“If you then want to push it to the next level, if you want to make a living out of music, be ready to sacrifice a lot.”
A relatively short, but remarkable career has allowed Paradoks to establish himself as one of the most interesting and acclaimed producers in the industry. Releasing on renowned labels such as Stil Vor Talent, Parquet and Purified, to name a few, the Swiss/Belgian artist transcends under his melodic and powerful style, a unique and addictive combination that has led him to be endorsed by respected figures, among them: Nora en Pure, Lane 8, Oliver Koletzki, Kevin De Vries, and more.
Exclusively for MDM, we share with you our interview with Paradoks, where you will learn about his beginnings, musical identity, career, favorite technology to create, and recent launch of his own record label, “Antinome“, among others. Enjoy the conversation below.
Also read: Paradoks opens next chapter with ‘New Beginning’
We have record that your first releases were in 2017, correct? How were your early days in electronic music?
That’s correct! My first release was in 2017 on a Swiss imprint called RAWLS, and shortly after my debut on Parquet Recordings. My early days in the industry were quite difficult. My music wasn’t quite at the level I wanted it to be and I had to first learn how to improve my music but also go out there and network. My first contacts with industry people frankly weren’t the best, I got frown upon quite a few times and as an introvert it wasn’t easy to fit in. But in the end, the music speaks for itself.
What were your main creative challenges in the start and how have they changed over time?
The biggest creative struggle was part of the above. When you are trying to make your path in the industry, you start looking at what works and what doesn’t work. So you try to fit in. Therefore you make music you think people will accept and like, and label owners want to release. But that is also a trap because you start losing touch with music that really moves you and the message you want to convey through music. And then the music ultimately doesn’t impact the listener as much as it doesn’t feel authentic. Nowadays I feel I really trust what I want to transmit so it got better on that part. But there will probably always days of difficult creative moments.
Most important is truly to focus on what moves you and what you feel inside. To be unique, and not try to hard to be unique. If you try to hard to be unique in the end you end up trying to fit in as well if that makes sense?
With several releases on Purified, how would you describe your time on the label and working with Nora on Pure?
I absolutely love working with Purified. Both Nora and Abel are really careful with the releases and really listen to your vision regarding the song. Nora has been so supportive from the beginning and I’m happy to also call her a friend. I have more releases coming out on Purified soon. I also love their parties and the crowd they attract are definitely people who feel the music we do.
You define your music as “melodic and powerful”, so what elements do you consider that make your style distinctive from the rest?
Very often I listen to melodic music that lacks the drive, or powerful music that lacks the melodies therefore the emotional connection. I would say that my music say tries to bridge those gaps, even though ultimately it’s heading more towards melodic rather than powerful, I still have quite a few clubby tracks that will be released soon that still all the power of a strong kick, bass & drum groove with melodic parts that tell the story and transmit the emotions I feel. Therefore you can listen to my music both in the club and in the car or at home. Always best enjoyed through movement I would say.
What is the release of yours that you have most enjoyed making/playing?
Making: Floating. This track all flowed so incredibly well it was such a relief. Some tracks I really have to work hard to make them be what they should be, but with floating it was all done in a matter of hours. And this despite it not being the most basic track sound wise either.
‘New Beginning’ was also enjoyable to work on, I worked on it for over a year with various singers, various melodic as well as arrangement ideas. There was a lot of thought behind it, which sometimes was a bit tedious but it was also beautiful to see the progress, and I never got bored of it in the whole time I was working on it.
Playing: really difficult to say. Ultimately I’m really enjoying playing some tracks that are unreleased and really work like fire on the dancefloor. Early 2023 they’ll be released.
Technology advances at an accelerated pace, and music is no exception. What instruments or equipment do you enjoy using to create your music?
My DAW is Ableton and I love it. I also enjoy hardware synths like the REV 2 and Sh01a, but I’m more and more on tour and therefore it’s more difficult to rely on these. I otherwise absolutely love Serum, Kontakt and Fabfilter. These are my go to tools for music production on the go. The new MacBook M1 is really a game changer when it comes to production out of home.
Is there a B2B you still dream of doing? With whom?
No, I don’t have any particular dream of a B2B. Right now my attention is more focused on developing a liveset, dancing concert format soon. Hopefully I’ll have time to focus on that in 2023. Obviously including the keyboard and synths as my main piece.
You recently launched your own label, what is the concept behind Antinome? Does the single “New Beginning” just reflect the arrival of the label or is there something else hidden inside the title?
Exactly, so many happenings of the universe pointed me in the direction of creating my own label. Really, it all just aligned and made complete sense to do my own thing. Antinome comes from “Antinomy”, a synonym for a Paradox, I just thought Antinome sounded cooler. “New Beginning” was called new beginning because of the track’s message, bringing us from a dark place to a place of hope, a new beginning. But again, by the name, it was another pointer towards launching my own label. What other track would make more sense to release as a first release on my new label than “New Beginning”? All such a coincidence but it all lined up perfectly.
What surprises does Paradoks have in store for 2023? Is there anything that can be revealed right now?
A lot of new tracks will be released through January to April. And for the rest, I feel more inspired than ever so you can expect some great music.
Finally, what message would you share with young people who are just starting to take their first steps in electronic music?
Enjoy the process. If you are starting and want to learn to make good music, YouTube is your friend, but also, listen to lots of music you like. You ears will be a great teacher.
If you then want to push it to the next level, if you want to make a living out of music, be ready to sacrifice a lot. It’s really very, very difficult to carve your path but if you love it so much, it will be so worth it. Don’t give up at the first letdown, as there will be many on the way. But it’s also a beautiful personal path towards growth, artistically but also personally.