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Antonator [Interview]

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Hailing from Athens & based out of Stockholm, Anto has been producing music since the late 90's & in 2007, he won Pete Tong's prestigious Bedroom Bedlam competition - with his track 'Wonderful Strings'.

In 2009, one of his subsequent remixes reached #1 on Hypem & since then, Anto has been releasing on his own label imprint Anto Recordings - receiving support from the likes of David Guetta, Paul Van Dyk, Swanky Tunes, Yves Deruyter, Shiba San, Utah Saints, Tocadisco, Robbie Rivera, Mason, Crystal Method & many more.

This week finds Antonator returning to his Anto Recordings imprint with 'Sand'. Progressive Astronaut caught up with Antonator to learn more about the release of 'Sand', his background, nightlife in Greece and much more. Enjoy.

Hi Anto, thanks for joining us. How has your start to the year been so far and please tell us something interesting about your day today?
Hi, Thanks for having me!

This year has been great so far. I’ve released a lot of music and it has been well received. Today I have been working on a new track. I’ve been so busy with other stuff that it’s been nice to finally have some studio time. And it’s really turning out great.

What was the music genre you discovered first before you turned to electronic music, and what made you continue with the latter?

In the 90’s I was watching music videos of all kind of genres on the music-channels on TV. I loved it all. But artists like Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk really gave me that “wow” feeling.

Take us through a typical day when you’re not traveling, what does a day in your life look like?

I get up and eat breakfast and drink my morning coffee. After that, I’m off to my job as a system developer. Then after a long workday the fun begins: I go and workout in the gym and then it’s studio time. Every now and then I check the email or the statistics/reports from current releases.

What do you think have been some of the standout tracks that have been released in 2024 so far? And why?

‘Massano – Talking’ I love how different it is from everything else out there at the moment.
‘Script – On the low’ This one really hits the spot. I think it’s really the right sound at the right time with its kind of “R’n’b” meets techno style.

How did growing up in Greece influence your music taste and direction into the industry? Or did it all? And what prompted your relocation to Sweden?

I was born in Sweden to Greek parents, and every summer me and my family used to travel to Greece by car. During this long road trip my father used to play all kinds of dance music on the car stereo. Everything from the 70s disco, 80s synth music to more modern dance music. This is probably what opened up my eyes and ears for dance music.

What are some of your best memories from first going to clubs? Were there specific nights or sets that really made you feel you wanted to pursue electronic music?

I started to produce music when I was too young to go to clubs. But when that time came I felt like ‘This could be me’ when I was hearing the music that was played in the clubs.

Who else from your home country inspired you when you first discovered electronic music? And what was it about their DJing or production which led you to pursue it yourself?

Local artists like ‘Antiloop’ and ‘Richie M’ where Sweden’s trance heroes back then in the late 90s. I loved the melodies and the energy in their productions.

If you were a tour-guide for nightlife in Sweden, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

I would take people to see ‘Trädgården’ in Stockholm. It’s a popular summer open outdoor club with all the local DJ talent the city has to offer.

You won Pete Tong’s Bedroom Bedlam competition in 2007 with your track ‘Wonderful Strings’, tell us how that impacted your career at the time. Before that I was making music just for fun and not taking it too seriously. When I won that competition I started believing in myself for real and making music for real.

While I think most electronic music fans would consider you a melodic house and techno or even a trance artist, but your productions often fall outside the typical sound of the genre, with that said how important do you think it is to stay relevant within the trends we often see within genres of electronic music?

I always try to produce modern music with a nostalgic twist. In a way I’m sticking to the melodic house & techno genre but bringing in a ‘Déjà vu’ feeling from the past. In one way it’s important to be up to date with everything else out there, but also try to bring in something “outside the box”. If you only follow everybody else footsteps you will never stick out from the crowd.

You have a new single ‘Sand’ out now via your Anto Recordings imprint. Tell us a bit about the track and how it showcases your current sound.
Let our readers inside your studio for a moment, what is your current setup and what studio tools are featured heavily in your recent productions and more specifically on your new single ‘Sand’?

I gave the track it’s name ‘Sand’ because of the oriental vibe of the lead synth that is the foundation of the track. I wanted it to sound old school but still modern and full of energy.

My studio setup is mainly software based except for a midi keyboard controller. I use a PC with Cubase and a lot of “oldschool” plugins like V-Station, Vanguard, Arturia Mini V to name a few, that’s been with me for ages. I’ve created my own presets for over a decade and I rarely use the software synths everybody else is using.

Let’s talk a bit more about your label ‘Anto Recordings’ which has been running for almost fifteen years. What led you to start the label initially?

I wanted to control every part of the process myself. To be fully responsible for any success or failure and learn as much as I can on the way.

Now that you’re nearly fifteen years into your journey as a label owner, looking back on those years, how has your approach to running a label changed?

I’ve learned a lot of things during all this time running my label. In the beginning I was just releasing stuff without any plan or strategy. Over the recent years I’ve become better at working out a plan for every release.

Being a label owner, how do you decide which of your tracks you want to release there as opposed to shopping them to other labels?

Releasing my tracks on my own label is my main goal. I wouldn’t consider releasing anything on an other label as long as I couldn’t resist the offer.

What advice do you have for artists hoping to get signed to ‘Anto Recordings’?

In the future when I will start signing other artists I would recommend to just do your thing. The best card you can play is being yourself.

If you are not DJing, producing or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

In the gym or walking in the nature. Long forest walks really helps me get a peace of mind.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

Charlotte de Witte - 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Four Tet - 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
The Chemical Brothers - 10:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Eric Prydz - 12:00 AM - 2:00 AM
Tale of Us - 2:00 AM - 4:00 AM

Looking back on your career thus far, what advice would you offer to your younger self?

Be patient and don’t let any setbacks affect you in a negative way.

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life? (Something outside of the music industry)

Oh, hard question. I would probably continue as a system developer and move out from the city to the countryside.

What TV series have you been enjoying recently and what are some of your all time favourites?

Recently: All the Star-Wars franchise series, The rings of power, House of the Dragon.
All time: Breaking bad, Better Call Saul, Game of Thrones.

What can we look forward to from Antonator and Anto Recordings for the rest of 2024?

Lots of releases. I promised myself to release more music this year than ever before.

'Sand' is available now via Anto Recordings: https://tinyurl.com/bdp357nu

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