Navar, or Eelko Wijnja to his family and friends, can be best described as a real studio junkie. Since he first delved into the mysteries of music production at the tender age of 13 this youngster from Friesland in the north of Holland has quietly been learning his future trade. His prodigious talents have been spotted early by Guy J, who has been quick to sign up a selection of stunning tracks to his forward-thinking Lost & Found imprint that have put Navar firmly on everyone’s radar. His debut for the label, “Le Paradigme” (LF008) in the summer of 2013, was a very exciting first glimpse of an exceptional artist. Navar is one of the modern new-breed of producers who is inspired by a broad range of different genres and this is reflected in his diverse musical creations that are often summarised as being deep, melodic and definitely dance floor related. His productions have already won praise from the likes of Hernan Cattaneo, Laurent Garnier, Henry Saiz, Above & Beyond, Guy Mantzur, Wehbba, Eelke Kleijn, Marco Bailey, Nick Warren, Charlie May and a host of other respected industry figures with their fingers firmly on the pulse of the future.
Navar has already started building a highly impressive discography of productions and remixes, not only on Lost & Found, but also on Outside The Box Music, Klopfgeist, Sound Avenue, Body Condition, Baires Records and Moral Fiber, with many more to come. He rounded off a highly creative 2013 with the release of his debut Mini-LP (“Found01”) on Lost & Found, which was a firm favourite here at TiP HQ. We were lucky enough to catch up with the very talented Navar in January to discuss his background, his latest release and his projects for 2014.
Hi Eelko, thanks for taking the time to speak to us today. You’re based in Friesland situated in the North of Holland. Can you tell us a little about where you are based and what the music scene is like?
Hi, no problem! Always nice to do an interview! Yes, Leeuwarden to be exact, that’s the capitol of the Province of Friesland. The music scene in Leeuwarden is quite small and not as developed as in Groningen, but that is of course down to logical reasons, it depends mostly on the size of the city, though it’s packed with ravers & people who are really into music.
There appears to be a wealth of new talent hailing from the Netherlands at present. Can you describe your music style and what you think makes you different from other DJs and Producers?
Well… my music style diversifies from time to time. I would say electronic music in its free form. To be just free to do whatever creation I feel like. What makes me different? Any artist distinguishes himself or herself through a particular signature in the process of creation. But on the other hand, the aspect that makes me different is my unique approach, taste, adjustment, touch & spiritual vision.
Is it correct that you are a resident for Paradigm and their club nights and festivals? Also did you name your track “Le Paradigme” after the club night?
Yes, that’s correct, I have my own show named: Involve. Together with the other residents, I’m very honoured to be a resident over in Groningen. The city has a huge number of visitors each event and the scene there is absolutely the way I like it most!
What are your thoughts on the dance music scene in Holland at present?
The scene is very good from what I have experienced so far and from what I have seen it’s very diverse. I think it’s still finding it’s best way forward.
You got involved in electronic music production from an early age. What made you want to pursue a career in music production?
I believe that this is a matter of interest and personal view from what you feel best. But when I first met my extra-terrestrial friends, they told me I was helpless, and so… that kept me trying and trying.
Who would you say are some of your biggest musical influences and why?
There are so many good artists. My biggest inspiration is Nature.
You recently released a Mini LP named “Found01” on Guy J’s Lost & Found label and it was a firm favourite with us here at This Is Progressive, as well as many big name artists out there. What did you aim for when you released this Mini LP?
My absolute goal was to bring myself the closest to my emotions. This is what we know: a lifeline, all things in life, music is some kind of a secret language. Mostly I prefer to make a track that solves or makes you want to climb deeper in it. I must say I’m happy to hear what I have been making those days, but there are loads of new projects now that will find their way out, hopefully soon.
Do you plan on releasing a full album soon?
Yes, a little bit more patience is needed from myself, but I’m coming close to a very nice collage that contains a total of 11 tracks. This album that starts to find its shape was not even planned, but I like working that way like most of us do… just to see where it leads…
What does it feel like to be asked to join a label like Lost & Found and has Guy J helped to guide you in any way?
I’m very happy and proud to be part of his label, also Sahar Z & Guy Mantzur on the label are just like Guy J, totally open-minded.
What process do you go through when producing a track? Do you aim for a certain sound or is it a fluid process?
It can be a spacey mood, deep, very energetic, or dark or happy, but that changes each time. It also has to do with the sound that is coming out, what kind of key, all the different vibrations that are coming along. When you produce a track, sometimes you know where this is leading you and sometimes it’s a journey/adventure where the music is guiding you into some kind of healing/solving process. But I’m trying not to think too much about it when I’m making music, you let the music speak and that’s the adjustment you make. Drinking a coffee thinking about ideas and sharing information can lead to very confronting but yet effective solutions.
I’ve always been struggling with the idea ‘’why not a different alias?’’ This way it would be easier for me to produce music however I like and not to make any confusion. There has been a lot of new and inspiring sounds coming from my studio and I need a new outlet to explore these sounds further and that’s where Ravàn was born really. I feel like people expect a certain type of sound from Navar now, but it doesn’t always fit where my headspace is in the studio. Sometimes I can be more extroverted and at other times more introverted and this really comes out in the music I produce. I don’t want to feel pressure to always create the Navar sound because it’s something that cannot be forced, it must happen in a natural and organic way. Having the Ravàn alias to explore these other types of sounds will just facilitate everything that goes on in the studio moving forward.
Do you have any advice for any young producers looking to break into the industry?
Find yourself by just playing with music, don’t try to make a track in the first place and then see what happens.
Are there any new up and coming producers out there that are grabbing your attention right now?
To be honest, I love the stuff I get sent through, but I’m not focussed nor have the time to check or to keep track of these things. I mean, I do respect what others make and most of the time I’m always keen to listen to new tracks, but currently it feels I don’t have time to be busy with others. I really like a load of new artists, but that varies between all genres.
Lastly, is there anything you can tell us about what you have planned for 2014?
Working on my album and trying to find the perfect balance in life just like we all do. Some nice gigs are planned, I can’t tell you about these yet but I’m very excited… to be continued…