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Eichenbaum [Interview]

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Born in Argentina, but now based in New Zealand, Andres Eichenbaum aka Eichenbaum began his journey into electronic music at a young age. Cutting his teeth as a DJ first, Andres shared the booth with some of Argentina’s best home-grown talent at the trendiest venues throughout Buenos Aires, before eventually relocating to Waiheke Island, New Zealand. Continuing his journey as DJ down under, Andres has programmed music for some of Auckland’s premiere venues, most notably Neck of the Woods, Studio The Venue and AURA, while opening for international talents Booka Shade and Dave Seaman. Early into his production career, Eichenbaum first appeared in January of 2021 with a contribution to the Soundteller Records ‘Vibrant Vibeland’ series, before going on to land projects via Droid9, Dopamine White and Massive Harmony. Now embarking on the biggest release of his career, Andres adds Deepwibe Underground to his resume with ‘The Two Faces of Bliss’. We had a chance to catch up with Andres for a chat leading up to the release. Enjoy!

Hello Andres, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hi guys, thanks for having me! I have just woken up; yesterday I had the pleasure to play at an amazing boat party on Waiheke, the beautiful island which I call home. I tend to wake up very happy and with a lot of energy. I enjoy my life on a daily basis, and I am grateful of everything that comes my way.

The last piece of music I listened to just a few minutes ago is “JFR – Kira (djimboh Remix)”. It reminded me of yesterday’s vibes while playing it, as it created a beautiful atmosphere of joy and tranquillity for everyone on board. I chose this track after playing quite an intense set for a while, so it came up perfectly to create a break and set a different atmosphere.

How’s your year so far? And what are your plans for the coming week?

In terms of shows, I began the year with lots of expectations, but because of Covid restrictions all the gigs and festivals that I was supposed to play at over the summer were cancelled. In New Zealand, we have been living the complete opposite to the rest of the world. While many countries were in lockdown, we were living a “normal” lifestyle, and now the tables have turned, but are slowly getting back to how things were before the pandemic. The restrictions are easing again, which is awesome, so there is a busy schedule ahead for the upcoming months, especially with my own events project called “Lift Me High” which I have the pleasure to share with my wonderful friend Gustavo Guzman.

As regards music production, after last year’s hard work, I am finally seeing my releases coming out and I am also receiving massive support, which makes me feel happy and valued.

My plans for this coming week are mainly to spend some time in the studio working on some new tracks and recording our monthly podcast for “Lift Me High” with great guest mixes.

 Can you name five tracks that were important in your musical development and why they are so significant for you?

  1. Guy J – Lost & Found (Original Mix)
  2. Guy J – Fixation (Original Mix)
  3. Henry Saiz – The Rider (Original Mix)
  4. Sebastien Leger – Lanarka (Original Mix)
  5. Way Out West – Killa (Guy J Remix)

I think it is all about feelings, moments, emotions, and what the music creates and makes you feel. All these tracks convey a sense of freedom, space and profoundness. It is always hard to express these feelings because it goes beyond reasoning, you just feel it. Especially “Lost & Found” which was the first track I have ever heard that instantly transported me into that festival mood, with real deep sound that gave me goosebumps.

 Talk to us about growing up and living in Argentina, how did it affect your musical taste and the music you make?

Being born and bred in Argentina, especially in the city of Buenos Aires, is quite amazing because, from an early age, I had the opportunity to live in one of the most important cities of South America, with the greatest amount of international music shows. I mean, getting to see Roger Waters many times in just a short period of time is something that I will be grateful for the rest of my life, and an experience I will surely never forget.

My parents weren’t really music influencers for me, but I am lucky that my older brother was very passionate, so he was the first one sharing this with me. I still remember the first time I went to a big concert in Buenos Aires, I was eleven years old and surely my brother was the one taking me there (Red Hot Chili Peppers in Velez Sarsfield Stadium in 2001.) Music creates strong connections with family, friends, and even strangers that then end up becoming friends. I really appreciate my brother for being an amazing human, and for sharing part of my music journey with him.

Since then, my taste in music is continuously developing, and it has become a beautiful journey as, in the past, I really loved listening to different kinds of music like Rock, Progressive Rock, Progressive Jazz, Reggae, Dub, up until I got strongly interested in electronic music. And from there, this journey begins…

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

The best memories that first come to my mind are those sharing times with my friends and getting to see massive artists in such small venues, like listening to Guy J for the first time playing in Bahrein (it was so packed that you couldn’t even walk to the toilet) or Stephan Bodzin several times in Crobar, Another beautiful memory was seeing Hernan Cattaneo playing b2b with Nick Warren, closing the Cream Arena in Buenos Aires in 2010, playing the remix of Sasha of “In A State.”

I still think that the crowd is a big element to have beautiful memories, and I have also experienced wonderful moments while travelling around Europe. I got to see my favourite artists at stunning locations. For example, seeing Hernan Cattaneo play for eight hours b2b with Guy Mantzur in Omis, Croatia at Labyrinth Open Festival, or Guy J with Chicola at the Cruisin Boat Party in Budapest, are experiences that have greatly influenced me, and encouraged me to pursue my passion for DJing and producing music. They were highly motivational.

I always try to travel and go to festivals as much as I can as it keeps filling me with inspiration and joy. It helps me reconnect to the source and to align with what the biggest DJs and Producers are heading to and use it as a reference.

What were your favourite venues to play in Argentina and why?

While back in Argentina, I was just starting my DJ career, so to be honest, I didn’t have any memorable experiences at that time like here in Aotearoa (New Zealand) It really helped to “break the ice” and start to play frequently for crowds.

Since 2018, every time I go back to Argentina, I get invited to play in Zárate (one hour drive, outside the city of Buenos Aires), where we usually do a b2b format with my very good friend Fede Prieto. The people there are just amazing; their response to what we do is amazing, and it personally makes me feel very welcomed.

You relocated to New Zealand in 2013, what prompted the move there and how does the nightlife and electronic music scene compare to Argentina?

I have always been a big fan of travelling (and I still am), so I tend to work really hard for a while and then just quit my daily job and go away travelling for some months while getting to know different places, cultures, people, experiences, among others. I guess that in the end, I was a bit bored of living a significant part of my life in Buenos Aires. So this time I decided to plan for a longer trip, and I ended up staying over on Waiheke Island, which is 40 mins away from Auckland, NZ’s biggest city in terms of population.

I love visiting Argentina but living in New Zealand has changed my life in many ways. I really love living within walking distance to the beautiful sea, feel a bit more connected with nature and in a peaceful environment. At the same time, here in New Zealand, it is a bit easier to make a living and then have more time to do things that you enjoy. We all know that time management can be quite difficult when you are making music, doing your own events and touring, along your personal life and relationships. In Argentina this is very tough, so I really admire all the artists over there that keep pushing and working very hard towards delivering wonderful results. There is no perfect place in the world, every place has its pros and cons, so when you move from one place to the other you leave things behind, and you get different ones in return as well.

Here in New Zealand, both the nightlife and the electronic music scene are way behind compared to Argentina, which has always had a massive music and arts exposure. Being so far away from the rest of the world, and having a population of 4.5 million people vs 45 million in Argentina, makes it a bit more difficult and lonelier. This is a bit frustrating sometimes, but on the bright side, it is also very positive as there are a lot of opportunities for growth and parties are usually very intimate, which makes every occasion quite special. In terms of music production, we are very lucky that nowadays it is easier to connect or message anyone around the world or even share music projects with different artists of the globe without even meeting them in person before. It’s all about being human (after all), and connecting with others, always.

 What do you miss most about Argentina?

My family, friends, and the food!

Overall, it is always hard to be so far away from your loved ones; time goes by and everyone gets older. You are aware you are missing significant moments with them, but at the end of the day how you want to live is always your choice and despite not being an easy decision to be so far away from your loved ones every day, I still choose to live here. Yet again, because of many technological advances, I can easily and frequently talk with my close ones, and I always visit them at least once a year, which is highly important to me and for them, too.

You have a new EP out this week via Deepwibe Underground, tell us a bit about the release and how it showcases your sound.

“The Two Facess Of Bliss” is an EP which contains three new originals from myself and a lovely remix from the talented Andrés Moris. The concept of this album is to convey that there is nothing really black or white, life is not like that, it always has many shades of gray and we need to learn to live with this. Moreover, on the last few years I have realised that we need to be more flexible with anything that comes up to our lives and make the most out of it, but this is a process that requires time to understand and learn, and everyone does it at their own pace. This is what the two last tracks “The Two Faces Of Bliss” and “Diversion” are expressing with both their names and sounds, both quite groovy and euphoric. “The Two Faces Of Bliss” changes from being energetic to a melancholic melody that plays with people’s emotions. “Diversion” is just the opposite, creating tension to then move to an explosive end. Andrés reinterpretation follows the same idea but with his unique and wonderful style which I love. And finally, the first track “Bays of Breeze” showcases my feelings and emotions living here in New Zealand. A sense of peace and freedom, by always living close to the ocean, is quite personal but after some road tests, I think it touches some people’s heart, which is awesome!

Deepwibe Underground is a label you’ve not released with previously, what makes the label a good home for what would have to be considered the biggest release of your career?

I think releasing your music on labels which you like and follow is very important, because you surely need to be happy with every single piece that you release and the label which is representing you. I listen to music every day and spend significant time especially on release dates. I have been doing this as a routine for many years. Which is why I can easily identify which labels I currently like the most and how they change directions, in case they do.

Deepwibe Underground has been a label which I feel connected and drawn to, in terms of the groovy and euphoric style of Progressive House. I have been listening to their releases ever since they started, and I use a lot of their music on my DJ sets. Moreover, having Dmitry Molosh as the biggest artist of the label releasing tracks very often, it shows that their standards are quite high. There are more artists that I really like such as EMPHI, Kostya Outta, Nopi, Gorkiz, Ewan Rill, Agustin Pietrocola, just to mention a few which make the label a wonderful home for releasing my music.

Moreover, I think promotion is very important and goes along with quality music, so Deepwibe Underground ticked all these boxes for me. I am very happy to be releasing this EP with them.

What does your set-up like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of this EP?

My set up is UAD Apollo QUAD Firewire, a pair of Focal CMS-50, Yamaha HS8S (which I will be replacing soon for a Focal one.) In terms of hardware synths, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Moog Sub 37, Behringer MS-101, Behringer PRO-1, Behringed Model D and Behringer TD-3. And for FX, Bluesky Strymon and Boss DD7.

In terms of software, I use a bunch of plugins for synths (DUNE 3, DS Thorn, Zebra, etc), FXs and others.

I think nowadays it really doesn’t matter if you have physical gear vs. digital gear, it’s mainly about how you use it. Many friends have fantastic sounds and ideas, and they don’t use hardware at all. I am sure that having physical gear would be way more amazing for some people but not always very accessible, so at the end it comes to what is more convenient for everyone.

I love the fact that with physical gear you can “feel” or touch the knobs, faders, etc. and it feels more natural than controlling all the synth parameters with a computer. I personally prefer analog sound vs digital sound; the difference is huge, and to have good results you don’t need much processing or tweaks.

On this EP I have used the Behringer MS-101 (clone of the Roland SH101) as it has a beautiful analogue sound that I really love; it’s a little powerful synth and you can do pretty much anything with it (bass, arps, leads, etc.), and with the PRO-1 as well.

For chords or bass, I have used the Prophet 12, which is a super powerful synth which I include mainly in all my productions. And for mid bass I love the Dune 3, as it can deliver great results, too.

Nowadays I tend not to use much Ableton instruments but on this EP I have also used Operator for bass and Wavetable for some leads.

The remixer on the project is Andres Moris who has been touted by many as a future star in progressive house. How did you and label come to decide on asking him to remix something from the release?

Andres is an amazing and hard worker producer who I am lucky to have met (not in person yet) by a friend in common. Andres consistently delivers great music, but he also stands out for being a great and lovely human being, which I think is the most important feature above anything else, which makes everything flow smoothly. We started talking with each other frequently by the end of 2020 and we have built a good relationship ever since. So I asked him if he was interested in participating on this release. He was super keen, so I talked to Sergei from DU which showed interest as well. After all, Andres finally did a great remix of “Diversion” -as expected- and sharing this release with him is quite special for me.

Generally speaking, do you find it more difficult to come up with original tracks than remixing a track from another artist?

I am not sure if the word is “more difficult” but doing originals is more time consuming than doing remixes, for sure. When you do a remix, you have many things already resolved and the main idea is to reuse some elements of the track, but also to imprint your identity and sound to the original core. You also have the original track as a reference so if it sounds good or there is a nice idea behind, it makes the job way easier. A remix can be done in a couple of days in some cases.

While working with originals, everything starts from scratch so there are more things to consider from the beginning which can take a bit of time, work and rework. At the same time, as we evolve, so does the sound. It is good to follow and have sound identity but I am personally after growth, which means that every new EP must be a bit different and sound better than the previous one I did.

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

Nowadays for monophonic Moog Sub 37 and Behringer MS-101 are the ones that live in all my productions. For polyphonic Prophet 12.

How much road testing or friend feedback is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

I usually try to play each track live, at least 2-3 times before sending it to labels. I have very good friends always keen to listen to my latest productions. There is more than one person that gives me feedback every time so it would be rather selfish to just mention one, but I will take this opportunity to say that Andres is one of those people.

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?

It’s quite tough to have a 5 artists line up but here it goes:

15.00 - 17.00 – Nick Varon
17.00 - 19.00 – Henry Saiz
19.00 - 22.00 – Guy Mantzur
22.00 - 02.00 – Hernan Cattaneo
02.00 - 06.00 – Guy J

I would also try to find a spot for Dmitry Molosh and Cid Inc. but after a long day like that maybe it would be good to have a nice rest!

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy?

I would spend a great amount of money on improving acoustics and make the space a bit bigger, and why not on getting a bit more hardware!

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

It’s quite difficult to mention just one related to us DJs but I think “El sueño del DJ” by Hernan Cattaneo is a big one. It shows that good things do take time, and that the most important thing is to enjoy what you do, especially the journey, because that’s why you are doing it. With passion, joy, patience and hard work things can only get better.

If you could travel anywhere for one day, all laws and limitations void, where would it be?

I have never been to ADE yet. I am planning to travel to Amsterdam in October, but I would make sure to lose my return flight and stay for the whole week.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest risk you’ve taken and what made you do it?

The biggest risk I took and that I am still taking is missing time with my family, but the main reason is to live a better life on another place.

What is your current favourite place to eat and what do you generally order there?

Another difficult one here, there are so many!

I would say Pizzeria Guerrin in downtown Buenos Aires and I think many others will agree on this one. The choice would obviously be Pizza. I miss Argentinian food so much!

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Spending good time with my closest ones and surely travelling, getting to know different cultures and trying different food.

What does 2022 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

For this year there are plenty of things going on. Many collabs with some friends are on the way, gigs in NZ on April and in Argentina and Mexico from May until August, then back in NZ from September onwards.

Maybe another EP gets released this year, but can’t say much for now…

'The Two Faces Of Bliss' is available for pre-order now via Deepwibe Underground: https://bit.ly/3juXtNi

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