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Descent Into the Dark with Ecilo

A conversation with a chart topping, genre bending techno DJ and producer from Indonesia on how he got his first album on Jeff Mills records, among other things.
Rimka Sandhu

Rimka Sandhu

A psychology graduate with a love for all things music and fashion

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With a little over a decade starting from 2008, Reza Putra Ananda became better known as Ecilo through his love for industrial Techno beats. Seen as a maestro in the scene by gaining influence from not just the electronic music genre but also from expressive African- American Music (Jazz, Soul, Blues) and the atmospheric resonances of Sci-Fi soundtracks. Through his distinctive sets and productions you can tell the years he put into refining his sound and honing his technique. He is known as a producer who is genre-fluid yet strongly rooted in his Techno foundation as he is always experimenting with different sounds. While Techno is an underdog as far as genres go in Indonesia, Ecilo’s consistency in providing well thought out Techno DJ sets and live performances has revived the genre and even encouraged more and more people into the scene. He has released on international labels such as ARTS (Berlin), Planet Rhythm (The Netherlands) and Jeff Mills’s label; Axis Records USA.  Known for top-notch originality and craftsmanship, his tunes have earned airtime through the sets of giants such as Ben Sims, Alan Fitzpatrick, Mark Farina and Dave Clarke. The effort he puts into his craft has led him to reach the #2 spot on Beatport’s Techno DJ Chart. 

Though all his many achievements have strengthened both his reputation and his percussive 4×4 beats to ring all over the globe, he is not planning on taking a backseat anytime soon. Instead, he is constantly evolving and perfecting his sound with many contributions to the Jakarta Techno scene, he has become a signature household name for music lovers and partygoers. With all his achievements, the cherry on top which proves his expertise in the scene is that he was selected as Music Director and Resident DJ at the famed Kilo Lounge Jakarta (part of Singapore-based Kilo Collective), where he has hosted many social events alongside numerous local and international talents. Now that you’ve had a brief intro, let’s dive deeper and get to know Ecilo, Indonesia’s Techno maestro…


From Reza Putra Ananda to Ecilo, what’s the story behind this name?

I remember the story behind the name Ecilo comes from before I played dance music genres like Techno or House. I used to play songs that had a chill-out mood, and I remember my friend Sangki calling me Ecilo which means chill out (haha) and somehow I felt the name brings a lot of luck to me.

 

How have you handled your music career (any setbacks that you’ve encountered in your musical journey? ) including being music director at Kilo Lounge through these 2 years of the pandemic?

I’ve not been with Kilo since the second year of the pandemic. What is certain is that I believe all DJs have missed many opportunities, including myself, especially those related to international gigs, many of which were planned only to fail and wait until the time was right. I actually saw and got a lot of opportunities during the pandemic, especially to get releases on international labels, for me, it’s all about how you react to it.

 

Your track made it to #2 spot on Beatport’s Techno DJ Chart which is huge! Could you tell us more about your inspiration and the process behind making that solid piece?

Honestly, I don’t have a proper answer for this, it comes naturally, no secret recipe. Most of the time a chord/stab groove is in my head, I make loop banks every day, check which one’s work then I just follow my soul and make music. I always assumed that if your tracks are played by DJs that you think are important it’s payment for your hard work and I’m so grateful to just be on the Beatport chart.


If you had to pick another genre other than Techno to play or produce, which genre would it be? 

If I had to pick any other genres it would be Jazz, Hip Hop, Soul, Funk, and soundtracks from Science Fiction, Classic and Horror films.


Describe your dream venue for performing, it doesn’t need to be an existing club, you can just make up a dream space you’d love to play at.

I always wanted a rave or a big stage with the backdrop of the aurora borealis.

 

Do you have a process or routine that you do before you play or you don’t usually get the jitters before you play?

Before playing I usually don’t have any nervousness. I prefer to analyze the crowd at the venue, what mood is suitable for the venue. And the most important thing is that I always talk to the promoter before they book me. I always ask them questions like, “Did you really research me before booking me?” 

because it’s very important as many people in Asia still misinterpret techno. So for promoters, do your research!

When you started DJ’ing or producing did you have a mentor or was it all self-taught?

Of course, when I first became a DJ, I had a mentor, his name was Oki Koro, I owe him a lot. I learned a lot of musical roots from him, I can say I absorbed everything from him about roots music. The rest was self-taught. For music production, I felt that at the time my track was still far from standing out until I met Thomas Barnett, a real Detroit legend; the first wave, he didn’t change my technique but he changed my perspective on what tracks are really good and not. Besides that, he always pushes me to practice making banger tracks. And lastly of course Jeff Mills, I released my first album on Axis records, Jeff never became my mentor directly like Thomas. But Jeff always wanted more than I have now. He always wanted an in-depth exploration of the tracks and elements that I made.

 

What’s the best piece of advice another DJ/producer (or your peers) has given you?

Consistency and persistence will take you to places you never expected.

 

If you had to pick either DJ’ing, live sets or production as the one thing you did forever, which would it be?

Definitely live sets which require a lot of own production

Are there some emerging projects you can already share?

Many are currently running, one of which is my Jazz project, And of course my new EP’s. When it’s mastered I will send it to you! Finally, the newest and closest project is that with a techno promoter from L.A. named 6AM, SynthetikMinds and I will launch a new record label.

Thank you for sparing some time to have a chat and share a mix with us, we are definitely looking forward to seeing you in KL once the borders fully open up again!

More About Ecilo

Soundcloud |  Facebook | Resident Advisor 

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