Hello there Francisco, thanks for agreeing to this interview. We at This is Progressive have been watching your career flourish for a while now, so congratulations on the second album XIII. Any story behind the name?
Hello, thanks, this time there are not a story behind the name. It was easy, there are 13 tracks. I like the number 13, it is like a amulet for me, then XIII would be a good name. In the other album ´Insula´ (PFL Records) I did use other concepts, that are applicable to this new album too; technically the word ¨Insula¨ is a part of the brain in relation with the emotions, was a declaration of intentions, there is too much music out there but not enough that stays in your head or that you can feel. That´s why I did the first album, tracks with love, passion and emotions… you can feel the same sensation in XIII and in my future music; is a philosophy.
British rock band Blur also had an album called 13, which was a complete change from the previous 5 albums they wrote, even down to the engineer they used. Is this album a new direction for you, or a continuation of the stellar work on ‘Insula’ your first album.
Continuation, because I did these tracks at the same time as ´Insula´. I wanted to release all in ´Insula¨ but I thought it would be too much music for one release. The good thing is that with the passage of the time, I’ve fixed a lot of things, like changing the track list order, and learning new techniques. XIII will be released in ´Deep Different´ label that a good friend and partner ´Ikke Alra´ and I created in 2011.
How did you and Ikke Alra meet? And when did the idea of working together begin?
We met in 2005 through a common friend, we had the same interests, always talking and discussing about music production to improve our techniques. A nice day in 2011 we decided to create the label to do our own releases and to publish the music that we consider good.
I found the album hypnotic and ultimately very satisfying. Plenty of tracks to use in a club set. Do you have any favourites?
No, all are favourites, otherwise I would not release them, each one have his place in a DJ set. If I had to choose one would be ´Telstar´. The DJ/Producer Logiztik Sounds has played ´Explorer´ and ´Planet´ in his mix for John Digweed´s Transitions Radioshow and I hope after the promo that we are doing, more DJs will play some of them. We have received very good positive feedbacks.
How would you describe your sound? is it techno? progressive?
I don´t know what my sound is, I prefer to leave this opinion in hands of the listeners. The only point that I want to make here is that my sounds are feelings, some times with techno roots… or not?…
Tell us a little about the young Francisco. You started listening to techno in the 90s as a boy, and quickly began to go to clubs. How did your love affair with dance music start?
In the infancy/adolescence when I listened to records, I can´t remember exactly which was the first record of electronic music that I listened to, surely would be an old tape of commercial trance or standard dance, or some junk commercial electronic in the radio because its the media (tv/radio) who misdirects us the right way in the music sadly… Perhaps Robert Miles´s trance music was the first sound that impacted on me, after that Jean Michael Jarre and then in the school a friend gave me a record of real techno. The first techno track that I actually listened was ¨Jeff Mills – The Bells¨, this bells entered in my mind and was my doom. From there I began to share tapes with friends, discovering a lot of new artists, and investigating the history of electronic music, in fact I’m a little bit obsessed.
Did you have any heroes or influences growing up?
I can´t choose only one, I´m a passionate searcher of music and I´m a proud collector. There are a lot of good tracks repeating itself again and again in my head, I could tell you millions of good tracks that always shake my body and they say to me; ¨Lefrenk you have to do it better, better, better… listen this shit, it has more feelings and groove that you¨ …..
We understand Coruna, your home town, has a vibrant music scene. How does it compare with the rest of Spain? Do you have any favourite night spots?
I had, ´Fanzine Club´ was my favourite and always will be, but sadly they´ve closed the doors, I´ve played there a couple of times. Right now parties are sporadic in some clubs, so I have no point of encounter with music of my taste and I´ve disconnected with nightlife the last 3 years, I also had health problems. Anyway the scene here is very diverse with multiple styles, usually the dominant are pure Techno and House, people love the oldschool roots of these genres, all people have an obsession with the past and the classic electronic, not bad, only an actual tendency for listeners/DJs/producers, but every day I discover many Spanish artists with a real vision of future, in Coruña, Galicia and Spain, in general terms, there are very good artists, I´m a very small part of it, good people here, sharing experiences, knowledge and learning together, but like in all the world, there are bad promoters, bad parties and a big musical ignorance in certain levels.
You did your first live shows in 2004, how did you start to DJ and do live shows? What was your set up back then?
I remember the first DJ set in a Bar with my friends, I played shit techhouse loops from ableton live, a happy night, after that I join forces with a friend of my infancy ´Sic-Emisferm´ and we start to doing live shows together with; 2 laptops sync via midi, 2 audio interfaces, a couple of midi controllers and a ´Yamaha RMX1´, we were moving around the clubs and promoters asking for gigs, some of them bet for us.
You became serious about music and did lots of courses. How did that help you to understand the industry? What advice would you give to new artists?
I was self-educated in music production, I had my first computer very young and I learned talking with friends, reading magazines, checking software and these typical things in the process of self education, but comes a moment when you have to strengthen all, is when you have to talk with real professionals, these courses helped me technically but not in the industry. To learn about music industry you have to fail and wake up, again and again to learn, somebody can give to you little indications but there are not how to start to make errors. My advice; never to give up, but if you want to do something, before you break the rules, is better to know them, today with internet is very easy to take some information about that you need; How to put the rhythms in the right tone?, How to do a proper structure in a song?, How to do a groove? Etc. All this information is in internet. When you know the basic rules, you can to exploit your creativity and break all rules, the problem is when you know a lot of rules, they can to block you, you have to know take the right creative decision and to work with passion, not for to be famous, work for fun, work for love, and enjoy!
It has been said you are a ‘track machine’ and you remind me of another prolific producer, Oliver Lieb, in that you can write many tracks quickly. What inspires you to make music?
I do a lot of music every month, but right now I try to follow a strict way to select what tracks can see the light or which of them can’t, that´s why I will publish only a little bit from now… I think that it happen to most producers. Really, I´m inspired by how I feel me in the moment that I do music, but my feelings can change along I´m doing the track day by day.
What does your studio look like these days, and how has it changed over the last 10 years?
I started only with a PC. I´ve added some midi controllers, a good speakers, a good interface, a keyboard…, my home studio is small and basic, nothing spectacular. I would like to buy some hardware, but right now I only use software, I’m not going to enter in the eternal discussion of what is better. I think a combination of both worlds for me would be the best way. Here a typical phrase; ¨is not about what you use, if not how do you use it¨.
Are there any producers you would like to work with in the future?
I prefer to keep my opinion maybe I will work with them soon, I hope.
Your track Return, remixed by Oliver Schories, was used by Mercedes Benz for a mix tape on their website. A massive honour. Tell us the story behind that, the inspiration for the track itself, and who chose the remixers.
Is a long story; in 2009 I published an EP with Rawmatroid Netlabel, and one of the tracks (´Telxiope´) had very good reception by the public, was in the Top 5 songs of 2009 in Phlow´s Magazine section ´Netwaves´s Creative Commons Music Netlabel Moments 2009´. It was unexpected and months after it, one department of Mercedes-Benz did contact with me about the track, but wasn´t selected at the end. This year they did ask me again about the track and I sent a couple, then ´Return (Oliver Schories Remix)´ was selected. The title of ´Return´ was because I thought that I would return to the stages, but not, I had more problems… I hope no more problems… The remixers were chosen by me, and the label was in agreement, and they did the contacts.
Thanks for your time Francisco, one final question, with the release of this second album XIII on the 5th August, is there a third coming soon? Maybe a tour?
Yeah! the third album is coming this winter with PFL Records, it will include some remixes. About tour I hope to be ready for this winter and begin again with live acts including some animations that a VJ is preparing for my show. More surprises are coming, for the future you will appreciate a different direction/evolution in my music, I´m working hard in new grooves and rhythms… A pleasure!