Happy April & Happy Spring everyone !!
Before we get started on this interview we wanted to remind everyone that we released our THIRD annual audio / visual compilation for FREE this past Valentine's Day. We built up lots of anticipation for this release as usual but we were even more excited this year to get the nod and feature from the well-known Deep Tempo Podcast from the UK. For this year's instalment we went all out with a longer-than-usual 6 track release, featuring ALL 140bpm / dubstep tracks from both up and coming & established artists alike. As always, you can download this release, as well as purchase our new merch from our Bandcamp -> HERE. Just don't forget to check out the live visuals for each track on our YouTube channel by CW member Etienne Montenegro -> HERE.
Be sure to support us by liking, sharing and subscribing to all of our socials so you don't miss out on all of our updates and future projects! <3
With all of that out of the way let's get into our FIRST mix feature and full interview of 2022 !!
Our first mixtape of 2022 comes from the Québec-based DJ & performing artist Fanza. A relatively new-comer to the scene, Fanza had the experience of getting into dj'ing right when the pandemic started. Although this made getting her name out a bit of a unique challenge, she was an early adopter of live streaming. This helped get her mixes into circulation, live stream bookings, blog features and onto radio shows. She quickly became known for not only mixing multiple genres of bass music, but for also combining her love of performance art & dance into her sets all under the Fanza name.
For this feature we were excited to sit down and have casual but longer Q&A style conversation (since we don't do them as often). We covered a lot so be sure to grab a nice cup of tea and enjoy!!
Hello again and thank you for taking the time to do this with us! Thankfully I know a bit about your journey already but for those who don't know you, could you tell us a bit about yourself and where you're from?
Sure, I didn't expect to be talking about where I am from so soon but I guess the time has come! Right now I live about an hour away from Montréal. I definitely consider myself a Montréal-based DJ since that's where I got into it and where I mostly play. I grew up in Sherbrooke, Québec but I was actually born in France. I was lucky enough to spend the first few years of my life on a 'no man's land' island in Thailand until my parents decided to move to Québec in the early 2000s.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! I had absolutely no idea that you were born outside of Canada and that you had lived in multiple countries! I was always intrigued and wondering as well, where did your artist name 'Fanza' come from?
I was constantly sending ideas to my friends and family and asking for feedback. At a certain point my best friend suggested 'Danza', which felt inspiring but it wasn't the one. I wanted to make it more personal. At a certain point I came back to it but added the word Fan to make it 'Fandanza' (because of my love for fan veils and flow dancing). At that point it was my favourite so far but I found three syllables to be too long (since I was looking for two). One night when I was in bed still thinking about it I heard a little voice in my head say 'Fanza' and I was like "Oh shit... that's the one!!"
I had nothing to write it down with (since I was going to sleep) so I told myself that if I remembered it in the morning that I would stick with that one. Obviously I remembered it. Everyone that I told it to loved it so FINALLY after months of searching I had found a name.
Wow, that's such an interesting story about your artist name! I would have never of guessed. In terms of dj'ing, when did you finally start up behind the decks?
I actually started practicing during the Christmas season right before the pandemic.
That doesn't sound like the most convenient timing. I know it sounds cliché but even though you started during the pandemic, I still feel like you managed to get your name out there and go from 0-100 pretty quickly. What do you think got you going and pursuing this path in such a short amount of time?
I actually started on a used XDJ. A DJ friend had suggested this model to me. I was so intimidated at first.... I had not even thought about learning with YouTube or livestreams yet so I literally just let it sit on my deck for months until I met my DJ friend Dabman. As soon as he noticed the controller just collecting dust he helped me learn the basics and taught me everything he knew about dj'ing. This was definitely the spark and motivation that I needed. I probably would have just given up after a few weeks without his encouragement. At this point I really just needed more practice so I used the holiday season to get used to rekordbox and beatmatching.
That's really awesome that you had a friend like that in the beginning. I know it can be hard sometimes to get over those initial road blocks.
Yeah, I think he really pushed me to realize this dream that was sleeping inside me. He knew that it's what I wanted even though I hadn't realized that it could become true. To be honest, as a woman, I never thought that this was something I could pursue at first. I was under the impression that there was no space for women in this industry.
Well I'm glad you continued and persevered but that does hurt to hear... Sadly this is not the first time I have heard this come up in interviews. I hope this reality is changing and that underrepresented groups are represented more on lineups. Hopefully this in turn will foster a more inclusive environment and will inspire others to also pursue their dreams... I believe one of the many places this starts is with the promoters. It is definitely something that I take seriously.
Yeah... Also, thank you all so much too. I can't deny the support that you and some other friends have given to me. That support definitely gave me more confidence in my mixes. It's easy to be hard on ourselves... Without that support it would have been easy to get lost in my own perfectionism and being my own worst critic.
Thank you for the support as well! I actually remember when I first noticed your music. It should be no surprise that the first time I saw you was in a video clip of a recent live stream that you had done. I personally think a lot of people that started dj'ing during the pandemic really had to embrace the reality around streaming. In any case, I wanted to ask you what was your first live gig when things started opening back up?
My first live gig was actually at Le Belmont on September 30th 2020. It was quite literally the LAST night before the autumn lockdown. I felt so lucky to FINALLY get to play out in front of people before we ended up in quarantine again for months.
That's awesome that all of that work during the pandemic paid off but that timing right before lockdown again still sucks! It sounds like a running theme. Regardless, how did that gig go?
It was unforgettable! At first I was extremely stressed due to a few technical issues. I felt that I was so focused on them that it didn't go as smoothly as I wanted it to. Having said that, when I finished and got off stage I only heard great comments about how much people enjoyed it. It was in this moment that I realized that I belong to the decks and that I could do it! It was a small gig but I made lots of new friends that night.
That's so awesome to hear! I think I know the answer to the next question but what was your first festival gig?
It was the first edition of Origins Festival. I was booked for a Friday afternoon set on the second stage but I actually ended up getting to do an unplanned B2B (with 5 other DJ's) on the main stage that night. The most unforgettable part was Saturday night when I got to close the main stage with some of my favourite dnb tracks.
That sounds like an epic time! I was actually there and I had a blast. I wanted to move on to some other stuff though. Earlier in our chat you lightly alluded to your love for dance and I am surely not the only one to notice your name on a lineup as both a DJ and a performing artist. It certainly seems like dancing is an important part of Fanza too. Could you tell our followers a bit about that journey as well? Is it something you were doing before dj'ing?
Yes, I have always been into dancing and just letting myself move to the music! I've been as much of a melomaniac as a dance lover for as long as I can remember. I did study music when I was younger but since I mainly wanted to dance I took every extracurricular opportunity I could when I was in school (from workshops to doing choreography with friends). When I was 18 I discovered burlesque. A couple years later I discovered go-go dancers at my first festival Bass Coast. I started dreaming of being able to dance on stage at events and started trying to figure out how I could pursue that. When I was starting to get into dj'ing I saw a friend of mine performing with her fan veils. I found them to be so mesmerizing and so pretty. That moment was a revelation for me and within the next week I was taking my first fan veil lessons. It happened all so quick. A few months later I was performing dance at a festival and a few months after that I was dj'ing. I'll stop there but I could certainly talk about dancing for hours... I probably started dancing when I learned to walk!
It's all good! Like I was saying it seems like such a big part of who you are so I appreciate you elaborating on that. It's awesome that Fanza is a multi-disciplinary journey for you!
Yes, it couldn't just be about music for me. I cannot separate the two!
If we could go back to music for a minute, I know I mentioned in the intro that you have made a name for yourself by playing a diverse mix of bass music / edm but I think it's also no secret that you are a self-proclaimed drum & bass lover! Could you tell our audience a bit more about when you discovered dnb and how you found such a love for this genre?
So I actually discovered dnb at the same time as I discovered edm and rave culture. This all happened back in 2015 when I went to my first festivals Bass Coast and Motion Notion out west. More specifically at Motion Notion, my friend took me to the Cabana Stage. I would definitely refer to this moment as my 'dnb birth'. I have never danced like I did at that stage. I hadn't learned much about the genre until a year later when I was heading to a Bassix event with my festival friends. I asked them what the type of music was that I was into... they answered right away "oh, so you're into drum & bass!!"
That all sounds like quite the love affair.. I like it! A lot of my first experiences were also at festivals on the west coast so I can definitely empathize. Are there any events that have stuck out to you over the years?
Most of the events I love have some sort of west coast influence. I really value harm reduction & environmental education. It's something that I would always like to see more of in our scene. No matter how insane the lineup is, at the end of the day how people treat themselves, as well as how they treat others and the environment really influences my perception of an event. I have grown to value and dream of a culture of respect, based on a shared love for music. I'd really love sobriety to be more normalized and for there to be more non-alcoholic options at parties. I opted for sobriety a few years ago and I'm glad to see a lot of my friends getting sober lately. It's nice to be able to get up the next day and feel good. I think it's important to feel like events are more than just a reason to get fucked up. Moderation is cool! I know that doesn't directly answer your question but at the end of the day any event or festival that promotes these values stick out to me. My thoughts on this are too large for a short answer and I could definitely do a whole interview about it. Also, we need more dnb in general!
It's all good, I still appreciate you elaborating. I will certainly be taking notes for the events that we support and host in the future! On a lighter note are there any artists, producers or DJs that you are playing a lot lately or that you look up to these days?
The first ones that I can think off the top of my head are Kings of the Rollers, Misanthrop, QZB, Data 3, VCTRE, Cartridge, EAZYBAKED... I will leave you with those because I could continue forever.. though I'm also a huge fan of Kasra. <3
That is an awesome list that I'm sure our listeners would love to explore a bit more! Before we wrap up I wanted to dive into your mix for Conscious Wave. I have listened to it probably 4 times now and it's absolutely dope! I really like the gradual build from 130BPM all the way up to 170BPM in just under 30 minutes. The tracklist is definitely going to hit hard with our audience. I wanted to ask you, what were you going for with this mix and what were you feeling? Did you have any inspiration or did you just jump into it?
Ultimately I just wanted to follow that format with some of my favourite tracks. There's one blend in particular that I made for a B2B right before the most recent lockdown. We were closing that show and I thought this blend hadn't gotten to enough ears. I included tracks that I had been listening to on repeat so I was more than thrilled to get them into the mix. I will say that this mix really was about the selection. I did run into some surprises recording it though... I may have made a mistake that became a trick to switch it up to halftime and then into dnb ;)
I'm sure our readers are excited to hear more about some of the creative process! In any case this has definitely been one of our longer conversations at CW but it's been super fun getting to know each other more! Before we sign off I always love to ask if you had any final thoughts, any shout outs to give? Do you have any upcoming gigs or projects that we should keep an eye out for?
I simply want to thank everyone that took the time to listen to some of my mixes. It means the world to me to know that they are actually getting heard and appreciated. I just ended my monthly radio show on La Face B a week ago so now I really want to focus on music production and my dance projects more than anything. Hopefully you will be able to order your own 'Fanza' fan veils by the end of this year! In the meantime I will be playing at a couple festivals this summer. I can't announce them yet but I will be announcing them on my social media pages as soon as possible. Also, I am open for bookings!
There you have it friends. As always, thank you for making it to the end of this Q&A style post! We hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we did! Fanza's mix below for Conscious Wave stays true to our short & sweet formula but it is unique in exploring tempos thru 130-170BPM. In under 30 minutes this one takes us on a bass-driven, festival inspired journey with a coherent and addictive flow. The tracklist is a diverse one but includes some dubstep & dnb legends, local talent, as well as some hints of grime, hip hop & halftime.
- Conscious Wave
Deft, Lewis James- Teleporter
EAZYBAKED - Vessel
JD. Reid - Rōshi ft. D Double E
Murkury - Shadow Self
Felix - Holdup (Bare Bones)
Visages - Dark Guru
Mad Zach, Ian Urbina - Nothing Left
Ourman - Harpy
Surreal & Somah - Gibberish
Hebbe - Hebbe's Sound
Living~Stone - Steady Night
Xotix - Pit
Frenquency - Ruff Dreams
RaptorHandz - Threat Zone
Yahna - Dancin'
Johney - Safira
HNGVR - Boom Ya Man
shwiLLy x vxrt - HOT copy