In recent years, Techno has undoubtedly been electronic music’s Joie de vivre. And as ever in the shape shifting world of electronica, a fresh brigade of performers are pushing the tempo and taking this style to higher heights and pleasurably so. A fixture of the Spanish Techno scene for some years now, meet Coyu’s frequent collaborator, who couldn’t be more excited by this development. His own productions meanwhile, have set the benchmark of signature sun-drenched sound, replete with clever beats and rhythmic chords. As House music catches some of the heat leaving an increasingly tired looking Techno scene, I got the chance to catch up with Ramiro Lopez, whose playing a massive part of the resurgence. He waxes lyrical about his current musical excursions, pressing vinyl back in the day, and happy as the wind with his latest “Backtrip EP” release on Carl Coxs’ Intec Digital label, to playing parties more than ever before.
Hi Ramiro, how’s it going? And a big thanks for chatting with us at Decoded Magazine.
Hello! All good here and thanks to you for having me. My pleasure.
Fresh out of that remix along side your kitty loving friend and Suara boss Coyu: Moby feat. Skyler Grey – The Last Day, which was released on Coyu Music. Was your approach to re-working this particular track different? After all it is Moby.
It was an important challenge for both of us. We deeply admire and respect Moby so we felt we had a big responsibility on our hands. He had been loving our track ‘Y.E.A.H.’ and wanted our grooviest side. It wasn’t easy but finally we are happy with the result.
As an essential part of Suara in recent times, surely there’s great musical joy in this association. Other than that could you tell us how you guys met and what the ideas were, behind this collaboration?
We’ve known each other for a long time, even before Suara. Everything happened very naturally. We played together at some parties, started to share music and became friends. We have a lot in common so, at some point, we decided to try working together and found that good flow and connection between us. Above all, Coyu is a great guy, we had fun and share good moments together that’s the main thing.
From loving Jazz music to bombing Techno, how did that happen?
I love good music, that’s all. I tend to have music playing all the time. When I’m cooking, reading or just chatting with friends, I like to have smooth music in the background. I’m not a expert in Jazz at all, I just enjoy listening to it. I also like other styles, from R&B to Rock but honestly I don’t have too much time to listen to that.
I’ve heard that you were part of the ”Family club”- Spain in your early days of Djing, other than frequenting the well known venue you ended up at a 3 year residency. What was the experience like for you, and were you playing let’s say a similar sound back then?
Family Club was the first club I ever listened to DJ sets at live, and it’s where I fell in love with electronic music. It was like a dream come true when years later, I started there as a resident DJ. I have wonderful memories of that.
And what were you playing on then, to your gear now?
I played vinyls in the beginning and after a little time I also combined vinyls with CDs . Then I discovered Serato Scratch using their time coded vinyls and later changed to Traktor. Nowadays I’m using CDJs with USBs. I could say I’ve played with almost every format :)
When did the production bug hit you, and how did you go about putting everything together, in terms of studio space, equipment etc?
I was a DJ before I produced. I always had ideas in my mind. Once I had played for some years, I felt I needed to take a step forward. When I started it, my life changed, spending all my savings on a second hand laptop, speakers, sound card and some production lessons. My first home studio was at my parents, in a small room under the stairs, no windows. I called it “El Zulo”. I covered it all around with egg trays and painted it Purple. Not the best place but was “my” place. I spent thousands of hours there. Now, I’m lucky to have my own place and have a nice studio with a big window but I’ll never forget that first studio where all of this began.
Considering you have a nice fat list of collaborators such as Coyu, Uto Karem and Arjun Vagale from India, do you think the process is tougher or more time consuming as opposed to simply making a solo production, your thoughts?
You’re right, specially this year I’ve worked on many collaborations. All of them are great producers and my experience was nothing but easy and rewarding. I enjoyed it a lot. However, nowadays I’m more focused on my solo work but I’m gonna keep making collaborations in the future. Its great to share points of view, ideas and to build something.
As one of the busiest DJs of the dance music circuit, do you apply any method to the madness, in terms of allotting days to gigs counting the travel time in, and then to days at studio sessions. How do you work it out?
Well, I can’t complain about my gigs schedule at all but I’m not at the stage of Coyu for example, who has around 20 gigs in the next month, so I have time enough for everything. I’m working in my passion and try to enjoy every moment. If I’m visiting a new country, sometimes I stay longer to get to know more about it. This summer for example, I had less time to work in the studio because I had gigs during the week but for the next months I’ll have some more time to work on tracks. It depends on that period of time.
Apart from Suara, which other labels are you working with currently?
I just joined Intec and I’d like to keep working with them. I recently released on Bedrock and SCI+TEC and it would be cool to do it again and have other concrete targets that I’m focusing on now but still not done. I’m also keeping in collaboration with Sincopat, I do the Radio Show and play at some parties, It’s like a family for me.
Let’s talk about your brand new release on Intec Digital, the pack contains 3 tracks “Backtrip”, “This & That”, and “Polenta”. What’s the flavour of the entire EP, and how long did it take you to put it all together?
You will find basically techy stuff, chunky grooves, slamming beats, dark atmospheres and vocals the way I like to work with. I made the tracks thinking 100% about the dancefloor reaction so my main goal is, make the people dance.
Do you ever drop unreleased tracks, to check for crowd reaction?
That is something I’m always doing during my sets. I like to try all my new stuff out in front of a crowd before I send them, to labels. For me, it’s the best way you can test them. I usually make small changes to the tracks after initial tests. Sometimes I also play other unreleased stuff from other friends to give them feedback.
You’ve been grabbing eyeballs all summer with your stint at Ibiza playing quite a few parties, what do you think of the scene there. Is the crowd reaction different and also do you get to do something you wouldn’t maybe try out in other parts of Europe?
People from all around the world come to Ibiza during the summer. I don’t find any special differences vis a vis other parts of Europe. I think it depends more on the party/club you are playing. Obviously I’m not going to play the same music at a boat party as opposed to a peaktime set at a club, which is in the night.
If I asked you to choose a track you’ve produced, that’s close to your heart. The one that has an edge over all the others, which one would it be and why?
It’s hard to choose one as all of them are like sons to me and hold a place in my heart. But I’m gonna go for “Spirit”, one of the tracks from my last Suara EP. I remember having big goose bumps the first time I tried it and saw the crowd reaction. It’s powerful and the vocal has something really special about it.
Any piece of music machinery you want to own, that’s exciting you?
I don’t have much hardware in my studio but I would like to have some in the future. I really like the “Access Virus Synth” or “Moog Voyager”.
If you weren’t a DJ, any other profession you could see yourself in. A chef perhaps?!
Yes, I would be a great chef. Cooking and food are my second passion and I think it has many similarities with music. I’m also a university graduate in Sports and Exercise so I could be doing something related to this.
Ever got a crazy fan request?
I’ve had some funny ones. I remember one girl spent all her time during my set asking me to sing. I told her there wasn’t a microphone and she actually came with one. Then she even got down on her knees and begged me. I kindly told her I never speak-sing within my performance.
Describe yourself in 5 words.
Hardworker, Dreamer, Friendly, Persistent, Positive
Top 5 tunes currently.
Sam Paganini – Lotus [Drumcode]
The Junnkies – Get Down [SCI+TEC]
Josh Wink – Talking To You [Ovum]
Gary Beck – Get Together Feat. Debra Debs [Bek Audio]
Ramiro Lopez – This And That [Intec]
Big thanks for taking time to chat with us. Any gigs and music releases coming up that you’d like to share with us, and to sign off where do you see the Ramiro Lopez vibe going in 2015?
I have a busy schedule for the last part of the year and early 2015. I’ll be playing at ADE week in Amsterdam plus I have some gigs around Germany, Italy and Spain. My agencies are also working right now on some more gigs, not only in Europe but also South America and Asia. Regarding the releases, I’m in the middle of some cool ones, I’ll hopefully have good news soon!
01// Drumkraft – Fatjersey [Tilth Music]
02// Alex Mine- Situation [Waveform Recs]
03// Sadder – Bitter Harvest [Funk ´n Deep]
04// Mikael Pfeiffer & Anthony Hypster – Industrial Side [Black Groove]
05// 2000 And One – Plant 1 [100% Pure]
06// The JB Project – Submissive [Alleanza]
07// Mark Broom & Gary Beck – Borders [Bek Audio]
08// Mr. G – It Dub [Phoenix G]
09// CatRoll & Lektion1– Want [Do Truth Music]
10// Marc Galindo – My Feelings (Richie Santana remix) [Transmit]
11// Ramiro Lopez – This And That [Intec]
12// Matthew Jay – Shadowed Way [MB Elektronics]
13// Ramiro Lopez – Hectic Show [Suara]
14// Stephan Hinz & Philipp Ruhmhardt – Doch [Second State]