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Poll 2021: Ummet Ozcan

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From: The Netherlands

Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “Still waiting…”


Dutch-Turkish dance titan Ummet Ozcan used the extra time he had at home during the pandemic to write his own audio program. He hopes it will one day be as popular as his highly emotional sets, and plans to make it available to the global producer community with some first software releases in 2022. 

As anyone who has seen his Instagram recently will know, Ummet also spent plenty of time working on his bulging biceps and getting his body-fat percentage somewhere close to zero. He also got a new family dog named Indy, and experimented a lot with his productions. He says he found himself switching to a more “progressive, techy yet very danceable sound”.

He has also seen the value to his mental health of slowing down a little. “I have realised that mankind is very vulnerable to worldwide threats or outbreaks. I guess it is a wake-up call. We have to change our perspective on how we handle things on our little blue planet. We can and must do better.” Amen to that. 


How was your first gig back after lockdown? 

“It felt so good, it’s unbelievable that we’ve been in hibernation for almost two years. Can’t wait to be back on tour.”


How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance? 

“Actually, not much. To have a good balance between work and normal life has always been of importance to me.”


What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change? 

“We could try to make festivals more climate neutral by using clean energy, get rid of plastic cups, recycle materials.”


What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year? 

“The last gem I added to my studio gear is a candy apple red Fender Stratocaster.”


What’s the best album you’ve heard this year? 

“The ‘Dune OST’ by Hans Zimmer.”

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2021-10-05 14:26

Style: 
“Style bender.”
Best known for: 
“My relentless passion for everything to do with sound.”
Tune of the year: 
“'The Business' by Tiësto.”

Poll 2020: Ummet Ozcan

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On a beautiful summer’s day this year, Ummet Ozcan played a trance set from the Pyramid: a 19th century, 36-metre high earth pyramid in central Netherlands. The imposing obelisk at the pyramid’s mound was the stunning backdrop for the live stream of Ozcan’s emotional melodic trance; a set designed to uplift his global, growing fanbase, playfully named the 'Ozclan' in a year of few festivals, and precious moments of togetherness.
 
Just before the pandemic hit, Ozcan was on a roll, touring the US, China and Europe almost without pause, including festivals like Tomorrowland and Dance Valley, and releasing original music on OZ Records, his own sub-label of long-time champions, Spinnin’ Records. His most recent hit track, ‘Toast Hawaii’, is a big room banger with an earworm steel drum melody, in collaboration with German DJ Le Shuuk. Ozcan hopes that the message from the Pyramid, and from his Top 100 DJs Virtual Festival set, reaches his fans: we’ll be raving together again one day, but until then, there’s always trance.
 
 
What three things have most helped you through COVID-19?
 
 
“Meditation, work-out and martial arts sessions at the gym, and after that being creative in the studio.”
 
 
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
 
“No-one could have foreseen this in the first place, I guess you can never be ready to prepare to battle an invisible enemy like this.”
 
 
What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?
 
“We are all electronic dance music lovers, I am not aware of any racism or inequality in our scene. Just one big family!"
 
 
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?
 
“Nowadays, it is more difficult to surface because of the vast amount of music which is being released every week. It takes a lot to get noticed. Maybe the ‘veterans’ should take responsibility to provide an apprenticeship for young talent.”
 
 
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
“Faithless ‘Insomnia’.”   

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2020-10-20 23:03

Style: 
“My style.”
Best known for: 
“My flying kung fu kicks.”
Tune of the year: 
“The Weeknd ‘Blinding Lights’.”

Poll 2019: Ummet Ozcan

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Unlike some of his peers, Ozcan Ummet is not afraid of hard work. It’s this hard work that’s kept fans around the world happy via regular appearances in the United States, Asia and Europe. It’s no wonder they keep voting him into the upper reaches of the Top 100. 

Ummet’s diary has been as packed as ever this year, with several lengthy solo club tours being supplemented by no less than 17 headline appearances at festivals in Europe, Asia and the United States. These include triumphant appearances at Dance Valley and Tomorrowland, two of Europe’s biggest and most vibrant events. 

Despite almost constantly being on the road, Ummet has somehow found time to re-build his studio — and renovate his home, somewhat surprisingly — as well as offer up a couple of typically kaleidoscopic and thumping singles on his Oz Records imprint. More excitingly for those who love his sound and make music themselves, his long-promised Genesis Pro VST soft-synth has finally been completed; it should go on sale in early 2020, some eight years after he first announced it online.

 

Do you submit your DJ setlists to the relevant royalties collecting society?

“Yes, though it’s quite hard to keep up because my sets change a lot and are quite dynamic. We should make the process easier.” 

What more can we do to combat the mental health crisis in our scene?

“Every DJ is more or less in control so when you think it gets too much, you can just take a step back. There is a lot of complaining going on but you never hear stories about them partying too hard. It all adds up.” 

Are you personally doing anything to improve the gender balance of line-ups?

“I’m an advocate of having more female DJs in the scene, but in the end, it’s the promoters’ choice.” 

What changes have you made this year to be more environmentally friendly?

“I believe it’s an ongoing process to keep the environment clean. When I see opportunities to do something that will help to achieve this goal, I will do it without hesitation.” 

What was your favourite toy when you were a kid?

“I played a lot with nunchucks as I was a huge fan of the Bruce Lee movies.” 

What’s your guilty pleasure?

“Damn, cheesecake!” 

 

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2019-10-16 11:47

Style: 
“Ozcan style all the way!”
Best known for: 
“My signature kung fu kicks.”
Tune of the year: 
“I love DJ Widespr34d’s ‘W&W’ bootleg remix of Eminem’s ‘The Real Slim Shady’.”

Poll 2018: Ummet Ozcan

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From: The Netherlands, but with Turkish roots
DJ style: “Electronic music.”
Best known for: “Just being me, a guy who likes to produce music and sounds.”
Fave tune of 2018: “W&W x Vini Vici ‘Chakra’ — officially from 2017, but I’ve played it in every set throughout this year.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2018: “Brooks.”

Ummet Ozcan has had another busy year, but one tainted with sadness. “We’ve lost an inspiring artist and soul this year,” he says of the sad loss of Avicii.

His own tour diary has been dizzyingly busy, with stops in China, the UAE, Cyprus, Singapore, Myanmar, Japan, the USA and all over Europe. In between these shows he has tried to take as much studio time as possible. “I want a constant flow of releases,” he says, and to aid him on his mission, this year he launched his own OZ Records label. It will deal in the same electrifying, hard and big room sounds as his own productions, which this year include ‘Change My Heart’ with Laurell, and ‘Trash Movement’ with Coone and Villain.

“Style-wise, I constantly try to evolve, just because it’s fun to explore other music and experiment a bit,” he explains, while admitting that he and his team have been working hard to create stunning visuals and new elements for his shows, which may well explain his success this year.

Words: KRISTAN J CARYL

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2018-10-12 10:26

Poll 2017: Ummet Ozcan

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Turkish/Dutch talent Ummet Ozcan has made his place in the Top 100 a permanent fixture, thanks to his growing worldwide 'Ozclan'. Still a mainstay on Spinnin', tracks such as 'Bombjack', a fidgety, bassline electro monster featuring the vocals of Ambush, and the ADHD-fuelled 'Showdown', which moves through dubstep, trap, hardstyle and trance like a demented EDM symphony, provided fuel for a non-stop summer of festivals — from TomorrowLand to Ultrasonic. His latest, meanwhile, the chirpy 'Everything Changes' featuring Chris Crone, finds him casting his musical rod into the streaming and radio markets.

2017 was also the year that he took his sound into the huge emerging market of China, playing 13 shows there to build on a global fanbase already cultivated via his weekly and widely syndicated Interstate Radio show.

While he's been forging his own way ahead, Ozcan might also have been unwittingly helping his rivals. Some main stage stars' hits have been surrounded by suspicions of ghost production, but when Ozcan isn't putting out epic belters he's helping produce soft synths and sound banks for the likes of Rob Papen and Access Music. If anyone can, Ozcan can.

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Jon Dommett - 2017-10-17 10:38

Poll 2015: Ummet Ozcan

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Ummet Ozcan's techno-influenced trance made something of a seamless transition to gain huge popularity amongst EDM fans, but that's come as no surprise to the man himself. “I am not bound to any musical conventions, I just produce whatever I like. People tend to put things in boxes. I personally don’t do that,” Ummet tells DJ Mag.

Of course, not every DJ or producer actually has a hand in creating the things that make the actual noises that are used to create tracks either, but Ummet is famous for providing softsynth and soundbank designs for some of the biggest music software houses too.

When it comes to making your own music, Ummet has a tip or two for aspiring producers: “There are certain elements that work better for your song than others, but the magic appears only with the right parts that fit the puzzle… but let’s say it helps to have a festival mindset before you start producing,” he advises.

Citing Tomorrowland 2015 in Belgium as one of the highlights of his past year of playing out, plans for 2016 look likely to see Ummet spending more time in the studio. “Producing is sometimes hard to combine with tour life,” he explains, before quickly adding: “My records are equally important. So that is one of my aims for 2016.”

DAVID McCARTHY

Questions Top100 DJs 2015 - Jon Dommett - 2015-11-13 15:50

Style: 
“Electronic music.”
Best known for: 
“My releases on Spinnin’ Records, my sound design and my DJ sets.”
Tune of the year: 
“‘The Hum’.”
From: 
Turkish descent but born and raised in The Netherlands
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2015: 
“Robin Schulz.”
What’s the most important skill a DJ should have?: 
“He should smile a lot!”
Is the future still bright for EDM?: 
“It couldn’t be any brighter.”
Does the constant travelling and DJ lifestyle ever take its toll on you mentally?: 
“I can cope with it pretty well, tour life is heavy but I get a lot of happy faces from my fans in return. And that keeps me going!”
What cause is closest to your heart?: 
I feel strongly for animals and compassion for every life form on earth.”
Which club would you like to bring back from the dead?: 
“The infamous Studio 54 in New York.”
Why aren’t there more women in the Top 100 DJs poll?: 
“It seems to be a man’s world… but great DJs like Nervo and Krewella should trigger more female talent to step up.”
What do you think of DJs who use ghost producers?: 
“It is inevitable, but it doesn’t really bother me.”