, - on 8/4/11
It's funny to try and recall the tracks that have shaped your life. Those tracks, in one way or another, have enabled me to be where I am today. Essentially I think all the music we hear in life is a determining factor of our taste and evolution as artists. Nevertheless, it's difficult to remember the exact soundtrack to one's life. Even more so to restrict that to a simple 10 inspirational records. Let's try to make this really special.
The first pieces I remember listening to which have greatly influenced my career were all classical music. Names like Schubert or Liszt, together with the likes of Mozart and Beethoven. Having been trained as a classical musician from a young age, these composers resonated throughout my earliest musical memories. My favourite of all the many hundreds of pieces, however, is the third.six passage of Mozart's Requiem: Lacrymosa. To this day, it's something incredibly special for me. It arouses unique and powerful emotions in me and has been a source of inspiration for one of the tracks I'm preparing for my first artist album.
I'm a huge fan of Mozart, especially concerning the artistic madness that made him so defining and so close to all of us. That specific work, Lacrymosa, is capable of defining classical music in a single minute, and makes me see, hear and believe in the impact music can have, away from modern trends, genres and preconceptions. An example of truly timeless music.
I have had vinyl in my house ever since I was young. There was always plenty of Status Quo and Spanish pop artists knocking about, such as Los Pekenikes. I especially remember a vinyl whose artwork folder emulated a 3/15 disk; Blue Monday by New Order. I listened to this song repeatedly lots of times on my father's stereo system. It's a wonderful vinyl; the violins, that chorus and that voice. It's something I'll never forget.
I remember the day my father brought me home a cassette from Andorra. It had a face on the cover of a young man, and his eyes were like two deep blue globes. I remember reading the artist's name 'Jean Michel Jarre' and having absolutely no idea who he was. I played the tape and I immediately became totally absorbed in the sounds. My father thought something was wrong - “What are you doing? You've been struck dumb! Do you not like it?”. This was a tape of Jean Michel Jarre's album Magnetic Fields and I loved it.
In that instant I realised that all the classical studies that I was pursuing, could be combined and developed alongside synths and analogue sounds like those on that album. As a result of that LP, my parents had no choice but to buy me my first synthesizer. After that album came many more, including a live Jarre concert in Barcelona in 1992 as well as LP's from all the artists who pursued this classic electronic sound. Not to mention a couple of Mike Olfield samplers and one from the Spanish group Azul y Negro! Amazing.
You've set me off! All of a sudden all these ancient bands are flooding back – remember SNAP?
I remember in Spain at that time, those sounds began to get a lot of support thanks to the great compilations and mega-mixes that appeared daily on the radio and TV. The image of the DJ began to spread and everyone would be dancing to these hits. One track that immediately springs to mind as particularly relevant was La Casa Latina, which I think was the track which kick-started my interest in clubbing, and later, Ibiza. I was still very young though, but years later I discovered who was behind of this project. Indescribable!
There was a period in my life in which rock, as well as electronic music, would be playing endlessly in my home. Bands like Status Quo and The Rolling Stones were firm favourites. I loved the clothes and those great spectacles on stage, full of life and creative madness. Later, all this was extrapolated to all sectors of music, including the realm of the DJ. Impressive, live electronic shows are now a regular feature of the best festivals in the world. But if I had to choose a record that encapsulates this era, it would have to be a Kiss track; I Was Made for Loving You Baby!. Primarily, because it brings back memories of my upbringing and of a certain member of my family who led me to me discover this band. Unfortunately, some years later he suffered a serious accident.
With all this mad, brilliant music in my head, my professional career began to take shape. When I was 15 or 16 years old I started to prepare my first live sets, made up of synthesizers and drum machines. I use to put all my equipment in a van and my dad would drive me to all my initial gigs. My first really important live set was in a mythical Spanish club called Florida 135, way back in 1995 (I still have the flyer!) The sensation of playing live was incredible, especially because during that time I was really into the big live acts such as Orbital and The Chemical Brothers. They managed to convey such a personal sound using mountains of hardware. I think it was in those initial moments that I realised I wanted to be a musician. Still relatively young, I couldn't go to any concerts, so I spent all day at home practising and studying music. Years later I was lucky enough to be able to go to see all the artists I had followed for years, relishing every second of seeing Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers and Richie Hawtin perform in the flesh.
Years passed by and I was still very much listening to a wide variety of music. I pride myself on being an opened mind person, because I think all music has something to offer, you never know where that something new and exciting will come from. Naturally however, you soon begin to narrow down your tastes to suit a specific era or time in your life.
Around this time the great Ministry and Ibiza compilations started to emerge (in Spain there are thousands every year), full of tracks that summer after summer were taking over the island. Soon enough, of course, these tracks made it onto the radio. As with many things unfortunately, when this all blew up, the music became less interesting. As a musician I've always tried to look for something that only triggers my most powerful emotions. In terms of electronic music, there are two titles that I always remember fondly and both are still in my DJ bag to this day. They are Blackwater by Octave One and A Break In The Clouds by James Holden. I still play them today, whenever I get a chance to spin longer sets. Although they were released a long time ago, both tracks remain so current. Great music has no expiry date. Hopefully one day I might experience that feeling of creating something similarly everlasting and sublime.
After this look back at the past, it's only right that I touch upon my current musical preferences. Today, as ever, music dictates my life and I'm so grateful to still have it by my side. Thank god that even with the onslaught of digital music in recent years, good quality music is still being released.
Nowadays, great tracks appear from both the best known artists and from a talented and expertly qualified breed of newcomers, who approach production with amazing passion and musicality. I love to play and listen to stuff from Stimming or Robert Babicz, they make music from within, each with their own unique style. I also really enjoying playing records from emerging artists, who, along with a long list of small, independent record labels consistently release music that keep our ears and record bags more than satisfied. At one point in the not too distant past, it felt as if we had strayed from the music and had entered into a mindset driven by endless loop dynamics, leading to boring sets and limited creativity. But things have changed again, for the better. People are back making organic music, music with notes and harmonies, music that will keep the dancefloors of our scene forever bubbling with energy.
To conclude, music must remain true, it must remain solely music. This at least, is my opinion. If we compare any of the big tracks from the vaults of history, we will see that they have all been labours of love, a love for music. Examples? The Man With the Red Face, from one of my favourite artists of all time, Laurent Garnier, whom I have admired and followed for many years! (His Crispy Bacon has a special place in my shelves!)
Before I go, I must mention one of the tracks that has struck me most recent times. It's a remix from Ame of dOp's No More Daddy, released on Circus Company Records. I'm sure this will still be played in years to come.
Music is what I consider the biggest influence on my career; just timeless sounds, just music, without any attention to styles or trends and always, full of soul!
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