18 Apr 2021
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Decktrik - Interview with Decktrik

08 Dec 2020 // An interview by Gareth Heta

Hailing from Palmerston North and with a varied career including radio hosting, music production, and a focus on community building within the NZ music scene, Decktrik AKA Samir Loumachi sat down with Gareth from Muzic.net.nz for a chat:

You have quite a varied CV in the music industry – can you give us a bit of background on how you got started?

I got into DJing just over 10 years ago. I started discovering electronic music, mashups, and remixes for the first time. I was fully addicted to computers as a kid, so when mum gave me time-out from the screens, I got into radio as the next best thing. Ministry of Sound Sessions on ZM, Our:House Radio on George and BBC Radio 1 Dance were the main staples for my music discoveries. I started getting into making bootleg mashups, remixes, and mixtapes on Mixcraft 5.

I met some music friends in school who ran an internet radio station and joined in. We all found our way into DJing and music production. With all our free time after school and the internet, we got to network with lots of music people in our town, country and around the world. We got to play a few house parties, fundraiser events and school balls. As I got older, I stayed passionate in DJing but also started to see the potential to DJ and play music on proper FM radio and then found my way into getting my own show on Radio Control 99.4FM. I have been on the radio for almost 8 years now.

As I got older, artists like Martin Solveig, Swedish House Mafia, deadmau5, David Guetta, Avicii and Skrillex were all great examples of music producers who got to play their own music in a DJ fashion. I got my first ‘residency’ when I was 14 (an U18 friendly one of course) at the local Youth Space every Thursday. I practiced there alongside working at McDonalds right up till Year 13. Since then I've been doing lots of music production and picking up lots of gigs along the way.

You’re involved in behind-the-scenes work in the electronic music space, as well creating and playing music – fingers in lots of pies! What sort of work do you do on the technical side, and how does that inform your own music career?

Since I was always really good at computers, when I got onto Facebook, forums etc., I really wanted to be of service to everyone, especially people I looked up to from a young age. Being of service behind the scenes also helps you gain heaps of knowledge and opportunities. I started to find little ways to help people after school, hustles included making computer generated voice tags for DJs, sharing helpful YouTube videos and Facebook groups for people wanting to learn DJing/production, and lots of other stuff. I also helped a handful of artists in New Zealand with Facebook Verification back when expression of interest forms were more laidback. I could keep going, but we'd be here all day!

Recently I've helped people with music distribution, setting up Spotify for Artists, helping artists setup APRA accounts and more. I'm really staunch towards maximum NZ music in all my DJ sets, and radio shows, because I know it means the world to the artists and will create legacy and history to come. I'm really glad I was able to find a way to bring value to the music space, because I know what I've done has helped people heaps not just creatively but mentally. Everything from computer crashes, to sharing unused Splice credits, my philosophy is all about ensuring everyone in New Zealand has a best fighting chance to express themselves creatively, because I truly believe groundwork like this makes for a safer and more peaceful community. It's a win-win for the whole community!

You’re a DJ as well hosting radio shows – as someone starting out on the same path, it’s great for getting exposure and experience. Can you speak about radio, and your DJing? Are you playing out at clubs and festivals as well?

If anyone has even the slightest tickle in the gut about the excitement of volunteering on radio, I highly recommend they bite the bullet and walk into the blessing! I was very blessed to be given a show, and it's helped me grow not just in music but as a person as well! The joy of having a radio show is you can make it work for both you and the audience. I've recently started a podcast called Beat Whanau, and the ability to have a place to premiere and road test both music and podcasts is really crucial for seeing (and hearing) things from a different context. We've had countless kiwis send through their unreleased tracks that have then gone to spread the nation on release. Recently work has been quite full-on, but I've been finding my balance throughout this year. The last couple of years have been huge for me. Highlights include playing a set at Future Club for IWI Unearthed as well as a club-night at Impala.

What kind of music do you listen to, and does it influence what you produce? What sort of music are you producing? I hear you produce stock music which sounds different!

Yeah I've really started to open up to everything over the last few years. I really got into sampled house tunes in the early days, Hed Kandi, Ministry of Sound and the like were my digs for my first gigs. It's really come full circle in recent years as I've become more open to everything and finding the good in it all! Everything from the Islamic/Arabic music from Dad's side to the earlier hits from my Mum's side, and even some classical music on RNZ concert (one of the only stations my car stereo can pick up). The music that's all around me certainly influences me, which is why I like going out to different environments and meeting different people. There's ideas in my head to flip and remix just about anything and everything these days! I just started getting back into stock music in the middle of last year, and I'm excited about the opportunities to bring my gifts to the New Zealand market. Over the last few years I've been seeing the potential for income from stock music online, especially on places like AudioJungle and BeatStars. I think AudioJungle is a great place for people to start building a portfolio.

I've got heaps of new music to release, so no doubt anyone wanting to meet me in Auckland will be able to find me tucked away in a corner of McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks, KFC or the local city library over the Christmas break, Queen St seems to be like the Vegas strip of my music production career for the foreseeable future, but I'm proud and not afraid to share the humble beginnings in my journey. I find for whatever reason, mentally, I just can't work in familiar places too well, but I'm getting there and everyone is supportive which is what life is all about.

How do you find the NZ music scene in terms of support and getting yourself established as an artist?

I think we're quite lucky in New Zealand in the sense that compared to many other countries around the world, we tend to support our emerging artists who may be starting out broke or with little funding quite well. I also want to take the time while I'm on this platform of voice to pass on the love and gratitude to everyone who works behind the scenes to ensure everyone in New Zealand music feels that they are supported. I recently joined the Music Producers Guild NZ Aotearoa (MPGNZ) and I take my hat off to Chris, Greg and the entire crew for all their and love mahi here. Being able to meet P-Money at Roundhead was a true blessing and honour, and his wisdom on this exact subject was pivotal for me personally. I love the mahi from Muzic.net.nz, huge up to all the independent and student radio stations, Control, Music For the People, Active, RDU, Pulzar, the list goes on...

To all the movements in electronic, Bassment, IWI, Too Much Sauce, AYEBRO/REPFM, Too Cut, Room One, Bassment, Slo Wave, Nah Zone, Sniffers, there's literally hundreds around now, so if I've missed you out just know I'm picking names from a hat here, there's literally hundreds and being able to meet these communities and know they are all genuine is the testimony I wish to share with everyone. I love the recent addition of MusicHelps in our space too.

Every time I try to take a break from the assistance, I can just taste the future of NZ music dominating all the top music charts around the globe. I've often told people at present we see a lot of UK and US tracks in our NZ top music charts, but soon it's gonna be all NZ music at the top of all the UK and US charts. We're already starting to do it right now. Lorde was definitely pivotal, she was getting airplay on GeorgeFM back when her Facebook page had about 50 likes, so you can see right there our ability to foster this vision we all see, it is totally within our lifetime to see this become an even bigger reality for New Zealand.

Any musical icons you look up to? Who would the headliners be if you got to curate your own line-up?

Michael Jackson, Prince...to save paragraphs, I'll pick some names from a hat for the headliners: Aaradhna and band, Shapeshifter, J Boog, Ardijah, L.A.B, Madeon, Mat Zo, Kanye West (Sunday Service), Skrillex.

Any interests outside of music?

I really love the science behind hacking the human body, so things like sleep, cold showers, positive affirmations, meditation, nutrition, exercise. Coming from a background of conflicting mixed religions and mixed family, I have come to understand I won't always be able to make everyone happy, so spirituality is another thing I am really into. I've done heaps of teaching in schools and workshops which I know is one of my gifts.

I love to go out for long drives and just be one with the big-wide world, with a good podcast in the background. I'm getting into reading too. I love travelling and have been super blessed to have step foot in just over 6 countries now. I also love helping the elderly and young parents, their struggles are often overlooked in society.

A lot of the time, life itself can be such a tough one, but I feel like it's really cool to champion on each other, and gain a sense of wonderment for the gifts and blessings each person brings purely through their existence. So yeah, interests outside of music, purely being curious in everyone else's interests, I mean the love for music really does take over so much as we all know…

Where can people find your work and stay in touch with updates?

Yes, SoundCloud and Facebook above all the other places. https://linktr.ee/decktrik has everything DECKTRIK in one place. My podcast, Beat Whanau is out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify etc. and will eventually be out on YouTube too. I am starting to get the hang of Instagram... My radio shows are The Daytime Disco on Radio Control and Future Sound of Palmy on Music for the People.

You can usually find me at the local McDonalds or BP during weekend evenings, based here in Palmy North at the moment. In this sense, I like to create my own gigs where I will set mini catch ups on a specific project or skill. This works out great whenever I get a weekend off. Stay tuned for my new track Yallah coming out at the end of the year, as well as more stock music and remixes. I have a really cool gospel production cover to finish up on Man In The Mirror. I'm hoping to have a couple of tracks on some dance music labels sometime next year too.

 

About Decktrik

Decktrik has been popping up in the electronic music world with his DJing and productions reaching far beyond his hometown of Palmerston North. Wherever you bump into him, be sure to say hello and introduce yourself, he's always excited to meet new family.




Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Decktrik

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