LOOper continues his ascending music career with the premiere of Diffusion on FRISKY
LOOper is a pure music fanatic. He began by making his way through the grunge/punk and metal scenes right alongside the trance scene of Azerbaijan’s capital city, where he was a guitarist by day and resident DJ by night. His multi-talented music endeavors led him into the audio engineering world, and after going to London to get degrees in Audio Engineering, Marketing and Finance, he started putting energy towards his electronic music productions. His Silk Music release “All We Are” has started the journey, and his features on Silk Music Showcase and Anjunabeats Worldwide prove his days as a DJ will continue to thrive too. As a popular guest on FRISKY Loves Azerbaijan and FRISKY Artist of the Week, LOOper’s mixes have stood out with their eclectic selections, depth, and energy, qualities that you can expect to hear when he launches his brand new show “Diffusion” on July 6th on FRISKY.
He takes us deep into his world to get ready for the launch, with interesting background stories and insights – read on!:
What is your electronic music “origin story”?
It all started in the end of 90s, when electronic music and rock music started to grab my attention when I was watching music videos taped on VCR. I grew up in Azerbaijan and we didn’t have a dedicated music TV channel back then. Some channels used to broadcast music videos and programs at night time. I was 11-12 at the time, therefore recording to VCR tapes was my only option. That’s how I found out about The Prodigy, Daft Punk, Scooter, Faithless, Moby, Fatboy Slim, Sash! and so on. In fact, it wasn’t just electronic music that got my interest, I was getting into rock music equally strong, especially grunge/punk and metal scene but that’s a whole different story.
My parents bought me my first PC when I was 13. There were few things pre installed: Need for Speed 3, Half-Life and Techno and Dance eJay 2. I guess it was because of eJay why I never got into gaming much. Once I was done with those two games, making tunes in eJay (if you can call it so, as all loops were pre-made) and learning computer and IT basics by trial and error was all that I wanted to do on my spare time. Sometime in the year 2000, I think, I stumbled upon an MP3 cd with a random collection of dance music from various years in the 90s. It got Paul Van Dyk, Blank & Jones, Robert Miles, Scooter, ATB, Darude, Mauro Picotto, Thrillseekers, etc. That’s when I got obsessed with Trance music. By the age of 15 I was already making tracks in Fruity Loops (now FL Studio). Finding music back then wasn’t an easy task, considering lack of information and 28.8 kbit/s dial up connection. Those were the days of Napster, Kazzaa and Audio Galaxy before they were shut down and iTunes and Beatport took over. Meanwhile my obsession with trance music grew stronger as I learned about new names such as Cosmic Gate, Chicane, Above & Beyond, Paul Oakenfold, Armin Van Buuren and many others. After graduating from high school I’ve looked for all possible ways to incorporate myself in the local electronic dance music community as mere admirer of the genre. However, I was given an opportunity to try myself as a DJ and been taught to operate turntables and CDJ (100s back then was a hit!). Prior to that I already had some mixing skills on computer with PCDJ and similar software, therefore learning how to use a real thing didn’t involve completely different concept.
Not long after that I’ve become a regular act in the underground dance scene of my home town Baku. Throughout 2000s I went through a long musical journey as a DJ playing trance at underground club nights, holding multiple residencies in popular clubs as a cross-genre DJ with consequent shift to house music, and eventually finding myself in deeper tones of minimal/electronic and deep house. Apart from DJing I was constantly improving my production skills, learning music theory and playing keyboards (in addition to guitar, but, as I said earlier, that’s another story!). In 2007 I released three EPs with house tracks as Fat-33, a project and event promoting group I ran with my best friend and amazing DJ Fior (nowadays known as DJ Tim). Sometime around 2008 or 2009 I discovered Apparat and Jon Hopkins, who significantly influenced my musical taste moving forward. I think that kind of electronic music gave the emotional load I used to get from trance back in the days, which it lost along the way. Or maybe I just grew up.
What are the most important qualities you try to maintain through your productions and your DJ mixes?
Throughout 15+ years of my involvement with electronic music (and music in general) I’ve developed a certain taste for atmospheric/melodic sounds/textures that I prefer to hear in either my productions or DJ mixes. It’s hard to explain, but try to imagine the wide and transparent space delivered by reverbs and intimate gentle melodies that sometimes can get loud, dirty and crunchy. Think Radiohead, Moderat, Kiasmos, Jon Hopkins, Explosions in The Sky (yes, I’m a huge fan of post-rock too). But that’s more on production side.
When it comes to DJ mixes, I always try to tell a story, making transitions between tracks as less noticeable as possible. I’m also effects nerd. This is coming from my club residency days, when we had a Pioneer DJM-600 in almost every club and I always played a lot with with the FXs section of the mixer in order to make it more fun for me while playing ‘house remixes of Top40 songs”. Technology nowadays gave us endless possibilities to be creative in the mix. I like to use reverb and delay a lot in my sets, which, I think, is linked back to my love for atmospheric ambient textures. It works very well with the sort of music I’m playing now.
What has been one of your favorite moments performing as a DJ?
It’s hard to remember a particular moment. Just seeing the crowd responding to your actions in front of you, feeling the energy from the dance floor and realizing that you are the reason for that flow of energy is a beautiful feeling, for every DJ I guess. Especially when you in charge of the whole night and manage to keep the dance floor full and people excited. That’s when you can really feel the power of DJing.
What do you think is the most challenging part of producing electronic music?
I would say that the most challenging part is not in the actual production. There are so many resources in this day and age. No need to scratch your head not knowing how to achieve a desired sound. Everyone can “YouTube” it, buy a sample/loop library and have a good quality beat section, get a software synth (or find on torrents) and download trillions of presets for it. We live in the days when bedroom producers don’t need to know what is pulse-width modulation or how FM synthesis works. The challenging part is to stand out from the noise in the electronic music market. It’s just so oversaturated now. But I tend to believe that real talents always find a way, one or another.
Is there a particular sound or style that you feel particularly drawn to?
As I mentioned earlier, I love everything melodic and atmospheric. I like neo-classical music like Nils Frahm and Olafur Arnalds, ambient music like Hammock, post-rock like Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky, rock bands like Radiohead, Tame Impala or Alt-J, harder rock bands like Deftones and Tool, or even indie acts like Caribou, Maribou State, Ambassadeurs, Pedestrian, Haelos or Kyson. Other names I can’t usually categorise by genre are definitely Apparat (and Moderat), Jon Hopkins, Sasha, Kisamos, Dave DK, Vessels, Cubicolor, Nathan Fake, Nicolas Jaar, Four Tet, to name the few. I generally don’t like the whole idea of classification by genre. I’m on the lookout for particular sound textures and melodies, which I manage to find in absolutely opposite corners of the music industry.
What else are you excited about coming up this year?
Apart from the launch of my radio show on Frisky, I’m very looking forward to finishing number of tracks I’ve been working on in the past few months. Also looking to the release of a debut album by DiHaj, my good friend producer/singer/songwriter from Azerbaijan. I’m participating on the project as sound design supervisor and mixing engineer. And I guess the most exciting thing happened to me and my wife this year is the birth of our daughter. She’s one month old now and I am enjoying being a parent very much.
Congratulations! I guess that’s pretty exciting too. 😉
Keep the music going & tune into Diffusion, premiering July 6th @ 9AM EST [convert timezone] at the place to be: FRISKY.