Voima: Master of all trades
Last month we were introduced to Olympian Artur Waś, the Polish athlete who skated straight into our hearts after we found out we shared a similar passion: drum & bass. Producing under the moniker Voima, he has been producing music since his early teens. He managed to also find the time to become a world-class athlete, carving a career for himself in speed skating, which took him straight to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. We managed to catch Artur amidst his busy schedule to see if drum & bass makes him go fast, which artists influence him, and what’s up next for the multi-talented producer.
First of all congrats on making it to the Winter Olympics! How long have you been competing professionally for?
Thank you! I started skating when I was 11 years old. At 19 I went to my first Olympic Games, but I think real training started for me in 2011 after I joined the Speed Skating Academy in Inzell, Germany.
When and how did you get into producing music?
I got into making music at a pretty young age. I was 12 years old when my cousin introduced me to my first music software. The demo version didn’t allow saving projects or exporting audio so I had to finish what I started working on within one session, and then record it on to a cassette. I always kept it as a hobby for my own pleasure. Just under a year ago I set a goal for myself to start making drum & bass tunes that others would notice and appreciate.
Which artists influenced you and got you into producing yourself?
I was a big fan of sound in general since I was a kid, and listened to all kinds of music. The moment I got a chance to mess around with it myself I became totally hooked. When all my friends were playing video games I was experimenting with sound. The list of artists that influenced me is very long but I can say that I got into drum & bass around 1999 when Ed Rush & Optical, Konflict and Usual Suspects were setting trends. So those would be the artists that drew my attention to d&b and made me dream of becoming a music producer myself.
How would you describe your sound?
I wouldn’t want to describe my own sound… It’s a bit like bragging about your own cooking or something like that. I guess what I’m aiming for is creating a groove that would reach back deep into the subconscious mind; creating euphoria caused by self-realisation. To me neurofunk is extremely psychedelic and I like to see it as a greater conscious mind manifesting itself through those grooves. I hope I’ll get progressively better at creating it, and creating more and more tracks that will hit the sweet spot.
How do you split your time between training and producing, and is it difficult to find a balance?
In the summer it (producing) was definitely a form of relaxation. I would come back from training, eat, work on my project, train again, eat dinner, then sit down and continue working all over again. No pressure, just pure enjoyment of the complete zone-out experience. Once the season started, it became more difficult. Sitting for long periods of time isn’t really great for my back, and I also felt like I wasn’t focusing enough on skating, so I had to cut back the time I spent on my music. I still managed to create a few cool tracks. I just had to build on them over time. I feel like having a limited amount of time helped with a fresh approach after taking frequent breaks.
Do you draw inspiration for your music through the sport, or does the music inspire you as an athlete? Or are they completely separate for you?
I think it’s more the music that inspires me as an athlete. I always listen to music during my warm-ups. It helps to get myself going and allows me to visualize what I want to do on the ice better.
What gets you pumped for a day on the rink? Do you have go-to tunes that get you excited before an event?
The “pump up” sound varies for me. My preference in music changes constantly. What I do know for sure is that I don’t really use drum & bass to pump me up or during my work out! I don’t really know why but it doesn’t get me going as good as other types of music. Maybe it’s because I’m way more connected to it than other genres… It’s just a totally different spectrum of energy for me. Moves my soul, but doesn’t help in pushing myself.
Have you found any inspiration while at the games? Ie. Have you had a chance to work on any tunes while you’ve been in Sochi?
I wanted to but unfortunately I didn’t have any time, as there was so much happening around me. I will definitely use that energy for creating new tunes after the season is done though.
Do the other athletes listen to drum & bass, and do you play your music for them?
I don’t really like pushing my music on people. I enjoy the positive feedback from people that stumble upon it or find it themselves. That’s how I always picked my music- I dug and dug until I found what I thought sounded interesting. I was never a fan of marketing in music, or marketing in general.
Are you looking to start performing at events and clubs in your free time?
Definitely, yes! Over the last couple of months I have received a lot of gig offers and it sucked to have to turn them down. I haven’t DJ’ed in a long time due to my schedule, and it’s something I want to get back into ASAP, and I know it’s only a matter of figuring out what kind of set up I want to use nowadays, and I’ll be back amongst it, just like that!
Artists you’re in to at the moment?
Sinuous Records have got it right for sure, along with Dispatch Recordings, Maztek, Billain, and many more. I like a good groove!
What’s next for you? Sporting-wise and musically?
Sporting-wise two more competitions and then off-season begins mid March. Then I’ll be able to spend more time on my tracks and hopefully progress at the same pace I have over the last few months.
Any other hidden talents we should know about?
Video/ Photography. If time will allow, I’ll have some nice projects on display in the near future.