Queensyze is a Canadian DJ, producer, composer, and filmmaker. Having produced in various genres throughout her career, she released her debut techno EP The Pretty Lights in 2019. Supported by tastemaker media like Resident Advisor and Mixmag, The Pretty Lights broke into the coveted top ten Techno Chart on Beatport landing the #5 spot within the first week of release.

Her long awaited follow up to The Pretty Lights on Nervous Records, Smells Like Aciid, will finally be released this July. Originally slated for the winter of 2020, Queensyze suffered a traumatic brain injury that stopped her career in its tracks. Recovery has been slow, but finally Queensyze is back to doing what she loves, making this follow up EP even more important.

Hi Queensyze, great to have you with us today! How are things with you and whereabouts are you chatting with us from?
Hi, thanks for having me, great to chat with you today! Things are pretty good these days, definitely better than the last couple of years. I’m presently in my island place on a Southern Gulf Island in British Columbia called Saturna Island. I saw orca whales today from my deck, I can see and hear them come through on the regular! Hearing them is quite incredible. Saturna is a very small quiet island that’s between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, very close to the city but it feels like I’m in the middle of nowhere. I’ve been hunkered down, making music and working. A nice change of pace.

You’ve released a fairly wide range of music in your career, but the last two EPs with Nervous have been very techno focussed. What is it that draws you to this style?
As a producer, I think while my genres may have changed, I definitely have a certain style that I carry with me in all my productions. A raw energy with big drums and intricate percussion. I love the drum programming of techno, how detailed it is, how the percussion builds onto itself and also the sound design. I use the duality of it as a musician and DJ. I think producing the range that I have has made me a better producer as I’m able to use the tricks I learned in drum and bass and house into my techno. Drum and bass is one of the hardest genres to produce in my opinion because you need to have such big sound with huge sub along with bass in a little sound space because it’s so fast. It’s very difficult to get it all in there and sounding good at 175! So I find with producing techno because of my dnb producing background, I’m able to fit lots of interesting things in this slower tempo. Also, before I started to DJ and produce, I was a raver and the first person who inspired me to DJ was a techno producer from Montreal named Misstress Barbara. She played an incredible set to a pretty much empty room, and I was just enamored by her power and control, the music she played was so hard and amazing, I was completely sold that I wanted to be a DJ after I saw her. Also the raves I went to the DJ’s played a wide range of electronic music so I got to hear many different genres in my early years before I started to DJ, and I bring these energies to my productions.

And is this what we can expect from you in the future?
Yes definitely. I’ve been in DJ’ing techno since 2016, for about six years now and I have another EP I’m shopping around along with writing a new one that’s almost ready.

There was a big gap between your last EP and Smells Like Aciid due to an injury you sustained, are you now fully recovered?
My last release “The Pretty Lights” was released in 2019 and it did really well. It was a top techno pick on Resident Advisor for 2019, it was played on the Drumcode Stage at Tomorrowland, it was in the top 5 on Beatport. So yea, I was pretty excited. My next EP was ready a few months later but I hadn’t finished it yet as I still had a few tweaks to make after I played it out a few times. And a couple weeks after my NYE gig in January 2020 I was in a freak accident and sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), more commonly known as a concussion. It turned out to be pretty bad and I couldn’t even listen to music for the first 8 months, it made me physically sick. I had to cancel my gigs and put a hold on my entire life and then slowly build it back up again.

Who are your biggest musical influences and why?
Oh wow, big question. I have so many, there’s been influences from many different genres for different reasons.
For sound design and emotion – Jon Hopkins, Brian Eno, the XX, Omni Trio.
For drum programming and rawness -Thomas Bangalter (in his Roule days), Steve Poindexter, Dax J.
For production – Flug, Mark Broom, Slam.
For just listening -Tycho, Christian Löffler, M83.

For you, what was the best era of techno music, when creativity was at its highest?
I love the early 90’s stuff, I think the old techno, hardcore/DnB (when dnb was called hardcore) and house is pretty incredible. So inventive and creative. There’s nothing like it. It’s so raw and the technology they used was minimal. What they were able to accomplish with what they had access to is amazing. I don’t think people realize how limiting producing was at that time.
I also love what’s happening right now in techno. I love that it’s gotten really hard again, and fast. It’s very inspiring. Makes me want to move and dance and feel something. Let’s get crazy!

What does the process of creating new tracks look like for you?
You have so many good questions!! I always start with my beats. It starts with a kick drum, then I build my percussion. I usually write my percussion specifically for each track. Same with my kicks. I don’t typically use drum samples unless I feel it needs that accent. I then write the main bit, the chorus if we’re to talk about song structure. Then the verses. Then I write the builds and drops and put in the little accent details. I typically write the entire drum track first and all of the drum builds. Then everything else around it.

Are there any specific bits of kit or studio gear that were prominent in the latest production?
The key instrument I used in both tracks is my TB-303. I’ve used it on every single track I’ve produced since I bought it in 2008. I also used my TR-09 quite a bit and my Sub 37. For the sound design I use my Virus mostly.

Thanks a lot for chatting with us! To round off, is there anything else that you’d like to share with us?
Thanks for having me 🙂 Smells Like Aciid is available July 22!

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