Fond of felines and able to make music that gets us dreamily jackin’ or 80’s reminiscing. It’s been terrific seeing/hearing Lazercat (Deepa Sury) become a regular contributor at CDR Berlin nights through the year. As we shared a My First CDR… Q+A, her words resonated as much as productions.
When and where did you first attend CDR? What do you recall?
My first CDR experience was in Berlin, as that’s where I’ve been based for the past year or so. I finally got a chance to participate in March 2012. I was definitely nervous at first and had slim hopes of my track being played. Yet to my (very pleasant) surprise, there it was, booming on the club sound system as everyone danced. That first moment definitely made me want to return.
How did you hear about CDR?
Posters all over the city, Facebook announcements on various pages and many other sources led me to check it out.
What has CDR meant to you?
I’ve sometimes described CDR as testing your tracks in a studio with a dancefloor and better monitors than I could ever afford. Of course that’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek simplification, but I really do appreciate the opportunity to put my music out there while being able to test my (still-amateur) mixing and production skills. Of course, it’s also nice to hear all the good feedback I get from others on my music – it keeps me going!
Have you collaborated with, or hope to, any artists via CDR sessions?
I haven’t so far, but it would be nice to do that someday.
Any other noteworthy CDR memories?
Probably the second time I submitted a track. Tony recognised me right away – that was a nice surprise!
Please could you describe your work life/creative life tussle. Any tips or tricks for managing to keep making music?
Balancing my creative and working lives has been, and continues to be, my biggest challenge. There’s always a sacrifice to be made, whether it’s going broke or having a job that saps your time and energy. I’ll be honest – I’ve definitely wondered a few times if continuing music is really worth it, and it seems that a lot of artists go through that at least once. I guess the best thing would be to keep pushing through and ignoring any self-doubt in that case, wouldn’t it?
That said, I really wish I were in a position to give more practical advice on the matter instead of desperately needing it!
Have you a favourite club and/or soundsystem?
I don’t go out nearly as much as I could, as I’ve always been more of a solitary type. However, I have to say that there are some places I do keep returning to when I do crave a night out. Clubs like about.blank, Stattbad Wedding and Salon zur Wilden Renate usually have a good lineup and parties that last well into the next day. There are also lots of smaller bars, some of them quite underground, that often have a sweet, intimate loft-party vibe when paired with the right DJs and tunes.
As for sound quality, I have to say that the sound-system at Berghain – those Transformers-eque Funktion One towers – is definitely worth the hype, and can make me dance to even the most stripped-down techno for hours.
Please describe your current production set up.
90% laptop-based – a crumbling Sony Vaio with FL Studio 10. I’ve been using FL Studio since 2005, when I first started to produce, and so it’s what I know best. I don’t use most of the softsynths, though, and am far too much of a control-freak to use most presets. I like to use classic drum machine sounds and program all my rhythms and melodies from scratch – almost as though I were in an actual studio full of hardware!
I’ve started using more controllers recently, especially for my live-sets, as I find it makes them go a lot smoother (plus I’d feel quite silly standing there clicking at a laptop and nothing else). Even in the studio, I find it helps my creativity a bit, as I’m more likely to come up with ideas while doodling around on some sort of keyboard.
Any projects or tracks you’re working on at the moment that you’d like to let us know about?
I’ve got several unfinished tracks that I intend to finish as soon as I get sufficient time and ideas. Too often I find myself getting stuck in “endless-loop mode” where a track sounds great as a snippet or loop and I have no idea where to go next.
Finally, have you any advice or words of warning for producers/musicians developing musical works in progress to play at CDR?
If you hear your track being played, definitely take a moment to listen to how it sounds on a good system – you often hear things you wouldn’t at home, especially if you don’t have proper studio monitors. This taught me a lot about proper production and mixing techniques.
Of course, don’t be too shy! If you’re at all interested in finding out how your track would sound on a dancefloor at a club, don’t hesitate to submit it. CDR is not only a great testing-ground for aspiring producers, but a place to meet with like-minded individuals and put yourself out there.