For our next interview, we caught up with Leena Punks on our ‘An Interview With‘ series. Having recently released with Stress Records and is set for another release on the label, a release with Anjunabeats plus a busy DJ schedule, it was a great time to catch up with her.
Firstly, how long have you been producing and what got you into dance music?
I did my first Production course online at Pointblank Music College when I was still living in Athens about 10 years ago. I used a tiny £30 midi and my laptop. At that point I had only been djing, presenting a radio show or creating radio jingles. I was so excited about the production process, I would get in the zone and forget to eat for hours. After I finished the course I realised this was something special and that to at least attend in person. So I moved to London shortly there after and studied Electronic Music Production at their studios in Hackney.
Do you have any exciting music that is coming out in the next coming months?
Yes! I hope it will be exciting :)) I have my first official release on Stress Records on September 2nd – the track is called Mirage and I’m already receiving some great feedback – I really hope you’ll like it. This summer has been super busy: I’ve also finished a collab with SUB X, I’m working on another exciting collab with Amy Wiles on Anjunabeats, a remix on one of JODA’s amazing tracks, and two really special projects that are really big but I can’t announce them yet.
How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard your music before?
It’s very difficult to describe my sound – I definitely like a fusion between breaks and progressive/ trance but I don’t like to lean too much on either of the genres. I’m also a massive fan of old school rave sounds like acid synths and big pads, gated vocals etc.
Some people have said that my music reminds them a bit of Franky Wah which is a huge compliment – as he has done an amazing job of positioning himself between underground and commercial and bringing a unique sound. I’m also a massive fan of Fred Again’s productions – (but then again who isn’t these days? He’s just a legend!) I also really hope to see more breaks tracks becoming more mainstream and seeing more tracks with an edge.
Where are you based?
I was born in Athens, Greece but I have lived in London for the past ten years. I do spend lots of time in Greece though in the summers – I need to recharge with proper Greek food!
What other DJs from around the world have been supporting your music?
I believe Lane 8, and Amy Wiles played my remix of Lost in the Sun which was released on Stress in April. On The Floor had a massive support on BBC Radio 1 – I was in Greece when I got the news and I almost got scared at some point, I just didn’t expect it.
Charlie Hedges made it her Hottest Record of the Week with additional support from Sarah Story, Jaguar, Clara Amfo, Adele Roberts, Jeremiah Asiamah, Matty Chiabi – and Ben Malone and Sam Divine on Kiss. Also Jack Saunders featured it as his Next Wave on Future Artists, it was also played on daytime radio on BBC Radio 1 and at the same week it peaked on the Beatport Breaks chart 100. So yes a very very insane week that one!
Do you have any exciting bookings you’d like to talk about that are happening this year?
I’m in Ibiza at the moment playing 3 gigs and I’m playing at the ABGT Group Therapy Weekender at the Royal Docklands in London on September 10th. I have a few more exciting things coming up that I will announce soon. I’m also heading to LA for ABGT500 in October.
Who are your top 5 artists who have influenced you to get where you are today and why?
I have a lot of influences from the 90s UK rave scene though I wasn’t old enough to go to raves and I wasn’t living in the UK :)) I was hugely inspired by the Chemical Brothers and still am. They just show you that less is more – all you need is a rhythmic riff. I also loved the french disco of the late 90s.
Grimes‘ album ‘Visions‘ is one of my favourites of all time. But also I have a huge respect for her for doing everything by herself from over artwork, to video direction and of course singing, composing, producing and being a female artist that does everything by herself was hugely inspiring to me.
Bjork and Bonobo (weird to put them together) but they really opened my eyes on how field recordings can really work on a track. (I’ve tried it on my track ‘Decisions’ not sure it worked that well haha – but it’s artform all on its own and it just shows you that the possibilities to make a track unique are endless)
I also love how producer/ djs are expanding into producing live exciting shows like Bicep, Prospa, Kasablanka and Ben Bohmer.
If you could work with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Hands down, Fred Again. For many reasons but mostly because he gives an organic and live feel to his productions and he’s completely unafraid to do so. Whether it’s using the metronome instead of a beat in ‘Jungle’ or adding a random breakbeat in the middle of a drop or placing the vox slightly off beat – it just gives more of a human and unique feel that is lacking in electronic music.
What does your music production setup consist of?
When I’m at my home studio I use Ableton 11, an M-1 keyboard by Behringer, Model D, Roland TR-8 and my big love Behringer’s TD-3 (I love an acid synth)! I bought a proper pair of monitors the APS‘ last October and I found that it helped me massively in my productions. When I’m travelling I just use my laptop and the MK mini keyboard which is super useful – I also book studios occasionally when I’m travelling and want to finish a track.
What is your most used plugin that you use on every track?
I really like Arturia’s DX7 and z but I use a bunch of plugins and I like to change each time.
Away from dance music, what is your go to music to listen to?
I love a good 70s guitar riff, 80s programmed drums and synths, and 90s hiphop/rnb. I also listen to some traditional Greek music at times.