Sweden’s Erik Pettersson is better known as Sonic Union, a prolific progressive house and techno producer and DJ. With a DJing and production career spanning over 15 years, his versatility, experience and sheer talent enables him to turn his hand from producing, remixing and mastering to DJing and label management.
With close to 200 releases to his name to date on lauded labels such as Anjunadeep, Sudbeat, Replug, Tulipa Recordings and Global Underground, he has seen continued support from world class DJs such as Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren and Guy J. He has also remixed and been remixed by high profile artists such as Quivver, Jim Rivers, Cid Inc, Ryan Davis and Jamie Stevens to name just a few.
Erik also owns and manages well established label Lowbit Records, which celebrated its milestone 200th release on 16th October 2017 and celebrates 10 years of releasing high quality underground music in 2018. With a stellar roster of artists including Cid Inc, Guy Mantzur, Marcelo Vasami, Khen, Chicola, Chris Cargo, Kasper Koman and many more, Lowbit is renowned for its consistent championing of top quality underground dance music, and its releases are regularly supported by world class DJs including Hernan Cattaneo, John Digweed, Dave Seaman, Carl Cox, Above & Beyond and Nick Warren.
His technical prowess both behind the decks and the uniquely uplifting energy of his sets have to date seen him play in Europe, Japan, USA, Canada and India and hold residencies in his native Sweden and Canada.
Our Editor Damion Pell caught up for a long awaited chat with Erik before his debut at The Prog Lab this weekend
Hey Erik, thanks for speaking with us today, a quick search shows it has been almost 4 years since we last sat down and had a chat, how have you been? We noticed you are set to headline at next week’s Prog Lab.
Hey guys! Time flies eh? Things are good thanks, 2018 has been a really good year musically for me so far with a lot of new original material written and couple of remixes that have been getting a lot of support. I am really looking forward to play a 3 hour set at The Prog Lab as I will really get a chance to take the crowd on a journey.
With all music styles, progressive house appears to being making quite a strong come back, with a lot of progressive being labelled under melodic techno, how has this affected your DJing and label?
I am really happy that progressive house is making a comeback, and I think a lot of that is due to Beatport removing big room EDM from the progressive house section, and now labels and artists that currently put their music in the techno genre are coming back to progressive. The sub-category of melodic techno and house has helped enable labels and artists to become more visible, get more attention and avoid being drowned out. Lowbit has seen more features and chart success from this and it has also helped sales. As for the DJing I’ve always blended techno, house and progressive in my sets so no real change there.
You have been playing for a good 20 years now, what are some of the changes you have seen come over the years?
Several trends have emerged, like the scale of the biggest festivals and DJs putting on massive shows for their set. The resident DJ also seems to have disappeared almost entirely, which is a shame. During my time in Vancouver being a resident DJ at the top club in the city for almost three years was an amazing experience and really helped me to hone my skills.
Industrial cities like Belfast, Glasgow, Rotterdam or Berlin seem to naturally find Techno and Progressive House soundtracks their experience. What is it about the genres that piqued your interest and how do you think you’ll mature your sound?
I guess as I got older I wanted more depth to my music and that’s where progressive house came in, it has so many nuances and such a wide breadth in one genre that it never gets boring. I still have roots in techno and trance, so my sound will always have those influences in the music I make and play. I recently got called a mix of Guy J and Nick Warren but with a lot of grit, and I think that that is quite accurate. I love melodies but also dark, filthy, heady and hypnotic tracks. I’m always trying new things when it comes to music, so I guess we just have to see what the future brings.
Artistic freedom is something every producer wants from their record label, but in today’s mass market driven consumerism, can a single record label deliver on that request, or should you as the artist and A&R, how do you tackle the direction labels want to take or options with which to release your work?
I have a very relaxed view on this, I would never tell an artist to change their track or remix to be more consumer friendly. Is the artist happy with the track or remix? Then I am happy too. Lowbit have released some music that I thoroughly enjoyed that didn’t do very well, but I was still proud of it!
For new producers out there, what advice can you give when approaching a label, what are some “does and don’ts” of the industry?
When sending demos, introduce yourself, write something short about yourself or why you think your music fits with the label. Be patient, don’t try to force stuff. Don’t take rejections as a negative thing, learn from it. I still get rejected 90% of the time sending demos to other labels, and instead of seeing it as a negative thing I try get some feedback on why it didn’t fit and try improve on it for the next track.
Catch Erik at The Prog Lab this weekend, tickets and more information available at The Prog lab