Annie Hill - Finland - Peak Time Techno
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Recent Release: "Creation" feat on We Own The Night V.A Vol 5 [03.31.2023]
Label: Lazuli Records
Career Highlights: Signed to Airborne Black, IAMT Red, Orange Recordings and the owner of We Are Existence.
We sat down to meet with one of Finlands best techno exports, Annie Hill! Now living in Italy, Annie chats with us from her new home where she is enjoying the warmer days as we get closer to the summer months. With 15 Q&A's, we feel that fans are finally going to get to know the woman behind the music. From her roots as a resident DJ in Helsinki to her new venture as a mom and her favourite studio gear. Let's get to know Annie Hill!
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into music?
How did you first get interested in techno music and what inspired you to become a techno artist?
I was a raver for most of my adulthood and the electronic music scene in my hometown was very small. I got into DJ'ing when I moved to another city and met my soul family made of other DJ's, ravers, promotors, and everybody who was involved in the scene. I had a pure sense of belonging and an epiphany of becoming a techno artist myself.
What is your creative process when producing a new track or album?
I try to let my creativity take control and not try to force it too much to go some direction. Sometimes I have an idea, a vocal, or a name ready and sometimes I start with a blank canvas.
What inspires your music?
I get a lot of inspiration from other artists. As a DJ I also search for new music so I'm inspired most of the time.
How has your style evolved over time and what influences have played a role in shaping your sound?
My sound has definitely evolved and it's still evolving. My ear is getting more sensitive and I feel like I can hear more frequencies than I did when I started. It directly affects the quality of my work.
How do you approach performing live sets and what is the role of improvisation in your performances?
I used to improvise through all my sets. I had 50-100 tracks in my playlist and I used only my intuition to build a set. I still feel like having a playlist where I play tracks in specific order is decreasing my creativity. But sometimes it's better to play it safe and have everything decided beforehand.
What is your opinion on the current state of techno music and where do you see the genre heading in the future?
I'm happy to be living this time with techno music. It's evolved into something very beautiful, detailed and complex. Also it's getting out from being labeled as underground and it's becoming more mainstream. It's hard to say where it's heading but I think even more mainstream which is good.
What do you think sets your music apart from other techno artists?
I hope the listener can hear what I hear. All the frequencies, vibrations and sounds. I feel like I can transmit energy through my music and create a safe place for the listener. I like balance and harmony most of all.
What are you working on right now? Any new projects or releases?
I'm working on new music. But not at the same velocity as before. I have a daughter now and she is demanding most of my time. I still try to make sure I have new tracks in the making, releases scheduled and my monthly podcast is always delivered on time.
What advice would you give to aspiring techno artists who are just starting out in the industry?
My advice for upcoming techno artists is to be ready to commit and not be afraid to put your work out there. Also be authentic and bravely unique.
Once being a predominant male industry, we have seen the table turn with more female producers starting to blow up. How does it feel to be a part of this incredible movement as a woman in the techno scene?
Technology is very important to create electronic music. I've never had any interest or talent in playing physical instruments but when I started to produce I found my talent in music. I use Ableton Live 11 and I have a lot of synths that I use. Nexus, Sylenth, Diva, Serum to name a few. I also have hardware from Behringer family like TD3, Crave and Model D.
Can you tell us a little bit about your record label?
My record label We Are Existence is founded together with italian producer Danny Fontana. We Are Existence is a peaktime techno label and we're happy to have had some amazing releases so far and to present many talented artists from around the world. We have merchandise shop soon opening and we held our first event in Italy.
What are some of your favorite memories or experiences from your time as an artist so far? What are you milestones and accomplishments and where do you see yourself if the next few years.
As a DJ all gigs have given me experience and lessons that I need to become an excellent performer. Best time in my career was when I had residency at this club in Finland. I arranged my own nights and just felt a heartwarming feeling of connection with everyone.
Finally, 2022 brought a lot personal change for you. You relocated from Finland to Italy and brought in a beautiful baby girl into this world. In my opinion this is something you don’t see often, it seems like you often have to chose one or another (touring vs family). How have you been able to juggle both your personal and professional life and what have these experiences taught you?
Yes this is not something we see in this industry so often. I work from home and spend my days at home with my family so when it comes to touring it gives me little bit freedom to do my own thing. Traveling as a family is also something I wish we can do from time to time
Jana Greenstone - Canada - Hard Techno
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Recent Release: Errant Ways EP
Label: Lazuli Black
Being a Canadian label, it's a special occasion when Canadian artists join our family. Perhaps it's the weather, or long winters, but in my opinion, one doesn't really expect Canada to be the place where hard techno is born, but it is. So let's dive a little deeper and find out how this new artist was created.
1. Who is Jana Greenstone, the person and artist?
By day I am an engineer (not the fun audio kind, nor the fun train kind) that loves to spend time outside skiing, climbing, hiking, and traveling. I love trying new foods and then attempting to replicate the recipes in my own kitchen. I fancy myself a cocktail artist with a strong liking for bourbon. I often find myself captivated by activities and projects like foraging for wild plants, figuring out how to play a new tabletop RPG, or practicing photography. I think the common thread is that I love to learn new things, which is how I ultimately found myself producing music, since music production turns out to be a nearly bottomless pit of opportunity for developing knowledge. Although Jana Greenstone is ultimately just a moniker, she represents the more creative side of my personality and my love of learning, as well as my passion for dance music.
2. Tell us more about your musical influences, and your journey into the techno world?
The first dance albums that I remember listening to were Eiffel 65’s ‘Europop’ and Aqua’s ‘Aquarius’. I had appropriated both CDs from my dad, which I kept on my bedside table along with my Discman. I would sneakily listen to the albums laying in bed after I was supposed to have gone to sleep. Likely this spawned some sort of early interest in dance music, but as many do during their childhood and teen years, I fumbled around different genres trying to figure out what I liked. A revelatory moment was discovering bass music around 2012 at the suggestion of someone on a BBS forum. I was specifically recommended Netsky and Rusko, which opened up my ears to heavier bass genres and tunes that sat outside of the Top 40.
Following that, I fell in love with trance (shoutout Anjunabeats), which eventually gave way to techno in more recent years. As I learned to DJ, I found myself delving into the various subgenres of techno, developing a particular affinity for hard techno ranging from hypnotic to melodic. That being said, I think there is always room for learning from and loving many genres, so I find myself enjoying everything from Minimal House to Drum & Bass and from Techno to Eurodance.
3. Your dream gig? Who’s your opener and who’s the headliner?
4. Favourite techno artists?
I find myself really into productions from Bours?, Amstra, BAUGRUPPE90, MRD, and Sara Landry. I think each one brings some really interesting ideas to what techno can be. Bours? crafts highly energetic tunes with creative leads; Amstra does a wonderful job of bringing deep emotion into hard cuts; BAUGRUPPE90 melds together elements inspired by deep house and Detroit techno with fast bouncy basslines; MRD pulls from 80s synthwave to create some very cool vocal tunes; and Sara Landry flips some truly classic tracks into wicked hard dancefloor destroyers. Outside of the techno sphere, I am inspired by the work of Halogenix, Animals As Leaders, Chris Stussy, Alix Perez, and Above & Beyond. My dream gig would be to play at a multi room warehouse venue with any of the aforementioned techno artists. I have really come to enjoy DIY parties outside of club spaces, as I think they create a great atmosphere of appreciation for the artists and music that is outside of mainstream media.
4. Favourite labels?
Some of my favorite labels include Dusk Records, Eradys Records, Lobster Theremin, and Possession.
5. What can we expect from Jana Greenstone in the future? Anything you’d like to share?
I am currently working on additional EPs that I am looking forward to releasing in coming months. I am exploring sounds and compositions that stretch further to either side of the ‘Errant Ways’ EP, with some being distinctly more hypnotic while others definitely more trancey. Further to that, I am also working on aligning my creative interests of photography and videography with my music. As I am finding my sound, I am taking advantage of my back catalog of work to design imagery and clips that reflect my interests and perspective.Overall, I am really looking forward to the next few years, as I feel that my journey has just begun.
Dystopic - Brazil - Hard Techno
Beatport | Spotify | Instagram | Soundcloud
Recent Release: Emphasizing Your Fake Side EP 01.21.2022
Label: Lazuli Black
Career Highlights: Support by ihatemodels, top selling Lazuli Black Artist
Veterinarian by day, DJ and producer by night. Dystopic is back with his Lazuli Black release Emphasizing Your Fake Side EP. The EP consists of 4 fast pased hard techno bangers made for the late night hours. True to his style, Dystopic hasn't disappointed and will continue to make noise within this incredible dance scene.
Who is Dystopic and what got you started in the music business?
Dystopic is a guy who loves to live life on the edge, a guy full of desires who takes everything intensely and it's no different with music. I discovered my love for music in 2015/2016 after seeing an amazing mix in a club, since then i haven't stop.
Tell us a bit more of your musical influences?
My musical influences are as diverse as possible, I've always liked music a lot, regardless of the musical genre. I usually say that if music touches me in some way or shines in a different way in my ear, i'm sure i'll like it and it'll end up influencing me. Essentially everything around me influences me.
How would you describe your music and style?
I always try to bring different sounds to my songs, I usually like a strong, melodic and energetic line. A mix of HardTechno, RaveTechno, AcidTechno, Trance and many other genres.
Where do you see Dystopic in the future?
I see myself doing what i love the most, working hard on music and taking care of animals.
How does it feel to be part of such a great music community in Brazil?
For me it is very gratifying, I see that we are doing a good job in all Techno genres and i believe that soon Brazil will be a great barn for electronic music. All of this of course is a work that has been built for years and we from the new generation - we are continuing it!