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Interview: Deniz Kurtel

With her first album out on Crosstown Rebels and a tour under her belt, we talk to Deniz Kurtel about her new collaboration with Guti and Gadhi Mizrahi, 'The Way I Feel' EP.

Spotlight: So Deniz you've been touring the last few months to promote your new album out on Crosstown Rebels ‘Music Watching Over Me' – how has it been?

Deniz: It's been a very busy spring and summer, way busier than I'm used to as I only started playing last year. It's been going great but I definitely want to take a break soon and focus on finishing some of my projects, a bunch of collaborations with friends, including Tanner Ross, Pillow Talk, Gadi from Wolf+Lamb, Voices of Black, Art Department, Chaim and Guy Gerber, and also a couple of art projects I've been planning for a while.

What was it like working with Damian Lazarus on the album? Was it a good artistic fit?

Yes, it was a very natural fit because Damian liked almost everything I made since I started making music and it was actually his idea that I make an album for his label. I had just started experimenting for fun, and had no plan of what I wanted to do with my music. So he definitely played a huge role in taking the whole thing to a pretty serious level and it becoming pretty much a career for me.

You also have a release coming up on Gadi Mizrahi's label Double Standard, can you tell us a bit about it?

Yes, “The Way I Feel” EP is two tracks I made with Guti and Gadi after a NYE party at the Marcy Hotel, almost two years ago. Guti came to play at the Marcy and Gadi and I were living there at the time, and the two days after the party we worked on music together and made these tracks effortlessly, even though the three of us had never worked on music before, and didn't even know Guti that well up to that point. We were all very happy with how musical and laid back they came out, and very different than most of the other stuff we had done. And the fact that they stayed fresh for almost two years waiting to come out assured us that they're pretty timeless tracks.

And are there any other production projects you are currently working on?

Yes, I have done a lot of remixes recently and have a bunch more coming out in the next few months. Also a lot of collaborations with other artists I have mentioned, and my own album that I'm working on. I have so much music at the moment but I'm finding it's going to be a challenge figuring out the best way to release it all, especially because it includes projects with other people.

Art is an important part of your music. Do you have any plans to create new installations for your performances?

I might do that for my next tour, but my next art project is going to be a permanent installation.

For you, is the visual aspect of your show more about you expressing yourself or about the audience's experience?

It's for the audience's experience but I'm obviously expressing myself in the way that I go about creating it.

Are there any others artists you have seen incorporate visual art into their sets that you really like?

Yes, Alva Noto.

What are you currently using for your live set up?

Just Ableton and Akai APC40 controller.

And is DJ'ing something you want to try your hand at in the future?

I never tried DJ'ing so I'm not sure. I'm thinking of giving it a shot sometime next year and see how I feel, but I can't say that it's a priority for me.

'The Way I Feel' EP is out now on Double Standard.

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