Welcome to DMCWORLD towers Manuel. You are in the middle of a massive Miami this week with a stackfull of bookings – how has it been so far?
“Hi, it`s been a very good week, tonight I will play again at Nikki Beach and tomorrow on Sunday, I`m expecting a great show at Ultra Music Festival.”
What have been the tunes you have been hearing everywhere you go?
“Here in Miami I have spent hours in the cabs, and the most played is still Michael Jackson!!”
When I told a fellow DJ that I was interviewing you, he replied “cool, he’s one of the industry’s best kept secrets producing great music without the need to be a cartoon charcter like Guetta or Chuckie” – thoughts on that little comment?
“I like the music of Guetta, he is one of the best for me in dance music. But you know, to be a big product for the mass market you need also big marketing campaigns, and for those who is more into underground music this can transform the producer into a cartoon character, but I don`t have the same point of view.”
So let’s go back. You moved to Pisa from the small Italian town of Barga and spent much of your time studying music and learning to play different instruments before playing in different rock groups. Can you remember the moment you decided to throw away the plectrum and pick up the vinyl?
“I never threw away the plectrum, I still record some parts of the guitar for my productions, but yeah I’m not playing guitar 14 hours a day like years ago! Playing rock, jazz, studying all kind of music helped me keeping my mind extremely open and I think this makes me the producer I am.”
You and Alex Kenji hit it off immediately and soon started to release a series of underground club tracks. What was the point though when the world started to sit up and take notice of you?
“I think in 2008 we had a very good year, after Hotfingers was born we released many great house tracks all in a row, Pete Tong played us, we received big support from Mark Knight, Roger Sanchez and other big names.”
Two massive Buzz Chart entries at the moment, first up your remix of Seamus Haji and Cevin Fisher’s track – talk us through the mix…
“I received this big track from Strictly for remixing it. The original is a super funky tune so I thought it could be great doing that with Alex as he loves all the funk stuff. I think you can hear the “brand mark” hi hat and snare beat from Alex combined with a more phat mix which is typical of my productions. I did also a special mix for Miami that is just been released and is already supported by Fatboy Slim.”
You are also riding high with your track ‘Opa Locka’ out on Toolroom, a label you have a close infinity to. What can you tell us about this monster, how does it work in the studio working with Luigi – who brings what to the table?
“Me and Luigi are working on an album and this is one of the tracks we did first, I was happy to release it on Toolroom, they always supported me and I’m really honoured for that. I already collaborated with Luigi creating some big tracks, like ‘Let’s All Chant’ and when we do something together I immediately figure out in my mind a tribal house sound with a powerful bass, that’s the main idea where all starts from. So we started with a percussions riff, we added the bass Luigi already used in other tracks and then we looked after the melody in the break. ‘Opa Locka’ is a very simple track, it`s a combination of few elements, that’s why it is so solid.”
What is the current top 10 you are spinning?
“I’m playing in all my sets a remix from Richard Dinsdale ‘It’s Not Right But It’s OK’, then Mark Knight ‘Together’, a remix from NDKJ for John Acquaviva and Olivier Giacomotto ‘I Feel Alright’, also Silversix and DJ PP ‘Fuckin Amazing’, then a lot of stuff from Luigi Madonna (that I usually mash with some acapellas), DJ Smilk, Miguel Bastida, and of course Federico Scavo that is collaborating very closely with our labels 303lovers and Hotfingers. We just released a new one on 303lovers ‘Federico Scavo – Moscow’ that is a killer track.”
A whole load of love for Las Vegas from you at the moment…
“Yeah you can find me there playing at Hard Rock every month, after I played there my first time they offered me a residency, and I’m really proud of this. I`m going to play in their clubs and pool parties for the next year!”
You must be on every Miami and Ibiza compilation over the last year with tracks and remixes, what track are you most proudest of this past 12 months?
“I remixed Fedde Le Grand, Sander Van Doorn and I collaborated with John Acquaviva, Mark Knight and Robbie Rivera – and all these are dreams come true. I’m proud of all these tracks.”
So let’s find out something out about the man behind the music…
Not many people know this, but Manuel De La Mare is secretly really good at…
“I can’t say I’m really good at cooking, but it`s something I like to do.”
If I could change anything about myself I’d…
“I have spent all my life with this body and mind, I’m pretty happy with what I have.”
My greatest weakness is…
“I want to do too many things at the same time.”
The most expensive thing I have ever bought for myself is an…
“I have not expensive interests; I mean except my house and my car I have only bought stuff for music: guitars, amplifiers, synths, nothing special too mention.”
It’s your birthday, what 3 DJs do you invite to play?
“Bob Sinclar, Mark Knight, Richie Hawtin.”
Do you mainly use analogue or digital soft synth sources? Do you think analogue makes a difference?
“Iwas using many analogue stuff years ago, now I’m more into vsti. But analogue stuff still makes the difference, I use many samples I recorded from an old MS10 because of its unique filter for example.”
How important do you think it is to have your music mastered commercially? Can you do it yourself as effectively and what tools would you recommend?
“I always mastered my stuff, I think my sound depends a lot on it and nobody makes me happy when they do the mastering (except Luigi Rocca and Alex Kenji, because we use the same fxs processors for the mastering). I recommend penguin audio meter, it is a nice spectrum analyzer.”
Any advice on monitoring? Do you prefer flat and boring speakers, headphones or big, phat and chunky monitors?
“I often use headphones for making music, while for mastering I use all I have available for checking if my track sounds good in all soundsystems: laptop, the speakers of the lcd monitor, TV, in the car, four different headphones, my studio monitors and of course before releasing the track I give a spin in different clubs.”
You are DJing in the UK next month in Maidstone and Portsmouth – we usually have to settle seeing you at the big festivals over here, what is lined up feisty wise for the UK summer?
“I will be at Global Gathering UK in July at the Toolroom Knights Stage, I’m sure it will be a massive show!”
And finally, where can we check you in Ibiza this year?
“We are planning a residency with Alex Kenji and Luigi Rocca for our new project, we decided to start touring playing back 2 back from this summer for bringing the sound of Hotfingers and 303lovers in the clubs with our full power. I think Ibiza will be a great starting point for this project! I’m going to announce these dates in Ibiza soon.”