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Juan Pablo Torrez [Interview]

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Entering the heart of the summer season, Clubsonica Records celebrates their milestone one hundredth release by welcoming Kamilo Sanclemente back to the label for a new EP. With a near decade long history, Juan Pablo Torrez’s Clubsonica Records has risen to the top of the progressive house landscape. Now considered one of the genre’s elite imprints, Clubsonica has been a home for Alex O’Rion, Analog Jungs, Antrim, Dmitry Molosh, D-Nox, GMJ, Jamie Stevens, Mass Digital, Navar, Stereo Underground, Shai T, Weird Sounding Dude and more.

With Clubsonica's one hundredth release landing on Friday August 18th, Progressive Astronaut catches up with label boss Juan Pablo Torrez to learn more about the release, Colombian nightlife, recent gigs and much more. Enjoy! 

Hi Juan, thanks for joining us, what are you up to this week?

Hello guys, thanks for having me. Honored to be invited again. This week I’m all up towards the 100th release as well as planning some events in Colombia and finishing some new music.

How has your summer been so far in terms of gigs, what events have stood out for you these last few months?

It has been really good to be honest, I have been pretty active in my country Colombia. Also, I was in Argentina in June and had pretty amazing gigs there, although it was winter there hehe. The gigs that stood out where: - a b2b with Kamilo Sanclemente, playing in an UV Show in Medellin with Paul Thomas and Dabeat, playing with Oostil and doing a 9-hour extended set.

What is going down best in your sets right now? Maybe give us five of your current favourite tracks to play out.

Oh there’s some nice music out there and have been playing lots of music of label’s friends as well as all the upcoming music from Clubsonica which I really like. Here’s a top 5 right now:

  1. Golan Zocher, Ojeni – Alive (Dabeat Remix)
  2. Kamilo Sanclemente & Juan Pablo Torrez – Critical Orbit
  3. Kamilo Sanclemente – Stellar Echoes
  4. ThinkDeep – Together (Julian Millan Remix)
  5. Mario Eighta – Otus (John Cosani Remix)

Bonus track

  1. James Cole feat. Ledniczky - I'm Sorry (Peter Makto Remix)

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your production work and otherwise, please.

Well, I have another job, I work as a freelancer working in the system development process as a developer and technical leader. So, I usually woke up around 05:30 and go to the gym. I return to my home, have breakfast, and then I start checking emails related to the label and the music, create some content needed for social media, and basically all the stuff that I can do before starting my freelancer job at 09:00, so while I do my freelancing job, in some times I jump off to something I have to take care administratively from the label, the gigs or my personal stuff. Around 17:00 I turn on the speakers, open Ableton and start making some beats. Around 20:00 I do some more label stuff and that’s more or less my daily routine. And in between all of these I try to spend some time with my cats.

My production work always start with an idea, mostly with a melody or an arp and then I start working around it by making a bass line and percussion around these to create a groove that correlates to what the melody, the arp or maybe the harmonic layers are doing. I have recently purchased my first synthesizer so I’m just checking how it works and I’m starting to incorporate it slowly to my normal production setup. I also work with Ableton Push and plenty of VSTs from u-he and effects and processes provided by Universal Audio.

Tell us a bit about Colombia’s nightlife, if you were a tour guide for nightlife in Colombia, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

That would be a pleasure to do! If any of the readers or you come to Colombia don’t hesitate to contact me, you’ll be more than welcome here.

Ok, so in Colombia there’s some great places for clubbing and there’s a big hype right now with rooftops and lounge kind of vibe.

For Clubbing I recommend these:

  • Viuz at Medellin, it is where I have my residency, with a great sound system, it has an extended hours permit, so you can enjoy more time with music in a clubbing experience.
  • Salon Amador at Medellin. This club is becoming legendary here, with plenty of big names being booked week after week, also with a great sound system.
  • Sonorama at Medellin. This club is also a great club with a nice vibe and some great VJs there. Sound system is also a plus here.
  • Sala Kabron at Cali. This club is really investing in some proper sound and starting to bring some great DJs local/national/international.
  • Octava at Bogota. Amazing club, in fact it is the only club in the Top 100 Clubs by DJ Mag. It is closed right now and we are all waiting for its comeback this year.

In Colombia there’s some great talent over here and dj’s are no exception. Here’s some local talent you can find, in no particular order, sorry if I miss somebody, but as I said there’s a lot of talent here:

  • Kamilo Sanclemente, Dabeat, Mauro Aguirre, Giovanny Aparicio, Arbey Gonzalez, Najeys, Leo Guerrero, Armandhe, Alex Bessofen, Salazar (COL), Fernando Olaya, Nufects and more.

Where do we find you if you are not DJing or socializing at clubs? And doing what?

You’ll find me at the movies, in a restaurant having brunch, lunch or dinner (I love to eat hehe) with friends, family and/or my partner and in the gym.

Congratulations on the milestone of one hundred releases on your Clubsonica imprint this week, an amazing accomplishment considering you are not a volume based label. Reflect back a bit on your path to get here, what thoughts could you share with us on this journey?

I’m overwhelmed and with a mix of feelings reaching this milestone. I’m so happy of the path that we traced for the label, with its ups and downs. I think it has been a beautiful journey, I have learned a lot in so many ways in a professional and personal level, I have met some of the nicest guys in the industry and have been able to work with so many talented artists around the globe that I look for. I have seen also how our national talent that has been signed in the label has grown in exposure in the Progressive House world, that’s one of our goals, which is to showcase our national talent as well as having recognized and heavyweight artists that remix them, so it increases the exposure as well as the recognition amongst Progressive House fans.

Kamilo Sanclemente has delivered the one hundredth release in his typically impressive fashion but you’ve actually collaborated with him on one the tracks ‘Critical Orbit’, first off tell us about that track and why it was important to lead the release off with something from the both of you.

I think it was the best choice to have the first original collab in the label as part of the 100th release as we have been since the beginning of the label and have become like family. This track showcase what Clubsonica is all about pretty well. I think it was important to have our collab as the first track so people can relate immediately the label with the artists, to check the sound, it is a tribute for all the hard work we have put in this beautiful project.

I know you wrestled a bit with what release should be the one hundredth, so why did something from Kamilo seem like the right fit in the end?

Yeah, it is a really big deal for me you know, so I did talk to you and some other guys looking for advise as you don’t have 100th releases too often hehe. More than a strategy I searched deep down in my feelings and in Clubsonica history, and the result was to have Kamilo Sanclemente as the main artist for the Clubsonica’s 100th release. I know Kamilo for more than 10 years now, we became friends because of the love for the music and specially progressive house, then we became like family when we started working out as artists and spending a lot of time together and also talking (as you may know I live in Medellin and Kamilo in Cali so we don’t see each other as often as we like). Kamilo is one of the pillars of Clubsonica, without him, Clubsonica won’t be the label that it is today, he helped the label achieved its success in so many ways that has become countless. So, it is the right choice, because of all the love, the effort and the hard work he has put in the label that we wanted to pay tribute by having him in one of our milestones.

What have been some of your favourite memories from the first one hundred releases?

  • The first support by Hernan Cattaneo to an Antrim Remix to a Kamilo’s track.
  • Now is Never by Juan Deminicis touched my heart deeply. It still remains as one of my favourites.
  • The first 50 releases where I released a single with stunning remixes by Andre Sobota and Jamie Stevens.
  • The first time we reached TOP 1 In Progressive House with a remix by Alex O’Rion.
  • The first time we reached TOP 1 in Organic House with a remix by Shai T.

The label has become quite successful and grown immensely since your first releases, what do attribute the labels present day success to?

I think there’s several factors:

  • Since we started with our releases, we always try to be really professional, with good art covers, nice mastering, good promo and press release. Having a good communication with the artists involved.
  • We incorporate recognized artists to the label, while showcasing national talent having a mixture with some new artists.
  • We try to sign music that doesn’t have the same recipe that has been successful.
  • We try to remain true to our sound, while exploring other genres like melodic and organic.
  • Lately, been active in social media, generating content, getting in touch with fans through the different networks.

Looking forward into the future and your next one hundred releases, what do you want to see the label accomplish? Not necessarily in terms of releasing music, but with anything in regards to the label.

We have two projects with the label that I love to accomplish:

  • Having an online store for merchandising and releases.
  • Doing showcases around Colombia and then globally. We have already started doing showcases locally.

Any final words to all the Clubsonica fans out there?

THANKS! You guys rock! All this happens because of your support. We can always provide music, but if it weren’t for you, for your enthusiasm towards the label and the artists we won’t be able to do our job right. THANKS from the bottom of my heart to allow us to dream big, for being with us in all or part of our journey. This achievement of the 100th releases is yours too. Let’s celebrate it.

'Stellar Echoes' is available now via Clubsonica: https://bit.ly/3DTufSv

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