Interview: Canson

12 August 2014 - - - The DJ List


Electronics always played a decisive role in the life of Amar Derradj AKA CANSON. Born and bred in Zurich, Canson took up an appreticeship in machine design, later got into audio engineering and then sold electronic music in a record shop. In 1993 the techno virus got him, thusly it was only a matter of time for 17-year-old Amar to buy his first synthesizer. Influenced by the deep minimalism of MAURIZIO, Amar ventured along. In 2000, he released his first record on Stattmuisk under the Anatol moniker, a joint project with Cosili. Canson was gracious enough to answer a few questions before making his debut performance in LA this coming week! Come check out the party!

Who first introduced you to electronic music?

That was a long time ago, I don’t even remember! Electronics always played a decisive role in my life. It was around 1993 when I became seriously interested and bought my first synthesizer at the age of 17.

How did you come up with your artist’s name?

I needed an artist name for my first release. I was sitting in my studio an suddenly noticed a scratchpad from CANSON – a French manufacturer of fine art paper and related products. I liked the logo and the sound of the name. Hence, my artist name was born.

How big is the German influence in terms of electronic music in Zurich? Can you name us some DJ's you were influenced by?

Back in the days, I was influenced by the deep minimalism of Maurizio, Main Street Records and Roman Flügel. The German influence has been huge on the whole scene. There is a strong connection between Zurich and Berlin. I am releasing my
tracks on German labels such as Katermukke, URSL and Bar25. I am friends with many producers and DJs from Germany and I often play there.

You started producing in the late 90's. How has your sound evolved over the years?

It took some time to find my own style and sound. My music has always been deep and emotional, but it definitely became slower over time – also softer and more suitable for the dancefloor. And I catch myself enjoying to listen to my tracks. That’s new!

Can you describe your sound when performing live? When playing during different times and settings do you take different approaches to your sets?

I find it very hard to put music into words. Music needs to be listened to, music needs to be felt rather than explained. People say that I make«kicking and melodic-romantic club sound» – maybe that comes close. And yes, of course I adjust my set to the setting and the time of the party. Since I always play live – I am not a DJ – I can modify my set regarding tempo, choice of tracks, vocals, melodies etc.

In your view, what makes an good party?

Well, there are a lot of ingredients. Of course the music is essential. But the atmosphere of the club/venue is very decisive as well – lightning, sound system, decoration, setting etc. And of course the vibe of the people is crucial. And if everything fits together, this magic moment is happening that can’t be planned.

What does your studio currently consist of? How has your studio set-up changed throughout the years?

I don’t have as studio. Since years I have been producing with my laptop, sitting on my couch in the living room. Back in the days, I had a small studio at home with hardware. At present, I only work with my computer.

What was your last job before becoming a full time producer/DJ? How much of a struggle was it to get to where you are

I used to work as a project manager for a company that is specialized in three-dimensionsal communication. I organized events for smaller businesses and banks. It was never my defined goal to make my living from music. It just happened very naturally in the course of time. When the gigs started to add up and I was playing every weekend I had to quit my job – it just became too exhausting. I still work as a freelancer every once in a while.

Who are some up and coming artists that we should look out for?

I love my Berlin friends DAVID DORAD ( ) and SEBO ( from URSL records. I also like RAMPUE ( ). And there are these promising guys from Zurich, MARKUS KENEL and Nico Sonne. I really like their duo performance „Kenel & Sonne“. They just launched their label ARCHE MUSIK (

What are your future releases you have coming out this year?

I am currently working on a track for the second release of ARCHE MUSIK. There is also a remix in the making for David Dorad / URSL. And, yes, an album is long overdue – hopefully I find time soon.

Be sure to follow Canson on his socials to keep up-to-date:
Website | Facebook | SoundCloud

About the Author

Dale Take
maurizio roman flugel sebo canson rampue david dorad markus kenel