Leandro is one of the guys that, you could say, are determined to express themselves in a unique way, following their own path. Since 1998 and his first records for Ongaku, he continued with a recognizable style, deep yet funky, with an excellent sense for melody. His Spanish background provided him also with a sense for specific percussive rhythm for which most of his countrymen are famous for. After a lot of quality releases over the past six years, he's now better than ever. And one thing essential to his music is just that - quality.
- Atome: Why did you choose techno at the first place?
- Leandro Gámez: I don't remember exactly when I felt techno for the first time. Maybe when I was a child and I saw "Stars Wars" or "Blade runner"... I felt that special feeling the sci-fi movies have, all that futuristic and electronic environments, landscapes etc. After that I followed all techno music evolution, from techno pop of Depeche Mode to the current tribal or hard techno. I started singing and composing in an EBM band in Madrid in the early 90's, then we discovered the intelligent techno, house music and trance, we absorbed all that styles, so after that it wasn't difficult to start doing music alone. Techno is like my second skin.
- A.: What happened to Audiodrome? Could you tell us something about it and how did you come to the idea of having your own record label?
- L.G.: Audiodrome was an initiative of my mate Big Toxic, a producer and musician from Madrid, so it wasn't 100% mine, but I have to recognize that I did the most important work one can do for a label, A&R as well as the work with the distributor, almost everything... The main idea of the label was to show, by that time, the scene of Spanish techno with artists like Daniel Erbe (Patrick Dubois), Christian Wünsch, Mooz, myself or collaborations with other foreign producers such as Random Noize. It was an interesting time and it taught me enough about this sometimes "unpleasant" business.
- A.: Isoghi and the story behind it.
- L.G.: Isoghi is the continuation and a personal project of what I couldn't do at Audiodrome, and I mean a more eclectic label made again by various artists but without the idea of creating a concrete sound. Producers like Bando, Patrick Dubois, Danilo Vigorito or Cio sound different but sometimes similar in a certain style, more important is the quality than the style. Until today we have released ten 12" and 3 cd's, one cdj mix, an album only in that format, and one special compilation with unreleased tracks. Anyway, Isoghi has taken itself some months of relaxation because I would like to finish the compromises I have with another labels so I hope to continue next year with new and fresh releases.
- A.: What do you think about techno scene today? Is retro sound the next big thing after the comeback of electro, chronologically speaking, and having in mind your excellent 'Dibujos Reanimados' EP on Phont?
- L.G.: If we believe that electro clash is now the big hype that's because it incorporates vocals and melody, and is still techno, like years ago (!), we all know it's nothing new but we love it... There is a lot of audience who is a little tired of tribal & hard techno (in my case I like everything), people is looking for new feelings in techno and they have found them in tracks from Vitalic, Northern Lite, Beroshima or Ladytron to name a few. The evolution of electronic music into the dancefloor stage seems to be stopped some years ago, but it does not worry me at all because I have always preferred the good tunes over any type of style.
- A.: How did your music evolve from your beginnings till today? After all, you have a distinct style. How could you describe it now?
- L.G.: It's hard to describe my style from the beginnings. I remember the 3 Ongaku 12" I did as Cio and how they helped me to improve little by little to the sound I wanted to get. That sound was a mix between electronic, deep & tribal techno, I never was conscious of what I really wanted to do because I have a wide taste for music and that can be sometimes a serious problem for producing. Maybe when I released my first record at Phont Music "That's because you are stupid" I chose the way of tribal and funky techno until today, sometimes a little harder, sometimes softer... it depends on the day and the situation, the records you play as a dj...so many things.
- A.: Something about your appearances on German label Fieber?
- L.G.: I feel, or rather, I felt Fieber as my very own label cause the guy behind it, Oscar Comas, is a close friend of mine. After Ongaku, Fieber was the next step about releasing music again in a type of label I like, a label formed by various artists and not just one or two. Here I have done the 12" I like the most by now "Who pays the price". Unfortunately the label is going through a difficult time and I don't know yet if Oscar will continue with the project, we are living moments of crisis everywhere.
- A.: Also about your collaboration with other artists - advantages & disadvantages, as well as having a lot of aliases?
- L.G.: I did together with Oscar of Fieber under the name of Shared Work a successful series of 12" called "Cuba Libre", 3 of them at Fieber and another one at Primevil. Recently at Isoghi I collaborated with Daniel Erbe (Patrick Dubois) for a shared project called Minijack... I consider there are more advantages than disadvantages when you work together, because I think it's easier and more funny when you join with a partner trying to get positive results from the machines, two opinions are better than one, 4 eyes & ears too. On the other hand when you work alone you have the freedom of choice, no discussions no bullshit, everything is you... life is ironic.
- A.: What did you use in your production earlier and what's your studio like now?
- L.G.: The first synth I bought was a yamaha Dx7, some years after I discovered how beautiful sampling could be, so I worked with models from Emu, Ensoniq, Yamaha & Akai. For example, the studio I had during the recording of my first records for Phont, Superbra or Fieber was composed of one Akai 3000xl sampler, Korg Prophecy, Roland jv-1080, a hardware sequencer Kawai Q-80 and a Mackie mixer, everything to a DAT of course. Then I discovered the software and everything changed, and when I say everything I mean everything. Today my studio is an Imac with Logic and one Virus B synth module.
- A.: Are computers today capable of doing everything that hardware synthesizers can, or is 'something' still missing to make the sound right?
- L.G.: Of course they are capable. As I told before, I was a convinced hardware fan until software arrived to our hearts. You could be sure that the analog sound from a hardware synth or a sampler sounds more brilliant or fat, but it's unbelievable when you play a software synth and you close your eyes you cannot recognize the difference between, if it's hardware or not. Anyway, I guess the best solution is to mix the best things from both worlds, sometimes I compress the whole mix of the tracks through an analog compressor, in that point I can note the difference. The trick is how to use the eq, but it's not easy if you are not an engineer.
- A.: Tell us something about your future releases and what do you specifically think about Phont 31? Is it a new milestone for you, or just an experimentation?
- L.G.: I think the Phont 31 "Dibujos reanimados" is a good 12" but not a milestone, even if it's my favorite Phont Music record. I've just tried to do another tribal funky techno piece, I don't know how to make milestones, I prefer not to think in that way when I make music, just let the river flow... About future releases - two 12" on a French label called Bullit, a sublabel of Zebra 3, will be released in November and Spring of the 2004, these guys know what they want, and I love the music they are launching as well as the project they have formed around their labels.
- A.: What do you think about mp3 format and the impact it had on music industry? Does it translate to vinyl sales?
- L.G.: The music industry is in crisis, and this is a fact. I believe that already gadgets like the Final Scratch have taken sales from the vinyl. I have verified that, many people that are learning to play prefer buying Final Scratch, because it's not necessary to spend more money on records. It's easy to get a lot of material from the Internet or from the records of your friends. It's a matter of taste, I prefer the vinyl sound than the one from an mp3, in that case it's much better to convert the files into wav or aiff. Then the guy who plays with cd is just as a support for the vinyl, a complement. It's not easy to find a dj playing only with cd's if we talk about 4x4 techno. I would like to buy one of this new cd players from pioneer but just as a complement, I will continue buying vinyl because it's the format I like, by the moment I just listen the mp3 files on my computer. Now, the choice is yours.
- A.: The role of Spanish producers on a global techno scene.
- L.G.: We all know we still don't have a strong scene in Spain but nevertheless everyone knows names of Oscar Mulero, Bando, Christian Wünsch, Cristian Varela, Angel Molina, D'Wachman & HD Substance and maybe Patrick Dubois or Paco Osuna... We need more labels, distributors and more media but I do not have doubts that we are in the good way.
- A.: Few words for the end.
- L.G.: I was watching the movie "Bowling for Columbine" of Michael Moore about the problems of weapons in USA (that great country). I firmly recommend to all the atome audience to watch this ironic master piece.
- A.: Thank you very much for this interview.
- L.G.: Congrats for the site.