Like a Mancunian Michael Jackson, Claro Intelecto showed prodigious talent at a young age; he received his first synth before even hitting puberty and has since devoted his life to sonic pursuits. Claro recently ended a decade-long love affair with local label, Modern Love, and crossed the North Sea to Dutch distributors, Delsin, who’ll release his newest album, Reform Club, on May 7th. It was a decision that weighed heavily on his heart, but as Outkast (sort of) said: if nothing is forever, what makes Modern Love the exception? Pulse talks techno, adultery and fighting animals with Claro Intelecto.
Pulse: You got your first synth at the age of 10. How did that come about? Claro: It was around that age, or maybe 11? I can't remember but I was really young, yeah. We had a neighbour who taught piano, from whom I learned the basics and I remember this weird looking synth just sat there and I think my folks said to her if she was ever thinking of selling it, to let them know. When I got it I was just messing around with it like a toy, its only use was making ridiculous sci-fi sounds, like something from Dr-Who. It was just a bit of a novelty thing but something which made me delve a bit deeper as I got a little older. I think it was made by Merlin and I've never ever seen one since to be honest.
Since 2005, all your releases have been on Modern Love. Why the move to Delsin? Does it feel a bit like adultery after sticking to one label for so long? Adultery, no not at all. You have to remember I was working with Shlom from Modern Love as far back as 2002, in the build up to my first EP / Album (Peace of Mind, Neurofibro respectively) releases on AI as he was working on the distribution back then. So after such a long time, relationships are bound to change, there was a bit of tension with regards to certain things in the end but life goes on as they say.
In terms of working with Delsin, well this came after a lengthy time out from music all together. I thought they're a label that probably suited what I wanted to do next, though there was no guarantee they would like what I was writing of course. I had already met Marsel a few years back and although there was no intention back then to do a release together - it was just a knee's up before I played a gig in Amsterdam - I remembered he seemed to like the music of mine which I also considered to be my best.
You were considering releasing music on Delsin under a different alias; what were some other monikers you came up with? 'Second Blood' was actually going to be my new Alias. As contenders for the album came in steadily, it became more apparent that it was a Claro record - so we thought it made more sense for me to continue as Claro Intelecto and I'm really glad I did because it's probably turned out to be the most personal album I've had released.
Your latest album is more ambient and down tempo than some of your previous work – how much pressure is there, as a producer, to create dance floor oriented tunes to get more live bookings – the real bread and butter in music these days? Yes there definitely is, I suppose this has always hindered the amount of bookings I get in some ways, that promoters have never quite known what to expect, unless of course it's a festival where it doesn't really matter as much as say a club. But I always play club friendly sets, techno, house, dub, a bit of acid too, I always have to be honest. With this album in particular, I've not really been worried about that - it's the music that matters first and foremost. But I'm not stupid enough to play un-floor friendly tracks, I'm confident about what I will play live and I have a few tricks up my sleeve whereby I've effectively remixed a lot of my new tracks, so there are two versions (or more) of each, but it's done in a way that respects the originals.
A lot of producers these days are solely defined by their music and often don’t have anything else about them, not even personality let alone a cinematic live show. Do you think it’s important for a producer to have something more than just good tunes? From a composer / producer’s perspective and former art student, I think without a doubt you have to put your personality into your work otherwise you just become a puppet.
You say that you avoid following music trends, something a lot of producers get caught up in; do you feel you have to distance yourself from electronic music when you’re not in the club? I can't but help to avoid trends to be honest. The only reason I say that is because I haven't listened to any electronic music in the last couple of years, particularly since my son was born in 2009, so what's currently going on, I, hand on heart haven't got a clue. I'm using this album release as a way of re-educating myself as to what's out there.
What’s getting a lot of plays on your iPod right now, then? I don't have an iPod but the last couple of things I've listened to and really enjoyed were Arcade Fire - Suburbs, Cosmin TRG, me old chum Andy Stott & the new Actress, sounds top.
What would win in a fight between a gorilla and a bear?
All depends on the type of bear, we talking panda or grizzly?
You can catch Claro Intelecto live on the following dates:
12 May - Drift Festival, Nijmegen, NL
18 May - Circus, Bucharest, RO
19 May - Bohemian Grove, Islington Mill, Manchester, UK
25 May - Delsin, Panoramabar, Berlin, DE
23 May - Electric Deluxe, Melkweg, Amsterdam, N
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