The Art of the Resident DJ: Theo Kottis

Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
November 09, 2016

The Art of the Resident DJ: Theo Kottis

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Commencing today, November 10th, Theo Kottis is embarking on his first ever North American tour where he is set to performe at some of the most prestigious and sought-after venues in American and Canada including Exchange LA, Sound-bar in Chicago, Bijou Boston and Flash Factory in New York City.

Theo made a name for himself at Glasgow’s legendary Sub Club, a venue regarded throughout the world as the cultivating hotspot of some of Scotland’s more exciting underground dance music talent. Known fist and foremost as a meticulous selector, Theo honed his craft by playing alongside names the caliber of Tale Of Us, Seth Troxler and Jamie Jones while holding a successful residency at the Glaswegian club. 

A master in the studio himself, Theo has had his tracks charted by a fine selection of artists throughout the world, with support by none other than Pete Tong and releases on the likes of Sasha’s ‘Last Night On Earth’, ‘Moda Black’ and ‘Anjunadeep.’
We had the opportunity of talking with Theo right before the beginning of his long Anjunadeep North American Tour, diving into his experiences as a resident at Sub Club and what he is looking forward to on this side of pond.
Theo Kottis

You’ve been a resident at Sub Club in Glasgow for a while now. It’s a venue that is single-handedly responsible for launching the career of many successful Scottish DJs such as Jackmaster and Jasper James. How did you first get the opportunity to hold a residency there?

I used to promote my own nights and was fortunate enough to hold a few at the Sub Club. I met the team behind the venue and we became friends naturally. Once I started taking music more seriously I got offered a bi monthly residency there, I’m very grateful that I get to play (and party!) there regularly. The Sub Club for me is the best place to play in the world.

You’ve grown a lot as a producer while performing regularly at Sub Club. Do you see a correlation between your growth in the studio and your continued work as a resident?

Having played with such a range of great DJs and respected artists there, my understanding of what makes a really good warm up set has developed and consequently, I’ve matured in the sound I create in the studio. It definitely helps and it’s also very inspiring and motivating – after a gig at the Subbie, I have a refreshed energy and am always raring to get going on the next track or mix.

You’ve played alongside a who’s who list of established artists such as Tale of Us, Jamie Jones, Seth Troxler and many more. Can you remember the first big support gig you played? How did it feel?

I remember my first support gig at the Sub Club was for wAFF in 2013, it was actually a night I was promoting and nothing went to plan – wAFF missed his flight and couldn’t make it so I decided to play the full night myself. It was incredible & I had so many friends there to support me – everything happens for a reason; it was amazing playing all night long!

IMG_2415What is the most important lesson you’ve learned playing support for such acts?

How to warm up the club – it has become my favorite part of DJ’ing now. It’s very frustrating getting booked and the resident DJ before you is playing too heavy. For me, a good warm up DJ is one of the most important parts of the night.

What’s your approach to readying up for a gig alongside some of these great names? Any special ritual?

Lots of hunting for new music – I always like playing new tracks for each set that complement the sound of whoever I’m playing with. Then a few drinks on the train from Edinburgh to Glasgow helps the nerves and gets me in the mood!

What’s your most memorable experience as a resident at Sub Club?

Too many too choose from, there’s never a bad night! I met people like Joris Voorn and Jamie Jones there, we cross paths at gigs now pretty often and it’s great to have that bond with them. A few standout sets were probably playing with Nicolas Jaar, The Howling or David August.

You’ve recently found a home with Anjunadeep. Can you tell us a little about why your releases have found such great synergy with their sound?

I love the slower more melodic sound and so my tracks fit perfectly with them. Whenever I am writing something deeper or slower, the label is always my first port of call. They are always open to hearing new ideas and have given me some great opportunities so far.

You have a huge North American tour coming up. 16 stops with three in Canada and the rest in the States at some of the biggest venues on the continent. How does it feel for a British European DJ like yourself to come over to play in cities like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles just to list a few?

It feels amazing! I am so thankful for the opportunity and I cannot wait to visit the cities and meet like-minded people. I have a few days off too so looking forward to exploring and getting into tourist mode! Cliché to say but it’s a dream come true, the opportunity to incorporate music and travel at this scale is what most musicians dream of.

Theo Kottis TourIs there any specific stop you’re more excited about? A city you’ve always wanted to visit that you will finally have the chance to check off your list?

Los Angeles, San Francisco & Chicago. I haven’t made it to these cities yet so I’m looking forward to seeing what they have to offer and getting stuck into some of the great food!

Can your fans expect a different type of set on your tour than those they may otherwise hear during your residency on support of bigger acts?

Yes of course, that’s what I’m most excited about. I have an eclectic taste and this is always reflected in my sets – plus I’ll always adapt to the venue and once I’ve sussed the crowd, the direction I go in varies – so each is pretty unique.

Check Resident Advisor Theo Kottis’ North America tour dates and tickets.

Connect with Theo Kottis: OnlineFacebook | Twitter | Instagram | SoundCloud