New York City is a city rich in electronic music culture. Clubs like The Palladium, Limelight and Studio54 are proof of the fact, and despite the fact that all three are now gone, the scene in the city is as healthy as ever. Clubs such as Output are very much indicative of the fact, while DJs such as The Martinez Brothers continue to represent the city with assurance. Aside from the superstars though, there’s a healthy underground too, and it’s here where Alix Alvarez comes into play. The Queens native has produced music for some of house music’s biggest labels, with Dessous, Ovum, Innervisions and Rebirth among those who’s hosted his music. Alix recently contributed to Okain’s Talman Records label, as part of the Frenchman’s well-received Retro Future Chapter One’ release. His track, “No Chaser” was arguably the highlight of the package too, and with all this in mind we decided to catch up with him for a quick chat. He also supplied a mix for us too, which you’re sure to love. Without further ado, Mr. Alix Alvarez…
Hi Alix, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Lets start by going back a bit. You grew up in NYC. How influential was the city on your musical tastes?
Growing up in NYC had a huge impact on my tastes. I was exposed to so much music at an early age. When I first started DJing I was buying Hip Hop, House & Techno because all of this music was getting played on the radio in NY all at the same time. By the time I started clubbing I started seeing how diverse and open minded the crowds were. You could go to different venues and hear different styles in one night. I was fortunate to come up on some iconic Dj’s in NY and theres a style which has stayed with me to this day when Im either in the studio or Im in the dj booth.
I’ve read conflicting reports about the scene in NYC right now. On the one hand, it looks healthy – there are loads of nights on. On the other, I’m being told that the bigger clubs are swallowing up the smaller promoters. Where do you stand on this?
There was a time where the NY scene seemed like it hit a dead end. A lot of it had to do with stupid outdated laws and areas where clubs once were started to get turned into condos. But NY slowly started to make a resurgence. A lot of it was in Brooklyn where a lot of dope parties & venues started popping up. Some of the best nights are happening in NY now. I try and support my friends’ events when I can and there’s definitely always good crowds attending them.
And are you still based in NYC? Would you ever consider moving to Europe?
Yes I live in Queens NY. I considered moving to Paris a long time ago. Then it was Barcelona. More recently it was Berlin. I moved to LA for about 5 years, which was great. As far as living in Europe it hasn’t happened yet but who knows.
When did you first come to Europe to play music? How do you feel it differs from playing in the US?
I started coming to Europe to play around 2004. There’s always been more support for the music there. Europe has so many options. In the US you’re hard pressed to find good venues in most cities. The main places to play in the US are NY, Chicago, LA, SF & Miami and you have a handful of good venues at that. Europe has more cities with venues and festivals that support the music.
What do you see as the future of electronic music? And do you think EDM has affected the underground in the US at all?
The mainstream EDM stuff doesn’t affect what goes on in the underground. I think the majority of people in the underground don’t pay attention to what goes on in that world of music. Out of sight out of mind.
You’re part of a recent VA on Okain’s Talman Records. How do you know Sam and what is it about his sound and style that made you thought it’d be a good place for your music?
I met Sammy (Okain) about 6 years ago at an Ovum party I played at ADE. We kept in touch since then via social media so we’ve been cool for a while. He approached me with the idea to be apart of the VA last year and included other friends (Paolo Rocco & Steven aintleaven) so I was glad to be apart of it.
Thanks for the mix by the way! What were you trying to convey with this mix? Or was it more a case of picking tracks as you go?
I’m just representing my tastes, the records and recent finds that I’m digging; so it was pretty simple for me.
Do you plan your sets then? Do you sees parallels between how you DJ and produce?
I never plan my sets. I have an idea about what I’m going to play but I just feel it out as far as what direction to go. I could get into many different moods during my set depending on where I’m playing. There are definite parallels to producing & Djing. It really comes down to style & taste. I make choices selecting music during a set almost the same way I make choices about what sounds to use in the studio.
What’s next for you that’s keeping you excited?
Im always searching for music or sounds to inspire me. It never ends. Theres a lot of great music out there. I’ve been doing this a while now but I always feel like I’m still learning & growing as I continue and that’s exciting for me.
P.S.:Alix Alvarez’s “No Chaser” is out now as part of ;Retro Future Chapter One’ on Okain’s Talman Records label
London is stuffed to the brim with incredible producers, so sticking out from the crowd in the capital can make for a daunting task. One man who evidently has what it takes to do so is emerging producer, Bearface. Though he’s been around for some time, it’s his recent endeavours that look set to elevate him further up the house music ladder, with his productions on his own Beartone label already perking the ears of some of the scene’s most revered names. We caught up with the man in question as he talked us through the mix he did for us, the influence Ibiza has had on his music and the unusual samples that often turn up in his records…
I wanted to start by talking about your home city of London’s music life. How do you think the city’s music scene has changed over the last while? Do you still love it or do you feel disconnected from it?
I’m a born and bred Bristolian and moved to London for my degree. During my latter school years I played percussion in clubs alongside DJs who would play house music. London has always inspired me musically. There is a vibrant scene here for most genres. Pick any night and you will find a good fit. Some of the best clubs in the world are here. Also a noisy city, full of sounds that can get stuck in your head like the planes overhead, bus engines churning and even the crazy birds that seem to never sleep.
So going back a bit, when did you first start producing music? Was there one moment or person who really inspired you to get in to the studio?
My first successful foray into house music was in 2004. I co-produced a track with friend and long term collaborator Dj Max Mistry with whom I shared a love of US style house music. We released our first track ‘Bare Brass’ on vinyl. It sold out pretty quick and went on to be licensed by Roger Sanchez’s Stealth records and featured on numerous labels. Defected and Vendetta records were a couple that really pushed our music.I suppose I first got my hands on midi gear while doing GCSE music in Bristol. The school music department purchased a load of gear including drum machines and hardware sequencers and I tried to emulate the music we called ‘bleep bleep music’ such as early minimal house acts like Altern 8.
We noticed some of your records have some unusual samples in, not least Bollywood sampled. Where do you source these samples?
Yea, I think samples can add a certain flavour to tracks, much like adding dry spice to food or stock from the shelf, pre made loveliness. Finding weird or slightly unusual samples is really exciting when incorporating them into your own music. Having Indian parents gave me access to some old, crusty sounding vinyl of Bollywood soundtracks of the 70’s. So occasionally I will chop them up in the MPC.
Are they obscure to the point where you don’t worry about licensing issue?
Most of the time I tend to add just a smidgen of vocal or chords and manipulate it to fit the track so it’s not so easy to detect the origin of the sample. I also use my own vocal or sound source and it will sound like a sample.
You even gained inspiration from an Ibiza supermarket on your track, ‘Supermercado’. What do you find so inspiring about Ibiza supermarkets?!
On one visit I spent more time at in the ‘Supermercado’ than any club or parties in Ibiza. Mainly to get provisions for my pregnant wife. It was always lively and provided me with loads of cheap entertainment – in contrast to a lot of the clubs which were over glamorous and not really about the music.
Another track of yours is called ‘Dalt Vila’. I gather Ibiza is a place that’s proved pretty influential for you over the years?
Yea – it is a good place to hear dance music for obvious reasons.The track ‘Dalt Vila’ is me imagining how dance music could sound if the monks from the monastery had been involved.
So tell us a bit about the label, Beartone. What made you start it and how’s it been going so far?
I initially setup the label as a place I could release music digitally. This was a response to diminishing vinyl sales from 2008.I am now releasing vinyl again on my third EP under my alias, Beartone.
Clever artwork seems a hallmark of every release. Is that something you’re conscious of? And why did you settle on a bear for your alias and artwork?
I’m very lucky to know great visual artists who are willing to help with the Bearface artwork. My wife Kim-Leigh Pontin and the artist z. Zenobia are mainly responsible for the look of the label. I feel it gives the music more impact and meaning.
The San Jose EP marks a comeback of sorts for you after a while not releasing records. Why was now the right time to start releasing music again?
This is the third vinyl in the series. I have been putting out vinyl although not so much. The San Jose EP has a slightly more laid back feel to that of the more recent stuff.
Was there a general idea behind the tracks you were trying to convey? Is your production style generally reflective of your DJ style do you think?
Not really. I sequenced most of the track in my MPC 3000 drum machine to give a particular feel and swing to the music. My general aim is to have production that flows in a musical sense maybe this is also reflective of my DJ sets.
Can you tell us a bit about the mix that you’ve provided for us here?
It’s mainly new music from artists I’m digging at the moment, some music from my label and a few older pieces. In the sphere of house but really back into the tech minimal sound that I started to produce in 2008.
What’s next for you?
I’m addicted to my studio so I definitely will be cooking up tunes for as long as I can. I live to travel, meet people, play and perform music so if I can do these things as much as possible that would be great.
P.S.: Bearface’s San Jose EP is out now on Beartone Records
Microscope series is back again and this time we are having a very well known name from Netherlands – Roger Gerressen. Born in Arnhem and currently living in Nijmegen continuously spreading his name across the world by his house and techno infused productions and smooth as butter sets. Roger just joined Paris based Yoyaku label which led him to release his music on imprints as Joule, Aku and Tartouffe. With their support he is about to launch two more labels to meet his output and give him his creative freedom– Irenic Records and Autodidact Records. As being a co-founder of ESHU records having numerous releases and collaborations with big guns as Ivano Tetelepta, Dilated Pupils, ARC and Novio Dub Tribe you get an image that this is the guy to keep your eye on. We can’t wait to dive in the interview with this talent and check his exclusive MEOKO Mix.
1. Hey Roger, pleasure to have you with us! How are you doing?
I am doing good sir, I had a series of gigs last summer that went great and I just had a few weeks off to finish some music/remixes and get ready for the winter season.
2.First of all, tell us more about your involvement in the club scene. How did you get in the scene in the first place and what made you decide that you want to become a part of it?
I never expected to be involved in house music at this stage in my live. In the 90’s the only electronic music we grew up with was the trance and gabber that dominated in the Netherlands. Those styles had massive airplay on the radio and even took over the pop charts. Good electronic music was already out there, but it never reached me at that age. I never got into the trance/gabber music, the melodies felt cheesy to me. I was always more interested in breaks and loops and became a fan of early 90’s hiphop when I got introduced to A Tribe Called Quest. To this day it’s the music I play the most at home. I just love sample based loops.
At my 18th birthday coincidence happened. My friends bought me a ticket to a big techno event (still pretty much against my biased will), I had my first experience in the scene and immediately seemed to understand what this music was all about. I found another type of new loop-based music I love. I got some second hand belt-drive turntables and a mixer a few weeks afterwards and here we are today.
3.Do you remember the first record or artist you heard that clicked to you? Can you tell us shortly how did you get from hearing your first record to playing your first gig?
The first artist that clicked for me was the dutch legend Steve Rachmad. My sister was dating a guy back then who was also into dj’ing and he gave me the mix-cd ‘Sterac – Emerging’. That cd still is like a bible to my beliefs in techno music. Mixed live in a club with an amazing vision of hypnotic techno. I immediately drifted towards that sound from then on.
My first gig was a DJ contest in 2004 at Planet Rose, our local clubnight. Even though in my memories everything went great, I didn’t make it to the finals haha. But I was already happy to have performed for a crowd at that point.
4 .As you been raised in Nijmegen do you see a change in music and clubbing there? It is a quite remote city isn’t it? Do you have some special nights, clubs or events that are worth visiting?
Nijmegen used to be a very underground-minded city with one mayor clubnight called Planet Rose (the venue is called Doornroosje, the longest running clubnight in the Netherlands, which has been going strong for more then 22-years now) that has influenced everybody in my town. They had an amazing venue for techno music, high quality acts like Jeff Mills, Derrick May and Laurent Garnier came by on a weekly basis to play for a very open minded crowd. Outside of the Dutch borders, not many people know of this place, but over here it has a legendary status. A few years back they were forced to move out of their filthy old graffiti covered venue (which I loved ofcourse) and settle into a very new state of the art building, which changed things for me. It has become too big for me now and as a result of trying to reach bigger crowds the programming has also become a bit more mainstream and predictable. Luckily you have a few smaller promoters in my town who are now stepping in (like ‘The Tribe’) and hosting some smaller high quality events.
But I still hold the memories of the old venue in my heart. It was an amazing place.
5.As living near by one of the Europe’s partying hotspots, do you find yourself going to Amsterdam often? How does it influence the Holland’s scene in general? Do you think the city dictates the trend for the scene?
The city definitely dictates the trend for the Netherlands, but my country is so small it’s not hard for influence to pass over to another city. But indeed, there are so much more events in Amsterdam, so much more creative people moving there, it’s a logical evolution. Most capitols serve that role I believe.
When I don’t have to play for myself I tend to stay home and create music these days, but coming into the house/techno scene I took plenty of drives to Amsterdam to see some amazing artists in amazing clubs. I often visited Club 11, which later evolved into TrouwAmsterdam. Trouw still was and still is my favorite place in Amsterdam, both on the dancefloor and behind the decks. I was lucky enough to play there a couple of times.
6.Talking about your musical history. I could call you a label guy. You been involved in so many affairs that is hard to count. How did you get in Paris scene alongside Yoyaku? What’s the story behind it?
Before I was connected to Yoyaku I was with an agency that didn’t really put a lot of effort in their artists or have a plan to move forward. So I was starting to get a bit impatient and unhappy with the direction and growth of my career. A few years back I played an event in Strasbourg, organized by the people behind Yoyaku and we just clicked and had a great time. We always stayed in touch, every now and then we had a short chat or they sent me the latest promo’s. They were just setting up their first labels when we met and they had already grown like crazy since then. When the day came my agency pulled the plug and seized to exist, I had a chat with the Yoyaku crew about me flying solo again. It didn’t take long for them to ask me to join the crew.
7.Introduce us with your two brand new imprints as well. Irenic Records and Autodidact Records. What were the ideas behind it and what we should expect from them?
Yes lots of thing happening! Both labels were created for me to have more output, but I also wanted to showcase some of my friends. Let’s start with Irenic, which means ‘Aimed at peace..’. This label had it’s first release a few months back done by Novio Dub Tribe (a collab by Sinan Alakus and myself) and we’re working on the second release as we speak. Irenic is really about the deeper side of the spectrum. Techno, house or dub: as long as the atmosphere of the music is right. The upcoming EP is done by my close friend Alex Jansen (U-GOLD / Rue de Plaisance, also from Nijmegen), he delivered a very deep and emotional 3-track house record that will be out in a few weeks. Future EP’s on Irenic will feature music and remixes by Novio Dub Tribe, Udmo, Bas Amro and myself.
Then we have Autodidact, basicly the same guidelines as Irenic. Created to have more output for my friends/collabs and myself. But with Autodidact anything goes. The first release is done by my friend Doyle Johnson and will be out by the end of October or early November. After that we have a jungle/dnb collaboration by Alex Jansen and myself for the second EP, which will feature two amazing 4/4 remixes by Chris Geschwindner. Can’t wait to present all the details soon!
8.Congrats on you recent release on Tartouffe dubby and groovy piece! As well as one on Joule imprint. I could find endless releases around, how do you approach making music? Do you already have ideas in your mind before even sitting down in front of you desk?
I wish I could give you a very artistic answer right now, but it doesn’t happen to me that often. I just start and see where it goes. Since I have many aliases and styles I do make a choice in direction when I start the project, but it rarely needs a special approach. When collaborating with Ivano Tetelepta in the past, we had a few moments where we tried a ‘Rhythm Roulette’ type approach and try to make records by sampling the majority of the project (like the Build from Wax LP on Nilla Records) or only use certain pieces of gear as a restriction (on the untitled ARC# album on Deep Sound Channel).
9.What are your main inspirations when it comes to your creative process? Are there any things you could not imagine working without?
A hiphop attitude towards house music. To be an underground artist is to create music with whatever equipment you have around you. So if you don’t have the money to buy the gear you want (or think you need), don’t freeze up and do nothing. It was my situation for the longest time, so I really learned to be creative digitally. So even though I love to fiddle around with analog gear, and my studio is growing, I am still a very digital orientated producer that really needs to do those final touches digitally, because the lack of gear pushed me that way.
So I couldn’t work without Ableton to be honest. My MPC is my second answer.
10.Talking about making music, can you take us through your studio gear? What’s your favorite piece? Is there a piece that you really wish for? Or some future purchases?
I have just a small studio myself, at home. I use: Ableton, RMA-fireface400 soundcard, MPC, Dave Smith Tempest, MFB, a Strymon Timeline delay and I have a few other simple pedals and fx.
So far very beat orientated gear so the next step will probably be a synth, but like many people I have been mesmerized by modular synthesis too. Let’s see. Even though my studio is still small, I honestly rarely feel limited.
11.As a music lover you must have some artists you admire! Would you like to share some of your favorite acts this year so far? Anything we should check out in particular that stuck in your mind?
I am an old school guy. A Tribe Called Quest is my favorite group ever, no doubt about it. Gangstarr, Black Sheep, Large Professor, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Brand Nubian. Those are my jams.
Too much new electronic music coming out right now to pick a few, but if I had to I would say Udmo (two mindblowing releases on Analog Attic) and Chris Geschwindner, because I love their fresh styles and both of them have remixed some of my works/collabs so I had to do a shout out!
12.Thank you for this amazing mix! Did you have a specific idea behind it or just went with the flow?
I spent many years warming up dancefloors in my hometown, so when I am recording a mix I try to take the same approach.. a bit of music for the mind, some music for the soul and I always try to end up with some music for the feet as well.
13.Thank you once again for having us! Do you have any last words for the fans? Any news on collaborations or some exciting upcoming releases? What do you think would be the best advice for the upcoming artist?
Yes I have a big release coming up on Sushitech Records as my latest project ‘Monoaware’. It will be a 2×12”, out by the end of October / early November. Very excited to be a part of this label and its artists.
And just be sure to support the upcoming Irenic and Autodidact records when they drop in the coming weeks!
From house to techno to tech house to minimal, few artists in the contemporary realm can lay claim to being as diverse and eclectic as Romanian artist, Dragosh. Now living in Milan, the prolific producer has had his works featured on some of the globe’s foremost labels, with Moon Harbour, Desolat and VIVa just some of those who’ve featured his always unique sound. He’s been busy of late too, with releases in the works for the likes of Memoria, as well as a recently debuted live show that turned heads recently at Berlin’s Club der Visionaire. We caught up with the man in question recently as he talked us through some of his recent endeavors to go alongside the great mix he provided for us…
How are you Dragosh? How has your summer been?
Hello and thanks for having me. The summer was just great, I had some nice gigs in Switzerland and in Berlin and took some time out to relax for myself also. So I can’t complain.
We noticed you grew up in Bucharest but moved to Milan as a teenager. What promoted the move?
At the time I had to start high school, so my mother decided to bring me to Milan to better my future opportunities. So it was a family decision more than anything, I guess.
Was settling in Milan tough? How influential was music in your life back then?
To be fair it was actually pretty easy, the language isn’t so tough to learn! Musically it was a change, but I soon started to listen to a lot more Italian music like LucioDalla, Mina and many others. In Romania, I had been more focused on hip-hop and 90s electronic music. Finding a large Italian background in music definitely helped me to better understand other genres too.
So both countries influenced your music a lot then?
Well, yes. The Romanian side of me is probably more into ‘underground’ house, whereas my Italian side from Milan is probably more into banging music as well as more melodic, easy listening stuff.
When did you start producing music and where did your first release come out? How do you think your sound has progressed since back then?
I started producing pretty early actually;when I was around 16/17 years old. My first vinyl release actually came out on VIVa Music, Steve Lawler‘s label. But before that, I also had a track released digitally called ‘Cut’, a really minimal, banging one. From there I soon delved in to more tribal house stuff and other genres such as techno and tech house. The point is, I never know how my music will change because I like to keep doing what keeps me happy at the time. Sometimes it’s sad, sometimes it’s dark, but I usually just send the music to labels and see what fits. Naturally I don’t send house to techno labels, but you get what I’m saying I’m sure.
When working on a track for a bigger label, do you feel extra pressure? Or do you usually just mail them what you’ve been working on and take it from there?
Working with pressure is not creative for me. I always do tons of tracks then choose the best ones for that label and send their way. Normally I send lots of tunes and let the label choose. I prefer this way. The only bad thing is that sometimes they don’t reply at all when it’d be nice to have a yes or no and some feedback. But I’ve recently started my own label, WEorUS as I understand it’s hard to keep up with all the demos. Plus this way I can put out what I like. Luckily I also work with two friends on the label, so shout out to the DWM PROD guys!
What’s the idea behind the label then?
The main plan for WEorUS is to release good music from artists we really appreciate. We’ve been stuck for a while because of some issues but we will soon release the third release. We are not planning to release a lot, it will be more focused on the music we’re feeling.
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of being a producer these days?
Big question! Probably the management aspect, something I’m really bad at. But these days you need to know how and where to market yourself when you have strong music. So probably dealing with the public relations side of things, yeah.
Do you have any formal music training? Do you think this is important these days?
I think it’s very important and better to have studied music at a formal level, but sadly it’s not an opportunity I ever had. But never say never, it’s still something I’d like to do. Here in Milan there is the Conservatorio, which offers lessons for beginners. So I’d love to take those classes one day.
You’ve produced on some of house and techno’s biggest labels. What do you consider your big break?
I still think it’s yet to come. Doing music is always a challenge and I always try to do better and focus not on the big break but on the music. If I do that, the break will come…
You’re a producer who’s just as comfortable producing minimal techno as you are house and techno. Do you think too few producers take risks with their sound these days and almost prefer to be pigeonholed as a ‘deep house’ DJ, a ‘techno’ producer etc.?
I don’t like to be pigeonholed so that’s why I try not to stick to one thing. It’s more fun to let the creativity flow and to release only the things I feel have to be released. I’ve done everything from super jazzy to super acid techno stuff and breakbeat, but I don’t want to release everything I do. And yes, it’s a big risk because it can get confusing sometimes but I like to take this risk. When people, friends, label owners tells me “yes it’s a different kind of music but it has your unique sound” that’s a big thing for me! That’s what makes me take risks.
You’ve been playing a lot with Dana Ruh at her Brouqade & Friends party recently. How did that relationship first come about? What have you learned from Dana over the years?
Yes, and this is probably my biggest experience in music to date. I’ve know Dana personally since 2013 when she invited me to play. But before the label night we hung out in her studio and had lunch and dinner so we bonded a lot. I’ve a good connection with Dana from the very beginning because we agree on most things musically and are focused on the same path and only ta;k when needed. I’ve learned a lot from her and the way she focuses on things is inspiring. Probably the biggest one is to not view a project in the short term, to stay focused and to bide my time.
You’ve been playing live recently. How did it go?
Yeah, I did it at Club der Visionare in Berlin and also at Circolodegli Illuminati in Rome (again with Dana) and both times worked really good! I’m planning to do it in other places soon and as a solo artist also. Transporting the gear isn’t easy but it’s a very fun way of playing music and seeing people’s reactions when you do something on stage is priceless.
What’s next for you that you’re really excited about?
I’m really excited for my next few releases and I have about 5 in the works for the next while. I’ll release on labels I’ve released on previously and labels I haven’t, such as Memoria Rec, CurteaVeche, Otaku Records and more. So certainly exciting times release wise.
Aside from music, what keeps you busy?
My day job! I’m an Optometrist here in Milan and it’s pretty intense sometimes but also fun. My wife keeps me busy and happy but also helps me keep my feet on the ground! I have an artistic attitude to most things in life, to be honest…
Can you tell us 5 tracks that are really killing it in your sets recently?
Absolutely. HenrikBergqvist’s “Spin”, Conceiled Project’s “Pattern 3”, Onirico’s “Echo”, S.O.N’s “Untitled A (S.A.M Remix)” and Disuasiv’s “Project M”.
P.S.: Look out for Dragosh’s next release on Memoria, which is about to drop soon.
Pier Bucci, well known for releasing on Cadenza and Crosstown Rebels in the ‘00s, is one of a handful of seminal minimal producers to rise out of Chile. An occasional collaborator with Luciano, the Maruca Music founder has now launched a new project alongside exciting Berlin-based prospect Oskar Szafraniec; a young talent who many will recognize from appearances on Cyclo and Murge Recordings.
Meeting in Japan, Bucci and Szafraniec’s shared pseudonym is BUSZTM and the pair have an album landing on Beef Records at the end of the year. MEOKO got in touch to find out more:
Hi guys, how is it going? What have you been up to lately?
P: Hi! I’ve been in South America for 7 months, traveling on an Austrian military truck (a Steyr Pinzgauer). So far, I’ve been in the desert of Atacama, Salar de Uyuni and also La Paz in Bolivia, Lake Titicaca and Cusco in Peru, as well as researching and recording Altiplano music. In Peru, I went to a community that’s high up the Andes and recorded a 73-year-old man, playing a 24 stringed guitar. His music was incredible. I also went to the eastern island and did a recording of Polinesic music with a songwriter named Cal Mario Tuky.
O: I just got back from Austria, I’ve spent a month there. Just been traveling from place to place, very happy to be back in the studio, I signed couple of new records for Skylax and Gel’s Abril new record label. I’d like to finish a solo album this year, that’s the plan. I was just looking at our pictures the other day from the tour in Japan. Do you remember that time Pier?
P: Oh yeah, I remember when we met in the restaurant in Japan! This was before the gig at Womb and it was your birthday! Then we went to Osaka to this nice festival called Sea of Green. Japan is my favourite place and the best club has to be Yellow.
O: It’s quite the same for me. Japan is a very interesting country and I had a lot of fun playing at Liquid Room, it was also nice to play b2b live with [A Guy Called] Gerald at that festival in Osaka you mentioned, such a nice experience in the mountains. The rain was heavy.
P: Yes, that was an experience!
What else have you got lined up this year?
P: Well my solo album ‘Pier Bucci Anika’ is going to be released. Apart from that I’ve been working on two more productions with Andean music and Polinesic music. They’re still a work in progress.
O: … Yes, what I’ve heard of the ‘Anika’ album is amazing, can’t wait to see it released! I have a 12’’ coming out on Skylax, which is four tracks, as well as two EPs on Gel Abril’s new label. There are also a couple of things, which can’t be mentioned yet, but I’m really happy with the way this year is going.
Not to mention the collaborative album as BUSZ! Can you tell us more about the relationship between you two?
P: As soon as we met we discovered we have a lot of similar interests and tastes in music, especially the music made in the 90s in England, like the electronica scene.
O: So many amazing records were released back then. The music was full of emotions.
P: Yes! We’re always evaluating and admiring the incredible emotions involved in that type of music. We always talk about how music from the 90s in England was so emotional and nowadays this magic is more often found in the background. We share this way of focusing on the feeling of music, where music is more important than how effective the track is on the dance floor.
O: For us, the time in the studio is very important. All of the hours involved behind producing each track as well as the incredible method and architecture behind each track; it’s always important that every moment of production goes towards creating the incredible methodic architecture. The process of creating the tracks by using synthetizing sounds in the album was done in a very methodic way, where we also share the special times and the moments of our own individual lives.
P: Exactly. We spend time working on the tracks together every day. Dealing with the issues of everyday life situations between conversations about all the many frequencies we can make from the machines and mixers whilst translating these moments into music in the form of notes, frequencies, rhythms and vibrations.
O: Magic happens, for example when we needed an instrument, which was the Moog Mother 32, we were looking on Ebay for two of them and happened to find a guy 20 meters from Pier’s house who was selling exactly two of them and, of course, we bought them right away!
Can you tell us more about the collaboration process itself?
P: For me, having a good studio plus the experience of producing numerous albums, combined together with the fresh musical view provided by a young and passionate Polish person [Oskar] led to a lot of sharing. If you have an experience and don’t share this experience with others it’s a waste of time, because everything you experience and experiment with needs to be shared as this is how you grow. Sharing my studio and my experiences with Oskar was a real refreshment for my productions because we encouraged each other to practice new productions techniques.
O: Working with Pier was an absolute honour; he’s so experienced and has recorded so many albums and various different projects…he’s incredible.
P: Our album is a collage of old equipment, such as Moogs and analog machines, plus a lot of new equipment, as well as instruments such as guitars, drums, recording reels and vocals. Our focus on different sound architectures led to creating atmospheres and rhythms to harmonize our two influences; a colourful Latin sound with a deeper sound from the east, where we blend the traditions and cultures creating an incredible effect. This is the result of the two of us working together.
For me to do music and continue being inspired the best method is to learn from different cultures by travelling the world in a conscious way. This is the best process and is the way I like to enjoy my life. Music has been an incredible gateway for getting to know different people with different personalities, influences, cultures and ways of thinking and acting.
O: It’s been like this for quite a few years for me, too. It’s traveling and meeting new people that makes me happy; sharing different points of view, different ideas, and making the effort for all of our music to evolve together!
Full of excitement for the interview with a well known name in the underground scene. Vendi – Nice-born man, currently exploring Berlins scene, won our hearts and many around the globe with his warm house/electronica and minimal grooves. Vendi’s hard work in studio on his swinging grooves, crafting and personalizing his sound reflected on huge releases so far. BP Records, Inwave and Hoxton Records are just a few amazing labels under his belt. Whether crafting his own record or stepping in for a remix, it is obvious that it will shake the dancefloor and make you groove. We were really excited to hear the news about his upcoming platform for his original sound called ‘Blacksketch Records’. It should start around October/November so keep your eyes peeled for future updates. Check it out as it has 2 beautiful groovers there for tasters. We absolutely loved them! Earlier this year he dropped a highly anticipated 3 track ‘Horizons’ EP on Hoxton Records. His latest EP could be heard through systems all around the globe with the support from many big names including the big trio – RPR. Tirelessly travelling the world and exploring horizons, Vendi is definitely the name to watch.
Hey Vendi, thank you for your time. Pleasure to have you on board. First of all, tell us how did you get involved in the club scene? What were your main influences back then and what inspires you most nowadays?
Hi, it’s a pleasure for me too, thank you! For me Djing started when I was a teenager, I was mixing tapes in parties for my friends. But making a carrier out of it was not the plan this came much later. It was a natural thing for me, I was passionate with music at a young age. My father was a pianist and the whole family is in music, in different ways. But at that time I was more into rock/grunge/progressive (Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth or Nirvana to name a few) In my 20’s I had a band, I played as guitarist and singer, but then we all took different directions, that’s when I started spinning wax and making music with a computer.
You were living Barcelona and now settled in Berlin right? What actually made you choose those cities? Have you enjoyed scene and people there? Is there something that would not find anywhere else? Feel free to share some crazy moments.
After one year playing in south of France, I decided to move to Barcelona, where I stayed 5 years. It’s during that time that I discovered Ibiza, when I played at Space for the first time. It’s been a great experience going to the cocoon parties, listening to big names like Ricardo, Arpiar and so on… After I needed a change, and decided to drop my bags in Berlin, in 2008. The city gave me what I was looking for, it’s an interesting place because of its culture and background, and this easy way of living seduced me. There’s this big melting pot of artists, and good DJs were playing around the corner every day. I have a ton of memories, it’s hard to name one, the best moments happened when I didn’t expect the night or day to become so memorable. Many happened in Bar 25 and CDV.
We heard some exciting news. You are about to launch your label Black Sketch Records. What made you start a label? What’s the idea behind the name?
It took me a while, I was just waiting for the right moment, now I’m ready. I have a better idea about the music I want to release, and having my own label gives me all the freedom. I will run everything with my friend Rorsha, who will also collaborate with me on the music. The name Black Sketch came from my tattoo artist name, my love for drawing and my ambient music project, which I began 3 years ago.
Congratulations on your recent release on Hoxton Records. Amazing 3 track EP. How did you come up with the ideas? Did you have image in your mind already? Must been a great moment when you heard RPR play your record.
At the beginning Hoxton contacted me because they liked an ambient track they listened to in one of my live podcast. They offered me to release it on vinyl and I loved the idea, that’s how I made an EP for them. Talking about RPR, of course I’m very proud, but it’s always an honour to be played by whoever.
Talking about records. Can you talk us through your studio? What is your favourite piece of gear?Is there a certain kit in studio that you could not imagine yourself without?
It may sound crazy, but I’m mainly working with a laptop these days. Sometimes I use some gears I borrow, I finish some ideas in friend’s studios here in Berlin, or in other places when I’m on tour… But I’m setting up my home studio for the summer, to work on the label future releases, I can’t wait!
How do you manage all your travelling and crazy lifestyle? Is it easy for you to find enough studio time to make those killer records?
The advantage to work on my laptop is that I’m very mobile. I can work everywhere, when I feel inspired. I’m not always producing tracks for the club scene. I also like making music like movie soundtracks, electronica and ambient like I said. It depends on my mood. In general, when I produce a track it doesn’t take long to have a good loop, and then I enjoy playing with it for a while. Then I open other projects, and mixed them together sometimes. And some days when I feel like it, I start recording.
As a raver, what were your highlights of the year? Any DJ’s that stuck in your mind or clubs? Are there any artists you are looking forward to seeing?
Actually I don’t go out so much anymore. But I’ve been to Sunwaves for the first time this year, and I loved it! It was the kind of musical experience I needed, to get more inspired. I enjoy the Romanian vibe, so it just made sense.
Thank you for creating mix for us! Wicked sounds. What were the ideas behind the mix? Is there a specific way you prepare for mix series?
I’m glad you liked it, thanks.
The main idea is to create a storyline. I selected tracks which worked well together, edited some of them and added some of my own unreleased work. It was recorded at home, chilling with a friend and a bottle of wine.
It was absolute pleasure having you here. Any exciting news about releases? Maybe some exciting dates or collaborations you would like to share with fans?
I will release on vinyl on Echoes Rec, with a remix from my pal Nathan Oye. Another track for BodyParts for a VA, and I will deliver a remix for Re.Face alongside Peshka and Vincentiulian.
What would be your best advice from your experience for upcoming artists?
My advice for a young artist, be patient, do things with passion, don’t be affraid to create accident in your art , learn from your mistakes and get inspiration from all the little things surrounding you.
MEOKO caught up with Parisian producer, Janeret, to talk about his future plans, production and his recent outstanding work.
It has been a while since your first mix with us, and what a great time it has been for you. Full of huge releases on various high quality labels, any particular highlights for you?
It has been a really nice year for me, full of great projects and gigs around the world. I met so many nice people during my trips! If I had to choose some highlights, I would say my tour in South America (Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Brazil) and more recently in Australia!
We have noticed on various social media platforms, and some releases such as ‘Solstice’ (an after party favourite of mine) your love for jungle. Would you like to tell us a bit more about this?
Glad to hear that!! :), Indeed, I have been enjoying jungle and drum and bass for a long time now. But I recently fell in love with it when a friend of mine introduced me to Good Looking Records, which is the kind of Jungle/d&b I was looking for!
Since then, I have started to produce my own jungle tracks.
In the beginning I produced them only for a few friends and myself. At some point we decided to release one of these tracks, to test people’s reaction.
I was really happily surprised that people liked it ! So I will be back with more Jungle stuff soon…
You are certainly known for your forward dub strong beats, and an incredible ability for atmospheric breaks, what can you say influences your sound?
I listen to all types of music, however my inspiration to produce comes mainly from Dub techno, deep house, Reggae/Dubs well as atmospheric Jungle (which i think influences the most the atmospheric side). I usually like strong beats, interspersed by some sort of ‘dreamy’ breaks, which is what I try to transpose in my music.
Yoyaku is clearly something very close to your heart, How does it feel to be a part of such a relevant, and integral imprint in todays scene? Surrounded by close friends and incredible artists.
I feel really grateful to have been a part of Yoyaku since the project started. It is so satisfying to see it grow everyday! It gives me a lot of energy to work with them as there are always so many exciting projects coming up; and the crew is awesome and so hard working! Now it has become kind of a second family for me!
Your work rate is up there with the best of them, with what seems like a constant flow of sounds. It must be great to be able to express these different visions, on various imprints under the Yoyaku Umbrella, such as Joule and AKU.
Yes it’s so nice to have many nice labels into Yoyaku, each of them having a specific vibe and enabling me to release my music easily and quickly.
You have played in all corners of the globe, is there anywhere in particular you love to perform? You are currently going through some dates in Australia, that must be pretty special?
Actually South America in general has been fantastic I have enjoyed it so much and have some awesome memories from parties there! Australia is awesome too, I made a really nice tour, with some nice parties and spend good times. The 6th Anniversary of S.A.S.H was big!!
You recently had a debut back to back with fellow Yoyaku artist, Varhat. Is it nice to change it up, playing solo a lot, and then playing along side someone?
Yes it’s really different and interesting to play B2B with Varhat. It’s a different process, as it’s really spontaneous. When I play alone, I come up with my own story during the night. When I play with him, it’s always surprising and very explorative! I really enjoy it! We have also become close friends, and we always have a blast when we play together. I think people can feel it.
A question we always like to ask, and a question many people like to answer. What is your ideal set up in the studio? Any certain processes?
The ideal set up would be a bunker under my flat, where I could push the sound as much as I want to experiment with all the best synthesizers. But I am not a hardware geek, so I am not really into looking for a new synth all the time.
About my process: my studio is in the space I live in, and I work on my music almost everyday. In order to make tracks, most of the time I start working with beats and then add pads and chords. When I am happy about the loop, I start to build the tracks and then work with automation, breaks etc.
Can you shed any light on future releases you have coming up?
The next EP coming up is my AKU JNRT888, a remix of Dj Honesty on Scenario with Sebo K and Dj Deep, a remix for Alessandro Crimi on Open and a remix of a classic Halo Varga Track on All in. After that, a new project under a different pseudo…
There has been a certain buzz around the Romanian electronic music scene for some time now, and is something that just seems to continue to grow and blossom more and more. With so many incredible talents based in this country, it is vital to maintain originality, keeping ideas natural and raw, and we believe this is something Ruere Records founder Faster, captures perfectly. Proving himself to be an integral part of the puzzle.
In a short space of time, Ruere has built up huge support across the board, including a masterpiece remix from Rhadoo on the last release ‘M.O.D Ep‘. That speaks for itself. An imprint created to allow Faster to prepare his ideas and lay down his creations as a whole, bringing together the artwork, the sound, and final atmosphere created. Although taking care of business with his own label, we have had the pleasure of amazing records on other high quality outlets such as Drumma Records. ‘Resolutions‘ is coming very soon, with S.A.M putting forward his reshape and interpretation.
Outside of the studio, Faster, is building a reputation for himself behind the turntables, playing a stand out set at Sunwaves last year we can not wait to witness the magic once again in just over a weeks time. Once you let yourself in to the world of Faster, there is no going back.
We managed to have a chat with the Ruere boss, and this is how it went down:
First of all, a bit of background info about yourself. With a passion for Hip Hop in your youth, Where did your journey in electronic music start?
Even though I started out by doing hip-hop beats, I wanted to explore more grounds. The electronic scene in Romania was growing more and more at that time so I had many influences around me. It was very easy to begin this process, the hard part is to keep up.
Who/what would you say your main influences have been over the years?
Even after more than 10 years I am still mesmerized by Ricardo Villallobos technique and his personal flavor. I was also very lucky to grow in this environment surrounded by the best local electronic masterminds such as Rhadoo, Raresh and Petre Inspirescu.
The music scene in Romania seems to become more and more popular amongst the electronic music world, how does it feel knowing you are part of this?
I am super grateful, always.
What inspired you to begin your own imprint Ruere Records? How did it all form?
Being a vinyl fan, it was my dream from the beginning to be able to start a record label and to print music that I personally love. I had really good guidance from my closest friends and I decided it was time to do it.
We love the artwork that represents Ruere, is this something important to you? What is your process for finding artwork for your records?
Actually yes, all the artwork from Ruere has personal meaning. I love that everything is connected and I will pursue this idea in the future. The making process involves a lot of time and effort and the main man responsible is Howl Otta which I thank.
With three extremely popular releases on the label, can you reveal what the next step is? Any future info you can give us about Ruere?
I never know the next step, sorry.
Is the label a platform, to showcase your personal talent and ideas? or will we see other artists releasing on the label? Obviously, you had Rhadoo create a remix on the ‘M.O.D Ep’, how did it feel to have such a relevant and important artist amongst todays scene, release on your label, remixing your own track?
You will definitely see other artists and strong collabs. For M.O.D. EP, Rhadoo’s personal touch on one of my tracks kept me very focused. I always admired his work and I am very thankful.
Do you have any upcoming releases on other labels you would like to discuss with us?
Yes, the next EP will be released on Drumma Records with a great remix from my good friend S.A.M. The next vinyls will soon to be revealed!
We caught your extended set last April at Sunwaves, it must be such a fantastic feeling representing your country to people from all over the world. Do you feel there is more freedom with what you can play in Romania? It must be nice knowing you can play for several hours compared to some countries you play in.
Time has no limits neither does music.
Do you have any festivals lined up this year? or any particular club nights you are looking forward too?
Lastly, thank you for the wonderful mix you created for us. Hope you enjoyed making it. What can the readers be expecting when they take a listen?
Ahead of the remarkable ’10 year’ milestone, MEOKO caught up with Cesare, the owner of Serialism Records, to talk about how the 10 years has been and what the future holds in store for the label.
Good evening Cesare and thank you for having us! I appreciate that you made time out of your busy schedule for this interview. First of all I would like to congratulate you on this remarkable “10 year” milestone of yours with Serialism Records. It’s a brave thing to run a label. Before we go any further, what set you on the path to founding Serialism?
Hello and thank you for having me..yes my Serialism Records is 10..times flies!
I agree, it is a brave thing to run a label nowadays but we are still alive after 10 years, and We are here to stay! It all happened around 2006, I was living in London when a good friend and Italian dj Stefano Pellegrini and myself decided to join our forces and start Serialism Records. For a couple years we have been organizing small underground parties in East London (Shoreditch, Old st, Bricklane, Bethnal Green following the wave of underground parties happening all over the area at the time) we were doing our thing..we hanged out with a group of musicians and artists around fabric club (some of them now recognized forces in the worldwide scene), everyone with his own style and passion but ready to share the knowledge with the team..we thought: “why don’t we start a record label to showcase those artists?”..So we did.
It was already my second adventure in the industry as I’ve started a Record label almost 2 years before, my own imprint Mean Records, so I had already an idea of the whole process..
Were there any particular people, parties, labels or moments that significantly influenced you in the early days?
Yes, most definitely. Of course some artists and some people particularly, have been always inspiring my work and the direction of Serialism..but also moments and many experiences are effecting me & consequently the label..At that time we opened Serialism i was impressed and inspired by labels like Playhouse, Mathew Jonson’s Wagon Repair, Benjamin Fehr’s Catenaccio, Cadenza but also Spectral, Sushitech, Vakant, Circus Company, M_nus, Arpiar and of course above all Perlon..but I had that background of the 90’s that was also pushing my taste to different directions..I felt in love at first sight (a decade before) with Ninja Tune, Warp Records, Domino, !K7, GStone, Mowax..and Soma, Transmat, Underground Resistance..some of those labels had previously made a strong impact in my musical awareness so i guess i naturally followed that line to direct the taste and creative moves of my labels 10 years later (although the music style totally different some creative patterns are common)..most of those label still rock and keep inspiring me and the team..some of them less but I still feel that respect a child has for his parents no matter what..
Would you say it is difficult to set up a record label? What advice would you give to other aspiring label owners?
That all depends where you wanna be, what you want to achieve..nowadays opening a label is pretty easy;
make/collect a few tunes from friends, prepare a few eps (no matter how bad or good they are), send to couple digital distributions out there (and there is plenty) that will easily spread your product online at almost no cost and no risk for anyone and with almost no questions asked..this process sounds pretty straight forward and it is. But this is not our way..it is when you want to make something special and work the old school way, printing music on real support (vinyl) and creating a special unique concept, take care of the artists you are promoting, feel the whole process in your heart..that’s where the real pain (but also happiness) starts..you will need to invest cash, find a proper vinyl distribution who trust your sound and see a future in the sales and popularity of your product..you will have to go through a process of production, press and distribution where more people are involved..designers, pr agencies, printing & shipping companies, record shops, promoters and so on..it’s pretty rewarding emotionally wise but is a hell of a job..and financially..not worthy the time and energies for sure..
Serialism counts 38 releases up to date with signed artists of the highest calibre. If you were to pick the three most notable “for you” releases that you’ve put out, which would they be?
JIN CHOI – Full Range ep incl. Maceo Plex rmx
QUENUM – Face to Face Lp (incl. singles) with Cassy, Mathew Jonson, Tiefschwarz, Cesare vs Disorder & rmxs
FRANK HAAG – The Future is Absurd ep incl The Mole rmx
These 3 releases each represents an important step of the label in the industry and marks the start of a new era for the team (at different times) during the 10 years of life of the imprint, but I could mention many more that should be marked “notable”
What do you constantly strive for with Serialism?
I am constantly searching for a fresh special sound, a unique way to translate it visually with the entire image of the project and the best way to spread it as much as possible to the right people.
You are also an artist in your own right – which is more important? The label or your own music, or do they go hand in hand?
Yes, it is actually difficult sometimes to split myself in 2, the artist and the label. Fortunately I have a team of friends and collaborators sparse all over the world that work constantly behind the label and my moves, to make things happen… and of course the 2 go together, having the label and being able to listen and choose among so much music inspires me, teaches me and help my creativity to achieve my own musical targets.
We’re all aware of the massive increase on record sales in these past few years and so many record labels are popping up constantly. In your opinion, would you consider this as a trend or do you believe that vinyl is actually back to stay? How do you see things will be in the next 5 years for the vinyl record industry?
It is a great thing that vinyl came back in the market and sales are growing again although I feel it is a sort of trend at the moment. I want to see it as a good thing that will last but I cannot be 100% sure.
I guess the real vinyl lovers won’t stop buying vinyl, it is a drug for many of us and the digital era it’s not a fully working rehab. Needless to say: playing a tune on vinyl is much more rewarding that playing it from a computer or iphone but one don’t exclude the other one.. Music is music wherever it comes from.
There will be always music lovers, collectors, djs who support this magical feeling. I doubt it will ever stop. Then if we talk about quantities and numbers, that’s another pair of shoes.
Do you feel like there’s anything missing from the electronic music industry at the moment?
Difficult question..the music industry at the moment is over saturated, very dynamic, quick, in continuous evolution. Nobody is safe, nobody have too many 2nd chances, i would be almost comfortable to say it’s merciless. So i guess only the real will survive, the ones who have that plus that comes from experience and real passion, the ones who represent the music as lifestyle, not just as a trend.
I don’t feel anything is missing directly, I just see things in continuous development. Most of the time business prevails but there is still that variable of pure passion and love in the middle that keeps things real.
What does the future hold in store for you and Serialism?
The future of the label looks bright..we have an amazing sequence of releases in the next months synched with some special parties all over the world. Next on the label is an EP of Cristi Cons & Sublee, Frank Storm with Guido Schnider & Dana Ruh rmx, Azimute incl remixes by Livio & Roby, Alex Kid, Alex Smoke and Anushka, Jin Choi with rmx by Baby Ford, Cesare vs Disorder incl Konrad Black remix, Jichael Mackson, Salvo Castelli with San Proper & Rail (Ilario Alicante) remixes and more releases are planned already but I cannot disclose them yet.
On the event side we have started a series of off location parties in São Paulo (my home now) called Serialism São Paulo every 2 months (we already had Cristi Cons and Rhadoo with us at the first 2 parties and ready to welcome Losoul in May), then we have our 7 years residency at Watergate and a show at IPSE in Berlin, a show at Frieda Buxe in Zurich, a show at Pacha in Barcelona, one at Glow in Bangkok, another in Ibiza with the Unusual Suspects crew, in Italy few different cities..everyday more shows are popping out around the world ..in work cities are London, Paris, New York, Miami, Sydney, Moscow and many more cities..we will announce all step by step during the year. We are happy things are moving forward on a daily base.
Cesare that’s been great talking to you, thank you for your time! Last question for you. If you could go back in time and relive any given moment from these 10 years with Serialism, which one would it be and why?
Thank you for having me and congratulations for your 5 years in the exclusive podcast business!
There has been so many magical but also difficult moments during 10 years of our life..back of my head I could mention when Quenum & myself met for the first time in person..our good old friend and artist on the label Sierra Sam brought him to our studio (that was start of 2012) in Berlin after we have been talking for months via email and had released an EP from him already..but now it was a special feeling, one of my favourite artists coming to my studio to show me his debut album and propose it for the label..we spent hours listening, talking, laughing… who would have known that on this day a special friendship started and the friendship will never end! Until today Quenum is one of the most important persons in my life but also a key collaborator of the label for years to come..and of course we are Azimute together 😉
Italian super-producer Marco Faraone is due to play Caprices festival in April. This three-day celebration showcases the best electronic music the globe has to offer, against the beautiful backdrop of Crans- Montana. After a number of years in the business and becoming infamous for his experimental style, he is sure to create some amazing memories. We caught up with Faraone to talk about his progression as an artist and what the future holds for him, plus Marco Faraone has given the Meoko audience an exclusive mix No:236.
Who would you say were your early influencers?
I started playing music very early, I was 14 and at the beginning I was very fascinated by the hip-hop scene and artists like Run DMC for example. I discovered house and techno a few years later jumping and playing so many different styles of music in between, even drum’n’bass.
How would you describe your personal sound, and how did you develop it over time?
I would say the perfect way to describe my production and also my DJ sets is “versatile”. As I said before my musical journey has been contaminated by different shades and music influences. I feel very bored to play the same groove or style of music in my sets that’s why I always jam and try to play various sets. This is automatically reflected into my productions. I never sit in the studio and know what is going to happen, I just let the flow get my mind and me somewhere and produce what I feel in that moment. A few years ago I produced a very experimental album, something completely different than what I normally produce. Every day is different.
You’ve worked for multiple labels over the course of your career, are there any standout moments for you from the early years?
As a versatile DJ and producer, yes I’ve been releasing on many different labels. The record that opened my doors and gave me the chance to start playing and be known by people around the scene was “Strange Neighbours” which I released in 2010 on Matthias Tanzmann’s label Moon Harbour. This tune has been played by Ricardo Villalobos continuously for more than 3 years and reached the Beatport 1st position for more than a month. Indeed, also all the other releases on Desolat,Drumcode,Ovum,Be As One,All Inn and Holic Trax are been important to build up my profile, but for sure “Strange Neighbors” was the spark that made everything start for me.
You managed to balance a residency at Tenax in Florence while travelling across the globe, how did you do it?
Tenax is the club where I grew up and where I had the chance to listen many of the most important coming from all over the world. When I started to DJ I was not even thinking to play outside my hometown and Tenax was so unreachable! It was like a dream to play there. I had a very long musical evolution and development, I did everything step by step and it took me many years to create my opportunities and situations. Playing at Tenax as resident is not easy because I travel all over the world every week, but I always try to have 4/5 shows every year. It’s something necessary for me, be a resident of a club is very important, it helps you to keep the flow with the people, understand them, create and build the atmosphere of the party. I made so many warm up sets during this 14 years playing music and I love to do it, the warm up is probably the most special part of the night. When it is possible I prefer to play solo sets from the beginning till the end, the more I play more I’m happy.
What made you want to launch your own label, Uncage?
Often the desire to express yourself, giving free rein to instinct to give voice to their own sound, takes over; when this happens, it takes over the need to transmit and communicate its message through music. After various consolidated or otherwise interrupted collaborations with other labels, I decided that was the time to create my own platform,Uncage and release the music I like. The label started in November 2015 and it’s building up slow and step by step as I always like to do things. It always takes time to me and my label manager Norman Methner to select and be 100% sure about what we want to release. Some huge upcoming releases are on the way, stay connected!
You’re playing the massive Caprices festival in Switzerland soon, how do you prepare for each performance? Is there a particular routine you have?
I’m very looking forward to play at Caprices festival for the first time, it’s one of the most beautiful events in the world. Thanks Aminata for inviting me! I’m sure it will be a party to remember, also because I’ll play alongside friends like Marco Carola,Paco Osuna and Leon and so many friends are coming. I’m very excited! I’ll have 3 events in a row in the week, Caprices,Music On London and Church Leeds, it’s going to be a crazy weekend!
How do you choose your set-lists?
I never prepare my sets before the party, of course I have an idea or where I’m going to play (club, festival, open air) and imagine what I could do, but I always improvise and feel the vibe of the party. I get there, look at the people and play the music I feel to play in that moment. Don’t forget I’m a versatile DJ, prepare a set before doesn’t make me feel like that.
Do you prefer the larger festival environments or small intimate venues, why?
Honestly I like both, I like the festival because I can always play a bit harder, especially in the big floors. In the clubs I always try to create a more intimate atmosphere and this is something I really like. I love when the DJ booth is close to the people and you can interact with them. Every place is different and tells its own story.
What does the future look like? Any personal projects or Uncage releases to tell us about?
I have so many upcoming projects, also on the label. The next EP coming out is from Italian DJ producer Fabio della Torre also known as Corcos, he’s managing one of the most interesting Italian labels “Bosconi” and it’s a big pleasure to have him on board of my project. His EP will include 2 massive remixes by Marcel Fengler and Regen. I’ve signed two new EPs on very big labels but I can’t tell anything yet, I believe I can share the news in the next weeks. I’ll also have a new vinyl release on Tenax Recordings called “Horizon” that will include Honey Dijon’s Remix! So excited for this one!
You’ll be coming over to Britain soon, what do you think of our music scene here?
Caprices Festival will be taking place between the 6th-9th April in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Marco will be performing alongside Ben Klock, Jamie Jones, Ricardo Villalobos, Seth Troxler and many, many more. To stay up-to-date or purchase tickets, click here.