Cowlin Presents: Bontan

Hailing from the North-West, DJ/Producer Bontan’s interest in music began with playing the piano at the age of 5, before coming to DJing around the age of 15. He has spent the years since, honing his own style and is now a rising star in the scene, coming to prominence in 2013 with his remix of Josh Butler’s ‘Got a Feeling’ . Since then he’s racked up an impressive list of achievements including supporting legends in the game such as Pete Tong and Carl Cox, that have done his reputation no harm. With support continuing to come in from some big names, the end of 2015 and beyond is looking bright for Bontan…

Lets start with talking about how you actually got into the underground music scene? 

I have always been a fan of the underground music scene. Going to events and festivals since  I was old enough to! It was the Southport weekender where ​I​ really got into the scene though. It was a local event that hosted people like Dennis Ferrer, Kerri Chandler & The Martinez Brothers. After seeing these guys ​I​ started producing my own music when ​I​ was 19. ​I​t took me a few years to really craft my skills and find my sound.

What does your music production set up consist of?  

I use Logic 9 on a Mac Pro. I have a Moog Sub37, Moog Minitaur & a Roland TB3. My monitors are Focal Twin 6be. 

You’ve played all over the globe, but to this date,  where has been your most memorable set?  

Probably Creamfields this year was one of my most memorable sets. The tent was completely full at 15:30 in the afternoon. I was blown away!

Have you had any gigs in countries you wouldn’t think would have booked you to play?  

I have a gig coming up in Poland. I never though​t​ my music would reach this far around the globe.

What was your first release that was signed to a record label?  

My first release was ‘Hit It From The Back’​. It was signed by Pleasurekraft to Kraftek.

You’ve worked alongside your friend Josh Butler, but how did you two actually meet?  

We met through a mutual friend about 5 years ago. We instantly hit it off as we were both into music production.

You don’t currently run a record label, but do you have any plans in the future?  

I’m​ currently in the middle of planning my label it should be up and running mid 2016.

If you could work with a rapper, who would it be and why?  

Dead or alive it would probably be Biggie smalls. He has such an iconic voice and is easily my favourite rapper of all time.

What​’​s the process you go through when starting a remix?  – What’s your favourite remix you’ve worked on? 

First of all ​I​ find the parts in which ​I’m 100% going to use and delete everything else so ​I’m​ not distracted then go from there. My favourite remix I​’ve worked on would probably be my remix for Eagles & Butterflies on Noir.

Your track ‘Move On Out’ dominated the ‘Deep House Charts’ as well as your remix of ‘Nice7’s’ ‘Time To Get Physical’ which was supported massively across the scene. How does this make you feel after the short time that you’ve been in the scene to have a track dominating the charts? 

I never expect my tracks to do as well as they did so it was such a nice surprise. I just try to make music I ​would dance to in a club and hopefully everyone else likes it!

Another remix that you magically created of Clean Bandits ‘Extraordinary’ was supported massively on their national UK tour. The remix even got incorporated in their live show. How does this make you feel that other artists use your music in their shows?  

That was a special one for me as the band took my remix and my elements and incorporated them into the live show using instruments. It shows musicians and electronic musicians respect each others craft.

What​’​s your process when you get into the studio?  – And how often do you get yourself in the studio in a week? 

I always start off with drums. Get a solid drum loop going then add the music. I never plan to go into the studio. It has to be when ​I’m feeling creative. Sometimes ​I​ go weeks without making any music then other times ​I’m in 7 days a week.

When you’re Djing, what does your DJ set up consist of?  – Would you ever consider going down the route of a live show, using hardware with Ableton or something along those lines? 

My DJ set up is CDJ’s and a mixer. I would consider a live show maybe in a few years when I​ work on an album.

Whilst you were midway through your and Josh Butler’s ‘Be True’ tour, Nile Rodgers came across your music and got in contact. – How did he get in contact with you and what was the exact words he said to you two?   – What was this like to warm things up for him? 

He sent an email to our management and said he loves what we are doing and wants us to come on tour with him and the band. He​’​s such a nice guy and really welcomed us into the family. Every show was incredible. Playing music before Chic was a dream come true for us.

Being supported massively by the likes of Pete Tong, Annie Mac, Danny Howard and Toddla T from Radio 1 is massive.  – What was your first track that was aired on Radio 1 and who was it that played it? 

My first track on Radio 1 was my first Bontan record ​I​ ever released. It was played by B.Traits. I assume she got the promo through via email but ​I​ had no idea it was going to be aired. ​I​ woke up the next morning to a load of messages​ from​ people letting me know it had been on the night before!

‘Bontan plays We Are WHSE on 3rd October and 14th November at Great Suffolk Street Warehouse. For more information and tickets, please visit:


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