Name: Satori / Djordje Petrovic
Current release: Satori ft. Peia's "Mori Shej" is out now on DGTL.
Visit Satori on Facebook or Soundcloud to dive even deeper into his musical world.
I grew up with a Serbian farther, a Dutch/South African mother, born and raised in Holland, a country well known for his multi-culture diversity, raised with Balkan music, African music and spending my youth discovering electronic music in the clubs of Amsterdam and Nijmegen, which are like a mecca of electronic music.
It’s this diversity, this cocktail with so many ingredients that influenced my musical style. I like to see my liveshow as a form of global travel, going from the Middle East, via the Balkans and ending up in American blues. It’s this migration of music that fascinates me the most. Allowing so many cultures and genres in my music would have never happened if I hadn't been raised in this way, full of diversity.
Take the legendary clubs before my time, the IT and the Roxy in Amsterdam. These were places where people from all different layers of society could come together and dance. From a banker, to a homeless person who snuck in, everyone was equal. Besides the fact that this defines Amsterdam as a city, it left an important footprint for electronic music. Because it created this ‘world’ of equality. Everybody in one room, dancing to the same groove.
With my live act I try to take this into the future by blending different cultures in my sets. When I play for example in NYC, it’s the moments when I combine an Iranian rhythm with a Colombian vocal, that two people from Iran and Colombia are getting united on the dance floor. It’s these beautiful moments that keep me out of bed every day.
In the end your ideas are a mash-up from things that inspire you. So your color pallet doesn’t go further than your horizon. Therefore I think it's crucial to explore different music, travel and get culturally richer. I mean, Paul Simon could never have made Graceland, if he didn’t travel to South Africa right?
My current release is my take on the song "Mori Shej". I discovered the piece a long time ago, I can't even remember when. Like I said before I was raised with Balkan music. This song is definitely one of my favorite songs from the Hungarian region. But I never had in mind to make an electronic version of it. Most Balkan songs are there to enjoy for me.
But, it all changed when I heard Peia's version. It immediately struck me because the way she sang it was more in a ‘spiritual, chanting’ way. So I decided to make an edit of it to play it in my live act. Still not having any intention to release it. Somehow a video of me playing my edit ended up online and Peia heard it. She sent me an email to ask if she could hear my edit. We started speaking about it and eventually that turned into the release of this song.
When you discover a song that is appealing to you, then there is always a reason why. Sometimes you have to work backwards to realise what exactly in the song is giving you the shivers. For example if you hear an African song, then there is a big chance that it's the rhythms that are speaking to you. And now comes the tricky part. You can sample that rhythm and make a track with it. I guess when you do, you go more into the appropriation part. Because you didn’t make that beat, that beat doesn’t represent your culture. And besides, it’s also a little bit easy to do.
But what you also can do is analyse the rhythm and make it your own. I do so many experiments with this. Like I take a rhythm of tango and I ask myself, how would it sound if this rhythm were played by an 808 drum computer. And here is where the interesting things are happening. Over the last few years I am going more into this direction than just sampling that loop and using it in my track. So the art of sampling to me is all about understanding what that sample is about and then take it to the next level.
In the end, however, we all are sharing the same planet. Globalization makes us one big family. So let's be open to be inspired by each other and take things to the next level, instead of protecting, claiming and getting stuck with the same old patterns over and over again. Tinariwen wouldn’t be Tinariwen if they didn’t discover Jimmy Hendrix music. It’s West African rhythm, Sahara desert sound and a good chunk of Jimmy Hendrix which makes Tinariwen one of my favorite bands of all time. Imagine we didn’t allow them to be inspired by Jimmy Hendrix, because it doesn't belong in their culture … That would be sad.
When I am in the studio I don't like to think too much and just follow what feels right and sounds good to my ears. In a deeper more psychological way the decisions I make obviously are reflected by my state of mind, but I don't think too much about it. I just let it flow and see what comes out of it. It is actually after the creation that I can make certain links between my emotion and the song.
I also want to be a craftsman who makes beautiful music and for that I need to go to the studio and make music everyday and be better than the day before. Historians discovered that many times he was “just” a craftsman, focusing on making an extraordinary piece. I find a lot of comfort in hearing this, because it motivates me to also place my focus on the craft of making music and not always on the storytelling aspect. In the end, I am aiming for the balance between both worlds.
One thing I picked up from my Aikido practise in the past is that the moment you step in the DOJO, you make a bow, salute the DOJO, you meditate for a view minutes to set your state of mind on the practice. You really surrender yourself to the DOJO and master and you leave whatever is on your mind outside the DOJO. It’s this devotion of giving yourself fully, with no ego, that is what I have learned. So now, when I go into my studio, I approach it as my dojo. I make a bow, I meditate for a few minutes and start working. The whole purpose of this is actually to let go my identity, to let go the ego … Just let music happen. I am the vehicle. And this sounds like I am some kind of monk (laughs), this is obviously not working all the time. But I think whatever you do in life, do it with your full heart, passion and devotion, otherwise what’s the purpose? It’s in those surrendering moments where magic happens.