“As long as I enjoy this music that is all that matters” – Interview with Brouqade’s newest artist, Oshana
Sexy. Minimal. Romanian. Techno.
These are four words to describe the sound of Brouqade’s newest member, Oshana. Over the past year, Oshana has welcomed the release of two solo EPs on the highly acclaimed Romanian label LOK Records, a remix for Stab9 on the Moscow-based label BodyParks Records, a powerful VA release on her home label Brouqade, and her first EP release titled Reminisce due out September 25th, 2013 on Brouqade.
With just a year of production under her belt, Oshana has created a style that is both unique and complex, a product of expansive atmosphere, embryonic bass and infectious rhythm. Not surprisingly, her productions have quickly gained the support of major artists on Desolat, a:rpia:r and Cadenza, to name a few.
Galerie Project spoke with Oshana about the origins of her signature sound, opinion on the New York scene, her widely accepted LIVE performance and her most memorable gig.
Galerie Project: How did you end up in New York?
O: Well, I lived overseas after finishing college in Ohio. I went over to Ibiza and lived there for 6 months. Just living over there I realized, I did not really want to be in the States afterwards. But considering where I could live in the States, it’s a lot easier to live here. I figured that New York is probably the closest to Europe. Thats why I ended up here. Then obviously like everybody I fell in love with it.
GP: Was Ibiza the beginnings of your musical influence?
O: Yes and no. You get it from everywhere. I actually started listening to electronic music in general because my brother’s friends brought me music. He bought a setup,two turntables and a mixer. I played around with it when I was 11 or 12. I just got into it that way and discovered different genres. The first thing I did was trance and drum and bass, any sort of “raver music” back in the day. That’s kind of what got me into it. As I got older around 18, when I got into college basically, I started DJing nightclubs. From there, it was mostly house music and then I started discovering techno. Then I decided I wanted to live in Ibiza after going there on a random vacation. I was just like “Wow, I really love it here.” I had friends that were living there and they said stay here for a couple weeks and try it out. If you like it stick around and stay for the whole season. So, I did. There is just an amazing vibe there in general. Beautiful weather and its a small community of people where everybody knows one another. It’s a lot of fun. Theres something there for everybody. You got obviously the house nights and the more underground nights. It definitely influenced my sound quite a bit. Then I started producing music when I came to New York and discovered my own sound. I started researching and listened to a lot of the Arpiar guys. From there it kind of led me to a lot of the Romanian scene and that is what I am focused on now. It definitely influenced my sound.
GP: It is interesting to find out how you ended up with a more Romanian sound. It’s very unique and niche. How exactly did you end up there?
O: Yeah, it is niche. I honestly just listen to a lot of Romanian music. When you’re kind of discovering yourself and like any artists, it’s a gateway. You’ll start with one particular artist and you’ll say I really enjoy this but I don’t enjoy it entirely. There is one element of it that I really enjoy and that element leads you to another piece of art or music. From there, you constantly go through a process of discovery until you finally find something that you really love. For me it was the Romanian sound. I was just like okie yes! Everything I enjoy about music is in this genre, a very niche micro genre. I really like it and I listen to everything. I think that it is important to be broad thinking and not just be one particular sound.
GP: We’ve read that you’ve only been producing for a year?
O: Yeah, a little over a year. I made acid disco in 2012. So its only been about a year. I started producing and I would try to spend some time on it. Then I would stop for awhile. Finally I came to a point where I was like alright if I’m actually going to get good at this I need to actually focus on it. I just played around with it and it was trial by error more or less. I didn’t have any instruction on it so I would just play around on Ableton every night.
“The unique sound is really just me fucking up a lot and somehow creating something cool”
It was a mixture of things like different influences, obviously the Romanian sound, it kind of led me to create my own sound playing around. Honestly, I really didn’t even know what I was doing. That unique sound is really just me fucking up a lot and somehow creating something cool and interesting that people enjoy. It hasn’t been that long but I dedicated my time and made it that priority. I built it into my schedule and I was literally working on music everyday.
O: Very cool. It’s funny, every upcoming producer is always like Yeah! So and so played my track. For that initial 6 months your like, Yeah! So and so played my track! Here’s a video! But after awhile you’re like…okie. I’m glad that people are receptive to it. I told myself when I started that as long as I enjoy this music that is all that matters. I think when you put your heart and soul into something it shows and people gravitate towards it. Luckily for me that was definitely the case, people liked it.
[Knock on wood]
GP: You do live sets now, when did you decide that is what you wanted to do?
O: Honestly, the second I made production a priority. It was one of those things where I was sitting down on the couch with my roommate at the time. I was like you know what? I just have this vision. I want to start producing and I want to go by my middle name Oshana. I’m going to have this sound and I’m going to travel to these countries…and all of a sudden it happened like that. I just came up with a concept. I said I want to play live and I think that is going to differentiate my sound because I’m going to put more of an emphasis in production as opposed to just DJing.
“I have this vision. I’m going to have this sound and I’m going to travel to these countries…and all of a sudden it happened like that”
I really want to make the production element of things highlighted and make that the penpoint of my career. There are not that many female artists or artists in general doing live. It’s a really short list and I don’t know why that is. I think its super intimidating at first and it was for me at the time. With anything, when you start producing nobody knows how to produce. It’s a gradual process and you learn. As long as you say alright this is what I want to do, you can do it. So, I did it. I made a few sets and was just like, whatever. I’ll try it out and see how this goes…and people dug it. So I was like alright cool, this works.
GP: You have some exciting gigs coming up. Tell us where you’re going and what you’re up to.
O: Yeah! Wednesday is tINI and the gang. That is going to be in Ibiza. Right after Tini and the gang I head to Underground Ibiza. Which will be really cool. I’m excited to do that club. They have an amazing sound system. Both will be really fun. I’ll be there Wednesday and then I stay until Friday. Then I come back to Berlin. I have a photo shoot and then I have another show at Katerholzig, and that will be Saturday.
GP: Are you doing all live shows overseas?
O: Yeah, all live. The only one that is not going to be live is going to be underground and that is mainly because I’m doing live during the day so I figured I’d split it up a bit. I think you have a little bit more flexibility, so I’m just going to see where the wind takes me. It should be interesting. I think its one of the only venues that is still really underground in Ibiza. You hear about DC10, obviously, which is kind of big for everybody. But, I think in recent years it has become kind of commercial. Not necessarily commercial but, commercial for really underground sounds. Underground Ibiza is one of the very few clubs that is super super underground. I think Rhadoo hosts a weekly or monthly. All of the Romanian guys are over there. They got a bunch of really great artists coming through.
GP: What is your opinion on the New York music scene?
O: When I first came here I was like wow! There is no place for electronic music. But, I think as you stay here longer you realize actually that is completely not the case. What is cool about New York is that everything is so hush hush underground. It’s a community. You can’t really find it unless you seek it, which is also really nice. You have a really intimate vibe everywhere and you can ensure that you don’t just have people on vacation being complete dick heads like they do in Ibiza.
“Here in New York it’s something totally different. It’s really serious and people love the music”
It’s also a lot of fun to play there and be there in general but, here in New York it’s something totally different. It’s really serious and people love the music. The parties are interesting too. There are really cool venues and really interesting concepts. Theres so much talent that comes through New York, it actually is really amazing for dance music. Especially in the U.S.
GP: What are some of your favorite parties?
O: I use to go out a lot more. I don’t know. I’ve had a lot of fun at the parties I’ve played. I’ve always enjoyed BLK Market, the lineups are amazing. Verboten is cool too. But…a lot of the one off loft parties that I’ve played, like MNMLKTCHN & Hidden Roots, have been a lot of fun. The crowds are super receptive and it’s always a really intimate space. I like those parties. To be continued…the list is always growing. There are always promoters throwing parties. For me it’s not necessarily the party. It’s usually the name that comes through. If theres an artist I haven’t seen I’m always like alright I need to go to that. I want to make sure there is decent sound if I’m going to go see a certain artist play. Overall thats kind of what dictates where I’m going to be for the night. Like anybody though. I think everyone’s like that.
GP: There have been quite a few New York city artists who’ve gotten a bit more well known and made the move overseas. Do you see yourself eventually doing that?
O: It’s a difficult decision. If your full time in music and just a DJ, a traveling producer, or a live act it’s a lot easier to make the move. Because I have a day job that I really love and I’m still working within music…I don’t really want to leave. I love this city and I have a lot of really great friends here. Theres so much to do. This city is amazing to live in. I will say there is a pitfall to it. Because there is such a scene and so many shows going on in Europe it makes it really difficult. Especially if you’re not a huge name because you miss out on a lot of opportunities. So that is kind of what is swaying me. If I were able to move to a different office for my day job in Europe then maybe I would consider it. I do see myself there at some point. I just don’t know what that segway is going to be. I don’t know if it’s going to be me saying, alright I’m so busy and I have so many opportunities coming my way that I should just go over there. Or if it’s going to be something where I relocate and continue to do what I do here, only there. Which is something that I would definitely be very keen on doing. I would love to be over there but it’s not a thing like New York sucks or the scene is so much better there. I’m not that way at all. I think the scene here is really amazing.
GP: So you recently got signed to Brouqade?
O: Yeah, fairly recently. I signed a track for the various artists compilation. I think over that time period I just constantly sent them music. They were kind of the go-to label for anything new I produced. Over time I built trust with them. We talked about our opinions, our views on the industry, and where we saw our futures. Everything just aligned. We realized it’s just a really good fit. A really good match for us to be together.
“It’s all about a love for the music and that’s it”
This is the kind of label I want to be on. I know that it’s going great places, we’ve got a really great vision, and we’re strong willed. We’re not the kind of label that follows the trends and we really don’t care about that. It’s all about a love for the music and that’s it. No egos, none of that. I can say whole heartedly compared to a lot of other labels that the artists on our label are very humble and really chill people. They are just nerds, geeks, and they love music. They are just making music all the time and thats all they really care about. Just doing what they love and that’s it.
Oshana’s first EP release on Brouqade, titled Reminisce, is due out on September 25th, 2013.
GP: You mentioned earlier that there aren’t that many female artists that play live or that are even in the scene. How does it feel to be one of those paving the way for future female artists?
O: I think for anybody, male or female, its a good thing to encourage others to break out their shell. To try something new and interesting that hasn’t been done before. There are so many DJs out there. Unless your really re-inventing DJing which is kind of hard to do. I mean, how many different ways can you DJ and really do something different? I don’t know. I think your kind of penguin-holed in that regard. I really do hope to encourage anybody in general to just go out there and experiment. See what you come up with. Who cares? Nobody knows what they are doing at first. I think over time if there are more people who are just unique and individuals in their music, its going to make the scene a lot better. Theres going to be more variety.
GP: Speaking of variety. If your not listening, playing, or making electronic music…what are you listening to that is not electronic?
O: I listen to everything. I really enjoy R&B, Funk, and Old School Hip Hop. Thats kind of my thing. I like super chilled out down tempo which is kind of borderline electronic. Jazz, not hardcore blue grass or any of that, but smooth jazz.
GP: There is a million dollars on the table, what is one of the most memorable events you’ve played?
O: Probably so far, has been Sol Asylum at Prince Charles in Berlin. I think thats mainly because it was this nostalgic kind of first time in Berlin and playing on a Function One. Audio Werner, Ion Ludwig, Julie Marghilano, and Miss Jools. My girlfriends were on the lineup so that was a lot of fun playing with them. Super chill chicks and amazing people. Then obviously, I really like Audio Werner and Ion Ludwig so I was excited to be on the bill with them. Everything about the night was just a lot of fun. Especially being in Berlin, that just added to it.
“I’m not like these other DJs that just travel non-stop and lose track of time”
Then the next one I went to was in London and Scotland. Which was also a lot of fun but I went there over a weekend. I was literally in a new country every single day and then on top of it I had to be in the office on Monday. I was feeling the effects for like a week, I couldn’t function. Hopefully more of that. I think maybe once a month would be good. Go somewhere new once a month and then get back to your regular routine. I would say every weekend but I know that’s not realistic. I am human and need sleep. I’m not like these other DJs that just travel non-stop and lose track of time. I refuse to be cracked out like that. I need my rest, I need a proper diet, and everything needs to be in a particular order for me. If it’s out of order and chaotic I freak out. It’s all about being organized.
GP: Have you had any disastrous gigs?
O: I wouldn’t say gigs. I can honestly say, I know it’s early on in my career, that nothing has been so shitty. Yeah, I’ve had a few times where it wasn’t heavily promoted but I really didn’t care. I would just enjoy myself. My friends were there so it wasn’t bad. I never really have a shitty time. There’s always tech issues and that pisses people off. Whenever there’s an issue wrong technically and it’s not your fault, thats super annoying. I think any DJ could attest to that. Everybody has their moments when they’re like, well the sound system is shitty or they fucked up the configuration and it took us an hour to figure out. I think you’re always going to have those moments. But, if you roll with the punches it’s not going to kill your vibe. Luckily no parties that I’ve ever played in the scene are like that. People are just happy to hear the music. They’re out there to have a good time. When you’re in that kind of environment and people are excited to see you play…who the fuck cares you know? I’ll play in a boom box. As long people enjoy themselves, fuck it, it’s fun.
GP: What’s your favorite beer?
Oshana: Leffe. Leffe is amazing, it will change your life.
Be sure to check out Oshana’s “Reminisce” Podcast that she put together to help promote her upcoming EP, Reminisce, coming out September 25th on Brouqade. She will also be playing this Saturday from 6pm – 9pm at our Fall Exhibition. The NYC-based producer will play a live 1-hour set, followed by 2 more hours behind the decks.
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