While Russia's dance music scene may not be as well known as others, the country has produced many brilliant DJs over the years. A stand out among them is Eskuche. Known for impactful drums and intense bass lines, the Relief Records regular is one of Russia's finest exports.
"Now, back in the day when I was living there, it was very different. It was mostly commercial house remixes of just popular Russian tracks. I never liked it that much," he says. Even then, his style skewed underground, a sound that Russia wasn't quite ready for yet.
"Now I feel everyone is going crazy about dance music, specifically the Solomon type of style. There is also a big minimal scene that's been growing. But with Covid, there is not really a lot going on, you know? And Russia is also very strict with all the laws and stuff. So it's a different vibe there."
He honed his craft as a resident DJ at a friends club in Russia. Yet somehow, Eskuche found himself stateside with an incredible opportunity to jumpstart his career. Although he has now settled into a home in Miami, Eskuche first lived in Brooklyn, NY, then Manhattan, and Ibiza.
Despite his northern roots, the cold weather was a deterrent for Eskuche. And while living in New York City for almost ten years allowed him to play regular gigs and take his music production to the next level. The cold winters and dense crowding of the city eventually pushed him out. He truly hit his stride during a two-year stint in Ibiza.
"2016 I went to Ibiza for a week. I'd been there before in 2013, but it was like I was too young on the trip, and it was just going crazy above the clouds and stuff," he remembers.
"I came back and it was really open for me [in a new way]. I really loved the island and I decided, I want to try to live there. I was there all summer, and it really changed my musical tastes like what I want to do. A lot of things that I came up with, like the tracks 'Activator' or 'Concentrate' became hits. So basically, 2016-2017, was my real starting point with the musical style I have now."
Ibiza helped shape Eskuche into an artist both in sound and how he connects with nightlife.
"The vibe and the culture [in Ibiza] are so special. The island is so beautiful, and it's so connected with the nightlife, so you know, they go together, and you never see any other places like this."
"Activator" and "Concentrate" were released on Hot Creations and Relief Records, respectively. Eskuche was already well established, and these two tracks thrust him into the spotlight.
Most importantly, "Concentrate" introduced him to Green Velvet, an icon of the electronic scene who helped Eskuche grow his career and take significant steps towards improving the quality and quantity of his catalog.
"So I actually met him for the first time in Ibiza. I went to one of his shows and introduced myself in the summer of 2018. And then the 'Concentrate' track happened. It had been sitting on my computer for three months, and I was like, what am I going to do with this track? I said you know what? I've never sent anything to Curtis [Green Velvet]. I sent it to him, and 30 minutes later, he replied, saying that he loved it and wanted to release it the following week.
"It wasn't my plan for the track to release that soon but he said to trust him and I of course agreed. Soon after I began playing shows with him and playing at his La La Land showcases. We just became really good friends, he's a great guy and I respect him a lot."
Eskuche's future is bright. As he prepares to take on a US tour with Relief Records label mate and friend Mihalis Safris, he reflects on how his DJing has changed over the years.
As his sound has constantly evolved, he's worked hard not to rely on his older hits. Recently he's drifted into melodic, minimal, and deeper styles. He likes to experiment and keep his mixing creative while oscillating between old and new.
He also used to play his own tracks exclusively. In recent years, however, he has made an effort to highlight other artists' music. He recognizes that part of the art of DJing is music discovery.
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