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KOAN Sound Interview


The KOAN Sound warehouse party later in March will be one for those that like their baselines heavy and beats fast, with a lineup that crosses over between dubstep and drum n bass. Here’s a few things you might not know about the two Bristolians, that have caused a ruckus since announcing this party with LWE.

What are you most looking forward to hosting a KOAN Sound curated warehouse party with LWE?

I think most of all we’re looking forward to throwing our own party and bringing along some of our favourite producers. It’s the first time we’ve really been in control of every aspect of an event, so we’ve been able to dictate which acts we wanted to bring in. It’s great to be in a position where we can play alongside artists that we really rate and who perhaps aren’t as well known as they should be.

Any forthcoming releases or projects you can tell us about?

We’re currently working on a new project with a producer who is playing on the night, known as Asa. It should hopefully be out at some point in the spring, and will showcase some of the more downtempo side to our production. We have some other collaborations in the pipeline as well, including a couple of bits with Opiuo (also supporting on the night) who’s based out of Melbourne.

How influential has Bristol been as a creative space been in pushing you forward musically?

Growing up in Bristol has definitely been integral to our musical lineage and development. We discovered underground music whilst we were still in school and soon realised that Bristol was at the forefront of all these sounds we’d never heard before, and in addition, the scene and community was always on the lookout for new producers, influences and sounds. I think this ethos is the main reason that prevents music coming out of the city from becoming stagnant, and hopefully this mindset has rubbed us on off too.
Musically, Bristol is a very busy city and there are endless events that provide inspiration. It feels as if many of the people who live here value artistic expression, and that kind of attitude seems to create a stimulus that drives people creatively.

What has been your favorite country to play in?

It’s difficult to choose one in particular as we’ve had great shows in most of the countries we’ve visited, and inevitably there is a fair amount of disparity in the quality of events in different parts of every country. Having said that we’d have to cite Sweden as a great place to play; generally every time we DJ there the crowd are really responsive and the soundsystems tend to be dialed in extremely well.

As producers how do you try and stand out from the crowd?

We try to vary our productions as much as possible, switching up tempos and styles. We also try to make tunes that you could listen to at home as well as on a huge system, so we like to include lots of intricate percussion and subtle layers which you can hear if you listen closely.

What are your thoughts on the use of modern technology and DJing?

Personally I feel that technology should be used to enhance DJing and live performance, as opposed to being used as a more simplistic platform to present your music on. I think that some DJs possibly gravitate towards tools such as Ableton Live because it’s more convenient and doesn’t take as much time to perfect, which is fine, but in my opinion it detracts from the performance in a way. Once you know that there’s no element of risk involved in getting up on stage in front of an audience of people, it feels like you’re taking away a part of what has always been a factor in live performances, be it Drama, Music, Comedy etc.
Having said that there are plenty of producers out there who wouldn’t consider themselves DJs at all, but essentially get thrust into playing at events for one reason or another. I don’t see a problem with people like this using hardware or software that beat-matches for you automatically, but I would hope that if you’re utilizing these sorts of things that you really explore all of the possibilities of the technology.

Describe your typical day in the studio.

Most days are spent fine-tuning a certain aspect of a track. So some days will be dedicated to resampling bass sounds and making them work rhythmically with the drums. Other days we’ll think more about the song structure, but this usually comes after making some really tight sounding loops first. There’s always plenty of breaks to browse reddit, probably a few too many.

Most memorable DJ set you have played?

Back when we were still in school we got booked to play in Belgium, which was our first show abroad. We were pretty excited, and having had a show the night before as well we set off without sleep and hitched a lift in the back of a van with some of the other DJs to Antwerp. Our set went well, but right after we finished playing the music was suddenly brought to a definitive end. Apparently some of the nearby residents were unhappy with the low-end frequencies being dispelled from inside, and had taken it upon themselves to call the authorities, reporting that an explosive device had been planted somewhere within the club. This resulted in a full-on evacuation, whilst a bomb squad with sniffer dogs swept through the venue. The whole episode seemed a lot less real in our delirium of fatigue. We named a track after it too.

What’s the worst thing about being in the music industry?

Probably having to do press haha..

If you weren’t making music what do you think you would be doing?

Most likely roaming the streets searching for some sort of meaning in life. But seriously, no idea.


Listen to the half hour mix Koan Soud have done for the LWE mix series, which we have recently relaunched.

016 LWE Mix – KOAN Sound by Lwe on Mixcloud