Elektro Exclusive interview with Erol Alkan
Erol Alkan is a London-based DJ and producer who got his start as a DJ & club owner in the '90s. He has been prolific on both the production and DJ fronts, from the release of eclectic remixes – such as the Scissor Sisters’ "I Don’t Feel Like Dancing" and Franz Ferdinand's "Do You Wanna" – supporting Daft Punk during their return in 2006 and collaborating with artists like Boys Noize. Alkan took some time to chat with elektro.
Getting started: Alkan first started DJing "through the love of music…an opportunity to share music with friends" as opposed to playing for a crowd at a club or venue. The transition from DJing to producing was fairly seamless, with Erol revealing that it “came natural" He has always been in bands when younger and "making music has been more about instruments than computers."
His musical style: It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact genre on Alkan’s style, as he's at ease making and spinning a wide range of music. Alkan simply says that he “tries to keep things exciting and different.” He observes that adapting and continuing to innovate is a goal he and his peers share.
Productions, collaborations, live performances: Alkan has collaborated with Boys Noize and Switch in the past, generally working in the 129 BPM range. In live performances, however, Erol typically decides the tempo “more by the atmosphere of the room.” His favorite gigs have involved playing at slightly slower pace, which “gives the crowd more of chance to get inside of the music.” When a powerful, fast record is slowed down, it has the potential for a “hypnotic, fantastic quality which you may not normally hear.”
With live performances, an artist "should not feel defeated before playing their first record," Alkan says. "It helps to be confident, smart and interesting in addition to playing great records." Alkan notes that taking full control of the crowd does take "a bit of luck."
When experimenting and creating new productions, spontaneity is important for Alkan but "failing is not a big deal," he says, as long he is trying different things. He has spent more than six months on some records, which were completed after ‘banging [his] head against the wall." The key is to not throw any elements or melodies away and not to get too frustrated by the process.
EVP (electronic voice phenomena) and the paranormal: Alkan has always had an "interest in the paranormal and much of the research behind [EVP] recordings." He is still uncertain on whether to believe the paranormal aspect of EVP, but considers it a fascinating subject regardless.
The near future: There will probably be further work in store as part of Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve. Alkan also plans on continuing to churn out new productions, touring and managing his Phantasy label.