We at NamesCon are excited to announce that two of our conference attendees will be bringing a whole new set of skills to this year’s event. Statton Hammock from Rightside and Sandeep Ramchandi from Radix, otherwise known as DJ STATN and DJ Sandy, will be bringing the NamesCon crowd to its feet and getting the beat pumping! DJ STATN will be rocking the Sunday Night Cocktail Party, and DJ Sandy will hop in the booth for WaterNight on Tuesday evening.
We recently sat down with Statton and Sandeep to talk music, inspiration, and creative process:
NamesCon: When did you first start mixing or DJing?
Statton Hammock: I first started DJing dances when I was 14. I had the biggest record collection of anyone in middle school. "Mixing," though, was nothing more than crossing over back and forth between a turntable and a cassette tape machine.
I didn't really learn beatmatching, mixing, and music production until much later - about 7 years ago when I went to Tao in Las Vegas and rekindled my desire to produce house music. I took DJ lessons for 3 months after that, learning DJ techniques and the latest software. After that I bought a bunch of equipment and started playing wherever I could - mostly in my basement.
Sandeep Ramchandi: Around 3 years ago when a close friend left his DJ console at my apartment. He was expecting his first child so thought he'd able to get more opportunities to use it at my pad. He showed me the basics and I was hooked. I have always been passionate about electronic music but once I experienced the challenge and emotions of mixing, I was sucked in.
NC: What motivates you to create a mix?
Statton: Lots of things - people, places, conversations, music I hear, events, and emotions. I might be traveling for an ICANN meeting, hanging out with friends, witnessing an event or hearing a new song and I get a feeling for something. After that I start pulling together tracks that amplify my feelings. Sometimes it’s big and powerful music, sometimes it’s funky, other times it’s chill.
Sandy: The end result is immensely satisfying. It's a collection of your favorite tracks strung together seamlessly - a great way to share the sounds you love with friends, who then share it further to build a far reaching network. The ultimate high is playing live to a crowd that really knows music. It's a feeling of empowerment. Mash ups - where you blend one track over another - are a highly enjoyable way to develop something unique. NC: Tell us about the creative process you go through in creating a mix.
Statton: Every mix I make begins with a track that has a catchy bass line and a good hook, even if I am making a "raw" hip-hop mix. When people download a mix, I think they want to hear something immediately upbeat and catchy. It's a little different from performing live, where I might warm up the crowd with something deeper. From there I layer the tracks based on BPM, key, and structure. I chop and splice songs and add a few sound effects once I have put down the songs in the order I want them to play.
Sandy: First you need to pick a genre, a central tone for the set. I've tried my hand at various genres from trance to deep house and they each aim to deliver a variety of emotions from euphoria to absolute peace of mind. While today's software helps tremendously in aiding the mixing process, it only really provides indicators. You have to try and test several different things to finally choose the final tracklist and effects NC: How much time do you spend creating a DJ mix?
Statton: Usually a mix takes me a 2-3 hours to create if I can set aside time to do it in one sitting. Plane travel is great for this. I don't like most of the movies available on airplanes so I spend time on Ableton Live, a type of music production software, on my laptop. Often the person sitting next to me can't resist asking me what I am doing. When I explain it, they want to listen. Surprising, lots of older folks like house music...or else they're just being nice.
Sandy: A few hours over most weekends. I feel prepared to start opening for more established DJs, and in the future I’ll be looking to spend more time behind the deck of a local bar or club.
NC: Which DJs or artists do you feel you are inspired by?
Statton: I am mostly inspired by one DJ named Maurizio Colella, better known as EDX (@EDXMUSIC). He's an Italian DJ and producer. His tracks are characterized by strong rhythmic bass lines, catchy melodies and he uses great vocalists to make his songs very soulful. I also like Diplo. Diplo is blowing up right now and working with everyone in the music business but I used to listen to him years ago when he was jamming all sorts of stuff together trap, new disco, hip-hop, and house and he made it all work. So talented..
Sandy: Eric Pryda aka Pryda, Above & Beyond. Recently I flew halfway around the world to see them and other live DJs in a Halloween concert in Ontario, California.