Behind The Beat | Ummet Ozcan Interview
Only The Beat had the incredible honor of chatting with bleeding edge producer and dj Ummet Ozcan before he stepped up to the decks at Foundation Nightclub in Seattle. He’s notorious for being one of the most innovative producers in the EDM world and it’s not hard to hear why. Ever since he was a child he’s had a passion for music, playing a plethora of instruments such as flutes and keyboards. At just 14 years old he got his own computer and began producing. With roots in tech trance Ummet’s sound has continued to evolve over the years, pushing traditional genre boundaries by creating music that is uniquely his. 2013 has been an absolutely huge year for the Dutchman. With smash hits such as ‘The Code’ with W&W, which was the number one most played track at Ultra Music Festival, ‘Here & Now’ and latest release ‘The Cube’ it’s clear Ummet Ozcan has begun building quite a legacy. Read more to find out about his new synth plugin, collaboration with NERVO & R3HAB and his advice to aspiring producers and djs!
OTB: It’s such an honor to meet you! I saw that you’re joining us from LA, I think this is your first time to Seattle yes?
OTB: Seattle is so excited, we’re so thrilled to have you here! Alright so your A State of Trance 600 Den Bosch set? When I listened to that I first heard Revolution, your new track, and was obsessed! I have been searching for that track ID for months and finally it came out! So what I’m curious about is how did this collaboration with NERVO and R3HAB come about and what was it like to work with them?
UO: Well, actually, it was kind of unexpected. I came to learn R3HAB last year and R3HAB’s really good friends with NERVO and we just, I don’t know, I sent him some new stuff and I made a small setup. I then sent it to R3HAB and asked if maybe we can do something together? And he was like, “Well yeah of course!” and he told me later he had the same idea and later on NERVO liked it, like really well, and they had an idea for the vocals so that’s how it came together.
OTB: Beautiful! What do you think of the track?
UO: I love it!
OTB: You love it?! I love it too, I’ve been obsessed with it for months.
UO: Have you heard the other version?
OTB: What! There’s another version?
UO: Yes it’s instrumental.
OTB: Ooh, well we’re excited to hear! So what’s it like working with house djs when you’re a trance artist?
UO: I like it, I like the new combination, like working with different artists we can make something new.
OTB: Something new for our ears! So that brings me to the fact that I stalk your soundcloud and ‘Daftizer’…
UO: Ooh do you like it?
OTB: Oh yes! But it’s only 37 seconds! So is that ever gonna be a full track?
UO: Yeah, if you listen you will hear a little bit longer version tonight, like a two minute version. Yeah I didn’t know it’s just like a small teaser, it’s a different sound, I didn’t know how people were gonna react. But most people love it.
OTB: So piggybacking off that in ‘The Cube’ and ‘Here and Now’ you have these interesting vocal samples and I was wondering how that plays into the production process, sort of do you think about those at the end or how does that work?
UO: Most of the time when I make a track, I just kinda hear it in my head. And I think okay, did I hear something? I kinda hear it in my head and try it out and it works really good.
OTB: Oh, wow, that’s very cool. It makes it so when it comes on we’re like, “Oh we KNOW this is Ummet!” That’s so neat. So as an artist you’re always experimenting with your sound and I’m wondering where do you think it’s going? How do you think it’s evolving?
UO: I know some of the trance fans, they don’t like where it’s going. But you know, I like to change, I think music is something that’s changing all the time. And I think it’s great and think it’s gonna merge with different styles, last two years has been housey like ‘The Code’ … I don’t know, but I like it.
OTB: No, yeah, that’s awesome, that’s what we wanna hear! So you’re an artist, you’re always working on your sound, always trying to implement things that you hear and so what do you really like? What are you hearing right now that’s really cool that you wanna keep working on – that kind of a thing?
UO: Yeah, like I said, I like to mix up the genres like house and hardstyle, it works really good, it fits really well together. Lately have you heard the hardstyle kick in house productions?
OTB: The distorted kick?
UO: Yeah the distorted kick! I think it works great, so I don’t know what’s up next but I’m hopeful for everything. It’s hard to say where it’s going. I think it’s just merging with all the styles.
OTB: It’s been happening, you know, over the past few years – all the genres keep blending and people keep naming new things, what else are we gonna say?
UO: Maybe it’s gonna be some drum and bass elements, I don’t know.
OTB: I really wanna hear that! So I know that you can play several instruments and you’ve loved music your whole life and I just wanted to know when was that moment when you’re like I wanna dj, I wanna produce?
UO: It’s really hard to say. As long as I can remember when I was eight or nine, I was just playing everything, keyboards, flutes…I think I was 14 when I got my first computer and everything was digital and I discovered for the first time programs like what I work in now, like Fruity Loops, stuff like that, and I was amazed, and I think from that moment, I don’t know…
OTB: Well, you were always musical!
UO: Well, yeah!
OTB: So that brings me to your experience at ASOT 600 Den Bosch, the Turn The World Into A Dancefloor Stage, what was that like, what was the reception like, the fans?
UO: It’s amazing. I mean like I never understand how it works, you think about it and it’s like somebody just standing over there and becoming one with thousands of people. It’s indescribable.
OTB: It’s the same for me as well.
UO: I know, I know. You get on the same level and I don’t know, I’ve got no words for it. It’s a feeling.
OTB: It’s beautiful. That’s trance family right there. That’s what it is. So to go off of that, obviously this is a hard career and what I’m curious about what was the biggest obstacle in your way to becoming a dj and producer?
UO: I think it depends how you look at obstacles. I always see obstacles as new chances and if you look at if look at it that way there’s never an obstacle.
OTB: Wow, that’s a good way to think about it!
UO: If there’s a problem or something like that, it’s a good thing for myself…
OTB: Learning moment!
UO: Yeah, exactly. It’s always a learning moment.
OTB: Well you have the best attitude. That’s great. So I have some questions about your production process, what do you think is the most useful software synthesizer you’ve used in your original music? You still use FL Studio?
OTB: And we’re also really curious about your new synth plug-in…
OTB: Oh I like that, it makes a lot of sense. Well but think about it, even BT’s using Fruity Loops now, because he’s sitting there with a console open, he’s programing the sounds and he just tracks them in, Fruity Loops just has a nice track interface. So maybe it doesn’t do the sound manipulation people want but all you need to do is track things in.
UO: Yeah, totally. I don’t know if you know but Avicii is using FL Studio, Porter Robinson, Deadmau5, a bunch more…I know like five years ago Fruity Loops was looked down on but now it’s become really professional.
OTB: And so that brings us to the new synth plug in…
UO: Well I think I have been working on it for almost three years now, it’s almost finished. The schedule is a little bit delayed because I am traveling a lot and it’s hard to find the time to finish it besides making music, but it’s like almost done, like 90%, just all these small things. I can’t say anything cuz last year I said I was going to release it and it’s not done…
OTB: Will it just be for Windows or for MAC as well?
UO: Still Windows. Yeah because the program is called Synth Edit and it only works for PC.
OTB: So when you’re producing music do you work on a PC?
UO: Yeah, I have a MAC book as well for like on the road, but that’s more for making edits.
OTB: I know a lot of producers work on the road, do you try to only work when you’re in the studio?
UO: I tried it on the road but I really need to be in the studio.
OTB: So that’s good to know because I’m curious about your production process?
UO: Yeah, like I said, on the road I just make like edits, mashups, stuff like that, that’s easy I don’t have to hear how it sounds it’s already finished but when I’m gonna mix something down or try to make an original production I have to have my speakers and stuff, you can’t hear it well on headphones. That’s why. But like W&W they just produce on the road all the time.
OTB: Yeah, definitely, you hear different stories of producers doing different things. That’s neat. So where do you get your inspiration?
UO: Everything! Just like when the sun is shining outside the window or a movie or other artists, it could be really anything.
OTB: So that kind of brings me to this, your song titles, I’ve seen in other interviews you’ve said that with ‘The Box’ just named it that because…
UO: Yeah, that one just came up! And then we continued the series with ‘The Cube’ and people can make their own inferences on that, also with ‘The Code’ and ‘Here and Now’.
OTB: So also what I was really curious about is you’ve been musical you’re whole life, we’ve been over that, is there any particular dj or producer that inspired you personally?
UO: Yeah, not really one person, but I’m more inspired by people like Hans Zimmer – he writes film scores, stuff like that. I love his music, it’s really inspring.
OTB: And so to go off of that I have a lot of friends that are aspiring djs and producers, what would be your message to them? What advice would you give?
UO: Well first of all it has to be your passion, that’s the most important thing. You know I never start djing or making music because I wanted to be a big dj, it’s something I really love to do and I love to make music, it’s my passion, so you do it everyday and if that’s the start of everything, the core, then there’s no problem, you’ll get there anyway. So you make music everyday, keep on listening to other producers, you can learn a lot from listening and also sound designing helped me a lot. Yeah, if you learn that, you can make your own original tracks and ideas you have in mind and create them exactly as you like.
OTB: Well thank you! I know so many people are going to be excited about that advice, so nice to meet you, it was an honor.
Ummet Ozcan is currently on his ‘Take It Like This’ (TILT) World Tour, click HERE to see if Ummet is coming to a city near you!
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