Name: Satori / Djordje Petrovic
Nationality: Dutch
Occupation: Producer
Current release: Satori's new single, "Lalai" is out via Crosstown Rebels.
Recommendations: Guernica by Picasso - a modern masterpiece. The last judgment day by Michelangelo - the closest you can get to heaven. Both paintings overwhelmed me. Standing in front of it you feel very small.
These two are obviously very well known so as a bonus I would say Apollo and Daphne by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. I visit the bourghese gallery with a dear friend a month ago where you can see it. It's the most beautiful statue I ever saw.

Visit Satori on Facebook or Soundcloud to dive even deeper into his musical world. Also, check out our previous interview with Satori about identity and creativity.

When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

Being raised by a Serbian father and a mother born in South Africa, I was influenced at a very young age by music from different parts of the world.

I grew up with balkan music because of my dad, which is folk music in the most pure form, and African music, which is very rhythmical and spiritual. Then also being born and raised in Holland means that you easily will be influenced by electronic music, since it's the biggest music in Holland thanks to Dutch stars like Tiesto or Armin van Buuren and the numerous legendary clubs in Amsterdam.

When I was around 12, I started to play the piano and guitar and explore more folk music. Later, I started to make electronic beats. So I think in my music now I found this combination of Serbian folk music, African rhythm and Dutch electronic beats.

Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?

I am always tuning in with the overall vibe or spirit of the song. I was raised with music of which I didn't understand the lyrics, so I was never tuned in on what the singer has to say but more the overall feeling of the melody or the hook. So it's really the vibrations of the song that communicate with me then the actual lyrical content.

Like impressionism, where the viewer is more captivated by the impression of the painting than the definition. The water lilies of Monet are speaking to you in a more abstract, almost dreamy way.

In my own music, I am aiming for the same thing. I want for my song to take me to another world, a dream state, that is so pleasant that you wanna stay there for a while.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?

Well, because I only play live, I really needed to find my space with my music in the industry. As a DJ, you can easily identify if the crowd wants to go into a certain direction. But with a live act, you are more limited because you need to do it with your own music. So, my process was all about finding ways to make my music work.

The analogy I always use is that of a stand-up comedian. He has a joke, a certain hook, but every night he needs to tell that joke in a different way in order to make it work. Compared to a DJ set, a live act gives me the opportunity to play the same song in a different way if I feel like it. To be honest, this is an ongoing process and every year you become better. That's why I love it so much.

Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.

This is a tricky one.

On the one hand with my new album, I definitely went into a more personal direction with songs that have lyrics and I sing myself. So there is a part of me that wants to express more of my stories in the music. But then I also don't like to make it too personal. As mentioned above, I am very focused on a certain world I want to create with my music and I don't want to interfere too much with my personal agenda.

Let's take Michelangelo for example. People tend to overthink his work a lot, like he has personal meaning in everything he did, but most of the time he was just an exceptionally gifted craftsman who worked day and night to create a masterpiece that didn't have anything to do with his identity.

For me it's more or less the same. I work months on a song untill it vibrates in a way that it takes me to that world I want to be in.

How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?

I really can't stand to listen to modern music nowadays because everything feels like fast food music. Tracks straight out of the laptop made in a few days that need to please DJs and dancefloors, or hit some numbers on social media.

With my album, I wanted to go back to the work attitude that music once had. Like the 80's when musicians and engineers came together in a real space. Feeling the moment, and letting spontaneity and authenticity lead.

I am not interested in music that "works". 10 people participated on my album. All with the same spirit to give something honest and real. This was something very inspiring about Hip-hop in the 90's. It was made with artists being in one room together and just spitting and doing what they feel. My album was made in the same spirit.

Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?

My most important instrument became my Roli seaboard synthesizer. Roli changed the midi keyboards for good. If it's up to me, we are in a post-Roli period because Roli changed the game with their four dimensions of touch.

I can play keyboard now in the way I would play guitar. It's so expressive. It made me a better piano player and performer on stage. I do solos during my shows that I can't do on any other synthesizer

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.

I start my day with my (almost sacred) coffee making routine and listening to some old traditional music. After that I do a workout. Then I do a Wim Hof Breath meditation, and I will go to the studio ready for a 12 hour work session.

In breaks I will cook some healthy bites. Cooking is a great way for me to clear my ears and mind from the project I am working on.

Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?

Every time it's different because every song is different. The song is the boss. It decides what needs to be done. I am really trying to serve the song in the best way I can.

For example - a new song I am working on is about a bar in Brooklyn. I am singing in the song and I wanted my voice to sound 'broken.' So I put the alarm at 5 in the morning, and went from my bed straight to the mic and recorded my voice when it's in his most 'weakest' state. Not warmed up, still sleeping, I sounded absolutely broken. Like a man that's lost because that's what the song needed.

Many times the song tells you what it needs. You just need to listen.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?

Music brings people together - this sounds so cliche, but it's cliche for a reason. My fans are coming from all over the world and are singing and dancing together without carrying what passport the other has in his pocket.

No politician can speak to people in a way music does. It brings brotherhood and sisterhood on the dance floor and it creates a world where people can let go and feel free. In a music show, there is a level of surrendering for the audience that is very similar to going to church and surrendering to the holy spirit.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?

Art gives you a chance to surrender. It communicates with you that goes beyond the mind, beyond the ego. You can forget who you are and where you are. The reason people are into religion, meditation, yoga, sex or drugs is that it gives people a chance to surrender. To unwind. Music has this power and that's why people are drawn to it. It can set you free and take you to a world. If you want inner peace, we put on Bob Marley, because he brings you to a world inside of you, where you can be compassionate, forgiven, accepting, peaceful, loving.

All these elements are already inside of us - music can be a bridge that brings you to that world. When I am on stage playing my music I want to create this world where people feel that we are all one. We are all in this together like brothers and sisters. And my music is the soundtrack for that emotion.

There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?  
Since the enlightenment period this has always been the case. Bach was making classical pieces based on mathematics and a few decades further in time Brain Eno made music based on rolling a dice. It's all about the art of coincidences.

A mathematical sum or a laptop sequencer can generate random ideas. And it's me as the composer of the song who is a 'gatekeeper' who decides what ideas get in and what ideas stay out. You need to be able to recognize what is good and useful and what is not.

So for me there is no difference between inviting a piano master in my studio and letting him play solos for hours or letting my laptop generate solos based on mathematics. It's my job as a composer to recognize what is really good and take a run with it.

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?

I think we live in an age where we are creating art forms in almost anything.

The whole barista movement changed making coffee from a simple task into almost art. Barbershops almost became art spaces. Offices are changed into flex spaces full with greenery and hipster smoothie makers. Social media, photography, blogs and vlogs, everything became more artistic and with more meaningful content. So I think art is everywhere - it's all about the way you approach it.

I mean I can make a 'track' in 2 hours, upload it and call it a 'new hot release' (being cynical here) or I can work for 2 years on one song and go super deep on it. It's all about your own approach to how far you wanna go.

It's like the sushi chef who makes rice bowls for more than 5 years before he can do the fish. It's all about dedication.