Ernesto Ferreya, the Cadenza vagabond who left his native Argentina in pursuit of freedom and musical enlightenment, dedicates his life to making intricate micro-measured yet very gripping house sound. After a few formative years in Mexico he disembarked in Mutek-home base Montreal to become part of its influential scene, also making up one part of the production duo Miniature Chic (with Guillaume Coutu-Dumont), he moved on to music-production mecca Berlin, attracted to its infinite potency. Positioning himself in the eye of the storm, Ferreyra has reached an accomplished state of equilibrium which perfectly balances his original desire to expand and explore, and the need to retreat and reflect. Regularly surfacing in the most attractive party destinations such as Ibiza, Ernesto is travelling from club to club as part of the Cadenza Vagabundo outfit, only to spend the remaining hours in the studio where he lets himself flow freely. Releasing only few and far-spread EPs, he is currently working on his second album. To listen to his podcast is an aural pleasure as he juggles rare tonalities with perfect hitting beats with ease and perfection. And to read this interview is very touching as Ernesto talks about his moving family history.
Hola, thanks for your brilliant mix! How did it come about, where did you make it, and what was it you wanted to get across?
Well, every time I make a mix, and they are not live mixes, I try to find songs that are more intimate, and I can identify with. When you have to cater for a bigger crowd, you cannot always play deeper and more refined stuff. Recently, I fell in love with the productions coming out of Romania, it’s some kind of sound I always look for in my own productions, which is why there are quite a few tracks by Romanian artists. Sadly, I could not make the mix in my house as I would have mixed with vinyl and turntables, but on the road, on my laptop, travelling on the train from Poland to Berlin. It’s that kind of music you can only play at special occasions or at some after hour or in some cool club in Berlin.
Where are you based right now, how do you feel about being in exile for so many years right now, and what kind of effect does this have on your music?
I live in Berlin for over four years right now, before this I was in Montreal for four years and before this in Mexico City for three. I am originally from Cordoba, Argentina, and I travel there once a year to see my friends and family. I always long for Argentina, and every now and then the thought of going back crosses my mind. But unlike the other Argentinean artists, have I started my career somewhere else and not in Argentina where I am quite unknown. This makes it a tough one when playing with the thought of going back. Six months here, six months there would be perfect actually. We’ll see. I really like it here right now. Berlin is to producers and DJs what Hollywood is to actors. It’s the place. Things are happening there and then. I feed myself with Berlin, my travels, lots of reading, lots of jazz, funk and soul, friends, collaborations with other artists…
With who are you making music at the moment – with Guillaume And The Coutou-Dumonts (as Chic Miniature)?
With Guille, we already have some stuff ready that is almost finished, but ultimately, I have been working with Alejandro Mosso, Mirko Loko, and Cesar Merveille. We jam, have sessions in which we just explore. In which one almost always learns and teaches new things to the others. I love that! But I also love to be locked away in my own bubble and compose in my sobriety.
How does this happen? Do you work together on the machines, or each of you on his own?
Well I have quite a few machines in my studio, a lot of them analogue, it’s quite a nice way to invest and get tax refunds… so, most times, we just take over the different machines and instruments and record them all on separate tracks, for hours and hours. And then later take the best parts and edit them.
Do you have a German passport?
No, I have a Canadian citizenship, so I applied for a Canadian artist visa.
And why did you choose Mexico when you left Argentina behind?
To be honest, any place would have done the trick, I just wanted to get away. I was on the best way to go bold and get bored to death in Cordoba. I would have ended up with a car, a house and a secure job. But also sad, and bored! I am a studied export merchant and I was working for the government. During the weekends, I was DJing, I lived in a parallel world.
Well, you made the right decision: To be free, and making music.
This is the legacy of my dad: You have to be free and do what you believe in. I never got to know him. I was born during the dictatorship, 14 days after his disappearance. My mum and I got away. My mum was abducted as well, but just this once, the soldiers were kind enough and let her escape. The one who let her jump off the truck was expecting family around the same date. My mum says I was born under a lucky star. We look after each other. My parents were psychology students, and just happened to be hunted down by the military, just like many other completely innocent victims of the military government. 22 years old, students. There was no war, no guerillas, just victims. The only good thing I learned from this is that you have to live life to the fullest, chasing your dreams at all costs.
We are just listening to your album “El Paraiso de Las Tortugas”, dancing…
Well, perfect timing. The track “Asequia” was actually made in memory of my parents. When they were hunted down, they were trying to escape through an irrigation ditch on the fields of the lands of my grandfather.
There are just so many memories and feelings buried in the depths of this album. I think I read somewhere that it took eight years to make it.
No, that’s not true. I made it in the course of two years, just one of the tracks was older but I modified it. It’s very intense. I had to finish it when I flew out to Ibiza every weekend, and ended up completely wrecked, with my back killing me. Right now, I am working on my new album and it’s taking quite a lot of time. But it’s winter soon so this will actually be easier, to just spend a lot of time in the studio. Right now, I might tell you what it’s going to be like, and it will end up differing from what I said, so I better not tell you too much, just that it’s going to be different. The most important thing is that it has to make sense, there has to be a connection between all the elements, a concept, a certain homogeneity, that’s the most difficult part. That’s the difference between an album and an EP. It’s taking a stand where an artist is at, music-wise, encapsulating different moods, and unlike an EP, which is consisting of three mainly floor-orientated tracks, an album is something more complete. Well, right now, I am making music. And nothing else. So this is going to pull together sooner or later.
Words by Katrin Richer