Experimentation & Versatility Drive Lonya’s Evolution

Priya Sen

A candid, kindred spirit whose voluminous collection of music, enthralling whether it be originals or by way of remixes, is the tool to transport everyone to a higher high.

We welcome Lonya from Tel Aviv who burst in to the electronic dance music scene way back in 2001, with a bear hug from FRISKY. I got the chance on behalf of the news team to ask him burning questions about what he’s been up to, the latest on his productions, about his label Asymmetric Recordings (that’s doing crazy good), and also about his gigs and what’s making him go for the rest of the year.

Moreover, Lonya has provided a guest mix for my show Provocateur, which showcases 60 minutes of some of the finest dance music that entertained attendees at UK’s top dance venue The Gallery Club, where he recently shared the stage with the one and only Hernan Cattaneo for his Sudbeat label party. The warm up was real for many, and he adds –

“I wanted to share these musical moments with many people who were not able to come for the beautiful night, and I would like them to get a feel of the vibe, and what better way than through your show”.

Hey there, thanks for chatting with us at Frisky. You’ve just come out of a gig with the maestro Hernan and his Sudbeat label showcase at the Gallery Club in the UK. How was the experience, and tell us a bit about the feeling to be with one of the pioneers of dance music… must be special?

Hi, glad to talk to you. Needless to say that Hernan is the leading force in the underground music scene and also a long-time friend and collaborator of mine, and it’s actually always lots of fun and no pressure to share the stage with him. First things first, he is always very supportive and gives great feedback and secondly because he is always in the spotlight of the night, playing before or after him gives me freedom and the ability to be more experimental with my selection.

I read somewhere that you were born and raised in Russia, how did the journey take you to Tel Aviv, where you are based out of many years, what made you move?

The collapse of Soviet Union made us move, but also the fact that Israel is a modern and Free State that is constantly developing and changing.

What were you listening to when growing up?

Everything from Rock, Punk, Grunge, New Wave, Jazz and then the early electronic music of the 90’s.

Any musical instruments you are very good at and what are they?

I play Guitar, I used to play and perform a lot, but nowadays I’m not that good anymore.

Give us a brief look at when you were starting out, were you a producer head or a DJ first?

It took me maybe the better part of 10 years to call myself a DJ, it was very different back then and it’s completely different now, as all this time I dedicated myself to production and began to be good at it, but it takes time and one is always learning.

What was the first DJ equipment that you ever bought?

Does vinyl count? I don’t remember really, I was practicing a lot but the equipment wasn’t mine, it was in the studio where I used to work.

There’s quite some bit of Techy edge to your music productions in stark contrast to your long-time friends and collaborators of the kind of Guy J, Mantzur, Audio Junkies, Khen to name some of them, yet you can easily make a massive melody at will. Do you think this difference helped in carving out a niche of your own in the Tel Aviv scene?

I change and experiment all the time, can be melodic at times and then switch to a more minimal sound. I like to take different approaches, sometimes I go more Techno, sometimes more melodic and deep.

I think versatility is what helps you on the long run and gives you that unique sound.

What is your favourite process of starting a track – do you sit with it for days or are you a I’m done with it kinda guy, who sends it in cause you got that gut feeling that it’s quite finished?

My favourite process is when I can finish something in a week but it doesn’t happen often unfortunately, most of the times I spend weeks and then leave the track and can get back to it after months even. In the last few years I almost never rush it.

Name us your top 5 tracks in the last 6 months?

Nick Curly – Ezeiza (Original Mix) Truesoul
Jobe – Lissome (Original Mix) Steyoyoke
Giorgia Angiuli, Lake Avalon – You Caress, Moonwalk Remix Stil Vor Talent
Made In TLV – Layla (Original Mix) Sudam
Just Her – With Faith, Einmusik Remix Sincopat

How did you come about with the idea of your own label Asymmetric Recordings?

The idea at first was to promote a certain Tel Aviv sound, but it has evolved pretty quickly in its own varied way and the agenda changed, we needed to adapt and now I’m happy with how it has grown.

What projects are you working on currently; can you give us a sneak peek in to your upcoming releases?

I’ve been busy lately, just finished new EPs for Beat Boutique, Jeahmon! And Asymmetric for now. Music in the next couple months will be coming out on Elevate, Warung, Selador, Soundgarden and a few surprises on the way, so stay tuned.

A word of advice for upcoming talent who want to make it in the DJing industry?

Be patient and loyal to your followers, also never stop to experiment and develop your skills and always remember when you’ve reached a certain level, its nothing compared to the next one.

What’s your gig schedule like, where can your fans expect to see you in the coming months?

I am off to Miami next, really looking forward to play there for the first time, after that its Terra on the Beach, one of the best productions in Israel and not to forget ADE.

Hope to see you all there!

Experience Lonya’s set from the Sudbeat show at The Gallery Club on his Provocateur guest mix, airing on August 9th @ 12PM EST [convert timezone] or listen on-demand anytime after with a FRISKY Premium subscription.