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NINJA


Read the NINJA Interview below and share it on social media.


Please tell our readers who you are and what you do?


Hello!

I'm a London born DJ / music producer as well as a journalist, event curator + industry speaker with roots stemming from East Africa + the Indian Subcontinent.
My roots set the tone of inspiration for my music to blossom in and I seek to take my listeners on a journey exploring tribal, balaeric + ethnic tones against a hypnotic background of pulsating dark melodic tech and techno. I'm obsessed with the guitar and have spent 5 years training instrumentalists around the world to perform live electric, classical and bass guitar alongside my sets. You can hear a lovely example of that at www.soundcloud.com/dj-ninja/chronicles ;-).
At the moment I'm working on my debut album, The 13th Code, which is a sonic exploration through time and space, unlocking secret codes of the universe. The recording process of this album has been amazing. It's taken me from villages in Kenya recording tribal chants, to Detroit where the origins of techno began. It will be out by the summer so keep an eye out!


How would you describe your influences and how have they changed over the years?


I was bullied in school and Spanish guitar lessons became my form of escapism from a young age. I think this played a huge role in my sound today as a lot of Balearic music is based around the gypsy and flamenco scales. I also prefer to produce in minor keys. My favourite time to play is sunset and when you hear the guitar over my performances, it really gives evokes that infamous "Del Mar" feel.
Growing up in London, I am lucky enough to say my first club experience was around the age of 15 in Fabric. It was 2005 and Adam Beyer was throwing down the most astonishing music I'd ever heard in Room 1. I became obsessed with the power of the kick drum instantly and deciphering techno became my raison d'etre. I'm still playing the music I was collecting decades ago. I was also pretty mesmerised by trance in my earlier years, but unfortunately I think the sound has become commercialised now. I heard Tiesto drop the Macarena in Vegas a few years ago – I think that says it all!
Unfortunately I have not yet had the chance to visit India and only discovered East Africa a few years ago. Discovering sounds with flute, sitar, tribal drums, mantras and chants etc became a very crucial way for me to connect with my core and imagine what those countries could be like.


What´s new right now?


My next gig will be a live stream from Point Blanks Facebook channel on 9th March at 1PM with my guitarist Marshall White, who is flying in specially from Zurich to perform with me! This is going to be pretty special and you can catch that on either www.facebook.com/pointblankmusicschool or www.facebook.com/ninjagrooves
Other than that I'm also developing a game to unlock the codes of the album with a senior engineer from NASA and trying to finish the tracks as soon as possible in between a hectic touring schedule and a day job.

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Are you a superfan of anyone? How did you become a superfan? Do you remember how you become a fan and what turned you into super fan? Have you ever thought about why you´re such a fan?



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What was the biggest mistake you made when you started making music and what would be the number one tip you could give to a newcomer musician?



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How do you get gigs? Can you share any tips?


A lot of it is networking, playing at after parties, approaching venues directly. Nothing will fall on your lap no matter how good you are. You need to be proactive and if you feel like you aren't getting the gigs you want, team up with similar artists and promoters, and throw your own party.


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Do you have good promotion tips for other musicians?


No doubt social media can be a huge distraction, but it is essential. I don't believe you need to be on every single platform but pick at least 2 or 3 that allow you to be regularly engaged. For me this is Instagram, Facebook + Soundcloud. I make sure I post on FB regularly and spend £20 a month on advertising tools. I also use MailChimp for my email updates and am developing my website to have a blog section that will feature things like artist interviews, reviews on albums, thoughts about the scene etc.


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Do you have insights on how to grow your audience on soundcloud that you want to share with our audience?


Firstly make sure everything is correctly communicated about you on your profile. Your bio is an invaluable way to make a strong impression and highlight who you are as an artist.
Be consistent with your sound, even if you can't update it as regularly as you would like.
Make sure you have nice cover art – it's so easy to make this nowadays with tools like Canva.
Remixes are also a great way of getting exposure and growing your audience. You can keep your audience engaged by posting teasers of remixes / sets / tracks before as well.
Also don't hesitate on purchasing Soundcloud Pro and set up like to download gates where a user has to follow you to receive a free download etc. You can use sites like Artist Union, Hive, Click.DJ and ToneDen for this.


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What has been your biggest challenge right now? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?


Learning production has taken a couple of years, I still don't think I'm ready to release anything worthy of the labels I dream of and know I have a long way to go to crack the art of production. That's why I chose to write an album as a journey of discovery for myself first and foremost. I guess the best way I am trying to overcome the challenge is working with a studio engineer to tighten up things but this is expensive and not something I can do more than once a month.


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How do you personally discover new music?


Soundcloud sets mainly and FB groups


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Once you discovered new music, do you tell others about the new music/artist you discovered? If yes, how exactly?


“I hate when artists become possessive over track names. As a producer, I want my music to reach as many people as possible. A DJ does not own the work. In the beginning of my career I used to be secretive about my tracks but over time I realised this was a very trivial way to be. Now I am passionate about sharing new music / artist discovery personally to my friends and audience through FB posts and tracklists on sets.


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What is your number one tip to improve your music production or songwriting skills?


Learn music theory.


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What is your best tip for those who struggle with finishing their tracks?


Take a break for a couple of days and come back to it then. Don't be afraid of asking your musical friends for their advice and create interesting breaks / insert split seconds of silence to get the effects of suspense you want.


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We meet again in one year. What has changed?


I really hope that once I release the album I get signed to a decent agency like Decked Out or Artista Life and that I am producing for the labels of my dreams like Kompakt and Parquet Recordings.


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http://www.dj-ninja.com

http://www.soundcloud.com/dj-ninja

http://www.facebook.com/ninjagrooves

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Enter your questions to the artist in the facebook comment section below.
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