Tim Bozhkov: A wonderkid with remarkable skills

Black Hole

March 23rd, 2023

Just when we thought we’d seen it all Gameroom records is there to prove us wrong by discovering this 12-year-old DJ and producer prodigy from Ukraine. Tim, who started playing with DJ equipment as it was his playground at the age of 6, caught the attention of the Black Hole Recordings division label with his exceptional skills.

Few years later gamechanger moment happened when Tim met his idol Martin Garrix. Since that moment this young talented soul started focusing on making his DJ techniques perfect and learning music production so he could pursue a career in the global music industry one day. His passion for music and early experience performing in front of 5000 people at Ukraine’s biggest festivals earned him recognition as the youngest professional DJ in his home country by the National Guinness record.

We caught up with Tim to discuss his passion for music, his growth as a DJ and producer, his forthcoming release, and his career plans.

Tim, could you take us back to the start of your journey a few years ago? How did you end up in the music industry at such a young age, and what was the inspiration behind your decision to work towards this path?

Hey, so glad I can share my story with you today. My mom was the one who sparked my interest in DJing when she became curious about how DJs perform at festivals. I think it happened after Fedde Le Grand set in Armada Club. We started with a little controller at home and I began taking my first steps at the age of 6. Football and some strange device with all these shiny buttons became my interests. My mom was into Armin Van Buuren and Tiësto, so I started with trance music. Some DJ friends in Ukraine gave me mixing classes, and in 2018, I discovered Martin Garrix as the #1 DJ in the world, which led me to create a New Year’s mix of his tracks.

Was meeting Martin Garrix at the age of 8 an instant realization that you wanted to be like him? And why is he so important to your music evolution?

That was such a coincidence. In 2018, Martin Garrix performed at Atlas Weekend, the biggest festival in Ukraine, where kids were allowed to attend with their parents. By chance, we saw that there was a Meet & Greet with Martin, and my mom shared my mix for his tracks to enter. I was selected, and it was an unbelievable experience! Although I didn’t speak English back then, Martin wished me luck and signed my t-shirt, which I still keep with me in Spain for good luck. After seeing his performance, I decided to pursue DJing and producing at the same level as Martin and leave football behind. He ignited my passion for music, and I’m grateful for that.

How did it feel to play at the biggest festivals in Ukraine at such a young age and stand in front of 5000 people? Not every DJ can experience that kind of success at the beginning of their career.

It is unreal. My first public performance was in front of 5000 people, not counting home parties with family and friends. [Laughs.] It was at the Emotion Kids Disco Party in Kyiv, which is the biggest kids party in Europe, in 2019. They were looking for a child DJ and found me on Instagram. I was invited to audition and performed a 25-minute set live. It was a huge stage with lights and sound, something I had only seen on YouTube. Instead of recording my set, I mixed it live with short tracks that lasted about a minute. While I didn’t fear the stage, my parents were concerned that I might run off when I saw the crowd. However, I played until the very end, and it was incredible. I felt like Martin then!

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You set a National Guinness record for the youngest professional DJ. Congratulations on that! What do you think is the biggest reason for recognition this kind?

Following the grand Disco Party, the organizers put forth my name to the Guinness World Records as the “Youngest DJ in Ukraine” who professionally performed live for a massive audience of 5000 people. The criteria for the record were precise, including exhibiting professional expertise, playing live without any pre-recorded sets, entertaining a large audience flawlessly (without making mistakes), and demonstrating artist skills, such as getting the crowd to dance. I was 10 years old at the time of registration in February 2020, and we successfully achieved the record.

We know that Timofey Reznikov, a sound designer and producer who has worked with David Guetta, has been teaching you music production. How has that been going?

Timofey means a lot to me. It’s unbelievable, but we happened to meet by chance after I moved to Spain due to the war. I believe it was destiny that brought us together. He is currently my mentor and teacher, and I feel privileged to be able to learn from him. Timofey possesses top-level skills and knowledge, and I consider myself fortunate to have this opportunity. I eagerly await every lesson and approach all homework with a strong sense of responsibility. The tasks he assigns me are both simple and complex, and he gives me a profound understanding of the fundamentals of sound design and production, enabling me to comprehend precisely what I’m doing and why. I also share my tracks with him to receive feedback and recommendations. Can you imagine learning from a Grammy-nominated sound producer? It’s beyond my wildest dreams!

What is the inspiration behind your latest release, “Feel Fine,” after previously releasing “Still Alive” and “You Deserve The Most”?

Feel Fine“ was my initial attempt at combining progressive house and future rave, and you can distinctly hear both elements in the track. The concept for the song arose while I was spending my first summer in Spain, which has now become my second home since my family relocated here due to the war in Ukraine. The melody vibes kept popping up in my mind whenever I was near the sea, and so I created a melody that was lingering in Ableton for some time. The final track idea dawned on me after I attended the Amsterdam Dance Event last year and gained inspiration from being in the heart of everything for the first time, especially after meeting Nicky Romero. All these factors culminated in the creation of “Feel Fine.” The track is now available on all streaming platforms for everyone to enjoy. Stream here.

You have received support from some great names in the industry. Who has given you the biggest push as an artist?

Martin Garrix was my biggest motivation to start my music journey, and I aspire to meet him again soon to showcase my music and express my gratitude. David Guetta’s endorsement of my track “Still Alive” instilled confidence in me that I could succeed in this industry. And of course, Nicky Romero! Our demo submission during ADE and his selection of my track, followed by an interview together, was a significant affirmation that I possess the skills and just need to keep producing, learning, and progressing. Nicky is presently one of my favorite DJs and producers, and I am thrilled to announce that I will soon release a track on Protocol Lab.
You must be excited about everything that is about to happen, but are you also scared of success?

Excited a lot and eagerly look forward to the day when I can finally perform. However, being only 12 years old, I understand that it may not be easy. I am aware that the road ahead will be challenging, and my parents, particularly my mom, and I discuss it daily. She possesses the skills to manage and support me through this process, so I am not afraid as long as I have the right people around me to develop my project. I have watched numerous movies about DJs and their journeys, including the film about the legendary Avicci. Consequently, I am aware of the potential dangers and obstacles that I may encounter along the way.

As an artist, you must receive advice on a daily basis. What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?

The worst - ‘What are you doing? Your music and DJing are terrible, hahaha! Stop doing it! Regular boys play football.’ Or ‘Make your bass in stereo mode!’ [Laughs.]
The best - ‘Along the way, there will be thousands of people who will say ‘No’ to you. Don’t listen to them. Instead, believe in yourself, and eventually, you will encounter the 1001st person who will say ‘Yes.’ This advice was imparted to me by Nicky Romero.“

There are many artists you would like to collaborate with for sure, but who is at the top of your list?

Wow, that’s a great question! If I were to produce a track with others, I would love to work with Martin Garrix, Nicky Romero, and Morten. On the other hand, if it was a vocal collaboration, I would be thrilled to work with artists such as The Weeknd, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Justin Bieber.

Do you see yourself experimenting with various style and genres or do you intend to continue with the specific one you are currently pursuing?

My ultimate goal is to create my own unique sound and style in the future. To achieve this, I need to experiment and explore different genres. I’m currently mixing a lot of progressive and future rave styles, and also trying out tech house. I enjoy incorporating lyrics and vocals into my tracks. As I continue to grow and develop as an artist, my sound may evolve, but creating a unique style is always the end goal.

What is on the horizon for Tim Bozhkov? What should we expect from him in the near future?

I have some exciting plans in the works! I'll be releasing more cool music soon, including a real hit that I'm taking my time to produce just right. When I finally get the chance to perform, I'll blow the crowd away. Maybe by the time I'm 18, I'll have enough hits and a big enough audience to play on a massive stage like Tomorrowland. It's all about putting in the work and building up my skills and reputation.