Home Featured Feature: Emi Galván [Interview + Premiere + Free Download]

Feature: Emi Galván [Interview + Premiere + Free Download]

40 min read

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

Hello! First of all, thank you very much for the invitation :)

Currently I am very happy for the shows I had over the weekend in Mar del Plata and Cordoba since both turned out very good!

A track that I really liked is 'Chapinero' by Fernando Olaya from Colombia, which I just selected for my monthly Spotify playlist with my favorite tracks.

How was the summer season in Argentina and what are your plans for the coming week?

My summer in Argentina started with my first show 'All Night Long' at Club AMK. A night to remember where I played music for 7 hours which you can see on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yr-o0VNwTvE). It was a beautiful experience and this year we will definitely repeat it.

Then in February, I was on tour performing mainly in cities in Mexico, such as Mexico City, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Leon Guanajuato

For the next few weeks I have scheduled several events back in my country Argentina, where I will visit cities like Cordoba (Mystic), Pergamino (Beat) and the City of Buenos Aires (Crobar Club).

Do you consider yourself a DJ or producer first? And which do you enjoy more and why?

I think I consider myself more of a producer since I've been producing for more time than being a DJ. But today I feel both worlds a little more balanced than years ago.
I really enjoy spending hours in front of the screen creating music, it's a world of infinite possibilities where you can get lost if you're not sure where north is.
But I think being a DJ is even cooler, because it gives you the chance to travel, get to know new cities, new cultures and to be able to share your music, your energy to people from all over the world and see how they react on the dance floor.

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

Universe: It was one of my first tracks and I learned a lot of technical things. And precisely the musical world seemed to me a whole universe of possibilities. It drives me crazy just thinking that the universe is infinite...

Dreams: He received the first big support from Hernan Cattaneo for his entire world tour. Thanks to that, I decided to dedicate myself 100% to electronic music.

Trust: After many fruitful years with my rock bands, I decided to dedicate myself to electronic music. But to continue I had to forget the past and simply 'Trust'. Trust in me, in my music and in all the signals that I had been receiving.

This track ended up appearing on my first EP on Sudbeat, Hernan Cattaneo's label.

Crabo: This track was born in a very spiritual time of mine. Everything that happens when you meditate is amazing. Crabo is the name of my master guide and it was a track that received a lot of support from another of my referents, Nick Warren, who also released it on his label 'The Soundgarden'.

Nick Warren - Freebird (Emi Galvan Remix): It was a dream for me to be able to remix a legend like Nick. At first I felt very pressured, but then everything flowed quickly and the happy melodies did not stop coming to my head. Nick loved it and played it all over the world.
I am very grateful for this opportunity!

You started your musical journey playing guitar and singing in rock bands for over a decade, tell us how you transitioned from that into an electronic music producer and DJ? And how has that past musical history helped your work in electronic music.

The change came about after a trip to Mexico where I got to know the electronic music underground, since until then I just went to some of the big festivals like Creamfields or Southfest, but I didn't know much about the world of DJing.
I loved getting to know that whole new world and when I returned home I decided to start studying and producing tracks. It was quite a process, it took me 1 year to produce my first electronic music track called 'Mexican Trip', in honor of that trip.

Along with my band project, I began to experiment as a DJ in local bars and private parties, which I loved and I kept learning and dedicating myself even more.
Until I received the first big support from Hernan Cattaneo for my track 'Dreams' and I decided to leave the band to dedicate myself to electronic music.

I started playing guitar at 9, had my first heavy metal band at 18, played and recorded several albums in different bands and styles. All of this was an enormous learning for which I am grateful, because otherwise I might not be able to produce as I do today.

How did growing up in Argentina influence your music taste and direction? Or did it at all?

When I was a kid, Argentina was a very rich country musically speaking. There were many musicians and bands everywhere. Music has always been very important to me. When I met someone, my first question was: 'What music do you like?' With that simple question I could know a lot about the other person.

My biggest musical influence was my brother. Who am I grateful for all those great rock bands he made me listen and I still listen!
But as I always say, a person or a hole country can influence you. But if I like rock and roll, no matter how hard you try, you will never make me listen to cumbia :)

When we ask most artists what is responsible for the popularity of progressive music in Argentina the overwhelming answer is Hernan Cattaneo, would that be your feeling also? And if so please speak on that, also to add to that, who else from Argentina inspired you when you first discovered the music.

Indeed. Hernan Cattaneo is the reason why the progressive genre is so big in the country. He was one of the first Argentine DJ to play that music and he spread it to the rest of the world along with other legends.
As I always say, he was in charge of baptizing people with progressive music. First at the Creamfields’s Cream Arena, then at Moonpark and now at his big shows that he performs all over the country.

Many young people who went to their first electronic party did it with Hernan Cattaneo, because his shows are so popular and first class, so they go back again and the audience continue growing. And it gives the chance to a lot of DJs like me to work playing the music we like!

On the other hand, artists that I like and inspired from Argentina are few, I can name Gustavo Cerati, Animal, Eruca Sativa or 202.

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

Fortunately we have many good clubs and djs.
Palacio Alsina has spectacular views that continue on the roof of the club, it is very good to see!
Club AMK is a renovated club that has very good sound and screens. I had the opportunity to do an open to close show and it was a very nice experience!
The Bow and Crobar are 2 first class historical clubs with a devastating sound that you have to go to no matter what!
And if it's summer, you can't miss Mandarine Park, where the largest international events in the country are held.

As for DJs, it depends on what you like. If it depends on me, I would take you to see Antrim, Simon Vuarambon, Sebastian Busto, Ezequiel Arias, Ricky Ryan, Mariano Mellino, Manu Rodriguez and of course, Hernan Cattaneo :)

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

In my house, producing, listening to promos, editing a video or doing some work related to music.

When you were first getting started in production did you have someone help you or are you completely self-taught? And what would you recommend new producers do to help with the learning curve of production?

I had some friends who helped me with some technical things, but basically I was always very self-taught. I did face-to-face courses, online and I watched millions of YouTube videos, that's the number one school!

I recommend you study hard, practice, watch many video tutorials and keep learning. If you don't like spending hours in front of the computer, better dedicate yourself to something else, don't waste your time. Because if they don't like it, it's going to end up being like any other job that they end up hating.
You have to be like a nerd. Always experimenting and seeing how to do 'x thing'.

You have a new unofficial remix of Massive Attack’s ‘Girl I Love You’ which just dropped as a free download via our platform. Tell us a bit about the remix, who’s been playing it and what was it about the original track which made you want to remix it.

I'm an old fan of Massive Attack, I've been listening to their music since I was 18 years old and I got to see them live once in Buenos Aires. It was amazing!
I always wanted to do a remix of one of my favorite bands but I didn't know which one. Until I found Horace Andy's acapella, a super unique voice, like from another planet, then I said: 'I definitely have to remix it!'

I’m super happy with the final result and that it has been so successful!
The remix received support from DJs like Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren, Guy J, Guy Mantzur, Eelke Kleijn, Sebastian Leger, Roy Rosenfeld and Dj Ruby among others.

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 the Massive Attack remix?

My studio is pretty basic. I don't have any synths or anything special anymore, just my computer, an Apollo Twin UAD audio interface, and a nice pair of EVE SC208 monitors. All my productions are made "In the box".

The remix production was pretty simple and fast too. I just wanted to put that great Horace Andy’s voice on a classic progressive house foundation and play a little bit around it.
If you pay attention you will realize that it is one of my less melodic tracks, I hardly put any melodies on it, something unusual for me.

You’ve accomplished a lot in recent years with releases on Sudbeat and The Soundgarden highlighting your discography, what goals do you have going forward? Or is that something you even think about?

Sure. I think about the future, but I try not to think too much. Before, I put a lot of pressure on myself, but after the pandemic I try to relax more and enjoy the journey.
I just want to make music and enjoy the process. I am grateful to be able to fulfill my dream of living thanks to music and traveling the world

You have a new EP ‘Samsara’ coming out soon via Cid Inc’s Replug Records. Tell us a bit about the release and who’s been playing it.

Yeah! I am very excited for this new release. I've always been a big fan of Cid Inc's music, as well as his label, so it's a great honor for me to be a part of it.

The Ep has 2 tracks: 'Samsara' and 'Around The World'.
'Samsara' is the cycle of birth, life, death and incarnation in the philosophical traditions of India. I love everything about reincarnation. It is a strong and intense track, it makes you travel from darkness to light.

'Around The World' is a track that is a little more illuminated and cheerful than the previous one. With a good energy charged with positive melodies, which remind me of the beautiful trips made throughout the world thanks to my great passion, music.

You’re a producer who I would say is pretty selective and also one that does not release very much, so what was it about Replug which made it feel like a comfortable home for these particular tracks.

I'm pretty picky when it comes to deciding if a track should be edited or not. I have to like it a lot. It must be a track that generates something on the dance floor.
I also prefer to release 5 good tracks a year that people remember, rather than 20 tracks that are all the same.

Finding the right label is not easy, it must match the sound and be professional enough so all your work is not in vain, since producing a track can take me up to months.
Replug has all those characteristics, it's a great label and I'm very happy to be a part of it!

Let’s talk about production a bit more for a moment, where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play in writing music for you?

My inspiration comes basically from my mood. If I'm not in the mood, I'm not going to feel like producing something.
My other source of inspiration is the street. Go for a walk or go traveling in the car. In those moments is when a melody comes to mind, so I sing it, record it on my phone and then I go back to the studio to work on it.

Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practice? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

When I think a track is finished, I test it live. That's where I find out if it sounds good and if it works on the dance floor. Then I go back to the studio and make corrections. Maybe some mixing detail or maybe something about the arragement. I also listen to it in different headphones, as well as in the car, so as to have different listening parameters.

I no longer send my tracks for feedback. I always find it difficult to find someone who can give me productive feedback. But I do like to receive the feedback that a mastering engineer can give me about changes to make in the mix.

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

I really like producing the initial idea, the main melody, as well as doing the mixing.
But sometimes I get very complicated when it comes to making the arrangement. I always want the perfect arrangement and I can spin for months!

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

I would buy one of those mega consoles that they used in the 90s to record the records of the grunge bands of which I am a fan!

Now let’s talk about DJing for a moment, it’s a unique discipline at the border between presenting great music and creating something new with it, between composition and improvisation to an extent. How would you describe your approach to it?

Music is energy. The energy of a happy track is not the same as that of a sad one. If you know how to handle energy, you will know how to create your perfect trip.
Each track is a part of this journey, where you will see different shapes, colors and textures. Where you will feel different emotions and where you will be able to connect with the people you have there in front of you and transmit your message and your energy, the energy of your music.

Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks and perhaps also, your work as a producer?

Clearly being a DJ helped me a lot to be a better producer, because you understand how the dance floor works. Then you start producing the appropriate track for that special moment.
If you need a moment where the music doesn't stop and where everyone goes crazy, you create it.
If you need a quiet and emotional moment to end the night, you create it.

You’ve become known for longer DJ sets, what is it about presenting music in an extended format like that which really excites you?

I like to play all kind of music. I like to start quiet and build intensity over time. Create that trip we talked about before, and for that you need time. It is hard for me to tell a story in only 1 or 2 hours. On the other hand, if you play for at least 3 or 4 hours, you can explain much more and enjoy even more!

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?

  1. Air
  2. Massive Attack
  3. Faithless
  4. Chemical Brothers
  5. The Prodigy

Current top five tracks?

  1. Eelke Kleijn - Transmission (Joris Voorn Extended Remix)
  2. Kamilo Sanclemente , Juan Pablo Torrez – Mantura
  3. Argy, Goom Gum – Pantheon
  4. Fernando Olaya – Chapinero
  5. Maze 28 - Fogbows

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

Lately it's hard for me to find good movies, but one that's not so new and I discovered recently is 'Interstellar'. I have always loved everything related to outer space and the idea that the universe is infinite drives me crazy. This movie talks about space and time, among many other things. It is incredible!

You’ve got one meal left on earth, what are you eating and where is the meal taking place?

Milanesas from my mom and dad, at their house ♥

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Travel the world, meet new people and cultures. Traveling opens your mind, motivates you to continue creating, to continue living, to continue experimenting and learning. We are just passengers in this world. Everyone enjoys their stay as they like.

What does the remainder of 2023 hold for you in terms of releases and gigs? Anything you can share with us?

As for shows, I'm planning to visit Europe in July and Asia in August. So I hope I can confirm a lot of shows so my stay is longer :)

In terms of releases, aside from the Massive Attack remix, I have an EP in collaboration with my friend from Sri Lanka Noiyse Project, which we hope will be out this year.
On the other hand, I also have a new EP with 2 tracks that will be released by Replug, Cid Inc’s label and I’m also very excited about it!

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