Targu-Mures is located in the heart of Transylvania where Alin Crihan got in touch with music at an early age. Since 2004 he has accumulated a breadth of musical knowledge. As an artist, he is rather discreet – no interview so far and keeping it low profile on social media. With that being said it is quite unlikely not to stumble upon one of his transcend-barrier releases. Several aliases like Discret Popescu and Modest Ionescu bear witness to his steady, multi-faceted musical development, which he continues to surpass. Having attained and maintained a characteristic sound, his work is dominated by trippy features and micro-noises, woven into a steady beat that pleasantly challenges the audience.
Dear Alin. First of all, I feel honored that you said yes to this interview. I know you prefer to let the music speak. So let’s start off like this. If you had to describe yourself by choosing one track (one of your own productions) – which one would it be?
Hi Jules, you’re very welcome! I’m not sure I can do that, all of them have bits and pieces, they’re all parts of a bigger puzzle, so to speak.
What are your earliest memories of music?
Funnily enough, my earliest memory ever is musically related. It’s of me whilst listening to a recording of Vivaldi’s seasons in my grandmother’s living room. I think I was around 2 years old. Speaking of putting pieces to a puzzle: it takes a while for the bigger picture to clear but in my case, I’m grateful the picture was cleared 12 years later and I’ve not strayed away from that since.
When did you start to become aware of the scene in Bucharest? Who did you first make contact with?
I grew up in Targu-Mures up until I moved to Bucharest, in 2009. I became aware of what was going on through various mixes I was listening to or even on TV. There used to be a show on one of the music channels called Clubzone that I used to watch and that helped to a degree. Moving to Bucharest was an obvious and natural choice, although that came about in a rather funny way but that’s a story for another time but nevertheless, one of the best that I have made. Not long after moving, I had gotten into contact with the nights.ro crew who gave me my first big gig playing at one of their award ceremonies where I warmed up for Valentino Kanzyiani. That was definitely a great start for me. I had been playing in Bucharest occasionally until then as well as other places but that award ceremony was the highlight at the time.
Tell us more about your studio. Is there a heart of the set up that you use across all your production?
Well it’s a pretty small room compared to other places I’ve seen, some hardware, a bit of acoustic treatment and plenty of light. The heart of the setup without a doubt is my imagination. In the end they’re just tools, they help but only if there’s someone there to be helped.
Being said that the heart of your setup is your imagination. When do you and your imagination feel most and least creative? Is there a place you seek and get inspiration from?
I am definitely a morning person. For the last 5 or 6 years my day starts around 6:30 AM and in the studio around 7:30 AM until around noon. There’s loads of people that work during the evenings and all night but that’s not me. I prefer to get a good night’s sleep. Waking up with a clear head, no worries or thoughts other than the task at hand helps and is very much my modus-operandi. I get inspired by the smallest of things, be it a drum loop, a sound or mood I’m in, something that I was thinking of trying, there’s lots of small things that amount to something more. To give you an example of what I mean by small things, one morning I was washing the dishes and accidentally hit the radiator with a wooden spoon; it sounded quite interesting so I went ahead and recorded myself knocking away on the radiator. I guess my neighbours were a bit irritated to hear strange rhythmic pulses coming from the pipework. I’ve used that in Pe Sub Piele and Versus.
Although you have different aliases your lightness narrates through them all, each in a different yet same way. Do you feel like you bring all of your musical personalities together?
Eating potatoes and meat every day gets boring after a while and it could not be any truer in what I do. I started producing when I was 14 and at the time I was heavily into trance music. Over time my preferences shifted towards techno or tech house, deep house. Anything with a beat that made me giggle basically. I like diversity, experimenting, exploring new places but the glue that holds them together is, again, my imagination.
Were there any projects that seemed impossible to finish and if so, what was the longest you worked on a track?
My workflow massively changed in 2012 when I got into hardware. Up until then I used to spend weeks working on things but now it doesn’t take more than a few days, sometimes just a handful of hours. I generally finish everything I start, leaving something to sit and wait for too long takes away it’s personality, I find.
Your recent and first album on UVAR Autostrada Soarelui takes the listener on a real journey. Where do you think this album works best to listen to?
Anywhere and hopefully, any time!
Can you explore a little on your label mezin?
mezin came about years ago, around 2013 but it did not ‚mezinize‘ until late 2017. The word itself means “youngest sibling” because I was always the youngest of my peers, during that time. It’s a platform I want to develop to showcase music that I enjoy playing or listening to while keeping a clear unbiased focus on the music and nothing else. In the end it’s about the music, how it touches people and brings them together.
Are you still motivated to dj or do you prefer the creative side more than the performance aspect?
It’s what I’ve been doing for more than half my life and it’s a part of who I am. So I can’t really give a preference here. Both have their own set of similarities and differences and honestly, I don’t really see myself doing one over the other, they’re equally fulfilling.
How do you feel about the rise of Bandcamp?
Bandcamp is a great way to share music directly with fans, unreleased or previously unreleased songs; it definitely showed it’s great advantages during the last period. Of course, that’s not to say we have to ditch labels and the industry all together, what’s on the surface is just the beginning, there are great amounts of hardworking, talented, passionate people that are behind the scenes putting all their love and energy into a record or release. Bandcamp, together with the other services, is another part of a bigger picture and it proved and is continuously proving to be an excellent way of connecting to one’s fans.
Where is your head currently? Any new projects in the pipeline?
I recently finished a new piece and I’m always thinking of doing others, absolutely; but my head is in many places; books, studying, listening, living – to name a few, in no particular order.
What are currently listening to outside of electronic music?
Many things, hard to choose, music is music.
Excited or nervous before entering the DJ booth?
Cola or Fanta?
Depends on the occasion, sometimes one, sometimes the other.
Favourite club you played at?
You have a thing for tough questions, but there’s another point to be made here, clubs are all just rooms with speakers, the heart and soul are the people behind it and the audience, when all of these come together in harmony, that’s my favourite club.
Name one of your favourite albums of all time
Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
Which of your productions would you say is the most trippiest one?
I don’t think I made it yet.
Favourite subject in school
What is your secret talent?
Not really a talent but I do enjoy cooking.
Your favourite film?
Too many to list. One of my favourite series would be Star Wars but there’s loads more like Indiana Jones, or most films that John Williams scored.
What does music mean to you