Home Featured Feature: Rafael Cerato [Interview]

Feature: Rafael Cerato [Interview]

21 min read

Hi Rafael, thanks for talking to us today. How has your start to the year been so far and please tell us something interesting about your day today?

Hello guys! Thanks for having me here :)

2024 started with many meetings to plan the whole year in the best way because I have many important projects coming.

And today I just started my remix for Vintage Culture new album :)

Looking back on 2023 what gigs of yours have stood out and why?

In 2023, I played more than 100 shows all over the world and I can’t just keep only one in mind but phonix klein in Istanbul is always a good idea or Mexico / Argentina / Brazil and everytimes when I’m playing in soho garden in dubai :)

What’s a piece of music from 2023 that had the biggest impact on you, and what makes it outstanding for you?

For me, My Religion from Aladag was the most beautiful track that I heard last year. Super emotional and this piece of art really touched my heart, even more with the story behind. But to know it, u will need to ask Aladag directly haha

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

Everydays are the same basically.. I have a basic routine:

  • waking up around 8am
  • Coffee
  • Sport
  • Studio til 8pm
  • Dinner
  • Sleep
  • Repeat

This routine is really helping me to keep the control of my days off and focus on my what-to-do list to finish everything on time.

 Even by today’s standards you are a prolific producer, you’ve had ten years of incredible consistency in terms of superlative releases. Where does your inspiration come from and how have you been able to remain as consistent as you are?

I think it’s just about the passion. I can’t stop to make music, it’s in my veins. Making music daily helps me to express myself and to be happy, and it makes the balance in my life and emotions.

 You’ve had a remarkable career which now spans over a decade. Releases on Diynamic, Einmusika, Stil Vor Talent, Systematic, amongst many others, if you had to pinpoint a track which had the most impact to where you are now what it would be and why?

For sure I will say Sekater in 2015 on Systematic Recordings. It was the game changer for my career. But then many others tracks got a great impact but the first one is Sekater.

You’re back on Diynamic this week for the release of your ‘Picture’ EP, a prestigious long running series for the label. Tell us a bit about the release and the process of eventually getting the right collection of music for it. Do the tracks go through a lot of revision requests for example?

Yes it’s a really great project to be back on Diynamic after my last EP there in August last year. The picture EP is always showing the full spectrum of the artist in terms of influences and sounds. That’s why all 6 tracks has special meanings behind. The Diynamic team and Solomun are always doing a superb job regarding the building of their releases, that’s why yes I got to retouch few details but I’m lucky because Solomun loved the tracks immediately and the post work was really easy because we got all connected together.

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 your ‘Picture’ EP.

My current setup is really easy:

  1. Roland vp03
  2. Ableton
  3. Akai keyboard
  4. Motu soundcard
  5. And using a bunch of VST like Serum, Sylenth, arturia..

And as many people already know, I’m producing mainly with headphones, because at the very beginning, i was producing in my room and my neighbors was complaining and sent me police officers few times haha so I was producing only with my headphones and I kept these habits til now..

You continue to be a much in demand DJ, so please tell us your approach to the craft, and how you might approach programming a set based on the environment that given night.

I think a DJ dont need to plan a DJ set because everything depends of the club / festival, the crowd, the city, the country, the set time and we always need to be ready to try new tracks, and be able to change the vibe if u feel that it’s not working good. I need to feel the crowd and adapt your story to the moment. That’s the most important thing about to be a DJ. Sharing is caring.

Now that you’ve been on the circuit for a while, how has DJing to larger crowds influenced (and ultimately helped) your view of music as a producer?

Over the last years, my music was and is still evolving. I got influenced by many different vibes and sounds. And I love to experiment new things. I think it’s really important to be open minded and not to be stucked in one style, without losing your own identity.

Where do you source the majority of music for your gigs? Is it primarily from producer friends or promo mailouts at this point?

I’m playing mostly my own tracks. Let’s say 90% of my sets. But of course I also love to play tracks from others artists, based on what I really love. Promos or released tracks, doesn’t matter to be honest, just playing what I love.

Let’s move forward and talk a bit about your label Ritual, founded in 2019. Firstly, what led you to start the label initially? And was this your first foray into running a record label?

My own label Ritual came from a bunch of events that I was organizing with my partner Ikarius. The idea of the label came naturally because I felt that it was the right time to launch my personal platform to release nice tracks that I was receiving from many talents all over the world. And of course, to release my own stuff as well.

How has your vision for the label changed since its launch in 2019? And what would be some of your biggest takeaways from running a label over that time?

The label is evolving live my own music but as I said, I’m just releasing what I love, without any kind of limits or borders. Running a label is always something special and of course a lot of work but once again, it’s all about passion.

When you finish new tracks, what does the decision making process look like for whether or not you will shop them to other labels or release them on Ritual?

I don’t produce a track specially for a label. I try to do what I really love and at the end I’m always sending my tracks to Solomun mainly or Marc Romboy for Systematic. I’m trying to not release too many of my own tracks on Ritual due to the amazing quantity of quality tracks that I receive from upcoming new producers.

What advice do you have for artists hoping to get signed to Ritual?

First of all, signing on a label just to try to reach charts or tops is not a good idea. You need to really like the label, the identity, because I will feel it into the music. Tracks needs to fit my sets and to be specials.

We’re in an age where content turns over quickly and attention spans are short; so how does this factor into how you run and sign music to Ritual? Do you feel pressure to keep a consistent release schedule? And what advice would you have for new or potential label owners out there?

I don’t have pressure regarding the label schedule but yes we try to keep constant releases plan. We are now around 80 releases and new ones are coming every months with amazing artists. My advices will be simple: keep doing what u like, don’t follow trends, don’t focus on charts and tops. Everything will come naturally with passion and patience.

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?

Depends where haha but my fav artists at the moment I would say Laherte, Aladag, Andrew Meller and Pavel Petrov to name a few..

But ofc I will book Solomun to share a beautiful time all together, always a pleasure to share the decks with him!

Current top five tracks in your sets?

  1. Rafael Cerato - Sporadic
  2. Rafael Cerato & Laherte - Viaje
  3. Laherte - Movimiento
  4. Moloko - Forever More (Andrew Meller Remix)
  5. Mila Journée - No Es No

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life?

I think I will be still working in business / finance stuff (based on my studies haha)

What’s something we do not know about you?

I used to work in the bank haha

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

Sport ! Football and gym :)

What are some of your favorite TV series? Both all time and recently, what have you been enjoying lately?

For sure Breaking Bad as #1 and recently I felt in love with a Spanish one called Entrevias!

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Doing sport, cooking and my family, friends and my girlfriend.

What does 2024 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

2024 is full of projects. My Diynamic picture EP and my second studio album on systematic recordings (13 tracks) coming in June among many others projects but I will keep them secret for now :)

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