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SIX [Interview]

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Hailing from Spain, Sixto Fernández aka SIX has racked up close to 25 years as a professional producer, recording nearly eighty singles and six full length albums under a variety of aliases. Renowned for his pristine and no frills approach to production, SIX's coherent, clean and harmonically balanced execution in the creative process are qualities always present during the development of his musical world. Releases via Balance Music and Nick Warren's The Soundgarden have been discography highlights in recent years, as he continues to maneuver his way through the confines of modern electronic music. Now following the release of 'Magic' via 2 Stones Records, SIX makes his Musique de Lune Noire debut with 'More Than A DJ', alongside remixes from Kevin Manning and Sundrej Zohar.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Sixto to learn more about the release of 'More Than A DJ', his background, nightlife in Spain, DJing and much more. Enjoy

Hi Sixto, thanks for talking to us today. How has the first half of your year been and please tell us something interesting about your day today?

Hey everyone :)

My day's been awesome because I swam in the sea, and there's nothing I love more (besides music).

Let’s look back on the first half of the year, what gig of yours has stood out the most and why?

 Let me stick with 2, please!

They're very different. The first one was an event I did for 55 people, a private event where I got to DJ for almost 3 hours for some very close fans. It was a very complete event, with a pre-dinner in a closed-off venue. The event is called "In the Club."

The second one was the opposite. On May 18th, we celebrated the 26th anniversary of Loca FM at one of the biggest venues in Madrid (LAB, the former Space). I had the honor of participating in the event as one of the guest DJs.

Now let’s look at tracks (not your own), what is a track or tracks which have come out this year that has impressed you the most and why?

There have been a lot of tracks I've liked these past months, but I'll go with Township Rebellion - Lumen. These guys are incredible!

You’ve had a long career recording under a variety of alias’ and releasing a variety of styles, so I'm curious what was the music genre you discovered first before you turned to electronic music, and what made you continue with the latter?

I started by learning piano and music theory and playing classical pieces. Then I got interested in the electronic music of Depeche Mode, and from there, I began experimenting with machines :)

You’ve won 11 Best DJ Awards in Spain which is remarkable, tell us about how you managed to achieve such an amazing stat and how do your radio sets differ from what you would play in a club?

Good question! I think the key to winning so many awards has to do with being approachable and natural on the radio and how I interact with listeners (my music selection counts too :)). I like to be myself on air, and people notice that. I've always been very grateful for the loyalty of all my fans and listeners in the world.

Well, when I'm on the radio, (“In the Mix radio show” Thursdays 20 to 22h @Loca FM), I try to play more varied styles because the listener profiles are different and more diverse. Still, I never lose my style. I couldn't do radio or play music I didn't like. In a club, the goal is to make people dance and have a great time. That changes everything. I'm more intense, but I never let go of the harmony and melody of the style. I don't like music without melody :)

You also curate music for one of the most important fashion retailers in the world, please tell us about your process for selecting music for that.

This is a very deep world, and I love working in it.

The process is complex because I handle many different criteria depending on the brand of the store, the schedules, the days…

We work with more than 25 different music styles that we organize, select, mix, and program as if it were a radio station.

The result is a very varied programming with a very pleasant outcome to ensure the customer's experience is optimal :)

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?

Yes, you should always ask for help from those who know more than you, just as we must help those who know less when the time comes :)

Nowadays, there are many courses, tutorials, different software, and especially information both online and in person. My recommendation is to make music if you are really music lovers and be very disciplined, persistent, and consistent with learning.

Have you lived in Spain your whole life? And if so how did growing up there affect your music taste and direction? Or did it all?

I spent 9 months living in Berlin, working on a project that involved making an EP and several tracks for Nick Warren's label, The Soundgarden (Walking Friedrichshain EP, Berlin, Connected). The project was beautiful because it wasn't just about producing these tracks but also performing them in a LIVE set in several venues there.

Honestly, I've always kept Spain a bit out of my reference for electronic music. I've connected much more with the UK, USA, Germany, Holland, or Russia as references when it comes to being inspired by their producers.

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 was lucky enough to get to know Ibiza well at the end of the 90s. For 14 years, I had a house there and got to live and enjoy the club scene very closely during those years. I even had the chance to DJ at Pacha Ibiza once :) I remember those experiences with very good energy. They definitely marked me for the rest of my career. I still go from time to time, but I don’t feel the same :)

You have a new single ‘More Than A DJ’ which is available now via Musique de Lune Noire. Tell us a bit about the track and what sort of vibe you were going for on it. And how much play has it gotten in your sets and to what reaction?

As the title says, “More than a DJ” is a reflection on what it means for me to be involved in the world of electronic music. Often DJs are judged (sometimes with good reason) as superficial people with little artistic ability. But not all of us are the same.

In this track, I wanted to express that my artistic world goes far beyond being a person who just plays music. I consider myself a sensitive composer, and all my songs always have a deep message. I use music as a medium to communicate and express things that can often only be expressed with music. And that is being much more than a DJ.

The audience's reaction is always exciting when I play it. I love to see them build in intensity as the song progresses.

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 your ‘More Than A DJ’?

Over the years, I've moved away from complex setups with external machines and now work with a very powerful MacBook Pro, Logic Pro, FireFace 400, Roli Seaboard, an old Roland JV880, Virus, and many virtual instruments and plugins. I travel a lot, so this allows me to work wherever and however I want. I prefer to do mixing and mastering externally. I like to invest my time in composition and production (and I don't ask AI for help with this).

The world should know more about the effort it takes to produce music, the hours you have to invest, the sacrifice it entails, and the difficulty for a track to be heard by the public. If people knew all this, music would be much more respected on all levels.

There are also great remixes from Sundrej Zohar and Kevin Manning, how involved were you in the selection process and why were these artists a good fit for this track?

They're two great producers, and honestly, it was a great choice to select them for the remixes. Each brings a different sound that perfectly complements the original track. Kevin is more progressive, and Sundrej is more intense. Very much in line with what's being danced to now.

This is your first release with Musique de Lune Noire, please tell us how you discovered the label and why it was a good home for this project?

Well, actually, they discovered me. They really liked my work with The Soundgarden and proposed to work together. Curiously, I had just finished “More than a DJ,” and it was like a perfect sign that we would work together. I want to thank the whole Musique de Lune team for their support, especially Jordan and JFR.

Now let’s go back to DJing for a moment. You’ve performed in some of the best venues both in Spain and globally, so how would you describe your approach to DJing?

My career started very early. I began DJing commercial music in small venues in downtown Madrid. Then I moved on to the radio (Loca FM), and from that moment, everything happened very quickly. I feel very honored to have DJed at Pacha Ibiza, Fabrik, Family Club, Space, etc., and especially to have met and worked with some of the best DJs in the world.

Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ and performing for larger crowds has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks and perhaps also, your work as a producer?

DJing for large crowds brings a special satisfaction. Seeing so many people vibing to the music you play is fantastic, although today, after so many years of experience, I enjoy more intimate and personal settings where I can develop a set more precisely with my preferences.

DJing for thousands of people often conditions you. Although it's an opportunity to take out my Roland Keytar and play it on top of a speaker :P

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

I take great care in my music selection, both on the radio and in clubs. I don't like to improvise too much, but there's always a moment when you change course because the situation, the energy, or the audience requires it.

It's a mix of both.

Current Top five tracks in your sets?

SIX - More than a Dj :)

Township Rebellion - Lumen

Monolink - Reflections (Sam Shure Remix)

Nitrous Oxide - Division

Sherman de Vries - Love

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

You'll probably find me in the sea, swimming.

I'm lucky enough to live between Madrid and Alicante, and I've been training hard for years as an open water swimmer. Swimming in the sea makes me very happy. I'm preparing for the “going around Tabarca Island” in September. I'm sure it will inspire a new song when I finished :)

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? (Do not include yourself)

Arcan Dj 0:00-1:30

Nick Warren 1:30-3:00

Township Rebellion 3:00-4:30

Mark Zolden 4:30-6:00

Looking back on your career thus far, what advice would you offer to your younger self?

Find peace and be yourself. Enjoy life. Do sports, eat well, rest, and find your passion and dedicate yourself to it.

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

Gardener or athlete, professional swimmer.

What’s something people do not know about you?

Uh, lots of things. That I have a special talent with perfumes and plants, for example. I'm a big fan of aromatherapy and alternative therapies.

Check this out! I love dancing tango. I got into it in Berlin, and now I've picked up my classes and milongas again!

What can we look forward to from you for the rest of 2024? Any releases or gigs you are looking forward to?

I'm working on my album “Simplicity,” with sounds not aimed at the dance floor. It's a more intimate project, similar to the previous one, “Transcend.”

I've already released some singles.

I'm also working on a new, more powerful progressive-techno track.

On July 7th, I'll be DJing in Teruel, and in September, I hope to do another "In the Club" event for another small number of people.

 I want to take this opportunity to thank Progressive Astronaut for this interview, which is probably the best one I've had in many years. Greetings and thanks for supporting the electronic scene.

Hope you like the track!

'More Than A DJ' is available now via Musique de Lune Noire: https://tinyurl.com/bddjwhe6

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