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The time has come for the 2nd Be Techno podcast: this time we’ve been spoiled with over two hours of fist-pumping bad ass techno. It blew us away, and most likely it will make your bodies bounce on the sounds of a journey which is the result of the longtime work of Ovexx, a DJ deeply in love with what he does: listening and selecting tracks, various compilations and mixes. We’ve also shared a long discussion with him and we invite you to find out more about the journey of Ovexx, a young DJ constantly challenging the scene of his home base, Romania.
I know you are born and raised in Oradea, Romania, a place very well known for its electronic music scene, especially for micro-house. What can you say about your early years as a young passionate of electronic music and how did you find your way as an artist?
I don’t even know how to start. When I was a kid, my big brother was a big influence for me. He was listening to trance and minimal. And somehow, it started to get my attention. Being so young, I was wondering: “what’s up with this music without lyrics?”, I couldn’t really understand at the time, but I liked it a lot. I was always imagining that songs must have at least a video clip or a voice to sing over. Slowly, I became a Tiesto fan and at the age of 14 I was listening to Tiesto quite a lot. Then, after being into trance music, I got in touch with techno which was the 2nd electronic music genre for me, but that minimal, more progressive side of it. Spent a lot of time listening to Sasha and John Digweed. After a while, I turned to electro, lots of electro house and then drum and bass because it was trending in my hometown and there were some nice parties organized by the boys from Half-Organic.
And after D&B?
After D&B, I got back to techno. However, I can say I shaped myself as an artist by listening to many genres of electronic music. I fancied Chemical Brothers and Prodigy too, especially Chemical Brothers because they had that more industrial vibe. Then, in high-school I had my first gig. I mixed electro house in the Republic Cafe, in the center of Oradea. We were supposed to have some decent DJ gear, but I got there and realized I have to manage with what I got…to be precise, I mixed from a laptop.
When did you start mixing?
Around the age of 14, when I was digging trance. I was using Virtual DJ, sitting with a small desk speaker next to my ear while I was hiding from my parents. I didn’t want them to know I wasn’t sleeping, so I was using low volumes, I had no headphones.
How did you connect with Tech Odyssey?
Listening to electronic music, I got to spend time with Wruce Bayne, who was also into trance and discovered house and especially deep house. We started DJing in his backyard, without professional equipment, with some simple speakers. We were gathering in his garden in the summer, doing sessions in which we usually got drunk, having fun and playing music. We were taking care of the decor too, placing bed sheets all over the place, setting up hammocks and other stuff like that. And that’s how we started to collaborate.
And practically, how did your musical movement start?
When I moved to Cluj, my brother gave me some money and I bought myself a Mixtrack Pro 3. Meanwhile, Wruce Bayne and Kashlinski started to party at Dinsubsol, where they’ve met the owner of Moszkva Cafe and talked him into organizing a techno party there. I said, “OK, we’ll do it. We’ll use my DJ Controller and we’ll do it”. At first, it was supposed to happen on the corridor, but they already had plans to open Apple Room and short before the party it was inaugurated. In the end, we held our event in Apple Room, so the first techno party in there was made by us. Surprisingly, we had many people coming, they gathered over a hundred, which was a lot for the beginning. However, the first Tech Odyssey party came a month after that.
What are the origins of Tech Odyssey?
In the beginning, Tech Odyssey was just a party name, not the name of our group. Now, we’re going under this title as a collective of artists DJing and promoting techno.
Which style did you use to mix back then?
I had a more ambiental style. Started with Antigone, Artefakt, Etapp Kyle, Evigt Mörker and other similar artists. Since then, we began in the formula we’re keeping to this day at our parties, Kashlinski warming up, Wruce Bayne coming after him and me being the third. Their styles were totally different, playing much more house, deep house and tech house. I gradually migrated to a harder music style, rougher, even though it was quite difficult for the public to digest. I had a small audience, 30-40 people enjoying my music, but significantly less than my colleagues. To build the mix I made for your podcast…that’s three years of work, of listening to thousands of tunes, making selections, but I didn’t change much regarding my perspective, it’s just that now I have much more resources, possibilities and experience to use them properly.
Can you say there were DJs or producers who influenced you in a way or another?
In the beginning, it was mostly RØDHÅD and his label, Dystopian, or some sets of Nina Kraviz. Yet, I can’t say it was someone in particular, there were many DJs who had a big influence on me. It wasn’t a specific label or artist. Rather, I was influenced by the western wave of an industrial style.
What is it about this movement from the west you’re speaking about that attracts you? How is it related to your personality?
I wouldn’t say it changed my life or something like that, but this attitude seems to fit the best for me. This is how I can express myself in the best possible way, for the reason that I was always a fan of the idea of rave, of warehouse parties, of an illegal movement, monster raves. I would say it was the environment in which I could best manifest myself and there I could feel “at home” through music. For me, music is somehow a philosophy, it is a hedonistic style of living, of defusing societally-induced frustrations and ultimately a true rave is the only place where I can feel good in the current society. Since I was small I was dreaming of a place like this.
Did you manage to find often enough this place you’re talking about in Romania?
Parties were quite wild in the D&B scene or even electro, but I can’t say I could find this place from the beginning in the techno scene, especially considering that everything was focused on the micro-house/ro-minimal, where I wasn’t necessarily feeling comfortable. However, when I got to Cluj, things were different. It was a different niche of ro-minimal, much more underground, with nicer people. Overall, a community more open minded, more libertine, not only in for the money. There, I can say I experienced a certain form of freedom I was telling you about, but for the rest, it was pretty hard to reach that point. It’s a fairly narrow scene in Romania. Teknival though was one of the most powerful and remarkable experiences I’ve ever had. Psy movement also caught my attention for some time, when it was this idea of illegal parties in the nature.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to focus more on mixing and on growing my music collection even more. I want to reorganize myself and think about some new elements for my sets. Besides, I want to start producing music. I want to develop new concepts for events and take on new projects. I am interested in extending a bit further from my hometown, in the whole country.
Which other techno artists from Romania should we look out for?
I don’t think I have any recommendations in this sense. There are enough who are starting to organize great techno parties, but I am not familiar enough with their work to be able to recommend them. Although, I am quite fond of Les Psss, as DJs they adopt a style relatively hard to absorb in Romania and I admire them for having the courage to do that.
Can you tell us a bit about the mix you did for us and the idea behind it?
It was a very spontaneous journey. I picked the tracks while mixing, had nothing prepared before, everything was in the moment. I can say I began to follow a more energetic side of my collection, but effectively I selected what I felt that sounds good and fits well. As for influences, predominantly electric, acid and tribal. I found a particular groove which I don’t think I could describe in words.
How would you compare this to one of your club sets?
Each mix is a spontaneous journey, built up in the moment. Generally, in clubs I try to find an interface between me and the audience, to be able to communicate what I desire. Here though, I didn’t have any crowd in front of me, so I was more focused on what I like the most. This would be the difference, that at gigs I adapt myself a bit further to what the audience feels and there’s a greater chance to go with a journey I already had in mind.