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Navar [Interview]

24 min read

With over a decade’s worth of production credits Navar is widely regarded as one of the underground’s most creative talents. His emotive musicality and organic design have led to signings on Guy J’s Lost & Found Records, Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat Music, Nick Warren’s Hope Recordings and Cid Inc’s Replug Records. Over the last calendar year his inimitable production touch has led to standout projects for Clubsonica, Edge, Meanwhile and more. Now coming off a creative swell, we catch up with Navar as music for Deepwibe Underground, Proportion and Sudbeat hits the shops. Enjoy!

Hello Eelko, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hi, thanks for having me on here, there so much great tracks all day ha ^^ WestbamML feat. Inga Humpe - Wasteland (Andhim Remix) really enjoying their productions!

How’s your year so far? And what are your plans for the coming week?

Having a good year, even though due to big disruptors around us, I think it's a key factor (when you're able) to do what you love.

This upcoming week I'll be enjoying the releases that are coming up. And furthermore, will work on new music. Will be also doing a studio mix soon!

Can you name five tracks that were important in your musical development and why they are so significant for you?

The Cure - A Forest - for its brilliant thematic sound

Prince - let's go crazy (the speed of the music, very high for that time).

Queen - radio gaga (live) - these dirty synth arpsss

Guy J - 1000 words (whole album) this whole album has gotten me of my feet

PUSH - Journey of life (and so many great trance classics)

You are fresh off a gig with Hernan Cattaneo just a few weeks ago, how was that?

Aww just couldn't be happier with this day! seeing all this love and feeling all this energy, especially when you play 95% of your own productions. It was a special moment for me.

Do you consider yourself a DJ or Producer first? And why?

To be honest, I could say producer, but I also feel like I'm very much a DJ, maybe it comes in phases, from the experience I’ve learned when you do a lot of music, you also need to play and listen to other music. This balance can tell a lot how much more you can get out of your own productions.

What have been some of your favourite venues to play in The Netherlands and also globally?

Paradigm in Groningen, a unique location in the north side of Holland, Thuishaven I think has a great location. Also wish I would have been to Marktkantine, now it ended. Woodstock is an amazing location.

Generally speaking, do you find it more difficult to come up with original tracks than remixing a track from another artist?

I think the production process on itself is telling what you have for it, if it’s a remix or an own production, as long as you can have that hook to it, the flow comes along.

You have a new remix of Dmitry Molosh out this week via Deepwibe Underground, tell us a bit about the remix and how it showcases your sound.

When I first heard the track, I immediately knew what to do, not to go for a big room sound, but to do a more intimate groovy sound, it describes what I felt on that moment. So there was no way of expressing something else than what I’ve had left in me.

What was it that attracted you to the track for a remix?

Because Dmitry is a very talented producer, and I guess the way he does his thing, is for me only more interesting to do different interpretation, not to make it better but to grow a new piece.

Deepwibe Underground is a label you’ve not released with previously, what makes the label a good home for your music?

I think it would help allot that a label attracts your crowd, or style. But what makes a label a good home is based on the music that has been released. So music always comes first for me, and then after I check what label makes a good home for it. Feels are always first then the matrix.

What does your set-up like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of this remix?

Digital or Analog, depends on what you get out of it big time, especially with analog it’s a bit harder but it can be weigh more intuitive so in combination with digital u can achieve a lot.

You also have a new two track EP coming out the following week on Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat Music, tell us about those tracks.

Herinneringen -  the story behind this track is being found in existence of the sweet spacey pad, it got me thinking back on the memories I had with Hernan on his annual Woodstock’69 parties in Bloemendaal aan Zee. So during the Covidius era it got me thinking back about the moments.. these missing times. Such a beautiful location here in Holland.

A Sun kissed Novel - is based on a love story for our sun and for the memories that come and go.

Made a poem story of it:

How much road testing or friend feedback is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

I don’t have always the same person for the feedback but happy to be testing new projects.

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy?

First, I would buy more time, then I would create a tower in the shape of a disk, 20 feet from the ground. Make a studio shaped as a spaceship.

No to be honest, I wish I would be able to have a warehouse full of toys I can use to experiment more with hardware, but on the other hand, the way I have found myself to use digital and a bit of hardware combined is something that tells you that listening to music we all do in an almost unique way this over time can be very much important, for your musical fingerprint.

Many aspects of mental health are complex and nuanced, and it is an issue to which those working in electronic music are especially susceptible. It can be deeply rewarding but it is also competitive, fast-paced, unpredictable and hedonistic. Talk a bit about the pressures of what you do that fans may not be totally aware of. 

For days and weeks, I can be very much introverted, leaving almost no space for communication due to the livid process probably, and I say probably because almost nothing I do is rational. Most comes from what I feel. sometimes u stack the things up, sometimes u don’t, once u realize, you'll always find a way to solve it, whether it would be by writing something new or to scope in the matt.

There are dramatic shifts in emotion being a performing artist, from playing in front of large crowds where there is a tremendous amount of energy to travel days where you may be stuck in airports or on a plane for extended periods of time. Do you have tools or practices that you use to get yourself back to a state of balance?

Yes, for example when things don't go as usual, I wouldn't amplify it, rather I would look for the things that work, and this is ahead of us.

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you.

Interstellar, The Revenant, Vikings, Narcos, Mr. Octopussy

In your opinion, what’s the biggest risk you’ve taken and what made you do it?

Having no job next to my music, well spend that risk. all things came to a good learning curve for my growth as well as personal and the music, understanding the business is one thing. But knowing what to do when you drive it, is another thing.

What is your current favourite place to eat and what do you generally order there?

My own kitchen, don’t have really fave places to eat. I should change my artist name to “navar eats everything”.

 Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

To see people coming together and having their best time, or children playing their imaginary creativity.

 What does the remainder of 2022 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

Well it looks like I’ve been re-energized and beginning to paint things on a more calm way, like I’ve got all the time. I am planning to work on an album, actually i made the choice to do a restart with plans for doing the album thing.

Check out new music from Navar via Deepwibe Underground, Proportion and Sudbeat: https://bit.ly/3sxumOz

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