Interviewing COLOR

One day I landed on a video where COLOR was performing at her home in Malibu with an MPC, a keyboard, a mic and a laptop. I checked many more videos, interested in a sound that brings a relaxed remembrance of warm parties next to the sea, and a technique of live performing with a DJing hint.

After a couple of emails, the first interview written for EQlzr materialized. Thank you COLOR for your answers!

How are you digesting travel restrictions and social distancing?

Honestly, as an artist I am grateful of all of this time I can use to create new sounds in the studio - I’ve been working every day and night since March on my live performance consisting of an MPC, looper, vocal effects and more, and it is almost ready for the world to see. I’ve been posting short videos on my Youtube channel of ideas and songs I have been creating live.

Have your plans changed?

Yes, for sure my plans have changed. I had festivals, events and private parties on the calendar that have all been cancelled, all which required travel. I have been working to stay present online and show the world what I have been creating at this time.

You have been quite prolific…

Yes, I have released 3 albums and a bunch of singles, they are all together on my Bandcamp page.

You went from getting your first turntables to your debut as a DJ in only two self-taught years. Impressive!

Once I bought my turntables I spent a month in my basement teaching myself how to mix records, it was not easy! Very frustrating, but I got the hang of it and as time went on I got much better.

How did you get your first paid gig?

I could teach people how to become a professional DJ. I made it my career in a few different countries. It’s all about finding the right person in charge of booking, and showing them how you can benefit their establishment. My first gig was in Whistler, Canada, I used to bartend the clubs up there.

Being a woman, your looks, your personal style… how do these factors influence your career?

My first thought is that being a woman definitely benefits my career and makes me stand out in this scene. However there have been many times, and it still continues, that the men in this industry don’t take me seriously and don’t believe I’m as good as them. That is a real thing in the scene though, DJs thinking and acting like they’re the best thing in the world. I think that makes me stand out as well, because I’m not like that in fact I hate that.

Did / do you have allies and / or networks that have helped you being where you are now?

Sure, I am signed to Top BIllin’ Record’s sister label My Techno Weighs A Ton, they have released a bunch of my music and have gotten my music heard and played by top DJs such as Richie Hawtin, Billy Kenny, Claude Von Stroke. I have to give credit to the music production school I went to (Point Blank Los Angeles), I learnt more in that 6 month course than I ever could have online. I later took some classes from one of my teachers there Dot at Unspeakable Records who gives personalized lessons and courses on furthering your music career. And just my friends who have supported me and shared my music and pushed me to keep going in this not so forgiving scene.

You started as a DJ and your recent videos show no turntables. Where do you want to go?

I DJ’d for 15 years and it has been my profession for 10 years. To be honest, I got kind of bored and wanted to push myself to the next level. I started making and releasing tracks still thinking that I want to do more than what everyone else is doing. I’ve seen artists create live performances and instantly it became a dream of mine to create music live like this. I wanted to see what I can create and hope to not sound like anyone else. My dream is to play live on Cercle. If you haven’t seen their Youtube channel, check it out.

DAW and DAW-less. How much do you rely on your MPC Live versus a DAW?

I am comfortable on my MPC now, but Ableton is much easier to produce music if I want to just make a song. My MPC is great to lay down ideas, and play live, or to create a song on there but I would still finish it in Ableton.

What kind of preparation you do before shooting one of these 5-10 minute videos?

If i create something I think sounds cool I practice it a few times then film it a few times til I make something that keeps changing and growing, something I believe to be captivating the whole way through. Sometimes I like to put it into my computer and put fun effects on it using the program I used to edit the music video I made last year.

Before I watched your videos it never occurred to me that those masculine deep vocals so common in house music could come from a young woman using effects.

Haha, I have fun making my voice sound robotic or very low or whatever, I think it’s funny and it’s just fun using all the effects we have at our fingertips. It’s so cool how much you can manipulate and shape sounds. I like to laugh and take life light-heartedly, so a lot of my vocals come from that. I also try to think about what people can relate to as far as writing vocals, and also I pull ideas and thoughts using inspiration from the books I read.

You also produce visuals, right? Is this inclination vocational or as a contemporary music producer you feel some pressure to move in this direction as well?

I only feel pressure from myself, I don’t let others pressure me into what i should or could do. I have thought it would be cool to VJ or mix visuals as I make music live, but one thing at a time! As I said, I created a music video last year and I am grateful to have this skillset now of editing videos when I need, but right now I am called to do music.

With everything you have learned, what advice would you give to younger you when she was starting her music career?

I believe that the choices I have made in my life have been perfect and brought me to where I need to be in this exact moment, but what I would say to people starting their music career is this - follow your dreams, you will be much happier doing that then anything else people tell you you “should” do.

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