With three ground-breaking releases in about a year, American-born and Berlin-based Oshana has had a staggering start to 2017: a new live set, and a new addition to the much demanded and forward thinking Yoyaku Agency roster. Already proposing a very personal and engaging style, her recent productions have caught the eye of the micro-house and minimal scene. To the point that artists like Ricardo Villalobos or Raresh have been consistently supporting her tracks and frequently played her music over the past year.
Electronic Groove: Hi Oshana, welcome. You have just started a new live show debuting at Rex Club in Paris last February. When was the last time you played Live?
Oshana: Thanks! My last live show was back in November. It’s been a while, but it’s been great having the time to step back and improve upon my LIVE.
EG: How does the new live show differ from the previous one?
Oshana: The one before was probably ‘loopier’, with less improvisation. In the new LIVE show, I place emphasis on each individual element of the track, which allows the audience to experience, first-hand, what I experience in the studio. The new approach is certainly more freestyle, but much more interesting.
EG: Also, I suppose playing more often makes you more comfortable with the process and more inclined to play around?
Oshana: Definitely, it’s more fun this way. It keeps people engaged. I think it’s important to differentiate a LIVE show from a DJ set. One of the ways I accomplish this is by improvising and deconstructing in real time. At the same time, I understand it’s important to keep the pace and stay focused on the floor, so I maintain constant percussion throughout the improvisational bits.
EG: You have had quite a busy first quarter of 2017. Can you tell us how you joined Yoyaku Agency and how it’s been going?
Oshana: So far, it’s been excellent. I was introduced to the team via Anthea, who already had a distribution deal with them for her Partisan imprint. Prior to our meeting, she mentioned that I was looking for representation, and I seemed to be a natural fit for their roster. They really liked my Partisan release, and being a female LIVE act, I brought something different to the table while also fitting to the general vibe of the agency. To be honest, it was a perfect match. They’re just as hungry as I am. They are young, hardworking, ambitious… We operate on similar dynamics. I was naturally drawn to them.
EG: You’ve been linked with the French scene quite a lot lately… Can you tell us more about it?
Oshana: Yes, my latest releases gear more towards the French house sound, which is driving and fun. I also hold close affiliations with several French artists. It could be because of the ‘Rue de Plaisance’ release, then working with Yoyaku.
EG: For those who have been following you since the beginning, it’s been amazing to see your sound evolve with the last couple releases. What has influenced you?
Oshana: Performing more often has definitely influenced the way I produce nowadays. I have a better and direct understanding of what does and doesn’t work on the dance floor. Also, since I started working full-time in music, I finally have uninhibited time to be in the studio.
Moving to Berlin has been an incredible accelerator at so many levels as well. The party never stops here, so I have so much exposure to so many different kinds of music. Naturally, I’ve sucked up all of it and become inspired.
“Overall, my sound design standards have raised to a much higher level. Now I’m really taking care of every sound that I use”
EG: Your music has evolved, but also your production techniques?
Oshana: Yes, now more than ever. There’s been more of a focus on raw drum patterns. Overall, my sound design standards have raised to a higher level. Now I’m really taking care of every sound that I use. Whereas before it was more of creative thing like ‘Does it sound good? Does it not?’. Now I’m really nerding out and getting deep into the sound design, so it sounds good no matter what. I’m more interested in creating interesting and impactful mix-downs than ever before. I’m also heavily focused on saturation to recreate the tough, ruggedness of analog sound.
EG: About production, what are your weapons of choice?
Oshana: I use a combination of VST’s and analog gear. My main piece is my Korg Electribe Emx-1. I also use the Arturia Synth collection and Modular V, as well as my Juno-106. Most importantly, though, I use my ears and imagination. I’ve never felt limited by the amount of gear I use, but I’ve definitely been empowered by it.
EG: Now more on your inspiration and creativity, what have been your main musical influences?
Oshana: They’re always changing. I try to draw inspiration from all over the place. When I started, I was heavily influenced by the Arpiar sound. Recently it was more about the Macintosh records and the Sonic Groove stuff from back in the day. I’m talking about like mid-nineties to early 2000’s early house and techno. Digging for records has introduced me to a variety of new sounds. Anthea and I, both, have spent the last year doing our research to try and expand on our current sound. I’m learning a lot from her.
EG: It’s just been a year that you decided to quit your finance job in New York, move to Berlin and become a full-time artist. How did that happen?
Oshana: Back in New York, having a full-time job made me feel like I just existed to pay bills. I realized I didn’t want to live that way anymore and was convinced that pursuing a career as a full-time artist was the sure way to live a more vibrant life. All my friends were pushing me to make the move to Berlin. It was really risky, but I knew it would pay off. It’s been almost a year, and I love it.
EG: What about new your life in Berlin aside from music?
Oshana: My personal life is much better, as well. Between keeping a 9 to 5 and music, I barely had time to see my friends. Now I can decide to spend the whole day with a friend, another day in the studio, another day digging…whatever I feel like doing, I do it. I go with whatever I feel at the moment. I don’t have to work within the confines of a regular time structure. For anybody who’s creative, it’s very important. You can’t just switch this kind of things on and off. That’s why I think that having this kind of flexibility is important. When you feel inspired you can go into the studio. Whereas before it was like ‘OK today is my studio day, but shit I don’t feel inspired and I’m wasting my time… The other day I felt inspired but I was at work and I lost my inspiration!
EG: So many aspiring producers and artists out there would dream of following the same path you took. What advice would you give to all the female artists out there?
Oshana: Take risks and persevere. I don’t see as many female producers as male. As a female producer, I’m generally wondering why there isn’t more female artists doing this. Maybe it’s because there is a fierce competition and so many talented male producers out there. Regardless of what it is, I think you need to push forward and stay focused. Don’t be discouraged if production seems complicated at first. Eventually you will end up making something interesting and personal. Don’t be discouraged by the fact that there aren’t so many female producers out there. Just focus on your music and keep pushing, and your day will come. I’m a self-taught producer and, if I can make it, so can you.
EG: You’ve just release two great tracks with The Arcadia EP (Partisan) and Ametitsu (Yoyaku). What’s next?
Oshana: At the moment I’m holding off on releases until the end of the year. If anything, I will release another EP on Partisan. I haven’t decided yet. I’ve put enough music out this year, so maybe I will try and focus on material for the live show now. This year will be about that and also proving that I am more than a live act, but also a DJ.
“I don’t have to work within the confines of a regular time structure. For anybody who’s creative, it’s very important. You can’t just switch this kind of things on and off”
EG: Any exciting gig coming up that you’re looking forward to?
Oshana: Well I’m not sure I can share that for now but there are a few festivals that I will be playing this summer. I’ve only played festivals a couple times before and I’m excited about the experience.
EG: How about the scene in the US?
Oshana: It’s always growing, especially the underground scene. The US is the birthplace of house and techno music, so it’s good to see it picking up again. Europe has had a lot do with that. For example, in New York international acts come to play underground parties every day of the weekend. But now it’s also happening in other cities like Miami, LA, Boston… They always had bigger names coming and playing but now you can feel they are developing their own underground scene, and that’s exciting.
EG: If Tomorrowland calls you tomorrow to play alongside a group of EDM DJs, would you go?
Oshana: I’ve thought about it. If people that go there are expecting a certain type of music, maybe it could be interesting for them to discover and get involved into the underground music. So, I would gladly say yes!
EG: It’s also a matter of exposure to our music. Maybe they never heard anything else than EDM before!
Oshana: Absolutely. I used to listen to trance, because back in my younger days I had no access to any other kind of electronic music before. And the first time I listened to house and techno I definitely thought I wished I had exposure to it sooner. I’m sure it could be the same for them.
Oshana’s latest EP ‘Ametisu‘ is already available on Yoyaku Records. Grab your copy here.