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Zvrra – Groove Podcast 376

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Photo: Press (Zvrra)

To call Zvrra a prolific artist would be a bit of an understatement. The producer, DJ and game developer has amassed a rich discography in the past few years and even seemed to pick up speed once the world went into lockdown. And while recent releases like the Bizzaroland album on Avian, the Hadal EP for 30D and her contribution to the inaugural release of Lennart Wiehe’s new Kuratorium label already paint the picture of a versatile artist, the Chicago-based Eat Dis affiliate’s Bandcamp is even more of a wormhole in which atmospheric techno and energetic footwork rub shoulders. Zvrra’s contribution to our Groove podcast is taking some risks along the way, too.


You are a self-taught producer. What tips would you give a person who wants to start making music but doesn’t know where to start?

Pick up a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) such as FL Studio or Ableton Live and experiment. I started with FL Studio over 21 years ago. Make sure you get a handful of high-quality sound packs because your sample source quality will determine your overall quality. I mentor producers so if you’re needing help I offer some guidance. If you’re making techno you can pick up my Techno Kicks 1 sample pack; these will get you up to speed.

The last time you spoke with Groove, your album Bizzaroland had just come out. Before that and since then, you have released a lot of music, but have mostly stuck to the EP format. What makes an album different—conceptually, thematically, narratively, aesthetically—from an EP, and what, in your opinion, makes an album good?

I feel like an album simply is longer and allows you more time to fully express yourself. The lines get a bit blurred in modern times though.

One of your latest releases was the Hadal EP for 30D ExoPlanets, comprising four tracks on the darker side of the ambient and drone music spectrum. How did the release as a whole come together?

I had a visual swimming around in my imagination of a “drone,” exploring an exoplanet far away from earth where there’s extreme weather cycles and made it into music form.

You have contributed a remix of a Lennart Wiehe track to the inaugural release of his new label Kuratorium. How did it come about that you collaborated for this release, and how would you generally describe your approach to remixing someone else’s music?

Lennart has listened to my music for a while and decided to reach out after he heard my track “Glance” on the Herrensauna compilation V/A Vol. 2. When I remix tracks I try to think about the source material and then warp it into something completely different with bits and pieces of familiarity from the original mix. In this remix I kept a lot of elements of the original track but put that Zvrra sound into the track.

You are quite prolific as a producer and work across many different genres. How would you characterise your creative process in regards to musical styles? Do you rather focus on specific genres for certain periods of time or is it more contingent than that?

I just naturally gravitate towards certain styles. It’s like I have a radio station in my head that just plays tunes out of thin air then I just make tracks based on what I hear.

You’ve said in an interview that you sometimes have problems finishing your tracks. When is a piece of music truly done and ready to be released?

When I’m listening to the track for hours without making any changes. That’s usually when I know it’s done and I’ll render it down and make a playlist and just listen to it while doing other things.

Besides your work as a solo artist, you are also involved in the Eat Dis collective that was originally founded by DJ Girl. How would you describe the philosophy behind Eat Dis and what is your role within it?

Eat Dis is a label that consists of several great creatives. We’re friends, we’re gamers, we’re musicians, we’re artists. The philosophy with Eat Dis I’d say is spontaneous composition, improv and artistic freedom. As far as my role with Eat Dis I am on the label and I take care of some behind the scenes things, but primarily I’m an artist on the label.

You have spoken at length about how video games shaped your taste in music and in fact are also active on Twitch as well as are working on your own games. How do your work in music and your activities in the gaming industry tie in with each other?

They have an interesting tie-in. When I make music I think of small concepts that could be turned into playable video game demos or visual reels and then I draw inspiration from those ideas. I often say that it feels like with my music I’m watching someone make the music as if it weren’t myself. Some of my releases, such as Hadal, can be seen as an idea for a video game but then extracting the audio soundtrack to that “video game.” I do this very often to maintain consistency within a project, too.

What about DJing, what role does it play in your work overall?

I’ve always said I’m a music producer first and a DJ second, but DJing has made me a better producer. (laughs) I think there’s a cool relationship between being a producer and DJ, they compliment each other.

What was the idea behind your mix for our Groove podcast?

Just wanted to showcase things I’m listening to but still maintain a danceable mix especially with dark and hardgroove included. I took a different route with this one and took risks that turned out to provide a great mix. I feel like sometimes you have to take risks with mixing or else you’ll just be playing it safe all the time which is okay, but I like to experiment.

What are your plans for the future?

To get somewhere safe and put out tonnes of music, music videos, and other interactive ventures revolving around Sci-Fi. Hey, buy my tracks on Bandcamp, etc., and continue to come to my shows—that’s the best way to support me. I’m coming to Europe soon!

Stream: Zvrra – Groove Podcast 376

01. Dungeonsoft – Xenophon
02. MCMLXXVII – NO MORE GRAVITY
03. Obseth – Serendipity
04. Kaiser – Towards The Mess
05. Martin Mueller – ASSO (MIKE DEARBORN REMIX)
06. Undivulged – Nask
07. ASEC – Small Collisions
08. PTTRNRCRRNT – VICES 4 (Original Mix)
09. dc11 – Loop1 (Other Form Remix)
10. Andc – Planet 9 (Another Interaction Mix)
11. RUPTURA – Rotina (Original Mix)
12. D.A.S – Travessia (Original Mix)
13. Jorge Fons – Norte
14. Judas – J_EX4 (Original Mix)
15. Demetrious – Chapter II
16. Zvrra – Unreleased
17. Human Safari – Human Silk (Kaiser remix)
18. Silver – OSTEO 3
19. Alex Dolby – System 05 (Original Mix)
20. Regal86 – Psyck-odelic
21. Mark Williams – Last Time
22. Zvrra – Command

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