a journey. So a certain up and down, a progression needs to be and this I tried to tell also in the story of the album in the end.

I would guess the writing of the album was a long process. Now that it’s done and out, what are your thoughts reflecting back on the process?

I wrote most of the tracks while I was in Barcelona for 3 months. I was there with my girlfriend who is now my wife and she did a yoga teacher training while I was in our apartment doing music for a whole month. It was really good doing such a project somewhere else but at home. You can totally focus on a project like this and let yourself fall into it when you are aways somewhere.

How would you feel about these tracks being remixed? And will they be?

I’m totally open for remixes. I always like hearing what other people do with your tracks and what their idea is to work with the sounds within a tune. We have planned to do something by the end of the year. So watch out for it on Inspired by Trees Records.

What made Inspired By Trees the right home for this album?

Paege who created and runs the label is a good friend of mine. He puts a lot of passion and love into his label and for me it was clear to work with a new label that gives me the freedom to do whatever I want and not giving me certain boundaries where I need to be within certain styles of music. And it was also great to do it on a swiss label.

Describe how satisfying it is to see a dance floor unite to something you’ve written.

Musically there is no better feeling for someone that produces. It’s absolutely amazing to see joy and happiness in peoples faces when you play a track of yours. Doesn’t even matter if it is one person on the dancefloor or it’s a packed club. Seeing a good reaction about an own tune is my personal music drug.

The industry and how fans discover new music has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so. How do you discover new music nowadays?

To be honest I don’t have a specific way. I just keep my ears open. I hear someone else playing a tune that hits my spot or I hear something online when I listen to some music at the office.

Is there a movie you would have loved to have produced the soundtrack for? And if so why?

To be honest whatever movie I could produce the soundtrack for would be amazing. Making music that is combined with pictures to capture a feeling or making the watchers feel something would be an amazing challenge that I would love to take. When I could wish for a movie then it would be something cool with fast cars like “Drive”. I love fast cars and cool movies with a great stories. And I also love to drive listening to good music that put me in the flow.

There are a lot of factors which affect the perception of an artist other than his music these days, social media for one, how much emphasis do you put on stuff like this? and what are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?

For me social media is a tool that I need to handle but it’s more a burden then a pleasure. It’s part of the game and the industry but in my opinion definitely way to much. I would love to focus just on the music and the interactions with people in real life.

In addition to being a producer and DJ you are also the founder and organizer of the Arosa Electronica Festival in Switzerland. Tell us a bit about that, how long has it been running, what is your vision for the project and where do you see it going in the future?

We are going into the 7th edition of the Festival this March so we started 7 years ago with it. I organize events since 18 years and because Arosa, a village in the mountains, is my second home and a place that I just love I thought it would be a very cool idea to create a festival in the mountains in winter that goes over a whole week. In summer people travel for a party week to Ibiza or other places so why not do the same for a week in winter for skiing or snowboarding while having also raves during daytime in the snow and in the nighttime in small, familiar locations in the village. So, I started the whole festival and since then every year we have more guests and people enjoying it and feeling the spirit of it. We want to keep it familiar and special so we never went for a big venue. Instead we have more and more small locations to keep the familiar spirit of it and this is also the strategy we will keep and follow in the future.

You are one of the resident DJs at Hive Club in Zurich which is one of Switzerland’s best-known clubs. How did that relationship start? Tell us a bit about the club and also what people can expect to hear from you there.

I was always a big fan of Hive Club since I loved electronic music, so I was many times there as a guest before I played there or even could think of being a resident artist. Hive Club is on such a high level and sets the state of the art in Zürich as a club. They book the best international artists and as a national artist you need to get on a certain level quality wise before you have the chance to play there. I needed to follow my road as an artist first. I collected a lot of experience playing where I could and worked on my music and my releases. And at some point, I got the chance to play at Hive Club a few times. I continued my journey and at the beginning of last year they came to me and invited me to be a resident artist of them. Since then I have the big pleasure to play almost every month there.

Your role at the club also led to you working for their Hive Audio Label, tell us what your role is there and what advice would you have for artists hoping to find a home there?

It’s actually the other way around. I was working with Hive Audio first. I already had some gigs at Hive Club but was not a resident artist when I started working for Hive Audio. I became very good friends with Adrian from Animal Trainer years ago and he also started working with me for Arosa Electronica like 5 years ago. So around 3 years ago Adrian, Samy his DJ Partner and Dario D’Attis who run Hive Audio together just asked me if I want to help them working on the label and it took me not even a second to think about it. I was so happy to work for a label that has such a good reputation and is a platform for national and international producers and their music.

For artists out there I can just say do your thing. Make good music and know when your music is ready and has the quality for a release. We get so many demos from people that are not there yet. They send us music on the weekend?! I mean we are in the club at the weekend… And please never send too many tracks. One or two tracks are enough. If the music is right and a label likes it they can always ask for more tunes.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

My kid and my wife. Everything else comes far after that.

What can we expect from you for the rest of the year? Any releases or special dates you can tell us about?

End of February my new Hive Audio EP comes out. Then in March Arosa Electronica as my main event will take place and there are some other releases that will come throughout the year. So, I hope you will all watch out for it

‘Diffusion’ is out now on Inspired By Trees, you can purchase the release here: https://bit.ly/39kti4n

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