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ross evana

Interview – Ross Evana, Omerta Recordings (Formally KOS)

ross evana

One of FunkNaughty’s favourite producers over the past few years has been Ross Evana, formally KOS. For 7 years KOS rocked many a dancefloor with his productions and dj skills; producing many tech-house and techno club hits that had dancefloors shaking in their wake. However 2010 saw the start of a new artist project and KOS become Ross Evana;  a new exciting sound was born.

FN caught up with Ross to find out what he has been up to since that start of his new artist project, whilst getting his views and top insider advice on digital djing and music production.

Towards the end of 2010 KOS became Ross Evana. What has Ross been up to since then?

Well, i’ve been very busy, i went straight into the studio and started work on a new sound. The 1st track i released as Ross Evana was ‘Ouija Board’ – I wasn’t sure if people would get it, but it came out on Get Physical and did really well. That was the test, and since then I have gone on to release on Saved, Rawthentic, CR2, Time Has Changed and I have now just finished writing my album.

What was the reason for changing from KOS to Ross Evana? We’ve noticed your sound has changed from a techno/tech house sound to more of a house, tribal infused sound. Where you bored of playing techno or are you following in the steps of other dj/producers such as Cajmere who has an alter (Techno) ego – Green Velvet?

The problem was that there were a few other DJ’s around the world with the same name – KOS. It was causing problems both with gigs and productions. In the end I had to back down and revert back to my real name – Ross Evana. (KOS was a nickname that I was given in school at 5 years old!) It was a tough decision but I felt that I couldn’t go any further with that name.  Also my sound had started to evolve so I thought that it was a good time for a new beginning. I see it as taking 1 step back to take 2 steps forward. It was the best decision that I ever made!

So what does your djing set up consist of at the moment and why?

I use Traktor Scratch with CDJs. I’ve used this set-up for 2 ½ years now and I’m happy with it. I really love the looping and effects of Traktor. They have added a new dimension to mixing.  There are also many new exciting pieces of equipment out now like the Allen & Heath DB4 mixer which I will have a look at soon.

How has digital technology changed your dj sets?

I was actually thinking the other day how limited we all used to be in the vinyl days. We couldn’t really do much except mix records. Unless I am doing something to the track that is playing – looping, effects or whatever I get so bored!

I see young DJ’s these days trying to be cool by suddenly playing vinyl. I’m not knocking vinyl as the sound is warm and you can still get some great music on vinyl, but the DJ’s who are playing it just to be cool are doing it for the wrong reasons. If you have grown up with digital then why revert back to vinyl?

ross evana

Which midi controller is your prefferred weapon of choice and why?

That would have to be Native Instruments X1 controller. It is absolutely perfect for Traktor. It’s logical, you  just plug in and play. It’s really easy to see what you are doing in the dark , and it doesn’t take up too much space like many controllers.

Do you have a piece of DJ kit that you just can’t live without?

My ear plugs!  If it was not for them then I would not be able to play anymore due to problems with my ears. I could use any piece of DJ kit to play, but without my ear plugs I won’t go near the club!

Here at FN  were not massive fans of the new wave of midi controllers hitting the streets, such as N.I’s S4 and Pioneer’s DDJ series. This is mainly due to their size and clunkyness and not what the controllers offer. How do you feel about these type of midi players?

Well some of them look like Early Learning Centres for kids!  All those wheels and things to play with. I don’t think that I will ever use one. I saw a DJ in Paris recently carrying one around and it was so big and heavy that he couldn’t even walk straight! The main advantage of them is that you can just plug into 1 channel in the mixer and you are all set, which is handy.  However I prefer to use the mixer and CDJs as they have never let me down before.

What’ would be your top tip for anyone getting into digital djing at the moment?

Invest in an Apple MAC – it will be your best friend and your whole life will run through it. Then decide which software is best for you by looking at the demo’s on youtube. I recommend Traktor but there are so many things available to the new digital DJ. Pioneer’s Rekord Box to use with the CDJ2000’s is also a very good option.

You’ve been producing and releasing tracks for many years now, how would you describe your sound at the moment and where do you see it heading in the future?

The new sound is more housey with punchy drums and based around the groove. My new album has a lot of live keys and vocals and i’ve been working very hard to make sure each track is best it can be. As i want each track to be memorable and not just a standard track that people forget after 6 weeks.

What is your preferred  D.A.W. (Digital Audio Workstation ) of choice?

I use Ableton Live and Logic equally. Ableton for the drums and to work with any  samples. Logic for the rest of the track.

Legacy m1 korg

What other key bits of studio kit do you use and which is your most essential piece?

I mostly work with soft synths and loop libraries, but for my album I used the Dave Smith Prophet and the classic Korg M1 synthesizers. I used these throughout my album, and I will definitely be using them again for future tracks. The sound is so raw and has much more body that using soft synths.

How do you like to work in the studio, what process do you normally follow?

Well, If I have found something to sample, I will generally play around with it in Ableton first of all, using plug-ins to manipulate it and create my own sound. After that, I will I start by making the drums, as these are the backbone of the track. Everything else will come naturally come after that – melodies, hit sounds etc.

Can you give any advice to up and coming producers on how to get their music heard / played in clubs by pro DJs and signed by top record labels?

I believe that if your music is good enough then it will eventually fall into the right hands. My advice is to send your tracks to your target labels by email, but also get ‘out there’ face to face and give to the big DJ’s who you think might like it. If they give it to the labels then the labels will listen. If the music is good then people will take notice.

What has got to be your top piecec of advice for anyone getting into music production at the moment?

When you finish making your tracks, don’t get too excited and immediately send it to DJs/labels. Keep it to yourself, listen again after a few days with fresh ears and 99% of the time you will realize that it needs more work.

Musically who has inspired you the most and why?

Recently I have been inspired by Butch, Nick Curly, Nicolas Jaar, Leon, Martinez, Tim Green, Marco Resmann. These guys are the ones that are pushing boundaries, taking risks and not trying to copy others. There are so many more to mention here.

Who is your favorite dj at the moment and why?

Gregor Tresher.  He finds the perfect balance between House and Techno, and always with the groove.

Who is your favorite producer at the moment and why?

Butch – always top quality productions and never 2 the same.

When you are DJing do you have a pre gig superstitions?

I am not superstitious but I can’t DJ unless I drink at least 2 vodkas! I do suffer with nerves – when I used to play vinyl, my hands used to shake so much at the start of my set that I often couldn’t get the needle on the record! But vodka is the answer to that. :)

And lastly but certainly not least what would be your 3 tips for making a top mix tape?

a.     Grab the listeners’ attention from the start.

b.     Plan it carefully so that it flows.

c.     Remember that people listening to a mix tape are usually in a certain mood, so don’t suddenly change style halfway through.

Ross it has been a pleasure, you’ve provided some great tips and advice here, thank you. Good luck with the forth coming album release. We’ll certainly be looking out for that when it hits the shops!

You can follow Ross on his Facebook and twitter pages and keep up to date with everything he is up to.

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