Beste Hira, the Turkish, Amsterdam based, DJ and producer is known for her mostly dark faced paced music. But little do most people know, she has a rich background when it comes to music. In this week’s article we’ll dive into what made Beste the musical artist she is today. – Written by Delano Legito
So, most people don’t know that you can do much more than just twitching knobs. Where did this all begin?
Until three years ago I lived in Turkey, where I grew up in a very musical family. As I was constantly surrounded with music, I got extra curious with my father playing the piano. And eventually I got more intrigued, so I started out doing the same, when I was about six years old. This kept on going and led to my choice of studying conservatorium in Istanbul, when I finished high school. Here I could choose an instrument to specialize my skills with.
This led to my choice for playing the violin, but unfortunately this wasn’t meant to be as my fingers did not match the required length, so I went for the cello in addition to the piano.
When did the switch from classical instruments to electronic music occur?
I always had a passion for electronic music, and my brother was already into producing “inside the box”, because he studied sound engineering. In this way he could teach me how to produce my own music, step by step. This got me to the point where I could produce my own tracks.
Could you describe the influence from your classical background to the modern sound that we know you for?
Well, I wouldn’t say there is an obvious connection in the sound itself but being in the world of classical music you will get a lot of discipline. As you usually work with a teacher who is dedicated to drill you to live up to your full potential. It could be resembled a bit with the movie “Whiplash”. My teacher was quite strict and often I practiced until tears were shed. But in the end, it gave me the drive to go on until I reach my goal, even now when there isn’t a teacher around to push me to my limits.
You mostly play more dark and groovy techno, which can be pretty atonal. Does this sometimes bother you, as you have a wide music theoretical background?
Haha, this is a thing where I can struggle from time to time. Not only with producing but also with dj-ing. Since I was taught to hear and play everything in key, you will automatically hear something as “wrong” if you play different [nonmatching keys]. This can make me extra picky, but it can be good to just switch it up every now and then. Sometimes I would like to have a non-music theory vision on the music I make, because it can limit your creativity. But in a lot of ways, it can come in handy, because some producers struggle with producing in key and that’s something that I do easily. I guess there is no good or bad, and both sides have their benefits when it comes to producing. With dj-ing it can be very handy, as certain keys have certain moods, which can lead to crucial moments in your set where you need to decide if you want to switch up the mood if people get bored.
Do you prepare these “moods” for your DJ sets?
Yes and no. I prepare my dj sets by scrolling through older and new music with a certain vibe in my head. If I would play in a dark basement, that would be totally different from playing at a festival. Subconsciously I’ll select certain keys, but that’s just because I happen to know them. Chancer are that another DJ would pick the same kind of tracks, in the same key, just not knowing it would match. Sometimes your gut feeling, or your ears can tell you more than you know!
What would be the big difference for you, playing a concert or a dj-gig?
The whole aesthetic is different when you play at a concert or in an orchestra. Playing an instrument can feel like actual therapy, because you will be more in some kind of “bubble”. You don’t really notice the people around you, as it’s just you and your instrument.
To me, a dj-gig on the other hand, means that you try to sustain a constant connection with the crowd. In some way I can bond with the crowd and then they’ll hand out the kind of tracks that I’ll play. It’s a magical feeling that just never gets old. To me a feeling like that is way more emotional, although the music itself might seem pretty dark.
As you have lived in The Netherlands for a few years now, how has your journey been so far?
I met a lot of inspiring people, which ultimately led to the musical artist I am today. One moment I was playing music on a laptop at an afterparty, and the other moment I got resident at Orphic. It all went pretty fast but I’m grateful for every moment I got to present myself. Especially with the Orphic team I have a special connection, which gave me the first feeling of “belonging” in the Dutch underground scene. Simply said, I’ve had great moments and I would never want to leave!
You seem like a happy individual! Lastly, would you like to share some of your knowledge on how you can maintain such good vibes in front and behind the dj decks?
Well, I would definitely start off with: Work hard and never give up! It sounds kind of cliché but it’s very true. If you keep working on something, eventually good things will happen.
Second one would be the sharing of knowledge and just being a good person. If you will share what you can with others, that will come back in some way, at some point. With that mindset you can get anywhere in life!
Listen to Bestes latest mixes and releases: https://soundcloud.com/beste-hira