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JFR [Interview]

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Hailing from Argentina but currently calling Spain home, Juan Franco Rivero aka JFR has carved out a unique sonic identity in the world of progressive and organic house, resulting in a string of uniquely crafted records that present a resonant worldly sound. Enjoying a steady rise since emerging 2017, it was 2021 which proved to be a breakout year for JFR, as the Argentine continued his upward trajectory with a standout release for UK behemoth Anjunadeep; a project which would lead to offerings via Clubsonica and Musique de Lune across the next calendar year, and in turn garnering support from Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren and Sebastian Leger. Now, as one of progressive music's most hotly tipped talents, JFR launches his Secret Feelings imprint with 'Anatonic', alongside a remix from Greg Ochman.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with JFR to learn more about the release of ‘Anatonic’, DJing, future plans, and more. Enjoy.

Hi Juan, thanks for chatting with us again, how’s the first half of the year been for you?

The first semester of the year was great for me, I had a lot of shows and trips, meeting new places and making new friends thanks to my music.

How have your summer gigs been this year, anything that has stood out for you?

Well, here in Europe the summer shows are very important and I was able to enjoy it to the fullest. I was very surprised that there were a lot of cell phones on the dance floor.

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 was helped by my mentor Pablo Estella and Demon Noise to take my first steps, after that it was all self-taught.

Today it's easy to learn... there are many courses, many tutorials, teachers, group classes, individual classes, you can buy pre-made projects, sounds, etc,... when I started there was none of this haha.

You lived the majority of your life in Argentina but are currently spending some time in Spain, how would you compare the nightlife between the two countries?

Every place has its good things. The passion and energy of the Argentinean night is unique, but sometimes a bit dangerous haha. Spain has a very fun night and I can walk home at night and I'm safe, in Argentina I couldn't do that.

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

“Input” is definitely the best sounding club for me. Another favorite club is “Nom”.

My favorite local dj is Gespona.

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

In the studio making music or drinking mate on a beach or in a park.

You have just launched your own record label ‘Secret Feelings’ which continues the brand you started with your podcasts and events. First off, tell us about the podcast and event series. How did the series eventually evolve into a record label and why did now feel like the right time to do it?

I have 57 episodes of my favorite music.

That's a lot of hours of music, new artists and new sounds that I'm discovering. I play tracks that are not in the mainstream or in the top 100. I don't play or produce the progressive or organaci house that everyone else does...so I said...if my secret feelings was a label I could release the music that doesn't fit on any other label and help other producers that have the same thing going on as me.

Is your first foray into running a record label?

I have worked as Label Manager for Musique de Lune Records and Musique de Lune Noire.

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

Be free, don't make music for such a dj. Just make music. It has to contain a melody that touches my heart.

Is big DJ play a factor in signing something? From someone like Hernan Cattaneo or Nick Warren for example.

No, the music has to be great, be a good person and humble.

What is your thought process behind remixer selection on a given project and how many is too many in your opinion?

I choose artists that have ever been on my Secret Feelings episodes, that means I like their music. No more than 3 remixers on an ep.

The first Secret Feelings release is just about to come out, it’s a single from yourself entitled ‘Anatonic’. Tell us a bit about the track and why was this the right piece to launch the label with? Was this something you had been holding specifically to use as Secret Feelings’ first release?

Anatonic is 2 years old and I've played it a lot already, I was looking forward to releasing it, I've been asked about it a lot.

How did you go about choosing the remixer? What made Greg Ochman the right fit for this particular track?

I play a lot of Greg's tracks in my shows, he's a great friend, I invited him and he joined us very quickly :)

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?

In my shows as a dj I improvise a lot. Example: "I play at Pacha on Wednesday...ok... I create a folder of 100 tracks with a specific order...but when it's time to play, the warm up was very strong and people are already crazy... I don't start with track 1, I start with track 30".

It all depends on the place, time and people. I know how to read dancefloors very well, so I usually improvise 50% of what I have already prepared.

How much prep do you put into the tracks you choose to play?

I prepare a lot and with time. I play 100% tracks that I like, and lately I use tracks with short breaks, so I have to choose them well.

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?

It influences a lot, the important thing is how people listen to it and how they feel it on the dance floor. People are the ones who end up helping me to produce.

Current Top five favorite tracks?

Eelke Kleijn - Transmission (Joris Voorn Remix)

Marsh - Calling

CRi - Something About

Luka Sambe, Roy Rosenfeld – Bunggul

Sébastien Léger - KissShower

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

Neapolitan chicken Milanese with fries, at my mother's house with my family.

What does the remainder of 2023 hold for yourself and Secret Feelings? Anything you can share with us?

I have 20 JFR originals coming out for Secret Feelings throughout the year, some with remixes and some without. Also my new 2023 productions are a bit louder, higher bpm and darker sounds. This year I was able to be in the studio a lot so, in the next months and years I will be releasing a lot of music !

'Anatonic' is available now via Secret Feelings: https://bit.ly/47XGSKi

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