After being interested in all sorts of music from a very young age, Ilija Djokovic soon realized that electronic music was something where his heart truly is at. As an artist whose profile has rapidly expanded from Serbia’s techno region, Ilija Djokovic has earned support from the likes of Adam Beyer, John Digweed, Pan-Pot and others since delving into DJing and production in 2010.
Numerous releases on Tronic, Terminal M and Filth on Acid have undoubtedly boosted his credibility and booking schedule, earning him the "one to watch" status. Djokovic has worked and shared decks with some of the most notable names on the scene such as Paul Kalkbrenner, Nina Kraviz, Solomun, Dixon and Loco Dice among others.
We've invited Ilija for a friendly chat about his beginnings, upcoming projects, studio setup, summer schedule and much more.
Hi, Ilija. What have you been up to lately?
Hi guys, hope you’re well. I've been locked in my modest studio, working on a new material for the upcoming period. Also, the summer season has started, so I have a lot of gigs.
Looking at your discography, you’ve had your first release back in 2015 but we’ve read (in previous interviews) that you started producing three years before that. Why did you wait for three years to get the first track out there?
I started working on a production at the beginning of 2012, along with my good friend Nemanja. We have started with house music and after two years I've decided that it's not a right direction for me. I've started to explore the darker side of electronic music and now I'm here!
Speaking about production, what’s your studio setup like? Do you prefer using hardware machines or do you trust your computer more?
My production setup was always mostly based on a software. I'd say that I have a classic bedroom studio. I have a list of plugins which work for my style and I mostly use them in my tracks. In my opinion, it doesn't really matter what you use, but rather how you use it.
Despite the fact that you haven’t signed tons of music, you’ve already managed to release your stuff on some of best techno labels such as Terminal M, Tronic and Phobiq. How do you approach A-list labels? Do you have any secret recipes?
Well, that's a good question. Nowadays you need to have a lot of luck and good connection with the label you want to sign with. Of course, the quality music is a must. There is a bunch of super-talented producers out there, so you need to work really hard.
In a relatively short period of time, you’ve managed to grow into one of Ex – Yu’s biggest techno prospects. How do you get to the next "International" stage?
I don't really have a specific answer to this question. Everything happened very fast for me. Gigs across Europe have helped me a lot to grow up my profile and understand how the industry works. But, I think that I made just a small step as an international artist.
Belgrade and its electronic music scene has grown rapidly in last few years. There’s a lot of great venues and organizations that host superstar DJ’s almost every week. How did you saw the local scene evolve throughout this period?
Belgrade has a great potential! The crowd and the vibe are amazing, we have a quality scene. But, I'm afraid that there are too many repetitive bookings in the last period. We need something fresh asap.
Can you tell us about your plans for the summer? We’re pretty sure that you have some nice gigs and releases lined up.
My summer schedule is looking really nice. I'll be a part of the big festivals like Untold, Lovefest, Labyrinth Open, Sea Dance or EchoWaves. Speaking about releases - you will be updated soon! I can’t wait to share new music with all of you.
As you've mentioned, you’ll be also performing at Labyrinth Open festival in Omiš, Croatia this summer. Since this is a pretty fresh festival, what do you expect from it?
I'm very excited about my performance there. The concept is very innovative, the location is by the beautiful Adriatic sea and the lineup is unreal!
Let’s finish this lovely talk with a bit deeper question. What are your goals when it comes to your musical careers?
My goals have always been the same since I started this and I'm really doing my best to fulfil them. I want to perform even more around the globe and of course, to release on Drumcode. :)