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Molac [Interview]

32 min read

Based in Ecuador, Molac has carved out a unique sonic identity in the world of electronic music and organic house, resulting in a string of uniquely crafted records that present a resonant worldly sound. His resume is highlighted by releases via Akbal Music, Amulanga, Nordic Voyage, Peace Symphonies, Souksonic, Watergate and more, while the genre's trendsetters have been steadfast with support along the way. Combining their extensive forces, Molac teams up with Greek artist Ilias Katelanos to make their much anticipated Musique de Lune debut with 'Rumba del Sud', alongside a remix from JFR.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Molac to learn more about the release of ‘Rumba del Sud’, Ecuador, DJing, studio process and more. Enjoy.

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

Hello, I am very happy and excited for this interview. As I respond to this, I am listening to "Hang On To Your Love" by Sade, one of my favorite artists.

How has your spring been so far and what are your plans for the week?

These have been incredible days, full of music and new contacts. This week, I will travel to the capital city Quito to see Sasha's show, and the following days, I will visit my family and some friends.

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

I have always been a producer before a DJ, and although I enjoy both activities a lot, I believe that I belong more to the world of creating and experimenting with new sounds.

Ecuador is not a country people tend to associate with electronic music so how did growing up there influence your music taste and direction? Or did it at all?

In fact, there is a lot of electronic music movement in Ecuador. While a few years ago it was a very limited scene, over time it has gained a lot of strength and followers in all cities of the country. At the time, it was difficult to be one of the few lovers of electronic music, especially of genres like Deep or Progressive. However, this motivated me even more to build and spread this unique and different style of music.

And to add to that, what Ecuadorian producers or DJs first inspired you when you discovered electronic music?

At that time, I'm talking about 10 years ago, the legendary duo "Jaramillo & Bastien" and "Ordonez" with his radio program Elecksonica, which I used to listen to every Saturday. Two hours of pure Deep House and guest mixes from DJs from all over the world.

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

With no doubts, my itinerary of visit could not be complete without the Bassick club in Quito or the legendary Lost Beach in Montañita. Regarding local DJs, there is a lot of hidden talent here, but names such as: Juan Pablo Morán, Adrián Matos, V-Cious or of course, Nicola Cruz should not go unnoticed.

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

It is very likely that I will be in my cave (my home studio), probably producing, searching for rare sounds, answering my fans or taking a long nap.

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 am about to celebrate 10 years since I signed my first production with a label. I started getting interested in production from a very young age. At 13 years old, I was already moving some knobs on DAWs on my old laptop, and I continued like that for the rest of the years. However, it wasn't until these past two years that I obtained such a mature and professional sound as I have now. I could say that I was mostly self-taught, although I have always been learning and taking advice from my fellow producers and Djs.

What I could recommend to new producers is definitely to take classes, courses, and tutorials from other producers. The learning curve of being self-taught can take many years, and that gap can always be shortened by watching others produce and understanding their way of building music.

You’ve accomplished a lot across your career with releases via Amulanga, Watergate, Peace Symphonies and Songuara highlighting your discography. What goals do you have going forward? Or is that something you even think about?

I think a lot about the future, perhaps too much, but I try not to let that dominate the way I work. Currently, I am making music not with the intention of reaching a particular label or with a specific goal in mind, but with the intention of exploring new horizons and showing people new sounds and fresh ideas while maintaining my groove and my way of seeing music. When you do something authentic, the rest will come naturally. However, there is something that will always be my dream, and that is to be on the Lost & Found label.

You have a new EP ‘Rumba del Sud’ written in conjunction with Ilias Katelanos out now via Musique de Lune. Tell us a bit about the release, who’s been playing it and what was it about the label which made it feel like a comfortable home for your music.

Rumba del Sud was born from a fusion of Latin and electronic sounds native to South America. We produced it with Ilias, one of my early mentors in the genre, at a time when Organic House was still very closed to new sounds and had a very distinct style. However, at Musique de Lune, we found a label that dared to see beyond and recognize a more experimental and fusion-oriented work. In addition to that, their label manager JFR impeccably remixed "La Rumba", which also received support from Sébastien Leger on one of his recent Lost Miracle radio shows.

Your sound is quite emotional but also quite explorative at times, what inspires your work and was there anything in particular that inspired ‘La Rumba’.

I have always been a lover of South American music in general, and Latin Jazz and Salsa have been no exception. I composed "La Rumba" on my piano as a salsa passage after listening and taking inspiration from many pianists such as Gonzalo Rubalcaba or Eddie Palmieri. When I decided to mix it with electronic music, I knew it was an idea with a lot of potential but it still didn't quite fit into what I wanted to convey. In fact, "La Rumba" had many previous versions before the current one. I remember the first version was a very primitive Downtempo that I gradually modified until I found a beautiful and completely new fusion in Organic/Melodic House, which is the version that was finally released.

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 on ‘La Rumba’.

Many people think that the break in "La Rumba" is a sample from a salsa song from that time but in fact I recorded the entire piano part on my 88-key Celviano keyboard, and many percussion parts were recorded in my studio with my bongos and some real instruments. However, there are some things that were sampled and modified to complement the Caribbean atmosphere that characterizes salsa. In addition to that, my inseparable MIDI, with which I made many of the bells, couldn't be missing.

[caption id="attachment_28772" align="alignnone" width="1920"] Cobertura del escenario "Electro - Experimental", parte de la fiesta de la Música, realizada en Cuenca, por la Alianza Francesa.[/caption]

Let’s look a bit more at production, once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you’re satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practice?

I think that when we start out, it's very easy to fall into the temptation of finishing something very quickly and wanting to send it to as many labels as we can. It's very important to rest all our final versions for at least a week and listen to them again before making decisions. I also try not to make too many changes or make the minimum possible in my final versions. A common problem is seeing people end up with 10-12 versions of the same track. I think that affects you as a producer. You have to understand that there will never be a perfect production stage or a perfect mixdown. Having a good mix is important, but more important is that the piece you're making is able to convey the emotions you're looking for.

And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

The first to listen to my ideas and new sounds are my friends from the Sendas Music Collective of which I am a part. We are all producers and have a unique and special style of seeing and understanding music, so we always get and give good feedback that allows us to refresh our minds with new ideas.

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

Without a doubt, my favorite part is creating grooves and designing basslines and unique/weird sounds, but if there's something I detest to the point of having someone else do it, it's the stage of adding FXs and risers. I always leave them for the end because it's not my thing. As I would say, a necessary evil.

Let’s talk about DJing briefly, 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?

Although I am currently known for my Organic House productions, as a DJ I try not to focus on a single genre or to mix the same style. I love going from simpler styles like Deep House or Organic to more melodic and hypnotic styles like Progressive or even more danceable ones like Tech, but always trying to maintain my identity and taste for the music.

How has your work as a DJ influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks and perhaps also, your work as a producer?

As a DJ, you come to understand to a certain extent what people want or wish to hear, what ignites the dance floor, and the genres that are most popular. Since I started DJing, my production work and approach changed almost completely. I started searching for sounds and rhythms that were more focused on the club and the night, and drawing inspiration and elements from these genres to transmute them into my musical style.

In fact, the reason why the best DJs are also good producers is that they have a good knowledge of music, can distinguish well between the modes and energy of each song, and know when something sounds good or doesn't sound good.

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

I'm not a big fan of analog hardware, but something that I would love to have as a toy is definitely an UREI 1176 compressor.

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?

From the latest to the earliest, my order would be:

  • Sasha 02:00 - 06:00
  • Guy J 23:00 - 02:00
  • Mihai Popoviciu 21:00-23:00
  • Lee Burridge 19:30 - 21:00
  • Volen Sentir 18:00 - 19:30

Current top five tracks?

  • Gorje Hewek, Dulus, Molac – Astro World
  • Makebo, Volen Sentir - Alchemist
  • VONDA7 - Perception (Alex O’rion Remix)
  • Cyclops (Volen Sentir & Izhevski Remix)
  • Sasha – Mongoose

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

The works of Aldous Huxley such as "Brave New World" or "The Doors of Perception" have made me question many things about where we are headed and what awaits us in the future but also they have led me to explore more psychedelic sounds and new horizons.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

I am passionate about graphic design and sleeping a lot.

What does the remainder of 2023 hold for you in terms of releases and gigs? Anything you can share with us?

We have some collabs with Eduardo McGregor, Dulus & Gorje Hewek on some labels that are currently a surprise. In addition to that, there is an album to be released in the last quarter of 2023 that we worked on for over a year with my friend and producer Adrian Matos. In this album, I tried to step out of my Organic sound and open up to new frontiers in Deep/Tech House, although currently my Organic sound is focusing more on Progressive and avant-garde sounds. About the gigs, I have some confirmed events for the next few months in the capital city of Quito where I hope to move the dancefloor with my IDs and fresh music.

'Rumba Del Sud' is available now via Musique de Lune: https://bit.ly/42S9y41

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