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Doctor Victor Interview - In The Studio

Meet Doctor Victor, a unique figure in the world of music and medicine. Hailing from the picturesque landscapes of Iceland, Doctor Victor has carved out a niche as both a skilled doctor and a passionate DJ/producer. His musical journey began at a young age, influenced by classical training and a profound love for house music. 

Over the years, Doctor Victor has blended his Scandinavian roots with global sounds, creating a vibrant mix that resonates on international stages. 

Doctor Victor’s music: 

Listen to Doctor Victor’s Radio Shows

Broadcasting monthly, "Doctor Recommended" is where Doctor Victor showcases an exhilarating mix of the latest dance and club music, with guests from around the world. His unique blend of domestic and international tracks ensures there's something for everyone, making it the perfect kickoff to your weekend.

Listen to Victor’s past radio shows here - Doctor Recommended

We spoke to Doctor Victor about maintaining a healthy balance as a DJ, creating radio shows with DJ.Studio, and making the most of every opportunity that comes your way. 

Hi Victor, where are you right now? #

I’m in Iceland. I’m actually in my office right now - I’m working on setting up a new telemedicine service trying to improve the Icelandic healthcare service. 

In my experience as a medical doctor, I realized that the current services need to be updated, and people could get the help they need much faster and easier for certain problems via a telemedicine service, rather than waiting to be seen in person. 

The demand for medical attention far outweighs the supply of doctors in Iceland, and I believe something like this is the perfect solution for balancing out some of the issues in Iceland’s medical system. 

Wow, you must be busy, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us today! #

No problem! Yes, I’ve got lots going on. This service is looking to launch soon, and I just received two boys - twins, so it’s easy to say there’s a lot going on..

Congratulations! How do you balance it all? Is the music stuff a bit of a release from your other work? #

Exactly, I often describe the four key elements of life as the legs of a chair: exercise, nutrition, sleep, and mental health. It’s a simple analogy that effectively illustrates how each aspect supports our overall well-being. Just like a chair, if one leg breaks, balance is compromised; if more break, the chair collapses.

As a doctor, I personally commit to exercising daily, eating healthily, and ensuring I get enough sleep. For the mental health aspect, that’s where music and my passions play a crucial role. Engaging in activities I love helps maintain my mental well-being. 

This holistic approach not only helps me stay balanced but also energized and motivated, demonstrating the importance of taking care of all aspects of our health.

It’s not the most common advice you get as a musician - which is normally “just work 24/7”.#

Exactly. There's a common belief that success requires relentless work, often quantified as putting in 10,000 hours of practice. This idea promotes working tirelessly in the studio every day. However, my message, both as a doctor and as a musician, is to remind people of the importance of maintaining balance. 

Taking care of your physical health, nutrition, sleep, and mental well-being is crucial not just for success, but for sustainability in any career. Overlooking these aspects can lead to burnout and other health issues, which is why I emphasize balance as essential for long-term success and well-being. 

It’s definitely advice that more artists need to hear - and listen to…#

I have a deep passion for music and performing live shows, but as a doctor I also realize the other side can be left out - so I think it's very important to take care of both the mental and physical part, especially in the music industry.

I think there is a special connection between music and medicine - as it can truly affect your mental health and make people feel better. We all know these special songs that just get us in a good mood instantly. 

It’s important to speak openly about those things, and we've seen the dangers all too often, with great artists like Avicii being taken from us too soon - mental health is a crucial part we have to take care of.

It’s a great use of your platform as a musician and a doctor. 
So, where did your journey start as a musician and DJ?#

From a very young age, I was introduced to the piano by my father, a pianist himself, which sparked my initial interest in music. He enrolled me in classical piano training at a musical academy where I immersed myself in the works of Beethoven and Mozart. This early experience not only honed my skills but also kindled a passion for performing, as I began playing in front of school audiences.

Victor Gudmundsson during his Final Concert in the music school.

My musical journey took a turn when I encountered house music, but I remember my father introducing me to Daft Punk. The structure and creative freedom it offered resonated with me, leading me to explore artists like Swedish House Mafia and Tiësto. Inspired by their work, I received a NORD Stage 88 piano from my parents, which allowed me to experiment with electronic sounds and compose my own music.

As I delved deeper into music creation, I realized I needed a more robust tool to craft my songs, which led me to discover FL Studio. This software became a staple in my music production, a practice I began in earnest around the age of 15 with simple compositions.

FL Studio is a DAW, but not a DAW for DJs like DJ.Studio!

Interestingly, my commitment to music production deepened during my time in medical school, where I managed to blend my academic pursuits with my passion for music, exploring how both worlds could enrich each other.

You started as a musician, and DJing came later on? #

After completing college and classical piano school at 20, I ventured to medical school in Slovakia. The vibrant club scene there was a stark contrast to what I was accustomed to in Iceland, where DJs often played unceremoniously in the corner of a venue. In Slovakia, DJs were front and center, much like the performances of Swedish House Mafia and Tiësto that I admired.

During my second year of medical school, my peers discovered my musical passion. This led to an invitation to perform at a carnival in town, a well-attended student party. Embracing my life motto of saying "yes" to new opportunities, I accepted the offer. This decision proved pivotal, setting my music career into motion. My performance caught the attention of a club owner, which subsequently led to more gigs across Slovakia.

As I played more venues, I began to be known affectionately as "the doctor DJ." This unique identity culminated in my recognition as Doctor Victor, a name that perfectly encapsulated my two passions and resonated well with my audience. This nickname aligned seamlessly with my personal and professional identity.

So you were almost accidentally in the right place at the right time. You got invited to your first major DJ set and then it snowballed. It was a mixture of coincidence, but also keeping yourself open to new opportunities? #

Exactly! Balancing a career in medicine with a passion for music isn't typical, and initially, I hadn't considered combining the two. However, deep down, I knew I wanted to continue performing, much like I did with piano, but this time with the electronic music I was creating. DJing and performing felt like a natural progression for me, allowing me to share my own music with others.

I vividly remember the exhilaration of my first DJ gig - it instantly affirmed my desire to pursue both paths. Since then, I've been dedicated to blending my careers as a doctor and a DJ, which has certainly been challenging but incredibly rewarding. It's a unique combination that continues to fulfill and inspire me.

It's quite an unusual mix. Maybe you’ve heard of Jon the Dentist? He’s a great house producer, but also a dentist! #

We have to collab!

What advice would you give to somebody looking to start a career in music or DJing? #

Starting in music - whether as a DJ or producer - begins with broad listening habits. I personally listen to a diverse range of genres, from classical music to  house and pop music. This eclectic taste helps form your unique style and preferences, which are crucial in both DJing and producing. Drawing influences from various types of music enables you to develop a distinctive sound - a blend of all that you enjoy.

Additionally, attending concerts is vital. There's something about experiencing music live, feeling the energy of the crowd, and the vibe of the performance that deepens your understanding of what resonates with you and what doesn’t. These experiences help shape your musical tastes and preferences.

I also recommend learning to play an instrument, like the piano or guitar. Even basic knowledge can immensely benefit your music production, such as understanding chord progressions and basic musical structures. While it's not mandatory - many successful producers don't play instruments - it can enhance your ability to create complex, engaging music.

Finally, having a passion for music and a vision for what you want to achieve is essential. It helps to have musical idols to inspire you, but the key is to forge your own path and create something unique to you.

I think that's really good advice. That mix of finding inspiration in your idols, but also creating your own unique style. What are some of your signature techniques as a DJ?#

I enjoy the element of surprise in my sets, especially when creating mashups on the fly or mixing acapellas with different songs. It's exhilarating to mix two unexpected drops and watch the crowd's amazed reactions - those "wow" moments are truly what DJing is about for me.

I have such a great passion for music and love to find and listen to new music, that I decided to start with my own radio show a while ago - with a name that really fits “Doctor Recommended”. 

There I play out the newest electronic music from around the world, as well as demos that I get sent from other artists, but I regularly have new guests with their own mixes in my show, such as from the German duo Booka Shade who were on my show the other day.

I often explore these creative mixes during my radio show using DJ.Studio, which simplifies the process of blending various elements and creating mashups. It’s a fantastic tool for experimenting with sounds in real-time, allowing me to deliver a unique listening experience that keeps the audience engaged and on their toes.

Have you tried DJ.Studio’s new stem separation features? They’re perfect for making mashups and acapellas.#

Yeah, it’s a total game-changer. DJ.Studio was perfect before the update, but somehow it got even better!

Discovering DJ Studio was a pivotal moment in my journey as a DJ, and it underscores the importance of passion and perseverance for anyone in the creative fields, especially young producers. Here's how it happened:

Last year, at the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), I knew I needed a solution to help manage my new radio show back in Iceland. Being a doctor, my schedule was tight, and I needed a tool that could streamline my DJ set creation efficiently. DJ Studio seemed like the perfect answer, promoted as a way to create DJ sets quickly, which was exactly what I needed.

The DJ.Studio event at ADE was packed, and when I arrived, there was already a long queue. But determined not to miss out, I arrived early and used a bit of ingenuity to navigate through the crowd. When I was told the room was full, I didn’t give up - I waited at the door and managed to talk my way in just in time for the presentation by Siebrand and Laidback Luke.

Being there, right next to industry insiders like Martin Garrix’s manager Watse de Jong was exhilarating. The demo of DJ Studio was eye-opening; the functionality and efficiency it offered were exactly what I needed to produce quality radio shows in a limited amount of time. I was so impressed that I arranged to meet Siebrand and Fleur the next day to delve deeper.

This experience was a game-changer. It wasn't just about finding the right tool; it was a lesson in not hesitating to chase what you need and be persistent. To this day, I use DJ Studio exclusively for my radio shows - it has truly transformed my approach to DJing and mix production.

DJ.Studio can help you make more time for yourself, by streamlining your DJ mix workflow. 

What were you using for your radioshows before DJ.Studio came out? #

I was just using FL Studio really, it was a bit of a pain and took way too much time and effort, clipping stuff together, automating, beat matching etc.

DJ.Studio has greatly improved my workflow and they're always updating it with new features, which is fantastic. I highly recommend it, particularly for young DJs. Many people are eager to start DJing, and DJ.Studio is an excellent tool for beginners. It helps you get to grips with the basics, like understanding BPM, phrasing, harmonic mixing - what these concepts are and how they work - and learning to mix tracks effectively. 

For up-and-coming DJs and producers, DJ.Studio is a great program to start with as it helps you understand the essentials of DJing. So I definitely recommend it.

Yeah, particularly for making radio shows there’s nothing else like it. Are you using the Automix to structure your mixes? Or do you come in with a predetermined order and build it in DJ.Studio?#

As a DJ, staying current with music is essential, so I frequently explore new playlists on Spotify and tune into shows like those of Martin Garrix and Tiësto. I have a habit of taking screenshots of new tracks that catch my ear, and later, I compile these discoveries into DJ Studio. This platform is incredibly helpful for experimenting with mixes and grabbing music.

I often start with DJ.Studio’s automix feature to get initial recommendations, which I then tweak to match my style. The interface is straightforward and structured, making it an excellent tool for creativity. 

One of the features I find particularly useful is the stem separation - this allows me to isolate specific elements, like removing everything but the drum loop or adding an acapella. 

It opens up possibilities for creating unique mixes that might be challenging to execute live. This flexibility and the ability to experiment with different sounds make DJ Studio an invaluable part of my mixing process.

So are you doing much live DJing currently? Have you tried using the set preparation features in DJ.Studio?#

I'm currently performing almost every weekend, and I've recently been booked for some shows in China. Coming from Iceland, the opportunity to travel around the world and share my music is incredibly exciting and feels like a big step forward.

While I always play live at my shows, DJ.Studio has become an indispensable tool for preparing my radio shows and setlists for specific events. It streamlines the planning process and enhances my ability to deliver high-quality music experiences, no matter the setting. 

This blend of live performances and well-prepared sets using DJ Studio really helps me maintain a balance between the spontaneity of live DJing and the precision of pre-arranged mixes.

So you mentioned China, I saw that you worked on some music for the Beijing Olympics and some other events. How did somebody from Iceland get that connection? It couldn’t be much further away…#

It might seem unlikely for someone from Iceland to break into the Chinese music scene, but a key factor in my success has been networking. Here’s a funny story that illustrates this point: 

The head of the Icelandic department of my medical school Runolfur Oddson was travelling in China, where he encountered a group of musicians and a famous Chinese DJ and radio host. He introduced them to my music, and they were immediately captivated by its unique sound, which was different from what was popular in China. They began playing my tracks on the radio there.

This exposure led to a fantastic opportunity with CGTN (China Global Television Network) during the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022. The organizers were looking for artists from different countries to collaborate on a theme song, creating a musical relay. Chinese artists started the song, I added my part by blending in their style, and then an Italian artist completed it. This project marked my first major collaboration in China.

CGTN’s 2022 Winter Olympic Theme Song “Embrace”.

The collaboration continued when, in 2023, I was approached to create a theme song for China’s official Space Day. Following these projects, I was invited to Beijing and met with the team from China Global Television Network and the artists which I had worked with. Completely unexpected but incredibly exciting, and I’m eager to see where this journey takes me next.

Space Day theme song of Doctor Victor and the Chinese artists Nerissa and Lucy Luan.

Have you ever performed in China before? If so, how do audiences differ from Iceland?#

I haven't had the chance to perform in China yet; my recent trip there was more about establishing contacts and understanding the local scene. However, I've received feedback that the audience there appreciates how I blend my Scandinavian sound with Chinese elements. 

For instance, incorporating traditional Chinese instruments like the Guzheng into my tracks has been well-received. This approach of fusing different musical styles - not merely replicating a genre but enriching it with new, innovative elements - is something I really enjoy and recommend to other musicians. It seems to resonate well with the audiences, adding a unique flair that distinguishes my music.

It’s an interesting connection. I know that Iceland has a disproportionately cool music scene given its tiny population. #

The music scene in Iceland is quite dynamic and unique, considering our small population of only around 370,000 people. Despite this, there's a vibrant energy and a drive among Icelandic musicians to make an impact beyond our borders. Notable artists like Kaleo, Laufey and emerging talents exemplify the diverse and internationally recognized talent coming from our country.

When I first started in the music scene here, particularly when I was entering medical school, the DJ scene wasn't very prominent—it was dominated by pop and hip-hop. During my school breaks, when I returned home for the summer and winter, the local DJ scene was quite subdued, more underground than mainstream.

However, over the past few years, there's been a significant transformation. Almost every club now boasts impressive setups with crazy lights, smoke machines, and great sound systems, with DJ booths increasingly taking center stage. House music, in particular, has seen a surge in popularity. It's not just traditional house artists who are thriving; even hip-hop and pop musicians are beginning to incorporate house-style tracks into their repertoires.

I'm thrilled to see this evolution, especially as a house musician myself. It's exciting to witness and be a part of the growing appreciation for house music in Iceland, which seems to be on a steady rise.

So what projects are you currently working on, and what events have you got lined up? #

I'm currently involved in several exciting collaborations around the world, which are keeping me quite busy. I'm working with a talented DJ and producer making waves in China, and collaborating with several other artists from Europe. Additionally, I'm engaged in a few projects here in Iceland.

I thrive on blending different musical styles and collaborating with diverse artists. It’s something that I find creatively fulfilling. However, managing these collaborations alongside my medical career is challenging. Despite this, I’m aiming to release a few tracks soon and prior to my upcoming tour in China. My goal is to maintain a more consistent output of music.

Achieving balance is every artist's dream, but it's particularly challenging in my dual career as a doctor and musician. In both fields, balance is crucial - not just in managing time, but also in maintaining physical and mental health. It’s easy for musicians to get caught up in the studio, neglecting exercise, proper nutrition, sleep, and mental well-being. It’s important to remember that taking care of oneself is essential to sustain creativity and productivity in the long run.

Thanks for talking to us Victor!#

Make sure you check out Victor’s "Doctor Recommended" radio show on FM957, one of Iceland’s most popular stations. It’s full of exciting music and features new guests every show!

Victor uses DJ.Studio to make his show, try it yourself with the free 14-day DJ.Studio trial!

Noah Feasey-Kemp
DJ/Producer
I started DJing when I was 15. Started a record label, residency by a club in Bristol. I’ve played at all the biggest clubs in Bristol (and the small ones) and have entertained thousands of dancers! I love writing about music, DJing, and technology. I've been blogging for DJ.Studio since the start of the project, and am always happy to answer questions and help fellow DJs out!

Excited to start mixing?