How are you, what’s been keeping you busy this year?
It’s being an amazing year!. I’ve spent a big part of the beginning of it at the studio and performing at venues across South East Asia. Preparing for all the new releases takes time and we want to make sure they are taken care well. The second half of the year should be juicy with lots of tracks on great labels coming out and gig performances in awesome venues!
What’s the scene in Malaysia like? Is it healthy and vibrant, with places to buy records, good parties, places to meet up with similar creatives?
Malaysia has some serious propositions, especially in Kuala Lumpur where some of the venues are truly amazing – spaces like Elysium + The Sweatbox, Privi, Jiro, Le Noir and the big brothers Kyo and Zouk can make you feel at home if you are coming from Europe. Great crowds, good sound systems and professional promoters. In general we get a very good throughput of global artists and recently we had visiting the city headliners like: Chus & Ceballos, Mark Knight, Miguel Bastida, Gui Boratto, etc.
Unfortunately, the festivals are very tuned down. The country has taken moderation over this matter and prefer to keep electronic music indoors. However, our neighbors in Thailand and Singapore know how to create amazing ones like Kolour, Wonderfruit, etc – I used to live in Bangkok for years and the scene there has been growing yearly. Additionally The City of Angels has clubs like BEAM, that can match any in the global underground space.
Where Kuala Lumpur truly thrives is in the feeling of community among fellow producers – names like Westseven Obadius, Otherkind, Arzuk, and others are producing at a great level and are quickly moving towards regional and global arenas. Independent record labels are also starting to flourish in Malaysia, like the Sweatbox Records – where I released my first single or Soul de Anima, where I will release shortly.
What took you there? Why leave Spain?
After I finished my university studies (let me tell you a small secret, I am a veterinarian by training ;)) I decided that opportunities in the country were not so bright, so I embarked in an 18 years journey around the world. I have visited more than 70 countries and lived in 5 (UK, USA, Thailand, Malaysia and of course Spain).
Are you aiming to start your own scene there, maybe do a party, bring attention to Malaysia, somewhere not known for dance music?
Indeed, that’s a possibility. While I was in the US I used to promote underground parties in warehouses in the city I lived Raleigh, NC. The scene was just starting, and we grew it up to the point to take off. It was a time where hip hop was hitting hard but we created a community around electronic music. Malaysia, and Kuala Lumpur is special and has a more developed one, with promoters such as ArtXtreme Media, Ohrwurm, Connected, and others doing a great job – so perhaps is time to team up and create something new and unique!
Did the move influence your music? The culture, the weather, the sounds of the country?
The move to Malaysia was a short trip down the road from Thailand, but Asia itself inspires. It is so different from Europe or America. Asia infatuates you and you cannot resist it – it takes you.
Every morning when I wake up I feel that there are many beautiful places to live in the world, and that certainly South East Asia is one of them.
My first ever release was Sweatbox Records, a single called: Kuala to Bangkok. My new EP with Dear Deer Records is named Kuala Lumpur and contains titles such as: Dawn of Lumpur. You can see how much the city and the country is influencing me.
I have upcoming releases with titles that represent locations that I have visited and have inspired me, like Alaska, New Zealand, etc. They serve as a permanent reminder of how important is to be free, and to have time to discover the world. In general, for most of our lives we are too busy and we forget that the world really is an awesome place to live and that we all should reach The Mana during our lives in order to explore it adequately.
Tell us about your radio show – is it what people would hear from you in the club or is it a different side of you?
Recently I released 2 radio mixes: one in Pioneer DJ Radio and in Electronic Exultation. The programmer Sebastian Kosmowski and Nathan Pole host on Ibiza Global Radio – both sets are significantly different and showcase the range of music I enjoy and that I feel identified with. In general, I prefer long sets (i.e. 4+ hours) in clubs as they allow me to start slower and build up from there – so truly my radio shows/sets represent the array of sounds once can hear coming to listen to me.
What inspired the new ‘Kuala Lumpur’ EP you have done for Dear Dear? Was Kuala Lumpur where you wrote it?
Yes, I was already in Kuala Lumpur. I felt that the city deserved an honorable mention and so, I did it! I also thought that those dawns spent in some of the clubs I mention above should be cited and so I named one to celebrate those, that was Dawn of Lumpur.
I am truly delighted with this release as at the moment Kuala Lumpur EP is charting #26 on Melodic House & Techno in Beatport and both singles High Ground and Dawn of Lumpur are charting on the Melodic House & Techno Top 100 Chart
What gear do you use to make music – hardware or software? Does that matter?
Both. On the DAW I produce with Ableton. I experimented in the past with Logic but found Ableton more flexible and so I stuck to it.
For Kuala Lumpur EP I use a variety of hardware from the studio including a Moog Sub-37, DSI Pro-2, TR-8 and some other hardware. In addition, Dawn of Lumpur has some recorded sounds from the REAL JUNGLE! I went to East Malaysia for trekking and recorded some the birds and other animals – you can listen to them across the whole track – try it!
I have upcoming tracks that I recorded outside my KL studio and I made use of some real awesome hardware such as TR-808, Juno 60, and other classics. These machines have such a warmth in its sound. In addition, for some of them I mixed them with an analog mixer and the results are quite different from using only software.
However, I do not believe that you need expensive pieces of equipment to do music – in fact the main ingredient is hard word, persistence and great ideas. Expensive equipment does NOT compose music on its own!
What else have you got coming up/are you working on?
A LOT! And I am really excited. For starters my next release will be with Global Underground in a project where I have Rafael Cerato and The White Shadow as remixers for my tracks. This is a very exciting one!
I have also a collaboration with one of the hottest vocals in the electronic music – stay tuned for it!
Road to Mana’s ‘Kuala Lumpur’ is out now on Dear Deer Records