Exclusive Interview: Stiv Hey


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Having kick-started 2021 in emphatic fashion with POPOF’s huge four-track Skylighter EP just a few weeks ago, France’s most revered techno imprint, FORM Music, now unveils its second huge release of the year with the announcement of Stiv Hey’s hard-hitting Flash EP

Known for his unique blend of mind-bending techno and dark, driving soundscapes, Stiv Hey’s FORM Music debut follows a plethora of releases on some of the biggest labels in techno over the past few years, including Octopus Recordings, Sci+Tec, Tronic, Set About, Prospect Records, Respekt Recordings and Unrilis. We caught up with Stiv to find out about the new EP, life under lockdown and his plans for the rest of 2021.

Hi Stiv, a very warm welcome to We Own The Night. Great to have you with us!

Hi guys, thank you so much for the invitation. It’s really a great pleasure to have a talk with you.

Please can you introduce yourself to our readers?

So, I’ve never been really good at talking about myself ah ah I’m an Italian DJ, Producer and Entrepreneur. In the last 10 years of my life as I discovered it, I have fully devoted myself to Techno music, improving my music production skills everyday and working hard to find “my sound”. 

Where does the name Stiv Hey come from?

Well, my real name is Stefano Ardemagni and my first DJ name was DJ Arde. When I got into music production I wanted a brand new identity so I started to think about a possible new name. The first option I came up with was Steven A. 

Then I thought that “A” is pronounced “Hey” and I wrote it that way and got Steven Hey – which I quite liked but it was too asymmetric. I’m a very precise person ahah so I went for Steve Hey, that was quite close but not really original. Thus the idea: let’s write Steve the way it’s pronounced in the Italian language” and there it is: STIV HEY. Yeah !!!

Despite everything that’s going on in the world right now, how has 2021 been for you so far?

Honestly, I feel like 2020 and 2021 have been some of the best years of my life so far. After almost 5 years of intense international touring I really needed a stop, but back then I simply couldn’t do it: new gigs and new opportunities kept coming, and it was really really difficult to say no… 

Thanks to this situation I could finally slow down, get back to my best physical and mental state, focus on the music again as it was at the beginning of my career…

And moreover I launched my Sounders Academy project: a new concept of music academy based on sharing knowledge and supporting each other, something lacking in the music industry. At the moment the academy is available only for the Italian market, but we are planning to get international soon.

Congratulations on the release of your latest EP release on FORM Music. Can you talk to us about the record and the creative process behind it?

Thank you so much, sure! I have a personal approach to creativity. During the years I developed my strategies to keep the momentum and boost creativity and some of the tracks in the EP are the result of this peak-creativity moments. Everyday I listen to a lot of music looking for ideas. During the week I do a few session of researching and listening to Classical and Old School records. While listening I note down sounds I like, arrangement ideas, mixing techniques I notice and so on. Then when I sit down to produce a new track I have this list in front of me and all those sounds in my mind, and writing a new idea comes pretty natural. At the same time I put a lot of myself into my tracks. I create my own sounds, I don’t use presets I prefer to create a unique sound.

How did the introduction to POPOF come about? 

Well POPOF has been one of my favorite producers since the beginning of my career and I always wanted to connect with him, but I never felt like my music was ready. Then when I finished this Flash EP, it was like: the time had come. I went all in and I won the pot ahah 

With the majority of the world having been under restrictions over the past twelve months, what have you been doing to keep yourself busy during this period?

I was and I am really busy as I mentioned above, mainly with music and the new startup Sounders. During my days what I generally do is: researching and studying new production or mixing techniques, listening to music, producing, attending meetings for the Sounders project, writing blog articles related to music production, doing 1-1 classes with my students, contacting new artists to join the Academy, managing music production webinars every night in the Sounders Academy, editing the videos in the morning… oh and I also go to gym or swim or run 7/7… you got the idea I guess 🙂 

Presumably you have a lot more time to spend in the studio at the moment. What are your favourite pieces of studio equipment right now? 

Definitely! Right now I’m going pretty much all digital and some of my favourite VST are: Roland TB303, Xfer Records Serum. Fabfilter ProQ 3, Tone2 Nemesis.

Who or what were your biggest musical influences growing up?

My biggest influences while growing up were Richie Hawtin, Dubfire and Sven Vath. I’ve always been emotionally moved by their Techno music and after I experienced their parties I instantly knew it was love at first sight. I spent countless hours listening to their set and travelling to attend their shows, I really think I got influenced by them.

What do you have coming up over the rest of the year?

With the studio work at this maximum level, I see better and better music coming out so I’m definitely planning to keep it up. Then regarding Sounders we are working on a new platform with many new features which we will release next months, more and more people are joining the Academy and we strive to deliver the best service to all of them and make it a real life-changing platform for music producers. 

Any final words for our WOTN readers?

Guys, get ready! We are coming baaaackkk!!! Can’t wait for the next party all together, thank you so much for reading the interview and I hope to catch up with you soon. All the best

Thanks Stiv!

Stiv Hey – Flash EP is out now via FORM Music