Exclusive Selects: Theo Kottis for Master & Dynamic
As one of electronica’s rising stars, producer Theo Kottis has a growing legion of fans. From BBC1 Radio, where noted DJ and influencer Pete Tong has featured the young music maker, to Glasgow, Scotland’s famous Sub Club, where Kottis currently holds the title of resident artist at the world’s longest running underground dance club, those who spot talent seem to have discovered the young musician. With a sound that ranges from subdued to uplifting, Kottis has music for every mood, making him one to watch on the festival circuit this summer. The 10,000 recently spoke with Kottis about the art of DJing, the effect of his hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland on his music, and his advice for up-and-coming acts.
With “push button” DJing becoming more and more prevalent, what do you do to stay creative?
I’m a strong believer in being able to express your art and creativity in any way that you feel comfortable. Each way of DJing has a different feeling; it’s up to the DJ to find a way that they feel they can deliver their best. One way isn’t better than the other. DJing to me is about being able to read a crowd, make them dance, and try to educate them by picking tracks from your vast music collection. I feel the best way to stay creative is expanding my knowledge about the music I love and then taking the listeners on a journey with me.
Your take on electronica is very calmed and toned down. What inspires you to make this type of music?
I love electronic music that you can listen to in any situation, whether it be in the club or at home when you’re trying to chill out. Listening to music and being able to get lost in the sounds is what I aim for when working on my own tracks.
With much of your music having a “dark” sound, how do you change your act for live sets?
I’ve been told my sets are “sometimes dark, sometimes uplifting, always emotive”, so there’s something in them for any crowd and any venue. I enjoy the challenge of having to adapt, so I embrace it.
You’ve toured at major festivals across Europe (and beyond) and performed multiple sets for BBC1. What advice do you have for aspiring DJs/producers looking to grow their name?
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so take your time and be patient. I think there are far too many producers out there sending demos around and they haven’t even reached half of their potential yet. Learn your trade first, then start networking!
How did growing up in Edinburgh effect your music?
Edinburgh is a beautiful city. It’s very calm and relaxed. It’s got a great scene but one I believe is underdeveloped, so if anything it gave me the motivation to contribute towards growing the music scene. I actually spent my childhood in Greece until the age of eleven. Growing up by the sea and in a country so full of history, with such passionate people, is no doubt why I love music that’s warm, deep, and evokes emotion.
Did honing your skills in Glasgow have a similar effect?
I feel very privileged to be associated with the Sub Club in Glasgow. When I started out, it was always an ambition of mine to play there, and so I really scrubbed up on my knowledge of music, DJing and the great venues of the world to get closer to that—valuable info I’ve kept with me!
You’ve got a slew of new music coming up. What approach do you take to creating new works?
I’m fortunate that DJing takes me across Europe and I’m somewhere new every week, but when I know I need to make music, I like to get into a routine and focus. For me, that means an early rise, a run, and into the studio! Running has really helped me on the creative side in the last year—highly recommend it.