After last week’s excellent mix from a Detroit veteran, this week we have a contribution from someone a little closer to home and from the new generation of UK producers. Bontan is his name and he hails from the north-west of Britain. Despite only surfacing quite recently Bontan already has a buzz around his name which is why we thought it was important to lend him our support and get the exciting talent on board for a ‘get to know you better’ Q&A session and also see what he’s got to offer when it comes to DJ mixes. It’s fair to say we haven’t been disappointed at all, in fact we’re very impressed with his contribution and we’re sure you’ll agree…
Since you’re relatively new to us, can you please give us a brief bit of background on yourself? Where are you from, how old are you, what was your entry point with making music?
I’m from the North West of England. Situated in between Liverpool & Manchester. I’m 26 years old and have been producing house music for around seven years. I naturally fell into producing music after DJing for a number of years. I figured that making music was the only way to make my stamp on the music industry as it’s very rare to see a DJ become successful from just DJing.
Which local artists really inspired you on your path to becoming a producer?
Well, 15 minutes from my house was the Southport Weekender. So I was lucky enough to have DJs like Derrick Carter, Kerri Chandler & Kenny Dope on my doorstep regularly twice a year. The Southport Weekender was my first introduction to underground house music.
Where/when did you first start clubbing?
My first serious (underage) clubbing experience, again, was the Southport Weekender. I was literally blown away by it. It was the first time I had been somewhere where everyone was on the same level, all looking toward the DJ appreciating every second of it. I knew after that day what I wanted to do with my life.
How did you go about learning how to make your own music? Are you formally trained?
I bought a copy of Logic & a Macbook and locked myself away in my bedroom until I got to grips with it. The best piece of advice I could give someone is for them to teach themselves. If you are trained by someone else I feel you learn their habits.
What kind of stuff were you making when you first started to produce?
I first started making edits & bootlegs. My first release years ago was a tech house tribal number called mambo. It wasn’t the best but it did the job!
Were you DJing at the same time as learning to produce? How did you get into record shopping/playing?
I was DJing about four years prior to taking up production. I remember looking at pictures of decks from a magazine with my life-long friend, James, when we were in school. We used to go on about how much we wanted decks. It was strange because we were literally the only kids in our school interested in it and we even got some stick for it! Eventually I got hold of some belt drive vinyl decks when I was about 15.
Was there a ‘Eureka moment’ that made you decide that music was to be your calling in life? If not, what was it that made you take that path?
Again it was at the legendary Southport Weekender.
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That place has a lot to answer for!
Exactly. After hearing Kerri Chandler play until 8am I knew DJing wasn’t just about playing the biggest and best records. That experience taught me that you could take people on a journey and really give them an amazing experience.
Where does your name come from?
That’s top secret…
What would you say was your first ‘big break’?
I would probably say it was the remix that came out for Josh Butler. I’d had a couple of releases prior but nothing that was globally successful. I feel this really gave me a huge amount of exposure & opportunities.
When we met backstage at DC10 in Ibiza you told me it was actually your first time there, how did it go? Any highlights?
It was unbelievable! I met a lot of really friendly people from the industry and listened to some amazing DJs. I would say Kerri Chandler & Timo Maas were the highlights.
Did your visit there inspire you in any way?
Yeah when I got back home, I went straight round to Josh Butler’s and we cooked up something really special!
How often do you visit London? How does it compare to your hometown for parties/music etc..?
I’m probably in London at least once every few weeks. I really like it down there. The last time I was down was for my gig at Egg. The parties are always bouncing and the people are super friendly. I could see myself living down there eventually.
Nice one. Since you’re a frequent visitor, do you have any favourite places to visit in London?
Well I was at a place last week called Honest Burger by King’s Cross. It’s now my favourite place to eat!
Girls from London or girls from the north? And why?
Nothing beats a northern lass!… Because she will kill me if I say otherwise.
You seem to be a busy chap at the moment, can you fill us in on what you’re up to over the summer and what you have coming up release-wise?
I’m playing in Ibiza a few times over the summer. I have a gig at Tomorrowland & Ministry of Sound as well. Also I’m supporting Clean Bandit on their UK tour in October. Release-wise I have a few more remixes coming up before the summer is over. My new record with Josh Butler should be coming soon & also my solo release Gadgets & Buttons.
What are your hopes/ambitions for the future?
Just to keep making music and hopefully making people happy in the process.
Sum yourself up in five words…
Joker. Friendly. Optimistic. Excitable. Idiot.