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Feature: Navar [Interview]

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Through releasing material on Guy J’s Lost & Found Records, Navar emerged in 2014, firmly establishing himself in the world of deep melodic house. Subsequent releases for Cid Inc’s Replug Records, Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat Music and Belgian Events brand EDGE, further solidified Navar’s place amongst the genre’s elite. Now on the cusp of his debut EP for Roger Martinez's Higher States, we catch up with the Dutch artist in this exclusive interview. Enjoy!

Hi Eelko, thanks for joining us today, tell us where in the world you are and what your plans for the week are?

Thanks for having me and giving me the stage to talk a bit more in depth for what's to happen this year and so on. Right now i'm in the North Of Holland (Friesland). Moved to a very calming area so enough wide space, i love the city vibe too. But both situations are beneficial. :)

Tell us about growing up and living in the Netherlands, how has it affected your musical taste and the music you make?

I grew up in a small village, as a kid playing a lot in nature, listening allot to music, thankful for the technique that made us doing so! felt the joy, emotion when my mom or dad & brother listened to songs. Later that time, i discovered different music then 50,60,70,80’s. Listening to 90’s cruising on my brothers vibe. listening to a lot of music and radio such as ID&T Radio was really a sacred radio station for me. What a time!

Tell us about your record/music collection, where do some of your early influences live?

Firstly discovered trance music, techno, house. being aired by BBC one or Dutch Dance Department, ID&T Radio etc. Listened only a bit later to Global Underground’s success compilations. clearly too much interesting music which took a big part of my taste and development of understanding more to what my heart really just held on to. The harmonics, groove, elegance, and rhythm in this. After some time this favorite album came to light presented by John Digweed ‘Guy J - 1000 Words’. That glued all the loose ends regarding genres to one style with many influences. Was absolutely knowing what i wanted to do next!

Are you musically trained? And do you think it’s necessary for success in writing electronic music?

Instead of being musically trained, i trained myself focusing on what i hear. So when playing a piano with long release i went listening to the after effects, and dived into it and shaped my personal sketch to what diversity we can start a record with. But i'm not musically trained in that way of sense. I do think it's necessary or very helpful to find a ‘easy to go’ route in your head to write things down more accurate in music terms.

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?

First of all, the Promos are nowadays so much more rich of quality, as time goes by (also for myself) hehe. On sites such as decks.de or Bandcamp or Beatport (tough search) but manageable. I Spent more time in making music then searching. And sometimes different around. All a matter of how your expression may be that moment.

How have you been dealing with COVID-19? You’ve obviously lost gigs because of it and the impact it’s having on travelling DJs is hugely significant.

While we are living in a quarantine of consumption and the impact of the outbreak has forced us into slowing down the pace, working from our homes, entertaining only amongst close friends and trough live-streams for our fans, performance for intimacy only. This new born free time had a good influence on my music production it happened to be time full of new ideas. Our once freely acquired existence is no longer self-evident. And Covid 19 will not be the last virus. Which is sad, but it also offers us enormous possibilities. Evolution of our industry in imminent. We are not longer used to do things without rushing, we adept, search for new solutions.

Personally, I believe that what the style ment, Progressive will once again adept through improvisation and creativity as these are our biggest assets. Powered by it captains to unlock the enthusiasts desires among their followers, and bring new forms of intimacy. We have the ability to reset and recreate our future. Learn how the revolution came about, where it manifest itself it best; this could be smaller intimate parties, in nature on campsites, open-air and abandoned warehouse facilities, privately held or even illegal. The urge of self-expressed freedom cannot be stopped. And there I find an enormous positive energy, on the pace of new rhythms creating emotional goose bump orchestra’s of transcending experiences by the life adventure of what the forthcoming future has to offer me.

Yes this also hit me as DJ. As a creator and producer it brought me mindfulness and focus. This new acquired ‘free time’ is the source of many fresh ideas. Played with new tools and instruments and choose unconventional collaborations to co-create and produce these.

Once nightlife eventually resumes what kind of effect do you think this period in our history will have on the clubbing experience?

Let's phrase it differently’ when nightlife returns, it will be celebrated in many colours, shapes and new manifestations full of emotion with intimacy.. and they can count on my support to celebrate whenever they want wherever they are.

You’ve done a mix for Lost & Found streaming series, tell us a bit about that, is this typical of what we might hear from you in a club setting?

The flow of creation in music is for me an ongoing process. I’m blessed with such great audience from all over the world, and all those people and their cultures inspire me… as i believe inspiration comes from any source and direction, this is only a glimpse and so many more ideas which I love to bring to stage.

You have a new EP out on Roger Martinez’s Higher States this week. Tell us a bit about the release and how you approached writing the ‘High Noon’ track and the production process behind it.

Yes! super excited about it! :) I made all 4 tracks with the idea to capture moments and take back with me, the experience and new influences it does to your creative cloud when on travel to another place that is not home routine.

When in India i created the harmonic play of Moon at the window, Desert storm was something i felt it needed more when coming back from my trip to Israel, so constantly u can get inspired by only finding the unknown, yet to discover. And write it down. But i believe this is a process that needs time. No rush needed. some stories pass by, being not complete, and maybe will take you to realize what u wish to do better in another track. etc.

Arctic Vibez & High Noon has been eye opening to me (just like my 4 tracks), not because of the music specifically but more that i could control more and change the way in a more centered approach. The sounds that i played were fresh to my ears, when listening to the structure i had already. This way i didn't fatigue my ears first, when recording input to it. It made that little change.

What made Higher States the right home for this project?

Back in 2016 during the annual Lost & Found event at ADE, i was pleased to meet Roger in person at last. Always wanted to do something with him, and in this case for his fantastic label ’Higher States’. It’s growing step by step, and i’m proud to be contributing to his imprint.

How much road testing or friend feedback is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished?

This differs from time to time. And that's good! Variations of different routines can be an enrichment to the work. But i catch myself every time more and more by sending it only when i think its near done, and not when it's not finished yet. Over enthusiasm can influence your creativity. It sounds maybe a bit perfect on how to, this that but strongly believe we all have to find out what works best to our mind, So i could describe it as a journey of getting to know yourself each day a bit more. Step by step.

What’s a piece of gear or software that always gets used when you’re writing a track?

I use the digitone sometimes. When melodies come first in my head i start with it. Sometimes when i start a project going on flow on that moment, and sometimes it already starts a bit in my head before the actual production with melodies, and sometimes the production is already happening when i'm weaving and mingling ideas without being in studio.

Some of your past productions have a unique crossover appeal. How much of an influence does music outside of the electronic spectrum have on you?

In some cases i would say why not bring it out under an another moniker, instead i chose to accept it is as being a musical journey. I was inspired by alot of the classical mixes between minimal, and the build to it.. And was myself in the midst of trying out new things, rather then throwing my prog jacket away. I kept it on instead seeing where it may take me. The learning path has sometimes unique sideways, where you can choose to go into it, and take or bring something upfront into what i do now. The one needs another for shaping your sound into where you've set the boundaries to.

When working on music is the dance floor always something that’s taken into consideration?

There are many times u know this is something for the dance floor.. I set the energy to what the record has its potential for.

Looking back over your discography, what release or track holds the best memories for you and is there a correlation between that track and how successful you are today?

When looking back into my discography i think a lot of tracks contributed to the sound that i make today, but if i have to choose one it will be the Lost & Found ‘Found 01’ release from Nov. 2013.

I think for a lot of artists music allows you to write a sketch of your own personal universe in a way; your travels, life experiences etc. Is this something which is true for yourself? Where does inspiration come from?

When i want to express myself in music, and have been seeing places, playing in other countries, i'm amazed to feel, i see it as a mix between surrealism & my inner story regarding life and its cloud of ideas. Actually my own personal universe yes :)

With the barriers to production at an all-time low for many people, and the availability of studio software so easy, do you feel it has had a negative impact on the electronic music market?

I feel one cannot live without another.

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

From all times i got inspired by heroes like Hans Zimmer, i dreamed to make scores for movies. But from this day on, i never had a moment of seeing myself doing a movie i know.. I rather would do soundtrack from bottom up and grow into it. I wish i could answer this simply :P.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

The mindfulness without a doubt!

What does the remainder of 2020 hold for Navar? Anything you can share with us?

For this year on July 20th i have a remix ready from talented Juan Sapia on his ’Radian’ record, coming forth on Just Movement and after this i have a long awaited release following up on Eran Aviner his EDGE imprint, for the rest of the year I'm working on original material and colabs being done with those i cant mention yet at an early stage. But surely overall excited about the plans.

'High Noon' is out now via Higher States: : https://bit.ly/38CcPJI

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