Creaductions was managing quite a few events during Barcelona’s Off Week this year, and all of their events have the same key elements in common. Namely, that they feature in-demand, international artists, while also supporting Barcelona’s local talent in some of the city’s finer clubbing establishments.
As the city is a haven for the international DJ-types, Barcelona’s local talent is also top drawer! So with an alliance of record label showcases in a stunning outdoor venue with a brand new Funktion-One Vero rig, curated by the Creaductions’ team, then the concept is truly compelling.
Better still it was free entry for all and I was going to check out the Saturday event – Davide Squillace with This and That’s five-year anniversary showcase. But before the main event, I headed down to the venue earlier in the week to meet somebody else putting on a bit of magic for the crowd.
The Creaductions Arena (real name La Monumental) was Barcelona’s former bullfighting ring that used to seat 20,000. Catalonia banned bullfighting 5 years ago, and while the Spanish Court overruled that decision, Catalan political leaders have reaffirmed their commitment that there will never be another bullfight in the autonomous region.
Cleary a better use for these spaces is to put on a massive party then. So I was allowed a sneak peek at the sound system installation and to have a chat with Funktion-One’s spiritual leader and founder, Tony Andrews, who was overseeing the rig set-up for Spain’s first trail of the Vero system with one of the country’s Funktion-One specialists, Aphonik Audio.
Apart from creating the first ever Glastonbury sound system, which, coincidently, was Tony’s next stop after Barcelona. He is a highly regarded sound system designer, and I wanted to know more about the secret behind Funktion-One’s success.
“Throughout nearly five decades working in audio, I have always been intent on pure, unadulterated sound. Preservation of the fragile original audio signal through the component chain is a fundamental requirement for natural sound. If the signal is over processed with, for example, extreme amounts of EQ or beam steering delay, then it will sound processed and substandard. With Funktion-One and with Turbosound before that, we have gone to great lengths to achieve directivity and level control by natural means, thus preserving transient information and allowing full realisation of the sonic image,” Tony stated.
So what is Vero and how is it different?
“The overall result with Vero is industry leading coherence and accuracy, resulting in a big sound of dimension and intimacy. Vero presents a very spacious and realistic sound stage, meaning that artists, engineers and concertgoers can enjoy unprecedented dynamic range and fidelity, which is how audio should be.”
“Good audio is an art. It isn’t plant hire. The part it plays in people’s enjoyment of music is severely underestimated,” he added.
Unfortunately I couldn’t hang about for my personal sound check of the system, but I was going to experience that with the This and That Lab crew later in the week.
They totally delivered as well – a mighty smash-up indeed. The event featured the label’s in-house artists Haiku 575 – who are Massimiliano Abbatangelo and Cipy Napolitano – with DJ Manuel del Giudice. That was followed by a whopping medley with Martin Buttrich.
The place was grooving along nicely. Next, Anja Schneider’s set. Believe it or not, I’d never heard her spin before… and I was more than just pleasantly surprised. She was outstanding, smiling infectiously, as she layered beats and whipped-up the crowd.
Haiku 575 are based here in Barcelona at This and That Lab’s studios and I asked them what Off Week was really about.
“Well it’s a really important annual meeting and the people anxiously wait for this moment. Before it was only three or four days, now it is a full week and it is more than a festival because it involves the city in its totality, every location, every promoter and artist from all over the world are coming here to play, work or assist to the evolution of the music scene.”
“It is a little bit more business oriented than before but the selection and the quality of the events are also much better too,” states Massimiliano.
Where else have you been touring with the project?
“We have been at ADE, London playing for DJ Mag at Egg, Miami, Beirut, Basel, Florence, Berlin, and many others places. For the summer we have our second year residency for Unusual Suspects at Sankey’s Ibiza, and we also play for Andrea Oliva at Hi on the 18th of July and Circoloco at DC10 on the 4th of September with some other gigs around Europe.” they said.
Their music is amazing by the way, and I was lucky enough to have a listen to some of it late last year. “Mmmm, we can’t talk so much about it… But we can say that a remix pack of our new Cuando EP will be released soon on This And That Lab, and will include remixes from Re.You, Florian Busse, Davide Squillace and Matthias Tanzmann. But this is just one of the projects we have. Our first album project is complete now, it took us more than one year, so we are now beginning to look for a label for that,” Cipy added.
Davide Squillace was clearly immersed in the whole event, but he was kind enough to find some time to say hello. I asked why he had made Barcelona his base for the last 15 years. I suppose I knew the answer really.
“I have been enjoying the ups and downs of the city… I have been living, working and creating my family here!” quipped David.
Felice Anniversario! 5 years of This and That Lab, and apart from hosting this free event, I hear you are celebrating with a new studio move?
“Yes, we have just moved our office and studio to this amazing new space which will also be a co-working environment.”
“I have re-built the studio with a few new machines. It’s kind of exciting to start making music in a new place, it takes some time and effort to understand how the room sounds, but after this learning curve process you dive right into it. My solo album is finished and an album with the band Better Lost Than Stupid is a work in progress… but it is almost there,“ he added.
He was up on the decks next for a very special party trick. A back-to-back extravaganza with non-other than the Saved Record’s head honcho, Nic Faniculli. We are not worthy! Judging by how the party sounded – the sound was another level by the way – and how the people were lapping it up, I think there will be quite a few more of these This and That Lab anniversary parties in the pipeline.
At last, I got to chat to the Creaductions Arena creator Andres Perez Franco – aka Undrez.
How many events are you doing this year and how did you come up with the idea?
“10! Three here at Monumental and seven at R33 – bit less than usual. I’m always looking to standout by putting on the most diverse ideas in terms of events, locations, line- ups and concepts… At first this project looked like a mission impossible to even think of doing a party in the monumental. But time, patience and belief made it happen now for the 3rd year in a row.”
What’s coming up next?
“We got a few bits and pieces in more new locations and our baby project R33 Club on La Rambla … the next event is ‘The Drive In’ at a car park in the Universidad de Barcelona with This And That, beloved friends and partners in many adventures,” Andres said.
Yes mister! Andres has got some serious projects on the go here in the city. Creaductions events are a must-see while you are in Barcelona.