This month Ibiza-based Ampispazi Recordings will celebrate a truly momentous occasion as they welcome in their much anticipated 100th release. An incredible achievement, Whatever Next is a three track EP that features original records from two of Ampispazi’s leading figures: label founder, Mik Santoro, and label regular, Ercos Blanka. DMCWORLD checks in with the duo for the lowdown in lockdown as they continue to bring us incredible music…
Hi Mik, congrats on the 100th release for the label! When you launched Ampispazi back in 2011, did you envision it reaching this milestone?
Thanks a lot, happy to share the release with you! Yes definitely it was an achievement I always wanted to reach, this is the reason why, since the first release the catalogue states three numbers (AMP001, AMP002 etc). I planned to reach this milestone few years ago, but I would never compromise on quality. Sometimes it takes time to manage artists and promote the music the right way. But still, with passion and sacrifice, we kept on going and here we are, more proud than ever with a 100th release and a full schedule till half of 2021.
Being based in Ibiza and leaning on a lush, melodic sound, was José Padilla & Café Del Mar an influence of yours? Has his passing affected you?
Josè Padilla and Cafe Del Mar were a very big influence before coming to Ibiza. When I started my DJ career in the early 2000s, my deep chill side was satisfied with the sound of ibiza and of cafe del mar. I remember playing those tunes in my very first public djs sets during the “aperitivo” time in Bologna. His loss took away a bit of that “Cafè del Mar thing” and we will miss a lot of those inspiring and soul taker sets in front of the glorious Ibicencan Sunsets.
An imprint wants to fit in with a certain sound yet it wants to bring a unique edge in order to stand out. What’s been your approach to defining the overall sound of Ampispazi?
A never ending journey:
As I always say to be Ampispazi you don’t need to follow a certain genre: as you can hear we have artists delivering techno, deep, organic house, minimal and so on but always with that key element that is the voyage, the adventure and the never-ending flight that distinguish Ampispazi.
What advice would you have for a label just starting out in this difficult time right now?
Now more than ever, music is important and at the same time seems so useless doing and releasing it. People are listening to more music now than ever. At home, at work, while relaxing, people are still dancing and DJs are still playing, in streaming, in their houses or small legal and illegal parties all over the world. So keep on producing and releasing. The music industry, the clubs, the festivals and the dancers of tomorrow need us right now more than ever.
What would you want music consumers to know in regard to the importance of purchasing music during this lockdown time where putting on events is not an option?
-It’s not an option if we still see it the old way. I know it’s difficult but we have to get used to this situation and in this new situation we have an option: Live Streaming. Like it or not, DJs are playing more than ever in history thanks to this new online feature. I don’t like doing it but I like enjoying my favourite artists and as well as new upcoming ones and I’m proud of all the DJs out there that in this difficult time streams out their fear and loneliness with amazing DJ sets. It’s nice that people found out a way to play their record and have fun times behind the decks with a new virtual audience. So yes guys, buy music, stream your own music because the audience is there and it’s bigger than any venue.
Hi Ercos! You’ve been releasing on Ampispazi since early 2012. What does it mean to you to represent the label on its 100th release.
It’s a great satisfaction to have reached the 100th release. Mik and I have always worked with great passion and no one could ever imagine reaching the 100 releases in the catalog, I am very happy and proud of this.
In addition to the original mix of “Seneca,” you’ve also crafted a delicate, fragile Ambient Version of the track where you really explore the piano melodies further. What inspired you to present the track in this way?
The Ambient Version of “Seneca” is a tribute to the work done in all these years, a moment of reflection and peace after the achievement of a purpose. It’s my way to celebrate this release so important for us and for the history of Ampispazi.
Your track is named after the Roman philosopher. How do you connect your sound with his teachings, etc.?
Within the Ampispazi project I have grown a lot both on artistic and on personal level. I love reading, philosophy has always aroused great interest in me. The choice fell on Seneca as a model and example of wisdom as a means and not as an end.
As you’ve been releasing on the label for so long, what do you feel are Ampispazi’s strengths as an imprint? What sets it apart for you?
Ampispazi has something magnetic, Ampispazi has always talked about real emotions, each artist tells his story and his mood in each release. Ampispazi for an artist is like a therapy session.
What are your five favourite Ampispazi releases?
The best Ampispazi releases cannot be five, because they are 100.
Ercos Blanka, Mik Santoro – Whatever Next. Released out now on Ampispazi