Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Somna

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Somna

Who is Somna? Well, he just released a new single titled “Volcano” featuring Amy Kirkpatrick, but past that, I don’t know much. I do know that he is a DJ and a producer from Canada, and has worked with some pretty legit labels like AVA Recordings, Armada Music and Black Hole Recordings. But after hearing “Volcano,” I just had to learn more. In an effort to promote the track and to learn more about this Canadian progressive trance talent, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Somna.

You just released a track titled “Volcano” featuring Amy Kirkpatrick. Tell me more about working with her on that release.
I had been struggling with finding a strong vocal for my instrumental after having run it by a few vocalists and was close to wrapping up the project as an instrumental despite knowing it could be so much more with a great vocal, but then Amy came up with the brilliant “Volcano,” which I immediately knew was the one. We recorded it in my studio while Amy was still living in Vancouver nearly a year ago and since then, there have been many different versions and changes throughout the year trying make the track as strong as the vocals she provided. I honestly think this track has taken the longest to make out of every other track I’ve done so far, but I’m so happy with the end result.

It’s always great working with Amy, she’s incredibly talented and her work ethic is second to none. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how accomplished she actually is with her previous band works because of how humble and easygoing she is.

Tell me more about your role at AVA Recordings.
I’m Andy Moor’s partner and I also play the role of label manager and A&R of AVA and my duties cover a broad spectrum of things, from designing the artwork, scheduling releases, issuing contracts, signing artists, commissioning remixes, to sending out promos and planning compilations. It’s pretty intense at times but I really believe in the music we are signing and love the music we have been fortunate enough to put out.

How did you and Andy initially connect?
My first interaction with Andy Moor occurred after he had signed one of my tracks. My manager at the time, Shane and I discussed the possibilities of me taking an active role within the label. Not much happened yet until I met Andy a few months later in May of 2015. I picked him up from the airport for his gig and he proposed bringing me onto AVA as his partner. It was an incredible surprise as I was willing to just be an AVA minion of sorts, doing small tedious tasks and such, so it was such an incredible honor to have been asked to take on such a key role within the label. Since then Andy and I have worked closely together with the label, as well as on musical collaborations such as “One Thing About You.”

There aren’t a lot of Canadian DJs out there. What is the dance music scene like in Canada?
I think there’s actually a wealth of talented DJs within Canada, perhaps many have just not had the chance to shine on a more global scale yet but here’s hoping! Our scene is still young if I were to compare it to the rest of the world but it’s growing. I remember 10 years ago I was playing underground raves in warehouses and fields with generators and now there are regular large scale dance events. I do miss the all nighters though. It’s definitely commercialized itself but if it means our music being heard by more people then I’m all for it.

I’m not familiar with GO On Air Recordings. Tell me more about them and what it was like working with them on “Volcano.”
GO On Air Recordings is Giuseppe Ottaviani’s label which also happens to be a sub label under the Black Hole Recordings’ umbrella. This is my second single on the label and it’s been a very positive experience with both tracks. Giuseppe personally supported my first release “The Discovery” heavily in his sets and he really liked “Volcano” and felt it was a solid follow up release. He also took time out of his very busy schedule to help me refine “Volcano” upon signing it and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Tell me about your relationship with theoryX PR.
I joined theoryX about four months ago and Crystal has been fantastic. I got a chance to meet her in person at ADE and having a knowledgeable contact to discuss ideas in the area of marketing has been a real eye opener. It really allows me to focus on writing music with the reassurance that there is someone fighting for me in my corner and helping gain exposure for my music in a very busy market. The kind of stuff that can take a great deal of time out of my day, time that should be spent working on writing music.

You’ve had several aliases over the years. What advantage does a DJ have using an aliases as opposed to his or her full name?
I think one of the biggest advantages of using different aliases is the separation of styles and branding. I love all kinds of music and one of the main reasons I didn’t want to lump everything into one alias is that I don’t want fans to get confused as to what style of music I might be performing at a show. I think it’s safe to say that if they see “Somna” on a flyer they know it’s going to be progressive trance of some sort.

Speaking of names, where does the name Somna come from?
In Swedish it means “to fall asleep,” which seems fitting since I make melodic music. I certainly don’t want people to fall asleep to my music though. The other reason as well is that I was chatting with a friend trying to think of a new name and they mentioned something about zombies and I was really into the zombie mode of call of duty at that time.

You’ve traveled all over the world playing dance music. Any crazy stories you can share with us here today?
I once did a four hour closing set in Ibiza and then flew back to England and drove three hours to Swansea (Wales) for a set and I was so tired I ejected the wrong CD at the very end of my set. Also I almost missed one of my biggest sets in my career (Global Gathering) because I took the train there and the promoter wasn’t able to send someone to pick me up from the train station and there were hundreds of clubbers at the train station trying to make their way to the festival. I ended up walking into town and ran up to a random taxi taking some clubbers there if I could hop in their taxi to get to the festival before being driven to my stage in a golf cart and arriving two minutes before my set.

Who have been some of your biggest influences in dance music over the years?
That’s a tough question; there are so many fantastic artists and DJs out there. Back when I was playing the harder edged music under a different alias, James Zabiela was someone I really looked up to who was pushing the boundaries of what a DJ could do with the Pioneer equipment but it’s a little less applicable towards the style of trance I play now. An artist I also really look up to (no surprise here) is Andy. He’s pioneered some of my favorite techniques such as vocal chops and aggressive saw like bass lines that I really enjoy doing in my own productions.

I don’t see any tour dates on your calendar. Any plans to tour in 2016?
There’s definitely plans at the moment and a few gigs that are in the midst of being finalized. As I still consider my Somna alias to be relatively new, I understand that building a brand takes time so I hope as I progress further along my career with more music that I will end up touring more countries in the future. My fingers are crossed and I’m very optimistic.

What’s next for Somna?
I’m in the process of rebranding my radio show with my new management as well as preparing for a steady stream of releases. My next few singles will be released on March 7th, April 4th and April 29th. I won’t spill the beans yet on what they are but I’ll certainly tease them soon!

In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.

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