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26 March 2011

eSQUIRE / Off-beat Interview

The funky uplifting house sounds of British house acts eSQUIRE and Off-beat are rapidly taking over dance floors all over the world. We thought it was time for a word with the man behind these acts: Lee Squires.

Nonstop2k: Hey Lee, thanks for having us. What keeps you busy at the moment?
Lee: This week I’ve been doing an eSQUIRE remix for a US artist and getting some tracks ready for 2 gigs in Russia.

Nonstop2k: How did you get into music?
Lee: Bought decks when I was 17 with my student loan and used to spend all my money on vinyls, I studied I.T at college too so started getting into the computer music side through that and it all escalated from there really!

Nonstop2k: You frequently use two aliases, eSQUIRE and Off-beat. What do you see as the main difference between your eSQUIRE and your Off-beat productions?
Lee: I would say the offbeat is more tougher and big room, and eSQUIRE is more funky!

Nonstop2k: Are there any other aliases you use, or have used?
Lee: Nope not for house!

Nonstop2k: Which of your tracks are you most proud of to date?
Lee: Probably the recent Adele - Someone like you remix I did, also Barflyz - I Can’t Help Myself which I done for Hed Kandi a few years back

Nonstop2k: Recently you finished a track you started in 2008 (eSQUIRE 2011 ReRub of Lee Cabrera - Shake It). How long does it normally take you to finish up a production?
Lee: Probably about day but will take another day listening back and changing things

Nonstop2k: What can we find in your studio?
Lee: In my studio I have a PC running Cubase 6, a MIDI keyboard and Event Studio monitors, I don’t have any hardware. I have recently got a Macbook Pro too which I’m running Cubase 6 on so I can produce on either.

Nonstop2k: Name your top3 synths of the moment and where you mostly use them for.
Lee: Nexus2 for pianos and synths, Sylenth for basslines and Zebra2 for a bit of everything!

Nonstop2k: How often do you use Nonstop2k? ;)
Lee: Used to use it a lot to get my dance music MIDI’s when I first started out, I’m not trained on Piano so still need a bit of help now and again so still pop by for a few ideas!

Nonstop2k: If you could choose any artist in the world to work with, dead or alive, who would it be?
Lee: Ermm in house music would have to be Axwell.

Nonstop2k: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Lee: Probably all the big house artists over the past 10 years who've made big vocal house tracks, Axwell, Seamus Haji, Freemasons, Raul Rincon, Steve Angello, Ian Carey.

Nonstop2k: If you had to choose between sex and music, what would you pick?
Lee: Sex!

Nonstop2k: What can we expect from you in 2011?
Lee: More big vocal piano tracks.

Nonstop2k: Thank you for this interview!
Lee: No worries!!!!

If you want to find out more about eSQUIRE or Off-beat check out facebook:

20 March 2011

Nifra Interview

Nonstop2k catches up with one of the few female appearances in the trance and progressive scene: Nifra. - Hello Nifra thanks for having us! How are you?
Hi. I’m doing great, thanks :) I’m pretty busy at the moment. Studying, finishing tracks before Miami the next week. - You have reached episode 50 in your 'Be Progressed' radio show. Congrats! how does it feel?
Thank you! If you think of it the number 50 isn’t that big, but since my radio show is monthly, it took me 4 years to reach 50th episode. The show expanded and gained a lot of fans, which is very important to me :) - What is the story behind your first release 'Ready'?
I started to work on ”Ready” and I remember going through Beatport with Marcus listening to the trance section and some of the stuff was horrific. So Marcus encouraged me and said “ U can do better than this” and sent me to studio with words “ Don’t come back till you are finished”. So yeah that’s how it happened. I’m huge fan of Coldharbour sound and Markus Schulz has been a great inspiration to me so was incredibly happy when “Ready” got signed to Coldharbour. - How did you come across producing? And how did you start?
I wanted to be producer since I was 13. The region I come from was quite behind at that time. Not many dance music producers at all, in fact not a single dance music producer in my hometown. So I used to listen to German music channels all the time and getting trance CD’s, which was quite hard. My friend told me about this “great thing” Ejay and I was like “ Woow I have to try that”. So I spent the next days playing with that software but it bored me to death because it was just like moving loops and prerecorded melodies around. I wanted something which I could be more creative with. Then I got my hands on fruity loops and I could spent so much time creating tracks. I totally fell in love with producing. Later when I met Marcus, he introduced me to Ableton. I could not believe how easy was to use it. I love the fact that you can work really fast there. - If we walked into your studio right now what would we see?
So if you would walk into my studio on the right side you would see my working desk with pair of Yamaha HS80 monitors with my keyboard, Novation remote midi controller and my PC of course. On the left side you would see the main studio PC, pair of Genelec 8240A monitors and some fancy synths like Dave Smith Prophet, Moog Voyageur, Nord Rack, Virus Ti, rack with soundcard RME Fireface 800, SSl G series cmp and Aphex exciter. On the desk is laying Mackie Big knob to control the monitors and also Akai APC40. - What are your top 3 synths or most used tools? And why?
The first would be Sylenth. I have been using it for basslines in my last 4 tracks and covers probably 80% of leads in my tunes. The 2nd place I would divide between Tracks, Surge and Discovery and the 3rd most used thing is the hw SSl compressor. - What would be the best advice you could give an upcoming producer?
To not give up and if they really like it then they should go for it. - You have quite some releases coming up both original and remixes. How do you approach a remix or start your very own track?
Sometimes I need a vision before I start on the remix, sometimes I just experiment and it just happens. Sometimes when I’m stuck I try to have the bassline or vocal from the remix in my head and make melodies to it whenever I’m thinking of it. That’s what happened with my remix for Julian Vincent. The whole breakdown was created in my head and then I just walked into the studio and wrote it. When it comes to my own tunes, first I create bassline or main lead or chord progression and then I build around it. - You have your own unique sound. How have you achieved such level?
I think each artist has its own unique style unless u copy someone 150%. I guess I just got inspired by different things and put all the elements I like into my own production. But of course the sound develops :) - Which one artist would you love to collab with?
I admire Rex Mundi’s production. Besides that he does exactly what I like, his
stuff has this timeless sparkle which a lot of today’s production lacks. - Who is the one to watch out for?
There is a lot of upcoming producers from Slovakia. I would say keep your eyes open for guys like Mathias Moor, Pizzadox, Shato & Brightshare :) - What will you have in store for us in 2011? Any more collabs with Marcus?
Some of the stuff which u can hear from me this year is in my “Music update” video. My single “Strangers” which features vocals from Elleah is coming out on Armada, then my remix for estionian couple Yep& Land and the tracks is called Nevertheless, also features vocals from Manon Polare and then there is another single of mine which has more old Nifra stuff vibe :) About collab between me and Marcus, yes, we plan new Progresia & Nifra this year. “Different ways” had such an amazing success so it would be stupid from us to not make something new. - We wish you all the best Nifra and thanks for having us!
Thank you!

If you are curious about Nifra’s upcoming releases check out her youtube channel

Interview by Volume

03 March 2011

Bassjackers Interview Hi guys, how are you doing right now?

M&R: We are doing great! Just came back from our Australia Tour and since we’re back we are fully up and running, working on new tracks remixes, radio mixes and of course… interviews;) So how did the madness start, how did you get started producing and DJing?

Ralph: About 14 yrs ago, with fasttracker at the time, I was already playing with sounds and stuff. Nothing serious though, even stopped with it a few years later...I got into online gaming haha.
Got back on track when Marlon started DJ-ing about 5 yrs ago. That was a big help, finally a friend who had the same interest as I did: Music!

Marlon: I started Dj-ing in 2006, just playing around and beatmatching on turntables at my friends place, I got hooked immediately and bought Cd players to practice day n nite. I wanted to take my dj-ing from my bedroom to the clubs and realised the best way to do that is to produce your own music, that’s were Ralph came in! Bassjackers was born :) If we walked into your studio what would we find? How much time do you both spend there on any given day?

M&R: A laptop, soundcard, monitor speakers and probably some empty beer bottles.

Ralph: I'm in there for about 8 hours a day on average.

Marlon: While Ralph is working in the studio I am usually looking for new music, inspiration, editing tracks, etc. I barge in a few times a day to provide feedback and ideas.. this works well for us. How would you define your sound?
M&R: Energetic, & Bass driven. It can go anywhere from there, but those two aspects have to be in there. What inspires and influences you to make music?

M&R: There is a lot of great music out there, we try to listen music in all genres from pop to rock, from hiphop to drum n bass which can all contain certain elements that trigger ideas for our new tracks. Also when we test tracks in the club and see the crowds reaction, ralph often wants to hit the studio to finish the track or sketch new ideas. So how many weekends of the year are you DJing?

M&R: Every weekend, when we're not abroad, we always have gigs in Holland, sometimes even multiple gigs in one night since Holland has a lot of parties/clubs in proximity to each other. To date, what have been your best & worst gigs?

Marlon: We had some great gigs last summer, nice festivals and its always nice to play abroad, the people go totally crazyyy! I actually enjoy every gig because I just love to Dj, but some downsides can be a terrible sound system or broken equipment. What do you enjoy most about DJing?

Marlon: I love to receive energy from the crowd and immediately give it back to them.. Sometimes just everything comes together perfectly, you think like 4 records ahead and everything works out just the way you plan it. I love that feeling!

Nonstop2k: Are you guys now doing music full time?

M&R: Yes, Ralph chose music instead of a career in financial management and I “postponed” getting my master degree in business because we were too busy with Bassjackers. What are some of your hobbies outside of music?

Marlon: hanging with friends which usually ends up in playing videoganes (PES) and for sports I like to go surfing, xtreme inline skating or working out once in a while.

Ralph: Pro evolution soccer and surfing. What do you enjoy most about music production?

Ralph: Everything really, being creative is the best. Trying and eventually succeeding in getting ideas out of your head and translate them into music is a cool process. The best part is when the crowd loves it of course. Do you feel that you are evolving in producing? And on which aspect do you feel that you really progressed the past year?

Ralph: If you compare our older productions with our latest we hear a huge improvement in overall sound. Of course you get more handy and faster in the whole process as well, new ideas are much faster translated into a cool tune compared to when we just started. The millions of presets we saved along the way help with that off course ;) What are your top three synths you couldn’t live without?

Ralph: Sylenth1 and some of the standard Fruity synths like Wasp & 3xOSC. What advice can you offer aspiring producers within the electronic genre?

M&R: First: enjoy what you're doing and then work hard. What can we expect from you on the production front this year? Any new productions in the pipelines at the moment?

M&R: There is a lot in the pipeline. A few collabs with Apster, Ralvero and Flexican (eclectic DJ from Holland, in our opinion one of the best) and of course also some Bassjackers originals, of which the first will be 'Mush Mush'.
The sound is a bit more divers as well. It has more electro, progressive and even dubstep influence, but always with that Dutchy topping, which we always do. Any specific goals for 2011 you would like to share with us?
M&R: Not really specific but we just want to play at as many different locations all around the world and just keep on dropping those bassjackers bombs. Any final words to fans, friends and followers?

M&R: Thanks for the massive support, we love you all!! Thanks again for doing this interview with Nonstop2k, we wish you best of luck with your future career!

M&R: thanks for having us! Keep up the good work with the website, it rocks!