PIEM is a Spanish DJ/Producer with many years at the top of the game, both in the studio and in the booth. Now with a recent EP just dropped on German label Superfett, and his W Hotel residency in Barcelona still going from strength to strength, we dropped in on him to catch up on how his summer has been, his thoughts on the Barcelona scene, and what else is there left for him to want to complete…
It’s summer! Is that a season you love? Does it affect the music you make and play?
Hey guys! Thanks for having me. Definitely! Summer season is my favourite! Especially coming from Barcelona, where the city becomes one of the biggest party cities in the world. People just want to have a good time and this translates to the amount of energy you feel from the dancefloor. I also get to play open-air events and festivals, and, who doesn’t like festivals?
Barcelona seems to be a real hotbed for artists in the dance scene right now – does it feel that way?
It definitely does. So many DJs and producers are living here now. From having amazing Mediterranean weather, the sea, the underground culture and last but not least, the great flight connections that we have to travel in and out of Europe. It just makes it a comfortable place for artists to work and live.
Does the city have its own sound or style, either in musical or party terms?
The way I see it is, Barcelona has always been more of a techno spot, since my early days as a young raver, I remember attending clubs such as Razzmatazz or Apollo where Miss Kittin, Vitalic or Jeff Mills would sell out the night week in week out. That being said, nowadays there is so much diversity it is hard to only mention one style.
As I said before evolving from the different underground movements, Barcelona has everything to offer from Techno to House, to Minimal to Soul. Diversity is always a good thing in my opinion and, in Barcelona, there is a place for everyone to fulfill their musical needs.
In terms of events, I would say SONAR and Elrow are the two brands that are making Barcelona´s nightlife one of the most consistent scenes in the globe.
As a Catalonian, where do you stand on the independence debate? Do you have a strong opinion?
I was born and raised here, in Barcelona. To be honest this is a tough situation, not for the people but mainly for the politics. There is no hate in Spain, but more to how Spanish politicians treat our region. I suggest that people read different sources and try to make their own opinion as most of the times the media only say what they want people to know.
What is the art of being a resident vs a headliner? How differently do you play at one of your own residences vs elsewhere? Is there a distinction? Does one allow more risk-taking than the other?
For me being a resident DJ is really important. If the resident doesn’t do a good warm up, it will be much harder for the headliner to play.
Being a resident for me is setting the mood right from beginning to finish, and that is an art. Being able to identify the right music to get people started, and keeping them dancing and having fun the whole night is definitely something that needs experience.
I’ve been a resident DJ here in Barcelona for the last 12 years, and this has taught me to control the crowd. Playing as a headliner is much easier, especially at peak time. Less risk involved as everyone is already warmed up and all you have to do is play banger after banger. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing as a headliner, but there is much less risk involved.
Tell us about your new tunes on Superfett and Lost Audio – where and when did you write them? What gear did you use?
I was living in Ibiza last year during the summer season, and during that time I produced my Sideral EP that later got signed to Lost Audio. After coming back from Ibiza, during the winter, I locked myself in the studio and managed to get over 10 tracks done. The Superfett EP came from this studio lockdown, and I couldn’t be more happy with the result. I am super happy for the Superfett EP that came out in late August!
In terms of the gear that I use, I like to keep it really simple. I work with Ableton and Push 2 to create the groove. From there I like to add some synth with my Roland and Virus VST´s. Every producer has their own tricks and for me, this is most of the times all I really need to create my tracks.
Do you always start in the same place on a new tune? Or do you hear them in your head and try and get that down in the studio?
I normally like to start writing ideas on my laptop, anywhere I am; while flying, at home, at a hotel room… possibilities are endless. Once I have the main idea, I then take it to the studio and finish it there. I have to say that this last year I have been really curious to learn about mastering, and after taking some courses in Barcelona during the winter I now do my very own mix and mastering.
How has your sound evolved in the last six years? Do you recognize yourself in your earliest tunes?
I remember my first releases, but for sounding horrible (haha). I mean like everything in life, it’s a process. The learning process in this industry is very long and tiring, but every track I do is a little bit better than the last one, at least that’s what I try. You are constantly learning and that is also the interesting part of it.
In terms of my sound, it has changed over the years. I have always adapted to what was current but keeping it real with my own flavour. It’s all about finding the right balance between making the music that you like and making the music that is current and labels want to sign.
How do you gauge the success of a tune? Reactions in clubs or chart positions or?
I think the success of a track can be different. You obviously have the big names playing it, charting it and recording videos while playing it to a massive crowd. Any type of recognition is always a nice thing to accomplish. At the end of the day, it is a creative process that has come out of your mind so seeing people react to it and have a good time is priceless.
On the other hand, chart positions can also help boost your career, as I said any recognition is always appreciated. Who doesn’t like to see their names up in the charts? 😀
What else have you got coming up?
I have just recently signed with a very nice booking agency in South and Central America and with my manager, we are currently working on the first dates for the end of this 2018. This is really exciting for me as I have never visited South America and I always feel the love and support of their people. It definitely looks like a very interesting market and I can’t wait to play there.
On the other hand, I have forthcoming releases on Nervous, Dirtybird and Safe, as well as gigs in Kiev, Moscow, Ibiza, UK or Germany, good times ahead!