Netherlands (November 18, 2019)—For DJ, producer and sound designer Ummet Ozcan, a regular day at work often starts with flying to a new city somewhere in the world and ends with thousands of fans screaming his name. It’s the kind of life many people dream of, and Ozcan knows it—the multi-instrumentalist is quick to note how privileged he feels. But as exciting as it is to tour the world as a superstar DJ, what really gets his blood pumping is waking up in his newly built Netherlands home and remembering what’s waiting for him in the basement.
The house itself is beautiful—a minimalist celebration of sharp lines and simplicity—but head down a short flight of stairs and you’ll find a heavy door, behind which is a studio Ozcan describes as “everything I’ve dreamed of for the last 15 years. I can’t quite believe that it’s here.”
The man responsible for making that dream come true is studio designer Jan Morel, who approaches each of his projects with the same focus and flair as a painter tackling a portrait: Every room he builds is intended to be an encapsulation of the artist who will use it.
“I have a dream board; I put pictures on it to represent the goals I want to achieve,” said Ozcan. “I found it again when I was moving into this house and noticed there is a small picture of one of Jan’s studios. I had completely forgotten that I had pinned this on the board, but there it was. And now we’re here—it’s manifested in my life. This room reflects my energy. It’s an extension of myself and my music.”
Ozcan has been making music since the age of 14, when his natural skill with the flute and keyboard were the first signs of an emerging talent. His first single, “Chica Good,” arrived in 2006, but it was 2011’s “Reboot,” followed by 2012’s “The Box” that solidified his reputation. In the years since, he has produced not only a string of hit singles but also collaborations with peers including Paul Van Dyk and Tiesto, while also developing soft-synths and soundbanks.
Most of that work was done in less than ideal environments. “The first space I worked in? I’m not sure I could call it a studio,” he said. “It was in my parents’ home, in the attic. I just had two speakers in there—actually just two hi-fi speakers. Then I moved to an apartment and I had a room; I put some acoustic treatment on the walls, some bass traps, and just two monitors and a sub. I made my music in there for years, but when my friends came to visit, I’d tell them to stand in the corner because that’s where they could hear the bass properly! If you took one step to the side, then the sound changed completely.”
In contrast, his new studio delivers both sonically and aesthetically—a blazing celebration of neon shifts seamlessly between color schemes to suit the mood of the artist. Sculpted acoustic panels from Artnovion adorn the walls, while Morel has re-created Ozcan’s logo on the ceiling. “When you close the door, you’re in a different world,” said Ozcan. “It’s amazing.”
The Genelec Smart Active Monitoring system—a far cry from his old hi-fi speakers—is based around two 1234As installed as main monitors, accompanied by a 7382A subwoofer equipped with three 15-inch high-performance woofers. Adding symmetry, what appears to be a second 7382A is in fact a customized bass trap designed around a Genelec grille. Two 8351B acoustically coaxial monitors from The Ones range are installed on Ozcan’s desk for nearfield listening.
This is Ozcan’s first experience with Genelec: “Jan introduced me to Genelec, but I knew he had also previously used them in Hardwell’s studio, so I texted Hardwell and asked him what the speakers are like,” Ozcan explained. “He texted back, all in caps, ‘They are amazing.’”
Crucially, Morel was given the creative freedom to build the studio as he saw fit. “When we started the creative process, there was no house, just some drawings,” the designer recalls. “It’s very important to have a lot of freedom on a project like this. If there’s too much interference, all of the positive energy disappears and it just becomes a job, but Ummet explained all of his wishes and I translated them into this room. I was able to spend long evenings here just with one panel; I didn’t need to hurry. There was the creative space to make something beautiful.”
Near the conclusion of the project, Morel and Ozcan calibrated the Genelec system for the room. That work began with GLM (Genelec Loudspeaker Manager) software, then was completed by ear. “We went very deep into the process,” said Morel. Yet little tuning was ultimately required. “You don’t have to do much; with almost no tweaking, it sounds fantastic,” explained Ozcan. “You feel it in your chest and it gives you goosebumps because you can hear everything. I can hear things I’ve never heard before.”
While Morel acknowledges that it can be hard to walk away from a project such as Oz Studios, as the room is now known, he is nevertheless thrilled to introduce it as one of his proudest achievements. “This is in the top three studios that I’ve created,” he noted. “Certainly for the design, this is number one.”
For Ozcan, meanwhile, there are those mornings to look forward to. “I’ve been in this house for a matter of weeks and every day when I wake up and come down here to the studio, I’m like, ‘Oh my God—this is what I worked for.’”
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