Oana is a Romanian DJ and producer born in Craiova. She’s been to places some of us probably still dream of. As for music, she played in Netherlands, Germany, Finland, India only to finally feel a strong call, back to the roots, from the motherland. The way creation takes place with Oana completes her creative spectrum through warm and personal sounds with a storyline in between, almost always.
Journeys began blending with experiences taking Oana beyond borders of club music into the realm of sound therapy. Perhaps her most interesting qualities are honesty and openness to new understandings.
What will follow is an extended dialogue with Oana about life, connections, music and a unique voyage. The interview includes the feeder sound 70 mixed by Oana which is an experimental foray featuring harmonic frequencies alongside the melody that announces the celebration of a new moon.
keywords: connection, emotion, evolution, journey
I would like to go to… Space.
Diversity is… like salt for food.
In the EST I’ve discovered… how small the world really is.
A software I use on a daily basis… Logic Pro.
On the train… I write poetry.
Big cities… inspire me.
I never go on a trip without… headphones and music.
When I see people smiling… I smile too.
Colors release… sound and vibration.
Three tracks I lately play on repeat…
Alexandru Bogdan: Hello, Oana! We couldn’t possibly better enjoy the arrival of spring than with you being present in our feeder insider series. Who is Oana? How did music enter her life, what does it represent and how did it all evolve from the first beat until now?
Oana: Hello Bogdan, spring is my favourite season so thank you for choosing to start it with me. I’m Oana, prematurely born in the 80’s summer. I rushed into the world knowing I have a lot of work to do.
Music has been part of my life for as long as I can remember and I was introduced to electronic music through Jean Michel Jarre’s “Oxygene”album, when I was 6 years old.
A lot has changed since then and if I could turn back time there wouldn’t be a thing I would’ve had done differently. Back in 2006 I decided to change something in my life, to rediscover myself and being attracted to Europe, I departed for the Netherlands where I kick-started my artistic career.
Through a series of coincidences I’ve ended up organising parties in Amsterdam together with a group of friends. Others followed later in Hague or Rotterdam. We partied in different underground locations and squats.
This is how the musical project Sabatine came to life in 2010. A few months after my first gig in Amsterdam I left for India where I gained so much knowledge about this beautiful art and, being at the beginning of my career, I was willing to give my best, in front of hundreds of people, that’s how I learned, in the frontline of the battlefield. I saw almost all of India playing music, I was amazed by its bright colours and by the melancholic, warm gaze in people’s eyes.
When I returned to the Netherlands I began working with “Minimalstation” in Duesseldorf, a radio run by King Brian and mr. simmons. There I was resident dj for almost two years, a collaboration which brought me plenty rewarding moments, on both professional and personal levels. Afterwards gigs in Duesseldorf, Berlin, Hamburg and later, in 2011, the first gig in Romania, a really emotional one.
In 2014, I decided to change my style, as I felt more and more attracted to the experimental side of music. I was pulled in by the magic it unleashed in the souls of people, topped by beautiful experiences from the beginning of my artistic career, the influence of the Romanian sound, while developing my personal authenticity. These elements fused into OANA’s rebirth.
Music changed everything in my life and I don’t know where I would have been if it wouldn’t have been for it. I will always bow to the gods of music, the people who came into my life through it, none will I ever forget.
AB: We would like to thank you again for the feeder sound 70 mixed by Oana! As you already know, it was very well received. What are the elements you use to project the frequencies of the universe and how do you interpret people’s relationship with those elements?
Oana: Once again, I thank you for the shared time, for me, to be part of your story is an amazing experience.
I’ve studied the way music interacts with human consciousness for quite a long time and observed how the latter can come at peace, or the opposite, it can become agitated, I saw how the heart opens and the way people get united through music. Moreover, I’ve personally tested it and it seems to me the most efficient healing method. We are all energy, with all that surrounds us so the musical frequencies can regulate our energy field and state.
I use music as therapy which means I connect to the source which unites us all, from where I send out peace, happiness and high vibes, LOVE.
When it comes to the groove I prefer making organic sounds, as close as possible to the human essence, with strong, clear bass lines, a slight tribal percussion of the drums, connecting into an almost shamanic dance rhythm, emotional pieces, intelligent minimalism, off beat sound, unpredictably spilling into the track and last but not least, I hand over part of my sound’s inspiration to the music that influenced my childhood.
Whenever I record, I don’t give much thought to how the listeners will react, I just follow what I like, and whoever has ears, let them hear and feel the emotion I put out.
Oana: Ah, Rain is top special for me, you can actually hear my voice on the track called “Rain”. I was going through a heavy-loaded emotional moment so I figured I could transfer that into music.
The lyrics and voice belong to me. The EP featured remixes from Frazer Campbell and Iori Wakasahanged and it was up in top 10 downloads for several months in a row.
All tracks evolved rather quickly and the unexpected support received after the launch reflected my intuition, as the EP was well received by Loco Dice, Chris Carrier, DI FM, DC 10 Ibiza, Daniel Poli and many more.
My Persian kitty is nicknamed Falufas and the EP was created while I was away in Ireland, when I was missing her big time and Romania as well. The track that lends its name to the EP is very close to me and, so far, I consider it to be one of my best. It came out well when I first recorded it and I left it like that, no further modifications.
AB: Now you are working on a track scheduled to come out on Lilith’s Concept 44 label. How did Lilith and you connect and how is your collaboration unfolding?
Oana: At the moment the production for Concept 44 is on hold, I am working on something very special and I want to have the right mental environment to complete this track. I’ve met Lilith in Hamburg while playing together for the Deep Square showcase, at Baalzaal. Later we’ve met again at ADE, on account of fortunate coincidences. We get together when we can and always talking about music and production methods.
AB: Your first album is coming out this year on Ariki Records, your personal label. It’s interesting that you’ve began working on it while you were touring in India. What did this journey mean to you and what were the moments inspiration flew in?
Oana: The last long trip across India was a very special one. It is when I realised I need to bring something new to the table, a platform for those who understand music on another level and I’ve managed to gather some extraordinary artists, all close to my heart. I can’t wait for you to hear what I have in stock for you.
I lived in a really cool house in Goa, where there was a recording studio as well, together with artists who design party decorations and psychedelic music producers. The album was produced there, influenced a lot by psychedelic culture and sounds.
AB: After checking into a Summer House in New Delhi for a musical event, you went on and played at Katzensuppe in Goa and now we assume preparations for Finland’s Kosmos festival are already starting. How do you choose your destinations and where do you happily return?
Oana: Katzensuppe is a special place in GOA, the only underground club that hosts afterparties. The manager recognized the music I was playing and confessed he was impatiently waiting to hear some Romanian minimal…
I’ve been to Finland two years ago, it was a novel experience to party in the forest especially in the summer nights are lit up by the Midnight Sun.
Places pick me I would say. Don’t have an explicit strategy, I just take things in, how they come, when they come.
I always return happily to India, the Netherlands, Germany, Finland and, of course, back home, in Romania.
AB: Another project of yours is the artistic management agency HORA, aiming to spread the Romanian sound among listeners in India. Who are the artists you promote and how does the calendar for 2016 look like?
Oana: In my last trips I’ve noticed the positive reaction people had to the music I was playing, although this style is very new to most of them, there in India. They kept calling me back and since I cannot be in more places simultaneously I’ve chosen to promote other artists who are into this kind of sound. The calendar is pretty loaded with a lot of artists in focus, names which we will unravel later, at the right time. I can only say some of the collaborations will feature names we all know from the Romanian underground electronic music scene.
AB: We find you on female:pressure, listed next to Borusiade. 8th of March will catch you spinning at Female’s rising festival. Why are female line-up events important and how do you think things will evolve?
Without sounding feminist, numbers tell the facts, 10% of the artists present in the festivals and 5% from the record labels are females. Obviously, this is unbalanced and we need to re-arrange things harmoniously. The fact that it does not matter what gender you belong to, and that music speaks for you, is whole other topic, I don’t like differentiations, art is art…
I cannot speculate on the evolution of these events, but surely they will bring a change in the collective consciousness and, I hope, removing the vail separating us from each other, to bring us unification.
AB: Speaking about production, how does your workflow look like? What’s the gear you cannot work without?
Oana: I have days and days, it depends on how I feel, sometimes I do not have inspiration… Usually I work at night, when people are sleeping and I can focus better. I use a Mac Book pro, 8 years old ☺ and Arturia minibrute, quite 0ften VSTs and sounds I record in the streets, or during chats with friends…
It all depends on what I want to express. Even those moments when I don’t produce anything, they are too part of the creative process.
O.: I’ve met you on Feeder Facebook group. I can’t say I have a favourite section because I enjoy everything you are doing, but if I would have to pick, I would say that I love listening to Feeder Sound, the artists on your list are extremely talented, and feeder.ro‘s content, in general, is very well organised and carefully selected. Congratulations, you are doing something truly novel!
It’s been a pleasure!