Disconnected Podcast 019: Aleks Zen

Aleks Zen Disconnected Podcast

How’s it going?

Going fine thanks, life is generally on course and going the way i’m planning, despite the bumps in the road that everyone experiences from time to time.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a DJ & producer based in Acton (West London). My mind has been pretty heavily consumed by these two activities since early 2000, it looks as though only now things are starting to pay off, but without doubt everything happens for a reason.. In terms of playing out I have a bi weekly radio show – “The Neon Bounty Show” on London’s Inna City 102.5 FM in which I show case sounds from across the board such as Grime & Dubstep, Soulful, Funky & Tribal House as well as more experimental sounds from the 125 – 135 BPM range. I played on various stations for a long time until I settled down at Inna City as it was their professionalism and brilliant set up which appealed to me. Additionally, I hold down a DJ’ing residency in a strip club which comprises of 7 hour shifts a night (its a hard life but somebodies got to do it), and I been working on a lot of vocal material at the moment which includes myself as well as other people on the tracks.

How did you get into music?

Well and truly it was through my big brother, he messed around a lot with music in his teenage years and he was into US Hiphop – largely the “East Coast”. He borrowed a mates decks which I would watch him play on and slowly but surely, curiosity lead me into purchasing a pair of decks of my own. I had a lot of his records to draw from but also started exploring the world of vinyl myself. Funnily enough I started going back in time; while I loved Hiphop I wanted to explore the more instrumental sounds and this lead me towards “Trip Hop”, which was by then an outdated sound but then it was the emergence of Dubstep into the wider public’s consciousness which made me focus my attention on incorporating sounds from the UK underground club scene.

Can you tell us a bit out your night, Neon Bounty?

I was running the night with a DJ & producer called “Citizen J”. We were going every month since New Years EVE (that was a crazy one and probably my most enjoyable New Years), however we have taken a brief hiatus as of last month. I want to focus a bit more on my production and getting my label completely certified then we’re gonna commence the night at a new venue as soon as possible.

I first came across your music when i picked up the Berkane Sol release, how did that come about?

It was really a case of putting my music out on the net and through the forums then one day Geiom got in touch with me saying he was feeling my music. I started sending him more of my output and we soon came to an agreement on an EP; I experienced a lot of joy in writing “High Life” and interestingly when ever writing a song really captivates me during its creation, other people feel it a lot too.

Are you doing any more with Geiom?

In terms of releases it’d be wicked to have another one on Berkane Sol, however nothing has been discussed as of yet, so for now i’m just gonna concentrate on making what are in my mind certified bangers and give Geiom first dibs on anything he’s interested in. I was in Nottingham not too long ago where we jumped on a track together called “Barefoot Loafin’”; you can find a clip of that on my Soundcloud. I may be popping over there again soon to start work on another, but we just need to agree on a date as we’re both busy monkeys.

Loving the promos you sent me on for your new label, can you tell us a bit that, whats your plan with it?

The tracks Roadhouse and Chemistry (Neon Bounty 001) are out now on Juno, Chemical and DJ Tunes available as digital downloads. However, I need to knuckle down at some point and sort out proper distribution..

The Neon Bounty label is simply a means of letting me release music which I really feel personally, but the tunes stylistically, are primarily on the same tip as to what i’ll be playing out at the time; and right now its all about the House steelo 125 – 135 BPM. While the label is primarily for my own beats, I do have plans for other artists; look out for Tricky Strutt, Artek and my long time friend Rotty who are gonna be doing damage soon. I’m also thinking about starting a sub label which will focus on the vocal side of things. So for example my track “Higher”, while a lot of people will say that was a big tune, I just ended up giving that away as a free download. If I had my label at the time, I would of given it an official release without doubt.

What’s your production set up?

As of the moment my production suite comprises of Logic 9, Reason 5 & Ableton Live for software. In terms of hardware i’m working on an iMac and have a Roland JX-3P synthesizer for some nice retro sounds.

And the mix, what’s in there, and how did you record it?

Its an eclectic mix of house music. The styles are quite broad however; so you have some more Techno-ey sounds as well as soulful sounds in there. The mix is more to demonstrate my influences right about now hence why I got very contrasting tracks by the likes of Kerri Chandler and DJ Zinc. Tricky Strutt’s tune “Bird with the Nightmare Stare” will be coming out on my label at some point I just need to schedule that, and of course “Higher” is plonked on the end; as I say thats floating on the net for free download and has had various remixes done by the likes of 8th Note, Drapez and more. I recorded the mix on Ableton Live; I was never really into doing studio mixes on the computer but after Knowledge Magazine asked me to do one and I don’t have a proper DJ set up at home for the moment, so I thought I’d better move with the times and get on it.

Nice one dude, big up for the mix and the chat.

My pleasure, thanks for interviewing me.

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