Interview: Ciara B from Only Techno

Techno DJ and producer based in San Diego, Ciara B is one of the notable names linked with Techniche imprint.
In just a few short years, Ciara B has put herself in a category all her own. Her creative mindset— heard in each of her DJ sets and original productions— places her in space closer to forward-thinking techno artists. Ciara B is curating a new direction in techno and bringing a sound not often heard to the West Coast—at least not yet. A standout among the local San Diego techno scene, Ciara B cut her teeth closing out sold out after-hours parties in Baltimore before uprooting and moving to California in 2018. Her dedication to refining her sound has earned her a spot on the roster of local collective Techniche.  She recently released her new EP named Awakening on Techniche, and you can grab your copy HERE.

Tell us something more about your musical background. What got you interested in techno?

I’ve always loved electronic music, but it wasn’t until 2017 that I decided to learn how to DJ after being inspired by my trip to BPM Mexico. Over time my taste grew darker and more minimal the deeper I dove into the musical abyss.

You are based in San Diego, CA so what would you say the most interesting thing regarding the USA scene would be?

The techno scene in San Diego is definitely lacking, it’s not at all like the scene in LA. Tech house is very popular here which is cool and all, but not at all my jam. That being said, there are a few local techno collectives, including Techniche, that are putting on solid events.

I think the scene as a whole in the USA is becoming more popular, which is amazing! It’s great to see people getting into electronic music. 

How does your creative process start?

Well, I’m fairly new to the producing world…I’ve only been producing for about a year, so  I still have a lot to learn. 

I usually start with some kind sample and start throwing different audio effects/ plug-ins on it to see if anything sparks inspiration and then build the track around that. I love the Kilohearts Trance gate plug-in, which was used on the haunting melody in my new release ‘Awakening’. I also love Mysteria from Native instruments. You can create some really awesome atmospheric textures with human voices…it’s a lot of fun to mess around with, but be prepared to be sucked in for a few hours! I used Mysteria in ‘Lucid Dreams’ to create that sort of dark, growling background texture throughout the track.

I’m very lucky to be dating a very talented producer—Nathan Gorey. He gives me solid feedback and suggestions. We always work on the premaster together, so I can watch and learn how to process and glue the pieces together to make all the elements sit in the mix. It’s been really awesome having him as a mentor because producing can be very daunting and overwhelming, there’s so much to learn! 

The reason for the interview is your release, Awakening EP. Tell us something more about the release. What was the idea behind it?

I lucid dream almost every night, which has always been fascinating to me. I wanted to take this idea and my experience with dreams and translate that into music.

Tell us something about your collaboration with Techniche label?

I’ve been friends with Rudy aka Myxzlplix and the guys from Techniche for a while now and decided to join the crew at the start of the pandemic as a resident DJ. Rudy has really has been pushing myself and the rest of the crew to focus on producing, which is has been great for me…It really has been motivating me to get in the studio. I’m so grateful to be part of a crew with a similar vision and has supported me since I moved to San Diego.

Trippy soundscapes, percussion full of momentum, and perceptive control, this is how you describe your sound, is that what the new release will bring us?

My new EP is a little different than my current DJ sound, but I think both tracks are unique and I’m excited to share them with you all! My next productions will have more of a Planet Rhythm/MindTrip vibe.

What’s your opinion on the current livestreaming trend among DJs?

In the beginning of the pandemic, I think it was a really great way for people to connect with others and keep their mind off all the craziness that was happening. For me, I definitely lost interest after the first couple of months. It’s not the same feeling as playing in front of crowd or feeling the bass in a dark, sweaty room. Overall, I think it was a great way to keep everyone sane and connected.

What is underground to you?

Underground to me is that weird, unique sound you wouldn’t normally hear at festivals (in the US) or on the radio. It’s that sound you have to dig deep for late at night. It’s when you have to find the secret location or when you get sent the address an hour before the party starts. Underground in the tunnels is where you’ll usually find me spinning at 3am!

How would you describe current situation on global electronic scene?

This past year has been so tough on our scene across the globe, it’s so sad to see how many venues didn’t make it and the impact it had on artists. Even though it was a tough year, having all that time off definitely pushed people into honing in their skills in the studio and behind the decks. I think now that the world is starting to open up, the community is coming back stronger than ever. I’m excited to be able to play in front of people again and I just hope the community continues to stay safe and to not party too hard after not having events for so long.

How do you like the feedback for Awakening EP so far?

It’s always nerve racking waiting to read/hear what people have to say…I am my own worst critic, but the feedback has been great so far! 

Are you planning some new music and projects soon?

I have a track that Nathan Gorey and I created together that will be released on a compilation for Techniche, so definitely keep your ears out for that! 

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