Fresh out of New York’s scene comes DESNA, a producer full of spunk and evocative techno. Her latest release, Pop Gun, premiered on Senso Sounds, Oliver Huntemann‘s label earlier this month. Pop Gun assembles a fine soundscape, with synths flashing left and right, drum echos and a pervading metallic mood. We caught up with the former Output resident to chat about what it took for her to transition from white-collar to the techno underground, and how she stays on top of it.
How did you work on a music career while maintaining a full time job?
At first, I was deejaying at clubs just for fun so it wasn’t too stressful, it was more just like a fun side hobby. I would enjoy putting sets together etc., but it initially didn’t take up much extra time. Once I started producing music and taking things more seriously with time invested, I began structuring my days better with time management. I would have to allow most evenings to be dedicated to learning and honing in on my skills. I worked in Real Estate so with that type of job you work weekends also. You’re never really “off” – so in a way, I had more freedom with my schedule but also it was a bit more challenging to structure.
When did you realize a 9-5 wasn’t for you?
I always felt that a 9-5 job was not for me. There was this inner knowing that this would not be my life forever. Not that I even hated it (I’m a pretty happy person. I enjoyed all the fields of work I’ve been in) BUT, I sort of knew this wasn’t my purpose or permanent life path. I am someone who craves adventure and dislikes certain routines with a 9-5 being one of them! I want to feel free and not forced to do anything for anyone. I don’t think I could ever go back now that I’ve transitioned out of that weekly schedule.
How much have you had to sacrifice your social life?
It wasn’t until recently that the sacrifice was really apparent. I get invited out to several cool things each week, but most of the time decline to stay in and work in my studio. There’s some cool momentum right now, and if I do not capitalize, then things can move backwards so music comes first. I crave and LOVE being in solitude 70% of the time, so this is not hard for me and my closest friendships know me and understand what I’m going after AND all support me. I don’t think of it so much as a sacrifice really. It’s a choice. I choose this career right now and that’s what I’m putting most of my energy towards.
Was there a specific moment that made you decide to pursue a music career?
YES – Actually there was! It was about 3 years ago, I played the main room at Output in New York for the first time. It was packed and sold out wall to wall with people. I had a nice 3 hour set in that room and I had never felt a response like the one I had at that time. It was a VIBE!! That gave me the confidence I needed playing the best club in the world, with that response, it sort of set everything off in a more serious direction with me coming out as an artist (DESNA).
Does pursuing a passion come with the same mundane feelings a corporate job can ignite?
Of course it does! There are times when you have to do things you don’t feel like doing and not every day is filled with joyful focus. But, not every day is meant to be playing or making music. There are other things that can keep you on course like networking, following up, researching what’s out there etc. So, I trust my guidance on what to focus on each day based on how I’m feeling. I don’t experience too much boredom or mundane feelings since I am pursuing my passions, but it does still exist once in a while.
What advice can you give to other people thinking about making the switch as a full time Artist?
Be consistent in your daily habits and have patience. Set realistic short term goals that you know you can achieve as it will help boost your confidence in getting the bigger picture in order. Attend music conferences and get your face and music in front of people. Have a circle of people you trust to really critique your music or craft. I think talking about your passions out loud helps ignite them into reality also. Don’t be afraid to talk about your dreams to your friends and loved ones. Make it real with your words and follow that up with your actions. 6 hours of sleep is almost as good as 8, and be cautious to balance your work flow as productively as you can and you can achieve anything!
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