Artist Spotlight: Roe Deers

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Lithuanian DJ/producer Roe Deers recently released his “Voodoo Gym” EP on Turbo. Curious to know more about his universe, Turbo label manager Francis Ledisko asked him a few questions. Hit play on the EP and dive in below!

Francis Ledisko: I’ve heard a lot about your hometown of Vilnius in recent years. First when I met the legend that is Manfredas, then I started seeing crazy party videos on social media. Tiga played Opium Club in 2019 and told me that it was the best party he played that whole year – so good that he felt bad that he did not take me along with him.

In north America, Lithuania is not really a place we grow up hearing much about, in fact most of us only have an abstract idea of what it’s like there. But suddenly, it sounds to me like an epic party destination that is less touristy than major European cities. Am I even right to think that, and if so, what are the elements that make this a reality?

Roe Deers: I grew up in a small town of Lithuania called Druskininkai, actually there I met Manfredas for the first time, I was 14 years old, he was already a legend! Now for 12 years I have lived in Vilnius. I think all this is about people, and their attitude for night culture. Since I moved here things have changed a lot, I don’t know the right number of clubs we had in this city, but all of them give a little shape to what we have now. The crowd has big knowledge about the music, trends and so on. Even guest DJs realized that dancers knew their tracks’ lyrics, and sang along. They go to the max – energy in the party is hard to describe and compare with. 

FL: What are the “constraints” when clubbing in Vilnius? For example, in most north American cities, clubs cannot sell alcohol after 3am, so they don’t bother staying open past 3 because they stop earning revenue. Can you keep going all night, or even all weekend like in Berlin?

RD: Actually North America and Lithuania are similar in the weather – long snowy winters, and long waited summers. But for this point of view – no. We can go till late, I mean day time 🙂 No hard curfews, especially this time. We were lucky to have summer 2020 without lockdown, so outside parties were wow! I don’t know what to expect worldwide, when this machine will go on again. Like one girl made a joke about the first party after this stop – “hope I will come back home with front teeth”. 

FL: You’ve been active in the local scene for more than ten years. I also read that your first gig was at the age of 13 – at your parents’ club. What was it like when you first started going out to clubs then, versus how it is now?

RD: I started very early, and the beginning was funny. My first DJ set took 3 songs, and I was fired by my boss – my dad. “You are playing too hard!”. But I made a comeback for all night long after 2 months, and it was ok. Actually I don’t know what it means to be rejected for a club about age, cause my first time in club was when I’m 8 years old. I grew up there. At age 15 I started to go play in Vilnius on weekends and crashed on my friends’ sofas. The place where I started was a small town club, which was not based on dance music, but it found his place. Club was super “eclectic” – for example on Friday we have Manfredas, Saturday local pop scene king. Both nights packed! Now clubbing scene in Lithuania is in the next level, clubs like Opium, Lizdas, Kablys, Peronas it’s the place where you can find the best music, for all electronic sound lovers. 

FL: You have a very distinct, personal sound, which is something I look for in every artist we sign to Turbo. How would you say you achieved this? Is it a conscious effort to make your music sound a certain way, or perhaps limitations from the type of gear that you use to produce?

RD: Thanks for that! There is no template for my tracks, starting always from a new project. But maybe the guilty pleasure for punchy, massive bass lines, lots of arps and weird percussions – it’s a recipe in my head. My first dance music love was electroclash – which combines this sound from italo disco, punk and techno. But I’m always trying to explore more genres and instruments on my music, there is no place for limits or rules here. It’s all about experimental – but danceable. 

FL: Speaking of gear, what did you use to produce this EP?

RD: Most of this EP tracks I made after the first lockdown. I came back from my hometown after 2 months, missed my studio and toys so much. So they are based on Moog Subsequent 37 and Roland TR-8. 

FL: Did you produce this music during Covid/lockdown? How did that affect your state of mind while producing? 

RD: In the beginning it was hard to concentrate on music, but after the first month of lockdown I started to work on music. It was the best thing to avoid from all those sad things around. It’s tricky to make dance music, and don’t play it. But I think it’s like a ride with a bicycle for us – once you get it, you never forget it. So I believe that soon we will dance again together, and you finally will visit Lithuania. 

Check out Roe Deers’ “Voodoo Gym” EP on all digital platforms HERE.