Launchpad is a playlist series showcasing music we love, hand selected by our staff. The tracks come from both emerging and mainstream artists; it’s all about the quality and the unexpected. If you’d like your music featured in Launchpad, submit it for consideration here.
This week’s Launchpad is meant to amp up the end of your weekend. Whether you’re going for a run, cleaning the house, or simply just reliving the highs of the weekend, this playlist has you covered.
DA Launchpad Selects: Quiet Disorder – “Back Once Again” This basshouse track comes out and smacks you right in your face from the first drop and doesn’t back down.
LUUDE – “Sticky Tape” Christian Benson from Perth, Australia combines a trap production with some equally heavy bass-infused drops, all while managing to include a vocal sample from Noisa’s “Entangled.”
Tracklist: Quiet Disorder – “Back Once Again” Discrete – “Livin’ at Manboo” Why So Serious – “Familiar” Cymatics – “Signal (M3RC Remix)” Satellite Empire – “Thrones (Last Heroes Remix)” Future Magic x Jilbare x PRZM – “Lawless” Lukas Oppenheimer – “Vision (feat. Ben Walter)” EJ – “Take Control of Me (Vion Konger Remix)” FAKETHIAS – “esc” Sober Rob – “EMP (feat. Alexander Lewis)” Inkline – “Carbon Play” LUUDE – “Sticky Tape”
The Hot 25 is the definitive playlist series running through dance music culture and hand-delivering you the essential tracks of the week. Whether it’s the hottest or quickest trending tracks, brand new music from your favorite artists, or songs from the unknown that should be landing on your radar, Dancing Astronaut brings you 25 carefully selected records that reflect what’s happening in our world.
Additionally, we’ve provided our top picks from within The DA Hot 25, highlighting two standout tracks.
The Heat of the Week: Gorillaz – Stobelite (ft. Peven Everett) [Kaytranada Remix]
The Gorillaz have been still riding high after their momentous return with their fifth studio album, Humanz, and the LP came with a number of high profile remixes including Baauer, ZHU, Bonobo, and more. To further flex on the album’s remix catalog, Kaytranada steps forth and applies his own twist on the groove-ridden R&B number, “Strobelite,” and the Soulection maestro does not disappoint.
The Breakout Select: Jauz – Alpha
Festival season may be approaching its final week’s of the year, but that won’t stop Jauz. The bass house trailblazer came forth today with a wub-pumping original, “Alpha,” that is sure to electrify crowds from the main stage through the end of this year and into next.
Something special just happened outside Düsseldorf: Germany’s largest electronic music festival, Parookaville. The festival just had its third annual anniversary, and it was, in a word, insane.
Founded in 2014, Parookaville has had great success in delivering the world’s biggest DJs straight to Germany’s largest dance music scene. This year, the ground served home to more than 80,000 attendees, complete with 10 stages and more than 200 artists on the lineup.
As one of Europe’s largest electronic music festivals, it was interesting to compare the experience here to that of American festivals. In comparing a festival like Parookaville to something like Electric Zoo or even TomorrowWorld, some obvious differences were apparent.
One big difference seems to be drug use. I don’t know if it’s Germany’s love of beer as an alternative, but I was shocked at how few drugs were being consumed at Parookaville. Speaking solely for American festivals, almost every attendee can share some kind of story by weekend’s end where they witnessed someone at the festival deep in a “K-Hole” or heard of a friend buying “fake molly.” In Germany, however, I did not witness a single person noticeably intoxicated on drugs. After making a note of this at the end of the day one, I chalked it up to “Germans love beer” and maybe I just didn’t see enough of the festival yet. Stiff security, maybe? Wrong. Parookaville had some of the most lax — yet most professional — workers I’ve ever seen at a festival. Aside from a group of friends who posed as “stage crew,” only to be almost immediately busted during the artist’s set, the weekend went without any major hiccups. Note to “stage crew”: if you’re going to make it in, don’t give yourself up by jumping on stage and trying to dance with NGHTMRE. Parookaville provided a fun and safe atmosphere for all, and it was so memorable. Music lovers came out to truly listen and enjoy.
Parookaville provided a great environment for a festival, combining both immaculate and historic grounds, with a stacked and diverse lineup. While the lineup was techno-heavy, it catered to many other genres electronic music as well, including what possibly might be one of the most epic bass-heavy stage days we’ve seen yet, thanks to BOOTSHAUS. Check out the lineup (at right) just for Saturday alone.
If you’re looking for that festival “second-wind” in an industry that is always searching for new and fresh material, Parookaville is the answer. In their third installment, they truly have built something special in the hills of Germany.
One major thing to note about Parookaville was the stellar production quality of their live stream and set replays. Quite honestly, this may be the best-looking live stream I’ve ever seen. From the camera work to the quality of the stream, I haven’t seen many that can compare with the job their production team did this year. Bravo! MagentaMusik 360 provided full coverage for Parookaville 2017 and a select number of set replays can be found here.
To get your tickets for Parookaville 2018, click here.
Visionary— a word that wouldn’t be out of place when describing the dynamic duo of Reinhard Rietsch and Markus Wagner, popularly known as Drum & Bass group Camo & Krooked. Much the virtuoso production group, they fearlessly operate on the experimental vanguard of a genre which is converging into a dull blend of overused bass-lines and drum samples at an ever increasing rate.
This insatiable urge to constantly innovate and to renew the frontiers of classical Drum & Bass was clearly evident in their latest album, Mosaik. “We always strive to reinvent ourselves and Mosaik is definitely an exciting experiment, but we are glad we have been brave enough to go through with it without making too many compromises.” The duo also acknowledged the risks associated with releasing such music to a previously untested audience “as you never know how something so different will go down within your fan-base.”
“It was even more satisfying getting all the good feedback and to see that your following is ready to come along on your musical journey.”
It’s this enterprising attitude and style that shines through and captivates anyone getting into their music. Such energy and drive to better themselves as artists has been palpable since their 2013 LP Zeitgeist, where the duo introduced their “new sound with tunes like All Night and Ruhepuls,” while still featuring a lot of classic-inspired D&B pieces. After four years of fine tuning, their fully developed sonic signature has been brought to the fore in spectacular fashion on Mosaik. In particular, “We concentrated on our new trademark sound to be able to stand out from other D&B productions and have a handwriting that will be recognized as Camo & Krooked,” stated the outfit of their methodology for the album.
In fact, over “a year of studio binging” went into ensuring the album was “more grown up” — for they wanted to fashion a body of work that “carries lots of different emotions, rather than being just straight in your face as lots of D&B nowadays.” Camo & Krooked made sure to go the extra mile, buying analogue gear to add authenticity. “We fell in love with the vintage vibe, departing from the plastic culture of recent EDM to follow a more organic sound,” they advised of their vision for Mosaik. The last part of this statement rings especially true in recent times, where ti seems minimal effort goes into making chart topping tracks which are produced in order to be greedily lapped up by casual listeners.
Camo & Krooked are trying to depict the polar opposite of the message through their music. Their tireless work ethic and musical refinement is all but lost on listeners who mindlessly promote the same ‘plastic culture’ that they have tried to dispel through their music. Luckily, their endeavors haven’t gone unnoticed within the industry, as they were invited to deliver their maiden Essential Mix a few months ago.
“Doing an Essential Mix was on our bucket list for a very long time already, so it felt great to be able to tick this one off.”
A lot of work went into its preparation: “We have been listening to essential mixes of other big DJs for over 10 years and it felt like it has always been a proper statement by that individual artist, not just a regular DJ mix.” The majority of this the work was done after finishing their album. “We went straight into preparing the mix and had about 1 month until the deadline. We made that time worthwhile and worked every day and night to find some new mixes or dig for hidden gems. We finished it on the evening before the deadline and are happy with the result,” they noted of their last-minute completion.
The finished mix was just about as bold a statement as any of their contemporary work, as Camo & Krooked featured over 100 songs in two hours — a daunting task for even the most seasoned DJ. However, the number of tracks featured is immaterial, as duo believes that “it’s not about how much tunes you get into a mix, but about how well everything is harmonizing with each other.”
“It’s a fine line between keeping it exciting and over-mixing, but I think we found it quite well in this mix, especially since it includes some slower sections as well.”
Their Essential Mix also featured a considerable amount of unreleased music from their album Mosiak, which the the two fondly looked back upon as “an exciting experiment to reinvent ourselves.”
“We had quite a big spectrum of musical influences for Mosaik, for example Tame Impala, Moderat, Stephan Bodzin, Woodkid and many more.”
Mosiak also marked the release of their own label which shares the same name, simply because they “felt this album isn’t classical D&B anymore, [so] we felt the urge to create a brand for it without any preconception or already given boundaries.” The label was established within the existing framework of RAM Record and BMG, which allowed them to “find the perfect balance between creative freedom and a great network that we can make use of.”
Despite having achieved so much over the past decade and in 2017, Camo & Krooked refuse to slow down, hoping to capitalize on their momentum in recent months. ”At the moment we are working on our new live show that will have its first run in Europe in October. We will bring analogue synths, special midi controllers, live VIP versions and a specially produced visual show, we can’t wait to premiere it in Vienna on the 6th of October.” To add to this this, he duo have also lined up a remix version of Mosaik “for later this year and its shaping up to be very good.”
They had some choice words regarding their beloved genre as well, and feel optimistic about the future of Drum & Bass overall. “We think D&B has a great and solid fan base and is getting very popular — especially in Europe, [where] it’s part of almost every festival. We would like to see it steadily rise and become bigger over time, as this creates a loyal following that isn’t just gone when the next trend kicks in.”
“But it’s true that in comparison to the recent explosion of EDM, especially in America it’s still a very small cultural phenomenon. ”
It is clear that Camo & Krooked are rather analytical in everything they do. Every decision is carefully weighed, and every opinion is the product of a deep train of thought. It’s no surprise that they are at the forefront of Drum & Bass, and are already influencing the new generation of producers with their fluid, genre-transcending style. It won’t be surprising to find this intrepid duo at the helm of the inevitable revolution that will define the genre’s future — until then, just enjoy the maestros in action.
Sonus’ fifth birthday celebration commences on August 20 — less than a week away. The Time Warp-organized gathering looks to have many years ahead due to its impeccable curation and picturesque location on the Croatian island of Pag. All the stops have been pulled out for the lineup this year, including a surprise debut by Carl Cox and the return of other artists such as Maceo Plex, Richie Hawtin, and Adam Beyer.
While some of the underground’s most prolific names grab one’s attention, Sonus has also booked quite an array of avant-garde talent whose names might not normally make headlines. We’ve picked a small selection of five artists that fit this bill who are guaranteed to bring a whole new dimension to Sonus as its milestone edition unfolds.
Those familiar with Sven Väth’s Cocoon brand have most likely heard of Dorian Paic. The Frankfurt veteran is a regular at their parties, and has been a prime fixture in Germany’s underground scene since the 90s. Paic is expert at controlling his crowds, throwing together engaging house and techno sets that fit perfectly to whatever setting he plays in. He’ll be joining Väth once more at Sonus this year when the two colleagues take over the Movement-hosted stage on day five. This will be Paic’s 4th appearance at the festival.
Julia Govor’s story is nothing short of intriguing. Having started out as a singer for a Russian military band, Govor’s insatiable appetite for club-ready music led her to New York. Shortly thereafter, she was taken under Jeff Mills’ wing — the rest is history. In addition to being a beloved figure of the contemporary New York and Russian underground, Govor is also an accomplished producer. Her records have been signed to the likes of Get Physical and Second State, among others, further speaking to her grasp over the grittier side of electronica.
SHDW & Obscure Shape
When Stuttgart natives SHDW and Obscure Shape unite, they become an unstoppable force. The two have run their From Another Mind parties since 2014, and have rapidly been building acclaim for their commanding techno sets and hypnotic productions. More recently, they’ve manifested their own label of the same name, with their third release attracting remixes from Tale Of Us & Mind Against, Shomo, Rødhåd, and more. It will be interesting to see what they’ll have in store during their daytime in slot at Sonus come August 24.
Japan native Hito is known for her exquisite taste in sake and also for knowing her way around a set of vinyl decks. Cutting her teeth in the Berlin techno scene since 1999, Hito now has been working closely with Richie Hawtin as a beloved member of the ENTER. family since 2012. Her vinyl-only sets often include plenty of minimal, yet impactful cuts which keep her crowds fixated on her every move — a methodology she will most definitely be bringing along with her to Sonus this year.
The ever-enigmatic Vril is just beginning to etch out his niche within the technosphere, and based on his accomplishments thus far, looks to be having a fruitful tenure ahead. He specializes in brooding, pounding techno that never fails at turning listeners’ brains into puddles while listening — his brilliance in this arena has since led to him working alongside plenty of prolific brands including Dystopian, and being invited to play Berghain a good many times. Fans will be in for a treat as they get to see him bring his live setup beachside.
Launchpad is a playlist series showcasing music we love, hand selected by our staff. The tracks come from both emerging and mainstream artists; it’s all about the quality and the unexpected. If you’d like your music featured in Launchpad, submit it for consideration here. This week’s Launchpad is meant to take you somewhere else, out of this crazy world. Put it on, relax, and let your mind be transported.
DA Launchpad Selects: Kartell – “5 A.M.” This Paris-based producer earns our respect for the groovy bassline combined with the array of interjected samples and vocal chops. einarIndra – “Sweet Honey Flows” No surprise this one comes from Iceland; you can almost imagine this being recorded in the middle of winter, layered with some James Blake-esque vocals to fill you up with warmth.
Music, dance music especially, operates on emotion and intuition, it exists to generate reactions that writing and rhetoric cannot. Music, again, dance music in particular, is also profoundly contextual. A record that is written for loud clubs and late night dance floors may not exactly click when heard through earbuds on the subway, but, when listened to in its proper context, feels like a masterpiece.
Most of the time, when we at DA are reviewing an album, we listen to it alone, through headphones. sitting at home. Listening to music in this context invites analysis, invites rationalization, and can trick us reviewers into thinking that it is our duty to explain an album. We mention this because First Landing, the debut LP from Ajunadeep star Moon Boots, is an undeniably accomplished piece of music, but a difficult one to write about. It’s an album that isn’t looking to be explained. It’s meant to be danced to.
First Landing, although decidedly its own entity, is rooted deeply in the long disco tradition, and its greatest strength is its ability to deploy the techniques of old school disco, R & B, and soul, without losing its contemporary, current sound. Moon Boots demonstrates a prodigious understanding of tonality on this record, evident everywhere from the lush, complex chord progression that introduce the first song, “Fortune Teller,” to the melodic runs that bridge phrases in the album’s closer, “Red Sky.”
Like all great songwriters, Moon Boots both upholds and subverts our expectations of musical convention to maintain interest and hold our attention. Note the stair-stepping bass line that propels the verses of “Keep the Faith,” its elliptical syncopation, the way it runs through scale tones without ever settling on the note it seems to be leading to. Then, when the chorus hits, it gets right in step with groove, emphasizing chord roots and giving the choruses a richness and fullness that contrasts wonderfully with the counterpoint of the verses.
The album is full of deceptively clever uses of counterpoint, of divergence, that pervade it with a dynamism and complexity that more than make up for the predictable schmaltziness of the written-for-radio lyrics. The cast of guest vocalists all do a fine job, but it doesn’t really matter what they’re saying. Moon Boots treats the vocals as just another instrument in his arrangement, and seems, above all, interested in the timbre of the voices, in their harmonies and phrasing.
In its own way, First Landing is dance music at its most elemental. its interest lies only in its pure sound, and the response that sound evokes in the listener. It’s rhythm and melody, point and counterpoint, not in the service of something greater, but for their own sake.
First Landing is worth a listen, even if it’s through cheap headphones on your commute. But we think that a better way to listen to it would be somewhere you can dance, somewhere with lots of people, and speakers loud enough that you can feel the beat in your core. In that context, it might just sound like a masterpiece.
Drummer Jeremy Salken and saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic embody their band’s namesake in every sense of the word.
From selling out Red Rocks Amphitheater in their home state of Colorado five consecutive times for their annual Rowdytown event, to hitting Indonesia with Mad Decent and jet-setting around the world to play every major festival imaginable, the live electronica band reaches international audience with their infamously boisterous sound.
“It’s something that’s your duty as someone in a community, to help other people that are in need.”
While Big Gigantic’s popularity explodes as they play a distinct role in blending jazz and hip-hop elements into the electronic genre, their musical footprint is equally paralleled by their continuous philanthropic involvement. elaborates,
“We always wanted to be able to use our platform to help other people, raise awareness and spread the word,” Salken elaborates. It’s something that’s your duty as someone in a community, to help other people that are in need. It helps enrich your life, and is a kind of paying it forward situation.”
Before the duo had an exponentially growing platform, philanthropy has been a priority for Big Gigantic since their inception. Back in 2008, their debut show benefitted charity organization Conscious Alliance, to aid residents of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Over the course of their charitable history, Big Gigantic has spread the love around to a wide variety of organizations, from assisting troubled youth to animal rescue.
To maximize their charity involvement, the duo founded A Big Gigantic Difference Foundation in 2016 before touring North America for their Brighter Future album. $1 of every ticket sold on the 22-date tour went to a select charity in each market, raising over $20,000 in the organization’s first year.
Fort heir 2017 philanthropy goal, Big Gigantic sets their sights on Youth on Record, a charity located in their Colorado stomping grounds. The Denver-based organization is a music learning experience for at-risk and otherwise written-off youth. Youth On Record teaches their musically inclined students lessons with instruments, how to record those instruments, and how to do production on computers for either electronic music or for whichever genre they choose.
“If we are giving instruments to kids that are in our community, that’s just passing the torch on to the next generation.”
The charity expressed a need for an updated stationary computer lab to teach digital production, and Big Gigantic aims to give them just that. The duo maintains that $1 from each headlining date will go toward their foundation, hoping to raise $50,000 by the end of the year to help Youth On Record reach their goal.
Lalli weighs in:
“It’s great to help out the community we live in. If we are giving instruments to kids that are in our community, that’s just passing the torch on to the next generation. It’s great to be able to do it locally, because we’re able to come down and help in person.”
One of the headlining dates that will help Youth on Record reach their goal is Big Gigantic’s annual Rowdytown mini-festival, taking place on September 29 & 30 at the one-of-a-kind Red Rocks Amphitheater. As the band is based in Boulder, Big Gigantic expresses what an honor it is to play Colorado’s most iconic venue.
The hometown heroes will headline on both dates, with Keys N Krates, Slushii, Pell, Big Wild, Whethan and Maddy O’Neal set to support. They plan to debut a new light rig, with “a ton of new music, a bunch of guests coming out, and some surprises we can’t talk about,” says Lalli. Rowdytown is one of Big Gigantic’s longest-standing traditions, and the duo ensures that “it’s going to be six times more rowdy.”
Helping to ensure the event runs smoothly are a street team called the Lil G’s, a dedicated group of Big Gigantic fans. The Lil G’s embody the holistic approach to philanthropy that Big Gigantic practices, who “promote a safe, comfortable, fun and positive experience for all of those who attend Big Gigantic shows” and “are dedicated to spreading positive vibes and pairing philanthropy with the music community,” per the band’s website.
Rowdytown comes on the heels of an impressive year for Big Gigantic, with slots at Coachella, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo and Electric Forest on their resume. The duo stands as a shining example that a jam packed tour schedule and impressive charity involvement can go hand in hand. Another performance Big Gigantic has on the horizon is the more intimate Splash House, an elevated pool party experience taking place across three hotels in Palm Springs, CA. Salken shares that the smaller venue calls for different preparation from the band, and that they will be “playing some different music that [they] don’t always get to play” for the SoCal crowd.
Lalli and Salken curated an exclusive playlist for Splash House’s Spinn series to get ready for the festival, available below:
To donate to A Big Gigantic Difference Foundation directly, follow this link.
Featured image by Brian Hensley, courtesy of Bonnaroo.
In-text images by Elementz World, courtesy of Coachella.
The Hakkasan Group set a gold standard in Las Vegas with the opening of Omnia in 2015. Set inside Caesar’s Palace, the super club has earned a high reputation for its top class DJ talent and its breathtaking, ornate decor.
However, the founders had a far larger vision in mind for Omnia — one that expanded beyond the strip and into new territory entirely. They soon landed upon San Diego’s Gaslamp district as the next location to break ground, and by April 30 of 2015, its newly-minted California branch opened its doors to thousands of adoring fans. Its inaugural roster boasted an equally powerful list of Vegas regulars, which included Armin Van Buuren, Martin Garrix, and more.
Not much time passed before the club completely changed the landscape of San Diego nightlife. The city went from a quiet, picturesque tourist destination to a veritable hotspot for electronica with Omnia at its helm. People from all over the country and world make a pilgrimage each weekend to the club and eagerly line up in droves to envelop themselves in its crisp, vibrant sound-system and Vegas-esque, lavish layout whilst enjoying the sounds of DJs they otherwise wouldn’t have had access to just three years ago. Guests also have access to a top floor patio where they can continue to bask in the sounds put forth by Omnia’s talent while gazing upon the city’s skyline — a unique feature that makes the club even more of a nightlife jewel.
Its momentum only continues to drive forward with its ongoing Summer Blockbuster series, which sees its highest tier of Vegas Omnia residents bringing their talents to San Diego. The season kicked off on a strong note, with Borgeous, NGHTMRE, and Matoma headlining at the end of June. July hosted the legendary Rave Of Thrones experience with Kristian Nairn, while hitmaker Zedd paying a visit at the end of the month.
Perhaps the most exciting addition to the Summer Blockbuster lineup in San Diego, however, is none other than Grammy-nominated artist Kaskade. Known for his dynamic sets which catalyze immense feelings of connection and joy within his audiences, the American icon will be making his debut at Omnia’s Southern California digs on Friday, August 11. His show will likely be a highlight of the season, given the show’s proximity to his home turf of Los Angeles. Following Kaskade, August will bring an additional treasure trove of artists through Omnia’s confines, such as another debut by Slushii, Porter Robinson, and “Unicorn Slayer” Markus Schulz. Indeed, there’s far from a shortage of good times in store for the Omnia crowd.
Head here to reserve a spot in the forthcoming celebrations to come.
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Originality, diligence, and authenticity are the cornerstone elements of being a successful artist — elements which Spanish progressive composer Henry Saiz possesses in spades. Having impressed his more established peers on with his ingenuity and ability to manipulate sound into breathtaking melodies and complex soundscapes, he established his label Natura Sonoris in 2008 as an outlet for his own music and to help cultivate careers of other artists he knew and shared a mutual vision with. Since then, Saiz has charted many successes under his belt, from having his label showcased at reputable global events, to high-charted singles and remixes, to putting together his ground-breaking audio visual album which is due come the end of 2017.
More recently, Saiz was invited to contribute a second compilation to the widely-revered Balance series — a rarity for the company, which has only invited a select few artists back beyond their debut contributions. Their recruiting of him was only natural, given his breathtaking first mix on the series in 2011 which saw him saw him recording the majority of his music in the field and through reel-to-reel tapes. His second Balance compilation is extra special: a hommage to Natura Sonoris’ tenth birthday. Fittingly, the dynamic mix takes place across several parts of varying energy. Each exclusive track and remix within is expertly weaved together by Saiz to create a proper, emotional journey through all shades on the label’s spectrum.
Dancing Astronaut had the privilege of delving into the world of progressive with Saiz right before the compilation’s release for this edition of Techno Tuesday, where topics including live performance, his vision for Natura Sonoris’ next chapter, and his creative inspiration were discussed.
Remaining true to yourself is generally important for us as human beings and for career longevity just as much, especially in the ever changing music business. Unfortunately over time the pressure of the scene can cause a lot of damage for artists and their creativity, making them do things the way the industry, the label, or the management dictates. This is reality, we can’t escape that. What we can escape though is compromising our integrity. Getting involved in the music industry a musician has got to understand what he does and why he does that in the first place. Music is an art, it’s a form of self-expression. If you don’t have what to express or come here to express someone else’s self – it’s not going to last, people who are here for the music will spot a fake from miles away. Yes, taking easier paths can be quite tempting at times, but in the long run in order to succeed in this fiercely competitive industry you have got to keep your intentions pure, stay true to yourself, your authenticity and your originality, ignore limitations and focus on doing music that is deeply honest.
Did you select artists to make songs specifically for this compilation, like Hernan Cattaneo did for his most recent Balance contribution?
When shaping up the main idea for this compilation I wanted to create a mix that would showcase the spirit of the label, highlight its aesthetics, evolution and musical variety. I knew I wanted to feature some of the old tracks, but to just do that wouldn’t be much fun, so I decided to select some favorites and get them reworked by the artists I thought would fit that spirit and those aesthetics. With the original material it was pretty much the same approach, it was either from people we already have released on Natura or were planning to. There were so many more I wanted to get involved, but unfortunately I had a time limit for the mix hehe.
Touring around with a band and adding a “live” element has been a cornerstone element of your performance. Can you talk more about your roots as a metal band member and musician at a young age?
I started playing bass when I was a teenager and I was involved in a couple of bands of different genres at that time. But my most important project was exactly that black metal band that Luis and Eloy were also parts of. Actually we won the best black metal band award in Spain with it, and also the best bass player, so we were kind of cool haha. But anyway, that didn’t last very long and three of us left the band as we wanted to go a bit more electronic way with it, you know, to experiment with sounds, keyboards etc, which the rest of the band wasn’t really into and so our paths with them diverged. Then the three of us started experimenting with electronic music and that’s what we’re doing up until this day! Although the musical direction has changed, we’re still trying to reflect that kind of energy nowadays as well. Maybe some day we’ll get back to it and produce a proper black metal album too, who knows. 🙂
Your label is turning 10 already – wow! Where has the time gone? Of this journey thus far, what has been the hardest struggle you’ve dealt with in this swiftly changing industry, and your biggest triumph as a label boss? And, what do you see for Natura Sonoris over the next 10 years?
I know, right? When I look at the label, it’s like I just launched it but it’s really been 10 years. 10 fruitful years of good music and lasting friendships. This was the initial idea when I started this label. I wanted to make a platform for any musician who thinks in music to just come and speak to the world with exactly that – their music. No labels, no limits to a specific genre – just truth and honesty in terms of music. That’s the approach the label has followed for these 10 years, that’s the approach the label will keep following hopefully for another 10. A wonderful thing is also that we’ve managed to establish positive and lasting relationships with every artist so now it feels like one big family, that’s also very important. As to the struggles, well, just casual things like for every independent label: some support from bigger acts and exposure from media outlets would never hurt, because even though the main idea is to provide the audience with unique and honest music, it still needs money to function properly, so that’s where the going gets a little tough sometimes. But I’m positive we’ll get there eventually. 🙂
On another note, last year you stunned audiences with your audiovisual show which was a great crowdfunded project. It seems more artists are taking this direction as well. Do you think this is the future of electronic?
I can’t say if the future, but at this point quite a challenging turn of events for sure. Which can either lead to the expansion of artists’ creativity or to just another non-lasting hype until the next best thing happens. Incorporating an audiovisual component can get tricky. If more and more artists start taking this direction, it will get competitive and in order to stand out they will have to work twice as hard to deliver something truly memorable, that will attract attention and something that will stick. No one needs another commercial salad of images, or another making-of. I mean, yes it’s a nice insight but it’s boring, you won´t attract a lot of people with that. The point of the audiovisual concept is to make the eye listen. To create a story where the visual component enhances the audio one and not overshadows it. So there’s quite a lot of things to consider when conducting a project like that.
What are some of your favorite natural spots that you like to go to to seek inspiration for a track?
It’s no secret that I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with Canary Islands, and Lanzarote in particular. My first album was produced there, there’s going to be a track representing that place in the new album as well. That island is very dear to my heart and it’s like no other, you’ve got to see it yourself to fully understand how special it is. Then last year’s visit to Joshua Tree National Park, which, by the way, is also going to be covered in the new album, has been quite a trip as well.
You see, with the job I have I am lucky to get that inspiration from pretty much everywhere I go as every place has its unique and special atmosphere that one way or another can and does influence a creative mind.
Who are some rising progressive acts that we should be keeping watch on?
Just as I don’t like to put labels on my own music, same goes for someone else’s. It either speaks to me, or it doesn’t, simple as that. It’s the only criteria I recognize. Last year preparing for the gig I came across this track that instantly got my attention for its emotion, and, you know, honesty; something that is a little too rare to find on the scene these days. It was ‘Shelter In The Sky’ by the dutch producer Joep Mencke. Since then I’ve been watching the guy and now I also have him contribute a track to my new Balance compilation and we’re going to have his release on Natura Sonoris as well. So I’d probably recommend checking him out. And then a good friend RIP Bestia, whose solo EP we already released earlier this year, is also working on new stuff I hope to get my hands on!