ADSR Mix 004: DJ Solar
July. 11. 2014
A relative newcomer to the craft, DJ Solar’s deep sounds and musical sensibility are way beyond the couple of years he’s been mixing. With an ear to the more melodic and musical side of drum & bass, Solar is aimed at carving out his own niche. We caught up with Solar for a few words, and the man dropped us a mix of deep, minimal, dnb goodness.
Mr. Solar what is up? How are things in the Korea?
Good good. Just rounding off another semester at the Aerospace University here in Seoul. Lots going on and stoked to be headed home for the summer in Vancity again.
How did you get started with electronic music and DJing? Are you from a musical family or were you quite musical growing up?
I started going to night clubs when I was 17. Early venues included the now extinct Graceland (on Richards) for “Sol” house nights. I think it was house. Everyone just called it “electronica” back then. Then I got into breakbeat, which I felt was more interesting to dance to and more related to the hip hop vibes I was big into in high school. Then a coworker of mine introduced me to drum and bass in 1997. From the first listen I was hooked. I felt like I had found the vibe that electronic music was leading me to. My first dnb album was LTJ Bukem presents: Logical Progression. I was in love. From then on I have been hunting down dnb music nights all over the world, during my travels and extensive time living away from Canada. I was a regular at early Vancouver dnb nights like “Airtight” at the Cameleon in B1 of the Georgia Hotel on Sunday nights and “Presha” at Sonar in Gastown on Thursdays. I met some great people and always felt a core part of the scene. It was a small scene back then and I was friends with the main DJs. In 2005 I bought Traktor when I was living in Japan but didn’t really know what I was doing. I played with it for a little but didn’t really feel like I was getting anywhere so the program was left at the wayside. There were very few dnb shows in Japan that I was able to goto (I lived on a remote island in Okinawa for 3 years). After a year of living in Korea I finally found the dnb scene here.
I got serious about learning the craft after returning from an amazing summer last year. I was determined to learn and was lucky to have DJ friends around me to walk me through some basics of the hardware and software. Also, I am indebted to my friend Ian ‘Al-T-tude’ who lent me his controller for many months as I was learning and figuring stuff out. As per the last part of the question, I have dancers in my family and a few musicians as well. It should be said, however, that there are also brilliant scientists in my line. I strive to draw on both sides to carve out my own style and frequency.
How is the current dnb scene in Korea? How long have you been involved?
It is a small scene but we have a pretty solid core following. We are lucky to have some really talented DJ/Producers with us, such as the always on-point ‘Special Ed’ Benwell. We also have fairly regular (about once a month) all drum and bass music nights. Unfortunately though, we seem to have stopped attracting or being able to draw international artists. It was good for a while with a big name coming through every few months but things have changed a bit now. I’ve been “involved” in the dnb scene in Korea ever since I was able to track it down. Everywhere I live I seek out the bass.
What is your approach to playing a set at a gig? Do you like to plan ahead or more spur of the moment selections?
Since I am still pretty new at this, when I play out I usually plan it in advance and try many different combinations to feel what works best. I set cue points and have an idea when I am going to blend and fade. I am getting more into just setting up a list of the tunes I want to play and practice just making up the mixes as I go, which is tons of fun and it feels like that is also when some real magic happens.
Any producers you are really digging right now?
So much good music right now. These days I be really digging the deep vibes of Foreign Concept, Emperor, Enei is on fire. S.P.Y. is especially sick on remix duty, Blu Mar Ten is a definite favourite (gutted I missed the recent Vancity performance), loving the vibes that Ivy Lab delivers, Om Unit is a boss… I could go on.
Are you doing any producing yourself?
Not yet, but it is definitely a future goal.
What is your creative and musical philosophy?
Although I am partial to dnb I don’t let genres limit me. Really feeling the sounds of Om Unit and artists like Synkro who are bending genres and producing really unique and intriguing tunes. As has been well-said by my Seoul electronic music brethren, “fuck genres; good music is good music.”
Club or forest rave?
Forest any day.
What does 2014 have in store for Solar?
Study the craft, record more mixes, publish them to the internet so they can be shared, send out demos and mixes to places I want to play and work on getting a few solid residences at some venues around Seoul.
Where can people find your mixes?
I have only published a few mixes so far and they can be found on Mixcloud here: https://www.mixcloud.com/alansolar
Stay tuned for more uploads!
Thanks Solar! enjoy the Vancouver summer :)
1. Furi Anga- Rainbow Unit
2. Mr Sizef- Subway, Which is Unknown to Us
3. Clarity- Underneath the Leaves
4. Synkro- Departure
5. Mr Sizef- The Second Before Snow Turns into Water
6. Bulb- Distinctions of the Same
7. Nuage- Missing You
8. Helios- First Dream Called Ocean (Stray remix)
9. Circa- Ida
10. TwoThirds- Somewhere Vivid
11. Luca- Saint Bond
12. Rawtekk- Snowflakes