When Bahar Canca first came to London from her native Turkey to study film in the mid-’90s, she could never have imaged how music would change her life. Falling hard for the UK dance scene, she quickly progressed from playing at home to house parties and bars and soon had a residency at underground night Rude Not 2, which lasted an epic 10 years. At the same time, she was getting more and more addicted to the incredible vibe and energy of the psychedelic trance scene, initially leading to bookings at the alternative stage of festivals like Glade and Sonica. But this rising star couldn’t be kept away from the main stage for long and it was only a matter of time before she was playing the kind of psy trance that she loved to party to.
In true Bahar style she embarked on building a studio in her back garden, where her first tracks were started. Ten years on, her EP Spun Out has just bounced straight into the No. 2 psy trance releases slot on Beatport and she is now collaborating in the studio with some of her most favourite producers to create her forthcoming album, Bahar’s Magic Soup. With the album launch party looming in June and a series of gigs at some of London’s top events over the next few weeks including The Elixir of Life & Iono Records Sonica Gaia pre-party, Shattered Barriers and Dreamscapes, we finally managed to interview London’s psychedelic party princess…
Hi Bahar, thanks for taking the time out of your hectic schedule to answer some questions for your fans at HarderFaster!
You’ve been part of the London music scene for many years DJing and putting on events under the Sub Bubble moniker, but very few of us know how you first got into making music. Were you into music as a child growing up in your native Turkey or was it something that came to you when you moved to London? Please tell us a bit about what first inspired you to first begin DJing and producing music.
Music was always around. Half of my family are musicians and most are classical music professionals, working at the state Opera in Turkey… I’ve always been a passionate listener rather than a practitioner. My proper involvement with making music started in London while I was studying media at university. I was totally blown away by the richness of the UK music scene, especially underground dance music. My housemates were DJs and we had parties at our house almost every weekend. Once I start mixing vinyl at those parties I was totally hooked. Only a few weeks after I started DJing I was playing gigs at bars, weddings, house parties… I simply used any opportunity to perform to an audience.
You started out playing techno and progressive and now you’re producing banging psy trance. How do you reckon your sound has changed and evolved over the years?
Drastically. I started with 126 bmp and now I play and produce around 145bpm. My music gets faster as I get older! Obviously it did not happened overnight, but almost 20 years of progress. My first paid gig was playing down tempo to house at a bar in Angel on a Wednesday night. I searched for music which would get me gigs as I loved performing and all kinds of music as long as it is funky and groovy. House and techno are popular dance music genres and got me the gigs. I was booked for three nights a week regularly. I held my residency at a bar in Soho, London for more than 10 years.
However, as a listener and raver I was very much interested in psychedelic trance. I was a regular at Glade festival and traveled all around the world for festivals. The psy trance scene is something very special: the crowd, the vibes. I was slowly sucked in and quit playing my regular gigs and moved on to the scene I was in love with.
Firstly, I started playing at alternative stages at festivals like Glade, Sonica etc., mixing techno and prog. Soon after I got the urge to play and produce more full on sounds, as the energy on the main stages was incredible. I had to get into it. So if I can sum it all up, my music career started on the dancefloor dancing and what I love I then took to my studio to produce.
You’ve just released an epic EP called Spun Out with an incredibly psychedelic video that really brings on that summer festival feeling! How did this all come about? Congrats on getting to No. 2 on Beatport btw!
Spun Out is a documentary film I directed quite few years ago. FlourEnzo is a producer who loves sampling documentaries and movies. So I suggested to him about my documentary and we sampled voices of DJs including Dickster and Aphid Moon on this collaboration. The EP also includes the first single release of DuOhm, who are FlourEnzo’s 17-year-old twin sons. The third track is another collaboration by all four of us.
We have a music video for the ‘Spun Out’ track combining mainly my personal footage from festivals, parties all around the world and FlourEnzo’s amazing editing skills. It also features Julius Horsthuis’s fractals. We are very grateful that he kindly gave us to permission to use this amazing footage. I can’t wait to meet him at the Shattered Barriers party on the 8th of April.
At the same time, you’ve also been busy in the studio making tracks for your forthcoming album, Bahar’s Magic Soup. Can you please tell us a bit about the concept behind the album and when you’re expecting it to be released?
As a DJ and a producer I have no borders for genres or bpms, I go for more the feeling they give in me and I’m hoping that you will feel the same. Bahar’s Magic Soup represents a musical soup of ocean. Each track is a collaboration with some of my favourite artists and musicians and each track will have a live instrument recording of a traditional Turkish riff.
The album will be released on 3rd of June and we will be celebrating on that very day with a line-up of all of the artists collaborating. The aim is to showcase the real flavour of who and what I like together.
Do you prefer your soup chunky or smooth? Fresh or canned? Watery or creamy?
Smooth, fresh and creamy. Every week I receive organic groceries delivered and I chuck in all the veggies and smooth it up with a hand blender. It’s very yummy and nutritious and it tastes different every time.
Collaborating with so many legends of the dance scene on your new tracks must be an incredible learning experience! What new production tips have you picked up that you can pass on to the up-and-coming producers reading this?
Creating with these amazing talented artists, learning amazing tricks, but more than that, getting into their creative zone and being a part of it, I am very very lucky. A tip: A good kick’s sound wave should look like a fish.
Every producer must have their own quirks and funny habits in the studio. I know what goes in the studio is supposed to stay in the studio, but can you share any interesting anecdotes you’ve experienced so far whilst putting your magic soup together?
One thing I find the most interesting is when a producer gets in the zone and starts loving the results, than we all have a little chair dance, a wobble. This is very unique to each producer.
You’ve also built a music studio in your back garden. Was this very difficult? Would you do anything differently if you were starting the project again?
My studio is cozy and fab. It’s almost there but still can be improved, so it is an ongoing project. I call it my happy place. The despair of the world disappears once you are in there.
Do you have a favourite piece of studio kit or plug in at the moment?
I started producing properly around 10 years ago. My studio computer was perfectly build at the time, but it’s had its day, so I’ve invested in a new Mac Pro which is a beast. I love my new plug ins Tantra from Dmitry Sches and all of the Sinevibe bundle.
You’re also one of the founders and organisers of Psy-Boutique Festival which you put on every two years in your homeland Turkey. With Psy-Boutique having a rest this year, what other festivals can you recommend?
I love outdoor parties and festivals. Summer is going to be exciting. I’m looking forward to Sonica Festival in Italy the most as it had a year’s break last year and I only see some friends from all around the world at Sonica. This year’s location looks amazing and the line-up is killer as usual. On the 1st of April we’re hosting room 2 at the Elixir of Life party, with all the artists playing from the Sonica Gaia Stage.
For tickets: http://www.psy-boutique.com/tickets/ElixirOfLife.html
Dates for the next Psy-Boutique are already in the diary. When can we start looking out for early bird tickets? It must take a lot of planning to put on such a big event in another country…
The next Psy-Boutique is on May 2018. Tickets will be release on 1st of January 2018. Yes, it takes a lot of planning and work for a whole year. For that very reason I do it once every 2 years, so this year is the year for me as next year will be taken over by Psy-Boutique!
You’re also a full-time Mum; how on earth do you find time to fit so much in?! What do you like to do to chill out in your rare moments of down time?
Being a mum is a blessing yet challenging. However, I am more organised with my time than I ever have been as I have to. As a result, I tend to do more than I would with more time.
Your album launch party for Bahar’s Magic Soup is on Saturday 3rd June at London’s Boombox Lab. Why should readers get down there early for a good spot on the dancefloor?
Well there’s so many reasons. From living legends System 7 to Aphid Moon and Mechanimal, psychedelic queen Nikki S and techno from Callema and Aliji, I wouldn’t miss a second. There will be free prosecco as a welcoming drink to celebrate.
Finally, what piece of advice do you wish you’d been given when you started out in the music scene?
Be on the case and keep learning, keep practicing, keep loving!
Many thanks for your time Bahar! Looking forward to DJiing with you at Shattered Barriers on 8th April and of course experiencing the launch of Bahar’s Magic Soup on 3rd June!