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Fasika: Up & Coming In The Capital

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Fasika is the alias of a Washington-based Software engineer whose work on burgeoning imprint sinnmusik* is bringing him plaudits aplenty. A producer of some nous, his is an interesting story when it comes to how he approaches his craft; not least because Fasika nearly quit making music at one stage. If you’ve already wrapped your ears around his bass-heavy house stylings, however, then you’ll already know that his is a talent that’s worth savouring. Such talents are emphatically displayed on his latest sinnmusik* joint, 4th Law of Motion, a release that’s already picking up praise from names such as Joris Voorn, Horse Meat Disc, Stacey Pullen and even LTJ Bukem. On this run of form, here’s hoping he stays around for some time yet. We caught up with the man behind the music to find out more…

So this is the second time you’ve released on sinnmusik*. I gather it’s a label you feel pretty comfortable to be working with at this rate then?

Absolutely. They also give me artistic space to explore different soundscapes and provide me with great feedback on whatever I come up with so I feel very comfortable working with them.

And how did you first come to their attention? Or vice versa?

They reached out to me on Soundcloud last year after their good friend Patrick Scholz directed them to the tracks I had on there. So I should use this opportunity to thank Patrick – whom I haven’t had a chance to meet yet – and Thomas (one of the managers from the label) for reaching out.

As an emerging producer, had you been looking to get your tracks signed for some time?

Actually, no. I was so far away from the industry that I didn’t even think it was possible. I’m a software engineer by profession and almost a decade into my career at this point so I had wrongly assumed that the boat had long sailed as far as me making music professionally. I may have reached out to one or two artists early last year but that was about it. I had given up on the idea before I actually gave it a decent shot so there’s a lesson in there somewhere for up and coming artists!

So what’s the biggest challenge facing a producer from the east coast of America in this day and age? Or has the Internet really helped with getting your music to Europe etc?

The Internet has definitely helped in terms of exposure. This is a wonderful thing given that not every city has a thriving house music scene. One of the challenges of being a House music producer in the east coast (at least in DC) I’d say is that one has a somehow limited exposure as far as production is concerned. Local radio stations rarely play proper House and Techno let alone feature a house track from a local artist. I understand the market dictates what they play and they’re a business that has to stay afloat so I don’t blame them but it is a challenge for local artists.

With that said, the House music fan base is quickly expanding in the region and we have a thriving underground scene so maybe there’s a potential market for them now which would also help the local artists indirectly. I should also add that one of my personal challenges, as a producer is that I’m not a DJ. Given my profession I only make music and connect with like minded people in the evening hours or during the weekends. Producers who also DJ constantly work with and network with other DJs so they’re more informed about the local scene and up and coming artists from the coast.

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Who/what are your main influences then? Where did you spend your clubbing youth, for instance?

Some of my early influences are Kevin Saunderson Mr. Lee, J.M. Silk and later on Kerry Chandler, A Guy called Gerald, Erick Morillo, and most Nervous Records releases of the 90’s. In the past decade, even though their production styles are somewhat different than mine, I was a huge fan of John Tejada, Tom Middleton, Loco Dice, and later on Paul Ritch, Frank Roger and Maya Jane Coles. And in the past 2 years, I’d say Bicep, Waze & Odyssey, NY Stomp (Gerd) and Brawther. Regarding the clubs, we have some new great House/Techno clubs here in DC like U St. Music Hall and Flash DC which are some of the new comers. My favorite spot used to be the infamous Club 5 that was shut down around 2009. And of course there’s 18 St. Lounge right next door, which is owned by the guys from Thievery Corporation. Interesting history about that place, it used to be President Theodore Roosevelt’s mansion a century ago!

So what’s the scene like in Washington these days? Are there many up and coming producers from the area that you reckon we should watch out for?

There’s a blooming House/Techno clubbing scene with US and international acts making appearances every week. The clubs also do a decent job of supporting/promoting the local DJs. As far production goes, we have Artist like Deep Dish, Steve Starks, Beautiful Swimmers, Will Eastman (one of the owners of U. St. Music Hall), Jus Nowhere, Benoit & Sergio, Output Message, Saeed Younan and a few others. I also believe there are a lot of underground house artists here that are unsigned because House music still takes a backseat to Hip-­hop and R&B in this region. Moombahton is also a genre that originated here around 5 years ago. And Baltimore, which is an hour drive away, has a house scene that stretches back to the 80’s.

Does the diversity of the city help matters in a musical sense then? Or is one better served for house music on the weekend in say, NYC?

The diversity definitely helps given that most of the local artists I mentioned earlier are first or second generation immigrants. I believe it also enriches people taste of music and production styles. Thievery Corporation and Deep Dish are prime examples of that. The city also has other local genres outside of HouseTechno realm like go‐go, a type of funk music unique to DC from the 60’s and 70’s that is still popular locally. Regarding the later question, I’d have said NYC until few years ago, and probably still is, but the house music scene is growing at an ever increasing rate in DC.

And what’s Washington like as a place to live all around? Decent way of life there?

It’s a wonderful place to live in. It’s a melting pot of different races, cultures and migrants. So for someone who has an active life, you’ll never run out of interesting things to do regardless of how long you’ve been here. There’s also a continuous influx of people from other states who come here for various opportunities given that it’s the states’ capital. By the way, Northern Virginia and part of Maryland are still within the metropolitan area so it’s basically one giant city where the district is the hub of things.

Continued on page 2

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