With a sound he describes as “music & architecture – creating sound spaces with atmosphere and function”, Onur Özman‘s productions have already graced labels like Noir, Rebirth and Definition Music. He makes a welcome debut on Constant Circles with a stunning track “Raw Soul”.
What is your background and how did you get into music?
I was studying architecture, when I first got into music. I became utterly fascinated by the connection between the two disciplines, which has eventually become the essence of my sound.
You are based in Zurich – have you always lived there? And how has your home country or town influenced your music & career?
I started my career on the Istanbul underground scene. Over the course of time Istanbul became too chaotic for me to live, so I decided to move to Zurich to have more structure and discipline in my daily life. The structure gives me freedom not to think of small details and I can focus on creativity. But I still carry this experimental rebellion root from Turkey. You might feel this duality between structure and chaos in my music.
What is the most important thing for people to see when visiting Zurich?
More than monuments or museums I am rather proud of the social balance in Zurich. This is a world city with almost no homeless people. At night you can switch between great clubs just by walking. The city is compact in human scale. The daily life is refreshing in terms of human equality. Of course we could and should do better.
How would you describe your sound – do you think your music falls into a particular genre?
My music is based on an abstract musical ideas, and every time I produce, I attempt to experiment with a new concept. I perceive producing as putting sounds in absolute relation to each other and in the end the idea defines these relations. As a mind map I would portray my sound as ascending from classic UK deep house and Detroit techno.
You are about to release your track ‘Raw Soul” on Constant Circles – how did you approach the track and what was your process in creating it?
The title of the track pretty much explains my aim – a track with a raw groove and soulful vibes. I started the track without vocals and then integrated the vocals later on. Finally I disturbed, cut and manipulated the vocals to embed them totally into the structure.
What are your key pieces of studio kit?
I work very irregularly so my setup is surprisingly flexible. Recently I added a Moog Mini to my setup and I actually use it as a midi control to wrap sounds even more organically.
You often perform your music live – tell us about your live shows and how they differ from your DJ sets. Which do you prefer?
I prefer both but in reasonable proportions. Live is something exclusive for me. A live set is a fundamentally different feeling than a DJ set. DJing is collective, since I don’t only play my own tracks, so it is more about the cultural knowledge and about spontaneous reaction to the audience. A live set on the other hand is a musical statement and I think there has to be an artistic vision to play live. It is not just playing with knobs.
What is the coolest gig you have ever played & why?
This question has been asked so many times, and so I keep changing the answer – every new gig is a new coolest adventure!
Can you tell us something most people won’t know about you?
In the early period of my career I was part of a lounge music band “Synpathic“ which was quite successful actually. But then I had personal problems with my band partner and so we went our separate ways, which allowed me to focus on my solo project. Many people don’t know this fact about me.
What do you have coming up in terms of releases and gigs?
My upcoming schedule is quite busy.. this weekend I am playing in Zurich. After that I have gigs in Berlin, Warsaw and Istanbul. In early summer I am going on USA tour to play in New York, Philadelphia, Orlando and Miami. When I am back, I am going to have other small gigs in Switzerland. Cant wait!
How did you put together your guest mix for the radio show & what have you included – any exclusives or surprises?
I wanted to dedicate this mix to the current situation on earth. The track list on an abstract level resembles my critical opinion to zeitgeist – ongoing wars, climate crisis and fake news… the list is long and we as humanity need to act.
As for surprises – I played two unreleased tracks including my edit of Four Tet. I hope people like it.