A growing number of producers choose to play the mystery card through white labels and 200 copies pressings, in the hope that this kind of approach will make them more interesting in the eyes of the public. On the other hand, producers like Vester Koza do their thing honestly, without hiding or trying to get some kind of credibility by pretending to say nothing about themselves, in the so-called purpose of « putting the focus on the music and not on the musicians. » This London producer appeared out of nowhere last February and took everybody aback with his first eponymous EP, and by « everyone » I also mean Ben UFO, Lowtec or Madteo… At the same time he took the opportunity to create his own label Maslo, conceived as a platform to showcase his own compositions.

Intrigued by the alarming maturity of his debut output somewhere between deep house and dub techno, we decided to find out more about this emerging producer who came « out of the blue », not to mention the title of his second EP to be released at the end of the month. The result is this quite long interview which reveals a very passionate and perfectionist artist, followed by a podcast all in subtlety that will easily find its place among the most valuable episodes of our series.

- Version Française -

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Hi Vester, what’s up ? Can you introduce yourself for those who don’t know you yet ?
Hello, my name is Vester Koza and I’m a musician from London. This year I started my record label Maslo and will release my own works in a series throughout the year.

Your first EP quickly received huge critical acclaim from everyone, how did you manage to get such good promotion despite being new on the scene and releasing the record on your own newly created label ?
I don’t know really! I just sent out some test pressings to DJ’s that I like and then I contacted some journalists from Resident Advisor etc. Other than that I’d just go out alot in London, hang in the crowd and pick my time to lean over the DJ box and hand out a cd or 12” to the DJ!

I did get some really nice reviews, but a full press campaign was a bit much to try and take on by myself so I won’t be doing it again! I’m not very good at Facebook/Twitter as I never had an account or used these things before but I’ve set these up now and am getting into things.

I think having the support of a wide range of DJ’s has been main reason it did so well really. Especially thanks to Ben UFO who played Mosquito on his 4 hour Boiler Room show and kindly displayed the record to the camera. I sold a lot of records that week!

Why did you decide to immediately create your own label instead of getting your first record released by already established ones ? Was it a project you’ve been considering for a while ?
Well I was sending out demos to labels and nobody offered to sign anything. I was sending a lot of emails, going out to nights in London giving out my demo CD’s  and went for a long period of not hearing anything back but then I started to get good feedback from people I would hold up as major influences, like both the guys  from Workshop, XDB and Madteo. These guys all wrote to me and gave me guidance and encouragement. All of this really picked up my confidence so i started to look into funding for doing my own label.

Once I got the funding all sorted I started to get some offers from labels but by then I’d really started to like the idea of doing it all myself.

Your music has a real identity and sounds very mature, which makes me think that you must have been producing for quite some time right ? Tell us about how and when you got into music production, did you release records under another name in the past or is Vester Koza EP really your first one ?
Well first of all thank you for your compliment. I’ve been making electronic music for about 10 years now off and on. I studied music full time at college and university and have worked in music education. I quit my job to see what I could come up with if I focused on it full time. I just turned 30 so mature would be one way of saying how i feel this year, old would be another! Which is why I felt it was time to start getting serious about things.

The reason I haven’t released any music before now is I simply haven’t felt like anything I made was good or original enough. I have no desire to make what’s already been made before me. I’m keen to experiment, to figure out something I feel is my own kind of thing and follow my own intuition to try something new to me in a way that satisfies my own taste.

I realised after years of never being fully happy with anything that things will probably always be this way, so I really forced myself to make my start this year.

Vester Koza

Who or what have you been influenced by for this record ? Do you have any favorite producers or labels at the moment ?
Its hard to say with this specific EP, as those tracks were all recorded at different time periods, so I would have been listening to different stuff at each time.  I can give you some specific examples in that the A1 track “Mosquito” and the B2 “The Way Of The Dub” both have some dub and German minimalist/dub techno influences.

For example, with Mosquito, there are influences from old Wolfgang Voigt/Studio 1 records, which are very sparse, magical recordings. They are intense and hypnotic yet very subdued. I also really enjoy the old character of the recordings, which in certain cases kind of adds another layer of instrumentation. You also have this natural degradation from the vinyl in the form of pops and crackle’s which just adds a lot of colour/personality in my eyes too, so I applied some of these ideas.

There are similar influences in “The Way” only I think here I was quite focused on these old dub records which were sometimes really badly pressed and carried there own problems which I find enjoyable! But then the music is really opposing these “problems” and is trying to drive forward and unfold despite the noise.

In terms of things I’m currently listening to, I’ve only recently discovered an artist called Velocette who used to run a label called Parallel Recordings, which I’ve been buying up for peanuts on discogs. I really love these at the moment. If you check the tracklist in this podcast perhaps and especially the NTS one I did there are some broader points of reference in those I hope?!

And what about your own label Maslo, is there a specific concept behind this structure ? What are your next projects with the label, are you going to release music from other artists or is it a platform for your stuff only ?
At the moment, Maslo will be a series of Vester Koza works that I want to release. I’m always keen to try new things and never write the same kind of track twice so I thought I’d try and go with that theme and give each record  a unique full colour centre art on the A side too. The back will always have the same simple info text/writing on the back and will come shrink wrapped in strong packaging. Each release will also be available in digital too and eventually they will also make it onto my Soundcloud page.

I’d also like to release the music of a long time friend who has given me 2 incredible EP’s that I really love but he isn’t happy with either of them and won’t let me! He’s gone for quite a bit of time without a proper set-up but he’s settling down now, building a studio in his new basement so hopefully i’ll be releasing his works in future too.

What are your own personal projects for the future ?
Well I’ve been working pretty hard at the moment at basing my DJ sets around my own music which I’m finding really tough to do and a really interesting challenge as of course, your tastes move on, you find new influences and you need to somehow piece it all together into something that makes sense. It can get a bit comical hearing your own music coming in and out things and I’ve had a lot of frustration with it and just scrapped so many ideas, almost doing away with the approach entirely, but overall I guess it’s actually invigorated my passion for DJ’ing again. I think its really important that people can hear your music that they associate with you when they come and see you perform.

Its been a good exercise too as it makes you look harder at your own tastes and how these apply to your music and focus on them properly. Its kind of like a big journey of self discovery as you have to put the pieces together and it helps you zone in and really understand the core of your own tastes and then you can focus on these deeper and have a basis to go further perhaps and really develop your sound.

I’m also working on a live set which I’m really keen to get going, where I’ll be trying out some experiments and things I’m currently making and of course play the tracks that people know. I’d also like to take on some remix projects as I’ve always been interested in remixing and feel it will a nice alternative to my ongoing Maslo projects.

Maslo

Finally, can you tell us about the idea behind the mix you’ve recorded for us ?
I picked 3 of the tracks from the current EP and one from the next record and used those as a starting point, and then planned out firstly how to match a few things with them and then secondly how far I could take things further away from these with some wider influences and still make it a more solid type thing.  From there I started to map out the composition of it all before approaching the mix. I always seem to start with the climax these days as I’m a bit backwards in my approach to most musical things!

I went for a different approach than with my recent NTS mix, in which i was quite focused on rough sonics and big character tracks and I was trying to change things up quite alot for drama and contrast. With this one I was more focused on the mood of the music and programming a journey type DJ set. I wanted it to be a smooth, kind of linear ride, using mostly longer blends throughout and trying to build with music that carries subtle intensity.

I approached it a little bit like a CD mix, but with more of a live feel. I wanted to keep it quite rough as the further I went into it I realised that I might be in danger of over practicing things so I just decided to get it recorded whilst it still felt quite fresh. There’s a few ideas in here that I’ve been playing with for a little while now, and the last third/finale of the mix is mostly how I closed my recent set at Dance Tunnel in London which went down well so I was happy to get  the chance to use this in a podcast.

I like mixes that are cohesive and I’m learning that I can’t play everything I want in one single mix. I wanted to use tracks from artists that have influenced me in some way in or another and ultimately it also includes things that are different to what I’m doing with my own personal music, but I’m keen for them to make at least some sense and live together in some way.

I’d like to change it up quite a lot and do mixes in different ways with different concepts long term. Its all still a bit of a work in progress really but like I said earlier: it’s about time I made my start :)

Vester Koza’s « Out Of The Blue EP » will be released physically on May 27th and digitally on June 3rd, on Maslo.

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Download here : (TAL108) Vester Koza – 01.05.2013

3 Comments
  1. (TAL108) Vester Koza - Trace A Line says:

    [...] English Version [...]

  2. Faux Effet says:

    Love this music. Great interview as well.

  3. teshno » on the record ~ vester koza says:

    [...] else is known about the producer (other than the tidbits shared in an interview and mix for trace a line) so i thought i’d try and get deep below the surface of his musical life to date by posing [...]

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