A skilled producer and DJ who mixes classical-training with a modern outlook, Sofie Loizou is also a key figure in establishing and running CDR sessions in Australia (along with Mark Pritchard and Lorna Clarkson). Adept at sending dancefloors nuts and tugging heartstrings with her own introspective compositions, we enjoyed hearing what Sofia had to say about her CDR experiences.
When and where did you first attend CDR? What do you recall?
It was hosted by Tony Nwachukwu in Sydney, Australia around 2006 above a Greek restaurant in Surry Hills. As soon as we launched into the CDR session I knew this was something really special. I felt at the time that Sydney producers were very isolated from each other and as a result, the underground electronic music culture was quite fragmented. I saw CDR as an opportunity to change all of that by offering a safe space, a meeting place for producers to find common ground with each other, and even stimulate collaboration. Since that first CDR session the vision has come true, CDR has contributed significantly to building healthy relationships between music makers, and raising the profile of producers involved.
What has CDR meant to you?
CDR has meant a great deal to me over the last 6 or so years. I have helped host CDR sessions in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Newcastle and Sydney, and got to meet many talented producers and hear some great music along the way. I also get a thrill every time from how CDR brings like minded music makers and lovers together, with all manner of possibilities that can eventuate from that.
Please could you describe your work life/creative life tussle. Any tips or tricks for managing to keep making music?
It’s really hard to balance work and creativity. I work a full time job, present a radio show, and playing gigs doesn’t leave me a lot of time to work on music. I found a good way to balance my work/creative life is by taking a few months off every year to focus on making music. Currently I spend 3 months in Berlin every year writing music, working with mastering engineers to finalise releases and getting inspired by the cultural landscape of Europe. I also keep my overheads low by living cheaply (low rent, minimal spend on luxury items) so I can save my pennies for three months break and the upkeep of my equipment.
I think it is important to have connections with other people who have to walk this tightrope because it helps to be able to discuss/commiserate the struggles and frustrations with people who understand.
Have you a favourite club and/or soundsystem?
The club scene in Sydney is pretty average, so warehouse parties and outdoor events are really where it’s at. My favourite soundsystem in Sydney is the Hijack. It’s graced many stages over the years and has a detailed low end like very few soundsystems I have heard before. Benga and Skream played on it in Sydney a couple of years ago and I remember getting up really close to the speakers and watching the valves inside the speakers lighting up on the bass hits. It’s really one of the best systems I have ever heard.
Please give a brief (as you see fit) description of your current production set up.
Laptop, RME Fireface, Rode Classic Mic, Midi controller, UAD Satellite Quad, a bunch of weird effects pedals, a tiny analogue drum machine (MFB-522), and a studio full of colourful synths.
My [Roland] Juno 6 has a special place in my studio and in my heart because it was the first synthesiser I ever owned. I used it to learn the basics of synthesis, and it’s rich warm analogue sound had me hooked on making electronic music from the day I got it. Nowadays I am surrounded by a wide variety of synths in my studio but the Juno will always be special to me.
Any projects or tracks you’re working on at the moment that you’d like to let us know about?
I just released a 10 inch vinyl EP on my label Radical Nature records called Aphoria Horizonte and am working on a follow up album under the Anomie pseudonym. I’m also currently working on a psychedelic desert music collaboration with Westernsynthetics.
Finally, have you any advice or words of warning for producers/musicians developing musical works in progress to play at CDR?
Some budding and talented producers can be a little shy about sharing their new creations, but I can’t encourage them enough to submit a track because you never know what you might learn along the way. It’s a great opportunity to test a mix before committing to it as well as picking up a few mixing tips and anecdotes from other producers.
Read on: More from the My First CDR… series.