Artwork borrowed from a piece by Spanish artist Rafael Canogar.
CF: how and where was this mix recorded?
It was recorded at home with 2 turntables and a pimped up Vestax PCM 250 mixer (it has rotary faders)
CF: tell us a bit about Downbeat. how did you get started? what is the philosophy behind the label?
It all started when three vinyl-loving friends with similar tastes (Urtzi, José Rico, and myself) began playing with the idea to start throwing parties in Spain and be able to bring all those artists that we truly admire. After that the whole thing started to grow and the label was born. The original idea came from Jose; it was his dream to have his own label and it quickly became our dream as well.
The concept was clear, 180 gram vinyl, limited number of pressings, and hand stamped labels; in order to create a unique piece of vinyl with each copy, and above all, dance music with soul. We also knew from the beginning that the very first release would have to be by Specter, the owner of our most revered labels: Tetrode.
CF: how difficult is it to run a vinyl-only, Detroit house label in a city where there seems to be very little support for that kind of music?
While it might be true that the label carries a Detroit influence, we are also heavily into Chicago and other styles such as Dub or European electronic music. We wanted it to carry a global influence overall, and with that I mean we didn’t want the label to be geared strictly for a Madrid crowd because our objective is to reach people all over the world who are interested in the same sounds. It’s actually more complicated to play gigs constantly, because in this city there’s no appreciation for dance music played at 110-115 BPM. Unfortunately, as well, we don’t have much of a following here, so logically, we are not feasible for some of the clubs.
CF: what do you normally listen to at home? which are your top three favorite albums ever?
Lots of jazz, soul, some house (particularly newer releases), ambient, experimental music…
3 favorite albums? Impossible! here’s a few that have been influential for different reasons:
Miles Davis – The Cellar Door Sessions
Seefeel – Succour
Silvania – Paisaje III
The For Carnation – The For Carnation
Harold Budd & Brian Eno – The Pearl
The KLF -Chill out
Lassigue Bendthaus – Render
Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage
Sun Ra & His Myth Science Arkestra – Cosmic Tones For Mental Therapy
CF: what is your favorite thing about living in Madrid?
My girlfriend, my friends, and tapas & “cañas” (typical spanish beer)
CF: what can we expect from Downbeat and yourself in the future?
We currently have several releases lined up. We’ve just released a record by Darand Land, which we are sure will spark a good deal of feedback; there’s also one from our very own Jose Rico, which fills us with pride because he’s a great talent, he’s been hard at it in the studio and deserves his own vinyl already! Finally, there will be a Chris Gray record, a true influence for us, and he’s given us an amazing record to release.
On top of that, we are kicking off a sublabel: Downbeat Black Label. 4×4 electronica, with lower BPMs than the main label (100-105 BPM??). It will be a split record with a cut by Juju & Jordash, and another one by Jose Rico & myself. It’s really an honor to be on the same record with J&J, as they are some of the greatest dudes around.
Regarding my own future…. well it will be strictly tied to that of our labels, and I truly hope it will last for a long time!