Q & A with Exstra – New York producer & sonic sorcerer.

We sat down with New York producer Exstra who unveiled a scintillating single, ‘Frozen’, via the Enormous Chills imprint recently. The track was mastered by Grammy-nominated producer and engineer Christian Hirt, who has worked with Nora En Pure, EDX, and many more. Exstra boasts 1.4 million streams across platforms, making waves with releases on renowned record labels like Colorize, Enormous Tunes, and Zerothree. He has received radio support from KISS FM and SiriusXM, and publication support from EDM Identity. Collaborated with vocalist Britt Lari on the track ‘Let Go’, with more vocal collaborations slated for the coming months. He performed for the We Belong Here music festival in Miami in February 2023 (alongside headliners Kaskade and Lane 8) and as DJ support for Martin Roth the following month. He graced the stage at We Belong Here music festival in NYC on May 24th, 2024.

Listen to the track and read our interview below…

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

The intersection of dark synthesized sounds and beautiful, more delicate organic ones. Whether it’s a record for at home listening or the dance floor, it’s always packed with emotion.

Tell us how it was working with Grammy-nominated producer and engineer Christian Hirt.

Chris has single-handedly had the largest influence over my musical journey since I started djing in 2011. He continues to be a huge inspiration for me to this day as he effortlessly pushes the boundaries of melodic house and techno. I feel lucky to have been working directly with Chris for mastering since my first release on Enormous Chills in 2020. He really knows how to emphasize the most special parts of a record while staying true to the original mix!

Which three albums have influenced you the most creatively?

‘Discovery’ by Daft Punk, ‘Justice by Justice’, and ‘You’ve Come A Long Way Baby’ by Fatboy Slim

Tell us about the key pieces of equipment that you use to define your sound?

I am fully in the box in terms of synthesis / sound creation. That being said, I swear by the MIDI Fighter Twister for tactile automation — 16 knobs of twisty goodness to really keep sounds evolving and breathing as a track progresses.

Is there any “non-musical” ingredient that is essential to crafting your sound?

I love to include non-musical ambience in my productions that frames the mix in the intro and breakdown. I’ll keep them extremely low in the mix, but the subtle texture really helps to tie everything together. In Frozen, I included a recording from a frozen lake in Sweden where you can hear very subtle bird sounds. 

Studio work and music creation, or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

I really love both. My roots are in djing, so connecting with a live audience continues to be so special to me. That being said, I am really in a studio phase and at this moment I would say I prefer creating music!

What has been your most memorable performance so far?

My performance this past month at the We Belong Here festival on Governors Island! The backdrop behind me was the Statue of Liberty and the weather was simply pristine. Such a cool setting for a show and the crowd was fantastic.

And which performance would you prefer to forget?

None come to mind for me. They’re all special experiences in some way.

Any new or emerging artists on your radar?

I’ve been really enjoying what the artist 19:26 has been putting out. Emotional club-forward music that works so well on the dance floor. 

If you could collaborate with, or perform alongside any artist, who would it be? And why?

Nora En Pure. Her music has continuously inspired me for the last 10+ years and I love the balance she strikes between pulling your heart strings while also making you want to dance. Memorable melodies, beautiful harmonies, and great drums. She’s also a good person and has done a lot of work to protect our oceans!

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

A photographer.

Tell us about any upcoming shows or releases you have in the pipeline.

I have some really exciting releases coming out this year with vocalists that have been absolutely crushing it: Frýnn and MØØNE. I can’t wait to share them with you all. If you were at my show at We Belong Here in May, you were one of the lucky ones who got a sneak preview 🙂

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