Drum&Bass/ Dubstep/ Techno

The talented artist (painter/producer/dj) IVAN SHOPOV better known for his production pseudonyms COOH (drum’n’bass), Balkansky (Dubstep) and Drum kid (Techno) is our guest DJ for this episode of TRAKHADROM.  Bulgaria must be proud of such a home grown talent and so are we with his mind shattering sets& heart throbbing sounds.

T-Would you please start by clarifying the names COOH, Balkansky & Drum Kid origins? What do they mean to you & what inspired you with such names? Are there more names we should know about?


Cooh was first and it came from the chemistry formula COOH (carboxyl acid). I saw the formula on the black board in chemistry class at school when i was 18 (i hated chemistry) and i just had my first electronic music recorded on tape. 

Balkansky came few years ago when i was looking for a name for my deeper music and the project i have with Theodosii Spassov and Ivo Christov. It represents where i come from as my home town is situated in the heart of the Balkan mountain in Bulgaria. I also decide to use it for my dubstep tracks, which now variate from really deep to really hard sound. Drum kid came last year when i had over 20 techno tracks produced and i needed a name for that project too. It stands for the easy listening techno that is like played from a kid on a drum machine. 


I can also add to the list my dark gothic dub project Underhill in Berlin, together with Dean Rodell, Current Value, Martina Astner and MC Coppa. It mixes the dark vocals of Martina with the rhymes of Coppa and the machine noise sounds from the rest of us. First album is now finished and we are working on the second one already.


T-How did you end up producing & releasing Drum’n’Bass? What was your first trial of music production style/genre & what year? 


I started playing bass guitar in metal bands in my home town when i was 16 and a friend of mine showed me his computer with the music software ReBirth on it. That was the first time (around 98) when i touched computer mouse-twisting the cutoff of the synth…

I was listening to a lot of heavy metal, gothic and industrial music by that time, but i wanted to explore more of the electronic stuff, so i found The Panacea, Aphex Twin and Alec Empire the closest to the metal sound. This made me try to make some of those sounds too and with the opportunity to use music software i started experimenting with it and creating some fast rolling beats, which after few years of improving became good enough to be released. I had my first record in 2005 and in that moment i saw my dreams coming true.


T-    Tell us a bit about HMSU (what is it?) and the Drum’n’Bass/Dubstep scene in Bulgaria?


HMSU is one of the oldest and biggest organizations promoting drum and bass in Bulgaria. Me and Ogonek joined it in 2004 and since then we play on almost every local gig organized by hmsu in Bulgaria (i only play 2-3 gigs a year now because i am always on tours abroad). The dubstep wave came few years later and HMSU started promoting it as well. With the time the parties became bigger and bigger and more followers joined the solid bass movement here.


T-   Every artist, every talent has an influence that directs his/her vision in a certain way, what or whom was your influence in the music scene? And in the drawings/designs you do?


In the hard music it was all the metal and industrial i have listened, but for the deeper stuff my influence came from listening to lots of acid and ethno jazz, also trip hop and idm. I am really open minded about different music genres and i can listen to almost everything that is well composed and arranged.


For my art most people say it looks like Giger, sometimes like Dali, but for me the biggest influence was the work of the German artist Durer and all the graphic works of Rembrand. I studied 10 years in art schools and the teachers in the National Academy of Arts in Sofia helped me a lot to accomplish my own style and vision about art.


T- What did you grow up listening to as a kid? What music do you play in your house/car, with your girlfriend or when hanging out? What other electronic music styles interest you that you do not produce?


My older brother had over 300 metal tapes when i was a kid and i was listening to this music from 10 years old. 

When i am chilling in my house or on a trip with my girl i usually play some smooth jazz or ambient and experimental music, but also some rock and metal from time to time.

With all my projects i tried to cover almost every electric music genre, but i am always trying new styles. 


T-  COOH is now one of the biggest and well known names in the DnB scene, how does it feel like being such a known respected figure?


I am honored to be that well respected and followed by so many music lovers. It gives me a lot of confidence when i am writing my next tune and i know that there will be great response when i play the track on a good gig. I really appreciate all this and i respect every opinion from the people that take the time to give me the so needed feedback.


T- Are you emotionally attached to your music? Do you relate it to certain moments? or there’s always a new story you imagine or create ?


I have always been emotionally attached to my music and i think that this must be the reason why people like it. I can describe all my tracks like little parts of my life. When i feel anger or fear i create dark atmos and angry basslines for my hard music and when i feel in love, emotional or sad i create all this deep music that touches your soul.


T-What are the key parts of your productions? Local producers are anxious for your workshops, must be coming with a bag full of tricks.


Yeah i will bring all my tricks and ideas of how to create a track from scratch or how to finalize your work so it sounds good and playable.

For me it’s a process of evolution and never ending progress of learning more techniques and new ways of creating interesting sounds.

For the moment i just use my hearing to make music, i have no idea of music theory, notes and scales.


T-Which was your favorite party/crowd? What country? Why?


I loved most crowds around the world, but some of my favorite places to play my music are Portugal, Hungary, Holland and Belgium. Colombia, Mexico and New Zealand are amazing places for my music too. Bulgaria is not a place to be missed for the good vibes on the parties here. i am really looking forward to come over to Lebanon and see how the people there like it.


T- Anything I didn’t ask about you would like to mention? Maybe a word for the fans, fellow producers/artists/djs and the scene in general?


I am feeling really honored to be invited to your country, try the culture and make some music there with the local producers. It’s really good to travel around the globe because of the sounds i did in my studio, so i would love to share my knowledge with the local artists and help them get more success after the workshops with me.


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