A Conversation with Antwon Faulkner – Part 1

Photo of Antwon Faulkner an African American man with a red Detroit baseball cap and a red shirt.

Antwon Faulkner – Hijacked Records Detroit

Q. What are some of your musical influences, and how does it affect your production process?
A. It started with gospel, jazz, Funk and 80s stuff, then when I started to learn how to DJ I got into house and techno. When recording I don’t listen to any other music, so I’m not influenced by other people’s sound..

Q. How would you describe “techno,” specifically the “Detroit Sound?”
A. That depends on who’s making it. If its me then you will hear more of a ‘hi-tech’ sound like warm synths, chords, funky drum patterns with a bit of a swing, to be specific. That’s just how I describe my sound of Detroit. Generally speaking, Detroit Techno has more soul, but I don’t really like to get into categorizing what other people are doing. I try to focus on what I’m doing and putting my best foot forward.

Q. I understand you moved around a bit. You currently reside in Canada? Would you say your surrounding environment drives your sound?
A. Yeah, when I was in Detroit in 2005 I felt like everything there was at a dead end. The city was going down and taking everyone in it with it. I felt this bad energy at that time, so I decided to leave before it was too late to achieve a better life. I moved to Arizona for three years and in 2008 after my last performance at movement, I moved to Toronto with my wife. When I made that transition, I felt free and happy about life and music. The people I surrounded myself with were all producers with current catalogs and I learned a lot, so that’s when I decided I was going to focus more on making tracks and producing, because Djing was already a natural thing to me. I didn’t consider myself a real producer until I moved to Toronto and was able to focus on it. Seven years later My wife and I bought a house and I have a proper studio with more than 40 tracks to date. So yeah, my environment has helped shape my sound because I am in a great place now, both physically and mentally.

Q. When it comes to your DJ sets or original productions, are you a strictly analog, or do you also embrace the digital age as well?
A. Right now it’s Vinyl, CDJ’s, and my USB thumb drive for my DJ sets, and I use my laptop and outboard analog gear for productions.

Q.What is the one piece of gear you can’t live without?
A. My Native Instruments ‘Maschine Studio’ because I know it inside out.

Q.What are your thoughts on the current state of the music scene in general.
A. Honestly I don’t think about it much, but living in Toronto I’ve learned how to throw my own events with family, friends and bringing in someone I like from Detroit, once or twice a year. The promoters here will pay their locals Djs $100 to $200 bucks and they want you to wait until the end of the night to collect your cash. We pay all our Djs when they walk into the event. We don’t depend on the door to make our money. While this is probably not specific to Toronto, it highlights a culture of not appreciating the artist and their struggle to make ends meet. It shouldn’t be that way, and that’s upsetting. Without the music, there would be no party in the first place.

Q. What activities do you enjoy when not creating music?
A. Now it’s summer, so I enjoy going to the beach because it’s closer to where I live now. I exercise every other day and going into the city is now fun because I don’t live in the heart of it anymore. It’s more exciting now and there are endless things to do. I also really enjoy cooking, or just enjoying some wine with my wife.
Read part 2 of the interview.

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