Ito Cekaj is one of Sweden’s finest electronic exports and is considered to be a major rising artist. He, alongside Rasmus, have been leading the charge with several great releases of the melodic and techno-facing sounds. Their home for most records rests on the Trusted Tracks imprint and their latest release ‘Fantasi’ is out this week. We got to know Ito a bit better and to understand what he’s been up to as we head to the end of 2021.
How are you, what’s good and bad in your world?
I’m great! I’ve been battling depression and feeling down, I don’t think I’m alone with that during the pandemic, but now I’m feeling better than ever and there is so much fun that’s happening when the world finally is starting to open up again.
Why is melody so important to you? Where does that come from?
The melodies are an essential part of all our songs, they set the mood and tell the story of the track.
It’s the one thing that most listeners remember. The origin varies greatly from song to song, it can come from just sitting at the piano/midi keyboard as well as from a melody that comes up in the mind.
Are you formally trained? or do you just experiment to find the melodies you want?
I am not personally trained in music theory or piano, I have learned from watching videos, experimenting and learning from others such as Rasange. When I create melodies it usually comes from experimenting, sometimes through a melody that’s in my head and sometimes just by pressing random notes on the keyboard.
Where is your best environment as a DJ? What is your ideal setting?
For me the environment is all about the people. I don’t really care if I’m playing at an afterparty on someone’s boat or in a big venue, as long as the people are there for the music and having a blast then I’m having the time of my life. But I do love warm weather so probably on a beach somewhere.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
It can come from various places, anything that affects you on a personal level usually is a great place for inspiration. The strongest inspiration for me is usually emotions I’m having or experiences I’ve had.
Tell us about your new one on Trusted Tracks – where and when was it written, what was the inspiration?
It started out with just drums and the bassline, originally meant to be more indie-dance oriented. However, we later discovered the lead synth which completely changed the mood and emotion of the track, making it more dark and powerful. A lot of the bassline inspiration came from the “running” type of bass that artists like Colyn utilizes in tracks like “The Future is the Past”. A lot of the inspiration also came from an “Apocalyptic” feeling. Dark and aggressive with elements of hope.
You have released many tracks on Trusted Tracks, what do you think is next for the label, and do you like calling the imprint ‘home’?
As a founder Trusted Tracks is absolutely what I call home. Even though we are a somewhat small label at the moment we are always looking to expand and find new talents to give a platform to release their music on.
Do you make the tunes you want to play in your own sets, is there a direct link like that and tell us about one of your latest shows!
I think the foundation of making music is that you want to play it out to people, we always strive to make a better song than the last one. Experimenting and having fun with it. We always get the biggest buzz when me and Rasmus play an original out to a crowd that loses it! We played at the newly started underground event AERIAL in Gothenburg in August of this year, where we played a live rendition of “Alektopat” which made the crowd go crazy. That was a really nice feeling. You can find videos of this on our Instagram. We also got invited to play at Jonas Rathsmans event “Mystery Garden” which was a big honour because he’s a huge inspiration for me.
What else have you got coming up/are you working on?
Rasange & I have a lot of tracks in the making, as well as on stand-by for releases on other labels. We are also playing on the second rendition of Aerial coming up on the 6th November.