Jun 22, 2022
1001Tracklists Spotlight: Sonic Snares
Today we’re joined by Sonic Snares, who, after spending the pandemic redefining his sound and live show set up, is here to make a statement! Turn it up for his mainstage / big room techno focused new sound, complete with his live drumming and featuring tunes from the likes of CamelPhat, HI-LO, Justus, Maddix, Rebuke, Reinier Zonneveld, UMEK & more! His interview details the changes, while also focusing on his latest productions, live shows, future plans and much more. Enjoy!
Phil, thanks so much for joining us today with your fantastic live set! Talk to us about your vision and the concept behind the set.
Hey! Thanks so much for having me! It’s a great opportunity to show what I’ve been working on for the last two years. I changed my musical direction quite drastically towards the techno side of things, and here again I selected tracks with a lot of energy, impact and power. This type of music connects very well with my live drumming and it is so much fun to play those heavy techno belters! I really aim for mainstage ready music, doesn’t matter if it's a club or festival – it only has to have groove, rave and energy!
Take us inside your setup with CDJs and drum pads. How have you perfected your live act setup over time?
There are many different ways to use electronic drums in a DJ setup, either to trigger vocals, or even whole pieces of a song. But I kind of got back to the roots of a live percussionist that enhances the moment rather than overplays the whole tune. I see my live drums similar to a remix deck or a remix station with only a few selected, but powerful sounds, which I then can use to deliver just that extra bit of live feeling that’s often missed in DJ sets.
Aside from my drums, I now play with three CDJs to constantly have a flow – the third deck is mostly used for acapellas, drum loops and other DJ tools to keep the crowd going.
How do you approach creating a flow with your live sets? How might your 1001Tracklists set compare to a current live performance in a club or at a festival?
I love when the rhythm never stops, that’s something that bothered me a lot in many EDM sets from the past – those roller coaster sets, where you have builds, a short loud drop and a long fallout with pop vocals. It almost felt like listening to a commercial on the radio, and that is why I do quite the opposite. I hardly stop the music, at least some kind of rhythmic element goes on in the background to keep the pulse. There’s still enough place for hype vocals, anthemic acapellas and so on, but always connected to the groove of the set.
I guess the only difference between the Spotlight Mix and a club/festival set is that in a YouTube stream you don’t need to hype people in front of you, so I’ve chosen more meaningful vocals than crowd pleasing ones.
Looking closer at your track selection. can you highlight three artists, tracks, or edits included and why they stand out?
That’s tough… to be honest, I can’t nail it down to three because every track in this set has a huge meaning for me. Of course, I played my last three releases, which is a trilogy I started a year ago, and it marked the beginning of my techno journey! But there’s so many great songs in the set, I mean, just listen to it! I tried to feature all of my favorite artists at the moment, HI-LO, Rebuke, CamelPhat, Justus, Reinier Zonneveld, Lilly Palmer... you see, the list goes on and on!
Reflecting on the past two years, how have you made adjustments to the Sonic Snares project as well as your own life as a result of the pandemic?
Like I mentioned before, I disconnected with the music that was in demand before the pandemic. I felt like whenever I played a show, I only needed to satisfy the crowd, but most tracks didn’t really touch me. There was always something that set me off. So, the pandemic break for me came at the “right” time, needless to say that there’s never a right time for a pandemic or war!
Anyways, I used my spare time to set up a brand new studio, spent days and nights on analog gear, synthesizers and analog effects, practiced a lot of new routines, and, of course, created lots of new tunes! This whole process brought back the joy for making music in the first place, I kinda reset my brain and musical taste! I had time to meet with my friends, be it for home parties, birthdays and so on, and I did private DJ sets just for my close friends, where I could play whatever I wanted, and they enjoyed it so much. All of that got me back on track and super motivated again!
We’ve seen a rise in the mainstage techno scene which has been bolstered as well by Hardwell’s return. What’s your take on the sound?
Well, I would call my niche genre “tribal raw” or “tribal rave,” combining techno vibes with tribal big room and anthemic rave sounds. I also love acid techno, polyrhythmic grooves and leads! The deeper I get into the world of techno and its long history, the more I start to love it – it’s hard dance music, but you can hear it all night long. It’s not like after 60 minutes of a techno set your brain is fried and your ears are humming. I guess we are only about to see the real rise of mainstage techno / big room techno or whatever we want to call it.
On the release front, are there any releases from this year or do you have any upcoming music that you’d like to highlight?
Yes, my latest track “Energy” came out in April and I am very happy with this one. It works so great on dancefloors and it’s getting huge support! I am planning to release more tracks either later this summer or the beginning of autumn. I’m trying to avoid mistakes I made in the past – I don’t want to rush the process of writing and releasing. For me now it’s more important to get out two really cool tracks per year rather than 15 mediocre ones – that’s why I give the songs the time they need!
And looking ahead, what’s keeping you excited and motivated on a daily basis?
I guess life itself keeps me busy and motivated! I have a son, a house, a family to take care of, I do have visions of a new side project which I want to implement this year, and I want to renovate our basement. There’s enough to do!
I try to follow a daily routine, and my calendar and the notes app on my phone help me to keep everything organized! The most important thing is to be efficient with your time, then a lot of work can be done in a fairly short amount of time!
Do you have any plans for the summer that you’d like to share?
Gigs are coming slow in summer, so the main plan is to focus fully on writing great music, doing some more live mixes, and hopefully having holidays at the beach!
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