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JFR [Interview]

29 min read

Juan Franco Rivero, better known as JFR, was born in Mendoza, Argentina, in 1995. At age 15 he began to study guitar and piano. His first approach to electronic music was at 17, listening to Sasha, Hernán Cattaneo, Fernando Ferreyra, John Digweed and Nick Warren, artists that led him to lean his preferences for the progressive house genre and its multiple sub-genres. At the age of 18 he discovered Ableton Live, a tool that he has used ever since to work on his tracks and teach classes.

Currently, he finds himself with several releases, being part of labels such as Clubsonica Records, Dreamers, Onedotsixtwo, Massive Harmony Records, Manual Music, Balkan Connection and the most important Anjunadeep, which for JFR means having the invaluable support of artists of the stature of, for example, Tony McGuinness, Hernán Cattaneo, Nick Warren and Fernando Ferreyra. We had a chance to catch up with Juan for an interview as he takes the helm as label manager of Musique de Lune's new flagship imprint. Discover more about the label and a variety of other topics below. Enjoy!

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

Hi guys ! Thanks for the invitation. I am very well, happy. I'm in Buenos Aires on my tour of Argentina, a little tired from the shows but very happy. The last song I heard was Liam Gallagher - Better Days.

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

My year is great, a lot of shows in Spain and Argentina, and I've worked on a lot of musical projects for now. My plans for next week is to play my music in Cordoba Argentina and in San Rafael Argentina.

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

I consider myself a producer first, since I was a child I made music with my guitar and piano, I have written songs (I have never published anything I have written). And before being a professional DJ I was already producing electronic music, so...yes, I'm a producer first.

They are two different moments, they are enjoyed in different ways, I can't choose one, I love making music and playing it so that people dance.

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

Growing up in Argentina is not easy. It is a beautiful country but we have many problems. Luckily, rock bands and great electronic artists love to come to Argentina to play, so... I've had great inspirations and I've listened to different musical genres, I learn a little from all of them.

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

I have very good memories about my first clubs, we were going to dance with 2 friends, they knew a lot and taught me about genres and DJs. When I started listening to Hernan Cattaneo it changed the way I see music and in club mode I will always remember a night I listened to 16BL, he did a magical set.

What have been some of your favourite venues to perform or attend events at in Argentina and why?

All the clubs and events in Argentina are great, because the public is great, passionate, and powerful. I will choose two places, Mendoza (my city), I don't play much in my city but when I do it is exciting to be with my people. The second city that I will name is the City of Mercedes Buenos Aires, the people here are very warm and the city reminds me of home.

I find your productions to be very musical with an emphasis on emotive melodies, who have been some of your biggest inspirations in terms of producers and why? And do you come from a trance background at all?

My biggest musical inspiration is Radiohead. It's my favorite band, I have tattoos of them and I listen to them every day. Radiohead’s music changed the way I see life. My music is emotional because it is the only way I have to express myself, since I am not one to talk much about my feelings.

 I think for a lot of artists music allows you to write a sketch of your own personal universe in a way; your travels, life experiences etc. Is this something which is true for yourself?

It's true. Many of my tracks have names of experiences that I lived with people, or moments that I will not forget.

There are a few countries which always get associated with progressive house and Argentina would certainly be one, what do you attribute the genre’s popularity to in your country?

Hernan Cattaneo taught us, guided us and bewitched us with this style of music in Argentina and we all liked it. Thanks to him we are a progressive house country.

How do you feel about coming up in a country with so many new and talented producers? Is it inspiring? Challenging?

It is inspiring. It's not challenging for me, music is not a competition for me. There are many talented new producers and they make Argentina grow. The year we were locked up made many producers grow.

You’ve been releasing music for just over five years now, what are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in yourself, both as a producer and DJ since you first started out?

Today I am playing more my music in clubs than a few years ago. That has changed my way of producing, today I try to make more club music but with my melodic line, maybe before it was lower bpm or different grooves.

You have recently launched your own record label ‘Musique De Lune’ which was born out of a booking agency you are part of. Tell us about that and who is involved with the project.

I met Jordy (the Founder) a few years ago and he was a fan of my music. We became good friends online and then I asked him to be my Manager. Since then, we have spoken pretty much every day, music and a great friendship. We also have the amazing Jim Rider (All Day I Dream / The Soungarden / Kindisch etc.) as our Chief Music Officer – working with talented people as a trio has been a dream come true!

Why did now seem like the right time to start this new label?

The idea of the label has been there since the booking agency started, we have been working for several months on this first release, we wanted it to be great with some special artists, and I am happy to say it is.

The first release on the label is a twelve-track compilation entitled ‘Rayons de Lune’. Tell us about the release and how these tracks exemplify the sound of the label.

Musique De Lune's first release is a twelve-track v.a to showcase our celestial sounds. Organic house, classic progressive house, melodic techno (all these genres with a melodic and harmonic line) and in the future we will create Musique De Lune Noire for darker music.

It is out next month on digital and then vinyl after that (an incredible 12 track VA as a statement to the market), and we have already received wonderful support from Tony McGuiness, Hernan Cattaneo and many others. I can’t wait for you to hear it! We also have exciting plans with NFTs and Metaverse I can share more on later.

You also have a track included on the collection entitled ‘Sagrada’, tell us a bit about it and how it showcases your sound?

Sagrada is a track I made in the Canary Islands, where I'm living. I did it after going to a party on a boat, I saw the sunset in the middle of the sea and I was inspired by that.

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

Today I don't have a configuration, I was traveling for a while and I'm new to Spain, I've been living here recently, I haven't finished setting up my studio, I'll do it in the next few months. I prefer physical equipment over digital, I'm tired of the digital age haha.

I wrote Sagrada with Ableton Live, a midi controller and a plugin called Spire. Simple.

What advice do you have for artists hoping to get signed to Musique De Lune’?

Make music with your heart and don't look at others, make music with your feelings. Focus on yourself.

In addition to a booking agency and now record label Musique De Lune also manages artists, works with NFTs and more, tell us a bit about those ventures and how people could connect further with you.

Yes! Please visit our social media www.instagram.com/musiuqedelune - we’d love to hear from anyone who loves great music, experiences and a loving, family vibe.

Looking back over your discography, what release or track holds the best memories for you and is there a correlation between that track and how successful you are today?

I think all my songs are important, they are out because at that moment I felt that and it is important. But I have 2 tracks that are special to me, "I Lost Myself" and "Sada". This last track is the most important and the one that undoubtedly makes me grow day by day.

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

It's hard for me to make a remix. I prefer to work on my originals, I'm comfortable with it.

What’s the task you enjoy the most when producing and what is something you’d rather have taken care of by somebody else?

The arrangements

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?

Many tests. At the club, in the car, with friends, and producer friends. I share the music with many Argentine producers who help me improve the track.

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?

Cubicolor 22 - 00

Monolink 00 - 02

Sebastien Leger 02 - 04

Hernan Cattaneo 04 - 06

John Digweed 06 - end

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

I would like to have my studio in the middle of the mountain. An all glazed study to be able to see the power of the mountain. Out of town.

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why? And is there a movie you would have loved to have produced the soundtrack for? And if so why?

A movie: Dead Poets Society, I did not expect that ending and leaves us with many life lessons.

I'm not reading many books at the moment, I'm more into magazines, blogs, documentaries.

I would have liked to produce the soundtrack for "Gladiator" it's my favorite movie and Hanz Simmer's music is impressive.

What’s a superpower you wish you had and how would you use it?

I would like to be able to make happy people who need it. I don't know how I would do it but the music is the beginning.

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

Ibiza or the Caribbean

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

I left my whole life in Argentina (my family, my house, my car, my music studio,) to come and live in Europe. What motivated me was that I want to grow, improve my music and explore the world with my music.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Go to the sea to drink "mate"

You’ve had an amazing year thus far, with a very well-received EP for Clubsonica, an appearance Anjunadeep’s ‘Explorations’ series and now the launch of Musique De Lune as a record label, what does the remainder of 2022 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I've had a great year, I'm very happy about that. There are some remixes on the way and a lot of new originals that don't have their home yet. I'm still playing them in the clubs in an ID way.

'Sagrada' is out now via Musique de Lune: https://bit.ly/3OiSi0G

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