Dutch-born Steven Baan, better known as DJ/producer Estiva, is at the forefront of a new musical movement.
Drawing inspiration from the beauty and dualities of the natural world and connecting the seemingly unconnected, he produces a unique and eclectic blend of progressive, melodic techno, trance and anything in between. Estiva puts the love for music first and says no to traditional labels. Whether he is playing packed clubs around the globe or festivals such as Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival or Dreamstate, Estiva takes his listeners on an intimate, emotional and spiritually enlivening journey. We sit down with him to discuss his brand new album “Metamorphoses” that takes a very different turn from his regular style and talk about how he made the transition, the future of trance and a lot more!
Shivani – Hey Steven! It’s great to be speaking to you! Firstly, congratulations on “Metamorphoses”. How does it feel like, now that the album is out?
Estiva – Thank you so much! We’ve been releasing a couple of EP’s leading up to the album so it’s amazing to present the full story to everyone. We’ve put so much work in finding the right balance for the album. It’s important for people to hear all the tracks in the context of the full Metamorphoses album.
Shivani – We also see this album being quite different from most of your earlier work. What inspired Metamorphoses?
Estiva – Metamorphoses is so much about the continuous reshaping of ourselves and the world around us. Over the years I’ve come to realize that change is often good. In creative processes like writing music, it’s essential to keep moving and to let go. You can’t force things, you need to follow your instincts and accept the rivers the way they flow and the flowers the way they grow. When you begin to write music you have this world of new sounds to choose from and to build. Almost everything sounds interesting. When time passes by you’ve endlessly combined sounds and you’ve basically defined what you love a lot more. In that light, Metamorphoses is just another step closer to the actual me. But the great thing is that I’m also ever-evolving so I’m guessing we’ve got a long road ahead!
Shivani – It’s difficult to put a finger on the album on the whole and categorise it under one specific style or genre. Each and every track that we hear is different and has a whole new feeling to it. It’s absolutely rare and refreshing to see that. How did you make the decision to do that and come up with an album that is so unique? Where there any moments while it was being conceptualised that made you wonder how the audience would perceive the album?
Estiva – It’s fantastic to hear that people recognize the creativity and variety of the album. For me, it’s most important to keep myself entertained and that’s not going to happen if I write the same thing over and over again. I’ve learned the hard way that I need to challenge myself in writing music and it’s a great feeling when it’s paying off.
Shivani – What was the idea behind the name of the album? Was it a take on you transitioning as an artist?
Estiva – Metamorphoses was inspired by the classic book of a well-known Roman poet Ovid. It’s essentially about transformation. My album is telling the story of me accepting everything in this world, including myself, is continuously moving and reshaping.
Shivani – We hear you dropping “Sirin” and “Katana” quite often. Are those tracks exceptionally close to you? What about them do you love the most?
Estiva – When I play live I intend to play as much of my own music as possible. Therefore I’ll always be able to give the audience a unique experience. ‘Sirin’ is a unique track that really stands out in my sets while ‘Katana’ is a massive crowd groover with an emotional breakdown.
Shivani – In trance, we see a lot of artists putting out new music, however, we very rarely see something different in terms of tracks. As an artist, how crucial do you think it is for one to experiment with their music and try something new? What according to you restricts an artist from wanting to experiment?
Estiva – In my experience it’s simple. As soon as you start writing music for other people than yourself you’re going to restrict yourself. The absolute toughest time was about four years ago. My passion for writing music slipped through my fingers as writing became more and more a chore for me. I wrote music because I loved it, it was my hobby. But that changed over the years. I found myself writing for the listeners and I slowly lost interest because I wasn’t pleasing myself anymore. I was ready to leave it all behind when I came to the realization that I just needed to get back into the studio to have fun without thinking about what the world would think of my music. It was a rough period with a few tough lessons that in retrospect are dear to me.
Shivani – Will you be embarking on an album tour as well? What does the rest of 2019 hold in store for you?
Estiva – The Metamorphoses tour will see a bunch of big shows before the year’s end including Aragon Ballroom (Chicago), Rebel (Toronto), EDC China (Guangdong) and Ministry Of Sound (London). I’m also really looking forward to my shows during ADE in Amsterdam this year!