1) Hello Filip — thanks for joining us today. We’ve been a fan for years, but we were especially interested in interviewing you at this time, due to all of the exciting projects you’ve launched recently. For the people out there who are not familiar with the Kobana “sound,” please start us off with a short description of your style/taste as both a producer and DJ.
Kobana: First of all, thank you very much for all your support, kind words and invite to this interview. I really appreciate it! True, I am quite busy now but always enjoy and make my best effort to find time to respond to questions coming from fans or other producers. What is my style? Well, that’s actually fairly difficult and easy to answer question. I play what I love, I produce what makes me happy (laughs). The problem is that my love is quite broad as I am not focusing just on one specific genre. Yes, most of my productions are classified as progressive house with tech-house influences. However, I have lots of unfinished projects touching electronica, ambient, techno or some kind of experimental sound. So, yeah, for now, I can describe myself as progressive house producer. However, as a DJ, I tend to touch more genres. I believe this makes my shows much more interesting.
2) As far as your many recent projects, let’s start with your brand new sample pack for producers: “Progressive House Essentials.” Tell us about the process of putting together these sounds, and what exactly is included?
Kobana: Right, process of putting such sample pack together actually takes quite a lot of time. I was in fairly good position when I got approached by Freshly Squeezed Samples guys. I tend to create lots of sound myself in the studio. For me this is a natural process. Initially in my early productions I relied on sample packs widely available on the market. At some point I have realised that what I got is just not enough as I have my own sample ideas. Besides, frankly speaking, I was limited by my budget hence why I have started making my own samples. I was slowly discovering new techniques not just of music production but also of sample production. Finally I got to the stage when if I have an idea for a track I do also have an idea for a sample set that I would like to use. So that’s how it works. In my sample pack I have included almost 300 different loops plus hits, kicks, snares, claps. Way to many to list all here. Please google Kobana Freshly Squeezed Samples to get the full list.
3) You also have a slew of acclaimed releases in recent months, including a phenomenal track on Anjunadeep 04 called “Woosh.” How did you get involved with this fantastic compilation?
Kobana: Anjunadeep? Well, that’s quite a long story but to make it short. Yane3dots and I have gotten our track released on Anjunadeep 02 so when the time came for Anjunadeep 03 compilation we have submitted our production. We were quite lucky as guys at Anjuna picked our “Woosh” and included it on 3rd edition of Anjunadeep compilations.
4) Other noteworthy labels with which you have worked include Silk, Proton, Particles, and Lowbit. Any upcoming releases on these labels, or other forthcoming projects you would like to mention?
Kobana: Yane3dots and I have just released our new EP called Summer on Proton Music. We are extremely excited about this EP. Also, at the end of July our remix of Innovate by Poison Pro will be released.
5) You are known to collaborate quite regularly with Mario Hatchet and Yane3dots. How did you connect with these artists initially, and how does the sound of these projects differ from your solo work?
Kobana: We are all from the same town. A friend of mine knew Mario Hatchet for years and at some point he just connected us. We have started collaboration pretty much the next day. Mario is a full time DJ and always has lots of ideas since he sees pretty much every day what makes people happy in clubs. Mario also knew Yane3dots. As he was already immersed in music industry in London, we have asked him for advice. He has advised us what production tools we should use and provided us a guidance in music production. At some point he became our expert and quality control (smiles). However, when Mario got very busy with other projects, Yane3dots stepped in. What is the difference between my solo and collaborations projects? Hmmm… The only thing I can think of is that Yane3dots as well as Mario generate tons of ideas in the studio. Sometimes we get into long disputes over a track, sometimes one of us can finish a track in an hour (which is what Yane3dots did with with one of our remixes), sometimes we work on a track for weeks. We all bring different ideas to every project and final sound or structure of the track is a fusion of our ideas. My own projects are like my dreams. I switch off and completely engage in music just on my own. I guess the sound differs from collaborations but I cannot really judge that I am afraid (laughs).
6) Unlike many other progressive house producers, you are quite active as a DJ. Tell us about some of your favorite recent gigs, as well as upcoming events.
Kobana: Contrary to popular opinion I am not giggin that much. I would love to start actively giggin though but this seems to be a bit of a mission. I have received quite a few requests and invites but none of these really materialised. So, I am quite open to offers.
7) Speaking of DJ’ing, what tracks are burning up your playlists at the moment?
1. Yovan – 3 Ring Circus – Mikalogic Remix
2. Chymera – Aloof – Original Mix
3. Bale &Voltaire – Snow Shades – Rewoven Mix
4. Funk dVoid – italoca – a. g. m. quintrix remix
5. Guy J – No Under But You – Original Mix
8) And finally, since you are obviously producing progressive house mostly, we’d like to get your thoughts on progressive house, in general, at the moment. What is the future of this genre? Do you think it will survive this period, in which other sub-genres of EDM (dubstep, electro, minimal) are generally more popular?
Kobana: Hmmm, tough question to be honest. okay. Whenever I enter progressive house section on Beatport a three letter acronym comes to my mind. Just because Beatport mixed up club house and progressive house way too many people think that club house is a progressive house. This, in consequence, is often reflected in expectations from progressive house artists. I am no longer surprised to hear that my tracks are not progressive house just because top 10 of prog house on Beatport sounds so much different than my productions. Well, the reality is actually quite different. Top 10 of progressive house on Beatport is not progressive house per se. In fact, how many progressive tracks are in top 20 or top 50 of pro house on Beatport? EDM scene is really bleeding because of that. So many quality tunes are pushed down the line by club house tracks which should be placed in separate section. We, as progressive house artists, really need to get together and submit a petition to Beatport to change such unfair policy. This is the only chance for progressive house to survive. I see no danger from other genres although each and every genre has to have own section where best artists will be promoted. Yes, you are right other genres seem to be more popular than progressive house but above explains why they are more popular. Prog house is not being promoted effectively. That’s what we are really missing.
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