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Written by CGNY   
Monday, 15 May 2017 15:15

Sometimes an artist puts out a podcast that just hits you in a certain glorious way and even makes believers of non techno lovers (George!?) Such is the case with this weeks artist. With is own label Proletarijat already making techno waves and a Berghain gig behind him, we caught up with the Sarajevan, now Sweden-based dj/producer Sev Dah.

CGNY: So you grew up in Sarajevo. What music were you listening to as a kid and what led you into techno ultimately?

SEV DAH: Yes, I grew up in Sarajevo, but there is a lot of time between and after Sarajevo that was so important to me as a person and my development as an artist. When the war broke out in 1991 in Yugoslavia I went to Germany as a refugee with my family. I lived in Germany between the years 1991-1998 and the year 1995 was the first time I got in contact with electronic dance music, if I remember right. Mainly I was listening to hip hop, then I discovered happy-hardcore and I kinda liked it because it sounded different than anything else I heard before. In 1997 I was at a friend's house and we were watching the Love Parade on TV, and I instantly fell in love with the crowd, the music and the vibe there. I saw that these people had some kind of freedom. It felt like it was me inside the crowd and I didn’t  want to leave, NEVER! After that day I was trying to search for similar music that I heard on TV played by the guys on the Love Parade. So it took some time. I discovered then trance, I loved it but it was not exactly THAT sound that I was searching for, at least I thought it was the right sound until I moved back to Sarajevo in 1998. There I heard for the first time about Umek, Liebing, Väth and co. I found the right sound for my ears back in 2000 when the internet came in  I found so many good artists, It's just the result of big interest and passion for the music that created and formed my musical taste today, I don't think I made a bad choice!

CGNY: So would you say you began your musical career in your native country or in Sweden? And does living in Sweden affect your musical style? (dark, heavy techno)

SEV DAH: I started with producing already back in 1998 when I was in Germany, but it was just for fun and out of curiosity. When I moved back to Sarajevo I wanted to get more knowledge about music production, so I started researching for different ways of how techno is made, how it works. I even remember that I used to make music on Play Station 1, there was a program called Music 2000. I spent nights and days learning how to arrange beats! In 2004 I think I started to focus more on the whole game and I really had my first visions about what I want to do. I can say that Sarajevo played a big role in my musical development and the way how I create music. It was a rough time. I was not the richest kid around, we were not the happiest family and I also recently came from a developed country into a post-war wasteland! It took some time to adapt and accept the reality. It was hard, and I think music, generally techno, played a big role on keeping my sanity

I moved to Sweden in 2009 and I am happy about it, I finally saw things more clearly and could focus more seriously on music. Nostalgia created my vision of Techno today!

CGNY: So where did the moniker Sev Dah come from? It has a particularly techno vibe!

SEV DAH: It's actually a music genre from Bosnia; Sevdah or Sevdalinka. When I moved to Sweden I changed my artist name so that I could have something from my roots inside the name. It's really sad music so I wanted to convey that sense of sadness in my techno.

CGNY: When did you decide that you wanted to be a musician and was there any particular piece of music that influenced your decision?

SEV DAH: It was after I saw the Love Parade on TV back in Germany. I instantly felt connected to the lifestyle and the music, I felt freedom! Later as I got older, that need to express myself in an artistic way just became even stronger. The time where I started to understand the world, the system we live in, politics, money and greed, it all made it harder for me to accept the world how it really is. But when I make music, when I play, I feel connected with the crowd, and that's what I can't feel each time with the reality in this world. The plan and goal is that I never quit doing it!

CGNY: You started your own label – how long has it been running and what are the new releases coming out?

SEV DAH: I had the first visions for PROLETARIJAT already back in 2012. It was a long way, I was not sure in what direction it should go, but 2016 I finally decided to risk it and try it! It is a platform for my own musical expression, mainly! But I have some messages to tell- with the whole concept that I want to share through music, artwork and stories behind the artwork. Hopefully this concept will be accepted.

As I said, it is manly for my own music, but I won't keep it strictly in that way in the future! There are plans of other artists' involvement in PROLETARIJAT and I am really looking forward to this chapter in my life!

The next release will be a 3 track EP by myself, dedicated to my dad. It is currently in progress (mastering and pressing) and it should hit the stores after summer.

CGNY: The Deep Space Helsinki podcast you did is one of CGNY’s faves this year, just really great melodic, driven and hypnotic techno. I listen to so many mixes so to hear one that stands out the way yours did is exceptional. So when you were putting that together – did you have a particular style or thinking behind it or just a bunch of tracks you knew you wanted to play?

SEV DAH: Really appreciate the nice words; that means a lot to me 'coz this is that sort of feedback I am trying to achieve with my music/sets! The DSH podcast was a replica of my sets that I use to play on my gigs, and it has a simple formula that I am trying to follow - emotional, hypnotic but forward going. For me it is important to know my music, and I don't like to prepare, I like to feel it in a certain moment, to know what I can play next to make it different, to make myself and others move. I don't want to stick out from my colleagues; Techno is a universal language, but I can say that I have a different approach to the build-up of my sets 'coz of my Balkan background. I like melancholic music, but I am also a big fan of banging hypnotic no-bull-shit-techno. Combine these two feelings and it can drive you crazy!

CGNY: Where do you see electronic music and techno specifically going in 20 years’ time? A lot of the innovators and pioneers of that music will be in their 60s and 70s then!

SEV DAH: Hopefully not on mainstream media! Techno is a big business right now, I have my doubts if that is good for the development. Each form of advertisement is good for our small scene, but it can backfire too. It's up to us to keep it somewhere in the middle. Techno is universal, so I don't mind the advertisement on a bigger scale, but we need to be careful, Techno must keep its concept of equality and unity. That is the biggest message with PROLETARIJAT, hopefully I can contribute to keep them.

CGNY: If you could bring one album with you on a 2 year journey to Mars, what would it be and why?

SEV DAH: No doubts, I would get Luke Slater's Arc Angel LP with me. I kinda think his music is out of this world but at the same time it is so connected with our world, it would keep me positive and strong for the journey back home. I would survive these 2 years easily listening to it, day in-day out!

CGNY: Where have been your favorite spots to play in Europe? What do you think about the current state of techno and electronic music overseas? Do you follow any US artists?

SEV DAH: Each party is a special memory for me and a positive experience 'coz I live for those moments when I get connected with the people in the dark. Since I am a full time dad and I also have a full time job it's hard for me to keep up with the bookings that are coming in. The fact that I don't have any booking agency behind me makes it more difficult, so I really enjoy each possibility to get some new experiences through music. I would lie if I didn't say that Berghain was the most special place where I played so far. It's so much more than just a club, that place has the roots of Techno as a concept, and I really enjoyed my time there! Berlin is always so nice to me and I am always happy to be back!

I don't follow the scene in the States so much, but I know that there is something bigger and better going on since there are people who are really passionate about the promotion of Techno. Droid Behavior from L.A. is doing some great bookings, and Nicole from New York Trax is releasing some kickass music, so there is possibility and space to lift up the scene in the states! The only thing I follow more closely are my colleagues who are releasing really good music and there is more and more that find their way into my record bag!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 14:32

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