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Feature: Rafael Cerato [Interview]

16 min read
There a few DJs that have had the ability to cause an impact on multiple genres. From Progressive House to Techno, French born Rafael Cerato has arrived with a crafted production style like no other.With Previous Releases on the likes of Systematic, Diynamic, Suara, Get Physical and Stil Vor Talent to name a few. Now turning his hand to Techno already Cerato has released on the infamous Marc Romboy’s Systematic Recordings with his Sekater EP (with an impressive millions plays online) that has received support from the likes of Solomun, Stephan Bodzin, Maceo Plex, Kolsch, Richie Hawtin & many more following the success and support his EP has received. Already having played at some of the most enviable venues around the world such as Katerblau, Decadence Ukraine, La Santanera Mexico, La Terrazzza Barcelona and more. With notable appearances at the biggest club on the white isle : Privilege with already more gigs being penned into the calendar before the season finale, plus headlining Pacha, Destino. Cerato has caught the attention of many promoters as far as reaching the Festival Circuit, a portfolio of worldwide gigs and his first solo album Requiem on Systematic Recordings reached a massive support of Djs and fans all around the world.

Hi Rafael, where do we find you today? 

Hi! Today, just like any other day, you’ll find me in my studio. It’s my escape. Especially during tough days like we’re experiencing right now.

Give us a little introduction to Rafael Cerato. Where were you brought up and where do you call ‘home’ now? 

Well, I’m originally from Nice. I grew up in Paris, and left for London in 2015. I stayed there approximately two years before moving back to South of France, in Aix en Provence. My family and friends are based here as well so it’s definitely where I call home.

Was music a big part of your childhood? Do you recall music being played in the house at that time and how much of an influence would say that its had on you own tastes? 

Yes music was a big part of my childhood. I started to play the guitar at the age of 5. It was my passion until I discovered electronic music and bought my first turntables. Music was also constantly being played at home, usually a blend of disco and funk, and I truly think it had an impact on my own taste because I started out producing groovy sounds and nu disco.

What was your introduction to electronic music and do you recall the defining moment that you chose it as a career path?

Around the age of 13 i started listening to Daft Punk and then became enthusiastic about Detroit and the Chicago House movement, followed by Acid House from Manchester. The Hacienda times. I also read ‘Electrochoc’ written by Laurent Garnier to learn more about electronic music and since then it has been a big part of my life. Not always as a career, but as a passion.

Can you give us three tracks that were influential for you when making your first steps into production?

Easy question! These are the three tracks that were most influential for me when making my first steps into production:

Rolling and scratching by Daft Punk:

Crispy Bacon by  Laurent Garnier


Born slippy by Underworld


2012 saw you release your first music, but it was 2015 and the feature of your ‘Constellation’ track on Diynamic, your ‘Bucolik’ and soon after ‘Sekater’ EP, both released on Marc Romboy’s Systematic Recordings, that marked a defining year for you. Would you agree?

Definitely! 2015 was the turning point in my career. It’s an honor to have my first studio Album now being released on Systematic Recordings. I was always a huge fan of the Label, I have its full vinyl collection and I am fortunate to work closely with Marc Romboy. I admire his professionalism.

You’ve always been known for the melodic and emotional nature of your music, even at the tougher end of the spectrum. Do you always seek to create and present positivity in your music?

Actually a good ‘Energy’ is always what we seek. So there is no doubt that I intend to share and spread positivity as much as I can with my music.

We’ve mentioned your relationship with Systematic Recordings and to date you’ve released three EP’s with them. How did you originally connect with the label?

I was fortunate enough to be part of the same line up with Marc Romboy in Lyon, France 5years ago. That’s where we met and when I started sending him demos. He’s been very supportive ever since.

You will release your debut album, ‘Requiem’, on the label later this month. You’ve said it’s ‘A prayer for a better future’, which couldn’t be more fitting than right now. Tell us more about the release and its message(s)…

Yes i’m really happy to release my very first studio album. I agree, the sense of the album is fitting the current period, and each tracks have a special meaning. Its kind of a love letter to our planet, and a message to all humans to see the bigger picture. Look at what we have. What we’re doing to it, and act now to save it. From the intro to the outro, Requiem is driving between hard beats, melodies and emotions. It was such a pleasure to work on it closely with Marc and the label, and I’m really happy with the final result.

Would you describe yourself as a spiritual person?  

I would, yes. Daily rituals like helping others, being grateful, staying truthful are what makes us spiritual. Thus ‘RITUAL’ is also the name of my record label.

How are you dealing with the current Covid situation? Has it been possible to focus on making new music during this time? 

It is a really tough time for everyone. Even now when everything is gradually re opening, it’s hard to tell if things will return to normality. At times i’ve felt down and lost within the whole situation, with the number of cases increasing, not knowing the end of it, I definetly did not feel motivated enough to be working or producing music. However, most of my days I was able to take advantage of the time I had, and I managed to put some focus on new productions…

Tough question to answer right now, but what does the rest of 2020 hold for Rafael Cerato?

I am already working on a second studio album, because I’ve had some big inspirations during the quarantine and this period inspired me a lot. I will continue to work on my live show, to be ready to perform when things get better for all of us. But I hope 2020 will be better soon and I can’t wait to share magical moments with my crowd and all the lovely people that i’ve met on my travels around the world.

‘Requiem’ is out now on Systematic Recordings, you can purchase the release here: https://bit.ly/2BXnv9D

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