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Pedro Capelossi [Interview]

24 min read

Pedro Capelossi's Refraction Records arrives in exciting fashion with a much anticipated EP from the label boss himself. The Brazilian born - Spaniard naturalized, Barcelona based artist has forged a distinctive sound which focuses on inventive use of atmosphere and rhythm, drawing the lines between global dance cultures without adhering to any fixed formula. First emerging in 2019, Pedro quickly established himself with a consistent stream of superlative releases via Hoomidaas, Seven Villas, Sound Avenue, Tales of Romance and The Soundgarden; in turn earning the praise of Eelke Kleijn, Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren, Pablo Bolívar and Powel, amongst others. A sparse but well-thought out release schedule has only made the love for his sound stronger and his new projects all the more anticipated. With Pedro's latest Hoomidaas vehicle 'Rainbow Road' opening his 2024 season, the Barcelona resident now unveils his flagship record label with a brand new EP entitled 'Supernova', alongside remixes from Pablo Bolivar & Nacho Sanchez, TM Shuffle and Anton Lanski.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Pedro to learn more about the release of 'Supernova', his Refraction imprint, nightlife in Spain, creative process, DJing, and more. Enjoy.

Hi Pedro, 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?

My year started amazing with a delicious family New Year's Eve in Portugal followed by a super fruitful trip to Italy to work at Francesco Mami's studio. Now I'm preparing for a trip to Holland to attend the "A State Of Trance Festival" in Rotterdam.

My day was a quiet Saturday in Barcelona, where I worked on music, ate some pizza with my wife and watched the finals of surfing at pipeline. Just the way I like it.

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

Definitely D.Edge in São Paulo. I was able to play once again in the best club in Brazil with several friends on the line up and on the dance floor.

What’s a piece of music (not your own) from 2023 that had the biggest impact on you, and what makes it outstanding for you?

I think once again Pablo Bolivar - this time with Nacho Sanchez - delivered an insane album on Seven Villas. I love every single track there. I don't know how Pablo can deliver so much great music all the time.

Also what Federsen was (and still is) doing was very inspirational for me. Simple and effective.

What was the music genre you discovered first before you turned to electronic music, and what made you continue with the latter?

I think the first genre I really loved was Rock - Grunge, Punk and Hard Rock... Until I went accidentally to the first acid techno rave when I was only 17 years old... that was the game changer.

I couldn't ever imagine I would become a DJ/producer of electronic music, but I'm happy that it happened!

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

Music - cooking food - gym - sofa. Looks a lot like this!

You were born in Brazil but now reside in Barcelona, Spain. Tell us about the nightlife in Spain and what are some local venues and DJs you hold in high regard and why.

Barcelona is amazing if you want to party, especially party hard. The good thing is that there's always something new happening, for all tastes.

For me the best club in town is Macarena, a very intimate space where the DJ is a couple steps below the public. I had my best gig in Barcelona there for sure, a 3 hours set until the lights turned on!

There are lots of DJs of course, but I hold my dear friend Rivellino in high regard for all he accomplished around here lately.

You began as more of a progressive house artist back in 2018 but now sit in a much deeper, dubbier territory. Tell us how that creative shift happened.

I always liked techno, trance and house - progressive and deep. I've always been very eclectic to be honest. Always listened to different artists, went to parties of all genres etc.

The fact that I've started producing progressive has more to do with my surroundings at the time than my preference for the genre over others. We were doing lots of parties in Brazil mainly of progressive house back then in 2015 and 2016 and this is why I've started there.

But as you can see from my back catalogue, even inside progressive I've started to experiment more deeper sounds and suddenly I realised that the deep house and dub were the way to go.

And of course, in a few years I can change again, why not?

You have a new EP ‘Supernova’ out now as the first release via your Refraction imprint. Tell us a bit about the release and how it showcases your current sound.

When I finally decided that the label was a reality I started to work hard in the sounds I wanted to release through this project.

I probably produced like 20 tracks in 2023 and from this first batch I selected the ones I liked the most and sent them to the remixers. In the end they decided how the first EP was going to look by choosing these tracks to remix.

I think my sounds are a mix of everything I like. I feel it's a mix of deep, minimal, progressive, trance, techno ... The tracks Supernova and Disruption themselves have a little bit of everything in my opinion.

The release also includes three exceptional remixes from Pablo Bolivar & Nacho Sanchez, TM Shuffle and Anton Lanski. What is your thought process behind remixer selection and why were these particular artists such a good fit for this project?

To be very honest they were always in my mind as remixers for a first EP and I was lucky enough that they liked the project and came on board.

The reason is simple, look at the track lists of my sets over the years and you will see how much you see their names there.

Now that you are a label owner, how do you decide which of your tracks you want to release there as opposed to shopping them to other labels?

This is a very interesting question.

I had a situation like that with Hoomidas lately. The tracks I just released there I probably wouldn't release on REFRACTION, I think the vibe is slightly different. Though I like the tracks and wanted to see them out, sending them over was a good call.

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

Like a lot of producers I'm also a one man band. I compose, I do sound design, I mix, I master...

My favorite part is definitely the sound design and the mixing process, not so much arranging or mastering.

Let’s talk a bit more about your new label ‘Refraction Records’. What led you to start the label initially? And is this your first foray into running a record label?

The idea of creating something of my own started to grow in the last couple of years. I felt sometimes I had tracks finished that didn't fit anywhere, so why not having something of my own where I can decide if it's a fit or not?

Also the process of sending a demo, waiting for a reply, waiting for a release to come etc. can be very painful.

So the idea of putting out REFRACTION came from the need of having control of the music curation and also of the release process.

With that of course comes the artistic vision I want to share with the world which is not only the music, but also for an example the visuals representing each EP/Album.

I have to say that when I laid my eyes on the Paula Tardoc work (the photographer responsible for the covers of the EPs) I felt immediately that it was a match for my musical ideas.

What advice do you have for artists hoping to get signed to ‘Refraction’?

As on every label if you feel your music fits the label concept, send it on! I promise to make the process the least painful possible haha!

You’ve had quite a lot of high profile gigs over the years, opening for Sebastien Leger, Eelke Kleijn, Cid Inc and Fur Coat, while playing at PACHA, NOM Barcelona and Cafe Del Mar for example, so please tell us your approach to DJing, and what your philosophy is to programing a set.

My current philosophy is to prepare the best you can. By prepare I mean define more or less the line you think you will go and listen and play the tracks you selected as much as you can before, this way you don't end up having a pen drive full of stuff you don't remember exactly what they are.

How much prep do you put into the sets you play, or are they spontaneous for the most part?

It's always spontaneous, but as I said before, spontaneous only works properly with good preparation. You gotta know well what your weapons are, otherwise you end up always playing the same thing.

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 start to finish:

Alessandro Crimi
Pablo Bolivar
Delano Smith
John Digweed
Laurent Garnier

Current top five tracks in your sets?

Pablo Bolivar & Nacho Sanchez - Aureal [Seven Villas]
Anton Lanski - Illuminated Mannequins [Waehlscheibe]
Federsen - Zazen [spclnch]
Vesy - Bigger Plates (Pedro Capelossi Remix) [Hoomidaas]
Pedro Capelossi - Disruption (Original Mix) [REFRACTION]

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life? (Something not music related.)

A lawyer, which I actually am.

What’s something people do not know about you?

Better keep it as a secret! haha

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

Very likely on the sofa watching tv series.

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

My all time favorites are Succession, Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad, Mad Man... I'm currently watching Fargo for the second time. Second is always the best.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Travelling with my wife and food!

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

I am totally sure that 2024 will be my best year in music production in all aspects. What I can share is that the upcoming REFRACTION stuff is looking amazing!

'Suoernova' is available now via Refraction Records: https://tinyurl.com/2s97r7zt

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