DJ Avrah Interview
Tell is how it all began for DJ Avrah?
I was a dancer growing up, and that was my first connection to music. Coming from a ‘non-musical’ family, I never really considered myself to have any form of musical ability. But, finally my curiosity got the better of me, and I plucked up the courage to do a DJ course at Soul Candi. I can still remember that overwhelming excitement after my first lesson – I’d found something that I absolutely loved.
You have an extremely impressive resume. How did the residency on 5FM Radio’s, Saturday Night Fixsacious and Ultimix Weekend Edition come about?
I heard that a friend of mine knew Fix, so I asked her to forward one of my mixes. I didn’t hear anything back for a while, and suddenly one night Fix called me – a DJ had let her down and she needed a mix – she said she liked mine and would play it in a few hours, that same night! I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was out at a party and my phone was about to die, so I ran to my car to tune in (dragging my best girlfriend with me)… We just drove around and jamming, it was totally surreal!! After that I became a resident of the show, and Fix kindly gave me the details of the Ultimix WE crew.
Give our readers insight into the progressive house and trance scene in South Africa, it’s role players and where we stand with the rest of the world.
I feel that Progressive House and Trance, on a international level, are still relatively unknown in South Africa – often mistaken for commercial EDM and psytrance. The market here is extremely small compared to Europe… I’ve seen huge names like W&W and Gareth Emery fill only half the venue. The biggest South African role player in this genre I would say is Protoculture, especially after his international success. I’m hoping that the market here will grow and begin to catch up with the rest of the world.
Has being from Cape Town been challenging in terms of positioning yourself as a DJ?
I would say yes, in terms of Progressive House and Trance not being very big in SA. However, in terms of the international scene, it doesn’t matter where you’re from
Let’s talk production…when and why?
I began teaching myself Ableton in 2013, and moved onto Logic from there. I think in terms of having a career with longevity in music, one needs to produce your own tracks and develop your signature sound to be taken seriously as an artist.
You’ve recently entered a Beatport remix competition. Tell us more…
These competitions are a great way to practice working with great sounds and vocals. Chances of winning are slim, but it’s still fun. My entry, a remix of Joris Voorn’s ‘A House feat. Kid A’ can be found on Soundcloud/avrah or at avrahmusic.com
What’s your studio and DJ tools of choice and why?
STUDIO: iMac (works great for me, had it for 5 years, and I can use Logic); Samson Resolve SE 6″ studio monitors (amazing clean sound, great value for money); Behringer 6 channel mixer (use it to record vocals, for playback from iMac and DJM mixer); ART M One condenser mic (have found it very adequate for vocals, love that I can see the diaphragm inside); Samson Graphite 25 Midi Keyboard (Great for composing melodies through any synth).
DJ: 2x CDJ 850s with usb port (solid, reliable, convenient, shows small soundwave, compatible with Rekordbox); DJM750 (4 channels, colour sound effects, good quality sound); Rekordbox (awesome for organising tracks, setting cue points, creating playlists and groups to find tracks easily while playing). I wanted to only use decks and no laptop as a DJ, so that I can go anywhere with just 2 usb sticks and play comfortably.
Let’s get back to Cape Town. Is there a progressive house and trance scene and what are some of the challenges the scene face in your opinion?
There is, it’s just small. There aren’t many clubs and parties aimed at these genres and as a result I find most fans of the genre online, via radio or when an event brings down big internationals like Above & Beyond. I think the main challenge is simply that other genres are currently trending, and as a result people aren’t exposed to quality, non commercial Prog House and Trance as much. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg thing I guess.
What’s next for DJ Avrah?
One of my favourite sayings is “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”. I believe I’m still in the preparation stage, busy developing myself, collaborating, producing and learning more about the business. I’m now on Mixi’s show on 5FM called The Weekend Capital, as well as Mutha FM. I’m also working on a debut EP, collaborating with some local producers and am hoping to fly to Dubai in July to DJ at a club launch for a week.
What’s your current top 5 tracks that moves any crowd?
In no specific order…. some of my faves:
Toca Me (Twoloud Remix) – Fragma
A Different Story (Simon Doty Remix) – David Penn
Never Give Up feat. Mario Vasquez (Deniz Koyu Remix) – Alex Sayz, Hype Jones
Follow (Original Mix) – Noah Neiman feat. Mike Schmid
Going Home (Gareth Emery Remix) – Cosmic Gate, Emma Hewitt
Famous last words…