Self-Portrait: Ivy Barkakati

There’s a sense of tranquility embedded in Ivy Barkakati productions, be it through her soothing vocal tones or warm synth compositions.

The Barcelona-based DJ and producer released her first and only solo album in 2014 on Hospital Productions, and since has provided beautiful vocals for Furious Frank, as well pouring her focus into her collaborative projects, IVAN and Proceed.

The former is a partnership with Klasse Wrecks regular Phran, matching Ivy’s love of house music with Phran’s Latin influences, resulting in a contribution to Best Effort, which we premiered two years ago, as well as a recent self-released debut EP called Delicious Fantasy. Proceed is a newer project, alongside Eneko Balzategi, with whom she shared a debut EP on Haus Of Beats Diskak, matching old school synth and electro.

Her most recent outing was amongst the 15 strong line up of female producers on LA-based SOS Music’s first compilation, sitting alongside artists like Violet, Nene H, Umfang and Rroxymore. Off the back of the release we invited Ivy to share a collection of unreleased material, which flows from blissed out ambience to twinkling synth musings, accompanied by some words about her creative process and approach to production.

Let’s start with an ice breaker, what’s your earliest musical memory?

An early one would be thoroughly enjoying the Bette Midler CD Some People’s Lives when I was like seven. I loved the song “From A Distance”.

Did you have a particularly musical upbringing?

I took piano lessons from age 5-17, and I have been an avid music listener starting in childhood.

What led you into music production?

I was friends with people who did it, my ex was a producer, and it just ended up happening –- I fell into it. It hadn’t occurred to me before how readily my piano training could translate to playing synth. When I was taking piano lessons I never tried composing my own music but now I could apply what I knew from playing classical music to jamming on the synth. I got my first synth, the Dave Smith mono Evolver, around 2010.

Are there any producers or artists who have inspired your production?

Subconsciously, I’m sure, but I don’t have any specific examples. I am constantly listening to music so of course I’m filtering all that input.

Are there any particular rituals you go through before you head into the studio?

No, it’s just important to make sure to have just eaten before going or to bring food because the worst thing is getting hungry while there, it makes it impossible to get anything done. And I prefer to stay in once I get there.

Do you come in with a destination in mind before starting a jam?

Not really, maybe sometimes I want to experiment with something specific but I usually just let myself wander.

Are you the type of producer to work on a track until it’s perfect, or are you more of an impulsive creator, happy with first takes and sketches?

I am definitely more on the impulsive side of things.

Can you talk us through how you might construct a track?

I record myself jamming in Ableton, experiment with effects, edit.

How much of your material is sample based and how much is original?

Very little sampling but mainly because I’m not good at it.

What’s the most important bits of kit that make an Ivy Barkakati track?

My Dave Smith mono Evolver has been the most important, it’s the synth I’ve had the longest. A close second would be my Korg Poly-61M.

This mix is comprised of 100% original Ivy Barkakati material. Could you tell us a bit about it? Any tracks that are particularly special to you?

This is all unsigned/unreleased/forthcoming (well, one track was forthcoming when I recorded the mix but it just came out). The first track is particularly special to me because it captures a very unexpected moment from three years ago. I was just randomly playing someone else’s synth and then this super long jam flowed out (this track is an edit of the jam). It was very stream-of-consciousness, I had never played anything like that before.

Anything on the horizon for you? Any releases we should know about?

I have a track (the one that was forthcoming when I recorded the mix) called “Reactivar” on the compilation SOS Music Vol. 1 that just came out on 23 October.

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