Introduction 154

For our new Introduction we warmly welcome the London-based newcomer N1NJA. Despite being a fresh face to the scene, she's already established herself as a distinguished producer and popular DJ. Her mix takes us on an organic, introspective journey through mystical sounds and ethnic instruments and in her interview she reveals the story behind her rocket start as an electronic music artist.


Hey Farah, what a pleasure to feature you and your music in our Introduction series! Despite only having a few releases out, your sound already seems very refined and mature. How did you get into producing and what were major steps for you in developing your sound?

"Hey! Thanks for having me, it’s a pleasure to be here, and thank you for your kind words. I’ve carefully honed my production abilities over the last 7 years and dug super deep into developing my signature sound so I’m really glad you can recognize the maturity and refinement of it. The journey of music production is definitely a marathon, not a sprint! Some of the major steps for me were:

1. Mentorship
I was very lucky to be spotted by the Crosstown Rebels artist, Francesco Mami, in the early stages of my production journey. Francesco is a Logic Certified Trainer and he took me under his wings for a year, teaching me music production almost daily, while also allowing me to observe his workflow when producing for major labels. I still work with him to this day, now more on a co-producer level. I also think you're the average of the 5 people you surround yourselves with and have actively sought mentorship in several different aspects of the industry from management to bookings and more. Some of the mentors over the last 7 years have included Atish, Sebastian Mullaert, Alma Ernset, Keith Mills, and Leticia van Riel.

2. Studying at Berklee
Continuous learning in music production is everything. I was super lucky to be accepted into Berklee’s Summer Program for Film Scoring, Game Audio, and African Percussion in 2017. Berklee is widely considered as one of the best musical schools in the world with notable alumni such as John Mayer and Arooj Aftab. I learned a lot there about creating melodies from a scoring and gaming perspective, as well as the cultural techniques and historical contexts of African percussion, which has helped me a lot in layering tribal sounds in my productions. I also hope to release my music in games and films someday!

3. Finding Secret Weapons
I love to paint my sonic palette with the hypnotic and sacred sounds of Eastern instruments such as the sarangi and the sarod. I’ve actively spent a lot of time finding some of the best maestros of these instruments, some of them are fellow alumni of Berklee, and they have gone on to become my secret weapons in adding enchanting textures of these beautiful instruments. Many of them have never worked with electronic music either, which sometimes creates a very organic and unfiltered approach to our productions.

I recently aired a podcast episode about the topic of releasing music on dream labels on my podcast, Mission Makers, which you can listen to here or on Apple Podcasts + Spotify."

Do you have a morning routine?

"Yes! I’ve always been a night owl, and so I start my days at 10 AM to be able to work till late and fit in the working hours of nightlife. I normally start my day with a 20-minute movement meditation of Qi Qong to get the energy flowing, and to optimize the mind for the day ahead. Following this, I make music for a strictly timed period of 20 minutes to spark creativity for the rest of the day. Results come from consistency, but you never know when your creative muse will appear in the studio, so I feel by continuously showing up you are there to catch the message of creativity when it gets transmitted through you. Making music in a timed setting also allows me to bypass any habits of perfectionism that I can get trapped by. Outside of music, I run two businesses that I work on every day and this morning ritual also positively inspires my creativity for the various aspects of being an entrepreneur such as strategy and marketing. The last part of my morning routine is to also continue my fasting window of 16 hours."

What do you want to express with your music?

"The intention behind my music is to evoke a deep sense of introspection. Each sacred instrument holds a profound connection towards the journey of inner stillness whilst the tonalities of the African percussion invigorate primal energy fields, paying homage to our ancestral Earth. Through the use of unique electronic elements, I want my compositions to push the boundaries of sonic innovation and for them to be a conduit for sparking deeper shifts in our consciousness, taking listeners to a realm where there are no barriers to transformation."

In which ways could the scene improve in the future?

"I think there are 2 major ways the scene could improve in the future. Firstly, the payouts of streaming services to artists are frankly disrespectful and unfair on so many levels. It takes 1 million streams on Spotify to earn £1,000 - of which the artist typically has to split 50% with a label. The number of producers within electronic music who achieve 1 million streams is a tiny percentage of the overall production community. Monetizing productions fairly is something companies need to make a priority.

Secondly, I think there is not enough being done to support women in the industry who decide to become mothers. Understanding this is crucial for creating more inclusive and supportive environments, and for closing the gender gap. I really believe this will require a collective effort from promoters, companies, agents, managers, and industry professionals. There are so many ways we can tackle this from adjusting set times, advocating inclusion on lineups, providing local childcare facilities for artists while they are touring, offering financial grants to parents, creating discussion points at industry conferences, changing policies at work and for the scene at large to highlight the achievements of parents in the industry."

What can we expect from you in the near future?

"A lot more music of course! I have a really exciting string of releases this year with labels such as Sounds of Khemit, Cafe de Anatolia, Midnight Riders, and Mobilee. I’m particularly excited about a really special track being released in Autumn with Deepak Chopra called
Infinite Being, which was taken from an interview I conducted with him in Davos. And I also have another season of my podcast, Mission Makers, airing in a few weeks featuring discussions with notable industry leaders such as Sanjay Nandi, the CEO of the Pacha Group."


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