25.04.2017 | Words by:
It’s a common pitfall amongst artists and musicians to overthink things. Making too many decisions before you begin the creative process is dangerous. Electronic music is particularly fraught with overthinking and electronic machines themselves which tie everything down to a grid. The common mistake is to seek out perfection when actually what makes the best records great is a spontaneity, an unpredictability, a sense of freedom from boundaries.
Of course achieving this is easier said than done. First you need to let it happen; let your subconscious mind communicate with whatever tools are in front of you. Without any preconceived ideas of what you want to achieve the results become far more vivid. They might not always be great but they’re unlikely to be boring. One producer who not only bases her creative process around letting it just happen but also has built a name for herself as an international DJ by doing just that is Uchi. Defining what she creates completely is not something Uchi has ever really been interested in but for the first time she sat down to shed some light on the process.There doesn’t seem to be much at all online about your musical background. Can you say a bit about how you came to making music? Where did it start?
I never really wanted to talk about myself on the internet. I started DJing when I was 19 on college radio and that carried on when I went to the University of Miami while studying film and computer science. At that stage I was just looking at it as a hobby, then at the end of University I decided to take it making music more seriously. I had always fiddled with it for fun. It turned out a friend of mine sent my song to Recondite and he put it out on his label, hes sort if been pushing me ever since. Then I ended up doing the boiler room. It forced to put a liveset together and the only way it made sense was to use hardware, which is now the basis of how I make music. It's always been kind of organic. Where other people tend to pave the road, I’m kind of fumbling along. Your live sets tend to be very slow and considered. I’d imagine that’s quite different when you’re DJing?
In the new live set which I haven’t shared with the internet yet; some songs are 150bpm and they’re much more intricate, it’s constantly changing. Also the DJ sets are changing more and more because you get bored of some songs or you get an interest in new things. I get a little worried sometimes that people will hear the live set and then hear the DJ set and be like; is that the same person? It would be silly to stick to one genre though because then it gets boring.
Do you find it hard to switch between? Taking off your live set brain and putting on your DJ brain?
Yeah it’s a totally different brain. One time I did a hybrid thing and the DJ set was just awful because I was still in live mode so yeah, I’m not doing that again. Are your live sets quite structured? Is it similar every time or does it vary a lot?
It varies a lot. It's always changing. The last one actually didn’t have many transitions because I changed BPM a lot. I recently started liking the idea of not mixing. I saw a few DJs not mixing two records and it was amazing so I thought ok, maybe that’s fine, so the last one was just start stop songs and changing from 116 to 125 to 140 to 160. I would say schizophrenic. There’s a lot more at risk with a live set but then I feel that people are a lot more open minded to whatever you do. You don’t have to play by the rules which is cool. So you do still see yourself as a DJ first?
I think my main interest is still making music and playing live shows which are semi-improvisational. When I was in Miami, I was DJing a lot and after a while it wasn’t fun anymore, but now I DJ once every few months and it’s great because you get excited and you work for it. They’re just completely different processes you go through. I don’t think of myself as a DJ first, I don’t even know what I am or what I’m doing to be honest. I dont see it as my life goal. I don't feel like I'm gonna be a DJ forever. There’s a phrase in your bio that talks about your music as “a singular expression, without any idea how to express it”. I thought that was really interesting, can you expand on that?
My boyfriend wrote that actually. I think what he meant was you don’t always do what you have in mind. For example when you’re making music you can try to have an idea but it usually just happens naturally. Whatever happens in that moment you record it and then that’s what it is. It’s based on feelings as well, how do you put feelings into words? What will you do after then? If you’re not going to DJing forever, what will you do next?
I definitely want to continue making music. When I’m really old I want to live in the forest and have a nice studio and just make film scores and read books. So the music you make is for yourself first then?
I think when I started, obviously you’re young and you want everyone to like you, you sacrifice so much. But then I was like whatever, I’m just going to do whatever and it kind of worked. I think it’s more honest.Uchi will play alongside Magda and Oskar Offermann on April 28.