Meet Vern, a talented DJ from Constanta, Romania, whose passion for electronic music was sparked by the hypnotic sound of live techno and trance sets. Although he had little connection to electronic music growing up, he quickly became fascinated by the energy and audiences at events like Kudos and Kristal Mamaia; events which helped turn him towards a path in electronic music.
After experimenting with different genres, he settled on techno and tech-house, and began producing music that caught the attention of labels and audiences alike. With a focus on improving his sound and learning more technical skills, he continues to evolve as an artist, drawing inspiration from his favourite artists like Sublee, Sepp, and Nu Zau. Ahead of his release on the Micro Orbit label (we premiered the brilliant Orizont here), we caught up with Vern to hear more about his story to date…
Talk to us a bit about growing up in Romania and when you first encountered electronic music?
Growing up in Constanta, Romania, I had little connection with electronic music, as my family didn’t have any tapes of my favourite band, Depeche Mode, or Vangelis. However, I remember enjoying the sound of drums and bass in dance music. It was not until I came across VIVA music station that I heard live techno and trance sets, and I became fascinated by this hypnotic sound.
Do you remember your early nights out? Who was playing? And why do you think it made such an impression on you?
My early nights out were at Kudos, where I heard Lee Burridge, and at Kristal Mamaia, where I heard Luciano. Both their energies and the audiences made me curious about this kind of music. Initially, I played with FL studio to make trance and progressive music, but I later changed my style and went towards techno and tech-house. After uploading some tracks on MySpace and receiving positive feedback, I became more interested in releasing my music and having a release on Beatport to hear my music in a club.
We watched your set in the living room on YouTube a while back. How do you find DJing knowing that people are watching online? And does it influence how you play?
Playing to an online audience on YouTube was an interesting experience. Initially, I felt the lack of an audience and wanted feedback from the dance floor, but it was nice to be able to detach and relax. Although I have not had much involvement in the local Bucharest scene, I hope to contribute in the future.
The scene in Romania continues to go from strength-to-strength. Why do you think that is?
The Romanian scene continues to grow because of DJs and producers with a lot of experience who have promoted the sound internationally and the new wave of young producers who are very dedicated. Unlike other countries, Romania emphasises local DJs rather than foreign DJs, which helps the scene a lot, and it helps to have as many DJs as possible at the beginning of the journey.
You’ve released on established labels such as Joule, Rowle, Octophonic and Lokomotiv, and your latest release is out on the excellent Micro Orbit label. How do you usually go about getting your music signed to labels? Do you generally make music with the label in mind? Or do you approach them and ask them if they’d like to sign your music?
For my first releases, I had some music prepared. In the last two years, the music has been specific to the label that requested it. It is very interesting to start projects without a direction or a label in mind.
Can you talk us through the release for Micro Orbit and the vibe you were going for with that one?
My latest release on Micro Orbit has a melancholic vibe, initially starting soft with a groove and ambient sounds, but I made an update to make it stronger for the club.
Do your productions generally end up as you imagine they would? Or is it more a case of jamming in the studio and seeing what you come up with?
My productions never end up as I imagine them; there are many jamming sessions before I decide on the direction. I always start with something experimental with very dark sounds that I feel I need to add some more musical elements.
You’ve played with everyone with Sublee to Sepp, Nu Zau and more. Have those guys been influential for you growing up? And do you play differently when those guys are on the bill with you? Do you look at it more as a ‘chance to impress’?
Playing with Sublee, Sepp, Nu Zau, and more has been an influential experience for me, and they are my favourite artists. I follow their music during the event and enjoy it, and it inspires me. I always follow my music and don’t try to get ahead.
What’s next for you – musically and personally – that you’re really excited about?
My goal is to improve my sound and learn more technical things, and I believe I can always learn. In the first part of the year, I have to finish some remixes and a new EP, a bit more deep house. After the summer, I would like to work on an album that contains ambient tracks. Personally, I want to pay more attention to everything related to health and dedicate more time to sport.
Finally, if you were to name your three favourite Romanian pieces of techno/house etc, what would they be and why?
Mihai is one of my favourite artists since I started producing. It’s a song that detaches me from everything and teleports me thanks to the dub elements.
An amazing track with a strong groove, it always worked in the club.
One of the first songs I listened to on repeat when I started learning production. Every time I listen to it I have the impression that it is an orchestra. It is a real opera.
Keep up with Vern on Instagram here
Micro Orbit’s Pioneer Series Vol. 1 (ft. Vern’s ‘Orizont’) is out soon. Listen/buy to the release here