Home Interviews Feature: Juan Ibañez [Interview]

Feature: Juan Ibañez [Interview]

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Rising Argentinian star Juan Ibañez takes the helm of SLC-6 Music’s dj mix compilation series with ‘Constellations: Aquarius.’ The mix showcases Juan’s talents as a producer and as a dj, featuring a number of his own tracks alongside others from his home label, SLC-6 Music. We had a chance to catch up with Juan to chat about the release, his inspirations, the Argentinean scene and variety of other topics. A transcription of the interview is below. Enjoy!

Hi Juan, thanks for joining us today, tell us where in the world you are and what your plans for the week are?

Antes que nada, es un placer y honor formar parte de esta entrevista de Progressive Astronaut. Hoy me encuentro en mi ciudad La Rioja, Argentina. Una ciudad que limita con Ciudad de Córdoba y La Cordillera de Los Andes. Como todos los días temprano a la mañana me siento en mi Computadora de trabajo y reviso la agenda, Me tocara grabar algunas mezclas de invitados y seguir proyectando nueva música.

First of all, it is a pleasure and an honour to be a part of this interview. Today I am in my city, La Rioja, Argentina. A city that borders the City of Córdoba and the Cordillera de Los Andes. Like every day, I sit at my studio early in the morning and check my schedule. After that, I’ll record some guest mixes and continue working on new music.

Tell us about growing up and living in Argentina, how has it affected your musical taste and the music you make?

Mi ciudad es un lugar con mucha cultura del Folklore, desde muy pequeño me ha interesado aprender a tocar un instrumento musical como percusión o Guitarra, hasta que pude disfrutar de ello a los 15 años cuando mis tíos me regalaron para mi cumpleaños mi primer CASIO (Teclado). Desde aquel entonces mi interés por la música fue creciendo, adoptando una personalidad autodidacta forme parte de bandas locales de distintos géneros en mi ciudad, donde perfeccione mi gusto por tocar música. Desde los 18 a los 26 años pase por distintas carreras en la Universidad, pero no me fue muy bien, siempre esquivando el camino de la música. Pero solo una persona pudo cambiar mi vida por completo, Hernán Cattaneo. En 2017 fui a verlo en Córdoba por primera vez sin saber quién era, y despertó mi interés por Crear este tipo de música tan hermosa como el ProgressiveHouse.

My city is a place with a lot of Folklore culture. Since I was young, I’ve been interested in learning to play a musical instrument such as percussion or the guitar. I wasn’t able to enjoy it until I was 15, when my uncles gave me my first CASIO (Keyboard) for my birthday. Since then, my interest in music has grown, adopting a self-taught personality and I became part of local bands of different genres in my city, where I perfected my taste for playing music. From 18 to 26 years old, I went through different careers at the University, but it did not go very well, always avoiding the path of music. But only one person could change my life completely: Hernán Cattaneo. In 2017 I went to see him in Córdoba for the first time without knowing who he was, and it sparked my interest in creating this kind of music as beautiful as Progressive House.

Progressive music is well known for being hugely popular in Argentina, how did your country become the genre’s mecca over the last 10 years? What would you attribute that to?

No hay mejor forma que decir que tenemos al Lionel Messi del Progressive House jaja. Creo que el sonido del progressive house argentino se centra puramente en las mezclas de Hernán, quien es nuestro referente principal a la hora de producir o mezclar. Aparte de ello tenemos grandes productores en la industria desde hace años como Mariano Mellino, Ezequiel Arias, Antrim, Marcelo Vasami entre otros, que marcaron huellas desde hace años en este género, siempre abalados por Hernán.

(Laughing) There is no better way than to say that we have Lionel Messi from Progressive House. I think that the sound of Argentine progressive house focuses purely on Hernán’s mixes, who is our main reference when it comes to producing or mixing. Apart from this, we have great producers in the industry for years such as Mariano Mellino, Ezequiel Arias, Antrim, Marcelo Vasami among others, who have made their mark for years in this genre, always abetted by Hernán.

What are your favourites venues to play or attend an event at in Argentina and why?

Eh podido viajar a algunos lugares en mi país, pero tengo dos lugares donde volvería mil veces. Uno es Ciudad de Córdoba, donde su gente es cariñosa y pueden estar días bailando sin importar nada. Una hermosa ciudad donde se transpira música electrónica y a todos los djs que van a tocar quisieran regresar.

Mi otro lugar es Catamarca, puedo decir que allí tuve unas de las mejores fiestas de mi vida. A veces uno antes de tocar se pone un poco ansioso por saber cómo te irá ese momento, pero esa noche pienso que todo el universo se alineo para que salga todo bien jaja. Sugente, el lugar, la organización. Fue perfecto.

I’ve been able to travel to some places in my country, but I have two places where I would return a thousand times. One is Ciudad de Córdoba, where its people are affectionate and can spend days dancing no matter what. A beautiful city where electronic music transpires and all the DJs who are going to play would like to return.

My other place is Catamarca, I can say that there I had one of the best parties of my life. Sometimes before playing one gets a little anxious to know how that moment will go, but that night I think that the whole universe lined up so that everything ended up going well. Its people, the place, the organization – it was perfect.

Tell us about your record/music collection, where do some of your early influences live?

Desde antes que comencé a mezclar música, Mi Abuelo y mis tíos, que influyeron mucho en mis gustos musicales, tenían una colección de discos de Folklore, Tango, Rock, Pop Latino, Cumbia etc. (Géneros Musicales) Simplemente éramos amantes de todos los tipos de géneros, Principalmente mi abuelo que escuchaba mucho el Tango.

Puedo decir que desde muy chico nunca tuve un Artista preferido. Podía escuchar una canción de Rock que me gustara y la escuchaba mil veces en el día, pero despuéspodía escuchar un género distinto como la cumbia pero siempre tuve la misma reacciónenergética.

Since before I started mixing music, my Grandfather and my uncles, who greatly influenced my musical taste, had a collection of albums of Folklore, Tango, Rock, Latin Pop, Cumbia etc. (Musical Genres). We were simply lovers of all types of genres. Mainly, it was my grandfather who listened to Tango a lot.

I can say that from a very young age I never had a favorite Artist. I could listen to a Rock song that I liked, and I would listen to it a thousand times a day, but later, I could listen to a different genre like cumbia and I always had the same energetic reaction.

At which club or event did you experience electronic music for the first time and what memories have stuck with you from that moment?

Vuelvo al 2017 cuando fui por primera vez a ver a Hernán Cattaneo en Córdoba. Si bien tuve algunas fiestas antes que esa, pero esta fue la que marco mi vida. Me acuerdo que mis amigos me invitaron a viajar a Córdobae ir a ver a un tal Hernán, lo cual ni siquiera conocía. Insistieron tanto que termine yendo, hasta el día de hoy no me arrepiento. Recuerdo claramente que era un total ignorante en ese momento, pero que simple es decir que puedes enamorarte de alguien con tan solo escuchar su música, y este fue el caso.

I go back to 2017 when I went for the first time to see Hernán Cattaneo in Córdoba. Although I had some parties before that, this was the one that marked my life. I remember that my friends invited me to travel to Córdoba and go see a certain guy called Hernán, who I didn’t even know. They insisted so much that I end up going, and to this day I don’t regret it. I clearly remember that I was totally ignorant at the time, but how simple it is to say that you can fall in love with someone just by listening to their music, and this was the case.

Are you musically trained? And do you think it’s necessary for success in writing electronic music?

Desde pequeño fui a algunas academias de música donde aprendí bastante, pero aun no tenía la chispa de músico. A pesar de que ningún miembro de mi familia es músico o simplemente toca algún instrumento, mi inquietud por seguir aprendiendo nunca paró. Aprendí a tocar de manera didacta Guitarra, Bajo, Piano, y muchos instrumentos de Percusión.

Creo que es bueno saber de música a la hora de producir, es algo necesario para que tus canciones tengan esa magia que posee una melodía al escucharla. Pero no es imprescindible para muchos géneros donde su energía y sonido se concentra más en Percusiones. Cadaquien puede expresar su talento y llegarle igual a la gente, ya sea melódicamente como percusivamente.

Since I was little I went to music academies where I learned a lot, but I still didn’t have the spark of a musician. Despite the fact that no member of my family is a musician or simply plays an instrument, my desire to continue learning never stopped. I learned to play guitar, bass, piano, and many percussion instruments in a didactic way.

I think it is good to know about music when producing – it is something necessary for your songs to have that magic that a melody has when listening to it. But it is not essential for many genres where its energy and sound are more concentrated in the percussions. Everyone can express their talent and reach people the same, either melodically or percussively.

The industry and how fans discover new music has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so. How do you discover new music nowadays?

Si bien la evolución de la tecnología crece minuto a minuto, y las Plataformas musicales han revolucionado la forma de buscar y escuchar tal canción que no escuchaste hace 30 años, o también el estreno que salió hoy. Puedo usar la plataforma principal que es Youtube, uso Spotify para escuchar de fondo mientras cocino o limpio mi casa, Beatport y Bandcamp para seleccionar y comprar mis canciones preferidas.

Although the evolution of technology grows minute by minute, and the musical platforms have revolutionized the way to search and listen to some songs that you haven’t heard in 30 years, as well as the premiere that came out today. I use Youtube as my main platform, I use Spotify to listen in the background while I cook or clean my house, and Beatport and Bandcamp to select and buy my favorite songs.

How have you been dealing with COVID-19? The impact it’s having on travelling DJs is hugely significant. What is your feeling on all the live stream sets happening now?

En mi país actualmente estamos pasando por la etapa más fuerte del virus. Al principio todo parecía unos simples contagios, pero tenemos que estar unidos en esto, hasta que no salga la vacuna a luz todo seguirá igual y no viviremos tranquilos.

Todos los DJs que trabajaban los fines de semana veníamos acostumbrados a expresarnos públicamente con mucha gente, y ahora siento que con las transmisiones nada es igual que sentir la energía de tus espectadores. Solo tenemos que ser pacientes porque nosotros los DJs estamos últimos en esta gran cola.

In my country we are currently going through the strongest stage of the virus. At first, everything seemed like a few isolated cases, but now we have to be united in this.Until a vaccine comes out, everything will remain the same and we will not live calmly.

All of us DJs who worked on weekends were used to expressing ourselves publicly with many people, and now I feel that with the livestreams nothing is the same as feeling the energy of your viewers. We just have to be patient because we DJs are the lasts in the line to get back to work.

What is something you do now (regularly) that you did not before Covid-19?

Como la pandemia mundial me ha quitado prácticamente mi trabajo como Dj, eh invertido parte de mis ahorros en un negocio de venta de ropa y accesorios donde la verdad me está yendo bastante bien, no conocía mucho el mundo del emprendedor y gracias a mi madre pude tener este empujón y animarme. Eh tenido más tiempo de disfrutar en casa con ella viendo películas, hacer ejercicios juntos, plantar un árbol en mi jardín y terminar proyectos de casa. Con respecto a la música, sigo produciendo y mezclando música para todo el mundo normalmente como vengo haciendo los últimos años.

“As the pandemic has practically taken away my job as a DJ, I have invested part of my savings in a clothing and accessories store where I am doing quite well, honestly. I didn’t know much about the world of entrepreneurship, and thanks to my mother I was able to have this push and cheer me up. I have had more time to enjoy at home with her watching movies, exercising together, planting a tree in my garden and finishing home projects. With regard to music, I continue to produce and mix music for everyone normally as I have been doing in last years.”

Once nightlife eventually resumes globally what kind of effect do you think this period in our history will have on the clubbing experience?

Si bien pienso que esto vino para quedarse un buen tiempo, ninguno de nosotros estará tranquilo hasta que seamos vacunados o hasta que el virus de haya ido al menos un 95% del planeta. Todos sabemos que las discotecas y fiestas están en ultimo lugar en esta fila eterna, pienso que volveremos con el protocolo primario y con poca gente en ellas, hasta que todo vuelva a la normalidad. Se que no faltamucho.

While I think this is here to stay for a long time, none of us will be calm until we are vaccinated or until the virus has gone at least 95% of our planet. We all know that clubs and parties are last in line. I think we will return with the primary protocol and with few people in them, until everything returns to normal. I know it won’t be long.”

You’ve recently compiled the latest installment of SLC-6 Music’s Constellations series ‘Aquarius’. Tell us a bit about the collection and process behind putting it together.

La constelación “Aquarius” se refiere a mi signo del zodiaco. Cuenta con algunos estrenos y otros reestrenos que me han fascinado. David (D.J. MacIntyre) me ha propuesto hacer esto hace unos meses y nunca dude en ello. No solo creo que es algo difícil de trabajar y lleva su tiempo, sino también es un gran desafío para mi ser parte de este lanzamiento. Eh decidido tener en Aquarius grandes canciones de mis amigos como Dany Dz, Dysco y Cedren & Manu-I donde hacen debut en la etiqueta. De esa forma llevando esta constelación con un comienzo melódico y fascinante, energético; siguiendo de momentos donde el Groove de baterías domina la mezcla en la mitad de ella, no pueden faltar elementos como voces y armonías abiertas que llenan el espíritu. Todo está conectado y trabajado de la manera que el universo me inspiro a hacerlo.

The constellation “Aquarius” refers to my zodiac sign. It has some premieres and other reruns that have fascinated me. David (D.J. MacIntyre) has proposed me to do this a few months ago and I never doubted it. Not only do I think it is something difficult to work with and it takes time, but it is also a great challenge for me to be part of this release. I decided to have great songs from my friends like Dany Dz, Dysco and Cedren & Manu-I on ‘Aquarius’ where they make their debut on the label. In this way, I’m carrying this Constellations Mix with a melodic and fascinating, energetic beginning, followed up by moments where the groove of drums dominates the mix in the middle of it, and also elements such as vocals and open harmonies that fill the spirit cannot be missing. Everything is connected and worked in the way that the universe inspired me to do it.

SLC-6 Music has become a comfortable home for you music since your label debut in 2019. Tell us why you enjoy releasing there and why it’s such a good fit for your music.

Siento un cariño especial con SLC-6 Music, desde antes de firmar mi primer EP “Elara” con ellos, me han tratado pacientemente bien, sabiendo que era nuevo en la industria, David nunca dudo de mí y de mi talento como productor. No solo es mi sello debut, sino parte de mi pequeña familia musical. Nada de esto sería posible sin la confianza y amistad de David, en la cual llevamos muy buena relación, trabajando juntos en futuros proyectos y otros ya terminados.

I have a special fondness for SLC-6 Music. Since signing my first EP “Elara” with them, they have treated me patiently well, and even knowing that I was new to the industry, David never doubted me and my talent as a producer. It is not only my debut label, but part of my little musical family. None of this would be possible without my trust and friendship with David. We have a very good relationship and we’re working together on future projects and others already completed.

How much road testing or friend feedback is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished?

¡Buena pregunta! Tengo un grupo en WhatsApp y Facebook de productores de toda argentina y algunos de Latino América, donde todo el tiempo están pasando información, librerías, y piden opiniones sobre proyectos realizados, creo que es fantástico y crucial tener el apoyo mutuo de colegas y compañeros del mismo camino, y el feedback sincero de tu productor amigo puede servir muchísimo antes de hacer llegar esa pista a las etiquetas. “Un productor nunca se conforma con suproyectoterminado”

Good question! I have groups on WhatsApp and Facebook of producers from all over Argentina and some from Latin America, where all the time they are passing information, libraries, and asking for opinions on projects carried out. I think it is fantastic and crucial to have the mutual support of colleagues, and the honest feedback from your producer friend can go a long way before getting that track signed by the labels. “A producer is never satisfied with his finished project.

What’s a piece of gear or software that always gets used when you’re writing a track?

Tu instrumento necesario y fundamental hoy en dia es tener una computadora. Uso una Notebook EXO Core i5 y 2 teclados. Un controlador MIDI, MIDIPLUS X4mini y tambien un sintetizador Roland XPS-10 para crear mas que todo Pianos y Pads. Para producir y diseñar mi pista uso el DAW FL Studio 12.

Your only necessary and fundamental instrument today your computer. I use an EXO Core i5 Notebook and 2 keyboards. A MIDI controller, MIDIPLUS X4mini and also a Roland XPS-10 synthesizer to create Pianos and Pads, mostly. To produce and design my tracks I useFL Studio 12 as my go to DAW.

I think for a lot of artists music allows you to write a sketch of your own personal universe in a way; your travels, life experiences etc. Is this something which is true for yourself? Where does inspiration come from?

Estoy totalmente de acuerdo, La música nos hace libres, nos deja crear nuestra historia tanto de vida como la que llevamos en nuestras mentes, es capaz de transportarnos a nuestro universo y nos da esperanza de todo. Siempre me he considerado afortunado de ser el único músico de mi familia, y poder sentirla de esta manera. Mi inspiración pura y exclusivamente nacida desde que escuche a HernanCattaneo, pero mis inicios como músico fue al ver la reacción de mis amigos y gente conocida al tocar determinada canción. Esa experiencia no te la quita nadie.

I totally agree, music sets us free. It lets us create our life story as well as the one we carry in our minds and it’s capable of transporting us to our universe and gives us hope for everything. I’ve always considered myself lucky to be the only musician in my family, and to be able to feel it this way. My inspiration was purely and exclusively born since I listened to Hernan Cattaneo, but my beginnings as a musician came from seeing the reaction of my friends and people I know while playing a certain song. That experience is not taken away by anyone.

Current five favourite tracks?

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Parallel Universe (Julian Liander Edit)

Santi Cebrero, Chapa & Castelo – Hilaridad (Original Mix) [La Juanita Records]

Dysco, Juan Ibañez – Euphoric Seas [Sounteller Records]

Guy J – Faces (Fabri Lopez Remix) [PAF068]

Fel C – Suspension (Evegrem Remix)[Transensations Records]

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Aparte de la musica, soy muy fanatico del Futbol. Mas bien soy hincha “enfermo” por Boca Juniors jaja. Y lo que verdaderamente me hace feliz es disfrutar momentos, con mi familia, con amigos. Vivir la vida con la libertad de entender porque vinimos a este planeta, solo sé que estamos aquí para ser felices y disfrutar que estamos vivos.

Apart from music, I’m a huge fan of Soccer. I am a hardcore fan for Boca Juniors (Laughing). And what makes me really happy is enjoying moments, with my family, with friends. Living life with the freedom to understand why we came to this planet. I only know that we are here to be happy and enjoy that we are alive.

What does the remainder of 2020 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

Vi bien ahora estamos en una situación complicada en mi País y Ciudad con la pandemia, pero estoy siempre positivo trabajando en nueva música y tomando nuevas oportunidades. Estoy esperando nuevos lanzamientos con Originales y Remixes en 4 discograficas. Another Life Music, Massive Harmony Records, Clubsonica, y Freegrant Music. Vengo de tener un gran estreno junto a Dylan Deck en Balkan Connection y ahora con este álbum muy esperado desde hace meses en SLC-6 Music. Contento por todo lo que me esta pasando en esta carrera, si bien este camino es largo, pero el que se mantiene es el que llegara lejos con sus sueños. Muchas gracias ProgressiveAstronaut por esta gran entrevista y esperemos vernos pronto.

Given that we’re currently in a complicated situation in my Country and City with the pandemic, I’m always keeping the positive vibes, working on new music and taking new opportunities. I’m waiting for new releases, originals and Remixes, on 4 different labels. Another Life Music, Massive Harmony Records, Clubsonica, and Freegrant Music. I just had a great debut with Dylan Deck at Balkan Connection and now this long-awaited album on SLC-6 Music. I’m happy for everything that is happening to me in this race, although the road is long, but the one that remains standing is the one that will go far with his dreams. Thank you very much Progressive Astronaut for this great interview and I hope to see you soon.

You can pre-order ‘Constellations: Aquarius’ now via SLC-6 Music: https://bit.ly/35W1bKu

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