Hello Francisco! How are you? Whereabouts are you based right now?
I’m very well, thank you! I’m back in Ibiza following my USA and Mexico tour, getting ready for my first show at Ushuaïa this Saturday this year for ANTS.
How is the music scene doing there now following the impact of the pandemic?
The clubs started opening a few weeks ago for the 2022 season, and people’s responses have been incredible. Packed clubs with very high energy levels. We’ve all been waiting for Ibiza to open again, and I’m sure this year will be a summer nobody will forget.
We’re pleased to be speaking with you around the release of ‘What You Do’ on Crosstown Rebels. Congrats on this! What can you tell us about the release, and how did it find its home on the label?
‘What You Do’ actually started while I was on holiday in Sicily. I was playing around on Ableton, and the bassline appeared out of nowhere. From there, I saw the rest clearly; it’s one of those records where everything comes naturally, and in a few hours, I had the whole structure. It’s a pretty simple track in terms of the elements, but the groove gets going, and the tension builds nicely.
It has a more synth-melodic mood than most of my music, and I thought releasing them on Crosstown could be an amazing fit, so I sent them to Damian. I didn’t see or hear anything for around a month, but I woke up on a Sunday morning to a message from him playing ‘What You Do’ at Space in Miami with the crowd going nuts in the break of the track.
‘What You Do’ marks your return to the label, having previously remixed for Citizenn back in 2016. How does it feel to now have your own release on Damian Lazarus’ long-standing imprint?
Crosstown Rebels has always been one of my favourite labels, so I’m excited to be back for an EP. They release amazing dance tracks that are not generic, and that’s exactly how I felt about this record.
The release also includes a great remix from Harry Romero, who puts his characteristic touch on the title track. What did you make of Harry’s remix when you first heard it?
I’ve been a massive fan of Harry since the beginning of my DJ career. I’ve met him a few times and had the chance to have him in my studio once, sharing some production tips. He is a legend, and to have his remix is the cherry on top of the release. I fell in love with his remix on the first listen; the groove is so strong you can’t stay still, and the dialogue between the bass and the lead is just delicious.
Can you run us through your studio setup? Were there any key pieces of equipment used on this release?
I have a pretty decent amount of studio gear, but I don’t have it all plugged at the same time as I’m trying to find the best setup to have at home. I usually will have Ableton as my DAW with a few plugins and then my modular synth from where I get many weird rhythms and effects. I’ve then got a Schippmann Ebbe und Flut dual filter (which is the gem of my studio), a Korg MS-20 mini and a Novation K-station. I had a Minimoog Voyager – also very important in my setup – but it has a problem with the motherboard, and it’s been at the ‘doctor’ for some months now. Unfortunately, it looks like they can’t repair it, and that really breaks my heart as it has been my dream synth since I was a kid. Now I’ll probably have to let it go. For my monitors, I’ve got a pair of Dynaudio and a pair of Adams, with a Motu soundcard and Mackie mixer – which I’m trying to take out of my setup to go direct to the soundcard.
I used very little equipment for ‘What You Do’ as I did it on vacation, so it uses a lot of samples. The bass is Sylenth-1, and the melody on the breakdown is via the Arturia Mini-V. Then there’s some FX and percussion, which come from recordings from my modular that I already had on my HD.
‘Maratone’ has more elements. The synths come from the MS-20, and I did a lot of the effects with my modular, specifically with a module called Rainmaker from Tiptop. It’s a great delay unit for creating out of this world ping-pong moods. There’s also a melody on the last break coming from Mutable Instruments Braids sequenced with Makenoise René, also from the modular synth.
With now around 15 years of releases to your name, what advice would you offer to aspiring artists?
You have to invest time and effort to develop your skills, so spend time crafting your style. You may produce 100 tracks but then release the best ten from there. If you’re able to immerse yourself in surroundings that will inspire you and help you learn, you’ll put yourself in the best position to grow and evolve. It’s essential to have fun and enjoy it, even if you hear ‘no’ many times, as the hard work will pay off.
Thank you for chatting today Francisco! To finish off is there anything else upcoming from yourself that you’d like to share with us?
Besides being busy in the studio producing new tracks, we just started the Ibiza season, where I will be playing several ANTS shows in Ushuaïa and some Sundays in Octan. I’m playing some festivals too, such as Animal Sound in Murcia, Weekend Beach in Malaga and Sunrise in Poland, plus a host of ANTS tour shows across the globe. I’m also scheduling a return to the US, Colombia, Argentina, and of course, my next Chile trip. I can’t wait!